Mar 31, 2006
The BBC reports today that it has been given exclusive “access” to a Belgian trial of a new bird flu vaccine.
400 volunteers signed up to receive either the new vaccine or a placebo in the randomised double-blind trial of the GlaxoSmithkline vaccine. 399 said they were doing it for humanitarian reasons, one admitted it was for the money (300 euros) and the experience. Let’s just hope the “experience” isn’t as interesting as that …
This is an update to my earlier posting about benzene in soda.
Today, March 31, the UK’s Food Standards Agency has published the results of an analytical survey of benzene levels in 150 soft drinks on the market in the UK. They state that contrary to fears, benzene was not detectable in the majority of products sampled.
However, four products did contain trace amounts of benzene that are above World …
Pnicogen. Silent “p” or sounded? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) people just contacted me, wanting a definitive answer.
Partly because they found my Molecule of the Month on the subject at Paul May’s excellent site and suspected I was some kind of expert. Sadly I’m not, so I’ve resorted to asking a couple of contacts who might actually have a clue. I’d like it to be p’nuh but suspect the p should be silent, as in …
The new series of Dr Who, this term starring my wife’s favourite hearthrob of the moment, David Tennant, starts April 15 on the BBC. No one is to tell her though…and I’m not setting the VCR. Bah!
More info on the good Doctor can be found at The Register
Some time ago I wrote about the possibility of a shikimic acid shortage and what science is doing to address the problem. Shikimic acid, you say? The starting material for the influenza drug Tamiflu, of course!
Microbial fermentation seemed to be the way forward, but now chemists have discovered that the seeds of the sweetgum fruit – gumballs – contain significant amounts of shikimic acid. The finding means manufacturers will not have to rely on …
Mar 30, 2006
The strongest magnetic fields in the universe have been simulated on the computer by researchers in the UK and Germany. The fields, which are thousand million million times stronger than the magnetic field of the Earth are produced when two magnetised neutron stars collide. Theory suggests these fields could be the source of violent gamma-ray burst explosions.
Neutron stars have a mass similar to that of our Sun but are just 20 km across, which makes …
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