(University of Calgary) It’s rare to use the words ‘hip hop’ and ‘serious academic research’ in the same sentence, but a University of Calgary linguistics professor has relied on rap music as source material for a study of African American vernacular English. Dr. Darin Howe (right) recently contributed a book chapter that focuses on how black Americans use the negative in informal speech, citing examples from hip hop artists such as Phonte, Jay Z and Method Man. Howe is believed to be the only academic in Canada and one of the few in the world to take a scholarly look at the language of hip hop. (…) For example, the book chapter quotes Tupac Shakur as saying, “It’s like can’t nobody never get confused and think I’m like Mike Tyson…;” in other words, no one could confuse Tupac with Mike Tyson. In another example, black English commonly substitutes the word ‘ain’t’ for ‘didn’t.’ So ‘I didn’t see him’ could become, ‘I aint see him.’ “However, black English speakers know that you should only do this for about half the time,” Howe says. “White hip hop artists try to imitate black speech, and for the most part they do a decent job, but when they don’t have the rules down it becomes noticeable.” One of the intriguing conclusions that Howe draws is that there is an accelerating divergence in the speech dialects of whites and blacks, a subject that surfaced in the late 1990s with the debate on Ebonics.


Neue Seen entdeckt unter dem antarktischen Eis

Bereits sind über 70 Seen bekannt unter der Eisdecke der Antarktis. Jetzt sind zwei weitere hinzugekommen. Ihre Entdecker nenne Sie „90ºE“ und „Sovetskaya“. Die beiden sind von einer über drei Kilometer dicken Eisschicht bedeckt. Vielleicht ist in diesen Seen ein während 10 bis 35 Millionen Jahren ungestörtes, extrem spezialisiertes Oekosystem erhalten geblieben? Wie, wann und ob überhaupt die Wissenschaft sich direkt Zugang zu diesen Seen verschaffen soll, ist Gegenstand einer laufenden internationalen Debatte.
(The Earth Institute at Columbia University) (…) This, along with the tectonic origin of the lakes, supports the idea that despite climate changes on the surface over the last 10 million to 35 million years, the volume of the lakes have remained remarkably constant, providing a stable, if inhospitable, environment that may harbor an ancient and alien ecosystem adapted to life beneath the ice sheet. However, just how, when or even whether scientists will risk the possibility of contaminating the lakes to confirm their suspicions remains the subject of an ongoing international debate.

Impfstoff gegen Vogelgrippevirus H5N1 für Hühner und Mäuse

(eurekalert) University of Pittsburgh researchers announced they have genetically engineered an avian flu vaccine from the critical components of the deadly H5N1 virus that completely protected mice and chickens from infection. Avian flu has devastated bird populations in Southeast Asia and Europe and so far has killed more than 80 people. Because this vaccine contains a live virus, it may be more immune-activating than avian flu vaccines prepared by traditional methods, say the researchers. Furthermore, because it is grown in cells, it can be produced much more quickly than traditional vaccines, making it an extremely attractive candidate for preventing the spread of the virus in domestic livestock populations and, potentially, in humans, according to the study, published in the Feb 15 issue of the Journal of Virology and made available early online. (…) Interestingly, all of the chickens that were immunized subcutaneously survived exposure to H5N1, developed strong HA-specific antibody responses and showed no clinical signs of disease. In contrast, half of the chickens immunized intranasally died and half survived. All of the chickens immunized with the empty vector (intranasally and subcutaneously) died within two days of H5N1 exposure. The researchers are still not yet sure why the subcutaneous delivery is more effective than the intranasal delivery of the vaccine, but they suggested it may be because the adenovirus vector they used has limited infectivity via the nose and respiratory tract.

Windenergieparks vs. Adlerbrutplätze in Norwegen

smolawindfarm(Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Wind turbines have caused the deaths of huge birds of prey on isolated islands off the Norwegian coast. The discovery of four dead white-tailed eagles, and the failure of almost 30 others to return to nesting sites within the wind farm area, has increased fears that wind farms in Britain could take a similar toll on native and migrating wild birds. The white-tailed eagle, Europe’s largest eagle species, is found in significant numbers on Smøla, a set of islands about six miles (ten kilometres) off the north-west Norwegian coast. The island is listed by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it has one of the highest breeding densities of the bird in the world. White-tailed eagles are also beginning to thrive in the Western Isles of Scotland as a direct result of a 30-year reintroduction project. Developers regard this area as ripe for wind farm construction too.