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A physics professor at Vanderbilt University, embarrassed that 96 percent of the matter and energy in the universe is completely unknown, suggested that both dark matter, which was postulated in an attempt to explain why the universe holds together, and dark energy, which was posited to explain why the universe continues to expand, are really two sides of the same unknown force, which he calls kinetic-energy-driven quintessence, or k-essence. Stephen Hawking, the British physicist, claimed to have solved the black hole information paradox. New simulations suggested that the matter and energy jets that spew out of some black holes are caused by their spin. Russian and American scientists concluded that weak gamma-ray bursts are somewhat common, and astronomers speculated that solar systems with small planets like ours may be more unusual than people think. Other astronomers found evidence of smaller planets around a nearby star. Japanese researchers tested two solar sails in space, and geobiologists said that life could exist on Venus. Physicists at the University of Vienna succeeded in teleporting a quantum state from one photon to another, 600 meters across the Danube River; the experiment relied on what Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance." A group of scientists claimed that global warming is caused by sunspots, which prevent some cosmic rays from reaching Earth. People born in January and February, a study found, are at greatest risk of getting brain cancer, while those born in July and August are least likely to develop it. A twin delivered two sets of twins on her birthday.

It was reported that HIV has crossed the species barrier from apes to humans at least seven times and that a new strain of HIV, which is undetectable by normal HIV tests, has appeared in Cameroon. Scientists said that eating bush meat is the most likely cause, and earlier this year three bush-meat hunters came down with simian foamy virus. A new report concluded that deaths from brain diseases such as Aizheimer's, Parkinson's, and motor neuron disease have tripled in the last twenty years; the report's authors argued that chemical pollution was to blame. Korean researchers found that leukemia deaths are 70 percent higher among people who live near AM radio broadcasting towers. Children living next to gas stations, a French study found, are four times more likely to develop the disease. A virulent strain of avian flu was detected in Chinese pigs. A dentist in Texas died after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria called vibrio vulnificus. Autism was up in Maryland, and scientists said that alcohol makes your brain work better. Prozac was found in Britain's water supply.

Scientists said that they had found a physical cause for Chronic Fatigxle Syndrome; the researchers found evidence that the condition is an immune-system disorder resulting from stress. Other researchers concluded that fatigue is all in the mind. Spanish researchers discovered that a mother's obesity can cause birth defects, and a study found that children who watch two hours of TV a night risk becoming fat smokers with high cholesterol. The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children, and a study found that women who believe they will live a long time are more likely to give birth to sons; previous research has suggested that malnourished women are more likely to have daughters. Scientists found the reason why mouse mothers are so brave, and it was announced that female blue tits are better mothers when their mates are attractive. The European Court of Human Rights declined to extend full human rights to fetuses, the French parliament banned human cloning, and British researchers were granted a license to clone human stem cells. Researchers concluded that people with high social status live longer and that happy married women have healthier hearts than lonely unhappy women. Scientists found that deceptive primates have the biggest brains.
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Publication:Harper's Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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