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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Interceptor 9, and ScottyUrb, guest editors maggiejean and annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, and the environment.

Between now and the end of the primary/caucus season, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in each of the states having elections and caucuses during the week (or in the upcoming weeks if there is no primary or caucus that week).  Tonight's edition features the science, space, environment, and energy stories from universities in the states of Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah (list from

This week's featured story comes from Wired.

Alan Turing’s Legacy Lives On
By Brandon Keim
June 23, 2012

When the history books of the future are written, Alan Turing will go down in the company of Newton and Darwin and Einstein. His visions changed how humanity conceives of computation, information and pattern -- and 100 years after his birthday, and 58 years after his tragic death, Turing's legacy is alive and growing.

In celebration of his achievements, the Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific fellowship -- Newton was once its president -- published two entire journal issues devoted to Turing's ongoing influence. On the following pages, Wired looks at some of the highlights.

More stories after the jump.

Recent Science Diaries and Stories

Getting to Know Your Solar System (16): Asteroids (Vol. 2)
by Troubadour

Tropical Storm Debby Threatens Texas, Louisiana -- Warnings Issued (1230AM Update)
by weatherdude

The Daily Bucket - June Nights in Southern New Mexico
by Desert Scientist

This week in science: Hello from the planet earth
by DarkSyde


Cornell University via Fortifying 4-H: Human Ecology scientists aim to improve New York's largest youth organization

Core 77: Beautiful Data Realizations from PBS' "America Revealed"
June 22, 2012

Just as the GoPro camera and YouTube have enabled us regular viewers to see things from a perspective we've never seen before, aerial photography, satellite imagery, number-crunching computers and GPS trackers can help us understand data flows too complicated to easily imagine.

The fantastic PBS miniseries America Revealed, which "explores the hidden patterns and rhythms that make America work," makes stunning use of data-viz techniques to stimulate the eye-candy part of your brain while teaching you something.

LiveScience: Album: A Tarbosaurus Travels from Auction to Courtroom
Wynne Parry
June 21, 2012

Forget about walking the Earth 70 million years ago with other dinosaurs, the remains of a type of tyrannosaur called Tarbosaurus have had their share of excitement among humans. This fossilized dinosaur has traveled halfway around the world, and is now the subject of a legal battle to determine its ownership, since paleontologists and Mongolian officials contend it was taken illegally out of that country. Meanwhile, the dealer who attempted to sell the dinosaur says the dinosaur become a “political trophy.”

LiveScience: Image Gallery: Fossilized Turtles Caught in the Act
June 19, 2012

One of nine mating pairs of the extinct turtle Allaeochelys crassesculpta found at the Messel Pit fossil site in Germany.

NASA Television on YouTube: ISS Day on the Hill on This Week @NASA

The International Space Station and its benefit to science as the world's only laboratory in microgravity is highlighted on Capitol Hill. Also, Bolden Finds NEEMO; JPL Open House; Cleveland HUBZone; African Cosmos; Aerospace Scholars; NASA Now Emmy; SOI; and more!

NASA Television on YouTube: Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror

Team members share the challenges of Curiosity's final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars.

Accuweather on YouTube: Ice on the Moon?

Jun 22, 2012; 5:00 AM ET NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned data suggesting there is ice in the Moon's craters.

ITN (UK) on YouTube: 'Secret' X-37B spacecraft lands in California

The US military's secret X-37B 'mini shuttle' lands in California after 15 months in orbit. Report by Sam Datta-Paulin.

ITN (UK) on YouTube: Chinese astronauts begin space-lab experiments

Astronauts on board China's Tiangong-1 space-lab have begun up to 20 days of experiments. Report by Sam Datta-Paulin.

Astronomy/Space Voyager 1 approaches edge of solar system
June 23, 2012

Humanity is about to send its first ambassador beyond the solar system.

No, it’s not a person and, no, there are no planned appointments with any alien representatives. Instead, after more than 30 years of flight, two machines are about to enter interstellar space.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has reached a region of space where the intensity of sub-atomic particles that are electrically charged has significantly increased. Scientists believe this indicates the probe is about to pass through the heliosphere. via LiveScience: Parts of Mars Interior as Wet as Earth's
June 22, 2012

The interior of Mars holds vast reservoirs of water, with some spots apparently as wet as Earth's innards, scientists say.

The finding upends previous studies, which had estimated that the Red Planet's internal water stores were scanty at best — something of a surprise, given that liquid water apparently flowed on the Martian surface long ago.

"It’s been puzzling why previous estimates for the planet’s interior have been so dry," co-author Erik Hauri, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, said in a statement. "This new research makes sense and suggests that volcanoes may have been the primary vehicle for getting water to the surface."

University of Colorado, Boulder: CU-Boulder researchers catalog more than 635,000 Martian craters
June 11, 2012

It’s no secret that Mars is a beaten and battered planet -- astronomers have been peering for centuries at the violent impact craters created by cosmic buckshot pounding its surface over billions of years. But just how beat up is it?

Really beat up, according to a University of Colorado Boulder research team that recently finished counting, outlining and cataloging a staggering 635,000 impact craters on Mars that are roughly a kilometer or more in diameter.

As the largest single database ever compiled of impacts on a planet or moon in our solar system, the new information will be of help in dating the ages of particular regions of Mars, said CU-Boulder postdoctoral researcher Stuart Robbins, who led the effort.  The new crater atlas also should help researchers better understand the history of water volcanism on Mars through time, as well as the planet’s potential for past habitability by primitive life, he said.

Cornell University: Squyres takes another plunge as a NASA aquanaut
By Anne Ju
June 11, 2012

Mars scientist Steve Squyres is again learning to walk in space by diving into the sea as a NASA aquanaut.

Squyres, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy and lead scientist for the NASA Rover mission to Mars, is one of four NASA scientists making up the crew of the 16th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (aptly shortened NEEMO), a two-week undersea training mission located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Key Largo.

Starting June 11, NEEMO aquanauts will spend close to two weeks living at the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory Base, at a depth of 63 feet, with the goal of testing techniques and protocols for human exploration of near-Earth asteroids. via LiveScience reported the end of this mission in 'Aquanauts' Complete Mock Asteroid Mission on Ocean Floor.

Speaking of near-Earth asteroids... via LiveScience: Surprise! Big Asteroid That Flew By Earth Larger Than Thought
June 22, 2012

A massive asteroid that zipped by Earth last week is actually twice as large as scientists originally thought, new radar images of the behemoth space rock reveal.

Asteroid 2012 LZ1 sailed within 3.3 million miles (5.3 million kilometers) of Earth at its closest approach on June 14. Since that distance is roughly 14 times the distance between Earth and the moon, the oblong-shaped asteroid 2012 LZ1 never posed a threat of colliding with our planet.

But the flyby did allow astronomers to train the planetary radar system at the Arecibo Observatory, a huge radio telescope in Puerto Rico, on asteroid 2012 LZ1 and find that its size was seriously underestimated.


University of Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Archaeologist Unearths Cultural and Environmental Knowledge at Excavation Site
By Jana Smith, Director of Strategic Communications for R&D
June 01, 2012

A University of Oklahoma archaeologist and team of students hope to find bones of bison killed during the Folsom age, nearly 10,500 years ago, at the Badger Hole excavation site in Harper County near Woodward, Okla.

With so much history in one place, new discoveries could provide clues to the culture responsible for the buffalo kill.  The researchers will be working this summer at the site near the Clovis age Jake Bluff bison kill and three kills at the Folsom age Cooper site.

Leland Bement, OU project director, Oklahoma Archaeological Survey, says excavating this site will add to the knowledge of large animal hunting activity used by the peoples of the Folsom age.  According to Bement, the Folsom group was the first of the PaleoIndian culture to appear after the mammoth became extinct leaving a much larger bison (Bison antiquus) than the modern bison.  Interestingly, the adaptation of the Folsom culture resulted, in part, from global warming and the effects of climate change during the period, Bement maintains.

Cornell University: Bird's rare solid wing-bone adapted for wooing
By Krishna Ramanujan
June 13, 2012

Males of all species have been known to go to extremes to woo a female, but few have gone so far as the male club-winged manakin, a sparrow-sized bird from the forests of Ecuador and Colombia.

Cornell researchers first reported in 2005 on the ability of these birds to rub specialized wing feathers together to produce a high hum. Now they report in the June 13 edition of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters that these are the first flying birds known to have solid wing-bones. This is what allows these birds to produce their courtship sounds.

In the male club-winged manakin, the ulna (analogous to a human bone in the forearm) is ridged, solid instead of hollow and 3.5 times the volume of other similar-sized birds' ulnae, including other manakin species. Special sound-producing feathers attached to the ulna resonate to make the courtship tones. The researchers also found similar but lesser adaptations to the humerus, which is the same as the bone between elbow and shoulder in humans.

The researchers believe the large, dense bones are adapted for courtship and come at a cost to efficient flight where lighter, hollow bones are ideal. The adaptations offer an extreme example of a species modifying a body part to attract a mate, but with a presumed cost to its fitness.


University of Colorado, Boulder: Normal bacterial makeup of the body has huge implications for health, says CU-Boulder professor
June 13, 2012

For the first time, a consortium of researchers organized by the National Institutes of Health, including a University of Colorado Boulder professor, has mapped the normal microbial makeup of healthy humans.

The team made up of 200 researchers from the Human Microbiome Project Consortium, or HMP, and based at 80 research institutions, reports that while nearly everyone carries pathogens -- which are microorganisms that cause illness -- pathogens cause no disease in healthy individuals. Instead, they co-exist with their host and the rest of the human microbiome, which is the collection of all microorganisms living in the human body.

Although the human body contains trillions of microorganisms -- outnumbering human cells by 10 to one -- they make up only 1 to 3 percent of human body mass but play a vital role in human health, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Rob Knight of the BioFrontiers Institute. “Many people were sampled so we could get a better idea of variability, and how microbes work together in complex communities,” he said.

Clemson University: Clemson students hope tiger-mascot schools unite to save the animals
By Taylor Reeves
Published: June 19, 2012

CLEMSON — Clemson University student organization Tigers for Tigers has launched an initiative to collaborate with colleges and universities across the nation to save endangered wild tigers. The organization plans to form a coalition among colleges with tiger mascots that will culminate in a national summit.

On behalf of the group, Clemson President James F. Barker sent letters to more than 50 schools with tiger mascots soliciting their support for Tigers for Tigers’ efforts.

Fewer than 3,200 tigers are left in the wild, and three of nine subspecies have gone extinct, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The national summit that Tigers for Tigers hopes to initiate would bring together experts from around the world to discuss tiger conservation and develop targeted plans to raise awareness and support for this cause.


SUNY Buffalo: Study Links Gum Disease and HPV-status of Head and Neck Cancer
June 20, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), once almost exclusively associated with cancer of the cervix, is now linked to head and neck cancer. According to a new University at Buffalo study just published in the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, a JAMA publication, gum disease is associated with increased odds of tumors being HPV-positive.

Mine Tezal, DDS, PhD, assistant professor of oral biology in the UB School of Dental Medicine who is the primary investigator on the study, and a team of scientists from UB evaluated data from 124 patients diagnosed with primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) between 1999 and 2007.

"The aim of the study was to test the presence of periodontitis, a persistent inflammatory process and HPV-status of HNSCC," she said.

SUNY Stony Brook: Study Shows Most Commonly Mutated Gene in Cancer may have a Role in Stroke
Reported in CELL, Stony Brook pathologist uncovers new p53 mechanism triggering necrosis
June 22, 2012

STONY BROOK, N.Y., – The gene p53 is the most commonly mutated gene in cancer. p53 is dubbed the “guardian of the genome” because it blocks cells with damaged DNA from propagating and eventually becoming cancerous. However, new research led by Ute M. Moll, M.D., Professor of Pathology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and colleagues, uncovers a novel role for p53 beyond cancer in the development of ischemic stroke. The research team identified an unexpected critical function of p53 in activating necrosis, an irreversible form of tissue death, triggered during oxidative stress and ischemia. The findings are detailed online in Cell.

SUNY Stony Brook: Stony Brook Researchers Tap International Markets for Xiaflex; New Applications for Frozen Shoulder, Cellulite Possible
June 21, 2012

STONY BROOK, N.Y., – Two years after receiving FDA approval as the U.S.’s first non-surgical treatment of Dupuytren’s disease, a drug called XIAFLEX® (collagenase clostridium histolyticum or CCH), developed at Stony Brook University has already been administered to over 20,000 patients in the U.S. as treatment for the debilitating hand disorder. XIAFLEX, marketed and distributed in the U.S. by Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Malvern, PA), is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with Dupuytren’s contracture with a palpable cord. Now, the drug is being marketed internationally to patients who are afflicted and it is in early-stage testing for potential new applications – including treatment of cellulite as a cosmetic procedure – according to researchers at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

XIAFLEX is injected into the contracted fingers of patients with Dupuytren’s disease to break down the fibrous cords that result from the progressive accumulation of collagen in the fascia of the hand, causing the fingers to contract and severely limiting motion and hand function. Early and late stage clinical work on the drug was done over the past 18 years by Lawrence C. Hurst, MD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Orthopaedics, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and Marie A. Badalamente, PhD, Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics.

University of South Carolina: Speeding up bone growth by manipulating stem cells
By Steven Powell
June 22, 2012

If you break a bone, you know you'll end up in a cast for weeks. But what if the time it took to heal a break could be cut in half? Or cut to just a tenth of the time it takes now? Qian Wang, a chemistry professor at the University of South Carolina, has made tantalizing progress toward that goal.

Wang, Andrew Lee and co-workers just reported in Molecular Pharmaceutics that surfaces coated with bionanoparticles could greatly accelerate the early phases of bone growth. Their coatings, based in part on genetically modified Tobacco mosaic virus, reduced the amount of time it took to convert stem cells into bone nodules – from two weeks to just two days.

The key to hastening bone healing or growth is to coax a perfectly natural process to pick up the pace.

University of Utah: Utah Chemists Use Nanopores to Detect DNA Damage
New Sequencing Method Finds Gaps that Can Lead to Disease
June 18, 2012

Scientists worldwide are racing to sequence DNA – decipher genetic blueprints – faster and cheaper than ever by passing strands of the genetic material through molecule-sized pores. Now, University of Utah scientists have adapted this “nanopore” method to find DNA damage that can lead to mutations and disease.

The chemists report the advance in the week of June 18 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We’re using this technique and synthetic organic chemistry to be able to see a damage site as it flies through the nanopore,” says Henry White, distinguished professor and chair of chemistry at the University of Utah and senior coauthor of the new study.


Cornell University: What to do with a dead deer: Compost it
By Krisy Gashler
June 21, 2012

Composting isn't just for veggie scraps. It's often the best way to deal with roadkill, livestock mortality and even large-scale animal deaths due to floods, fires or other catastrophes.

Many people, including some farmers, assume it's best to bury animals underground. In fact, it's safer and kills pathogens more effectively when carcasses are composted in unturned piles, according to Jean Bonhotal, director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute.

"Most of the time they get buried, but that brings them 6 feet closer to the water table," Bonhotal said.


Statesman-Journal: New deglaciation data suggests earlier migration opportunity for First Americans
The following was submitted by Oregon State University Research News and Communications:

CORVALLIS – A new study of  lake sediment cores from Sanak Island in the western Gulf of Alaska suggests that deglaciation there from the last Ice Age took place as much as 1,500 to 2,000 years earlier than previously thought, opening the door for earlier coastal migration models for the Americas.

The Sanak Island Biocomplexity Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, also concluded that the maximum thickness of the ice sheet in the Sanak Island region during the last glacial maximum was 70 meters – or about half that previously projected – suggesting that deglaciation could have happened more rapidly than earlier models predicted.

Results of the study were just published in the professional journal, Quaternary Science Reviews.

PhysOrg: Geoscientist claims to have found mystery volcano that caused mighty 13th century blast
by Bob Yirka
June 18, 2012

( -- For years, geoscientists have known that a volcano erupted sometime in the mid thirteenth century, with nearly unprecedented force. Skies were darkened and the entire planet experienced a temporary cooling. What’s not been known though, is which volcano it was and the exact year that it blew. Scientists have informally agreed that the event likely occurred in the year 1258. Now however geoscientist Franck Lavigne of Panthéon-Sorbonne University, is claiming that he has proof that the volcano actually erupted a year earlier than that, and what’s more, he says, he knows which volcano it was, but won’t say until his paper has been published in an as yet still unnamed journal.
More on this from Wired Science both last February (The Mysterious Missing Eruption of 1258 A.D.) and this month (Mystery of the Missing 1258 A.D. Eruption Solved?).

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.


University of Colorado, Boulder: Celebrity endorsements not always a good bet, CU-Boulder study shows
June 20, 2012

Companies paying celebrities big money to endorse their products may not realize that negative perceptions about a celebrity are more likely to transfer to an endorsed brand than are positive ones, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Celebrity endorsements are widely used to increase brand visibility and connect brands with celebrities’ personality traits, but do not always work in the positive manner marketers envision, according to Margaret C. Campbell of CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, who led the study.

“In three different studies, negative celebrity associations always transferred to an endorsed brand, even under conditions when positive associations did not,” said Campbell, an associate professor of marketing. “The overall message to marketers is be careful, because all of us, celebrities or not, have positives and negatives to our personalities and those negatives can easily transfer to a brand.”


Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Spanish Cave Paintings’ Age Questioned by Archaeologist
By Makiko Kitamura
on June 18, 2012

Cave paintings in Spain need to be analyzed further before the works can be confirmed as the oldest known examples in the world, an archaeologist said, casting doubt over a paper published in the journal Science.

A team led by Alistair Pike of the University of Bristol in England said in the paper that paintings at El Castillo cave date back at least 40,800 years. That would make them about 4,000 years older than those at the Chauvet cave in France, meaning the Spanish works could be the only cave art ever found to have been painted by Neanderthals, according to Pike.

The findings at El Castillo need further confirmation, Jean Clottes, who led the research team that appraised the Chauvet works in 1998, said in a telephone interview. Pike’s team used a method based on the radioactive decay of uranium to analyze calcium carbonate crusts formed on top of the paintings. This contrasts with radiocarbon dating employed at Chauvet. The two methods have arrived at conflicting dates in the past, according to Clottes.

BBC: Welsh people could be most ancient in UK, DNA suggests

Welsh people could lay claim to be the most ancient Britons, according to scientists who have drawn up a genetic map of the British Isles.

Research suggests the Welsh are genetically distinct from the rest of mainland Britain.

Professor Peter Donnelly, of Oxford University, said the Welsh carry DNA which could be traced back to the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago.

The project surveyed 2,000 people in rural areas across Britain.

Participants, as well as their parents and grandparents, had to be born in those areas to be included in the study.

Bristol University (UK): Chemical analysis of pottery reveals first dairying in Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium BC

The first unequivocal evidence that humans in prehistoric Saharan Africa used cattle for their milk nearly 7,000 years ago is described in research by an international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, UK, published today in Nature.

By analysing fatty acids extracted from unglazed pottery excavated from an archaeological site in Libya, the researchers showed that dairy fats were processed in the vessels.  This first identification of dairying practices in the African continent, by prehistoric Saharan herders, can be reliably dated to the fifth millennium BC.

BBC: DNA clues to Queen of Sheba tale
By Helen Briggs BBC News

Clues to the origins of the Queen of Sheba legend are written in the DNA of some Africans, according to scientists.

Genetic research suggests Ethiopians mixed with Egyptian, Israeli or Syrian populations about 3,000 years ago.

This is the time the queen, mentioned in great religious works, is said to have ruled the kingdom of Sheba.

The research, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, also sheds light on human migration out of Africa 60,000 years ago.

According to fossil evidence, human history goes back longer in Ethiopia than anywhere else in the world. But little has been known until now about the human genetics of Ethiopians.

LiveScience: Mysterious Structure May Have Led to Ancient Artificial Island
Joseph Castro, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 22 June 2012 Time: 04:20 PM ET

Archaeologists have unearthed the foundation of what appears to have been a massive, ancient structure, possibly a bridge leading to an artificial island, in what is now southeast Wales. The strange ruin, its discoverers say, is unlike anything found before in the United Kingdom and possibly all of Europe.

"It's a real mystery," said Steve Clarke, chairman and founding member of the Monmouth Archaeological Society, who discovered the structural remains earlier this month in Monmouth, Wales — a town known for its rich archaeological features. "Whatever it is, there's nothing else like it. It may well be unique."

LiveScience: Talisman of Ancient Googly-Eyed God Discovered
Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor

A newly identified googly-eyed artifact may have been used by the ancient Egyptians to magically protect children and pregnant mothers from evil forces.

Made of faience, a delicate material that contains silica, the pale-green talisman of sorts dates to sometime in the first millennium B.C. It shows the dwarf god Bes with his tongue sticking out, eyes googly, wearing a crown of feathers. A hole at the top of the face was likely used to suspend it like a bell, while a second hole, used to hold the bell clapper, was apparently drilled into it in antiquity.

Der Spiegel (Germany): Massive Gold Trove Sparks Archeological Dispute
By Matthias Schulz

Archeologists in Germany have an unlikely new hero: former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. They have nothing but praise for the cigar-smoking veteran Social Democratic politician.

Why? Because it was Schröder who, together with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, pushed through a plan to pump Russian natural gas to Western Europe. For that purpose, an embankment 440 kilometers (275 miles) long and up to 30 meters (100 feet) wide had to be created from Lubmin, a coastal resort town in northeastern Germany, to Rehden in Lower Saxony near the northwestern city of Bremen.

The result has been a veritable cornucopia of ancient discoveries. The most beautiful find was made in the Gessel district of Lower Saxony, where 117 pieces of gold were found stacked tightly together in a rotten linen cloth. The hidden treasure is about 3,300 years old.

The Research Council of Norway via PhysOrg: Researchers solve Roman Empire historical mystery

In ancient Roman times A.D., Palmyra was the most important point along the trade route linking the east and west, reaching a population of 100 000 inhabitants. But its history has always been shrouded in mystery: What was a city that size doing in the middle of the desert? How could so many people live in such an inhospitable place nearly 2 000 years ago? Where did their food come from? And why would such an important trade route pass directly through the desert?

Norwegian researchers collaborated with Syrian colleagues for four years to find answers.

“These findings provide a wealth of new insight into Palmyra’s history,” says project manager Jørgen Christian Meyer, a professor at the University of Bergen. The project has received funding of over NOK 9 million from the Research Council of Norway’s comprehensive funding scheme for independent basic research projects (FRIPRO).

Jordan Times via the Middle East-North Africa Financial Network: Jordan- A chance romance in Jerash changes history" literally
MENAFN - Jordan Times - 20/06/2012

(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Regional politics, Jordanian hospitality and a stroke of luck kindled a three-decade-old love affair between a team of French archaeologists and one of the Kingdom's most important archaeological sites.

Last week marked the 30th anniversary of an excavation by the team that led to the reconstruction of the ancient city of Jerash and the shattering of many assumptions about daily life 2,000 years ago.

According to the archaeologists, their lifelong bond with the Greco-Roman city sprouted from a chance encounter.

The archaeological team from the French Institute of the Near East that is now synonymous with Jerash was originally destined for Lebanon, but the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the war-torn country forced them to relocate to Jordan.

"It turned out 1982 was not the best time to be in Lebanon," said Jacques Seigne, who has overseen the Jerash project since its inception.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Raiders of the Lost Relics
By Matthew Kalman

On a hilltop overlooking the Elah Valley, about 15 miles southwest of Jerusalem, an ancient city is yielding archaeological finds that have reignited a debate about some of the Bible's most colorful characters, including King David.

In 2008, Yosef Garfinkel, a professor of archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, unearthed a potsherd at the site, known as Khirbet Qeiyafa, inscribed with ancient Hebrew characters and dated to the 10th century BC—the earliest Hebrew inscription yet discovered. He also found a highly unusual second gate in the heavily fortified city walls. The combination led him to identify the location as Shaarayim (Two Gates), a city mentioned three times in the Bible, most notably as the town to which the Israelites chased the Philistines after the slaying of Goliath (I Samuel 17). In early May, Garfinkel announced his most recent discovery: three large shrines, standing stones, altars, and other cultic objects, including two portable model shrines made of pottery and stone. Garfinkel said his discoveries proved that those who "completely deny the biblical tradition regarding King David and argue that he was a mythological figure, or just a leader of a small tribe, are now shown to be wrong."

Channel Nine (Australia): Roman jewellery found in ancient Japan tomb
18:29 AEST Fri Jun 22 2012

Glass jewellery believed to have been made by Roman craftsmen has been found in an ancient tomb in Japan, researchers said Friday, in a sign the empire's influence may have reached the edge of Asia.

Tests have revealed three glass beads discovered in the Fifth Century "Utsukushi" burial mound in Nagaoka, near Kyoto, were probably made some time between the first and the fourth century, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties said.

Faversham Times via This is Kent (UK): Archaeologist who found king's grave to get honour

FOR as long as the Queen has been on the throne, Kent archaeologist Brian Philp has been excavating and protecting threatened historical sites.

But when he was called in to excavate a site in Faversham in 1965, he had no idea he was about to discover one of the most significant buildings in the town's history.

Once a dominating church the size of Canterbury Cathedral, Faversham's Royal Abbey was destroyed and the site lost for more than 400 years before digging began at what is now the grounds of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.

An eight-week excavation, undertaken as the site was about to be developed, revealed a large church, 361-feet long and which was proven to be the royal mausoleum of King Stephen, who reigned between 1135 and 1154.

Mr Philp, from Bromley, who is set to receive an Honorary Doctorate for his commitment to archaeology from the University of Kent next month, said the project was one of the biggest of his career.

Sofia News Service (Bulgaria): Bulgarian Archaeologists Identify 'Vampire' as Pirate, Evil Mayor of Sozopol
Archaeology | June 15, 2012, Friday|

The "vampire" skeleton that was recently discovered by archaeologists in a grave in Bulgaria's Black Sea town of Sozopol has been identified as a pirate and mayor.

According to Bulgarian archaeologists and historians, the skeleton, which was said to be a vampire because it was found buried with an iron spike thrust into his chest, most likely belonged to a noble named Krivich who lived in the 14th century.

"The vampire from Sozopol most likely was called Krivich, and was a pirate. And he certainly wasn't a vampire when he was alive. It is just that the people were afraid that he might become one after his death," explained Thursday Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the Bulgarian National History Museum.

The Guardian (UK): THA approves historic dives in Scarborough Harbour...
US university to look for sunken ships in Tobago
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Tobago House of Assembly has granted approval for the University of Connecticut in the USA to conduct archaeological surveys and excavation works near the Scarborough Harbour to locate the remains of 16 shipwrecks. The vessels were sunk during the fierce wars the Dutch and the French fought in the 17th century for control of the island.

A 30-member team is expected to undertake the scientific investigation of the heritage project. It is headed by Dr Kroum Batchvarov, professor of maritime archaeology at the University of Connecticut, assisted by Jason Paterniti, director of operations at the G-eos Foundation.

Speaking at the post-executive council news conference on Wednesday,  Batchvarov said the initiative was the most important project of its kind in the Caribbean in 12 years. He said the project will be an opportunity for local scholars to participate in the exciting work of deep-sea mapping and exploration.

The Billings Gazette via Casper Star-Tribune: Exact route of great escape remains unknown
Archaeologists, volunteers work to solve Nez Perce trail mystery
By MARTIN KIDSTON The Billings Gazette

CLARK — Back in 1877, at a point not far from here, a band of Nez Perce Indians slipped from the Absaroka Mountains onto the prairie, eluding the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry in hot pursuit.

The Nez Perce ran their horses in circles to confuse Army scouts before moving onto the Wyoming flatland and making a run north into Montana.

While the Nez Perce managed to confuse the Army commanders that September, they also succeeded in confusing historians. The exact route of their great escape remains a mystery 135 years later.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman, who sent in the above articles.

Colorado State University: Grants will help professors continue researching ancient city
June 22, 2012
By Tony Phifer

Colorado State University professors Christopher Fisher and Stephen Leisz were recently awarded grants in excess of $200,000 to excavate at the newly documented ancient city of Angamuco, Michoacan, Mexico.

“The goal of this research is to provide insights into the formation of the Purépecha Empire and help unravel connections between complex societies and climate change,” Fisher said.

Fisher and Leisz, associate and assistant professors of anthropology, received $192,000 from the National Science Foundation and $18,000 from the National Geographic Society. The site of Angamuco is located in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, the geopolitical core of the Purépecha (Tarascan) Empire at the time of European contact (A.D. 1520).

“This Angamuco site is an important window into the pre-empire period in the region,” said Fisher, who first began documenting and mapping the site five years ago. “The next step is to test the models that we developed during our previous research through excavation. We’re very thankful to have these grants so we can continue this exciting research.”


LiveScience: Excitement Builds Over Expected Higgs Boson Announcement
Clara Moskowitz
June 22, 2012

Anticipation is rising over the expected announcement soon of more evidence for the existence of the long-sought Higgs boson particle.

The Higgs has been theorized for years, but never found. Humanity's best hope of discovering the particle lies in the humongous atom smasher buried underneath Switzerland and France called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). There, physicists collide protons head-on to create explosions that give rise to new, exotic particles, including, maybe, the Higgs.

LHC researchers plan to share their latest findings at the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Melbourne, Australia, from July 4-11.

University of Colorado, Boulder: CU-Boulder physicists use ultrafast lasers to create first tabletop X-ray device
June 7, 2012

An international research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has generated the first laser-like beams of X-rays from a tabletop device, paving the way for major advances in many fields including medicine, biology and nanotechnology development.

For half a century, scientists have been trying to figure out how to build a cost-effective and reasonably sized X-ray laser that could, among other things, provide super-high-resolution imaging, according to Henry Kapteyn, a CU-Boulder physics professor and fellow at JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Such a device also could be used by scientists to peer into a single cell or chemical reaction to gain a better understanding of the nanoworld.

Most of today’s X-ray lasers require so much power that they rely on facilities the size of football stadiums or larger, making their use impractical. To avoid the need for a large energy source to power an X-ray laser, the CU-Boulder researchers have created a tabletop device that uses atoms in a gas to efficiently combine more than 5,000 low-energy mid-infrared laser photons to generate each high-energy X-ray photon, said Margaret Murnane, a CU-Boulder physics professor and JILA fellow who is co-leading the research efforts.


SUNY Albany: UAlbany Chemists Offer Law Enforcement and Forensics New Crime Solving Tool
Method Analyzes Gunshot Residue, Pinpoints Weapon Caliber
June 18, 2012

University at Albany researchers have developed a method to determine the caliber and type of weapon used in a crime by analyzing gunshot residue (GSR). Using near-infrared (NIR) Raman microspectroscopy and advanced statistics, the new technique may play a pivotal role in law enforcement cases and forensic investigations. The research was highlighted in a recent issue of Analytical Chemistry.

Gunshot residue comprises particles from the parts of the ammunition and firearm that explode or reside near points of explosion including the primer, propellant, and tiny particles of the cartridge case and gun itself. Since residue can be recovered from several locations in the crime scene, it may be utilized for both physical and chemical evidence: GSR establishes that the shooting took place and a person participated in the shooting.

"If a crime is committed that involves a gun, we can examine the gunshot residue to help determine the size and type of ammunition used," said UAlbany professor of chemistry and lead researcher Igor Lednev. “Then through comparisons and elimination, it is quite likely to determine what kind of a gun was used in the crime."


Colorado School of Mines: Unlocking Unconventional Oil and Gas
June 21, 2012

In the basement of Alderson Hall, in a lab painted butter yellow and crimson with soaring, utilitarian square concrete pillars, amongst a hodgepodge of machine room detritus and laboratory equipment, is a non-descript apparatus that does something extraordinary. It makes a rock behave as if it isn't there.

Specifically, the rock responds as if, instead of being in a room in the basement of the petroleum engineering building at Mines, it’s in its ancestral home – perhaps thousands of feet from the surface, hot and under tremendous pressure. In the conditions under which it has spent millennia, the rock is stressed and sometimes pushed to the breaking point. How? Mines Petroleum Engineering Professor Azra Tutuncu, or one of her students, uses the machine to squeeze, heat and perhaps shake the rock. The machine sits on rocking, gel-insulated feet to make sure it doesn't shake the building or break the floor.

Tutuncu wants to understand the rock’s properties, and find out under what conditions, and how, the rock will crack. This is important because, far away on the desolate sagebrush steppes of Wyoming, or under the undulating grasslands of the Great Plains, the vast rock formation from which this sample came is saturated with gas. Gas that can only be extracted by breaking that rock.

Science, Space, Environment, and Energy Policy

Cortez Journal: Men accused of digging up bones
Plea bargain in the works in federal archaeological tampering case
By Joe Hanel
Journal Denver Bureau

DENVER — The senior group’s activity schedule for a Wednesday in May 2011 promised a moderate hike into McLean Canyon and viewing of round towers at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

It also included something else, federal prosecutors say: digging up a grave.

An undercover officer from the Bureau of Land Management witnessed the incident, and now two Montezuma County men are facing prosecution for tampering with archaeological resources on federal land.

Howard Drake and Harry Hance are negotiating plea bargains with prosecutors and are due in federal court in Durango on July 3, according to court documents. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail, but most other recent prosecutions for similar crimes have not brought jail sentences.

Drake’s lawyer did not return a call requesting comment, and Hance’s lawyer, Brian Schowalter, said he could not comment on the ongoing case.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for this story.

University of Colorado, Denver: College of Nursing students visit White House
Conversation focuses on health information technology

Washington, D.C.– Janet Ellingson and Donna Kenney, College of Nursing(CON) Training Certificate Program graduates, and Amy Nelms, a soon-to-be CON graduate, participated June 19 in a White House Town Hall event regarding health information technology -- building the electronic networks to support efficient and effective health care.

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology and the Office of Provider Support (OPAS) invited these students, health care providers and insurance representatives to share ideas and discuss challenges.

University of Colorado, Denver: Study shows no evidence medical marijuana increases teen drug use
Officials cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries

DENVER (June 18, 2012) – While marijuana use by teens has been increasing since 2005, an analysis of data from 1993 through 2009 by economists at three universities has found no evidence to link the legalization of medical marijuana to increased use of the drug among high school students.

“There is anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is finding its way into the hands of teenagers, but there’s no statistical evidence that legalization increases the probability of use,” said Daniel I. Rees, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver.

Rees co-authored the study with Benjamin Hansen, assistant professor of economics at the University of Oregon and D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.

Cornell University: Cornell synchrotron gets support from N.Y.'s senior senator
By Anne Ju
June 19, 2012

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer visited campus June 18 with some welcome news: Cornell's world-renowned synchrotron X-ray facility will continue being funded.

The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), one of five national hard X-ray facilities for synchrotron X-ray research, had been under threat of closure due to possible cuts from the National Science Foundation, its primary funder.

Though CHESS officials say peer reviews had consistently endorsed the facility's science and training programs, the NSF had questioned if it should continue to support a synchrotron light source, or if it should leave this task to the Department of Energy, which runs other facilities.

SUNY Buffalo: Report: Health Care Reform Must be Local, Regardless of Court Decision
"Communities of solution" that integrate primary care and public health are key to creating healthy neighborhoods, says UB family medicine professor and co-author
June 20, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Even with an imminent Supreme Court ruling on the health care overhaul law, it's still the primary care physician and the local community that will determine the path of true health care reform. That's the message from "Communities of Solution: The Folsom Report Revisited," a policy paper published online in the May/June issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

"The Folsom Report, published in 1967, called for a closer alliance between public health and primary care," says corresponding author Kim S. Griswold, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "Now, nearly 50 years later, we're calling for the same thing. We need to inject -- and maintain -- the public ingredient in medical care."

The original Folsom Report grew, in part, out of the social justice movements of the 1960s and 1970s. It was responsible for several important advances, including the establishment in 1969 of a new medical specialty called family medicine.

South Dakota State University: Young Russian leaders to learn about U.S. governance, environmental management
June 18, 2012

Six young Russian leaders will visit Brookings, Watertown and Pipestone, Minn., June 22-30 to learn about accountable governance and environmental management during a U.S. Congress-backed, Open World Program. The visitors will give public presentations about their home life and experience at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, June 28, in the new Brookings City and County Government Center.

Young Russian leaders learned about U.S. institutions and democratic governance during a visit to Brookings in 2011. A similar group of young Russians will visit the area this year, June 22-30.

The South Dakota World Affairs Council is orchestrating the visit with collaboration from Brookings city government, the Chamber of Commerce, Brookings Economic Development Corporation, South Dakota State University, local businesses and nonprofit organizations. The group will also visit sites in Watertown and Pipestone, Minn.

Science Education

Montana State University: Teachers can earn MSU summer credits in Montana's Old West

BOZEMAN - A four-day summer graduate course from Montana State University will plunge teachers into the history of two Montana gold-rush ghost towns: Virginia City and Nevada City.

The course, "Project Archaeology: Educator Field School" (EDCI 588-56), offers two graduate credits and is designed for upper elementary teachers. Working closely with historians, educators and archaeologists, teachers will spend two days in the classroom and two days in the field excavating an archaeological site in Nevada City. The course runs August 13 to 16.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for this story.

Colorado School of Mines: Key to Super Collaborations? Supercomputing
June 19, 2012

This is a story of humans and hardware. What happened when professors, tops in their different fields of energy research, gained campus access to a world-class supercomputer?

The story began four years ago with the institutional vision to bring a supercomputer named Ra to Mines. Dag Nummedal, director of the Colorado Energy Research Institute, and Physics Professor Mark Lusk had been working to acquire a supercomputer, and when Vice President of Research and Technology Transfer John Poate got involved, “the idea resonated campus-wide,” said Lusk.

With the horsepower of Mines leadership behind this well-timed initiative, it became a commitment to much more than hardware. Five years, one supercomputer, 10 new faculty hires, 15 classes, 60 PhD students and 120 journal publications since that original vision, Mines has become a global leader in computationally guided energy science research.

SUNY Buffalo: UB Study Finds that Assessments and Incentives for Medical Faculty Productivity Improve Research
June 18, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Strategies introduced to assess -- and reward -- the productivity of faculty at academic medical centers in the U.S. do improve faculty research productivity, according to a systematic review recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The paper is available at

Such strategies also may result in improved clinical productivity, the study found; however, their impact on teaching productivity is far less clear.

Oklahoma State University: OSU research projects selected for interdisciplinary grants
June 20, 2012

Sixteen faculty-led research projects that involve creative collaboration and support Oklahoma State University's land-grant mission have been approved for a total of $500,000 in funding through OSU's Interdisciplinary Creative Planning Grant Program.

"We have a strong and interesting group of projects for this second year of grants, each integrating at least two academic disciplines from two or more OSU colleges or schools," said OSU Provost and Senior Vice President Bob Sternberg. "These creative projects hold real promise in providing lasting value to society. We congratulate the winners and thank them for their commitment to OSU's land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach."

By the end of August 2013, the researchers will submit reports summarizing their activities and outcomes, a description of how they serve the land-grant mission, and progress in identifying sustainable external funding sources.

University of Utah: U Students Win People’s Choice Award in Clean Tech Finals
M.B.A. Students Recognized in National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C.
June 15, 2012

Navillum, a team of three M.B.A. students and three researchers from the University of Utah, won the People’s Choice Award at the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, which concluded June 13 with an awards ceremony at the White House. About 300 teams from across the country competed in the inaugural competition sponsored by the Department of Energy, and six team advanced to the finals after winning their regional competitions.

The Utah team won the People’s Choice Award by capturing the most votes during several weeks of online voting. It was one of just three awards presented at the White House.

“The People’s Choice Award represents all the local support we had in Utah from alumni to students to the entire community,” said Ryan Tucker, one of the M.B.A. students on the team. “The win also reflects peoples’ interest in nanocrystal technology and the benefits it will provide in electronic displays and solar energy.”

Navillum is based on an invention by Jacqueline Siy-Ronquillo. She developed a technology for more efficiently producing different types of semiconductor nanocrystals, such as quantum dots. Quantum dots are tiny semiconductors that can emit different colors of light. They can be used to improve the color and efficiency of computer displays, to improve the efficiency of solar panels, and to make lights more efficient.

Utah State University: College of Engineering Students Take First Place in NASA Rocket Competition
June 21, 2012

Utah State University engineering students have done it again, capturing first-place honors for the fourth time in five years. Not a bad record, especially considering that the highly competitive competition is hosted by NASA.

Making the first-place title official, NASA recently announced that USU’s student team took the top prize during the 2012 University Student Launch Initiative hosted by the NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center.

On April 22 USU’s Chimaera Rocket Team bested more than 500 students, representing 41 colleges and universities in 28 states, when the team launched its rocket and payload at Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala. This year’s victory marks the fourth first place entry by USU in the previous five years. The USU-built rocket was also recognized by the NASA peer review panel as the best overall vehicle design, an award given to the most creative, innovative and safety-conscious rocket design.

Science Writing and Reporting

University of Colorado, Denver: CAM-produced documentary seeks to save lives on roads in India
Man behind SaveLIFE foundation a 'modern Gandhi,' says CU Denver filmmaker

DENVER -- With roads that are congested and chaotic, India leads the globe in the number of road accident fatalities. In Dehli alone traffic accidents cause 2,000 deaths a year.

To expose the problem and spotlight a nonprofit's efforts create a network of first responders, a team of filmmakers at the University of Colorado Denver is making a documentary entitled "The Golden Hour." Roma Sur and Jessica Lance McGaugh, instructors in the College of Arts & Media, and Deana Macdonald, a student in the Theatre, Film & Video Production Department, hope to finish the film this summer.

"The first hour after an accident is when a victim has the highest chance of survival if he or she gets proper medical care," Sur said. "It's called the 'golden hour.'"

Science is Cool

Cornell University: Study finds that flambé doesn't seem to enhance flavor
By Andrea Elmore
June 22, 2012

The cooking technique in which a dish with alcohol is set alight at the table may be dramatic, but does it enhance the flavor? It doesn't seem so, according to an undergraduate research project at Cornell.

Viticulture and enology student Christine Hansen '12, who starts graduate school in the area of food science at Cornell this fall, set out to discover what actually happens to food when a spirit is added and ignited, as part of a two-year research project she started in her sophomore year.

Inspired by a lecture about measuring ethanol in wine and spirits by Gavin Sacks, assistant professor of food science, Hansen first prepared a caramel sauce, similar to that used in bananas Foster, using flambé. As a control, she also prepared a sauce that was heated but not ignited, and a third sauce that was neither heated nor ignited. The sauces were then subjected to chemical and sensory analysis.

SUNY Buffalo: Animal Architecture: Rescued Bee Colony Gets New Waterfront Home
Bees help us in many ways; now, a team of young architects is helping them
June 18, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A massive and thriving colony of bees living in an abandoned industrial site in Buffalo has been moved into a brand new home, designed for them by architecture graduate students in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.

"Elevator B," as it is called, is a 22-foot-tall, free-standing steel, glass and cypress tower that was raised last week in "Silo City," an area along the Buffalo River where several massive abandoned grain elevators are located.

Video of the students' at work on the project is available here.

Originally posted to Overnight News Digest on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 08:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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