SciTech Briefs

Ancient Roman face cream found

Archaeologists in London have discovered a small bottle of what they believe to be facial cream that dates back to the second century BCE. At the time, London was under the control of the Roman Empire. Scientists said that the bottle, which was buried deep in wet mud and covered by wooden planks, was in excellent condition. An analytical chemist who studied the vial?s contents called it ?quite a complicated little mixture.?

Source: CNN

California to fund stem cell research

Citizens of California voted in a statewide referendum last week to borrow $3 billion to fund stem cell research for the next decade. The state plans to spend the money in areas that the federal government cannot fund. The state hopes to lure top scientists and companies to start up or relocate there, and existing stem cell researchers in other states are hopeful of increased spillover interest and funding.

Source: Scientific American

IBM computer beats speed record

Supercomputing experts expect IBM?s Blue Gene/L supercomputer to dethrone the NEC Earth Simulator as the world?s fastest supercomputer in under a week, when the official list of the 500 fastest computers in the world is published. Blue Gene, under assembly at the Department of Energy?s Lawrence Livermore National Labs, has run the industry standard Linpack test at over 70 teraflops (trillion floating-point operations per second), twice the speed of Earth Simulator. The Blue Gene/L runs at only a tenth of the power of the full version, to be completed at Lawrence Livermore in 2005.

Source: BBC

Cornell guides Mars rovers

Science planning for NASA?s Mars rovers has transferred to Cornell University from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. Direct operation of the rovers remains at JPL. Originally, the rovers were only to complete 90-day missions, but they have exceeded NASA?s durability expectations and have had their missions extended twice. The Opportunity rover has now been on Mars for more than 280 days; Spirit has been there for more than 300. Team members at Cornell and JPL will coordinate via frequent phone and computer meetings.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal

MPAA to sue P2P movie sharers

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has announced plans to sue 200 people who have shared movies illegally over the Internet, evoking memories of the Recording Industry Association of America?s similar suits against people who illegally share music online. MPAA President Dan Glickman says that the movie industry has not suffered the same degree of damage as the music industry has, but that the suits are a preemptive move. The suits will be filed beginning Nov. 16 and are mostly against ?John Does,? since the industry does not know the identities of the file sharers. Prior to the wave of prosecution, the MPAA launched information campaigns to let the public know that file sharing is illegal.

Source: The Washington Post

Compiled by
Kevin Chang