SciTech Briefs

Lightest notebook PC released

Japan’s Sony Corp. has introduced the “Type G” Vaio, the world’s lightest notebook PC. It weighs just under two pounds and is equipped with a 12.1-inch liquid crystal display screen.

This model will run about 12.5 hours on battery and will sell for about 220,000 yen ($1881). At the moment, there are no plans to sell this laptop overseas.

Source: CNN

Game encourages kids to exercise

Step2Play, created by GymKids, is a step exercise machine designed to combine playing video games and exercise.

The gamer’s controller will work only if the child keeps a constant rate of exercise and can be used with any Playstation game. Ian Campbell, medical director of Weight Concern, said that although the device would be “useful,” it is “a terrible indictment on society.”

Source: BBC News

New bird flu strain found in China

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong have identified a new dominant strain of the H5N1 virus, commonly known as bird flu, which they call the Fujian strain. The gene from recent human cases reported in China, Hong Kong, Laos, and Malaysia also belongs to the Fujian strain. Guan and his colleagues believe that the new strain is resistant to current vaccines and may have emerged from the widespread poultry vaccination in southern China.

Source: Science magazine

Tomatoes a source of salmonella

Dozens of people in 21 states were affected by a salmonella outbreak caused by contaminated fresh tomatoes. The outbreak affected at least 183 people and 22 people were hospitalized. The FDA will be investigating the source of the contamination in an effort to find the farm or group of farms where the tomatoes were grown.

Source: Associated Press

Philadelphia to send off elephants

After 132 years, the Philadelphia Zoo’s board of directors has decided to place their four elephants in the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and an elephant sanctuary in central Tennessee. Even with the care given by the zoo keepers, the quarter-acre habitats in the Philadelphia Zoo are not sufficient for the world’s largest land mammal.

Source: The New York Times

Dolphins may have remains of legs

A bottlenose dolphin with an extra set of fins has led Japanese researchers to believe that ocean-dwelling mammals once had hind legs and lived on land. The dolphin’s second set of fins are located on the ventral surface near the tail and are the size of human hands.

Whale and dolphin fetuses show signs of hind protrusions that disappear before birth. The dolphin will undergo X-ray and DNA tests at the Taiji museum.

Source: Associated Press

Compiled by
Kathy Chiapaikeo