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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Chemists gain edge in next-gen energy: Flexible film can catalyze production of hydrogen

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

Scientists have created a flexible film with the ability to catalyze the production of hydrogen or be used for energy storage. They have turned molybdenum disulfide's two-dimensional form into a nanoporous film that can catalyze the production of hydrogen or be used for energy storage.

Astronomers solve puzzle about bizarre object at center of our galaxy: Enormous black hole drove two binary stars to merge

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 04:21 PM PST

The mystery about a thin, bizarre object in the center of the Milky Way that some astronomers believe to be a hydrogen gas cloud headed toward our galaxy's enormous black hole has been solved by astronomers.

How a giant impact formed asteroid Vesta's 'belt'

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 01:19 PM PST

Collisions of heavenly bodies generate almost unimaginable levels of energy. Researchers used NASA's ultra-high-speed cannon and computer models to simulate such a collision on Vesta, the second-largest object in the asteroid belt. Their analysis of the images -- taken at a million frames per second -- shows how Vesta may have gotten the deep grooves that encircle its midsection.

Synthetic biology: 'Telomerator' reshapes synthetic yeast chromosome into more flexible, realistic form, redefining what geneticists can build

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 01:19 PM PST

Yeast geneticists report they have developed a novel tool -- dubbed 'the telomerator' -- that could redefine the limits of synthetic biology and advance how successfully living things can be engineered or constructed in the laboratory based on an organism's genetic, chemical base-pair structure.

Putting batteries in a kidsafe coat of armor

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 01:19 PM PST

Researchers have developed a simple 'coat of armor' to encase small batteries, rendering them harmless if they are ever swallowed.

String field theory could be the foundation of quantum mechanics: Connection could be huge boost to string theory

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 11:23 AM PST

Scientists propose a link between string field theory and quantum mechanics that could open the door to using string field theory as the basis of all physics.

Investigating a triple star system in formation

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 09:10 AM PST

Astronomers have carried out the most accurate study so far of the cocoon of gas and dust surrounding the GG Tau A system. By combining complementary observations at submillimeter (ALMA and IRAM) wavelengths with those at infrared (VLTI/ESO) wavelengths, the researchers were able to identify the complex dynamics at work in GG Tau. For the first time, they detected motion of matter showing that exoplanets can form not only around one of the members of this trio of young stars, but also much further out in the disc surrounding the three stars.

Dance choreography improves girls' computational skills

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 08:42 AM PST

Blending movement and computer programming supports girls in building computational thinking skills, according to an ongoing study. This is important research, as even with increasing demands for computationally savvy workers, there is a lack of representation among women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), the researchers say.

A future of power outages; what happens when the lights go out?

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 08:40 AM PST

It is impossible to imagine the modern world without electricity. We are dependent on an uninterrupted source of power and when it fails the consequences are devastating. Over the past decade there have been 50 significant power-outage events occurring in 26 countries, and the demand for electricity continues to grow stronger with rapid population growth, compact urban areas and an 'addiction' to electric appliances.

New technology allows medical professionals to step into their patients' shoes

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 08:40 AM PST

A pioneering piece of technology will allow users to experience the world through the eyes of a person with Young-Onset Parkinson's disease- which could revolutionize the way carers and medical staff treat people with the degenerative condition.

Wrangling data flood to manage health of streams

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 07:24 AM PST

Today's natural resource manager tending to the health of a stream in Louisiana needs to look upstream. Way upstream -- like Montana. Scientists have invented a way to more easily manage the extensive nature of streams.

Countries with poor marine safety records linked to oil spill vessels

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 07:23 AM PST

More than half of ships involved in the 100 largest oil spills of the past three decades were registered in states that consistently fail to comply with international safety and environmental standards, researchers have determined.

Nanotubes could serve as 'universal scaffolding' for cell membrane channels

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 07:23 AM PST

A study suggests that single-wall carbon nanotubes could be used as universal scaffolding to help to replicate the properties of cell membrane channels, scientists report. Biological membranes define the functional architecture of living systems: they are selectively permeable, maintain the chemical identity of the cells and intracellular organelles, and regulate the exchange of material between them.

New Jersey's teen driver decals show sustained link with fewer crashes

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 07:22 AM PST

A new study provides valuable evidence that New Jersey's Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) decal provision is associated with a sustained two-year decline in crash rates among intermediate or probationary teen drivers.

Combining 'Tinkertoy' materials with solar cells for increased photovoltaic efficiency

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 07:22 AM PST

Researchers are working to develop a technique that they believe will significantly improve the efficiencies of photovoltaic materials and help make solar electricity cost-competitive with other sources of energy.

New process transforms wood, crop waste into valuable chemicals

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 07:22 AM PST

Scientists have disclosed a new method to convert lignin, a biomass waste product, into simple chemicals. The innovation is an important step toward replacing petroleum-based fuels and chemicals with biorenewable materials, says an expert in "green chemistry."

Study of Chile earthquake finds new rock structure that affects earthquake rupture

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 02:32 PM PDT

An unusual mass of rock deep in the active fault line beneath Chile has been found. Researchers say that this mass influenced the rupture size of a massive earthquake that struck the region in 2010.

Student inventors get boost to commercialize color 3-D printing, iPhone app

Posted: 01 Nov 2014 02:31 PM PDT

Applying a similar approach to the 3-D printer, a group of students are commercializing a device that adds color to a printer that now dominates the market.

Iron-based superconductor simulations spin out new possibilities on titan

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Researchers studying iron-based superconductors are combining novel electronic structure algorithms with the high-performance computing power of the Titan supercomputer to predict spin dynamics, or the ways electrons orient and correlate their spins in a material.

MINER shines in urban emergency response exercise

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

In a field test in downtown Chicago, a mobile imager of neutrons for emergency responders (MINER) system identified the exact location of a sealed laboratory radiation source through shielding and at a distance. MINER detects fast neutrons that emanate from special nuclear material and can discriminate the device signature from background radiation and to measure the spectrum of neutrons emitted by it.

Raising cryptography's standards

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:09 AM PDT

Calculating encryption schemes' theoretical security guarantees eases comparison, improvement, experts say. Most modern cryptographic schemes rely on computational complexity for their security. In principle, they can be cracked, but that would take a prohibitively long time, even with enormous computational resources.

Tweeting a lot to gain popularity is inefficient

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:06 AM PDT

The imbalanced structure of Twitter, where some users have many followers and the large majority barely has several dozen followers, means that messages from the more influential have much more impact. Less popular users can compensate for this by increasing their activity and their tweets, but the outcome is costly and inefficient, experts say.

Looking closer: Nuclear waste viewed in new light

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:05 AM PDT

Britain's nuclear reactors, stainless steel drums, contain metal-clad spent uranium embedded in concrete, and they are highly radioactive. The only way to handle them safely is from behind 2-to-3-meter-thick concrete walls and leaded glass windows using automated equipment. Yet a very small number of these drums have begun to bulge after many years in storage, raising questions about what is happening within. The only way to know for sure is to sneak a peek inside.

Tough electronics based on bullet-proof kevlar

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

A group of researchers is exploring novel ways to apply semiconductor industry processes to unique substrates to "weave together" multifunctional materials with distinct capabilities. They describe how they were able to "weave" high-strength, highly conductive yarns made of tungsten on Kevlar -- aka body armor material -- by using atomic layer deposition, a process commonly used for producing memory and logic devices.

Fundamental physics of diesel engines studied

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

Researchers are working to study the fundamental physics of diesel engines. Understanding the fundamentals could lead to better engine performance, fuel economy and power.

Research paves way for custom-made catalysts that make vehicles, industrial processes more efficient

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:20 AM PDT

Atoms react differently, depending on the characteristics of the catalyst that is used, scientists report in a new study, which is a very important step forward in the design of new catalysts with applications in the field of energy.

'Swiss cheese' membrane with adjustable holes

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:20 AM PDT

The pore size of the smart membranes can be adjusted from the outside, experts report. This is very attractive in applications such as biosensors or chemical analysis. The 'Swiss cheese' structure is characteristic of many polymer membranes and is now modified by introducing iron within the polymer. Using an electric signal or a chemical reaction, the pore size can be adjusted. The key to this is controlled adding or extracting of electrons to and from iron.

LED lighting can significantly reduce energy consumption in greenhouse horticulture

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:20 AM PDT

With the exception of energy consumption, where there is still much to be done, the Dutch are global leaders in greenhouse horticulture. The quality is high, and nowhere else is the use of water and pesticides so low. Even so, demand for innovation, sustainable production and healthy fruit and vegetables and high-quality flowers remains high. One innovation that would help in this is the introduction of LED lighting in the greenhouse horticulture sector, says one expert.

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