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Today, the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTroSEIZE) gets underway, with the Japanese drilling vessel Chikyu departing from Shingu Port with scientists aboard, all ready to log, drill, sample, and install monitoring instrumentation in one of the most active earthquake zones on Earth. The vessel's launch starts the first of a series of scientific drilling expeditions that will retrieve geological samples and provide scientific data from the Nankai Trough fault zone for the first time.

(AP) -- Researchers have solved the mystery of the boy in the iron coffin. The cast-iron coffin was discovered by utility workers in Washington two years ago. Smithsonian scientists led by forensic anthropologist Doug Owsley set about trying to determine who was buried in it, so the body could be placed in a new, properly marked grave.


THURSDAY 20. SEPTEMBER 2007


In this photograph provided by the Smithsonian Institution, anthropologist Kari Bruwelheide, right, and Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, center, examine the remains of an iron coffin at the museum in Washington in this Aug. 3, 2005 file photo.  The remains have been identified as 15-year-old William Taylor White, who died in 1852 and was buried in the Columbia College cemetery.  The college later became The George Washington University.    (AP Photo/Smithsonian Institution, File)AP - Researchers have solved the mystery of the boy in the iron coffin. The cast-iron coffin was discovered by utility workers in Washington two years ago. Smithsonian scientists led by forensic anthropologist Doug Owsley set about trying to determine who was buried in it, so the body could be placed in a new, properly marked grave.


A resistance gene that allows bacteria to beat an important class of antibiotics has started to appear in microorganisms taken from Midwestern patients, according to researchers. Less than a decade ago, scientists first noticed the BlaKPC gene in bacteria taken from East Coast patients. Bacteria with an active copy of the gene can defeat carbapenems, antibiotics reserved for use in the most critically ill patients.

Tiny, spontaneous releases of the brain's primary chemical messengers can be regulated, potentially giving scientists unprecedented control over how the brain is wired. The work could lead to a better understanding of neurological diseases like schizophrenia. Sputtering electrical activity -- like a firecracker's leftover sparks after a big bang -- was long considered inconsequential background noise compared with the main cell-to-cell interactions underlying thought and memory. But researchers found that the miniscule events that follow a burst of electrical and chemical activity among neurons are far more important that previously thought.

The Bering Sea provides critical habitat for many species of marine mammals, including seals, sea lions and whales. The predictable formation and movement of sea ice is a defining feature of this habitat, although new evidence suggests that only a few thousand years ago, during a period of cold climate known as the "Neoglacial," much more ice filled the Bering Sea and stayed around longer.

The surface of fat cells contains many small pockets called caveolae (because they look like caves in an electron microscope). Although their role is not clear, Paul F. Pilch and colleagues review current knowledge about caveolae and conclude that one of their major functions is to regulate the movement and production of fats in fat cells. Caveolae may also help the hormone insulin bind to fat cells, but this is controversial. Insulin binds to protein receptors on the surface of a fat cell, which activates proteins inside the cell that help lower the amount of sugar in the blood and store fats.