Bright Butterfly Wing Colors Duplicated

CAMBRIDGE, England, June 2 (UPI) — British scientists say they’ve found a way to mimic the bright colors found on the wings of tropical butterflies — a finding that might help prevent forgery.

The researchers said duplicating the striking iridescent colors found on some beetles, butterflies and other insects has proven difficult, partly because rather than relying on pigmentation, the colors are produced by light bouncing off microscopic structures.

The problem was solved by doctoral student Mathias Kolle, working with Professors Ullrich Steiner and Jeremy Baumberg at the University of Cambridge. The researchers studied the Indonesian Peacock or Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio blumei), whose wing scales are composed of intricate, microscopic structures that resemble the inside of an egg carton.

Using a combination of nanofabrication procedures, Kolle and his colleagues said they were able to make structurally identical copies of the butterfly scales, and those copies produced the same vivid colors as the butterflies’ wings.

“We have unlocked one of nature’s secrets and combined this knowledge with state-of-the-art nanofabrication to mimic the intricate optical designs found in nature,” Kolle said. “These artificial structures could be used to encrypt information in optical signatures on banknotes or other valuable items to protect them against forgery.”

The research appears in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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Software Predicts Unsafe Beach Conditions

CHICAGO, May 28 (UPI) — Chicago and its suburbs are using state-of-the-art software and social networking to alert beachgoers to unsafe conditions, officials said.

Using weather data, the software models project when and where E. coli and other bacteria counts will rise, allowing city officials to anticipate when beach conditions will be unsafe, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Alerts then are sent out through Twitter, Facebook and text message, said Cathy Breitenbach of the Chicago Park District Office.

“That’s how people live now,” Breitenbach said. “People have an expectation today to get information quickly and in multiple ways. We’re doing our best to meet that expectation.”

Beaches along Lake Michigan in Chicago and to the north can be problematic because of storm water runoff, pet waste, bird droppings and urban trash. The pollution creates microscopic filth that can cause sore throats, stomachaches and other ailments.

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Software Predicts Unsafe Beach Conditions

CHICAGO, May 28 (UPI) — Chicago and its suburbs are using state-of-the-art software and social networking to alert beachgoers to unsafe conditions, officials said.

Using weather data, the software models project when and where E. coli and other bacteria counts will rise, allowing city officials to anticipate when beach conditions will be unsafe, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Alerts then are sent out through Twitter, Facebook and text message, said Cathy Breitenbach of the Chicago Park District Office

“That’s how people live now,” Breitenbach said. “People have an expectation today to get information quickly and in multiple ways. We’re doing our best to meet that expectation.”

Beaches along Lake Michigan in Chicago and to the north can be problematic because of storm water runoff, pet waste, bird droppings and urban trash. The pollution creates microscopic filth that can can cause sore throats, stomachaches and other ailments.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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NASA Funds Science Exhibits

WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) — The U.S. space agency says it will fund nine educational outreach projects this year, including planetarium shows and traveling museum exhibits.

Officials said NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums will provide $7 million in grants to enhance projects related to space exploration, aeronautics, space science, Earth science and microgravity.

The 2010 grants range from approximately $177,000 to $1.25 million and have a maximum five-year performance period. The projects are located in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Utah and Washington.

“Science centers and planetariums contribute significantly to engaging people of all ages in science, technology, engineering and math,” said James Stofan, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Education. “NASA wants to give the informal education community access to a variety of agency staff and resources while offering professional development opportunities for informal science educators and encouraging the formation of collaborative partnerships.”

The selected projects are the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum; the Children’s Museum of Hartford, Conn.; the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; the Louisiana Art & Science Museum; the Maryland Science Center; the Science Museum of Minnesota; the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio; Thanksgiving Point Institute in Utah; and the Pacific Science Center’s Willard Smith Planetarium in Seattle.

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UPI NewsTrack Health and Science News

Doctor: Panel overstated cancer risks

WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) — A new government report on chemicals in the environment may divert attention from larger cancer causes such as smoking, The American Cancer Society said.

The report published Thursday by the President’s Cancer Panel is “unbalanced” in its implication that pollution is a major cause of cancer, said Dr. Michael Thun, an epidemiologist with the ACS.

“If we could get rid of tobacco, we could get rid of 30 percent of cancer deaths,” Thun told The New York Times in a story published Friday.

The government’s 240-page report said the proportion of cancer cases caused by chemical exposure has been “grossly underestimated.”

While the panel said it cannot quantify the cancer risk from chemicals because most of the 80,000 chemicals in use have not been tested for safety. But the ACS says only about 6 percent of cancers comes from chemical exposure.

The panel urged President Obama to strengthen research and regulation and warned consumers to limit exposure to pesticides, industrial chemicals, medical X-rays, vehicle exhaust, plastic food containers and excessive sun. Children are at the greatest risk, it said.

Carcinogens and other toxins in food, water and air “needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives,” the panel said.

Computer pioneer Max Palevsky dead at 85

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., May 7 (UPI) — Computer pioneer Max Palevsky, a founder of Intel, died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 85, his assistant said.

Palevsky died Wednesday of heart failure at home, Angela Kaye said.

Palevsky used his fortune from computers to support Democratic presidential candidates and to amass an important collection of American Arts and Crafts furniture, which he donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In 1961, Palevsky left Packard Bell to form Scientific Data Systems, a builder of small and medium-size business computers purchased in 1969 by Xerox for $1 billion. Palevsky used some of his 10 percent share of the $1 billion to start Intel, which became the world’s largest producer of computer chips.

Palevsky used his money to back Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern for president and in 1970 rescued a foundering Rolling Stone magazine by buying a significant block of its stock, The New York Times reported Friday.

Despite his interest in computers, Palevsky did not own a computer or even a cellphone, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008.

Palevsky said he was skeptical of “the hypnotic quality of computer games, the substitution of a Google search for genuine inquiry, (and) the instant messaging that has replaced social discourse.”

Palevsky, who was born in Chicago, earned a bachelor’s degree in math and philosophy from the University of Chicago and did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and UCLA.

He is survived by a sister, Helen Futterman of Los Angeles; a daughter, Madeleine Moskowitz of Los Angeles; four sons: Nicholas of Bangkok, Alexander and Jonathan, both of Los Angeles, and Matthew of Brooklyn; and four grandchildren.

Freshway lettuce recalled in 23 states

WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) — Freshway Foods is recalling products with romaine lettuce linked to an outbreak of 19 cases of E. coli in Michigan, Ohio and New York, authorities said.

Twelve people have been hospitalized, including three with life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a release Thursday.

The recall affects Freshway shredded romaine lettuce with a use-by date of May 12 or earlier sold under the Freshway or Imperial Sysco brands for use at supermarket salad bars and delis. Bulk, prepackaged romaine or bagged salad mixes containing romaine purchased in supermarkets were not included in the recall.

Ohio-based Freshway agreed to voluntarily recall the lettuce from 23 states after the New York Public Health Laboratory reported finding E. coli in an unopened bag of Freshway Foods shredded romaine lettuce, the FDA said.

Freshway, in a release Thursday, advised consumers not to eat “grab and go” salads sold at in-store salad bars and delis at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh stores. Romaine purchased from those bars and delis should be thrown away, the FDA said.

The recalled products were sold in Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Consumers with questions were urged to call Freshway Foods at 1-888-361-7106 or go to the Freshway Web site at www.freshwayfoods.com1.

Extra coating aids bacterial spores

NEW YORK, May 7 (UPI) — Bacterial spores that cause botulism, tetanus and anthrax may have an extra coating of protection that help them survive, scientists in New York said.

The new findings offer insight into why bacterial spores are the most resistant organisms, researchers at New York University said in a release Thursday.

Microbiologists studied the spores of Bacillus subtilis, a non-pathogenic bacterium that shares many of the same structural features of spore-forming pathogens, such as botulism, tetanus and anthrax.

An electron microscope confirmed B. subtilis carried an outermost layer, which the researchers named the “spore crust.”

While it has yet to be confirmed, it’s possible the spore crust is a common feature of all spore-forming bacteria, including the harmful pathogens, the microbiologists wrote in a recent issue of the journal Current Biology.

The study was conducted by researchers at New York University’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, Loyola University’s Medical Center, and Princeton University’s Department of Molecular Biology.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Computer Pioneer Max Palevsky Dead at 85

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., May 7 (UPI) — Computer pioneer Max Palevsky, a founder of Intel, died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 85, his assistant said.

Palevsky died Wednesday of heart failure at home, Angela Kaye said.

Palevsky used his fortune from computers to support Democratic presidential candidates and to amass an important collection of American Arts and Crafts furniture, which he donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In 1961, Palevsky left Packard Bell to form Scientific Data Systems, a builder of small and medium-size business computers purchased in 1969 by Xerox for $1 billion. Palevsky used some of his 10 percent share of the $1 billion to start Intel, which became the world’s largest producer of computer chips.

Palevsky used his money to back Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern for president and in 1970 rescued a foundering Rolling Stone magazine by buying a significant block of its stock, The New York Times reported Friday.

Despite his interest in computers, Palevsky did not own a computer or even a cellphone, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008.

Palevsky said he was skeptical of “the hypnotic quality of computer games, the substitution of a Google search for genuine inquiry, (and) the instant messaging that has replaced social discourse.”

Palevsky, who was born in Chicago, earned a bachelor’s degree in math and philosophy from the University of Chicago and did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and UCLA.

He is survived by a sister, Helen Futterman of Los Angeles; a daughter, Madeleine Moskowitz of Los Angeles; four sons: Nicholas of Bangkok, Alexander and Jonathan, both of Los Angeles, and Matthew of Brooklyn; and four grandchildren.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Computer Pioneer Max Palevsky Dead at 85

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., May 7 (UPI) — Computer pioneer Max Palevsky, a founder of Intel, died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 85, his assistant said.

Palevsky died Wednesday of heart failure at home, Angela Kaye said.

Palevsky used his fortune from computers to support Democratic presidential candidates and to amass an important collection of American Arts and Crafts furniture, which he donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In 1961, Palevsky left Packard Bell to form Scientific Data Systems, a builder of small and medium-size business computers purchased in 1969 by Xerox for $1 billion. Palevsky used some of his 10 percent share of the $1 billion to start Intel, which became the world’s largest producer of computer chips.

Palevsky used his money to back Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern for president and In 1970 rescued a foundering Rolling Stone magazine by buying a significant block of its stock, The New York Times reported Friday.

Despite his interest in computers, Palevsky did not own a computer or even a cellphone, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008.

Palevsky said he was skeptical of “the hypnotic quality of computer games, the substitution of a Google search for genuine inquiry, the instant messaging that has replaced social discourse.”

Palevsky, who was born in Chicago, earned a bachelor’s degree in math and philosophy from the University of Chicago and did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and U.C.L.A.

He is survived by a sister, Helen Futterman of Los Angeles; a daughter, Madeleine Moskowitz of Los Angeles; four sons: Nicholas, of Bangkok, Alexander and Jonathan, both of Los Angeles, and Matthew, of Brooklyn; and four grandchildren.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Some Cabbage Rolls Recalled in Canada

OTTAWA, April 29 (UPI) — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning people allergic to soy not to consume Cuisine Bernart-brand cabbage rolls.

The CFIA said the manufacturer, Cuisine Bern-Art Inc. of Lasalle Quebec, said the recalled products contain soy protein not declared on the label.

The cabbage rolls were distributed in Quebec.

Consumers with questions can contact the company at 514-367-0228.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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'Tomate Basilic' Recalled in Canada

OTTAWA, April 26 (UPI) — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the recall of Cuisine Bernart Chicken Supreme Tomate Basilic because of possible bacterial contamination.

The CFIA said Cuisine Bern-Art Inc. of LaSalle, Quebec, said the product might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause serious health risks.

The recalled Cuisine Bernart Chicken Supreme Tomate Basilic has a “Best Before” date of “26AL10.” The product was distributed in Quebec.

Consumers with questions can contact the company at 514-367-0228.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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New Technologies May Hike Vaccine Safety

LIVERMORE, Calif., April 8 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they used state-of-the-art technology to conduct vaccine analyses that unexpectedly found the presence of an apparently benign pig virus.

“The intent in our research was to use the latest technologies to show that live vaccines only contained the expected viral genomes and no other,” said Eric Delwart of the Blood Systems Research Institute, the study’s lead author. He said the scientists were “quite surprised” to find the benign pig virus in a vaccine use to prevent diarrhea in babies.

Delwart said he discovered the virus in January using a deep DNA sequencing technology and then contacted biologists Crystal Jaing and Shea Gardner, along with computer scientist Kevin McLoughlin, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to check his results.

The three Livermore researchers used a new detection technology, the Microbial Detection Array, to check the results. With 388,000 probes that fit on a one-inch wide, three-inch long glass slide, the array can detect or identify any of the approximately 60,000 viruses or 2,500 bacteria worldwide that have been sequenced.

The Livermore researchers confirmed the presence of the pig virus DNA in the vaccine.

“One result of this research is that it demonstrates how modern technologies could change and drastically improve product safety,” said Tom Slezak, Lawrence Livermore’s scientific leader for Bioinformatics.

The study is detailed in the online Journal of Virology.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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