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Investigators from The Netherlands, Venezuela and a U.S. drug company are studying rabies-free vampire bats in Venezuelan caves. They are looking at vampire bat saliva which has the property of interfering with the blood clotting process. These researchers have found the protein responsible for this property of the saliva. The hope is that they can develop a drug to prevent clotting in blood, which causes thrombosis and strokes, and are major killers in the developed world. The drug in development already has a name, Draculin.
`Vampire bats could help save stroke victims', Reuter - London, April 30, 1995.
Sophisticated NASA satellite (Topex-Poseidon) measurements have detected a sea-level rise of 3.9 millimeters (0.15 inch) in each of the past two years, about twice that measured by land-based instruments (i.e., tidal gauges) over the last century. At this time it is uncertain if this rise is caused by general warming of the Earth's climate or if it is a short-term effect. But if the trend continues for three to five years, said one expert, "it could be very, very significant." Researchers know that part of the level rise is due to El Nino effects and part of it is due to climate change. The proportion of the two effects cannot be separated at the present. Proof of global warming has been elusive. Some investigators believe that burning of fossil fuels, such as gasoline in automobiles, is a major source of carbon dioxide which contributes to the greenhouse effect, warming up the Earth.
`Satellite detects sea-level rise; researchers unsure why', Reuter - Washington, D.C., May 3, 1995.
Researchers have studied the mechanics of African women carrying heavy loads. They found that tribal women can outperform dock workers and army recruits when carrying heavy loads. When carrying heavy loads on their heads, they move like pendulums. These women can carry loads up to 20 percent of their body weight with no demonstrable increase in oxygen consumption rate; and they can carry loads of up to 70 percent of their body weight, at all but the slowest walking speeds, much more economically than trained people using backpacks. "The walking gait is characterized by cyclic, out-of-phase fluctuations in the height and forward velocity of the centre of mass of the body (as in a pendulum)," researchers concluded. The center of mass is either behind or in front of the foot that happens to be on the ground, which sets up a swinging motion. This is a very efficient way to carry a load.
`Got something heavy? Carry it on your head', Reuter - London, May 4, 1995.
Sometimes people in the United States forget that things are much different in other countries. For example, in Egypt the Misr Petroleum company is just getting ready to introduce unleaded gasoline for the first time. The plans are to have four gasoline stations in Cairo and two in Alexandria that will carry the unleaded gasoline. Since this gasoline will be more expensive than regular gasoline the main customers will probably be diplomats and people with luxury cars. The population of Egypt is about 60 million and most of them ride in cars or buses. The levels of lead in Cairo air and in the blood of Cairo residents is on the order of six times the maximum recommended by the World Health Organization and most of it comes from vehicle exhaust. Egypt's Oil Minister said that the long-term aim was to convert vehicles to natural gas, which is cleaner than gasoline.
On the other hand 3500 gasoline stations in France are now offering Fruity Vanilla Super, a scented gasoline. Is this a good idea?
` Unleaded petrol going on sale in Egypt', Reuter - Cairo, May 13, 1995.
EnviroSource, Colloid Environmental Technologies Co., Vol. 1, Issue 2, Spring 1995, from: Environmental Engineering News, Mar/Apr 1995.
Service, R.F., `New Compounds Make Light of Pests', Science, Vol. 268, 12 May 1995, p. 806.A light-reactive pesticide that takes advantage of the translucent abdomen of certain insects.
The best source for news that I have found is at: http://sun.bucknell.edu/~boulter/crayon/ where you can read the news from a variety of sources and can format them any way you want. In my opinion, the best of the electronic news services is the NandO service. This can be reached through Crayon (as referenced above) or directly from: http://www2.nando.net/nt/world/ To access certain stories one may need a username and password which can be obtained at: http://www2.nando.net/subscribe/login.html