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See Inside August 2009

In Brief, August 2009

SKIN SO BACTERIAL

Skin hosts many more bacteria than previously thought. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s new Human Microbiome Project sequenced genes from skin samples from healthy volunteers and found bacteria that hailed from 19 different phyla and 205 genera and that possessed more than 112,000 individual gene sequences. Previous studies of skin cultures supposed that just one type of bacteria, Staphylococcus, was the main resident. The scientists aim to establish a bacterial baseline so as to better treat skin diseases, such as acne or eczema, where bacterial populations might be out of balance. —Katherine Harmon

CARIBOU HUNTING IN LAKE HURON

The bottom of Lake Huron may have once been a rich hunting site for Paleo- Indians. The area in the lake between modern-day Presque Isle, Mich., and Point Clark, Ontario, was once a land bridge some 7,500 to 10,000 years ago. Using sonar and remote-operated vehicles, researchers have found traces of what appear to be stone structures, hunting blinds, dwelling sites and caribou drive lanes hidden under the lake's mussels and algae. The discovery overturns past presumptions that most sites are lost after such a long period underwater, and intact artifacts and ancient landscapes could still be preserved at the lake bottom. —Katherine Harmon

LIQUID FLOWING UP

Researchers at the University of Rochester have devised a way to make a roomtemperature liquid flow against gravity. Using a high-intensity laser, they etched tiny channels in a metal plate. By means of evaporation and capillary action, methanol was pulled up the channels at a speed that the scientists say is unprecedented, even when the plate was held vertically. Such passive transport of fluids, described in the June 2 Applied Physics Letters, could find use in microfluidics devices, which depend on the movement of minute amounts of liquid. —John Matson

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

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