Brief Points, July 2005



  • Costly recall: when starved, fruit flies that form long-term memories die 19 percent sooner than those that do not, evidently because of the protein synthesis required in creating those memories.
    Science, May 20
  • Airlines low on air: 54 percent of passengers experience a 6 percent oxygen drop in their bodies, a point at which some physicians prescribe extra oxygen. The decline, coupled with immobility and other cabin factors, could contribute to illness.
    Anaesthesia, May
  • Radical scrubbing: the atmosphere may naturally contain 20 percent more hydroxyl radicals than previously thought. These molecules chemically break down hydrocarbon pollutants.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, May 24
  • Lenses reveal details limited by the wavelength of light shining on an object. A superlens, made from a thin layer of silver, picked up details one-sixth the wavelength, thanks to the material's negative index of refraction.
    Science, April 22

This article was originally published with the title "Brief Points."

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