|Overview of Subhaditya News Channel 25|
|3D Picture of Science News|
Science News This Week:
|Best Evidence Yet That Dinosaurs Used Feathers the Way Peacocks Do, for Courtship:|
1) Best Evidence Yet That Dinosaurs Used Feathers the Way Peacocks Do, for Courtship:
A University of Alberta researcher's examination of fossilized dinosaur tail bones has led to a breakthrough finding: some feathered dinosaurs used tail plumage to attract mates, much like modern-day peacocks and turkeys.
U of A Paleontology researcher Scott Persons followed a chain of fossil evidence that started with a peculiar fusing together of vertebrae at the tip of the tail of four different species of dinosaurs, some separated in time and evolution by 45 million years.
Persons says the final vertebrae in the tails of a group of dinosaurs called oviraptors were fused together forming a ridged, blade-like structure. "The structure is called a pygostyle" says Persons. "Among modern animals only birds have them."
Researchers say fossils of Similicaudiptery, an early oviraptor, reveals feathers radiating from the fused bones at the tail tip. Similicaudiptery was not known to be a flying dinosaur and Persons contends its tail feathers evolved as a means of waving its feathered tail fans.No direct fossil evidence of feathers has been found with the fossils of the oviraptors that followed Similicaudiptery, but Persons says there is still strong evidence they had a feathered tail.
Persons reasons that because the later oviraptor had the same tail structure as the feathered Similicaudipteryx, the tails of later oviraptors' still served the same purpose, waving feathered tail fans.Persons says the hypothesis of oviraptor tail waving is supported by both the bone and muscle structure of the tail.
Individual vertebrae at the base of an oviraptor's tail were short and numerous, indicating great flexibility. Based on dissections of modern reptile and bird tails, Persons reconstruction of the dinosaur's tail muscles revealed oviraptors had what it took to really shake their tail feathers.
Large muscles extended far down the tail and had a sufficient number of broad connection points to the vertebrae to propel oviraptor's tail feathers vigorously from side to side and up and down.Oviraptors were two-legged dinosaurs that had already gone through major diversifications from the iconic, meat eating dinosaur family. Oviraptors were plant eaters that roamed parts of China, Mongolia, and Alberta during the Cretaceous period, the final age of the dinosaur.
"By this time a variety of dinosaurs used feathers for flight and insulation from the cold, "said Persons. "This shows that by the Late Cretaceous dinosaurs were doing everything with feathers that modern birds do now," said Persons.In addition to feathered-tail waving, oviraptors also had prominent bone crests on their head, which Persons says the dinosaur also may have used in mating displays."Between the crested head and feathered-tail shaking, oviraptors had a propensity for visual exhibitionism," said Persons.
|Stem Cell Technology Could Help Harness Patients' Own Immune Cells to Fight Disease|
2) Stem Cell Technology Could Help Harness Patients' Own Immune Cells to Fight Disease:
The human body contains immune cells programmed to fight cancer and viral infections, but they often have short lifespans and are not numerous enough to overcome attacks by particularly aggressive malignancies or invasions. Now researchers reporting in two separate papers in the January 4th issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell used stem cell technology to successfully regenerate patients' immune cells, creating large numbers that were long-lived and could recognize their specified targets: HIV-infected cells in one case and cancer cells in the other.
The findings could help in the development of strategies to rejuvenate patients' exhausted immune responses.
The techniques the groups employed involved using known factors to revert mature immune T cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can differentiate into virtually any of the body's different cell types. The researchers then expanded these iPSCs and later coaxed them to redifferentiate back into T cells. Importantly, the newly made T cells were "rejuvenated" with increased growth potential and lifespan, while retaining their original ability to target cancer and HIV-infected cells. These findings suggest that manipulating T cells using iPSC techniques could be useful for future development of more effective immune therapies.
In one study, investigators used T cells from an HIV-infected patient. The redifferentiated cells they generated had an unlimited lifespan and contained long telomeres, or caps, on the ends of their chromosomes, which protect cells from aging. This is significant because normal aging of T cells limits their expansion, making them inefficient as therapies. "The system we established provides 'young and active' T cells for adoptive immunotherapy against viral infection or cancers," says senior author Dr. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, of the University of Tokyo.
The other research team focused on T cells from a patient with malignant melanoma. The redifferentiated cells they created recognized the protein MART-1, which is commonly expressed on melanoma tumors. "The next step we are going to do is examine whether these regenerated T cells can selectively kill tumor cells but not other healthy tissues. If such cells are developed, these cells might be directly applied to patients," says senior author Dr. Hiroshi Kawamoto, of the RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology. "This could be realized in the not-so-distant future."
|Gene Variant Linked to Active Personality Traits Also Linked to Human Longevity:|
3) Gene Variant Linked to Active Personality Traits Also Linked to Human Longevity:
A variant of a gene associated with active personality traits in humans seems to also be involved with living a longer life, UC Irvine and other researchers have found.This derivative of a dopamine-receptor gene -- called the DRD4 7R allele -- appears in significantly higher rates in people more than 90 years old and is linked to lifespan increases in mouse studies.
Robert Moyzis, professor of biological chemistry at UC Irvine, and Dr. Nora Volkow, a psychiatrist who conducts research at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and also directs the National Institute on Drug Abuse, led a research effort that included data from the UC Irvine-led 90+ Study in Laguna Woods, Calif. Results appear online in The Journal of Neuroscience.
The variant gene is part of the dopamine system, which facilitates the transmission of signals among neurons and plays a major role in the brain network responsible for attention and reward-driven learning. The DRD4 7R allele blunts dopamine signaling, which enhances individuals' reactivity to their environment.
People who carry this variant gene, Moyzis said, seem to be more motivated to pursue social, intellectual and physical activities. The variant is also linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and addictive and risky behaviors.
"While the genetic variant may not directly influence longevity," Moyzis said, "it is associated with personality traits that have been shown to be important for living a longer, healthier life. It's been well documented that the more you're involved with social and physical activities, the more likely you'll live longer. It could be as simple as that."
Numerous studies -- including a number from the 90+ Study -- have confirmed that being active is important for successful aging, and it may deter the advancement of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.
Prior molecular evolutionary research led by Moyzis and Chuansheng Chen, UC Irvine professor of psychology & social behavior, indicated that this "longevity allele" was selected for during the nomadic out-of-Africa human exodus more than 30,000 years ago.
In the new study, the UC Irvine team analyzed genetic samples from 310 participants in the 90+ Study. This "oldest-old" population had a 66 percent increase in individuals carrying the variant relative to a control group of 2,902 people between the ages of 7 and 45. The presence of the variant also was strongly correlated with higher levels of physical activity.
Next, Volkow, neuroscientist Panayotis Thanos and their colleagues at the Brookhaven National Laboratory found that mice without the variant had a 7 percent to 9.7 percent decrease in lifespan compared with those possessing the gene, even when raised in an enriched environment.
While it's evident that the variant can contribute to longevity, Moyzis said further studies must take place to identify any immediate clinical benefits from the research. "However, it is clear that individuals with this gene variant are already more likely to be responding to the well-known medical adage to get more physical activity," he added.
First author Deborah Grady, Maria Corrada, Valentina Ciobanu, Alexandra Moyzis, Chuansheng Chen and Dr. Claudia Kawas of UC Irvine; Diana Shustarovich and Gene-Jack Wang of Brookhaven; David Grandy of Oregon Health & Science University; Marcelo Rubinstein of Argentina's National Scientific & Technical Research Council; and Qi Dong of Beijing Normal University also contributed to the study, which was supported bthe U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism intramural program.
|First Meteorite Linked to Martian Crust:|
4) First Meteorite Linked to Martian Crust:
After extensive analyses by a team of scientists led by Carl Agee at the University of New Mexico, researchers have identified a new class of Martian meteorite that likely originated from Mars's crust. It is also the only meteoritic sample dated to 2.1 billion years ago, the early era of the most recent geologic epoch on Mars, an epoch called the Amazonian. The meteorite was found to contain an order of magnitude more water than any other Martian meteorite.
Researchers from the Carnegie Institution (Andrew Steele, Marilyn Fogel, Roxane Bowden, and Mihaela Glamoclija) studied carbon in the meteorite and have shown that organic carbon (macromolecular) similar to that seen in other Martian meteorites is also found in this meteorite.
The research is published in the January 3, 2013, issue of Science Express.
The unique meteorite, dubbed Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, has some similarities to, but is very different from other Martian meteorites known as SNC (for three members of the group: Shergotty, Nakhla, and Chassigny). SNC meteorites currently number 110. And so far they are the only meteoritic samples from Mars that scientists have been able to study. However, their point of origin on the Red Planet is not known. In fact, recent data from lander and orbiter missions suggest that they are a mismatch for the Martian crust.
As co-author Andrew Steele, who led the carbon analysis at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory explained: "The texture of the NWA meteorite is not like any of the SNC meteorites. It is made of cemented fragments of basalt, rock that forms from rapidly cooled lava, dominated with feldspar and pyroxene, most likely from volcanic activity. This composition is common for lunar samples, but not from other Martian meteorites. This unusual meteorite's chemistry suggests it came from the Martian crust. It is the first link thus far of any meteorite to the crust. Our carbon analysis also showed the presence of macromolecular organic carbon in feldspar grains associated with iron oxides, hinting that perhaps there is a different non-biological process at work than that explaining the presence of macromolecular carbon in other Martian meteorites."
Lead author Agee, of the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico, remarked: "The basaltic rock in this meteorite is consistent with the crust or upper mantle of Mars based on findings from recent Martian rovers and orbiters. Our analysis of the oxygen isotopes shows that NWA 7034 is not like any other meteorites or planetary samples. The chemistry is consistent with a surface origin and an interaction with the Martian atmosphere. The abundance of water, some 6000 parts per million, suggests that the meteorite interacted with the Martian surface some 2.1 billion years ago."
"Perhaps most exciting, is that the high water content could mean there was an interaction of the rocks with surface water either from volcanic magma, or from fluids from impacting comets during that time," said Steele. "It is the richest Martian meteorite geochemically and further analyses are bound to unleash more surprises."
|Mars Rover Curiosity Explores 'Yellowknife Bay|
5) Mars Rover Curiosity Explores 'Yellowknife Bay'
After imaging during the holidays, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity resumed driving Jan. 3 and pulled within arm's reach of a sinuous rock feature called "Snake River."
Snake River is a thin curving line of darker rock cutting through flatter rocks and jutting above sand. Curiosity's science team plans to get a closer look at it before proceeding to other nearby rocks.
"It's one piece of the puzzle," said the mission's project scientist, John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "It has a crosscutting relationship to the surrounding rock and appears to have formed after the deposition of the layer that it transects."
The drive during the mission's 147th Martian day, or sol, on the Red Planet took Curiosity about 10 feet (3 meters) northwestward and brought the mission's total driving distance to 2,303 feet (702 meters). The rover is within a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay," which is a flatter and lighter-toned type of terrain from what the mission crossed during its first four months inside Gale Crater.
During a holiday break for the rover team, Curiosity stayed at a location within Yellowknife Bay from which the rover took images of its surroundings. The team is evaluating possible first targets for use of Curiosity's hammering drill in coming weeks. The drill will collect powdered samples from the interior of rocks for analysis by instruments inside the rover.
"We had no surprises over the holidays," said the mission's project manager, Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. "Now, Curiosity is back on the move. The area the rover is in looks good for our first drilling target."
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess whether areas inside Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbes. JPL, a division of Caltech, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
|3D Picture of Movies News|
Movie Release This Week:
1) Quartet :
A group of ageing former musicians living in a home for retired opera singers prepare to hold their annual concert celebrating Verdi's birthday.
|Texas Chainsaw 3D|
2) Texas Chainsaw 3D :
Heather and her friends go on a road trip to visit the mansion her grandmother left in her name, but she is completely unaware of the massacre that...
3) Chinatown :
Detective story set during a heat wave in 1930s Los Angeles, whose residents are suffering from a water shortage as a result of an ongoing drought....
4) Repulsion :
A film chronicling the descent into schizophrenia of a sexually confused, isolated young woman named Carol who works at a beauty parlor and shares ...
5) Outside Satan :
A strange man who barely scrapes by lurking outside of a hamlet, is cared for by a farm girl who lives nearby. He drives evil away from the hamlet,...
|3D Picture of Political News|
Poitical news this week:
|Accused of rape, Congress leader thrashed in Assam|
1) Accused of rape, Congress leader thrashed in Assam:
A Congress leader in Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) was taken into custody by police Thursday after he allegedly attempted to rape a woman and was beaten up by villagers. He will be formally arrested as soon the case is filed.
The incident took place at Salbari in Chirang district Wednesday night, police said, adding that Bikramsingh Brahma was handed over to police by the woman’s husband and the villagers Thursday morning.
“Local people caught hold of Brahma in the house of the victim and handed him over to the police. The villagers also beat up the politician before handing him over. The victim’s husband filed a complaint against Brahma, alleging that Brahma had raped his wife,” said Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) S.N. Singh.
“Brahma is in police custody now and he would be arrested soon. The police are waiting for the case to be registered,” said Singh.
Brahma is the coordinator of the Congress party for the four districts of BTAD – Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri – and he had also contested the 2011 Assam assembly polls from Chapaguri constituency on a Congress ticket.
“It seems that Brahma had been taking advantage of the woman for quite sometime by giving her hopes that he would make her beneficiary of various government schemes,” the IGP said.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Haren Das said that strong disciplinary action will be taken against Brahma if the allegations against him were found to be true.
|PM unveils science, technology and innovation policy at 100th Indian Science Congress|
2) PM unveils science, technology and innovation policy at 100th Indian Science Congress
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today unveiled the country's science, technology and innovation policy that he said aims to put India among the top five science powerhouses in the world by 2020.
At the 100th Indian Science Congress in Kolkata, Dr Singh welcomed a debate on genetically modified foods, nuclear energy and space exploration and said faith and fear should give way to proper debate and analysis.Dr Singh said science should be used to meet the needs of the underprivileged.
The Prime Minister is attending the science congress with President Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee. Around 12,000 scientists are expected to participate in the event.The President inaugurated the science congress and said he wished to see India win a Noble Prize in science. "We need an educational system that lays importance on development of a scientific culture within the society.
|Delhi Gang-Rape: Police files chargesheet in court|
3) Delhi Gang-Rape: Police files chargesheet in court:
After almost three weeks since the brutal gang rape of the Delhi braveheart, the filed the ‘e-charge sheet’ in the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Saket here today.
All 5 were chargesheeted for murder, gangrape, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy under IPC.Charge sheet will come up for consideration on 5 January.
Police has sought permission to keep FIR in sealed cover to protect identity of victim and for in-camera proceedings.Earlier, a senior police official had said the charge sheet, which is being vetted by legal experts, has cited 30 witnesses in connection with the 16 December incident in which the physiotherapy student was gangraped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi. The victim died in a Singapore hospital on Saturday morning.
The charge sheet will detail the role of five men while mentioning that a separate report would be sent to Juvenile Justice Board for the trial of the minor boy allegedly involved in the case, the official said.
It also gives details about the sequence of events, the treatment, shifting of the patient to a Singapore hospital as well as her death, the official said.
|A.P.J. Abdul Kalam inaugurates children science congress|
4) A.P.J. Abdul Kalam inaugurates children science congress:
Former President Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam inaugurated a Children Science Congress at the S.N.Bose National Center for Basic Sciences here today.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Kalam said the event is standing on the shoulders of great scientific minds like S N Bose, J C Bose, Meghnath Saha, Sir C V Raman, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai and many other great scientists.
He said he would be more than happy to share a few thoughts on the topic "excellence in thinking and actions".
He further asked young buds present on the occasion to accept science as a life mission, with excellence in thinking and action by striving to work with their utmost potential .
Asserting that history has proven that those who dare to imagine the impossible are the ones who break all human limitations, Dr. Kalam said: " In every field of human endeavor, whether science, medicine, sports, the arts, or technology, the names of the people who imagined the impossible and achieved are engraved in our history. By breaking the limits of their imagination, they changed the world."
The former president also shared his interaction with students in State Children Science Congress (2012) Uttar Pradesh State Science Congress at Barabanki, Southern Regional Science Congress at Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, Mega Science Fair at Darbhanga (Bihar) and National Children Science Congress at Varanasi.
He also referred to the recent development by two teams at the CERN Laboratory towards the discovery of the "God Particle" , a popular name for an elementary particle called Higgs Boson, named after a great scientist Peter Higgs and already some progress is being made in this direction in 2011, and it may be possible that within the next few year, we would be able to understand better about the God's Particle and unravel the mystery of why matter exists and how universe came into being.
Dr. Kalam said: "I am sure, some of you, as scientists of tomorrow would be finding such sub-atomic, fundamental physics as a research area for your scientific pursuits and would play a vital role in discovering more about this unique area of particle physics."
|Miandad cancels trip amid visa controversy|
5) Miandad cancels trip amid visa controversy:
Javed Miandad, whose son is married to underworld don Dawood Ebrahim’s daughter, on Friday cancelled his visit to Delhi in the wake of a raging controversy in India over giving him a visa for the trip.
Former Pakistan captain Miandad, who was planning to watch the third and final ODI in Delhi, cancelled his visit to avoid inflaming the situation, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on condition of anonymity.
The official said the PCB did not want the focus to move away from cricket to other matters.
Ever since news came out that Miandad, whose son Junaid married the fugitive Mumbai don’s daughter Mahrukh in Dubai in 2005, was coming to the country, there has been widespread anger at the Indian government’s decision to give him a visa for the visit.The Indian government, however, justified the decision by saying that Miandad was not on the ‘negative list’ of those not to be given visas.
BJP and Shiv Sena had on Thursday lashed out at the government for granting the visa, asking how allowing a person related to Ibrahim would help improve bilateral ties.External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said there were three categories of people who could be given visas: people who have a return ticket and want to watch the match, players and members of the PCB.
“It’s a decision that has been taken by the Home Ministry,” Khursid said. “And I am sure they would have taken inputs from all concerned agencies and from our mission in Pakistan. I am sure they would have followed all procedures.”
Minister of State for Home RPN Singh added: “He [Miandad] is a well-known cricketer. His visa application papers were in order and valid and that is why the government has decided to give him a visa.”There had been reports before a series in 2005 that a request for a visa by the batting great was turned down by the Indian government.
Earlier, Uddhav Thackeray, leader of Shiv Sena, who oppose playing cricket against Pakistan, said in an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece Saamna that given Miandad’s relationship with Ebrahim, India could have sent out a strong message by not issuing a visa.
“Our lame government is seeking to forget the past and play cricket with Pakistan,” said Thackeray. “By issuing a visa to Miandad, our shameless government is now extending a hand of friendship to Dawood’s relative. When we have a lame and shameless government, Pakistan is bound to take advantage of us. What is a common man going to do?”
|Malala discharged from British hospital|
6) Malala discharged from British hospital :
Three months after she was seriously injured in a murderous attack by a Taliban gunman, a smiling Malala Yousafzai on Friday left Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital as doctors said she had made a "remarkable" recovery and was fit to be discharged.
Describing the teenaged Pakistani schoolgirl as a "strong young woman", Dr. Dave Rosser, medical director of the health trust that runs the hospital, said: "Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers. She will return to the hospital as an outpatient and our therapies team will continue to work with her at home to supervise her care."
The discharge came a day after she was chosen for Ireland’s prestigious Tipperary International Peace Prize for 2012 for her courage and determination to speak out in support of equal access to education for every child.
Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, has been given a job at Pakistani consulate in Birmingham so that she can continue to stay on in Britain after her medical treatment.
Malala (15), who suffered serious skull injuries after being shot by a militant, is to undergo cranial reconstruction surgery later this month or in February.
Her father said the family was moved by "the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all castes, colour and creed".
The attack on her as she was returning home from her school in Pakistan’s Swat district on October 9 caused international outrage. Thousands of people signed a petition nominating her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
|3D Picture of Sports News|
Sports News Of This Week:
|India suffer humiliating ODI series defeat to Pakistan|
India suffer humiliating ODI series defeat to Pakistan
An insipid India slumped to yet another series defeat with a pathetic display as arch-rivals Pakistan spanked the hosts by 85 runs in the second one-dayer to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series on Thursday. An insipid India slumped to yet another series defeat with a pathetic display as arch-rivals Pakistan spanked the hosts by 85 runs in the second one-dayer to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series on Thursday.
|India suffer humiliating ODI series defeat to Pakistan|
The floodgates opened up after the dismissal of Hafeez as none of the other batsmen could hang around for long on a slow Eden Garden track, which made stroke-making difficult after the ball became older.
The Indians needed a good start from their struggling openers – Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag – but it did not materialise yet again, putting pressure on the jittery middle-order.
Sehwag (31), Gambhir (11), Virat Kohli (6), Yuvraj Singh (9) and Suresh Raina (18) perished in quick succession to give the visitors the upper hand in what eventually turned out to be a lop-sided contest.
Skipper Dhoni, who scored a heroic unbeaten 113 in the first ODI in Chennai, again provided some resistance with a cautious and unbeaten 54 but wickets kept tumbling at the other end to nullify his efforts.
The series defeat against Pakistan marks another low for the struggling team which suffered an embarrassing Test series debacle against England at home and levelled a T20 series 1-1.
Thursday’s defeat has also rendered the third and final ODI at Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi on Sunday inconsequential.