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April 2005
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June 2005

Wisconsin Power Plant Is Called A Setback for the Environment

Wisconsin Power Plant Is Called A Setback for the Environment
Utility Denies That Technology It Plans to Use Is Outdated

By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 29, 2005; Page A03

RACINE, Wis. -- The tall towers of a coal-fired power plant on the shores of Lake Michigan represent a new front in a national struggle over energy technology and the environmental performance of expanding energy companies.

So far, in the view of environmental activists, water and air quality are being cheated.

The battle here concerns a proposal to double the capacity of the Oak Creek power plant, located south of Milwaukee. Opponents say the new twin 600-megawatt generators would use unacceptably old technology, spilling excessive pollution into the air and disturbing aquatic life by sucking billions of gallons of lake water each week into its cooling pipes.

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Scientists of tiny tech aim for big grants

Scientists of tiny tech aim for big grants
00:00 am 5/31/05
Jason Stein Wisconsin State Journal

A UW-Madison center focused on the science of the very small is going after big money.

Local professors are going to Washington, D.C., this week to compete for a federal grant for research into the emerging fields of nanotechnology, said Juan De Pablo, director of UW- Madison's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. The group is asking the National Science Foundation for $18 million over six years.

The university center is one of 25 finalists from around the country vying for a dozen or more federal grants, which are expected to be announced sometime this summer, De Pablo said.

In nanotechnology, scientists work with materials at the scale of mere atoms or molecules to make objects with new properties, such as fabrics that resist food and drink stains.

The UW-Madison center, which has already received two similar grants over the last decade, is working on projects that could lead to smaller and faster computer circuitry and sensors that could detect viruses or toxins from a bio-terrorist attack, De Pablo said. There are 33 faculty and 49 graduate students working with the center, he said.

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Hacker Hunters

Hacker Hunters
An elite force takes on the dark side of computing

In an unmarked building in downtown Washington, Brian K. Nagel and 15 other Secret Service agents manned a high-tech command center, poised for the largest-ever roundup of a cybercrime gang. A huge map of the U.S., spread across 12 digital screens, gave them a view of their prey, from Arizona to New Jersey. It was Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004, and Operation Firewall was about to be unleashed. The target: the ShadowCrew, a gang whose members were schooled in identity theft, bank account pillage, and the fencing of ill-gotten wares on the Web, police say. For months, agents had been watching their every move through a clandestine gateway into their Web site, shadowcrew.com. To ensure the suspects were at home, a gang member-turned-informant had pressed his pals to go online for a group meeting.

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Fruit Fly Cells Involved in Egg Development Stimulated to Revert to Stem Cells

Scientists at Carnegie’s Department of Embryology in Baltimore have found that certain cells involved in egg development in the fruit fly can be stimulated to revert to fully functioning stem cells. “This finding could lead to new sources of stem cells from other tissues and other animals,” said Allan Spradling, director of the department and coauthor of the study published in the March 14 online issue of Nature.

The research conducted by Spradling and colleague Toshie Kai involved so called germline stem cells of the female fruit fly. These cells are precursors to eggs and begin their journey as stem cells living in a special environment called a niche. In the niche, a stem cell splits into two daughter cells, one of which leaves the niche to begin its transformation. Through a series of four divisions a cluster of 16 cells forms—an immature egg with 15 accompanying nurse cells. The researchers discovered that the cells in clusters of 4 and 8 cells can still return to the stem-cell state under appropriate conditions. Moreover, the reverted stem cells worked as well as normal stem cells. Flies with only reverted stem cells were as fertile as normal flies throughout adult life.

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J&J sees 10-13 new drugs approved by 2007

J&J sees 10-13 new drugs approved by 2007
Thursday May 26, 2:44 pm ET
By Toni Clarke and Julie Steenhuysen


NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ - News) , which like other major drugmakers faces a growing number of patent expirations, on Thursday said it plans to file and receive marketing approval for 10 to 13 new drug compounds by 2007.

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Court Hears Falwell Web Domain Arguments

Court Hears Falwell Web Domain Arguments
Friday, May 27, 2005 - 01:20 AM

By LARRY O´DELL
Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va.
A Web site critical of the Rev. Jerry Falwell´s views on gays contains constitutionally protected, noncommercial speech and should be allowed to keep its name _ a common misspelling for the conservative evangelist, a lawyer for the site owner argued Thursday.

Christopher Lamparello of New York City, who operates fallwell.com, took his case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to reverse a federal judge´s ruling that he violated federal trademark law.

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'Homemade' Gene Expression Technology Unreliable

Study: 'Homemade' Gene Expression Technology Unreliable (May 26, 2005)

OHSU scientist participates in study supporting wider use of commercial microarrays

PORTLAND, Ore. - Technology for analyzing gene expression must be standardized among laboratories and across platforms around the world to support this age of human genome exploration, an Oregon Health & Science University researcher says.

Otherwise, scientists using DNA microarrays, also known as gene chips, risk having their research results called into question, said Peter Spencer, Ph.D., professor of neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Spencer, director of the OHSU Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, co-authored with several OHSU colleagues one of three articles about microarrays appearing this month in the journal Nature Methods. They show that geographically separated multi-investigator teams adopting common commercial, rather than homemade, microarray platforms and common sets of procedures are able to generate comparable data.

"The important point of the three papers is that with contemporary microarray platforms, we have a relatively reliable method with which to assess gene expression, we can do so reproducibly within an individual laboratory, and we can be confident that a similar result would be obtained if the experiment is repeated elsewhere," Spencer said.

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Israel allows sex selection of embryos for non-medical reasons

Israel allows sex selection of embryos for non-medical reasons
Jerusalem Judy Siegel-Itzkovich

Israeli parents who have at least four children of the same sex and want one of the other sex can now apply to a health ministry committee for approval of preimplantation genetic diagnosis at their own expense.

Professor Avi Yisraeli, director general of the health ministry, who issued the directive on the recommendation of experts on bioethics, said the new seven member body would approve sex selection of embryos for social reasons only in very unusual cases.

Except for one case officially approved by the ministry, all procedures done at Israeli hospitals for preimplantation genetic diagnosis have, until now, involved a family history indicating a high risk of serious genetic disorders. Such disorders include Tay-Sachs disease and familial dysautonomia (both of which occur mostly in Jews), as well as thalassaemia, myotonic dystrophy, neurofibromatosis, fragile X syndrome, haemophilia, and Marfan’s syndrome.

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Abbott drug OK seen as Bone Care boost

Abbott drug OK seen as Bone Care boost

The Capital Times
May 27, 2005

As expected, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given Abbott Laboratories Inc. approval to sell a capsule form of its injectable drug Zemplar for treating a complication of chronic kidney disease.

Zemplar is a synthetic version of vitamin D that counteracts secondary hyperparathyroidism, or SHPT, a condition that damages bones and vital organs.

Abbott has been selling an injectable form of Zemplar for the 300,000 to 400,000 patients with chronic kidney disease who require dialysis. The oral form is for the much larger market of about 8 million kidney disease patients who do not yet require dialysis.

Middleton-based Bone Care International's Hectorol drug is approved for both markets, and the company sees giant Abbott's marketing muscle as an aid in opening up the pre-dialysis market.


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