'Dreamliner,' Not Even Flown Yet, Is Boeing's Most Popular New Plane
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This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Barbara Klein. And I'm Steve Ember. On our program this week, we will tell about a new airplane from the American company Boeing. We will also tell about warning signs for ovarian cancer. And, we tell about a television performer who invented science shows for children.
The Boeing Company presented its newest jet airplane earlier this month to a crowd of employees and invited visitors. About fifteen thousand people attended the presentation on July eighth at Boeing's factory in Everett, Washington.
The company is calling its new plane the Seven Eighty-Seven Dreamliner. The plane is Boeing's first new jet since nineteen ninety-five.
The Seven Eighty-Seven is designed to travel great distances. It can carry between two hundred ten and three hundred thirty people.
Boeing says the plane will be made mostly of carbon-fiber composite material instead of aluminum. A plane made of carbon-fiber weighs less than a metal plane. As a result, it requires less fuel to do the same job.
Boeing says the Seven Eighty-Seven will use twenty percent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized planes. It also says the plane will make less noise taking off and landing. And it will produce less carbon dioxide than traditional jets. Studies have linked rising temperatures on Earth to human production of gases like carbon dioxide.
The new jet plane has yet to leave the ground. Boeing says the first Dreamliner will be completed in the factory in Everett. The Seven Eighty-Seven still needs flight test and other equipment to be added. The first flight is expected in late August or September. Boeing officials say they expect the plane to start carrying passengers in May, two thousand eight.
The company says the Dreamliner is Boeing's most successful new plane. By July eighth, Boeing had already received six hundred seventy-seven orders from forty-seven buyers. The orders are worth more than one hundred ten billion dollars.
Ovarian cancer is known as a silent killer because it is usually discovered too late to save a woman's life. But three cancer groups in the United States have now agreed on a list of possible early signs of the disease.
The statement is the first of its kind to recognize what ovarian cancer survivors have long believed: that there are common signs. Researchers have found that these symptoms are more likely to happen in women with ovarian cancer than women in general.
One symptom is expansion of the lower chest or abdomen. Pain in the abdomen or the pelvis can be another symptom. Researchers also say women with an early form of ovarian cancer may release waste fluids more often or with greater urgency. And they say another common symptom is difficulty eating or feeling full quickly. Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks are advised to see a doctor.
The cancer can affect one or both ovaries, the organs that produce eggs. Doctors say the main ways to find the disease early are recognizing the symptoms and getting a combination pelvic and rectal examination.
Ovarian cancer kills more than one hundred thousand women around the world each year. In the United States, cancer experts estimate that at least fifteen thousand women will die of it this year. And more than twenty-two thousand new cases will be found. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation led the effort for the statement on common symptoms. The American Cancer Society and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists also were involved. Other cancer groups have expressed support for the statement.
Doctor Barbara Goff at the University of Washington in Seattle was a lead investigator of several studies that gave support to the new list. She says most of the time a woman with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer. But the disease can spread quickly to nearby organs.
A few months can mean life or death. Doctor Goff notes that the disease is ninety percent curable when found in its earliest form.
Telemedicine uses technology to provide medical information and services. It involves satellite technology, wireless telephones, and computers. Telemedicine could be as simple as two doctors using a telephone to discuss a case. Another example might be health care providers studying x-rays of patients who might be thousands of kilometers away.
Many telemedicine programs operate through hospitals, home care agencies or university medical centers.
Recently, Temple University in the American city of Philadelphia began a four-year study. Temple is using an Internet-based system is to study the prevention and treatment of obesity in high-risk populations. Researchers are working with religious centers to test whether telemedicine can help overweight African Americans in the Philadelphia area.
Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education gave one computer to each church. Those taking part in the study attend weekly meetings at a church with a trained organizer. Each group has eight to twelve members. They are learning how to use the Internet, including electronic mail and what are called chat rooms. They share ideas on how to prepare healthy foods and they plan their next meetings. Through technology, the members continue to support their families, friends and each other in their health care.
Telemedicine has been useful in places where there are not enough doctors. Health care experts in Africa say the continent faces the problem of too much disease with too few doctors.
Maurice Mars works on telehealth issues at the University of Kwazalu-Natal in South Africa. Doctor Mars says southern Africa has fewer than ten doctors for every one hundred thousand people.
Telemedicine is still new to Africa. It has only a few successful programs that can treat people in distant areas. The technology remains costly. Doctor Mars says that kind of spending in not possible for developing countries. He says many countries cannot pay for even Internet services.
Last month, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring the television performer Don Herbert. To many Americans, he was better known as Mr. Wizard.
Don Herbert died of cancer on June twelfth. He was eighty-nine years old. But his television shows and their influence live on.
Don Herbert started appearing on the children's show "Watch Mr. Wizard" in March, nineteen fifty-one. He appeared as a scientist who liked to perform scientific experiments in his home.
The show always involved a boy or girl as his assistant. Mr. Wizard always had a small experiment prepared or a scientific question to investigate. For example, in one show, he taught a girl about sound and what gives musical instruments their different noise levels. In another show, he showed a boy how to make a small volcano. His weekly program was broadcast for fifteen years.
Don Herbert later taught science to a new generation of Americans on a show called "Mr. Wizard's World." This show started in nineteen eighty. It was broadcast three times a week for seven years. You could watch Mr. Wizard and a child perform experiments like turning a clear liquid black or making foods explode using a simple chemical reaction.
Don Herbert's television shows taught young people that science could be educational, but also fun and exciting. His experiments were simple and direct. He used everyday objects from around the home. They were also interesting enough for parents to watch.
Congressman Vernon Ehlers helped to create the resolution to honor the man known as Mr. Wizard. He said Don Herbert invented the business of young people watching fun science shows on television. The Congressman said Mr. Herbert was a good guy who did a good job.
This SCIENCE IN THE NEWS program was written by Lawan Davis, Dana Demange, George Grow and Caty Weaver. Brianna Blake was our producer. I'm Steve Ember. And I'm Barbara Klein. You can read and listen to this program on our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for more news about science in Special English on the Voice of America.