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*Asteroid May Hit Earth February 2019 2002-07-24

Posted by clype in Science.

Astronomers have discovered an asteroid that could be up to 2 000 m wide and and is thought to be on a collision course with the Earth.

For the first time this asteroid has been given a positive threat rating on 'The Palermo technical scale' and sits at 0.06.

However more observations are expected to show the asteroid will actually miss the earth.

Astronomers have however said that the asteroid could hit the earth on 2019-02-01 if it is shown to have a collision course.

'Huge Asteroid Discovered — On Collision Course With Earth', BBC News, 2002-07-24 09:58

*Mountain of Debt 2 2002-07-09

Posted by clype in Scotland.
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One of Scotland's best known mountain ranges and most historic castles could become national assets.

Clan Chief John Macleod of Macleod has confirmed he is in negotiations over the future of the 'Cuillin mountains' and his clan seat 'Dunvegan Castle', on Skye.

Under the proposals, the mountains would be handed over to the people of Scotland to become national property while the castle would be transferred to a charitable trust.

The announcement came after Mr.Macleod put the mountain range on the market for 10 million GBP three years ago to raise funds to carry out repairs at the castle, Scotland's oldest continually inhabited home.

If 'Dunvegan Castle', the residence of the Macleod chiefs for 800 years, was to be transferred to the control of a charitable trust, such a body would be responsible for raising the funds needed to renovate it.

The prospect of the deal going through is central to a set of prospective property transactions being studied jointly by 'The Macleod Estate', 'Highlands and Islands Enterprise' ('HIE') and 'Highland Council', in association with 'The John Muir Trust'. Mr.Macleod said:

'I should be giving up properties which have been associated with my family for many centuries, and that is not at all easy.

'But the possibilities I am now discussing… seem to me to hold out an excellent prospect of securing the long-term future of the Cuillin, and of Dunvegan Castle'.

'HIE', in collaboration with 'The Macleod Estate', is taking steps to establish the cost of a castle refurbishment programme. 'HIE' said the repair bill could be in excess of 10 million GBP and funding contributions are likely to be sought from a range of heritage bodies. 'HIE' chairman Mr.James Hunter said:

'"Dunvegan Castle" is of importance historically and, as a visitor attraction, it's of huge importance economically to the Dunvegan community, indeed to Skye as a whole.

'Of even greater importance, however, are the "Cuillin"'.

In keeping with common practice, Mr.Macleod and his family would retain rights of residence in one part of the castle, should it become a major tourist attraction.

'Clan's mountains and castle may become national property' Ananova, 2003-07-09 We 13:02

*The Spark of Life Gene 2002-07-07

Posted by clype in Health, Science.
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British scientists have discovered the 'gene' that provides 'the spark of life', when an 'egg' is fertilised by a 'sperm', in research that promises dramatic advances in fertility treatment and 'stem cell' experiments.

A ten-year study has revealed that the 'gene' in 'sperm' triggers the crucial process by which an 'egg' starts dividing to form an 'embryo', solving a mystery that has confounded medical science for two centuries.

The breakthrough, by researchers at 'The University of Wales, College of Medicine' in Cardiff and 'University College, London', paves the way for improved therapy for infertile couples and treatments that use 'cloned stem cells' to tackle 'Alzheimer's', 'Parkinson's' and 'diabetes'.

Scientists believe it will eventually allow them to fertilise 'eggs' using 'sperm' that have previously been considered useless, and to transform success rates in 'therapeutic cloning'. It has long been known that fertilisation is followed by a surge of calcium but the molecules that start this process have remained elusive.

'We're thrilled to be at the forefront of such an exciting discovery,' Professor Mr.Tony Lai, head of the Cardiff team, said.

'The potential benefits to medicine are immense.'

'Scientists identify the spark of life', Mark Henderson, The Times, 2002-07-19