Selasa, 21 Desember 2010

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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Electronic nose detects cancer (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have been able to confirm in tests that ovarian cancer tissue and healthy tissue smell different. ... > full story

NASA spacecraft provides travel tips for Mars rover (December 21, 2010) -- NASA's Mars Opportunity rover is getting important tips from an orbiting spacecraft as it explores areas that might hold clues about past Martian environments. ... > full story

Samples of vital human tumor tissue irradiated with ions for the first time (December 21, 2010) -- Scientists have for the first time irradiated samples of vital human tumor tissue in the scope of their systematical and fundamental research. Their long-term goal is to enhance the already highly effective ion beam therapy in a way that allows the optimization of the irradiation dose based on the specific tumor of the individual patient. Such a treatment would constitute a novel approach, as radiation treatment so far only considered the type and position of the tumor. ... > full story

Comprehensive wind info collected to improve renewable energy (December 21, 2010) -- Scientists are researching how radar weather instruments can help improve predictions on when and how strongly winds will blow. They're testing the instruments from a working wind farm in southeastern Washington State with the goal of helping power grid operators better manage the intermittent stress that spinning wind turbines put on the electrical grid. ... > full story

Urban planning: Better spaces for older people (December 21, 2010) -- Urban planning needs to consider how older people use walking routes as well as public areas, concludes a new study. Planning should include a smooth transition between walking, driving and using public transport and should take account of how older people navigate between these. ... > full story

Scientists identify a spontaneously chain-reacting molecule (December 20, 2010) -- A new paper describes, for the first time, a simple molecule that each time it chemically reacts with a surface prepares a hospitable neighboring site at which the next incoming molecule reacts. Accordingly, these molecules, when simply dosed (blindly) on the surface, spontaneously grow durable "molecular-chains." These molecular chains are the desired prototypes of nano-wires. ... > full story

A 'spin ratchet' paves the way for spin computers: New electronic structure for generating spin current (December 20, 2010) -- Scientists have proposed and experimentally demonstrated a ratchet concept to control the spin motion. In analogy to a ratchet wrench, which provides uniform rotation from oscillatory motion, such ratchets achieve directed spin transport in one direction, in the presence of an oscillating signal. Most important, this signal could be an oscillatory current that results from environmental charge noise; thus future devices based on this concept could function by gathering energy from the environment. ... > full story

Organic electronic ratchets doing work (December 20, 2010) -- Researchers have succeeded in causing electron transport using an electronic ‘ratchet’. This is the first time that usable powers have been generated at room temperature with a device of this kind. The finding opens the possibility of a new kind of wireless drive for microelectronic circuits. ... > full story

Construction of the world's largest neutrino observatory completed: Antarctica's IceCube (December 19, 2010) -- Culminating a decade of planning, innovation and testing, construction of the world's largest neutrino observatory, installed in the ice of the Antarctic plateau at the geographic South Pole, was successfully completed Dec. 18, 2010, New Zealand time. The last of 86 holes had been drilled and a total of 5,160 optical sensors are now installed to form the main detector -- a cubic kilometer of instrumented ice -- of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, located at the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. From its vantage point at the end of the world, IceCube provides an innovative means to investigate the properties of fundamental particles that originate in some of the most spectacular phenomena in the universe. ... > full story

Which methods of heating are most efficient? (December 19, 2010) -- Supplying energy is in the process of metamorphosis because people want to know what is the most intelligent and efficient way to utilize all types of energy carriers. Researchers put the most common ideas for heating under the microscope and come up with major potential. ... > full story

Unprecedented topographic map of the Moon (December 19, 2010) -- Researchers are creating the most precise and complete map to date of the moon's complex, heavily cratered landscape. ... > full story

How do you cut a nanotube? Lots of compression (December 19, 2010) -- Researchers have described the dynamics behind cutting single-walled carbon nanotubes, cylindrical structures just 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. The tubes are compressed by potent sonic booms, causing them to buckle at certain points at helical, 90-degree angles. The finding could lead to better-quality nanotubes for potential use in automotive, electronics, optics and other fields. ... > full story

You only live once: Our flawed understanding of risk helps drive financial market instability (December 19, 2010) -- Our flawed understanding of how decisions in the present restrict our options in the future means that we may underestimate the risk associated with investment decisions, according to new research. The research suggests how policy makers might reshape financial risk controls to reduce market instability and the risk of market collapse. ... > full story

Does fluoride really fight cavities by 'the skin of the teeth?' (December 18, 2010) -- In a study that the authors describe as lending credence to the idiom, "by the skin of your teeth," scientists are reporting that the protective shield fluoride forms on teeth is up to 100 times thinner than previously believed. It raises questions about how this renowned cavity-fighter really works and could lead to better ways of protecting teeth from decay, the scientists suggest. ... > full story

Using digitized books as 'cultural genome,' researchers unveil quantitative approach to humanities (December 18, 2010) -- Researchers have created a powerful new approach to scholarship, using approximately 4 percent of all books ever published as a digital "fossil record" of human culture. By tracking the frequency with which words appear in books over time, scholars can now precisely quantify a wide variety of cultural and historical trends. ... > full story

As earthquakes take their toll, engineers look at enhancing building designs (December 18, 2010) -- A next generation of design criteria for buildings located in geographic regions where earthquakes are known to occur, either rarely or frequently, is under development. ... > full story

Total lunar eclipse and winter solstice coincide on Dec. 21 (December 17, 2010) -- With frigid temperatures already blanketing much of the United States, the arrival of the winter solstice on Dec. 21 may not be an occasion many people feel like celebrating. But a dazzling total lunar eclipse to start the day might just raise a few chilled spirits. ... > full story

The birth of time: Quantum loops describe the evolution of the Universe (December 17, 2010) -- What was the Big Bang and what happened before it? Scientists have attempted to answer the question. Within the framework of loop quantum gravity they have put forward a new theoretical model, which might prove useful for validating hypotheses about events prior to the Big Bang. This achievement is one of the few models describing the full Einstein's theory and not merely its greatly simplified version. ... > full story

Online access with a fingerprint (December 17, 2010) -- A new service makes it possible for users to maintain multiple online accounts using a scan of their fingerprint as a password. ... > full story

Looking back in time to see stars bursting into life (December 17, 2010) -- Astronomers have presented the first conclusive evidence for a dramatic surge in star birth in a newly discovered population of massive galaxies in the early universe. Their measurements confirm the idea that stars formed most rapidly about 11 billion years ago, or about three billion years after the Big Bang, and that the rate of star formation is much faster than was thought. ... > full story

An answer to green energy could be in the air (December 17, 2010) -- In Mark Moore's world, long nanotubes reach into the clouds, serving at once to tether a turbine-vehicle flying at 2,000 feet, or 10,000 feet, or 30,000 feet (610, 3,050 and 9,150 meters); and also to conduct the power that vehicle can harvest from the wind back to Earth. Aloft might be a funnel-shaped blimp with a turbine at its back; or a balloon with vanes that rotate; a truss-braced wing; a parachute; a kite. Any and all of them are ideas being considered by nascent renewable energy industry that is flexing its imagination. ... > full story

Nanotechnology: Tiny channels carry big information (December 17, 2010) -- Researchers have been able to fabricate nanochannels that are only two nanometers in size, using standard semiconductor manufacturing processes. Already they've discovered that fluid mechanics for passages this small are significantly different not only from bulk-sized channels, but even from channels that are merely 10 nanometers in size. ... > full story

Science's breakthrough of the year: The first quantum machine (December 17, 2010) -- Back in March, a group of researchers designed a gadget that moves in ways that can only be described by quantum mechanics -- the set of rules that governs the behavior of tiny things like molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. In recognition of the conceptual ground their experiment breaks, the ingenuity behind it and its many potential applications, Science has called this discovery the most significant scientific advance of 2010. ... > full story

Cyclone lasting more than five years is detected on Saturn (December 17, 2010) -- Researchers have been monitoring a cyclone on Saturn for more than five years. This makes it the longest-lasting cyclone detected to date on any of the giant planets of the Solar System. Images from the Cassini probe were used to carry out this study. ... > full story

Holography with electrons (December 17, 2010) -- The principle of holography was discovered in 1947 by the Hungarian scientist Dennis Gábor, in connection with attempts to improve the resolution of electron microscopes. The experimental realization of the concept of holography had to wait, however, until the mid-60s. Holograms were then made using newly-discovered laser light sources, rather than with electrons. Physicists have now returned to the use of electrons in holography. A special element in their approach is that the electrons that image the object are made from the object itself using a strong laser. ... > full story

Imaging of Alfvén waves and fast ions in a fusion plasma (December 17, 2010) -- Fusion plasmas in the laboratory typically reach 100 million degrees. These high temperatures are required to ignite the hydrogen plasma and maintain the fusion burn by the production of high-energy alpha particles. One challenge for a fusion reactor is how to contain the alpha particles in the vessel long enough for the particles to efficiently heat the hydrogen plasma. One way that these alpha particles can escape the fusion chamber prematurely is by exciting high frequency Alfvén waves and riding these waves to the vessel walls, like a surfer rides a wave to the beach. ... > full story

Tennis star's hospitalization for altitude sickness (December 17, 2010) -- Former tennis champion Martina Navratilova was hospitalized for pulmonary edema -- fluid build-up in the lungs -- while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, drawing attention to the high risk of acute mountain sickness (AMS) and high altitude pulmonary edema. ... > full story

Single quantum dot nanowire photodetectors (December 16, 2010) -- Moving a step closer toward quantum computing, researchers recently fabricated a photodetector based on a single nanowire, in which the active element is a single quantum dot with a volume of a mere 7,000 cubic nanometers. ... > full story

Physicist developing, improving designer optical materials (December 16, 2010) -- Advancements in fabrication technologies may lead to superlenses and other designer optical materials, according to physicists. ... > full story

Computer memory takes a spin: Physicists read data after storing them in atomic nuclei for 112 seconds (December 16, 2010) -- Physicists have stored information for 112 seconds in what may become the world's tiniest computer memory: magnetic "spins" in the centers or nuclei of atoms. Then the physicists retrieved and read the data electronically -- a big step toward using the new kind of memory for both faster conventional and superfast "quantum" computers. ... > full story

Newly discovered phase helps explain materials' ability to convert waste heat to electricity (December 16, 2010) -- Scientists have discovered that a class of materials known to convert heat to electricity and vice versa behaves quite unexpectedly at the nanoscale. The discovery -- a new "opposite-direction" phase transition that helps explain the strong thermoelectric response of these materials -- may help scientists identify other useful thermoelectrics, and could further their application in capturing energy lost as heat, for example, in automotive and factory exhaust. ... > full story

Geologist develops improved seismic model for monitoring nuclear explosions in Middle East (December 16, 2010) -- Geologists have taken an important step toward helping the United States government monitor nuclear explosions by improving a 3-dimensional model to make it more accurate at detecting the location, source and depth of seismic activity. ... > full story

Hot plasma explosions inflate Saturn's magnetic field (December 16, 2010) -- A new analysis based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft finds a causal link between mysterious, periodic signals from Saturn's magnetic field and explosions of hot ionized gas, known as plasma, around the planet. ... > full story

Earthworms absorb discarded copper nanomaterials present in soil (December 16, 2010) -- The manufacturing of nanomaterials has been steadily on the rise in the medical, industrial, and scientific fields. New research has determined that earthworms could absorb copper nanoparticles present in soil. ... > full story

Atomic weights of 10 elements on periodic table about to make an historic change (December 16, 2010) -- For the first time in history, a change will be made to the atomic weights of some elements listed on the periodic table of the chemical elements posted on walls of chemistry classrooms and on the inside covers of chemistry textbooks worldwide. The new table will express atomic weights of 10 elements in a new manner that will reflect more accurately how these elements are found in nature. ... > full story

Meteorite just one piece of an unknown celestial body (December 16, 2010) -- Scientists from all over the world are taking a second, more expansive, look at the car-sized asteroid that exploded over Sudan's Nubian Desert in 2008, with major implications for the meteorite's origin. In the first round of research, scientists examined one fragment of the asteroid and determined that it fell into a very rare category called ureilites. Now they have expanded the scope of the work and examined 11 meteorite fragments, focusing on the presence of oxygen isotopes. ... > full story

NASA scientific balloons to return to flight (December 16, 2010) -- NASA's scientific balloon program is resuming flights this month after an extensive evaluation of its safety processes following a mishap during an April launch attempt from Australia. NASA's high-altitude balloons fly instruments for scientific and technological investigations that contribute to our understanding of Earth, the solar system, and the universe. ... > full story

Study improves understanding of method for creating multi-metal nanoparticles (December 16, 2010) -- A new study sheds light on how a technique that is commonly used for making single-metal nanoparticles can be extended to create nanoparticles consisting of two metals -- and that have tunable properties. The study also provides insight into the optical properties of some of these nanoparticles. ... > full story

Similarities in the embryonic development of various animal species are also found at molecular level (December 15, 2010) -- The astonishing similarity in the appearance of embryos from different animal species was observed as far back as the 19th century by scientists such as Karl von Baer, Charles Darwin and Ernst Haeckel. Such observations prompted the hypothesis that the individual development of an organism reflects its evolutionary history or phylogeny. Two groups of scientists have now succeeded in demonstrating, for the first time, that parallels exist between individual development and phylogeny on the level of gene expression. ... > full story

NASA's Odyssey spacecraft sets exploration record on Mars (December 15, 2010) -- NASA's Mars Odyssey, which launched in 2001, broke the record Dec. 15, 2010 for longest-serving spacecraft at the Red Planet. The probe began its 3,340th day in Martian orbit at 5:55 p.m. PST (8:55 p.m. EST) on Wednesday to break the record set by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which orbited Mars from 1997 to 2006. ... > full story

'Green genes' in yeast may boost biofuel production by increasing stress tolerance (December 15, 2010) -- An effort to increase biofuel production has led scientists to discover genes in yeast that improve their tolerance to ethanol, allowing the production of more ethanol from the same amount of nutrients. A new study shows how genetically altered yeast cells survive higher ethanol concentrations, addressing a bottleneck in the production of ethanol from cellulosic material (nonfood plant sources) in quantities that could compete economically with fossil fuels. ... > full story

Plasma therapy: An alternative to antibiotics? (December 15, 2010) -- Cold plasma jets could be a safe, effective alternative to antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant infections, according to a new study. ... > full story

Rare silvery metal and cousin of platinum is attractive for improving flash memory chips (December 15, 2010) -- One of the rarest metals on Earth may be an excellent option for enabling future flash memory chips to continue increasing in speed and density, according to a group of researchers in Taiwan, who describe incorporating nanocrystals of iridium into critical components of flash memory. ... > full story

New method for making tiny catalysts holds promise for air quality (December 15, 2010) -- Researchers have demonstrated a simpler method of adding iron to tiny carbon spheres to create catalytic materials that have the potential to remove contaminants from gas or liquid. In one continuous process, it produces tiny, micrometer-sized spheres of porous, spongy carbon embedded with iron nanoparticles -- all in the span of a few seconds. ... > full story

Fabric softener sheets repel gnats: Scientists prove Bounce sheets fend off insect pests (December 15, 2010) -- Gardeners often claim that putting Bounce fabric softener sheets in their pockets is an effective way to repel pests like mosquitoes and gnats. In a new study, researchers discussed a series experiments they conducted to ascertain whether Bounce dryer sheets (Outdoor Fresh Scent, Procter and Gamble) repel fungus gnat adults under laboratory conditions. The research team also analyzed the volatile compounds in the dryer sheets using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. ... > full story

Robot arm improves performance of brain-controlled device (December 15, 2010) -- The performance of a brain-machine interface designed to help paralyzed subjects move objects with their thoughts is improved with the addition of a robotic arm providing sensory feedback, a new study finds. ... > full story

Nanoscale gene 'ignition switch' may help spot and treat cancer (December 15, 2010) -- In a proof of principal study in mice, scientists have shown that a set of genetic instructions encased in a nanoparticle can be used as an "ignition switch" to rev up gene activity that aids cancer detection and treatment. ... > full story

IBEX makes first images of magnetotail structures, dynamic interactions occurring in space (December 15, 2010) -- NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft, designed to image the invisible interactions occurring at the edge of the solar system, captured images of magnetospheric structures and a dynamic event occurring in the magnetosphere as the spacecraft observed from near lunar distance. ... > full story

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