Selasa, 28 Desember 2010

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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Choose a movie's plot -- while you watch it (December 28, 2010) -- Turbulence, a new film, uses complicated video coding procedures that allow the viewer to change the course of a movie in mid-plot. In theory, that means each new theater audience can see its very own version of a film. ... > full story

How often do giant black holes become hyperactive? (December 27, 2010) -- A new study from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory tells scientists how often the biggest black holes have been active over the last few billion years. This discovery clarifies how supermassive black holes grow and could have implications for how the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way will behave in the future. ... > full story

New kind of blast-resistant glass (December 27, 2010) -- Engineers are working to develop a blast-resistant glass that is lighter, thinner, and colorless, yet tough enough to withstand the force of an explosion, earthquake or hurricane winds. Today's blast-resistant windows are made of pure polymer layers. This new design is a plastic composite with an interlayer of polymer reinforced with glass fibers. It's only a quarter-inch thick. ... > full story

Supercomputing research opens doors for drug discovery (December 27, 2010) -- A quicker and cheaper technique to scan molecular databases could put scientists on the fast track to developing new drug treatments. ... > full story

Electronic medical records not always linked to better care in hospitals, study finds (December 27, 2010) -- Use of electronic health records by hospitals across the United States has had only a limited effect on improving the quality of medical care, according to a new study. ... > full story

Breakthrough towards lab-on-chip system for fast detection of single nucleotide variations in DNA (December 27, 2010) -- Scientists have developed critical components of a biomedical lab-on-chip sensor enabling fast detection of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in DNA, such as a miniaturized pump for on-chip generation of high pressures, a micropillar filter optimized for DNA separation achieving world-record resolution, and a SNP detector allowing on-chip detection using very small sample volumes. ... > full story

Ever-sharp urchin teeth may yield tools that never need honing (December 26, 2010) -- To survive in a tumultuous environment, sea urchins literally eat through stone, using their teeth to carve out nooks where the spiny creatures hide from predators and protect themselves from the crashing surf on the rocky shores and tide pools where they live. The rock-boring behavior is astonishing, scientists agree, but what is truly remarkable is that, despite constant grinding and scraping on stone, urchin teeth never, ever get dull. The secret of their ever-sharp qualities has puzzled scientists for decades, but now a new report by scientists has peeled back the toothy mystery. ... > full story

Affordable alternative to mega-laser X-FEL (December 26, 2010) -- Stanford University has an X-FEL (X-ray free electron laser) with a price tag of hundreds of millions. It provides images of "molecules in action," using a kilometer-long electron accelerator. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have developed an alternative that can do many of the same things. However, this alternative fits on a tabletop, and costs around half a million euros. The researchers have jokingly called it "the poor man's X-FEL." ... > full story

Robotic surgery for head and neck cancer shows promise (December 26, 2010) -- Less-invasive robotic surgery for upper airway and digestive track malignant tumors is as effective as other minimally invasive surgical techniques based on patient function and survival, according to researchers. ... > full story

Stellar success for unprecedented close-up image of the Sun's fiery atmosphere (December 26, 2010) -- Astrophysicists have captured an unprecedented close-up image of the Sun's fiery atmosphere -- and, in doing so, have won a major new global award. ... > full story

NASA's next Mars rover to zap rocks with laser (December 24, 2010) -- A rock-zapping laser instrument on NASA's next Mars rover has roots in a demonstration that Roger Wiens saw 13 years ago in a colleague's room at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on the rover Curiosity can hit rocks with a laser powerful enough to excite a pinhead-size spot into a glowing, ionized gas. ChemCam then observes the flash through a telescope and analyzes the spectrum of light to identify the chemical elements in the target. ... > full story

Most challenging Christmas plastic wrapping could be recycled with new technology (December 24, 2010) -- On average we each consume 120 grams of plastic wrapping on Christmas gifts most of which is of a type which almost impossible to recycle. Now researchers have devised a new technique which could process 100% of Christmas and other household plastic instead of the tiny fraction that currently actually gets processed. ... > full story

Fast sepsis test can save lives (December 24, 2010) -- Blood poisoning can be fatal. If you suffer from sepsis, you used to have to wait as much as 48 hours for laboratory findings. A new diagnostic platform as big as a credit card will now supply the analysis after as little as an hour. This system is based on nanoparticles that are automatically guided by magnetic forces. ... > full story

Six years after the 2004 tsunami disaster, technical setup of the early warning sysem completed (December 24, 2010) -- Six years after the tsunami disaster of Dec. 26, 2004, the set-up of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean (GITEWS) has been completed. ... > full story

First high-temp spin-field-effect transistor created (December 24, 2010) -- Physicists have announced a breakthrough that gives a new spin to semiconductor nanoelectronics and the world of information technology. ... > full story

Mars movie: I'm dreaming of a blue sunset (December 24, 2010) -- A new Mars movie clip gives us a rover's-eye view of a bluish Martian sunset, while another clip shows the silhouette of the moon Phobos passing in front of the sun. ... > full story

How cells running on empty trigger fuel recycling (December 23, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered how AMPK, a metabolic master switch that springs into gear when cells run low on energy, revs up a cellular recycling program to free up essential molecular building blocks in times of need. ... > full story

Contract marks new generation for Deep Space Network (December 23, 2010) -- NASA has taken the next step toward a new generation of Deep Space Network antennas. A .7 million contract with General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies, San Jose, Calif., covers implementation of two additional 34-meter (112-foot) antennas at Canberra, Australia. This is part of Phase I of a plan to eventually retire the network's aging 70-meter-wide (230-foot-wide) antennas. ... > full story

Better control of building blocks for quantum computer (December 23, 2010) -- Scientists in the Netherlands have succeeded in controlling the building blocks of a future super-fast quantum computer. They are now able to manipulate these building blocks (qubits) with electrical rather than magnetic fields, as has been the common practice up till now. They have also been able to embed these qubits into semiconductor nanowires. ... > full story

A methane-metal marriage: Scientists insert metal atoms into methane gas molecules (December 23, 2010) -- Scientists have inserted metal atoms into methane gas molecules and obtained a detailed structure of the resulting molecule. The discovery could be a key step in making hydrocarbons available to chemical production and broadening our understanding of how nature uses metals in the molecules of living organisms. ... > full story

Researchers train software to help monitor climate change (December 23, 2010) -- A computer program that automatically analyzes mounds of satellite images and other data could help climate scientists keep track of complex, constantly changing environmental conditions. ... > full story

Cornstarch might have ended the Gulf spill agony sooner (December 23, 2010) -- The attempt to kill the Macondo well in the US Gulf by pouring heavy mud down the well bore may have been defeated by an instability that led to turbulent mixing of the oil and the mud. Physicist Jonathan Katz had suggested a simple solution to the problem: cornstarch. Experiments described in a new article suggest his solution might have worked. ... > full story

Cassini marks holidays with dramatic views of Saturn's moon Rhea (December 23, 2010) -- Newly released for the holidays, images of Saturn's second largest moon Rhea obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft show dramatic views of fractures cutting through craters on the moon's surface, revealing a history of tectonic rumbling. The images are among the highest-resolution views ever obtained of Rhea. ... > full story

Cassini finishes sleigh ride by Saturn's icy moons (December 23, 2010) -- On the heels of a successful close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is returning images of Enceladus and the nearby moon Dione. ... > full story

New annotated database sifts through mountains of sequencing data to find gene promoters (December 23, 2010) -- Researchers announce the release of an online tool that will help scientists find "gene promoters" -- regions along a DNA strand that tell a cell's transcription machinery where to start reading in order to create a particular protein. The Mammalian Promoter Database (MPromDb) integrates sequencing data generated at Wistar with publicly available data on human and mouse genomics. MPromDb pinpoints known promoters and predicts where new ones are likely to be found. ... > full story

New single-pixel photo camera developed (December 22, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a new tool for the field of scientific imaging. A sensor of just one pixel can record high-quality images and distribute them securely, that is, without allowing unauthorized people access to information. ... > full story

Muscle filaments make mechanical strain visible (December 22, 2010) -- Plastics manufacturers face a serious hurdle in their quest for new developments: Substantial influences of the microscopic material structure on mechanical material properties cannot be observed directly. Synthetic polymer molecules are too small for microscopic observation in mechanical experiments. Physicists have now developed a method that allows just these kinds of measurements. ... > full story

A robot with finger-tip sensitivity (December 22, 2010) -- Two arms, three cameras, finger-tip sensitivity and a variety of facial expressions -- these are the distinguishing features of the pi4-workerbot. Similar in size to a human being, it can be employed at any modern workstation in an industrial manufacturing environment. Its purpose is to help keep European production competitive. ... > full story

New ideas enhance efficiency of wind turbines (December 22, 2010) -- One issue confronting the efficiency of wind as a promising renewable energy source is the wind itself -- specifically, its changeability. While the aerodynamic performance of a wind turbine is best under steady wind flow, the efficiency of the blades degrades when exposed to conditions such as wind gusts, turbulent flow, upstream turbine wakes and wind shear. Now, a new type of air-flow technology may soon increase the efficiency of large wind turbines under many different wind conditions. ... > full story

Discovery of new molecule could lead to more efficient rocket fuel (December 22, 2010) -- Trinitramid is the name of the new molecule that may be a component in future rocket fuel. This fuel could be 20 to 30 percent more efficient in comparison with the best rocket fuels available today, according to researchers in Sweden. ... > full story

Laser twinkles in rare color (December 22, 2010) -- December is a time for twinkling lights, and scientists are delivering. They've just produced a long-sought, rare color of laser light 100 times brighter than that generated anywhere else. The Free-Electron Laser delivered vacuum ultraviolet light in the form of 10 eV photons (124 nanometers). This color is called vacuum ultraviolet because it's absorbed by molecules in air, requiring its use in a vacuum. ... > full story

Pen to measure and reduce stress (December 22, 2010) -- In the future, more and more products will be able to interpret what users are feeling and use that information in a smart way. To illustrate the power of this theory, researchers have developed a pen which can measure the stress levels of the person using it, and can actually help to reduce that stress. In experiments, the heart rate of people who used the anti-stress pen fell by an average of five percent. ... > full story

Universe's most massive stars can form in near isolation, new study finds (December 22, 2010) -- New observations by astronomers add weight to the theory that the most massive stars in the universe could form essentially anywhere, including in near isolation; they don't need a large stellar cluster nursery. ... > full story

New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry (December 22, 2010) -- In the minds of many, Miscanthus x giganteus is the forerunner in the race of viable feedstock options for lignocellulosic bioenergy production. But researchers believe "putting all their eggs in one basket" could be a big mistake. Scientists recently reported the first natural occurrence in several decades of Miscanthus hybrid plants in Japan. ... > full story

Smarter systems help busy doctors remember (December 22, 2010) -- Busy doctors can miss important details about a patient's care during an office exam. To prevent that, researchers have created a whip smart-assistant for physicians -- a new system using electronic health records that alerts doctors during an exam when a patient's care is amiss. A yellow light on their computer alerts them to problems. The new system, tied to doctor performance reviews, improved patient care and boosted preventive screenings. ... > full story

Scientific balloon launches from Antarctica to study effects of cosmic rays on Earth (December 22, 2010) -- NASA and the National Science Foundation launched a scientific balloon on Dec. 20, Eastern Standard time, to study the effects of cosmic rays on Earth. It was the first of five scientific balloons scheduled to launch from Antarctica in December. ... > full story

Biomagnification of nanomaterials in simple food chain demonstrated (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have produced a groundbreaking study of how nanoparticles are able to biomagnify in a simple microbial food chain. ... > full story

Engineers take plasmon lasers out of deep freeze (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have developed a new technique that allows plasmon lasers to operate at room temperature, overcoming a major barrier to practical utilization of the technology. Previous plasmon lasers required temperatures as low as minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit to function properly. ... > full story

New collage of nearby galaxies from WISE space telescope (December 21, 2010) -- A new collage of galaxies from NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, showcases the many "flavors" that galaxies come in, from star-studded spirals to bulging ellipticals to those paired with other companion galaxies. ... > full story

Electric current moves magnetic vortices: With the help of neutrons, physicists discover new ways to save data (December 21, 2010) -- One of the requirements to keep trends in computer technology on track -- to be ever faster, smaller, and more energy-efficient -- is faster writing and processing of data. New results could point the way to a solution. Physicists set a lattice of magnetic vortices in a material in motion using electric current almost a million times weaker than in earlier studies. ... > full story

Motion sickness reality in virtual world, too (December 21, 2010) -- Psychologists see motion sickness as potential fallout from high-end technology that once was limited to the commercial marketplace moving to consumer use in gaming devices. ... > full story

Strange new twist: Researchers discover Möbius symmetry in metamaterials (December 21, 2010) -- Researchers have discovered Möbius symmetry in metamaterials -- materials engineered from artificial "atoms" and "molecules." This phenomenon, never observed in natural materials, could open new avenues for unique applications in quantum electronics and optics. ... > full story

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

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