The Protect IP/SOPA Bill Threatens the Entire Internet, Video Explains the Flaws in This Hurried Legislation

Tell Congress not to censor the internet NOW! – fightforthefuture.org/pipa

Source: fightforthefuture.org

Medical News: Shortages of Surgical Drugs May Pose Threats to Patient Safety

Steps Urged to Maintain Supplies and Prevent Harmful Effects from Shortages of Key Drugs

Newswise — San Francisco, CA. (November 23, 2011) – The United States is facing ongoing shortages of several critical anesthesia medications—shortages with potentially serious effects on patient care and safety, according to a special article in the December issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS).

“Anesthesiologists should be actively involved in the steps necessary to provide a fast resolution [to drug shortages] and that can minimize adverse effects to patient care,” writes Dr Gildasio S. De Oliveira, Jr, of Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Shortages of Perioperative Drugs—Causes and Safety Impact
Dr. Oliveira and colleagues reviewed key issues related to national shortages of important drugs used in the perioperative period (before, during, and after surgery). Medication shortages have become increasingly frequent over the past decade. In 2010, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) listed 140 medications in short supply. Even more alarming, shortages are also reported for alternative drugs in several categories.

Many factors contribute to medication shortages, such as product recalls and shortages of raw materials. A surge in demand can cause shortages even when manufacturing and supply are unaffected. Shortages are especially acute for sterile injectable medications because of the many complex steps involved in their manufacture. Current inventory management practices, such as short inventories and “just in time” production schedules, also play a role.

Drug shortages can have a “devastating” impact on patient care—particularly if alternative drugs are not available. Patients may face treatment delays, have procedures canceled, or receive alternative drugs that are less effective or have more side effects. The study noted that “Drug shortages can therefore increase risks to patients, and can also have a negative impact on institutions.”

Of special concern to anesthesiologists is the shortage of propofol—a drug that is widely used not only for anesthesia but also as a sedative. Naloxone, an essential drug for managing an overdose of morphine-like drugs, is also in short supply. Shortages have also been reported for medications used to paralyze patients during surgery, as well as the drugs used to reverse muscle paralysis.

Call for Anesthesiologists to Play an Active Role
Dr De Oliveira and colleagues urge anesthesiologists to take the lead in dealing with the problem of shortages, noting that “proactive measures must be taken to identify, resolve, and possibly prevent a medication shortage before patient care and safety are jeopardized.” Anesthesiologists need to be aware of ASHP guidelines for dealing with medication shortages and play an active role in developing and implementing the response at local hospitals.

Health care professionals can also inform the FDA about potential drug shortages. Depending on the cause, the FDA may take steps to alleviate shortages—for example, by helping to obtain raw materials or allowing important of alternative medications.

“[A]s anesthesiologists, we have an obligation to report shortages, especially the ones that cause deviations from the best practices of patient care,” Dr De Oliveira and coauthors write. They believe that steps should be taken now to prevent shortages of anesthesia drugs from becoming a public health issue. These may include increasing inventories, implementing policies and legislation to increase drug production, and regulatory changes affecting drug manufacturing.

An accompanying editorial by Drs Richard P. Dutton and Jerry A. Cohen urges anesthesiologists to use caution in using substitutes when a desired drug is not available. They conclude “We must not continue to expose patients to these risks, when we know that proper action on the part of industry, our policy makers, and ourselves, can reduce it.”

Released: 11/23/2011

Source:  International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS)

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/shortages-of-surgical-drugs-may-pose-threats-to-patient-safety

Intentional Poisonings Result in 14,720 Emergency Department Visits in a Year

Females accounted for nearly two-thirds of these intentional poisoning visits

Newswise — Intentional poisoning refers to attempts to physically harm someone or render that person defenseless against crimes by deliberately getting them to ingest, inhale or in some other way take in a potentially harmful substance without their knowledge. A first-of-a-kind national report reveals that more than 14,720 emergency department visits were caused by drug-related intentional poisonings during 2009 (the latest year with available data). The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that the majority of those visits (63 percent) were by females, and that 73 percent of the visits were by people aged 21 or older.

The report showed that a wide variety of substances were involved in these intentional poisonings, including alcohol, illicit drugs, and pharmaceuticals, as well as substances for which patients lacked knowledge about the specific drug(s). Alcohol was a factor in 60 percent of these intentional poisoning-related emergency department visits. Illicit drugs such as marijuana, stimulants, cocaine and Ecstasy were involved 30 percent of the time. Pharmaceuticals such as drugs for insomnia, anxiety, benzodiazepines and pain relievers appear to have been involved in 21 percent of these intentional poisoning cases.

Alcohol and drug combinations were involved in almost half (46 percent) of the emergency department visit cases linked to intentional poisonings.

“The danger of being tricked into ingesting an unknown substance is all too real at bars, raves, parties or concerts where alcohol and other substances are shared in a social manner,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Not only is the health of the person who is poisoned compromised they are in jeopardy of falling prey to other crimes such as robbery and sexual assault. Clearly some common sense precautions like being aware can go a long way in protecting oneself from people with malicious intent.”

The report, Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits Attributed to Intentional Poisoning, is available at http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k11/DAWN040/WEB_DAWN_040.htm. The report was developed from data drawn from SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network — a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related emergency department visits throughout the nation.

People who suspect they may be the victims of an intentional poisoning can call the national Poison Help toll-free number, 1-800-222-1222, to reach their closest poison control center where trained health care providers provide multilingual help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Poison Help number is funded by the Health Services and Resources Administration.

Released: 11/10/2011
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/intentional-poisonings-result-in-14-720-emergency-department-visits-in-a-year

Fighting Fire With Fire: ‘Vampire’ Bacteria Has Potential as Living Antibiotic

Photo Credit: Martin Wu/Zhang Wang/University of Virginia The bacterium Micavibrio aeruginosavorus (yellow), attached to and leeching on a Pseudomonas aeruginosavorus bacterium (purple), surrounded by dead P. aeruginosavorus cells (gray).

Newswise — A vampire-like bacteria that leeches onto specific other bacteria – including certain human pathogens – has the potential to serve as a living antibiotic for a range of infectious diseases, a new study indicates.

The bacterium, Micavibrio aeruginosavorus, was discovered to inhabit wastewater nearly 30 years ago, but has not been extensively studied because it is difficult to culture and investigate using traditional microbiology techniques. However, biologists in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, Martin Wu and graduate student Zhang Wang, have decoded its genome and are learning “how it makes its living,” Wu said.

The bacterium “makes its living” by seeking out prey – certain other bacteria – and then attaching itself to its victim’s cell wall and essentially sucking out nutrients. Unlike most other bacteria, which draw nutrients from their surroundings, M. aeruginosavorus can survive and propagate only by drawing its nutrition from specific prey bacteria. This kills the prey – making it a potentially powerful agent for destroying pathogens.

One bacterium it targets is Pseudomonas aeruginosavorus, which is a chief cause of serious lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients.

“Pathologists may eventually be able to use this bacterium to fight fire with fire, so to speak, as a bacterium that will aggressively hunt for and attack certain other bacteria that are extremely harmful to humans,” Wu said.

His study, detailing the DNA sequence of M. aeruginosavorus, is published online in the journal BMC Genomics. It provides new insights to the predatory lifestyle of the bacterium and a better understanding of the evolution of bacterial predation in general.

“We used cutting-edge genomic technology in our lab to decode this bacterium’s genome,” Wu said. “We are particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms that allow it to hunt for and attack prey. This kind of investigation would have been extremely difficult and expensive to do only a few years ago.”

He noted that overuse of traditional antibiotics, which work by either inhibiting bacteria propagation or interfering with cell wall formation, are creating so-called “super bugs” that have developed resistances to treatment strategies. He suggests that new approaches are needed for attacking pathogens without building up their resistance.

Additionally, because M. aeruginosavorus is so selective a feeder, it is harmless to the thousands of beneficial bacteria that dwell in the general environment and in the human body.

“It is possible that a living antibiotic such as M. aeruginosavorus – because it so specifically targets certain pathogens – could potentially reduce our dependence on traditional antibiotics and help mitigate the drug-resistance problem we are now facing,” Wu said.

Another benefit of the bacterium is its ability to swim through viscous fluids, such as mucus. P. aeruginosavorus, the bacterium that colonizes the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, creates a glue-like biofilm, enhancing its resistance to traditional antibiotics. Wu noted that the living cells of M. aeruginosavorus can swim through mucus and biofilm and attack P. aeruginosavorus.

M. aeruginosavorus also might have industrial uses, such as reducing bacteria that form biofilms in piping, and for medical devices, such as implants that are susceptible to the formation of biofilms.

Wu said M. aeruginosavorus requires further study for a more thorough understanding of its gene functions. He said genetic engineering would be required to tailor the predatory attributes of the bacterium to specific uses in the treatment of disease.

“We have a map now to work with, and we will see where it leads,” he said.

Wu and Wang’s co-author is Daniel E. Kadouri, a researcher at the New Jersey Dental School. Kadouri is interested in M. aeruginosavorus as an agent for fighting oral biofilms, such as plaque.

Released: 10/31/2011

Source: University of Virginia

Via Newswise:

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/fighting-fire-with-fire-vampire-bacteria-has-potential-as-living-antibiotic

Environmental News..Future Forests May Soak Up More Carbon Dioxide than Previously Believed

An aerial view of the 38-acre experimental forest in Wisconsin where U-M researchers and their colleagues continuously exposed birch, aspen and maple trees to elevated levels of carbon dioxide and ozone gas from 1997 through 2008. Credit: David Karnosky, Michigan Technological University

Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich.—North American forests appear to have a greater capacity to soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas than researchers had previously anticipated.

As a result, they could help slow the pace of human-caused climate warming more than most scientists had thought, a U-M ecologist and his colleagues have concluded.

The results of a 12-year study at an experimental forest in northeastern Wisconsin challenge several long-held assumptions about how future forests will respond to the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide blamed for human-caused climate change, said University of Michigan microbial ecologist Donald Zak, lead author of a paper published online this week in Ecology Letters.

“Some of the initial assumptions about ecosystem response are not correct and will have to be revised,” said Zak, a professor at the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

To simulate atmospheric conditions expected in the latter half of this century, Zak and his colleagues continuously pumped extra carbon dioxide into the canopies of trembling aspen, paper birch and sugar maple trees at a 38-acre experimental forest in Rhinelander, Wis., from 1997 to 2008.

Some of the trees were also bathed in elevated levels of ground-level ozone, the primary constituent in smog, to simulate the increasingly polluted air of the future. Both parts of the federally funded experiment—the carbon dioxide and the ozone treatments—produced unexpected results.

In addition to trapping heat, carbon dioxide is known to have a fertilizing effect on trees and other plants, making them grow faster than they normally would. Climate researchers and ecosystem modelers assume that in coming decades, carbon dioxide’s fertilizing effect will temporarily boost the growth rate of northern temperate forests.

Previous studies have concluded that this growth spurt would be short-lived, grinding to a halt when the trees can no longer extract the essential nutrient nitrogen from the soil.

But in the Rhinelander study, the trees bathed in elevated carbon dioxide continued to grow at an accelerated rate throughout the 12-year experiment. In the final three years of the study, the CO2-soaked trees grew 26 percent more than those exposed to normal levels of carbon dioxide.

It appears that the extra carbon dioxide allowed trees to grow more small roots and “forage” more successfully for nitrogen in the soil, Zak said. At the same time, the rate at which microorganisms released nitrogen back to the soil, as fallen leaves and branches decayed, increased.

“The greater growth has been sustained by an acceleration, rather than a slowing down, of soil nitrogen cycling,” Zak said. “Under elevated carbon dioxide, the trees did a better job of getting nitrogen out of the soil, and there was more of it for plants to use.”

Zak stressed that growth-enhancing effects of CO2 in forests will eventually “hit the wall” and come to a halt. The trees’ roots will eventually “fully exploit” the soil’s nitrogen resources. No one knows how long it will take to reach that limit, he said.

The ozone portion of the 12-year experiment also held surprises.

Ground-level ozone is known to damage plant tissues and interfere with photosynthesis. Conventional wisdom has held that in the future, increasing levels of ozone would constrain the degree to which rising levels of carbon dioxide would promote tree growth, canceling out some of a forest’s ability to buffer projected climate warming.

In the first few years of the Rhinelander experiment, that’s exactly what was observed. Trees exposed to elevated levels of ozone did not grow as fast as other trees. But by the end of study, ozone had no effect at all on forest productivity.

“What happened is that ozone-tolerant species and genotypes in our experiment more or less took up the slack left behind by those who were negatively affected, and that’s called compensatory growth,” Zak said. The same thing happened with growth under elevated carbon dioxide, under which some genotypes and species fared better than others.

“The interesting take home point with this is that aspects of biological diversity—like genetic diversity and plant species compositions—are important components of an ecosystem’s response to climate change,” he said. “Biodiversity matters, in this regard.”

Co-authors of the Ecology Letters paper were Kurt Pregitzer of the University of Idaho, Mark Kubiske of the U.S. Forest Service and Andrew Burton of Michigan Technological University. The work was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Forest Service.

Via Newswise

Released: 10/13/2011
Source: University of Michigan
Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/future-forests-may-soak-up-more-carbon-dioxide-than-previously-believed

Countdown: America’s No. 1 Solar Car Ready to Race the World

University of Michigan solar car team race crew member Ethan Lardner works on Quantum during a control stop on a practice race in Australia. Credit: Evan Dougherty

Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich.—With a cutting-edge solar car, an advanced strategy and an intrepid 16-student race crew, the University of Michigan’s national champion solar car team is ready for the upcoming World Solar Challenge. The 1,800-mile international contest starts on the north shore of Australia in Darwin on Oct. 16.

During the past two years of intense preparation, the team shaved 200 pounds off its 2009 car by weighing the vehicle bolt by bolt and streamlining nearly every part. They improved its aerodynamics by an estimated 30 percent. They tested in practice races across Michigan and in Australia. And they strategized with computer scientists and sailboat racers to come up with more accurate weather forecasting models.

University of Michigan solar car Quantum driving in Australia. The World Solar Challenge begins Oct. 16. Credit: Evan Dougherty

All they can do now, for the most part, is wait. And for some, that’s harder than it sounds.

“I just want to race!” said Chris Hilger, the team’s business manager, a junior in chemical engineering.

The World Solar Challenge is a grueling four-day race across the desert. Drivers rotate in four-hour shifts in a car that’s not designed for comfort. The cockpit can exceed 100 degrees. They sleep in tents on the side of Stuart Highway. U-M’s team is one of 37 competing from across the globe this year.

Michigan has finished third in this world race four times, most recently in 2009. That year’s model, Infinium, also nabbed a third consecutive national win for the team, which has six in all.

While the students are aiming for a world title with this year’s Quantum, they know the competition will be tough. And they are proud of their accomplishments so far.

University of Michigan solar car team race crew members Santosh Kumar, Aeresh Bilmoria, Jordan Feight and AJ Trublowski check under the hood during a control stop on a practice race in Australia. Credit: Evan Dougherty

“The team has done some pretty incredible things this year. We took on some ambitious designs and processes. We’re pushing the limits of what’s possible,” said Rachel Kramer, the team’s race manager, a junior neuroscience student.

“No matter how the race turns out, we can walk away knowing we’ve revolutionized how the team designs, builds and races solar cars.”

Released: 10/11/2011      Source: University of Michigan

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/countdown-america-s-no-1-solar-car-ready-to-race-the-world

Traveling to Mars: Filling the Pantry for the First Voyages to the Red Planet

PhotoCredit: NASA Johnson Space Center (NASA-JSC) Astronauts en route to Mars may not have it as easy as this space shuttle astronaut — they may have to grow their own food.

Newswise — DENVER, Aug. 28, 2011 — A green thumb and a little flair as a gourmet chef may be among the key skills for the first men and women who travel to the Red Planet later this century, according to a scientist who reported here today on preparations for the first manned missions to Mars.

Speaking at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Maya R. Cooper said that provisioning the astronauts with food stands as one of the greatest challenges in scripting the first manned mission to Mars. ACS, the world largest scientific society, opened the meeting today at the Colorado Convention Center and downtown hotels. With more than 7,500 reports on new advances in science and some 9,500 scientists and others expected in attendance, it will be one of 2011’s largest scientific gatherings.

Cooper explained that the challenges of provisioning space vehicles and Martian surface bases begin with tangible factors, such weight and nutrition, and encompass psychological nuances, such as providing a varied, tasty menu that wards off boredom. The solutions envisioned now include requiring astronauts to grow some of their own food and engage in much more food preparation than their counterparts on the International Space Station.

The major challenge is to balance weight, food acceptability and resource utilization, Cooper explained. She is a senior research scientist at the NASA Johnson Space Center in the Space Food Systems Laboratory in Houston, Texas. For flights on the space shuttles and the International Space Station, astronauts get 3.8 pounds of food per day. For a 5-year round-trip mission to Mars, that would mean almost 7,000 pounds of food per person.

“That’s a clear impediment to a lot of mission scenarios,” Cooper said. “We need new approaches. Right now, we are looking at the possibility of implementing a bioregenerative system that would involve growing crops in space and possibly shipping some bulk commodities to a Mars habitat as well. This scenario involves much more food processing and meal preparation than the current food system developed for the space shuttles and the International Space Station.”

Bioregenerative systems involve growing plants that multi-task. They would supply food, of course. But just as plants do in natural environments on Earth, those growing in bioregenerative systems also would release oxygen for the astronauts to breathe, purify the air by removing the carbon dioxide that crews exhale and even purify water.

Ideally, these plants would have few inedible parts, would grow well with minimal tending and would not take up much room. Ten crops that fit those requirements have emerged as prime candidates for the Mars mission’s kitchen garden. They are lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, radishes, bell peppers, strawberries, fresh herbs and cabbages.

Cooper cited another option for these missions, the first of which could launch in the 2030s, according to some forecasts. Shipping bulk commodities to Mars could involve unmanned spacecraft launched a year or two before the astronauts depart to establish stashes of food with long shelf-lives that the crew could use while exploring the Red Planet.

Engaging astronauts in food production and preparation is the latest concept in a 50-year evolution of technology for filling astronauts’ and cosmonauts’ larders, Cooper noted. It began when Yuri Gagarin reportedly munched on paté and caviar during that first manned spaceflight in 1961.

Space food has come a long way since the days of freeze-dried food blocks and squeezing gooey foods out of toothpaste tubes that astronauts ate in the earliest days of space flight. By the late 1960s, astronauts for the first time could have hot food and eat their food with a spoon in a special bowl. Other utensils were introduced in the 1970s with Skylab — the U.S.’ first space station. These astronauts could choose from 72 different foods, some of which were stored in an on-board refrigerator or freezer — a first for space cuisine. In recent years, space shuttle astronauts could drink a coffee with their scrambled eggs for breakfast, snack on chocolates or a brownie and choose from chicken al a King, mushroom soup or rice pilaf among other foods for lunch and dinner — just like on Earth. These prepackaged foods take only a few minutes and little effort to prepare.

“The NASA Advanced Food Technology project is currently working to address the issues of food variety, weight, volume, nutrition and trash disposal through research and external academic and commercial collaborations,” Cooper noted.

The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Released: 8/25/2011     Source: American Chemical Society (ACS)

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/filling-the-pantry-for-the-first-voyages-to-the-red-planet

Tips on Using Social Media During a Natural Disaster

Smartphone and Social Media

Newswise — Last week’s earthquake on the East Coast was a preview of what to expect when Hurricane Irene approaches this weekend. Many people could not use their cell phones or land lines and had to rely on Twitter and Facebook to communicate. The immediate transfer of information that social networks provides becomes even more important during a natural disaster.

According to Jennifer Regina, a Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) adjunct professor of marketing and CEO of The Marketing of Everything, Washington Township, N.J., “The best thing to do is also have an action plan in place for communicating with your loved ones during a natural disaster.”

She suggests:

• Have an agreed-upon plan of communicating. Make sure your family knows if you are going to be tweeting your condition or will be communicating via texting or Facebook.

• Make sure you have your communication devices fully charged. Charge your laptop and cell phone to their full capacity every night. Even consider purchasing an extended or backup battery for your devices.

• Pay attention to government and news agencies’ social media posts. Subscribe to their posts so they will be sent directly to your phone via text. Many state and local agencies are aggressively using their social media profiles to communicate quickly about disasters. Already hurricane evacuation information is spreading quickly through Twitter.

• Establish agreed-upon times for your loved ones to post updates. For example, every hour update your health or the status of your location. Social networks also can be used to warn others of impending disasters. Many in New York City saw tweets from their friends in Washington, D.C. about an earthquake and seconds later felt it themselves. Many people stay glued to social networks to see how others are handling storms that are approaching and gleaning valuable tips.

“This weekend’s hurricane will be another example of how social media networks will help families communicate and governments issue warnings and updates,” Regina said.

Released: 8/25/2011
Source: Rowan University

Via Newswise

Related Link: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/580022/

NASA Science Teams Prepare to Study Asteriod Samples

Credit: NASA/University of Arizona PHOTO CUTLINE: This conceptual image shows OSIRIS-REx moving in place to take a sample from the surface of asteroid RQ36. Scheduled to launch in 2016 and return to Earth in 2023, the mission’s goal is to lend new understanding into planet formations and the origins of life.

Beth Ellen Clark, associate professor and chair of the physics department at Ithaca College, has received a $2.7 million grant from NASA to support her participation in the first U.S. mission to bring samples of an asteroid back to the Earth for study and analysis.

Newswise — Named OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer), the mission is scheduled to embark on a 3.5-billion-mile roundtrip in 2016 to a primitive carbonaceous organic-rich asteroid called RQ36—short for “(101955) 1999 RQ36”. While orbiting the asteroid, the spacecraft will execute a series of touch-and-go maneuvers at selected sample sites and return to Earth by 2023. Clark’s grant will fund her research efforts until 2025.

“Our target asteroid contains a record of the conditions before the solar system was formed, so you can think of the asteroid as a time capsule,” Clark said. “Studying the samples will improve our understanding of how the planets were formed and provide insights into the sources of prebiotic organic compounds necessary for the origin of life. This mission will be the first in the history of space exploration to return a pristine sample of a carbonaceous asteroid.”

In addition, because RQ36 crosses the Earth’s orbit every September and has an outside chance (1 in 1,800) of colliding with the Earth in the year 2182, OSIRIS-REx will give scientists data that can help them refine the asteroid’s orbit and devise strategies to mitigate possible impacts between Earth, RQ36 and other celestial bodies.

During the time leading up to the 2016 launch, Clark will be responsible for integrating the observations of five different science teams to answer scientific questions that will help the mission project select sampling sites. After the spacecraft returns with its samples, Clark and her students will join colleagues to analyze the samples and test theories about the asteroid-meteorite connection and the early formation of the solar system.

In all, OSIRIS-REx will marshal the expertise of scientists from 14 colleges and universities as well as the Goddard Space Flight Center, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Johnson Space Center, and other organizations. Michael Drake, director of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, is the principal investigator, and Dante Lauretta, professor of planetary science, is the deputy principal investigator. The project will cost an estimated $800 million dollars, excluding the launch vehicle.

“Like the Moon rocks from the Apollo missions, samples of RQ36 will keep on giving,” said Clark. “Decades after this mission is completed, we’ll be using equipment we haven’t yet dreamed of to test new theories of solar system origin by examining rocks from RQ36.”

A longtime investigator of meteorites and asteroids, Clark has received numerous grants from NASA to study the mineralogical compositions of these celestial objects. Her articles, co-authored frequently with other asteroid scientists, have appeared in the “Journal of Geophysical Research,” “Nature,” “Science” and “Meteoritics and Planetary Science.”

OSIRIS-Rex is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The first was launched in 2006 and will fly by the Pluto Charon system in 2014. The other launched this year and will orbit Jupiter to conduct the first studies of the giant planet’s atmosphere and interior.

More information on OSIRIS-REx and videos illustrating the mission are available at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/osiris-rex.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6XbYLGWmOs.

Released: 8/24/2011
Source: Ithaca College

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/579953/

New Study Reveals Less Educated Americans Turning Their Backs on Religion

Newswise — LAS VEGAS — While religious service attendance has decreased for all white Americans since the early 1970s, the rate of decline has been more than twice as high for those without college degrees compared to those who graduated from college, according to new research to be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Our study suggests that the less educated are dropping out of the American religious sector, similarly to the way in which they have dropped out of the American labor market,” said lead researcher W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.

The study focuses on whites because black and Latino religiosity is less divided by education and income. Most whites who report a religious affiliation are Catholics, evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, Mormons, or Jews.

Relying on nationally representative data from the General Social Survey and the National Survey of Family Growth, the study finds that moderately educated whites—those who have a high school degree but who did not graduate from a 4-year college—attended religious services in the 1970s at about the same rate as the most educated whites—those who at a minimum graduated from a 4-year college—but they attended at much lower frequencies in the 2000s.

The least educated white Americans—those who did not graduate from high school—attended religious services less frequently than both the moderately educated and most educated in the 1970s and that remained the case in the 2000s. “The least educated have been consistently less religiously engaged than even the moderately educated, meaning the gap between the least educated and most educated is even larger than the one between the moderately educated and most educated,” Wilcox said.

In the 1970s, among those aged 25-44, 51 percent of college-educated whites attended religious services monthly or more, compared to 50 percent of moderately educated whites, and 38 percent of the least educated whites. In the 2000s, among those aged 25-44, 46 percent of college-educated whites attended monthly or more, compared to 37 percent of moderately educated whites, and 23 percent of the least educated whites.

Wilcox views this disengagement among the less educated as troubling because religious institutions typically provide their members with benefits—such as improved physical and psychological health, social networks, and civic skills—that may be particularly important for the less educated, who often lack the degree of access to social networks and civic skills that the college-educated have.

“Today, the market and the state provide less financial security to the less educated than they once did, and this is particularly true for the moderately educated—those who have high school degrees, but didn’t graduate from a 4-year college,” Wilcox said. “Religious congregations may be one of the few institutional sectors less educated Americans can turn to for social, economic, and emotional support in the face of today’s tough times, yet it appears that increasingly few of them are choosing to do so.”

The study also shows that Americans with higher incomes attend religious services more often, and those who have experienced unemployment at some point over the past 10 years attend less often. In addition, the study finds that those who are married (especially if they have children), those who hold more conservative views toward premarital sex, and those who lost their virginity later than their peers, attend religious services more frequently.

Indeed, the study points out that modern religious institutions tend to promote a family-centered morality that valorizes marriage and parenthood, and they embrace traditional middle-class virtues such as self-control, delayed gratification, and a focus on education.

Over the past 40 years, however, the moderately educated have become less likely to hold familistic beliefs and less likely to get and stay married, compared to college-educated adults. During the same period, wages have fallen and rates of unemployment have risen markedly for moderately educated men, while wages have remained stagnant for moderately educated women. For the least educated—those without high school degrees—the economic situation has been even worse, and they have also become less likely to hold familistic beliefs and less likely to get and stay married, compared to college-educated adults.

Because less educated whites are now less likely to be stably employed, to earn a decent income, to be married with children, and to hold familistic views, it makes sense that they also do not as often attend services at religious institutions that continue to uphold conventional norms, Wilcox said.

“While we recognize that not everyone wishes to worship, and that religious diversity can be valuable, we also think that the existence of a large group of less educated Americans that is increasingly disconnected from religious institutions is troubling for our society,” said Andrew Cherlin, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology and public policy at the Johns Hopkins University. “This development reinforces the social marginalization of less educated Americans who are also increasingly disconnected from the institutions of marriage and work.”
Source: American Sociological Association (ASA)

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/less-educated-americans-turning-their-backs-on-religion

Previous Older Entries