Latest research news

March 19, 2003

Water shortages 'foster terrorism'
A lack of water is a key factor in encouraging terrorism, the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto has heard. Mona El Kody, the chair of the National Water Research Unit in Egypt, told delegates that living without an adequate level of access to water created a "non-human environment" which led to frustration, and from there terrorism.

Alzheimer's vaccine setback confirmed
An experimental vaccine against Alzheimer's disease may work, but causes life-threatening side effects in some cases, the autopsy of a participant in the vaccine's trial confirms. Elan, the pharmaceutical company developing the vaccine, is keen to highlight the treatment's potential benefits. But the findings leave its future in serious doubt.

ET hunters take closer look
The scientists behind the world's biggest distributed computing project are about to take a closer look at the most promising radio signals so far collected in the search for alien beings. For four years, millions of people around the world have been running a special screensaver program on their desktops, sifting data for unique patterns that might represent an intelligent transmission. Now, the most interesting radio sources picked out by the Seti project are to be re-observed using the giant Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico.

Iridescent ink could deliver electronic newspaper
A new kind of ink changes colour at the flick of a switch. It could give rise to newspapers that show shifting images, or chemical sensors that display different hues depending on what substance they detect. The substance is called P-Ink or 'photonic ink', and is being developed by Geoffrey Ozin, Ian Manners and their colleagues at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Tough nut is cracked
Researchers have successfully demonstrated the first preventive treatment against peanut allergy. The drug, which raises the threshold at which allergic people react to peanuts, could reach the market in two to three years, the scientists say.

African click language 'holds key to origins of speech'
Echoes of the earliest language spoken by ancient humans tens of thousands of years ago have been preserved in the distinctive clicking sounds still spoken by some African tribes today, scientists have found. The clicks made by the San people of southern Africa and the Hadzabe of East Africa are the linguistic equivalent of living fossils preserved from a much older and more primitive tongue, probably spoken by most of the humans who lived more than 40,000 years ago.

Bronze Age mummies found
Bronze Age remains discovered in a 3,000-year-old house in the Western Isles could be the first prehistoric mummies found in Britain, archaeologists believe. A team from Sheffield University found a man, a woman, a teenage girl and a three-year-old in a crouched position with their knees under their chins at Cladh Hallan, on South Uist.
(Daily Telegraph)

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