Archive for October, 2005

Fireworks, Lights, Brighten Diwali Hindu Festival

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 28, 2005   View Article

On Tuesday, fireworks and festive lights will brighten the moonless night as an estimated billion followers of the Hindu religion around the world celebrate Diwali, the festival of light.

Diwali may be news to many U.S. residents, but “it is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world, being a national holiday in India, Fiji, [Nepal], and Trinidad,” G. Padmanabhan of the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing, New York, said in an e-mail interview.

Cleaning Big Cities’ Air “Not Rocket Science,” Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 27, 2005   View Article

Hemmed in by mountains on three sides, the basin that houses Mexico City, Mexico, has some the dirtiest air in the world.

Pollutants spewed by power plants and tailpipes have nowhere to go. They stay within the city and compromise the health of thousands of people.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, according to Mario Molina, a Nobel laureate in chemistry who is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and the University of California, San Diego.

Uncaring Chimps May Shed Light on Humans, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 26, 2005   View Article

The recent outpouring of support for victims of natural disasters may be the sign of a uniquely human trait: Chimpanzees-our closest living relatives-are apparently indifferent to the needs of others, according to a
new study.

The research probes the question of why humans have altruistic tendencies.

Eyes of Two Mummies Restored in California Lab

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 24, 2005   View Article

A team of scientists in California has restored the eyes of two Chilean mummies and plans to use them to investigate ancient diseases.

One eye came from the mummified remains of a two-year-old boy who died a thousand years ago. The other eye belongs to a 23-year-old woman who died about 750 years ago. Both bodies were naturally preserved in Chile’s arid Atacama Desert.

New Digs Decoding Mexico’s “Pyramids of Fire”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 21, 2005   View Article

Using picks, shovels, and high-tech forensic sleuthing, scientists are beginning to cobble together the grisly ancient history and fiery demise of Teotihuacán, the first major metropolis of the Americas.

The size of Shakespeare’s London, Teotihuacán was built by an unknown people almost 2,000 years ago. The site sits about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of present-day Mexico City. Temples, palaces, and some of the largest pyramids on Earth line its ancient main street.

Your DNA Is a Song: Scientists Use Music to Code Proteins

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 21, 2005   View Article

What are proteins? How are they structured? What’s the difference between a protein in a human and the same protein in a lizard? Ask Mary Anne Clark these questions and she is likely to respond with an earful of music.

Clark is a biologist at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, and she’s part of a growing field of science educators who use so-called protein music to help illustrate the basic structure of the building blocks of life.

All living things are made up of proteins. Each protein is a string of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids, and each protein can consist of dozens to thousands of them.

Why Was South Asia Hit Hard by Major Quake

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 13, 2005   View Article

The magnitude 7.6 earthquake that shook a broad swath of South Asia on October 8 resulted from the same forces that give rise to the world’s tallest mountains, the Himalaya, experts say.

The Earth’s crust is broken up into a jigsaw puzzle of plates constantly on the move. Some collide, others drift apart. They all jostle along in fits and starts like uncomfortable strangers in a packed crowd.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach