US National Institute of Health announces new guidelines for embryo stem cell research

By Frank Gaglioti, 4 September 2000

On August 23, the National Institute of Health (NIH) published guidelines for the public funding of embryo stem cell research in the United States, an about-face of its previous position. Previously embryo stem cell research was funded exclusively by private sources. The NIH announcement lifts a ban which had been in place on such research since 1996. President Bill Clinton welcomed the announcement as offering “potentially staggering benefits”.

Scientists achieve cellular transformation of bone marrow stem cells into nerve cells

By Frank Gaglioti, 22 August 2000

Scientists announced on 15 August that they have transformed adult bone marrow cells into nerve cells by altering the cells' environment. The implications are that scientists will be able to obtain a deeper insight into the process of cell specialisation.

Discovery of nine new planets extends possibility of finding extra terrestrial life

By Frank Gaglioti, 18 August 2000

Three teams of scientists announced the discovery of nine new planets outside our solar system (exoplanets) on August 7, extending the number of known exoplanets to fifty. University of California at Berkeley astronomer Geoffrey Marcy stated, “We're now at the stage where we are finding planets faster than we can investigate them and write up the results.” The announcements were made at the International Astronomical Union meeting held in the English city of Manchester.

The human genome project: science, society and superstition

By Frank Gaglioti, 15 August 2000

The publication of the rough draft of the completed sequence of the human genome on June 26 was an outstanding scientific achievement, the outcome of an international collaboration spanning a decade and involving hundreds of scientists. The researchers used the most advanced sequencing machines and analysed the resulting data with the aid of powerful computers.

Discovery of fundamental particle concludes long-standing scientific quest

By Frank Gaglioti, 14 August 2000

On July 21 scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago reported the discovery of the tau neutrino, marking the conclusion of the scientific quest to discover the 12 fundamental particles which make up matter. An international team of 54 physicists working in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Greece used the powerful particle accelerator, the Tevatron, to make the discovery. A spokesman for the scientific team, Byron Lundberg, stated, “We finally have direct evidence that the tau neutrino is one of the building blocks of nature. It is one thing to think there are tau neutrinos out there. But it is a hard experiment to do.”

Tenth Century manuscript provides insights into the works of Archimedes

By Frank Gaglioti, 3 August 2000

The announcement on July 11 of the availability of a tenth century manuscript of texts by the Greek scientist and mathematician Archimedes offers an important opportunity to probe the works of one of the greatest thinkers of the ancient world. The document provides the oldest known source of Archimedes' writings. Scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have been given access to portions of the Archimedes Palimpsest by the Walters Arts Gallery in Baltimore as part of a competition to determine which team will decipher Archimedes' entire text. The original work lies hidden beneath an overlay of Greek prayers. A palimpsest is a document where the original script has been scraped or washed away and another text written over the top.

WSWS correspondence on the human genome project

27 July 2000

The World Socialist Web Site received the following letter about the article “Human Genome Project: First scientific milestone of the twenty-first century” [] published July 11. A reply by Chris Talbot follows.

Human Genome Project: First scientific milestone of the twenty-first century

By Chris Talbot, 11 July 2000

The mapping of the human genome is a fundamental milestone in the development of science. The “letters” of this genetic code—3.1 billion DNA base pairs, equivalent to 200 telephone directories each of 500 pages—have now been listed in draft form. There are still some gaps and the human genome project will not be completely finished for another three years.

New scientific study suggests

Water, flash floods and new possibilities for life on Mars

By Peter Symonds, 24 June 2000

Mars has long held a special fascination for scientists, science fiction writers and laypersons alike. For more than a century there has been speculation concerning the existence of life on the planet. In the late 1870s, the American businessman Percival Lowell interpreted observations of canali or channels on Mars by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiapparelli as a proof of an advanced civilisation.

Shuttle crew repairs International Space Station, but ISS's troubles on earth continue

By Tom Bishop, 7 June 2000

After a 10-day mission, Space Shuttle Atlantis returned to the Kennedy Space Center in the early morning hours of May 29. Atlantis's crew of six Americans and one Russian successfully completed all of the mission objectives to repair the partially-built International Space Station (ISS) and boost its orbit.

New fossil discovery shows earlier human migration out of Africa

By Walter Gilberti, 29 May 2000

A multinational team of paleoanthropologists has published their findings following the unearthing last May of the oldest undisputed human fossil remains outside of Africa. The remains of two individual skulls were discovered at an archaeological site at Dmanisi, Georgia, in the former Soviet Union. These new findings have pushed back the estimated time of the first human migrations out of Africa by several hundred thousand years.

US scientists say fossilized heart indicates dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded

By Walter Gilberti, 24 April 2000

In a remarkable discovery, paleontologists at North Carolina State University (NC State) and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered and examined the fossilized heart of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur. Their findings suggest that dinosaurs were probably endothermic (warm-blooded), as opposed to modern reptiles which are exothermic (cold-blooded).

US scientists say fossilized heart indicates dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded

By Walter Gilberti, 24 April 2000

In a remarkable discovery, paleontologists at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered and examined the fossilized heart of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur. Their findings suggest that dinosaurs were probably endothermic (warm-blooded), as opposed to modern reptiles which are exothermic (cold-blooded).

US scientists say fossilized heart indicates dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded

By Walter Gilberti, 24 April 2000

In a remarkable discovery, paleontologists at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have discovered and examined the fossilized heart of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur. Their findings suggest that dinosaurs were probably endothermic (warm-blooded), as opposed to modern reptiles which are exothermic (cold-blooded).

Montreal Internet service provider raided by FBI

By Mike Ingram, 18 February 2000

In the wake of a series of attacks blocking access to some of the largest and best known Internet web sites, the US government is seeking to use popular concern over the denial of services to push through new legislation that could affect the democratic rights of millions.

Six new extra-solar planets discovered using new technique

By Tim Joy, 5 January 2000

While space missions such as the Mars Pathfinder mission or the International Space Station capture most public attention, exciting new developments in our understanding of the cosmos are being made from earth-based telescopes. On November 29, the leading team of planet finders announced the discovery of six new extra-solar planets or planets outside our solar system. The findings increase the number of such planets by 25 percent and bring the total number to 28.

Report cites continued global warming trend in 1999

By Joseph Tanniru, 31 December 1999

The warming trend continued in the year 1999, according to a preliminary report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) earlier this month. For combined land and ocean surfaces, the average temperature for the year is expected to rank as the fifth warmest since measures began in 1880.

Surveys show significant growth in British Internet use

By Mike Ingram, 29 December 1999

Several recent surveys indicate a significant growth of Internet access in Britain in the last 12 months. According to a Guardian/ICM poll published Monday December 20, more than one in three British adults now have access to the Internet either at home or at work.

A scientific milestone

Scientists unravel genetic code for human chromosome 22

By Frank Gaglioti, 20 December 1999

The publication of the complete genetic code of the human chromosome 22 in the December 2 issue of the scientific journal Nature is an important scientific achievement, which has enormous potential for medical science and the study of human developmental biology and evolution. It is the first human chromosome to be mapped by the Human Genome Project and involved the collaborative efforts of over 200 scientists from the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Canada and Sweden.

More on Freudianism and Marxism

A reader responds to an exchange of letters between WSWS contributors Alan Whyte and Frank Brenner

10 December 1999

To Frank Brenner and Alan Whyte,

A WSWS contributor responds to Intrepid Thought: psychoanalysis in the Soviet Union and Frank Brenner replies

An exchange of letters on Freudianism and Marxism

A WSWS contributor responds to Intrepid Thought: psychoanalysis in the Soviet Union and Frank Brenner replies

30 November 1999

We are publishing the following exchange of letters on Freudianism and Marxism for the information of our readers. The first letter is the response of a WSWS contributing writer, Allen Whyte, to Intrepid Thought: psychoanalysis in the Soviet Union (written by Frank Brenner and published by the World Socialist Web Site in two parts, 11 and 12 June 1999); the second is Brenner's reply.

Global warming and capitalism

The Heat is On by Ross Gelbspan

By Joseph Tanniru, 25 October 1999

The WSWS received the following review from a reader of The Heat is On by Ross Gelbspan (Perseus Books, Reading, Massachusetts. First paperback edition, 1998).

Social inequality and the World Wide Web

By Michael Conachy, 17 August 1999

Those who are "on line" know that the Internet is a tool with astonishing potential. With the click of a mouse, anyone anywhere in the globe can access a vast amount of knowledge. For the cost of a local telephone call, a user can interact, converse, exchange ideas and information with people thousands of kilometres away instantaneously.

Internet produces conflict between commerce and censorship

By Mike Ingram, 16 August 1999

A 96-page report was issued in June by Human Rights Watch (HRW) entitled The Internet in the Mideast and North Africa: Free Expression and Censorship. The HRW report stated:

White House plan for FBI Internet spying

By Martin McLaughlin, 10 August 1999

A vast new computer monitoring system, controlled by the FBI, would be established under a plan being discussed with the Clinton administration, it was reported last week. According to a draft document obtained by a civil liberties group opposed to the plan, and leaked to the New York Times, the FBI would be given sweeping new powers to spy on all computer-related activities by federal government employees.

The Moon landings in historical perspective

By Martin McLaughlin, 20 July 1999

Thirty years ago--at 4:17 p.m., American Eastern Daylight Time, July 20, 1969--Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin became the first men to land on the Moon. The astronauts of Apollo XI were followed by ten more, in the series of six Apollo missions that made successful landings on the Moon.

New techniques to boost the Internet's capacities

By Luciano Fernandez, 16 July 1999

The rapidly increasing demands being placed on international communications networks are fueling some remarkable technical developments in the field of fibre optics.

Huge pollution cloud discovered over Indian Ocean

By Perla Astudillo, 30 June 1999

A recent scientific investigation has identified a huge cloud of atmospheric pollution covering some 10 million square kilometres of the Indian Ocean—an area approximately the size of the United States. The unusual haze was discovered as part of the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), which is investigating how pollutants are carried through the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

Censorship in the Information Age

How the British government failed to suppress list of MI6 agents

By Mike Ingram, 18 May 1999

The speed with which a list of purported MI6 agents spread across the Internet last week confirmed the worst fears of the powers-that-be regarding the development of the Internet as a medium of mass communication.

A postmodernist attack on science

The End of Science, Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age by John Horgan, Little Brown and Company, 1996

By Chris Talbot, 18 May 1999

John Horgan is a science journalist who writes for Scientific American. His book was originally published in 1996, updated in 1997 and recently brought out as a paperback. It is a collection of interviews with dozens of leading scientists, to which Horgan has added also his own reflections and opinions on the state of modern science. Whilst many of the interviews are interesting in their own right, the book's main significance is Horgan's attack on science from a postmodernist standpoint. It is symptomatic of an anti-science trend which has emerged in the last decade or so.

New fossil find provides important clues to man's prehistory

By Frank Gaglioti, 5 May 1999

The April 23 issue of the Science magazine announced the discovery of the fossilised remains of a new species of hominid [human ancestor], which provides important clues into the early history of human beings. The find was made by a multinational team of scientists headed by Ethiopian anthropologist Dr. Berhane Asfaw.

First extra-solar planetary system discovered

By Chris Talbot, 22 April 1999

The first discovery of a planetary system around a star similar to our sun was announced on April 15. Three planets the size of Jupiter are now known to be circling around the star Upsilon Andromedae, which lies in the Milky Way galaxy. Because of the unusual size and orbits of the planets, one of the researchers involved, Debra Fischer of San Francisco State University (SFSU), said, "It implies that planets can form more easily than we ever imagined, and that our Milky Way is teeming with planetary systems."

UK Internet libel case could set dangerous precedent

By Mike Ingram, 16 April 1999

Demon Internet, one of the oldest UK Internet Service Providers (ISP), is currently fighting a legal battle against a libel case brought by scientist Laurence Godfrey. Its origins lie in a previous action brought by Godfrey against Michael Dolenga, a Canadian citizen who is reported to have posted libelous messages in a Usenet discussion group. Godfrey claimed to have asked Demon to remove this and another offending material posted in groups hosted by Demon. He claims the present action stems from the ISP's refusal to do so.

New findings present theoretical challenge

Universe expanding faster than expected

By Peter Symonds, 17 March 1999

"There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V

Privacy rights threatened by Intel's new computer chip

By James Brookfield, 5 March 1999

Electronic privacy advocates have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and launched a boycott campaign against Intel over the company's introduction of a new computer chip that threatens to compromise the privacy and democratic rights of computer users.

Hackers shut down East Timor Internet addresses

By Mike Ingram, 3 March 1999

A concerted attack involving simultaneous hacking from five countries caused an Irish Internet Service Provider (ISP) to switch off its systems last month. Connect-Ireland, the company affected, believes the Indonesian government is behind the attack.

Free Internet providers boost UK access

By Mike Ingram, 19 February 1999

A proliferation of free Internet access availability over the past six months has had a significant impact on Internet usage in the United Kingdom.

A materialist examination of human consciousness

Nancy Russell reviews Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett

20 January 1999

Daniel C. Dennett's book Consciousness Explained, published in 1991, has been at the center of a large body of debate. Aimed at both the lay person and the scientist, the book became a bestseller and was described by the New York Times as one of the 10 best books of that year.

The joy of science

A review of Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

By Barry Mason, 8 January 1999

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins, published by Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, £20, ISBN 0-713-99214-X

Breakthrough in theoretical math

After 300 years, computers facilitate solution to Kepler Stacking Problem

By Trevor Johnson, 6 January 1999

Professor Thomas Hales of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced last year that he had posted on the Internet the solution to a seemingly simple problem that has taxed the brains of some of the finest mathematicians for 300 years. If the proof is accepted as complete (which now seems likely), Kepler's Stacking Problem will have been solved through a combination of human ingenuity and the power of modern computers. The solution, posted by Professor Hales at contains 250 pages of logic, and the use of mathematical programs requiring huge amounts of storage space.

An attack on democratic rights

Former CompuServe executive convicted in Internet censorship case

By James Brookfield, 2 June 1998

The May 28 conviction of a former CompuServe executive in Munich, Germany highlights growing attempts to bring the Internet under government control and to restrict the exchange of information and opinion on the computer network. While the executive, Felix Somm, was officially tried for fostering the dissemination of pornography, this charge was groundless and served simply as a smokescreen for an attack on democratic rights.

Netscape highlights World Socialist Web Site

25 March 1998

Netscape browser highlights World Socialist Web Site

Carl Sagan (1934-1996): An appreciation

By Joseph Bradshaw, 13 January 1997

Detailed discussion of his work and materialist outlook, and includes a focus on his attitude to Trotsky.

The fate of Soviet genetics

By Frank Gaglioti, 4 October 1996

The intellectual heritage of the Russian Revolution in the arena of science as in other fields is largely unknown and buried. It has suited the purposes of the ideologues of capitalism to equate Soviet science with the limited and sometimes bizarre scientific results produced in the stifling intellectual atmosphere engendered by Stalinism.

Fermat's last theorem

A seventeenth century puzzle solved

By Peter Symonds, 31 December 1969

The following article was first published on July 23, 1993 in Workers News, the newspaper of the Socialist Labour League, the forerunner to the Socialist Equality Party (Australia).