AddThis Mastering Methane: By draining the rice fields once during the growingseason, allowing the soil to be reoxidized, two Rice University professors haveshown that methane emissions can be cut by 50 percent. Draining three times cutsemissions to nearly zero. And, if they carefully time the drain and controlfertilizer and soil factors, they can even increase rice yields by five to tenpercent. Methane, as a greenhouse gas, can pack a punch. Methane reacts morethan carbon dioxide in the air and its global warming potential is 56 timesgreater than CO2 over a 20 year period, says biogeochemist Ron Sass. Thescientists are using airplane and satellite imaging data, in conjunction withground sampling, to create a model for rice cultivation that could be usedthroughout the world. Contact: Ron Sass, (713) 527-4066, Frank Fisher, (713)527-4917.### ShareTipsheetDocumenting Village Languages: Like an old-time traveling medicineshow, Rice linguist Spike Gildea and his team of graduate students show up everysummer in jungle villages in Brazil playing guitars and offering trade goods.The deal is simple. Gildea trades fishhooks and cloth for stories and time. Hehas two purposes: documenting living languages of indigenous people whose waysof life are threatened by encroaching Western civilization and spreading wordamong natives of the newer threat of AIDS, which caused the first official deathamong northern Brazilian Indians last year. Gildea’s research was funded in partby a three-year National Science Foundation grant to study the Cariban family oflanguages in Brazil. Additional grants from Rice allowed him to stretch thefunding through the summer of 1997.Contact: Spike Gildea, (713) 527-4776. Battling Biowarfare: A Rice University bioengineer is involved in a $6million project to research and develop “smart skins,” specially engineeredfabrics that will intercept and counteract harmful chemicals used in biologicalwarfare. Antonios Mikos, associate professor of bioengineering and chemicalengineering, received part of a two-year grant from the Department of Defense’sDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Mikos is working withMolecular Geodesics, Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. to develop the material. More thanjust a barrier, “smart skins” would capture and neutralize biological threatagents and chemical toxins, such as gasses, viruses or bacteria, before they canreach or enter the body. Contact: Tony Mikos, Rice University, (713) 285-5355,Donald Ingber at Molecular Geodesics, (617) 494-1118.