surface pictures of venus

Surface pictures of Venus:

"As part of a study of the Soviet exploration of Venus, Don Mitchell obtained the original digital data from the first probes that touched down, Veneras 9 and 10. He used up-to-date digital processing techniques on the raw data from those spacecraft, as well as from subsequent Veneras. The results are a dramatic improvement on the images previously released from Veneras 9 and 10."

I, for one, welcome our new pig-human chimera masters

Pigs grown from fetuses into which human stem cells were injected have surprised scientists by having cells in which the DNA from the two species is mixed at the most intimate level. [...] The adult pigs that had received human stem cells as fetuses were found to have pig cells, human cells and the hybrid cells in their blood and organs. The researchers found that about 60 per cent of the animals' non-pig cells were hybrids, with the remainder being fully human. [...]

Importantly, the team also found that porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV), which is present in almost all pigs, was also present in the hybrid cells. Previous laboratory work has shown that while PERVs in pig cells cannot infect human cells, those in hybrid cells can. The discovery therefore suggests a serious potential problem for xenotransplantation. [...]

In Platt's experiments, the human stem cells were injected into the pig fetuses about a third of the way through gestation. The injections must be given after the body plan of the fetus has developed, but before the immune system is active. The former ensures the animals look like normal pigs and sheep. The latter prevents the human stem cells being rejected.

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I, for one, welcome our firefighting robot masters

"KITAKYUSHU, Japan -- This is not a mechanical robot hero in a Japanese comic book but a prototype rescue robot named T522 Enryu that is unveiled at a new year's annual fire brigades' drill in Kitakyushu, southern Japan. Co-developed for the last three years, the 11-foot-tall, about five-ton robot can be operated manually by a man aboard it as well as remote control and lift heavy objects that weigh up to about one ton with its two arms that move like ones of a human. The developers plan to improve the robot to be used in rescue operations at the actual disaster sites by the end of this year. (01/11/04 AP photo)"