Culture

Using a novel theoretical approach, researchers from NASA and other institutions have identified the common thread that determines how aerosols from human activity, like the particles from burning of vegetation and forests, influence cloud cover and ultimately affect climate. The study improves researchers' ability to predict whether aerosols will increase or decrease cloud cover.

East Lansing, MI – August 14, 2008 – One of the most pressing issues on the American political agenda is the influence of private dollars in public institutions. A new study in the American Journal of Political Science reveals that increased campaign spending significantly improves citizen participation in State Supreme Court elections.

Charlotte, N.C. – August 14, 2008 – Family businesses are very important to the U.S. economy. They comprise an estimated 80 percent of the 15 million businesses in the U.S., contribute to more than 50 percent of America's Gross Domestic Product, and generate 78 percent of new jobs in the economy. A new study in the Journal of Small Business Management shows that promoting the fact that the business is a "family" business positively influences customer purchasing decisions.

BOSTON – For some, spending in today's tumultuous economy is not a problem, especially for those who don't care what everyone else has. But for others, casino splurges, not saving enough or buying the latest iPhone on impulse can lead to emotional turmoil or financial troubles, according to several new studies on consumer behavior.

A quick stop at the supermarket: Balancing bananas, peppers and tomatoes in your arms, you rush from the vegetable counter to the self-service scales in order to print out the respective price label. But what was that number again, the one you had to enter for the tomatoes?

Amsterdam, August 14, 2008 – A recent article published in Virology (www.elsevier.com/locate/yviro), reports the identification of a bluetongue virus strain that caused the northern European Bluetongue outbreak in 2006. Comparison of the virus strain with the sequences of other previously isolated strains showed that it originated in sub-Saharan Africa, rather than from vaccine strains or strains circulating in southern Europe.

The Mission Control Team at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) are now in intense training for the scheduled 10 September launch of GOCE, the Agency's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer.

DURHAM, N.C. – What do a tree and the Eiffel Tower have in common?

According to a Duke University engineer, both are optimized for flow. In the case of trees, the flow is of water from the ground throughout the trunk, branches and leaves, and into the air. The Eiffel Tower's flow carries stresses throughout the structure without collapsing under its own weight or being downed by the wind.

For most engineers, the laws governing fluid and solid mechanics like these examples are like oil and water – they just don't mix.

Durham University expert, Alex Densmore, is to explore the fault lines that caused the May 12th earthquake in China that killed 69,000 people.

Dr. Densmore, Director of Hazards Research at the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research at Durham University, is the first UK scientist to visit the region to research the faults and the effects and causes of the Sichuan earthquake since the disaster.