Number of Habitable Planets Increased

How many potentially habitable planets are there? New calculations by Lineweaver and Daniel Grether, both of the University of New South Wales in Australia, provide an encouraging answer to this question. The researchers expect a flood of Jupiters will be found, perhaps 50 percent more than currently expected. This work supports the notion that the human race cannot survive if all humans only live on one planet.
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Mass Extinction of the Un-Cute

If you’re an endangered species, it helps to be cute, spectacular, or
otherwise unique. Unpopular species don’t make it to “the list,” argues
botanist Mark Burgman of the University of Melbourne.

The snail is evidently popular in Tasmania, which includes 200 species
of Hydrobiid snails on its list of 650 threatened species.

Burgman believes that scientific bias toward listing these
more-interesting species, regardless of the threats to their survival,
may condemn a substantial proportion of the world’s less-interesting or
less well-known plants and animals to extinction.
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Report On China’s Space Plans

China, which first launched a satellite in 1970, has already launched several satellites for U.S. and Brazilian operators and is vying for a greater share of market.

To date, it has launched almost 50 satellites with a 90 percent success rate.

China hopes to launch about 10 satellites, rockets and spacecraft in 2002 as part of its space development program. More Here
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Transparent Concrete

“CONCRETE has been a high-tech material since Roman times, when it was discovered that adding volcanic ash to the mix allowed it to set under water. Similarly, the Romans knew that adding horsehair made concrete less liable to shrink while it hardened, and adding blood made it more frost-resistant. In modern times, researchers have added other materials to create concrete that is capable of conducting electricity. It heats up when a voltage is applied, making it possible to build runways and drives that clear themselves of snow. Bill Price of the University of Houston now has an ambitious plan to make concrete with an even more unusual property: he wants it to be transparent.”
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Artificial Womb and Designer Babies

Call For Papers – February 22-23, 2002. The End of Natural Motherhood Bioethics Conference.

To be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sponsored by the Ethics Center at Oklahoma State University. Featured Speakers: Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends; Thomas Murray, President of the Hastings Center; Rosemarie Tong, Center for Professional & Applied Ethics, UNC-Charlotte. “We invite submissions for presentation at this conference, on the topics of ectogenesis/artificial womb technology, genetic engineering, and the impact of reproductive technologies on social relationships and values. We strongly encourage essays on the topic of ectogenesis/artificial womb technology.”
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Internet Access Through Your Electrical Outlets

There’s a battle brewing between the power companies and the telecom companies. The battle is over creating an industry standard for the delivery of high speed Internet to homes and offices.

Long used by utility companies to activate street lights, powerline communications will first arrive in consumer homes this summer as equipment vendors roll out gadgets designed to allow networking of PCs, fax machines, and other devices through the electrical outlets inyour home.
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Smart Dust Mote – Walls With Brains

A building could look sturdy but in fact be near collapse. Researchers at University of California, Berkeley think it’s possible for smart walls to detect hidden cracks that could cause a structure to tumble during larger quakes. Using a small sensor called the “Smart Dust Mote” walls will soon be able to write their own bills of health. More Here
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Cell Wars in Space

Immune cells vs. invaders: it’s a war going on in every healthy human body. When the combatants travel to space, say NASA scientists, curious things happen.

In space, these cells don’t work the way they do on the ground. T-cells, for example, don’t multiply properly; there aren’t as many of them as there should be. They can’t move well. They don’t signal each other as effectively. Overall, they seem less able to destroy invading germs.
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