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NASA's Swift satellite has acquired a new high-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy; M31 in the constellation Andromeda, the largest and closest spiral galaxy to our own.

M31, also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, is more than 220,000 light-years across and lies 2.5 million light-years away. On a clear, dark night, the galaxy is faintly visible as a misty patch to the naked eye.

Between May 25 and July 26, 2008, Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) acquired 330 images of M31 at wavelengths of 192.8, 224.6, and 260 nanometers. The images represent a total exposure time of 24 hours. 
The buried town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund in Norfolk is one of the most important, though least understood, Roman sites in Britain.

Caistor lies in the former territory of the Iceni, the tribe of Boudica Celts who famously rebelled against Roman rule in AD 60/61.

The survey revealed numerous circular features that apparently predate the Roman town.  These are probably of prehistoric date, and suggest that Caistor was the site of a large settlement before the Roman town was built. This had always been suspected because of numerous chance finds of late Iron Age coins and metalwork, but until the survey was carried out there had never been any evidence of buildings.

There have been increasingly violent attacks against scientists by animal rights activists in the last few years and partisan groups that can recite the name of every abortion provider killed by extreme pro-life people haven't taken much of a stand against violence done by people who inhabit their sphere.

Two commentaries in The Journal of Neuroscience this month outline the efforts by The Society for Neuroscience and the research community to ensure humane and responsible animal research.

How would you know if your water in space were infected with something?  Water is easy enough to clean but it requires some precision and current methods only examine water cleanliness after the fact.   

University of Utah chemists developed a two-minute water quality monitoring method that just started six months of tests aboard the International Space Station.

The new method involves sampling space station or space shuttle galley water with syringes, forcing the water through a chemical-imbued disk-shaped membrane, and then reading the color of the membrane with a commercially available, handheld color sensor normally used to measure the color and glossiness of automobile paint.
There's been a surprising archaeological discovery at Tel Dor in Israel, a place that was only on the periphery of the Hellenistic world; a gemstone engraved with a portrait of Alexander the Great.

Alexander was probably the first Greek to commission artists to depict his image – as part of a personality cult that was transformed into a propaganda tool. Rulers and dictators have implemented this form of propaganda ever since.   The excavations were done by an archaeological team directed by Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa and Dr. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Over one third of American pre-schoolers live in homes where the television is on most of the time, even if no one's watching, and a new study says the effect of background TV on interactions between parents and young children is definitely negative.

The researchers studied about 50 1-, 2-, and 3-year-olds, each of whom was with one parent, at a university child study center.   Half of the one-hour session, parents and children were in a playroom without TV; in the other half-hour, parents chose an adult-directed program to watch , like Jeopardy. The researchers observed how often parents and children talked with each other, how actively involved the parents were in their children's play, and whether parents and children responded to each other's questions and suggestions.