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The poor are much more likely to smoke than the rich, a Gallup-Healthways study found last year. The survey of more than 75,000 people found a close correlation between income and smoking rates, consistent in every category except the lowest bracket, which is populated by many students. Income groups and the percentage in each who said they smoke:

$5,999 or less 30 percent
$6,000 to $11,999 34 percent
$12,000 to $23,999 30 percent
$24,000 to $35,999 26 percent
$36,000 to $47,999 22 percent
$48,000 to $59,000 21 percent
$60,000 to $89,999 16 percent
$90,000 to $119,000 13 percent
$120,000 or more 13 percent
Overall 21 percent

The Conficker Internet worm got more aggressive about trying to reach its creators Wednesday, but computer security researchers appeared correct in their predictions that the effects would be muted.

"One thing we're not seeing is any mass malicious activity," said Joris Evers, an analyst with McAfee. "The Internet today is working just as well as it was working yesterday."

The worm can take control of unsuspecting PCs running Microsoft's Windows operating system. But its creators likely want to use their vast "botnet" to send spam or perform other cybercrimes, and not to bring down the Internet. Security companies monitoring the worm have been largely successful at blocking infected machines from communicating with whoever programmed it.

Rare dolphins seen near Bangladesh

Nearly 6,000 rare Irrawaddy dolphins have been found in Bangladeshi waters, according to the wildlife advocacy group Wildlife Conservation Society, a hopeful sign for a vulnerable species found only in small numbers elsewhere. Irrawaddy dolphins, which are related to orcas or killer whales, were found living in freshwater regions of Bangladesh's Sundarbans mangrove forest and the adjacent waters of the Bay of Bengal. Before this study the largest known populations of Irrawaddy dolphins numbered in the low hundreds. However, the newly discovered population is already threatened by climate change and fishing nets. The group has asked Bangladeshi officials to establish a sanctuary.

Researchers in Germany have used a modern medical procedure to uncover a secret within one of ancient Egypt's most treasured artworks — the bust of Nefertiti has two faces.

A team led by Dr. Alexander Huppertz of the Imaging Science Institute at Berlin's Charite hospital discovered a detailed stone carving that differs from the external stucco face when they performed a CT scan on the bust.

The findings, published Tuesday in the journal Radiology, are the first to show that the stone core of the statue is a highly detailed sculpture of the queen, Huppertz said.

"Until we did this scan, how deep the stucco was and whether a second face was underneath it was unknown," he said. "The hypothesis was that the stone underneath was just a support."

The differences between the faces, though slight — creases at the corners of the mouth, a bump on the nose of the stone version — suggest to Huppertz that someone expressly ordered the adjustments between stone and stucco when royal sculptors immortalized the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten 3,300 years ago.

"Changes were made, but some of them are positive, others are negative," Huppertz said.

John H. Taylor, a curator for Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum in London, said the scan raises interesting questions about why the features were adjusted — but that answers will probably remain elusive.

Associated Press

Hed news offlead herey and herey 04/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 8:40pm]
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