Published: Sunday 31 August 2003

airborne water: Magic Hyflux -- Singapore's largest water treatment company -- has introduced a device that turns air into water. The device named Aquosus has a 19-litre tank capacity and is priced at US $1,899. It generates water by freezing the vapour of the air and then purifying it with the help of a membrane system and a ultra-violet lamp. However, it can only produce a litre of water per hour, and its membrane system has to be replaced yearly at a cost of US $100.

caribbean call: Corals are rapidly disappearing from reefs in the Caribbean, indicates a study by researchers of the University of East Anglia, the uk. They compiled and analysed data from 263 sites across the Caribbean and found that hard coral cover has dropped from approximately 50 per cent to 10 per cent over the last three decades. The factors responsible for the decline are overfishing, sedimentation, pollution, diseases and storms.

glittering find: A team of chemists from China has made small diamonds from carbon dioxide. The team, from the University of Science and Technology of China, claims its method could be cheaper and more efficient than some existing methods of synthesising diamonds. The diamonds were made by making carbon dioxide react with metallic sodium in a pressurised oven at 440C and 800 atmospheres. After 12 hours, the grains of diamond were separated from the sodium carbonate, graphite and carbon dioxide.

no paper tiger: A report by the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society has calculated that there could be fewer than 150 tigers left in Burma -- a country where the animals were shot as pests during the British rule. Illegal wildlife trade is responsible for the situation.

problem of resistance: About 10 per cent of Europeans infected with HIV have a virus strain that is resistant to drugs, according to the study led by scientists at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Out of 1,633 AIDS patients studied, 9.6 per cent were infected with a virus resistant to at least one drug and about two per cent had an infection that did not respond to two or more types of medicines.

eye-opener: Wearing a tight necktie can increase the chances of developing glaucoma, a serious eye disease. "A tight necktie raises blood pressure in the eye, which is a leading risk factor in the illness that can lead to damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision," says Robert Ritch of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in the US.

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