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David Bricker
IU Media Relations
brickerd@indiana.edu
812-856-9035

Last modified: Friday, June 3, 2005

Indiana Science Monthly flag











Vol. 2, no. 9
June 3, 2005


Indiana Science Monthly is a selection of recent news stories about Indiana University scientists and their research. Comments or questions about this newsletter may be directed to David Bricker, Office of Media Relations (812-856-9035 or brickerd@indiana.edu).

May science news:
* Mapping the Internet -- and keeping it private
* Reporters ask IU biologist, "How do our gardens grow?"
* More evolution of the human female orgasm


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May science news
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"Israeli Controversy Blossoms Over Protecting Gilboa Iris" (BIOLOGY)
Science
Vol. 308, iss. 5726
May 27, 2005

EXCERPT: Every March, tourists clog the narrow road snaking up this mountain to enjoy the spectacular blooming of the purple Gilboa iris. But this year the rare flower, a national icon unique to the ridge, has also become a major bone of contention between settlers of a proposed eco-friendly town and Israeli scientists who call the settlement "an ecological crime." The fight is part of a larger battle over preserving open spaces in a country where environmental concerns often take a back seat to an Israeli imperative to build on the ancient land.

* Indiana University Bloomington post-doctoral fellow Yuval Sapir expresses concern to Science magazine reporter Eli Kintisch that new development within the irises' limited range will have a detrimental effect on their genetic diversity. The irises cannot self-pollinate.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/308/5726/1251
(May require a subscription)

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"Encouraging Results for Second-Generation Antiangiogenesis Drugs" (MEDICINE)
Science
Vol. 308, iss. 5726
May 27, 2005

EXCERPT: The development of cancer drugs that stifle tumor growth by blocking the formation of the blood vessels they need seems to have turned the corner. Early last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first cancer drug, an antibody called Avastin, that is specifically designed to prevent this tumor angiogenesis, as the new blood vessel growth is called. Avastin may soon have company, if presentations last week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Orlando, Florida, are any indication.

* A recent study by IU School of Medicine oncologist Kathy Miller showed that in a small population of breast cancer patients for whom chemotherapy didn't work, 14 percent subsequently responded (positively) to the drug Sutent. Miller tells Science magazine reporter Jean Marx, "It doesn't sound like much, but in this group of heavily pretreated patients, this is very good."

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/308/5726/1248
(May require a subscription)

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"Arizona Getting $6.6M Night Sky Camera" (ASTRONOMY)
Associated Press
May 27, 2005

EXCERPT: A $6.6 million pixel (sic) camera for taking detailed research photographs of the night sky is scheduled to be built for the Kitt Peak National Observatory with help from the University of Wisconsin.

* The WIYN project is a collaboration of scientists at Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University Bloomington, Yale University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories. The 6-gigapixel, 2,000-pound digital camera will cost about $6.6 million.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/27/AR2005052700819.html

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"An Explanation for Auxin, the Plant-Growth Hormone" (BIOLOGY)
National Public Radio
May 25, 2005

EXCERPT: New research appears to answer an old question about how the remarkable hormone Auxin works. Auxin is a sort of super-hormone that is the key to making plants grow.

* Two papers published simultaneously in Nature last week identified the protein TIR1 as a receptor for the plant growth hormone auxin. That in itself would be cause for celebration -- plant biologists have been looking for auxin's receptor for decades. But IUB biologist Mark Estelle and colleagues also found that TIR1 acts like no other hormone receptor encountered in either plants or animals. Estelle tells NPR's Joe Palca, "Those of us who work in plants always appreciate it when we discover something before the animal people do." Hear that, animal people? That's a challenge.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4666858
(Requires Real or Windows Media software)

IU press release:
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/2158.html

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"New software asks, but it doesn't tell" (INFORMATICS)
New York Times
May 24, 2005

EXCERPT: IBM was prepared on Tuesday to introduce security and privacy software intended to allow companies to share and compare information anonymously with other companies or government agencies.

* In evaluating the software, IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research Fred Cate told the New York Times' Steve Lohr, "There is real promise here... But we'll have to see how well it works in all kinds of settings." Cate is also a Professor of Law and an Adjunct Professor of Informatics (Bloomington).

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/3195266

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"The Hunt for Stealth Galaxies" (ASTRONOMY)
Science
Vol. 308, iss. 5725
May 20, 2005

EXCERPT: If grand spiral galaxies are the photogenic pinups of astronomy, then the faint smudges of stars called dwarf galaxies are the bit players that few fans will recognize. Telescopes can barely see them, and no one knows how many dwarfs inhabit the bleak gulfs between galaxies like the Milky Way and Andromeda. But just as minor actors can steal a scene, dwarf galaxies are earning respect from astronomers who take time to stare away from the lights.

* IUB astronomer Liese van Zee found a dwarf galaxy quite by accident while using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico. UGC 5288, as it's called, is "a huge amount of hydrogen, but it's spread out like a pancake," Liese tells Science magazine reporter Robert Irion.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/308/5725/1104
(May require a subscription)

IU press release:
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/1801.html

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"Intelligent design or intellectual laziness?" (BIOLOGY)
Nature
Vol. 308, iss. 5725
May 19, 2005

EXCERPT: Much of the concern over ID has focused on veiled attempts to inject religion into public education. Sheltered within the confines of academia, most biologists find it hard to believe that the slain need to be slain again. Those in the trenches -- school boards, school biology teachers and their national representatives -- often don't know how to respond, in part because they themselves never really achieved a deep understanding of evolutionary biology at college.

* In his Correspondence to Nature readers, IUB biologist Michael Lynch writes, "Two factors have facilitated the promotion of ID. First, IDers like to portray evolution as being built entirely on an edifice of Darwinian natural selection. This caricature of evolutionary biology is not too surprising. Most molecular, cell and developmental biologists subscribe to the same creed, as do many popular science writers."

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v435/n7040/full/435276b.html

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"A Critic Takes On the Logic of Female Orgasm" (BIOLOGY/HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE)
New York Times
May 18, 2005

EXCERPT: Evolutionary scientists have never had difficulty explaining the male orgasm, closely tied as it is to reproduction... But the Darwinian logic behind the female orgasm has remained elusive. Women can have sexual intercourse and even become pregnant -- doing their part for the perpetuation of the species -- without experiencing orgasm. So what is its evolutionary purpose?

* IUB History and Philosophy of Science Professor Elisabeth Lloyd published a book last month, The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution, which garnered reporter interest. In the book, Lloyd argues that while the human female orgasm is closely tied to the evolution of the male orgasm, there is no compelling evidence to suggest the female orgasm has adaptive significance by itself. Lloyd tells New York Times reporter Dinitia Smith, the human female orgasm "is for fun."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/17/science/17orga.html
(Access to full article requires a fee)

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"2 Books Explore the Sins of Anthropologists Past and Present" (ANTHROPOLOGY)
Chronicle of Higher Education
Vol. 51, Iss. 36
May 13, 2005

EXCERPT: ... Some related moral dilemmas are chewed over in Biological Anthropology and Ethics: From Repatriation to Genetic Identity (State University of New York Press), a collection edited by Trudy R. Turner, a professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee... Some of the most contentious debates, however, concern the ground rules for working with human remains. Ever since 1990, when Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or Nagpra, anthropologists have argued about how the law's provisions should be understood and enforced.

* IUB Assistant Professor of Anthropology Frederika A. Kaestle is one of the book's contributors. She tells Chronicle reporter David Glenn, "I won't work with remains that were found on private land. Because that material isn't covered under Nagpra it's a little too iffy for me ethically."

http://chronicle.com/prm/weekly/v51/i36/36a01701.htm
(May require a subscription)

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"Data-Bots Chart the Internet" (INFORMATICS)
Science
Vol. 308, iss. 5723
May 6, 2005

EXCERPT: Anyone who has tried to study the twists and turns in the data superhighway knows the problem: It is difficult even to get a decent map of the Internet. Because it grew up in a haphazard fashion with no structure imposed, no one knows how the myriad telephone lines and satellite links weave together its more than 300,000,000 computers. Today's best maps offer a badly distorted picture, incomplete and biased by a U.S. viewpoint, hampering computer scientists' efforts to design software that would make the Internet more stable and less prone to attack. But a new mapping effort may succeed where others have failed.

* To make matters worse, Science magazine reporter Mark Buchanan seems not to have counted cell phones and wireless-equipped PDAs in that 300 million number. IU Informatics (Bloomington) Professor and Internet topologist Alessandro Vespignani tells Buchanan, "If you send probes from only a few points, you naturally get a very partial point of view."

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/308/5723/813
(May require a subscription)

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* * * * Do you have an important and/or interesting paper in press? A major event or presentation coming up? Please contact IU Office of Media Relations science writers David Bricker at 812-856-9035, brickerd@indiana.edu, or Hal Kibbey at 812-855-0074, hkibbey@indiana.edu.

Indiana Science Monthly is produced for internal use only. If you have received this eMail in error, or do not wish not to receive this monthly eMail, or if you have a news item for the next edition of ISM, please contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035, brickerd@indiana.edu.