SciTech Briefs

Scientists identify pneumonia bacterium

Scientists from seven countries are analyzing how the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, responsible for pneumonia and other illnesses, has evolved since it was first identified in Spain in 1984. This worldwide bacterium has traversed all seven continents and has since mutated three-quarters of its DNA. This research will help scientists replace outdated vaccines.

Source: The New York Times

Study isolates gene in mice related to aggression

Using a process called imprinting, scientists have determined that the Grb10 gene in mice is related to aggressive behavior. When the gene is dormant, the affected mice are more prone to confrontations and biting off the fur and whiskers of other mice. The Grb10 gene is also found in human DNA and could be linked to social interactions.

Source: The New York Times

Malaysian government fights mosquito problem

The Malaysian government ran an experiment last December where it released 6,000 genetically modified mosquitoes into the forest to help fight the spread of dengue fever. The mosquitoes are engineered to produce inferior offspring or none at all. Previous experiments run in 2006 in the Cayman Islands have proven to be successful.

Source: Time Magazine

Egypt cuts off Internet, cell phone service amid riots

In light of recent protests and riots, the Egyptian government shut down its Internet and mobile phone networks last Tuesday night. This was an effort to stop the flow of riot footage from being uploaded to sites such as YouTube and Facebook. As of last Saturday, only 7 percent of connections were online across the country, mostly from government or stock market firms.

Source:* Wall Street Journal*

Writing about feelings improves test scores

A new psychology study by researchers at the University of Chicago has found that writing about feelings of anxiety or nervousness before a test can improve one’s score. Students who spent 10 minutes writing about their problems scored an average 5 percent higher than students who wrote about a different topic or nothing at all.

Source: The Washington Post

Scientists discover new dinosaur

A dog-sized dinosaur named Eodromaeus murphi has been discovered near the Andes Mountains in Argentina. The fossils are approximately 230 million years old and are estimated to be the ancestors of dinosaurs such as the Tyrannosaurus rex. Scientists think the Eodromaeus was an omnivore that walked on two legs, could run up to 20 miles per hour and weighed between 10 and 15 pounds.

Source: USA Today

Compiled by
Courtney Chin