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Satellites used for cloud studies

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	       Satellites used for cloud studies

U.S. space agency scientists say they've found clouds-- long
thought of as obstructions to satellite views of the Earth's 
surface -- are actually valuable. National Aeronautics and 
Space Administration researchers said they are learning cloud 
characteristics by using a NASA constellation of satellites 
called the "A-train." Using instruments in those satellites, 
scientists say they've discovered they can see deep inside the 
clouds, collecting first-of-a-kind measurements and shedding 
new light on the link between clouds, pollution and rainfall.
Jonathan Jiang of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and 
colleagues used the A-Train sensors to find South American 
clouds infused with airborne pollution tend to produce less 
rain than their "clean" counterparts during the region's dry 
season. The five satellites orbit the Earth only eight minutes 
apart and can be thought of as an extended satellite observatory, 
providing unprecedented information about clouds, aerosols and 
atmospheric composition, NASA said. The research was presented 
Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale Fla., during the American Geophysical 
Union's 2008 Joint Assembly.

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	   Protein may help reduce triglycerides

U.S. scientists say they've identified a potential target to 
treat hypertriglyceridemia -- a lipid disorder usually seen 
in obese and diabetic people. Diabetes researchers at the 
John Rangos Sr. Research Center at the Children's Hospital 
of Pittsburgh said they studied the role of a protein known 
as Forkhead Box O1, or FoxO1, that mediates the metabolism 
of glucose and cholesterol. In the laboratory, the researchers 
were able to curb the secretion of triglycerides in animals 
that were obese and diabetic by inhibiting the production of 
FoxO1 in the liver. Elevated triglyceride levels have been 
identified as a risk factor for heart disease. "Our latest 
findings suggest that we may eventually be able to develop 
drug therapies that inhibit FoxO1, which would thereby 
inhibit the production of proteins that lead to elevated 
triglyceride levels in people who are obese and/or who 
suffer from type 2 diabetes," said Assistant Professor Henry 
Dong, a diabetes researcher and senior author of the study. 
"Hypertriglyceridemia is a known risk factor for developing 
heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States."
The research that included Adama Kamagate appears in the 
June issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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	   Titanium doors to increase soldier safety

U.S. government scientists say the next generation of combat 
vehicles will be equipped with titanium alloy doors to provide 
increased safety for soldiers. Oak Ridge National Laboratory 
researchers said the doors would be made using low-cost titanium 
powders in a non-melt consolidation process they developed that 
will reduce the amount of energy required and the cost of 
manufacturing titanium parts from powders by up to 50 percent.
"We recently exhibited the new low-cost titanium alloy door made 
by ORNL for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which is a next-
generation combat vehicle," said Bill Peter, an ORNL researcher. 
"By using a titanium alloy for the door, BAE Systems was able to 
reduce the weight of its vehicle yet, at the same time, decrease 
the threat of armor-piercing rounds." Instead of using 
conventional melt processing using titanium powders, with the 
new method the powders remain in their solid form during the 
entire procedure, Peter said. "This saves a tremendous amount 
of energy required for processing, greatly reduces the amount 
of scrap and allows for new alloys and engineered composites," 
he said. The researchers expect lightweight corrosion-resistant 
titanium alloys to make their way into many other products.


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