By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net DR. Baldomero Olivera, a Filipino award-winning scientist who has discovered new drugs for pain, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy in the Philippine wildlife, is set to visit the country next month. Technology Business Incubator and the Brain Gain Network have invited Dr. Olivera to an innovation forum in Filipinas Heritage Library on July 6 to speak on his discoveries of new sources of painkillers, including deadly sea snails, among others. Olivera was recently awarded by the Harvard Foundation as Scientist of the Year following his three decades of work in developing drugs from the animal wildlife, according to a copy of his brief profile. Dr. Olivera has published about 158 works on Conus toxins, and is co-founder of Utah-based startup Cognetix. A summa cum laude graduate from the University of the Philippines in 1960, he eventually took his PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (1966), and did postdoctoral work at Stanford University from 1966-1968. Olivera then returned briefly to the Philippines to become a research associate professor of Biochemistry at the UP College of Medicine before returning to the US to become an associate professor at the University of Utah in 1970. He has held the title of Distinguished Professor of Biology since 1992. His work on conotoxins was eventually picked by Forbes Asia which published it on its July 2007 issue. Olivera and his team made a breakthrough when they discovered a family of biomolecules they collectively called conotoxins from Cone shells found in tropical waters of the Philippines, another online biography said. “As a boy in his native Philippines, Baldomero Olivera spent countless hours scouring for seashells on the beach. Once he’d made his finds, he’d rush home and pore over marine-life books to identify his treasures. He was particularly intrigued with cone snails, beautiful but deadly sea snails that kill their prey with venom. Thirty years later Olivera’s fascination with cone snails would open a new pipeline of drugs for discovery,” the Forbes article, penned by Dennis Posadas, said.
June 2007 Archives
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net THE WORLD Bank on Tuesday approved a total of $57 million for the Philippine government's National Program Support for Environmental and Natural Resources Management (NPSENRMP), as mandated for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). NPSENRMP focuses on assisting the DENR in pursuing its activities to conserve and protect the country's environmental and natural resources. The grant is divided by the WB, which provided $50 million while the remaining $7 million came from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an organization of international governments that funds projects dedicated to conserving and protecting the environment. GEF's grant would be used to carry out collaborative efforts among concerned national government and local government units and community organizations in implementing integrated approaches to watershed and wetlands management. There are three components under the NSENRMP. The first is policy development, planning, monitoring and evaluation. It facilitates the implementation of the DENR's Rationalization Plan by improving the efficiency of the department's organization and operations, as well as strengthening its service delivery functions. The first component also aims to develop various maps for watershed management and land use plans. The maps will be used for comprehensive mine rehabilitation and remediation plans for priority abandoned mine sites. The second component is a collaborative program involving the DENR, LGUs and community organizations for integrated watershed and wetlands management strategies. Watersheds that are facing risk of degradation would be identified and prioritized under the second component. An important aspect of the second component is supporting sustainable livelihood improvement sub-projects that enhance the ecosystems, conserve biodiversity and increase farmers' income. The third component is to strengthen DENR's regulatory and oversight functions and its capacity to implement environmental regulations related to air and water quality, waste management and environmental impact assessment. World Bank Country Director Joachim von Amsberg said in a statement: "more effective environmental management is crucial for growth in sectors such as tourism, mining and modern services. The Philippines is home to a rich diversity of natural resources, yet a lot of these are threatened by environmental degradation and acute pollution problems. We also hope to see the effective use of the GEF's additional funding, which is intended to assist the LGUs successfully carry out their devolved environmental services, with the help of the DENR."
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net A FILIPINO project called the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc (AIDFI) won second prize in the 2007 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, an international contest instituted in the United Kingdom that identifies projects related to efficient energy management at small community levels. AIDFI’s innovative "ram pump" technology won it the Ashden Awards second prize worth 10,000 British pounds (P928,000) for the Education and Welfare category. Ram pumps are devices that draw ground water up to certain heights without the need for external power sources such as diesel pumps or manual pumping. Instead, ram pumps use the kinetic energy of falling water to draw up more water. AIDFI's project consisted of using an innovative ram pump design that allowed hillside villagers to collect water more efficiently. AIDFI's Dutch-born co-founder Auke Idzenga designed a new and cheap model of the ram pump and had 98 of these devices installed in 68 communities in the Philippines. One of the key design features of Idzenga's ram pump is the use of locally-available parts that allowed users to immediately make replacements of damaged or non-operating parts. Idzenga's design allowed 200 to 1, 000 liters of water a day to be continuously lifted up 200 meters vertically and poured into village reservoirs. After AIDFI installed more of the machines as early as the 1990s, more hillside villagers have been able to collect water without risking going down slopes to collect water and carrying these up back to their villages. Likewise, Idzenga’s ram pumps have also allowed villages to irrigate their farms and maintain livestock. More enterprising villages who have the AIDFI ram pumps can also sell their surplus water to nearby communities who also require water. The ram pumps are also cheap to maintain with maintenance cost amounting to just P7,500 to P9,000 per month, or just a fraction of the cost when using diesel powered water pumps. The pumps are also said to last at least 20 years. AIDFI has been pushing for the widespread installation of Idzenga's ram pump design as it costs much lower compared to diesel-powered water pumps, and have parts that are easily replaceable with locally-made materials. The other winners of the 2007 Ashden Awards were announced during the awards ceremony last June 21. More information regarding AIDFI’s winning project can be found on their website.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net THE WORLD Wildlife Fund Philippines and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are working together to save the country's vast coral reefs against the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), which feeds on living coral. Just recently, over 5, 212 crown-of-thorn starfishes were caught off the vicinity of Apo Reef in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, which has been devastated by the predatory animals. Crown-of-thorns are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region and these could grow to 80 centimeters in diameter. These large creatures are so named for their stingy thorns that coat their bodies. When fully grown, a group of crown-of-thorns can decimate in just a few weeks several square meters of coral, which need years to grow. Just one adult crown-of-thorn can consume six square meters of coral in a year. While the crown-of-thorn starfish seems unstoppable, it has natural predators such as the Napoleon Wrasse, Harlequin Shrimp and Giant Triton. However, global fish stocks have been over-harvested since the 1950s -- the World Fish Center estimates that as much as 90 percent of the world's fish stocks have been consumed. The DENR and WWF began removing crown-of-thorns in Sablayan since early this year but previous attempts collected less than 3,000, even with the help of some locals. It was during the last summer season that they saw a boom in crown-of-thorn population, which normally happens during this season. On the other hand, WWF said in a statement that it is not completely removing the crown-of-thorn population but merely controlling their population explosion. WWF CEO Lory Tan said that generally, Philippine reefs are not healthy or are still recovering and crown-of-thorn starfishes help in preserving the population of corals, some of which also grow very fast, which can in itself damage the ecological balance. WWF Asia Pacific energy policy coordinator Raf Senga said the factors contributing to the crown-of-thorn population boom is the increase in ocean temperatures brought about by climate change. "Higher water temperatures cause algal blooms that provide excess food for corals, the primary predator of young larval starfish. Consider the fact that one COT can lay up to 60 million eggs. If just 1 percent survives, then figures will tell us that 600,000 can be generated from a single parent. Alter just a few factors and their survival rate increases -- a difference of just one degree centigrade might have colossal consequences for all Philippines’ reefs. This in addition to coral bleaching caused by abnormally warm sea temperatures that have been observed during El Niño events," Senga warned. The group is calling for volunteers to join their clean up drives for Apo Reef. Announcements and registration for volunteers can be done through the WWF Philippines website.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net THE PHILIPPINES' garbage disposal problem is the main focus of a thesis created by a Filipino scientist who studied in Australia. Dr. Aylen Ramos, one of the recent members of the Department of Science and Technology's Balik Scientist program, is offering to the Philippine government and local government units a software called "Computer-Aided Tool for Sighting Sanitary Landfills" or CATSSAL, which she developed as a thesis for her postgraduate degree in environmental engineering from the Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Ramos, who is currently the laboratory manager in the chemistry department of the New Jersey City University in the US, said that the software she developed aims to assist government planners in locating landfills most applicable for the environment and any nearby communities. She said she has developed and tested the software with the local government units in Batangas and Baguio in the last four years and showed significant effects on garbage disposal. Ramos explained that a landfill is different from an open garbage dump wherein the landfill is properly dug up and closed with soil to avoid air pollution and scavenging while the latter is a large hole with garbage only being dumped into it and not being closed. "My idea was to help the government in effectively finding a place where they could dig a proper landfill that will minimize pollution in the immediate populace," Ramos said. Ramos said that CATSSAL is divided into three modules, the first being an initial exclusionary screening of potential sites based socio-political concerns. The second module focuses on financial evaluation that indicates the cost to government of operating on a particular site. The third is a more expanded public acceptance analysis that indicates how well a landfill may satisfy longterm public concerns. The criteria that will be inputted in CATSSAL will be based on the collected data of a landfill sighting team, usually officers sent out by the LGU concerned, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Ramos reiterated, however, that the CATSSAL is not a one-off solution to identify prospective landfills and is instead a tool to give government officers a way to gauge the effects of a landfill. Ramos, who is returning to the US soon, said that she hopes the government would take notice of the application she developed. "It took me five years to develop this but I'm giving it to the government for free."
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net DESALINATION, or the process of converting seawater into potable water, may not be the best solution in areas with little drinkable water and may perhaps contribute to climate change, according to a review of desalination plants by the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF report "Making Water: Desalination -- Option or Distraction for a Thirsty World?" revealed that desalination of seawater is an expensive, energy-intensive activity that also contributes to the production of greenhouse gases that trap solar heat in the atmosphere. Impacts of desalination include brine build-up, increased greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of prized coastal areas and reduced emphasis on conservation of rivers and wetlands. Many of the areas of most intensive desalination activity also have a history of damaging natural water resources, particularly groundwater. WWF director for Global Freshwater Programme Jamie Pittok identified countries in the Middle East, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, China and Australia that are starting to implement desalination projects to convert seawater into drinkable water. He noted that these are countries that have huge water problems due to their dry seasons or their huge populations. Pittok estimated that 60 per cent of freshwater needs in the Arabian Gulf are met through desalination. Australia, particularly the city of Perth, could be to source one-third of its freshwater through desalination. Likewise, Spain is putting a large proportion, or 22 percent, of its desalinated water to agriculture and holiday resorts in arid areas. Pittok said managing water demand and assessing impacts of any large-scale engineering solution are needed early on to avert potentially irreversible damage to nature, as well as long-term cost overruns that are always paid by citizens. The WWF has been promoting the protection of natural assets such as rivers, floodplains, and wetlands to ensure production of potable water. These natural systems purify and provide water as well as protect against extreme or catastrophic events. “Large desalination plants might rapidly become 'the new dams' and obscure the importance of real conservation of rivers and wetlands. As with any relatively new engineering such as large dams that grew up in the 50s, the negatives become known when it is too late or too expensive to fix. "What we need most is a new attitude to water not unchecked expansion of water engineering," Pittok said.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net DESPITE failed attempts in the past to utilize nuclear power in the Philippines, it may still have a future and could prove useful, safe and cost-effective, according to proponents. During a presentation on June 8, executives from the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) touted the potential of nuclear power, as stated in the Philippine Energy Plan created in the late 1990s. PNRI Director Alumanda De la Rosa said in her report that nuclear technology is one of the energy sources that can be considered for implementation for 2022 to 2025, a three-year window wherein an alternative fuel source can be used for the country’s power requirements. Apart from nuclear power, other alternatives considered were solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal and wind power. “We’re still reviewing all of the options, the advantages of each technology and their disadvantages. So far nuclear power has some good potential. Worldwide, nuclear power and at times hydroelectric power save eight percent in greenhouse emissions annually,” De la Rosa said. Environmental concerns One advantage of nuclear power is that it produces very little carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide elements, or those generally called “greenhouse gases” that destroy the ozone layer. Greenhouse gases are blamed for the increase in global temperature as these trap heat in the atmosphere. These gases are produced largely by burning of fossil fuels but coal-fired and gas-powered plants also contribute to the production of greenhouse gases. De la Rosa said that nearly all of the countries that currently use nuclear energy as power source are compelled to protect the environment by shifting from power plants using fossil fuels to nuclear power. “There are also environmental motivations to using nuclear power because they emit so little greenhouse gases. However, there are also fears about disposing them so we’re currently making studies as to these aspects in using nuclear technology,” De la Rosa said. Philippine plans De la Rosa said the Philippine government had already started considering nuclear technology, beginning with former Philippine President Fidel Ramos creating the Nuclear Power Steering Committee in 1995. Nuclear power was also considered in as part of the Philippine Energy Plan. The most important aspect is developing the manpower to handle nuclear technology. “We have to create more experts; engineers, chemists, physicists, utility professionals and among others. This means working with educational institutions to promote the science of nuclear energy,” De la Rosa said. De la Rosa reminded that there are still many improvements being done for nuclear technology, particularly the type of nuclear power plants that can be built. One such type is called a proliferation-resistant plant, which prevents the creation of fissible material for nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, the idea of using nuclear power also has very sensitive socio-political aspects, particularly with the failure of the utilization of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos. Also, the nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl in Ukraine and Three Mile Island in the US frighten even advocates of alternative energy. “There is still some need to convince people that nuclear power can become a safer choice. We’re stepping up campaigns to tell people about the potential of nuclear power and the assurances that can be made in its use,” De la Rosa said. Part of the plan is to create a regulatory body that will ensure the proper use of nuclear technology and working with the International Atomic Energy Agency in the disposal of nuclear waste. On the other hand, De la Rosa said nuclear power may or may not be used in the Philippines in the future. Nonetheless, she is optimistic that it could work for everyone’s benefit.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net THE DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology (DOST) recently announced the 33 beneficiaries of the Grants for Educational Assistance on Technology and Science Teaching Courses in Mindanao (GREAT-M) Project, which provides college scholarships to poor but deserving high school students in Muslim communities. The annual GREAT-M Project was created to address the problem of poverty among Filipino Muslim and indigenous communities. The new batch of GREAT-M beneficiaries were selected from the pool of high school graduates belonging to the upper five percent of the graduating class who took the Science and Technology Scholarship Examination administered by the DOST's Science and Education Institute (SEI) last December 2006. The qualifying students are from Basilan, Sulu, Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi and South Cotabato. DOST-SEI Director Ester Ogena said nine examinees have qualified to enroll in courses related to physics, chemistry, mathematics and teaching courses. Another 24 have qualified for the technician courses on automotive, computer and information technology, electronics, electrical and industrial automation. The names of the 2007 GREAT-M Project qualifiers are available online at the DOST-SEI scholarship website. The recipients will be taking their courses in identified universities in Mindanao. The students will be entitled to receive tuition and other school fees, book and transportation allowances, monthly stipend, group health and accident insurance, and provision for consumables for the technician qualifiers.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net IN 1994, then US Vice President Al Gore and several high level government officials started the Global Learning and Observations to the Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, whose goal is to encourage scientists worldwide to share their research with students through an online community. It was part of the Earth Day Celebrations for that year. The GLOBE Program's main goal is to provide information in the protection and conservation of the earth's natural resources by encouraging current and future scientists to work together. Its founding members include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation. But what sets the GLOBE Program apart from other scientific communities is that it allows students to directly contact scientists on specific topics in a sort of mentorship system. Likewise, students and their teachers can follow up on projects with their own researches, then upload the information they gather so as to contribute to the pool of knowledge on specific topics. So far, 19,000 schools from 109 countries are part of the GLOBE Program, with 3,700 teachers trained. PSHS in action The Philippines is one of the earliest members of the GLOBE Program, having joined it in 1999. In smaller scale operations, the GLOBE-Philippines activities have so far been able to enlist around 64 schools, nine of which were from Philippine Science High School (PSHS) campuses that are managed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Philippine Science High School office-in-charge Deputy Executive Director Corazon Monica Sabio said that since joining the GLOBE program, PSHS has produced a good amount of scientific research posted on the GLOBE website. It has also trained four GLOBE master trainers, who are the highest ranking GLOBE member per country. "The GLOBE master trainers' responsibilities are to train other teachers on proper scientific approaches, updating information on the GLOBE website, and also ensuring quality control over information," Sabio said. In fact, Sabio added that the Philippines is the core group for other GLOBE master trainers in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Indonesia. There are already a few hundred GLOBE master trainers in the whole of Asia. Sabio said that GLOBE-Philippines member teachers and trainers would be given opportunity to update the website with research materials and local topics. In most cases, students can interact with established scientists who are members of the GLOBE website community. The response time for a query is usually around a few hours to about two days, though Sabio assured that nearly all queries are answered by the professionals, with words of encouragement to the aspiring student scientists. "Our goal is actually produce comprehensive information about the country's biodiversity, to encourage our young people to be part of conservation, not just as scientists but as members of the community. We also want our leaders to have an idea on how to legislate for the protection and conservation of our natural resources by using information that local people have gathered," Sabio said. Slow start Sabio, who is the country coordinator of GLOBE-Philippines, said the GLOBE-Philippines program is not without drawbacks among which includes the slow integration of new research in the country's high school science curriculum. "Students have to be given the knowledge and skill in collecting data using the scientific method. Without it, they would have to be retrained to ensure the quality of material they produce," Sabio said. Another major problem is the lack of financial assistance for some schools that do not have proper equipment especially for the laboratories. While the DOST has also donated equipment to some GLOBE-Philippines members, other schools have to wait for available budget or donations to buy new laboratory instruments." "We also saw a problem in connectivity; students and their teachers won't be able to upload new information or even ask for assistance from GLOBE Program scientists unless they have Internet connection," Sabio said. There is also some backlog in uploading information, according to Sabio, as lack of dedicated manpower is also causing some issues. "We're slowly resolving these problems, one at a time." New plans Sabio has identified a few plans of the DOST-PSHS for the GLOBE-Philippines program hopefully leading to a national implementation. Among these are looking for more sponsorships and donations for the procurement of field equipment and laboratory instruments, as well as getting people to manage data. They also plan to train more Globe master trainers who will spread their knowledge to other schools nationwide. "We should also recognize the source of local information to give them credit for their contributions. That way we can truly motivate younger people to conserve our country's natural resources," Sabio said.
By Jean-Louis Santini Agence France-Presse CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida--The US space shuttle Atlantis successfully blasted off Friday from the Kennedy Space Center for a mission to the orbiting International Space Station, the first shuttle mission of 2007. The shuttle lifted off into a clear blue sky at 7:38 p.m. (2338 GMT) as scheduled. The rocket boosters separated from the orbiter about two minutes later, and the space craft reached orbit over Earth less than nine minutes after liftoff, NASA television reported. "Everything continuing to go very smoothly," said NASA launch commentator George Diller three minutes into the flight. During their 11-day trip the seven Atlantis astronauts plan to install a new, 16-tonne truss segment on the ISS and deliver a third set of solar panels, as well as batteries for the orbiting laboratory. Three spacewalks lasting six-and-a-half hours each are planned on the fourth, sixth and eighth days of the mission. "It took us a while to get to this point but the ship is in great shape," said launch director Mike Leinbach during the countdown to lift off. He was full of praise after Atlantis blasted off. "The team did a super job," he said. The shuttle blastoff had been originally scheduled for March 15, but was delayed after hail from a freak February storm damaged the shuttle's external fuel tank as it sat on the launch pad. The damaged forced NASA to bring the shuttle back to its hangar for repairs. The Atlantis mission is the fifth shuttle trip since the Columbia tragedy of February 2003, when the orbiter disintegrated as it re-entered the atmosphere, killing its seven astronauts. National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials plan at least 13 more shuttle missions to finish the $100-billion station by 2010, when the US space agency retires its three-shuttle fleet. The weather Friday posed no major problem, even though the area frequently sees afternoon thunderstorms. The Atlantis mission is led by Commander Frederick Sturckow, 45, a marine colonel, who will be joined in the cockpit by co-pilot Lee Archambault, 46, an air force colonel. The crew includes mission specialists James Reilly, 53, Patrick Forrester, 50, Steven Swanson, 46, and John Olivas, 42. The seventh passenger, Clayton Anderson, 48, will stay behind at the ISS for a four-month mission while Atlantis brings back to Earth flight engineer Sunita Williams, who has been working at the space station since December.
THE SAMAHAN ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan (AGHAM) said the Philippines will continue to lose its best scientists unless it has national industries that accommodate their skills. And the problem, as described by the activist organization of scientists, cannot be solved even by the recent increase in budget to P839 million for the science and technology community. AGHAM national chairperson Giovanni Tapang said in a statement that the budget provided for scholarships and construction of scientific facilities is way below the standard set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is a two percent budget allocation from a country's annual gross domestic product. Tapang noted that even an increase in budget for the Department of Science and Technology would have little or no direct benefit to Filipinos. This is compounded by the fact that research materials by Filipino scientists are from companies that are owned and controlled by foreign entities. Tapang also said that increasing the number of scholars would be useless unless they are assured of possible employment in local industries. "One crucial factor that keeps our science and technology stunted is our dependence on imported goods and the export orientation of our industries which does not leave a place for a highly trained scientist to flourish," Tapang said. For example, investments in the mining industry in the Philippines are more on extraction of ores, instead of processing the ores to get into the raw materials. Tapang said the government should build downstream industries to support the larger mining companies in order to give more jobs to Filipino scientists. "The government's track of depending on foreign investments and exporting our agricultural products and raw materials is stunting the growth of local industries. These local industries could have benefited from the expertise of Filipino scientists and at the same time provided them with opportunities where they can exercise their knowledge and skills. It should comprehensively address this problem," Tapang said.
LOOKING for a fun way to learn about science? Why don't you check out this online science show on blip.tv called Spacegeek? These are five- to eight-minute video clips hosted by the astrophysicist Doctor-P, whose real name is Dr. Jean-Marc Perelmuter. Here are some episodes.
WORLD Wildlife Fund Philippines and the University of the Philippines Artists’ Circle have teamed up for an art exhibit aimed at depicting the planet's bleak future and challenging people to find solutions to protect the environment. The paintings and sculptures were created from various forms of recycled materials and were processed with renewable energy. The featured artists include Bernie Pacquing, Impy Pilapil, Arnel Borja, and Rodel Tapaya, among others. The event also includes short films, performance arts and animated movies from other groups of artists, all featuring topics on environmental protection. In particular, the exhibit hopes to draw support for House Bill 1068 or the Renewable Energy Bill, which will be discussed in a special session this June. The RE Bill seeks to increase the use of clean, renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind, hydro-electric and biomass, by offering fiscal incentives for new power projects. Among the initiatives are zero-value added tax rating for RE projects, tax-free importation of RE machinery, open access to the energy grid for all RE sources and priority dispatch for wind power and other intermittent sources of energy.According to a UP Solar Laboratory study commissioned by WWF-Philippines, the country can save as much as $2.9 billion from fuel imports if it switches to renewable, indigenous energy sources. The exhibit is part of a four-city road show and was launched in Greenbelt 3 Park, Makati City.
WILL we now see even greater international cooperation in space, the, um, final frontier? :) Here's an excerpt from the Space Daily article on the common vision unveiled by 14 of the world's leading space agencies:
In an unprecedented move, 14 of the world's leading space agencies revealed their agreed vision for globally co-ordinated space exploration to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Following months of intensive discussions, they published their common ideas for space exploration: The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Co-ordination. The document outlines the rationale for society to explore space, defines the current focus and process of space exploration, the current interest in returning to the Moon and exploring Mars, and proposes a framework for the future co-ordination of global space exploration.
LOOKS like upright walking may have started earlier than scientists thought. Here's an excerpt from the Associated Press article:
WASHINGTON — Maybe walking upright on two legs isn't such a defining human feature after all. Scientists who spent a year photographing orangutans in the rain forest say the trait probably evolved in ancient apes navigating the treetops long before ancestors of humans climbed to the ground — a hypothesis that contradicts science museums the world over. But it's more in tune with fossil evidence, contends Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool, who co-authored the report in Friday's edition of the journal Science. "An increasing number of people have been questioning this old 'up from the apes' idea" of how bipedalism evolved, Crompton said.