Ancient Indus Valley script might soon be decoded by computer program

Sydney, August 29 (ANI): A recent research has determined that an ancient, indecipherable text from the Indus Valley civilization is being decoded with the help of a computer program.

According to a report by ABC News, though it has yet to decrypt this mysterious language, the program may help to decipher other ancient texts whose meanings have been long since forgotten.

“The computer program operates on sequences of symbols, so it can be used to learn a statistical model of any set of unknown or known texts,” said Rajesh Rao, University of Washington professor of computer science and co-author of the research paper.

“In fact, such statistical models have been used to analyze a wide variety of sequences ranging from DNA and speech to economic data,” he added.

Roughly 5,000 seals, tablets and amulets, filled with about 500 different symbols, were created somewhere between 2600 and 1900 B.C. by a people living in the Indus River Valley.

Despite numerous attempts to decipher the symbols, a full translation has long eluded scientists.

In fact, one recent paper even cast doubt on whether the Indus Valley script was even a written text at all, but rather political or religious symbols.

To start the search for what meaning the text might hold, American and Indian scientists input the symbols into a computer program and ran a statistical analysis of the symbols and where they appear in the texts.

With that information, the program can do many things including creating new, hypothetical Indus Valley texts, fill in missing symbols in existing texts, and tell the scientist if a particular text has been generated by their computer model.

“We used the latter to show that the Indus texts that have been discovered in West Asia are statistically very different from the texts found in the Indus Valley, suggesting that the Indus people used their script to represent different content or language when living in a foreign land,” said Rao.

For now, however, the Indus Valley script, along with many other ancient texts, remains indecipherable, but scientists are hopeful that computers will eventually decode the symbols on them.

“I am however optimistic that given a few more years, we may be able to at least narrow down the language family of the script by using computer analysis to gain an in-depth understanding of the underlying grammar,” said Rao. (ANI)

Winona Ryder’s Heathers lined for small screen makeover

London, Aug 29 (ANI): Winona Ryder’s cult hit Heathers is all set for a new avatar, the flick will soon be to be made into a TV series.

The 1989 film’s small screen version will have all the original characters.

The Lakeshore Entertainment film company, which holds the rights to the black comedy, has confirmed that scriptwriters had already started work for the TV version of the flick.

The Daily Express quoted Lakeshore President Gary Lucchesi as saying: “We had the title, and talked about doing a film remake at times. But doing it for TV seemed like a fresh and original idea.”

According to the Daily Variety, Mark Rizzo and Sex And The City writer Jenny Bicks will write the scripts for the small screen version. (ANI)

Film on Beatles manager Brian Epstein in the pipeline

London, Aug 28 (ANI): A film based on the life of Beatles manager Brian Epstein is reportedly set to be made.

According to Variety magazine, A Life in the Day, written by Tony Gottelson, will be produced by US filmmaker David Permut, who also revealed the film, would centre on the early days of the Beatles.

Epstein, who sold records at his father’s shop, Nems, in Liverpool, became the band’s manager after hearing them play at the city’s Cavern Club.

“Everybody turned down the band, even though Brian promised they would become bigger than Elvis, and he finally got George Martin at EMI to change his mind and give them an audition,” said a BBC report.

Epstein also managed other Liverpool stars in the 1960s including Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Brian Epstein died in 1967, aged 32, from a sleeping pill overdose. (ANI)

Robin Williams to get ‘Wedding Banned’?

Washington, Aug 28 (ANI): Hollywood actor Robin Williams has been roped in to star in Disney flick ‘Wedding Banned’, it has emerged.

In the film, Williams will play one-half of a long-divorced couple who kidnap their daughter on her wedding day in order to keep her from making a mistake. The divorced parents rekindle their relationship as they elude cops and the angry groom, reports Variety.

The Disney bosses have picked up the film’s script from Jack Amiel and Michael Begler last summer.

Mandeville’s David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will produce the film.

Mandeville has recently produced “The Proposal” and the upcoming “Surrogates” for Touchstone, and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” for Disney before that. (ANI)

100,000 Pakistani labourers expected to work in Malaysia by end 2010

Kuala Lumpur, Aug.27 (ANI): With an estimated three-fold increase in workers, Pakistan is set to join Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar as the largest primary source of foreign labour for Malaysia.

Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Liutenant General (retired) Tahir Mahmud Qazi said the expected surge in number of labourers would help Malaysia cope up with the increasing demand due to the boom in the construction industry.

“By December next year, I expect the number of Pakistani workers in the country to increase to 100,000. This will be the culmination of joint efforts to bring them here to assist in the development of Malaysia,” Qazi said.

He said the massive influx was made possible due to the memorandum of understanding inked between the two countries in 2005.

Qazi said Pakistanis over the years, have proved that they are hard working and sincere.

“We want more of them to come here to work. They have a proven track record of being hardworking and dependable,” The Newstraits Times quoted Qazi, as saying.

He said senior Pakistani officials would be visiting Malaysia next month to search for investment opportunities in the country and introduce investment opportunities to the Malaysian business community.

“There are huge opportunities awaiting Malaysian businessmen in Pakistan. We need a variety of goods and services, including hypermarkets, communication, information technology facilities and low-cost housing,” Qazi added. (ANI)

Continuation of Remote Village Electrification Programme approved

New Delhi, Aug 27 (ANI): The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure today approved the continuation of Remote Village Electrification Programme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during the remaining period of the 11th Plan.

The Programme aims to provide renewable energy based lighting/basic electricity facilities with 90 per cent Central Financial Assistance to those unelectrified villages and hamlets which are not going to be covered under RGGVY due to infeasibility of grid extension.

The Ministry has so far provided support for coverage of around 9300 villages and hamlets in 25 States.

A variety of renewable energy technologies are being deployed for electrification of remote villages. These include small hydro, wind, biomass and solar energy based options.

The decision to use a particular technology is taken by the State implementing agencies after examination of the technical feasibility and resource availability.

The most commonly used option by the States so far has been solar photovoltaic homelighting systems with 2 lamps for each household.

The Programme will be implemented by the State Governments through their notified implementing agencies.

The Programme is expected to cover 10,000 remote, unelectrified villages and hamlets and benefit around 1 million households.

Availability of lighting/basic electricity to the remote villages and hamlets is expected to lead to improvement in the quality of life of the people, including better health and education.

The total outlay for the programme has been estimated at Rs.867.89 crores during the current Plan period. (ANI)

London council in dock for terming Pakistan origin pupil ‘Pakis’

London, Aug. 26 (ANI): A London council has come under fire for describing Pakistani origin pupils who attend the borough’s school as ‘Pakis’.

Conservative-controlled Redbridge Council in east London, however, has defended the usage of term in an official document that provides a breakdown of the ethnic background of pupils as a “computer error”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said that the document had been passed to its legal enforcement team, The Guardian reports.
“The council must know that a generation of Asians in east London grew up in the 1970s with the threat of violence from ‘Paki-bashing’ and with its association with skinhead gang culture. It is almost impossible to believe that anyone would fail to understand how racially charged the word Paki is,” said Kevin Blowe, of anti-racist organisation Newham Monitoring Project.

Following the criticism, the council officials had to issue a revised statement condemning the use of the word.
“Redbridge council fully accepts the use of this abbreviated term is wholly unacceptable and inappropriate and would never condone the use of such language.

“Having looked at the spreadsheet, in addition to the unacceptable term ‘Paki’ the document also contains a variety of abbreviations and spelling mistakes and was circulated in error.

“When this was realised at an away day, those present were asked to hand in the document so they could be destroyed. The author of the spreadsheet apologised,” a council statement said.
Keith Vaz, who chairs the Commons home affairs select committee, said: “It is important that councils are careful to avoid the use of offensive terms in both internal and external communications. I welcome the action the council has taken.” (ANI)

Ex-Oz greats call for accountability after England regains Ashes

London, Aug.24 (ANI): Former spin king Warne, Test opener Michael Slater and former captain Ian Chappell have led the chorus on calling for the selection panel, chaired by Andrew Hilditch, to be made accountable for Ashes failures and the fact Australia may drop to as low as No.4 Test nation.

Former coach John Buchanan also said the days where selectors were part-timers, some participating in decisions on players they had limited opportunity to see – particularly when 12,000km away, may be passing.

“There is bound to be a lot more talk about why Australia did not choose Nathan Hauritz. Personally, I have to say that I was staggered by the decision. I would always want to have a spinner in the side for variety’s sake, but I think this time Australia simply misread the pitch,” Warne said.

“We all make mistakes and somebody, somewhere, will have to take the blame for this one,” he said.

Slater claimed selectors got it wrong from the start of the Ashes and problems have snowballed ever since.

“The fact of the matter is that we have gone over to England with the wrong squad. We needed an aggressive off-spinner in the squad and our best option was Jason Krejza,” Slater said.

“We should have won the first Test match and we didn’t, the selectors definitely got it wrong and it has just manifested right through the series,” he added.

“The selectors need to be made answerable at the end of this campaign,” he said.

Chappell also blamed the selectors for making the wrong choices for the series, and added that Ponting was not at fault as he was given a team to play with.

“It’s never easy beating Australia, they don’t just roll over and hand you the Ashes. England are finding out they have to fight for every wicket,” former England captain Nasser Hussain said. (ANI)

Ganesha Chaturthi festival charms devotees across the country

Bhubaneshwar/ Bangalore, Aug.23 (ANI): On the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi (birthday), many devotees in different parts of the country like to pay their special obeisance to Lord Ganesha in distinct ways.

In Bhubaneshwar, an artist has sculpted Lord Ganesha idols from soap for the 10-day annual Ganesha Chaturthi which commenced on Sunday (Aug.23).

Rao sculpted different kinds of idols of Lord Ganesha to exhibit them during the festival. Till date, he has sculpted 36 idols with soap.

“Ganesh festival has arrived and so I am sculpting different models of Lord Ganesha from different soaps. During Ganesha festival people including kids will come to watch these idols. I will teach the art free of cost to kids who are interested to learn,” said L. Eshwara Rao, an artisan.

In Bangalore, a man is running a museum where he has exhibited a wide variety of Ganesha idols for people.

S.Tyagarajan is a collector of Ganesha idols and has put on display 2,000 different idols of the deity in his museum.

He started collecting Ganesha idols after the death of his wife who was a devotee of Lord Ganesha.

Tyagarajan procured some of the idols from his friends living overseas. He says that people feel rejuvenated after visiting the museum.

“I see in everybody’s face who come to see my museum happiness. And they say that there is some sort of positive energy and positive aura when they come inside the museum. And some of them say that here they get a sort of feeling that they felt when they meditated when they come in museum,” said S.Tyagarajan, owner of a museum of Lord Ganesha.

Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most important festivals of Hindus in India.

On the concluding day of the festival, the idols are carried in grand processions and immersed in rivers or seas.

Lord Ganesha, is one of the most revered Gods of Hindus, and is worshipped at the beginning of every auspicious occasion.

Ganesha, as the God of knowledge is described as “Vinayaka”and as remover of obstacles he is called “Vighanharta”. He is worshipped at the beginning of every auspicious occasion for blessings of luck and success.

The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being.

He is revered as the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles besides being worshipped as the God of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.

Legend has it once Goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Lord Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage.

Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops.

Hence, his name ‘Ganapati’. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture. By Sarda Lahangir / Jaipal Sharma (ANI)

Egyptian traders turn Obama into a date!

London, Aug 22 (ANI): Egyptian grocers have named the finest variety of dates for the month of Ramadan after US President Barack Obama because of his popularity since his visit to the predominately Muslim nation last June.

Egyptian traders have the tradition of naming dates after politicians and celebrities to woo customers during Ramadan when the demand for dried fruits usually surges.

Muslims in the country usually break their dawn-to-dusk fasting with either dried dates or dates soaked in milk, reports The Scotsman.

Egyptians consume an estimated 500,000 tonnes of dates during Ramadan, but traders expect higher consumption this year. (ANI)

Stella McCartney wins first court round in ‘Nude’ perfume dispute

London, August 21 (ANI): Stella McCartney has been granted the legal permission to launch her perfume after she was taken to court by U2 star Bono’s wife Ali Hewson over trademark infringement.

Hewson claimed that Sir Paul McCartney’s daughter’s use of the word “nude” for her own variety of perfume called ‘Stella Nude’ amounted to copyright infringement, as she owns a company named Nude Brands Ltd.

But a judge turned down Hewson’s bid to block the perfume from making its debut in British stores, reports the Daily Express.

Judge Christopher Floyd said an injunction could cause “massive disruption” to McCartney’s business.

The case is set to go to court in London this autumn. (ANI)

Young animals better at keeping warm than previously believed

Washington, August 21 (ANI): A new study has found that young muskoxen conserve heat almost as well as adults, a finding that runs contrary to a longstanding assumption among scientists that young animals should be more vulnerable in extreme cold.

Biologist Adam Munn from the University of Sydney, Australia, carried out the study.

Surviving freezing winters is tough for any animal, but it is generally assumed to be tougher on the young.

Young animals theoretically should have a harder time holding heat because they have larger ratios of surface area to body volume, meaning more of their body mass is directly exposed to the cold.

That theory appeared to hold true for muskoxen-shaggy vegetarians that look a bit like buffalo, but are actually more closely related to sheep.

Scientists have previously reported high death rates for muskox calves during especially cold winters in their arctic habitats.

But, in measuring heat loss in adult and young muskoxen, Munn and his research team found that the cold itself might not be the culprit.

“To our surprise, we found that the smaller calves were not more thermally stressed than larger adults,” said Munn.

Munn and his team observed a population of muskoxen at the University of Alaska’s R.G. White Large Animal Research Facility in Fairbanks.

They used infrared sensing equipment to measure heat loss from the body surface of animals in contact with cold air and the frozen ground.

Munn tested the muskoxen during winter foraging, when the animals were the most directly exposed to the cold.

The researchers found that both calves and adults sacrificed only two to six percent of their daily energy intake to heat loss during foraging bouts, even when temperatures dipped to minus 50 Celsius (minus 58 Fahrenheit).

“This suggests that any thermoregulatory constraints associated with a small body size may not be as important for calf survival as previously thought,” Munn said.

“This is important because calf mortality in muskoxen and other large arctic herbivores has been variously linked with severe winters, which are expected to increase in number and severity with current climate trends,” he added.

“However, we present evidence that thermal costs per se may not be driving calf mortalities in muskoxen,” he said.

Muskoxen have a variety of ways to fight heat loss. They are insulated by thick fur called qiviut, and they likely have the ability to direct blood away from their extremities in cold weather. (ANI)

Grans may help keep kids away from developing negative age stereotypes

Washington, Aug 21 (ANI): The affectionate bond between kids and their grandmothers is well known. And now, a new study has revealed that frequent visits to nana’s place could keep toddlers away from developing negative old age stereotypes.

A variety of negative stereotypes are attributed to the elderly such as they are considered forgetful, hard-of-hearing, absent-minded and confused.

Lead researcher Sheree Kwong See from University of Alberta has identified that those stereotypes exist in some children at the age two and three, which could adversely affect them when they are older.

“We’ve been able to show really early on that kids, when they’re just starting to talk, have established beliefs about older people,” said Kwong See.

“We’re seeing what we could call ageism by about age three,” she added.

Kwong See and fellow researcher Elena Nicoladis measured the reactions of young children after being quizzed on vocabulary words by either an older or younger adult.

It showed that children who had less exposure to older adults had a stronger language bias against the older person than those who had more exposure to older people.

“If you are interacting with ‘nana’ more frequently, you’ll start to see that she’s a pretty good teacher of words even though she’s old,” said Kwong See.

“When you have little contact dominant negative cultural stereotypes emerge. You think an older person isn’t as alert or in-the-know as a young person and maybe is not as good a teacher,” she added.

However, Kwong See warns that frantic trips to grandmother’s house to curb the bias, is not the sole factor.

“They’re getting negative images of aging from cartoons, from their story books, from watching how other people interact with seniors,” she said.

“But, they’re also starting to pick up some of the positive images as well if they get lots of good interactions,” she added.

The study is published in the journal Educational Gerontology. (ANI)

People with HIV, TB, malaria should not rely on homeopathy, says WHO

London, Aug 21 (ANI): The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned people with HIV, TB and malaria to stay away from the use of homeopathic medicines.

The WHO’s statement came following concerns of young researchers who fear that encouraging the use of homeopathy in developing countries could risk people’s lives.

A group called Voice of Young Science Network, which is part of the charity Sense About Science, had also campaigned for “evidence-based” care.he BBC quoted Dr Mario Raviglione, director, Stop TB department, WHO, as saying: “Our evidence-based WHO TB treatment/management guidelines, as well as the International Standards of Tuberculosis Care do not recommend use of homeopathy.”

Speaking on the use of Homeopathy to treat diarrhoea in children, a spokesman for the WHO department of child and adolescent health and development said: “We have found no evidence to date that homeopathy would bring any benefit.

“Homeopathy does not focus on the treatment and prevention of dehydration – in total contradiction with the scientific basis and our recommendations for the management of diarrhoea.”

Medics from the UK and Africa had written to the WHO in June asking the body to discourage the use of homeopathic treatment. They had said: “We are calling on the WHO to condemn the promotion of homeopathy for treating TB, infant diarrhoea, influenza, malaria and HIV.

“Homeopathy does not protect people from, or treat, these diseases.

“Those of us working with the most rural and impoverished people of the world already struggle to deliver the medical help that is needed.

“When homeopathy stands in place of effective treatment, lives are lost.”

Dr Robert Hagan, a biomolecular science researcher at the University of St Andrews and a member of Voice of Young Science Network, as saying: “We need governments around the world to recognise the dangers of promoting homeopathy for life-threatening illnesses.

“We hope that by raising awareness of the WHO’s position on homeopathy we will be supporting those people who are taking a stand against these potentially disastrous practices.”

Dr Nick Beeching, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said: “Infections such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis all have a high mortality rate but can usually be controlled or cured by a variety of proven treatments, for which there is ample experience and scientific trial data.

“There is no objective evidence that homeopathy has any effect on these infections, and I think it is irresponsible for a healthcare worker to promote the use of homeopathy in place of proven treatment for any life-threatening illness.” (ANI)

Govt. hikes paddy minimum support price by Rs 100; pulses by Rs.240 per quintal(Lead:Hikes)

New Delhi, Aug.20 (ANI): The Government on Thursday announced a big increase in the minimum support price of the kharif crop.

The minimum support price (MSP) for the common variety of paddy has been hiked by 100 rupees per quintal, while for pulses, the MSP has been raised by 100 rupees per quintal.

Addressing reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Home Minister P Chidambaram announced the hike in MSP of paddy, some pulses and sesame.

“Reserves of paddy, rice and wheat are large enough to take care of 30 months requirement. Therefore at this stage I think we should take it step by step. At this stage we are offering very attractive MSP,” said Chidambaram.

“Let’s see how the production turns out to be. Let’s see how the procurement turns out to be. This is an evolving situation and the government will respond according to the needs of an evolving situation,” he added.

The Centre also allowed states to borrow up to an additional 21,000 crore rupees in the current fiscal to deal with the economic slowdown.

The new guidelines will enable states to borrow up to 4 per cent of their Gross State Domestic Product against 3.5 per cent earlier. (ANI)

Bird flu virus strain leaves survivors at increased Parkinson’s disease risk

Washington, August 20 (ANI): An animal study conducted by experts at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has suggested that at least one strain of the H5N1 avian influenza virus leaves survivors at significantly increased risk for Parkinson’s disease, and possibly other neurological problems later in life.

In their study report, the researchers write that mice that survived infection with an H5N1 flu strain were found to be more likely than uninfected mice to develop brain changes associated with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s involve loss of brain cells crucial to a variety of tasks, including movement, memory and intellectual functioning.

The researchers say that their study has shown that the H5N1 flu strain causes a 17 percent loss of the same neurons lost in Parkinson’s as well as accumulation in certain brain cells of a protein implicated in both diseases.

“This avian flu strain does not directly cause Parkinson’s disease, but it does make you more susceptible,” said Dr. Richard Smeyne, associate member in St. Jude Developmental Neurobiology.

“Around age 40, people start to get a decline in brain cells. Most people die before they lose enough neurons to get Parkinson’s. But we believe this H5N1 infection changes the curve. It makes the brain more sensitive to another hit, possibly involving other environmental toxins,” Smeyne added.

Smeyne revealed that the study focused on a single strain of the H5N1 flu virus, the A/Vietnam/1203/04 strain, and that the threat posed by other viruses, including the current H1N1 pandemic flu virus, was still being studied.

During the study, the researchers infected some mice with an H5N1 flu strain isolated in 2004 from a patient in Vietnam, which is still considered to be the most virulent of the avian flu viruses.

About two-thirds of the mice developed flu symptoms, primarily weight loss. After three weeks, there was no evidence of H5N1 in the nervous systems of the mice that survived.

However, the inflammation triggered by the infection within the brain continued for months, and it was found to be quite similar to inflammation associated with inherited forms of Parkinson’s.

Although the tremor and movement problems disappeared as flu symptoms eased, the researchers reported that 60 days later, mice had lost roughly 17 percent of dopamine-producing cells in SNpc, a structure found in the midbrain.

They also found evidence that the avian flu infection led to over-production of a protein found in the brain cells of individuals with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

“The virus activates this protein,” Smeyne said.

The study has been reported in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

Worm study provides new model to study invasive cancer

Washington, August 18 (ANI): A single cell’s behaviour during the development of the reproductive tract in the C. elegans worm is providing scientists with significant insights into cancer’s deadly ability to put down roots in new tissues after spreading throughout the body, say researchers.

David Sherwood, a Duke University biologist, has spent several years studying the mechanics of a single cell in the developing body of the worm.

He points out that it is called the anchor cell, and one of its jobs is to connect the developing animal’s uterus with its vulva, a crucial step in ensuring the worm’s fertility.

To establish this slender connection, the anchor cell must work its way through two layers of basement membrane, a dense, sheet-like barrier structure lining most tissues, including the epithelial cells in humans that are the hosts of many cancers.

Writing about their study in the journal Developmental Cell, Sherwood has described how the nematode’s anchor cell uses a series of molecular signals to create a stretched opening in the membrane.

He and his colleagues believe that the process is essentially the same as the one that cancer cells use to invade new tissues.

The researchers say that, together, these molecules-called integrin and netrin-may be a valuable new target in the efforts to halt cancer’s spread via metastasis.

“Metastasis accounts for most of cancer’s lethality. It’s the most essential step in cancer progression, but it’s the least understood,” said Sherwood, who is an assistant professor of biology at Duke.

To push a hole through the basement membranes, the worm’s anchor cell forms several lancet-like points, called puncta. They look remarkably like a structure seen in cancer cells called invadopodia that are believed to have the same function, but modeling this part of metastasis in the lab has proven impossible so far because nobody has figured out how to make a basement membrane in a dish.

Sherwood says that the abundant, cheap, rapidly multiplying worms and their basement membranes enabled his team to do a variety of experiments to narrow down the genes and molecular signals in play.

He said that with the aid of newly developed imaging technologies, he and his colleagues could actually watch as the cell invasion occurs.

“In vivo, you’re dealing with individual cancer cells moving around the body. It is very hard to watch that. And then asking the cancer cell ‘what genes are you using to do that?’ is even more difficult,” Sherwood said.

He says that the latest set of findings suggest that integrin helps the anchor cell orient itself toward the basement membranes, and that it also directs netrin to build the puncta in the proper place to ease an opening through.

The researcher says that what is even more interesting about the two molecules it that they are outside the cell, which makes them easier to target with possible drug therapy.

Sherwood says that there are about 100 genes that seem to prevent cell invasion, and that his team is searching for those that might be the most effective.

He has revealed that the group is presently examining how a gene called SPARC, known to be over-active in cancer cells, helps the anchor cells invade.

He said they would like to know how the cell turns on “invasiveness” to understand the best way to interrupt this potentially lethal behaviour. (ANI)

Sensory ‘sweet-tooth’ to make ‘E-tongue’ more human-like

Washington, Aug 18 (ANI): Scientists in Illinois have given sweet-tooth a “sensory” makeover by developing a small, inexpensive, lab-on-a-chip sensor that quickly and accurately identifies sweetness – an advancement that provides a new approach to an effective “electronic tongue”.

The scientific breakthrough can identify with 100 percent accuracy the full sweep of natural and artificial sweet substances, including 14 common sweeteners, using easy-to-read color markers.

The sensory “sweet-tooth” shows special promise as a simple quality control test that food processors can use to ensure that soda pop, beer, and other beverages taste great, – with a consistent, predictable flavor.

The study has been described at the American Chemical Society’s 238th National Meeting.

The new sensor, which is about the size of a business card, can also identify sweeteners used in solid foods such as cakes, cookies, and chewing gum.

In the future, doctors and scientists could use modified versions of the sensor for a wide variety of other chemical-sensing applications ranging from monitoring blood glucose levels in people with diabetes to identifying toxic substances in the environment, the researchers say.

“We take things that smell or taste and convert their chemical properties into a visual image,” says study leader Kenneth Suslick, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“This is the first practical “electronic tongue” sensor that you can simply dip into a sample and identify the source of sweetness based on its color,” the researchers added.

The research team has spent a decade developing “colorimetric sensor arrays” that may fit the bill. The “lab-on-a-chip” consists of a tough, glass-like container with 16 to 36 tiny printed dye spots, each the diameter of a pencil lead. The chemicals in each spot react with sweet substances in a way that produces a color change. The colors vary with the type of sweetener present, and their intensity varies with the amount of sweetener.

The sensor identified 14 different natural and artificial sweeteners, including sucrose (table sugar), xylitol (used in sugarless chewing gum), sorbitol, aspartame, and saccharin with 100 percent accuracy in 80 different trials. (ANI)

San Mateo County Fair | San Mateo County Fair 2009 | 2009 San Mateo County Fair | San Mateo County 2009 Fair | San Mateo County Fair celebrate its 75th anniversary

San Mateo County Fair | San Mateo County Fair 2009 | 2009 San Mateo County Fair | San Mateo County 2009 Fair | San Mateo County Fair celebrate its 75th anniversary

The San Mateo County Fair celebrate its 75th anniversary runs from Aug. 14-23 with first fireworks show in several years, lot of  very good entertainment at affordable prices and many more variety.

Fair is certain to face challenges this year, it will be the first fair without Bay Meadows, which before closing had traditionally hosted a horse racing meet that corresponded with the fair.

Venue: San Mateo County Fair,  San Mateo County Event Center, 2495 S. Delaware Ave. in     San Mateo.

Tickets: $10 adult ($7.50 presale), $8 juniors/seniors ($6 presale), $30 carnival wristband ($20 presale), $8 parking.

Hours of Operation: Fair opens at noon each day, closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Special days: Kids day (Monday), Senior’s Day (Tuesday), Green Transportation Day (Thursday), Food Bank Day (Aug. 21).

Presale tickets:, at Event Center or San Mateo Credit Union branches.
Source: San Mateo County Event Center.