|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
The Washington Post
/ Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Russia Alleges Scientist Divulged State Secrets
Researcher Who Worked With S. Korean Firm Says All Contracts Were "Official"
Российскому ученому предъявлены обвинения в разглашении государственной тайны. 66-летнего Оскара Кайбышева, возглавляющего Институт проблем сверхпластичности металлов РАН в Уфе, обвинили в незаконном экспорте корейской фирме технологии двойного назначения (то есть имеющей как военное, так и гражданское применение) и разглашении содержания секретных материалов. Если его признают виновным, ему грозит 10 лет тюрьмы. ФСБ начала расследование против Кайбышева в 2003 году. В прошлом году группа ученых из Российской академии наук проанализировала работу Кайбышева и пришла к выводу, что она не подлежит обязательному экспортному лицензированию как технология двойного назначения. Но ученые из закрытого государственного института представили суду другое заключение, в котором говорится, что работа Кайбышева была секретной и разглашению не подлежала.
MOSCOW, Feb. 21 - A Russian scientist has been charged with divulging state secrets to a South Korean manufacturer of car wheels, an action that human rights groups say they fear is part of a campaign by the security services to intimidate researchers from former Soviet facilities who now work with foreigners.
Oscar A. Kaibyshev, 66, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for Metals Superplasticity Problems in the city of Ufa, was charged with illegally exporting dual-use technology and research and divulging classified material to ASA Co., a subsidiary of a Korean firm, Hankook Tire Manufacturing Co. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. Dual-use technology can include military as well as civilian applications.
In a phone interview from Ufa, about 750 miles east of Moscow, Kaibyshev said his research involved processes that would make metals more flexible while preserving their strength and that such technologies were used in the automobile manufacturing and aviation industries.
"This is not secret work," said Kaibyshev, who founded the institute in 1985 and was suspended from his post on Jan. 18 after being charged three days earlier. "All this technology and the scientific basis of this technology was published in the literature. We worked openly. All our contracts were official."
The International Science and Technology Center in Moscow, which was designed to help former Soviet military scientists convert their work to civilian use, has also funded a book co-written by Kaibyshev that will be published in the United States next month. In addition to Russia, the program is funded by the United States, the European Union, Norway and Japan.
The exact foundation of the charges against Kaibyshev remains secret, according to the scientist's attorney, Yuri Gevis. He said the FSB, the domestic successor to the Soviet KGB secret police service, began investigating Kaibyshev in 2003.
Kaibyshev said he believed the case was actually an attempt to control the revenue that could potentially flow to his institute from its cooperation with the South Korean firm and other businesses as the institute seeks patents for some of its techniques. Kaibyshev said he also worked with General Electric Co.
The FSB declined to comment on the case.
In recent years, the FSB has pursued a number of cases against scientists, environmentalists and journalists, an endeavor labeled "spy mania" by the New York-based monitoring group Human Rights Watch. Last year, the physicist Valentin Danilov was sentenced to 14 years in prison for passing what were alleged to be state secrets about satellite technology to China. Igor Sutyagin, a scholar at the Institute for the Study of the United States and Canada in Moscow, received a 15-year sentence for selling information to a British company that prosecutors said was a front for the CIA. Both men said they worked only from open sources.
"We haven't studied it yet, but it does look like it's going to be another spy case," said Alexander Petrov in the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, which has issued a report on the prosecution of scholars.
A group of scholars from the Russian Academy of Sciences reviewed Kaibyshev's work last year and found that it was not subject to mandatory export controls over dual-use technology, according to Kaibyshev and his attorney. But Gevis said that scholars from a closed government institute provided the court with another expert opinion, which held that Kaibyshev's work was classified and should not have been released.
A court in Ufa has ordered Kaibyshev to remain in the city until the case is decided unless he gets permission from the FSB to leave. Kaibyshev said he had been planning to attend a conference in San Francisco this month.
An Arlington firm, Futurepast, is about to publish his new book, the third in a series underwritten by the International Science and Technology Center.
"I'm very concerned," said John C. Shideler, president of Futurepast. "Everyone who knows him in the metallurgy field has nothing but the highest regard for him and his work."
© 2005 The Washington Post Company
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EUROPA, Belgium - RESEARCH
/ 24 February 2005
Look into my eyes!
Российские биофизики разрабатывают систему экспресс-диагностики болезней по тепловому излучению глаз. Метод может быть особенно полезен в том случае, когда во время эпидемий надо срочно оценить состояние здоровья людей, приезжающих из инфицированных регионов, прямо на вокзалах и в аэропортах.
As the 2003 SARS crisis and recent bird flu scare poignantly show, stopping the spread of transferable illnesses in this time of rapid trans-continental mobility is a tough task. Taking passenger temperatures as they arrive from an infected country is not full-proof, as not all communicable diseases cause fever. A team of Russian biophysicists are working on a solution to this problem.
We have heard that the eyes are the mirrors of the soul, but maybe they can tell a lot more than that. The eyes' thermal radiation can also give advance warning of disease, even before clinical signs appear, according to researchers supported by the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The most effective way to stop a virulent disease from spreading is to cordon it off as closely as possible to the source of the breakout. But with fast-moving populations – flying from country to country in just hours – comes fast-moving viruses and infections. Scientists are trying to find more effective ways of detecting people who may be carrying these diseases but show no outward signs of it yet.
Russian scientists at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics are developing such a system for rapid disease diagnosis using thermal radiation emitted from our eyes. The method could quickly – i.e. minimising delays and waiting time – scan people coming from infected regions at the main points of entry into a country, such as railway stations and airports.
Taking our temperature with a thermometer under the tongue or in more indelicate places, is the traditional indicator of our state of health. Although usually reliable, this has its weaknesses, especially for conditions that are not accompanied by noticeable temperature hikes and when the diagnoses are done in public place, such as busy airport terminals.
The Russians favour the use of sensitive cameras to record – from a reasonable distance and discretely – the infrared radiation emanating from people. Infrared cameras can determine temperature with precision, indeed up to several hundredth of a degree. For diagnosing lots of people, they decided the best part of the body to use would be the face because it is only rarely covered up. And the warmest part of the face is the eyes. They glow more intensely than the skin in the infrared range because they each contain six hard-working muscles, and have a well spread blood supply and lachrymal glands.
The temperature in the vicinity of eyes can reach 36.5 degrees Celsius. To get a thermal portrait of a healthy person's eyes, according to InformNauka, the Russian science news agency, the researchers examined 20 relatively healthy people aged between 20 and 65. They found that the temperature in various points of the eye differs and changes in line with how often they blink. When the eye opens, the temperature drops by about one degree, increases again before dropping to its regular temperature within 20 seconds after the eyelid was first lifted.
To explain a complex process more simply, this cooling mechanism can be affected by the amount of blood circulating in the eye. The study showed that the temperature curves of the left and the right eye may have different shapes. The scientists have also identified that the eyelid's temperature in the area of the bridge of nose is the highest, and it is a good candidate as a remote diagnostic reference.
They are convinced that the eyes' thermal portrait would change if a person is suffering from disease. Eyes are already used as a sign of ill-health in many conditions. The eyes respond to both infectious and functional diseases. Eyeball reddening and changes in intra-ocular pressure, for instance, reflect the state of the nervous and endocrine systems, digestion, kidney function, and also a range of infectious diseases.
"However, the symptoms of a disease become noticeable when the disease has already gone too far," the team note in a statement. "Recording of small temperature deviations in the infrared range [should probably help in] finding criteria for early diagnostics of a disease," they add, making the eyes a prime thermal marker of disease.
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Courrier international / 24 févr. 2005
Enfin des renards de compagnie!
- Steve Connor, Independent
Российские ученые вывели ручных лис. Лисы из этой экспериментальной популяции, которую выводили на научной станции в Новосибирске с 1959 года, относятся к людям без страха и агрессии и понимают человеческие жесты так же, как собаки. Высказывается предположение, что ручные лисы могут быть более верными друзьями человека, чем, например, кошки.
Ils vous regardent dans les yeux, remuent la queue et gémissent de plaisir dès que vous approchez. Pourtant, ce ne sont pas des chiens, mais des renards qui ressemblent à s'y méprendre au meilleur ami de l'homme. Les chercheurs ont réussi ce que la nature n'avait pas pu faire: au terme de quarante-cinq ans d'élevage sélectif, ils ont créé de toutes pièces un renard domestique accroché au regard de son maître.
Issu d'une sélection rigoureuse effectuée depuis 1959 dans un élevage sibérien, ce renard d'un nouveau genre se rapproche du chien non seulement par son apparence, mais aussi par sa capacité à lire les expressions du visage pour deviner ce que l'on attend de lui. Le chien, issu du loup et domestiqué voilà plus de dix mille ans, est l'un des rares animaux à présenter suffisamment d'aptitudes sociales pour obéir à des ordres transmis par une expression ou un geste de la main.
Or une étude menée sur les renards russes vient de démontrer que cette espèce présente les mêmes dispositions. Des tests d'intelligence ont établi que les renards sibériens n'avaient rien à envier aux chiens et qu'ils avaient plus de facilités que les chimpanzés pour décrypter la gestuelle humaine – en suivant par exemple un regard ou un geste pour retrouver une friandise cachée.
Dans une étude publiée par la revue Current Biology, Brian Hare, de l'université Harvard, et Ludmila Trut, de l'Académie des sciences de Russie, suggèrent que les renards domestiqués peuvent être pour l'homme des compagnons plus dociles que bien d'autres animaux familiers, tels les chats.
Les sujets sur lesquels a porté cette étude sont issus des cent femelles et trente mâles constituant la souche de l'élevage entrepris en 1959 dans une station de recherche sibérienne à Novossibirsk. Dans le cadre d'un projet d'élevage destiné à la production de fourrures, le généticien russe Dimitri Beliaev a sélectionné les animaux pour leur faire perdre toute agressivité envers les humains, ne laissant se reproduire au fil des générations que les sujets les plus dociles.
M. Belaiev a même identifié une "élite apprivoisée " (appelée la classe IE) qui cherchait le contact avec l'homme, pleurnichait pour attirer l'attention, reniflait et léchait les mains des chercheurs. Au bout de plusieurs générations et après avoir suivi 45 000 renards, les scientifiques ont relevé des différences très nettes entre les renards d'élevage et leurs cousins restés à l'état sauvage. La nouvelle race se distingue également par certains traits physiques qui la rapprochent du chien: la fourrure a laissé apparaître des taches blanches, le museau s'est raccourci, et quelques sujets présentent des oreilles tombantes et une queue retroussée.
Jusqu'à présent, les biologistes pensaient que le chien, premier animal à avoir été domestiqué, était issu de jeunes loups sélectionnés pour acquérir un ensemble de caractères utiles aux premiers hommes. Or les dernières découvertes en la matière semblent indiquer qu'il aurait suffi de sélectionner une seule caractéristique – la domestication – pour produire un animal de compagnie à l'allure sympathique, présentant toute une série de comportements utiles.
On pensait également que le loup était relativement facile à apprivoiser puisque c'était un animal de meute, naturellement enclin à obéir aux ordres de ses supérieurs. Or les dernières études montrent que l'on peut également dresser le renard, animal solitaire s'il en est, à lire les gestes de communication des humains.
Droits de reproduction et de diffusion réservés © Courrier international 2005
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Guardian – UK / Sunday February 27, 2005
Space yacht rides to stars on rays of sunlight
- Robin McKie and Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Группа российских и американских ученых готовятся к запуску экспериментального солнечного паруса "Космос-1", который представляет собой конструкцию из восьми "лепестков" длиной 15 м каждый. Цель эксперимента - подтвердить возможность использования солнечного света для управления космическими аппаратами. Первый запуск аппарата состоялся еще в 2001 году, но оказался неудачным.
A spacecraft that flies on sunbeams is about to begin its travels across the solar system. A group of American and Russian scientists are preparing to launch a probe with giant, wafer-thin plastic sails that can catch sunlight just as a yacht's sails fill with wind.
Cosmos-1 has been designed to tack across space without using rockets and could form the forerunner of a network of solar observatories that would hover over the sun to provide early warnings of disruptive magnetic storms, or deliver instruments to remote space stations and planetary exploration teams.
The probe, to be launched from a Russian nuclear missile submarine, is made up of a fan of eight 15-metre sails, each thinner than a dustbin bag but stiffened and coated with mirror material.
The technology is the product of years of collaboration by the US Planetary Society, a group of private space enthusiasts; the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Moscow space industry designers Lavochkin.
"Cosmos-1 will be blasted into space by conventional rocket technology but once in orbit above earth, solar sail technology will take over," said Susan Lendroth of the Planetary Society. "We will be able to move each one of Cosmos-1's sails individually and so direct the craft in whatever direction we wish. The aim will be to get it to higher and higher orbits."
Solar sail technology exploits the fact that photons have momentum and apply pressure to surfaces. A comet's tail is the result of solar photons battering its surface, for example. But this pressure is still relatively meagre and only recently - with the development of micro-electronic circuits that allow tiny spacecraft to be constructed - has it become possible to consider powering craft with solar sails. However, to date, test flights have gone badly.
Several years ago, Russian cosmonauts tried to unfurl a small solar sail while in orbit. One panel had been painted with a sponsor's name and stuck together so the full sail could not unfold. In 2001 a test version of Cosmos-1, with only two sail blades, was lost when its launch vehicle malfunctioned.
"We could have launched another test flight but have decided to press ahead with a full mission," said Lendroth. This will involve a three-stage missile being blasted into space from a submarine in April. "It's cheaper to launch below the surface because you don't have to clean up the submarine afterwards," she added.
The mission has cost a mere $4 million, raised by the Planetary Society. Cosmos-1 weighs only 50kg and contains only sails and electronic systems for guiding its panels. "It is a technology test, no more than that," said Lendroth. "Once we have shown what can be done with solar sails, we hope all sorts of other agencies will follow."
Both Nasa and the European Space Agency say they are interested. One mission they are eyeing is for a full solar sail mission to place a probe in Mercury's orbit. Mercury whirls round the sun every 88 days, and a traditionally powered spacecraft would need to gain enormous energy to manoeuvre above the planet. A solar sail ship could spiral in towards Mercury and slip into orbit without any fuel.
In short, sunbeams could be the transport system of the 21st century.
Guardian Unlimited © Newspapers Limited 2005
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KAZINFORM / 23.02
Scientists of Kazakhstan and Russia to cooperate in the sphere of IT
В новосибирском Академгородке состоялось третье заседание российско-казахской рабочей группы по вычислительным и информационным технологиям.
Astana. February 23. The third session of the Russian-Kazakhstani working group on computation and information technologies was held in Novosibirsk Academician town at the Institute of Calculation Technologies in early February, our correspondent was told in the National Engineering Academy of Kazakhstan.
The Russian-Kazakhstani working group was formed in 2003 at the initiative of President of the National Engineering Academy of Kazakhstan, Academician Bakhytzhan Zhumagulov and Director of the Russian Institute of Calculation Technologies Yurii Shokin.
Academicians Murat Orunkhanov and Nargoza Danayev headed the delegation representing Kazakhstan. The session was devoted to discussion of a wide range of issues connected with mathematic modeling, development of highly efficient calculation algorithms and information resources.
As a part of the session there were held meetings between Kazakhstani delegation and management of the Russian Institute of Calculation Technologies. The parties agreed on joint development of IT for monitoring and solution of ecological problems.
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Belfast Telegraph - UK / 25 February 2005
My miracle asthma cure (and why the Irish medical profession are ignoring it)
Ирландия занимает первое место в Европе по заболеваемости астмой. Казалось бы, в таких обстоятельствах, должна приветствоваться любая методика, способная помочь больным. Например, метод дыхания по Бутейко, показавший хорошие результаты везде, где использовался, и ставший известным в Ирландии несколько лет назад. Однако официальная ирландская медицина не только не приветствует распространение этого метода, но и не соглашается даже протестировать его.
When it comes to asthma, Ireland's lungs are in a bad way. At the last count more than 400,000 Irish people had asthma and we have the highest prevalence of it in Europe. Worldwide, we now have the fourth highest rate among children and the highest rate among adults aged 18-44. At 29%, our childhood asthma rate is just behind Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
And the problem is getting worse. Asthma attacks diagnosed by GPs are five times higher than 25 years ago. As such, Irish children miss 10 school days every year because of it, while adults miss about 12 days from work.
Asthma is now one of the world's most common long-term conditions, affecting as many as 300 million people worldwide. They estimate this number could jump by 150 million by 2025.
But the statistics only give half the story. Any asthma sufferer will tell you that that the symptoms of wheezing, chest-tightness and breathlessness that are its hallmark, are the most uncomfortable, debilitating and sometimes frightening experiences a person can have.
The financial cost of this ailment is equally huge. No one knows for certain how much Irish adults and children spend every year on drugs to control their asthma, on prescriptions and tests from doctors and specialists, and on fitting their houses with dust-free this and allergy-free that. We can, however, glimpse the cost.
New Zealand has a population roughly similar to ours and, coincidentally, an asthma rate also similar to ours. It spent about €50 million on asthma drugs alone in 2002.
With so much at stake you would have thought that any treatment offering relief would be welcomed with open arms. But not so.
If the reality behind the statistics is frightening then there is something equally ominous taking place in the background of the asthma industry in Ireland today. A new treatment has arrived on the scene that offers hope and yet it is being ignored by the establishment. It is achieving startlingly good results wherever it has been tested but in this country these tests are being downplayed. Most remarkable of all, it is affordable and it is completely drug-free. Yet conventional medical practitioners are rubbishing it at every turn.
The Buteyko Breathing Technique, named after Professor Konstantin Buteyko, the Russian scientist who developed it, was brought to Ireland a few years ago by Irishman Patrick McKeown, a chronic asthmatic for 25 years. Leaving aside the fact that he himself is now asthma-free having undergone the treatment, he is teaching it to hundreds of Irish people a year, most of whom are finding it allows them breathe freely again.
The question is: are we dealing with hocus pocus or is this a new wonder treatment? This is where the debate rages. The Asthma Society of Ireland, the first port of call for all asthmatics, does not believe in it, will not recommend it or make any move to research it, and encourages its customers to keep taking the drugs.
Yet, even ignoring the groundswell of individual testimonies from people who are benefiting from it here, successive research on Buteyko in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Moscow has shown amazing improvements in asthmatics' dependence on their inhalers.
The New Zealand Medical Journal in December 2003 said the Buteyko Technique was very effective with asthma and after six months Buteyko users had reduced their blue inhaler usage by 85%, compared to 37% in the non-Buteyko group. Buteyko users also reduced their steroid usage by 50% whereas the non-Buteyko people had no change at all.
According to Dr. Pat Manning, chairman of the medical committee of the Asthma Society of Ireland and Consultant Respiratory Physician at the Bon Secours Hospital, Dublin, the research evidence is not to their liking because it is not scientifically rigorous enough. The society has no objection to conducting its own tests, he said, provided someone puts up the hefty cash for the trials, and it will then subject Buteyko to the most thorough scientific testing, a process which he warns could take a very long time. But he has no plans to do so.
"The person that is teaching this method is teaching it to other teachers and they are making a lot of money out of it," Dr Manning said. "They are telling people it will cure their asthma. I have had patients who have tried this method and it has made no difference. We are concerned people will get the impression it'll cure their asthma."
For his part, the Buteyko advocate in Ireland, Patrick McKeown, said he has made repeated attempts to get the Asthma Society to let him explain the method and to have them put it to the test but each request has been ignored. In spite of the successes of the Buteyko method, he says he has had to put up with a barrage of negativity and sniping.
"I think it is very unfair to say that we are in it for the money," Mr McKeown said. "I was a chronic asthmatic for about 25 years and often struggled going to and from school with my schoolbag. I am now completely asthma-free. My main impetus to become involved was due to my own condition and it gives me tremendous drive especially when I hear detractors who have not looked into the method in the first place."
Asthmatics who spend small fortunes on doctors, consultants and prescription drugs will probably find it strange to hear a technique that has a once-off cost of €195 in Sligo, Galway and Athlone and €245 in Dublin, Cork and Limerick being pilloried as mercenary, money-grabbing, or a "pyramid-selling operation", as one eminent specialist described it to me.
I asked Dr. Pat Manning if, given the importance of the asthma industry to drug companies, he and the Asthma Society of Ireland saw the Buteyko method as a threat because of its drug-free nature. The society's recent booklet for very young children with asthma is sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme.
"It is not a threat whatsoever," he said. "Any medicines we use are backed by the information that is out there. If any treatment wants to stand up to scrutiny it's going to have to stand against what we know of asthma."
The gulf separating the two sides is considerable. Conventional medicine tells us that asthma is a lung disease for which there is no cure. It is triggered by outside factors such as diet, dust or allergies but they are not sure exactly what. It has no defined cause and no defined cure. The only treatment is to control it, using inhalers or oral medication.
Buteyko Breathing Technique says that asthma has a cause and it is over-breathing. We over-breathe due to stress or diet or unfitness and we deplete the body of carbon dioxide which is vital in regulating oxygen uptake. The cure is to retrain the person's breathing habits and that is what the treatment entails.
Could it be that a treatment that uses no drugs, has a defined cost, takes just three eight-hour sessions and involves half-an-hour of breathing work a day can have such a revolutionary effect on the epidemic that is asthma?
The medical profession and the Asthma Society of Ireland are probably right to be cautious. They have probably seen every quack cure for asthma that was invented. But Buteyko is backed by too many positive personal and scientific results for it to be ignored much longer. And the continuing scepticism about it is beginning to smack of intransigence. Many people are suffering and could possibly benefit from this treatment. Those people are entitled to a little more healthy curiosity from the guardians of our health and a little less obstinacy.
2005 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd
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