Bangladesh Protects Against the Sea, China Promotes Creativity
This week: Researchers have identified the form of hemophilia that Queen Victoria passed on to European royal families. A census of autistic adults offers intriguing results. Astronomers find a new, giant ring around Saturn. Scientists have created a 3-D model of an asteroid that hit the Earth last year. China’s education system is starting to encourage creative thinking among children. And farmers in Bangladesh protect their farmlands from floods and rising sea levels.
- Scientists Identify “Royal Disease“: Britain’s Queen Victoria passed on a gene for hemophilia, an inherited bleeding disorder that affects mostly males. Her children then passed the gene, by marriage, to other European royal families. Researchers have now identified the type of hemophilia by analyzing DNA samples from the remains Alexandra Romanov–Victoria’s granddaughter–and her five children. The Romanov family was executed during the Bolshevik Revolution, and their remains only recently identified.
- Tamiflu in Japanese Rivers: Researchers have found the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu in Japanese rivers, downstream from sewage treatment plants. Scientists fear that the drug, excreted by people, could promote the evolution of drug-resistant influenza virus in infected waterfowl. And that could ultimately pose a threat to humans.
- Autistic Numbers: England’s National Health Service has found that the percentage of adults with autism is similar to the percentage of children. The finding suggests that, contrary to popular reports, autism rates among children are not rising.
The English study
The U.S. study
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have also conducted a related study, not yet published.
- Saturn’s New Ring: NASA’s infrared Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted yet another around Saturn, and this one is a giant.
BBC story on the finding
More on the Spitzer Space Telescope
Portrait of an Asteroid: Last fall, for the first time ever scientists spotted an asteroid hurtling through space less than a day before it crashed into our planet. The pieces of the asteroid, 2008 TC3 fell in the Nubian desert in northern Sudan. An international team of researchers have been studying those pieces. This week they released a virtual 3-D model of this asteroid. It resembled a loaf of “walnut raisin” bread, they say, and it contained amino acids.
Guest: Peter Jenniskens
- The World’s previous coverage of Peter Jennisken’s work on the asteroid
- Video: Animation of asteroid 2008 TC3 as it would have appeared on approach to Earth on October 6, 2008. Animation by P. Scheirich (Ondrejov Observatory).
Chinese Education System: China wants to raise a new generation of inventors and creative thinkers, but innovation comes not just from infrastructure and investment; it also requires a culture that encourages originality, rewards risk-taking, and tolerates failure.
Report: By The World’s Mary Kay Magistad in Beijing.
Series Page: Created in China
Raising Bangladesh: As the climate warms, rising seas could inundate low-lying countries like Bangladesh. Farmers in that South Asian nation are testing a new technique to protect themselves against coastal flooding. They are intentionally allowing rivers to overflow their banks and deposit silt, raising the level of the land.
Report: By Daniel Grossman in Bangladesh.
Music: Allah Megh De, by Abbasuddin Ahmed.
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