Selasa, 04 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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Not so bird-brained: 3D X-rays piece together the evolution of flight from fossils (January 3, 2011) -- Three-dimensional X-ray scanning equipment is being used to help chart the evolution of flight in birds, by digitally reconstructing the size of bird brains using ancient fossils and modern bird skulls. ... > full story

Firefly protein lights pathway to improved detection of blood clots (January 3, 2011) -- The enzyme that makes fireflies glow is lighting up the scientific path toward a long-sought new medical imaging agent to better monitor treatment with heparin, the blood thinner that millions of people take to prevent or treat blood clots, scientists are reporting. ... > full story

Global network of new-generation telescopes will track astrophysical events as they happen (January 3, 2011) -- Astronomers will, for the first time, be capable of tracking astrophysical events across the sky as they happen. ... > full story

Calculating tidal energy turbines' effects on sediments and fish (January 2, 2011) -- Engineers are developing computer models to study how changes in water pressure and current speed around tidal turbines affect sediment buildup and fish health. ... > full story

Type 1 diabetes computer model's predictive success validated through lab testing (January 2, 2011) -- Type 1 diabetes researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of a recently developed computer model in predicting key information about nasal insulin treatment regimens in Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. ... > full story

Enzyme cocktail could eliminate a step in biofuel process (January 2, 2011) -- Conversion of biomass to fuel requires several steps: chemical pretreatment to break up the biomass, detoxification to remove the toxic chemicals required in pretreatment, and microbial fermentation to convert the soluble sugars to fuels. Researchers have discovered an enzyme mixture that works in the presence of the toxic infused liquid biomass (hydrolysate), meaning that the detoxification step is unnecessary. ... > full story

Technique turns computer chip defects into an advantage (January 1, 2011) -- Physicists have discovered that tiny defects inside a computer chip can be used to tune the properties of key atoms in the chip. The technique involves rearranging the holes left by missing atoms to tune the properties of dopants -- the chemical impurities that give the semiconductors in computer chips their special properties. ... > full story

New cognitive robotics lab tests theories of human thought (December 31, 2010) -- Researchers are exploring how human thought outwits brute force computing in the real world. Twenty programmable robots allow students to test the real-world performance of computer models that mimic human thought. ... > full story

Demise of large satellite may have led to the formation of Saturn’s rings and inner moons (December 31, 2010) -- Simulations may explain how Saturn's majestic rings and icy inner moons formed following the collision of a Titan-sized satellite with the planet, according to a new article. ... > full story

New technology to speed cleanup of nuclear contaminated sites (December 31, 2010) -- Engineers have invented a new type of radiation detection and measurement device that will be particularly useful for cleanup of sites with radioactive contamination, making the process faster, more accurate and less expensive. ... > full story

System for detecting noise pollution in the sea and its impact on cetaceans (December 31, 2010) -- Researchers have developed the first system equipped with hydrophones able to record sounds on the seafloor in real time over the Internet. The system detects the presence of cetaceans and makes it possible to analyze how noise caused by human activity can affect the natural habitat of these animals and the natural balance of oceans. A new EU directive on the sea has ruled that all member states must comply with a set of indicators for measuring marine noise pollution before 2012. ... > full story

Study classifies and uses artificial proteins to analyze protein-protein interfaces (December 31, 2010) -- A new study suggests that there may be roughly a thousand structurally distinct protein-protein interfaces -- and that their structures depend largely on the simple physics of the proteins. ... > full story

Your genome in minutes: New technology could slash sequencing time (December 31, 2010) -- Scientists are developing technology that could ultimately sequence a person's genome in mere minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current commercial techniques. ... > full story

Light dawns on dark gamma-ray bursts (December 30, 2010) -- Gamma-ray bursts are among the most energetic events in the Universe, but some appear curiously faint in visible light. The biggest study to date of these so-called dark gamma-ray bursts, using the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile, has found that these explosions don't require exotic explanations. Their faintness is now explained by a combination of causes, the most important of which is the presence of dust between the Earth and the explosion. ... > full story

Catching video pirates: Invisible DNA-like fingerprint on video assist law enforcement (December 30, 2010) -- Scientists are applying an invisible DNA-like fingerprint to film, turning the footage into a series of numbers. When the film is then bootlegged onto the Internet, the invisible fingerprint goes with it, so that it can be traced over the Web -- back to the original video pirate, who can then be tracked and arrested. ... > full story

Vertical search across the educational horizon: New search tools could facilitate access to online educational resources (December 30, 2010) -- General search engines, while very effective at tracking down information, are nevertheless unstructured, which limits the user's ability to further automate the processing of the search results, researchers point out in a new article. ... > full story

GOES satellites watch 2011 approach, look back at 2010 (December 30, 2010) -- The GOES series of satellites keep an eye on the weather happening over the continental US and eastern Pacific and Atlantic oceans and had a busy time with wild weather in 2010. GOES-13 just captured one of the last images of North and South America in 2010 as the world continues to turn toward 2011. ... > full story

'Breathalyzers' may be useful for medical diagnostics (December 29, 2010) -- Researchers have overcome a fundamental obstacle in developing breath-analysis technology to rapidly diagnose patients by detecting chemical compounds called "biomarkers" in a person's respiration in real time. ... > full story

New chemical-free, anti-bacterial plastic 'skins' inspired by dolphin skin (December 29, 2010) -- Taking inspiration from animals like dolphins and pilot whales that are known to have anti-fouling skins, researchers are using nanotechnology to create synthetic, chemical-free, anti-bacterial surfaces. ... > full story

Doctors on Facebook risk compromising doctor-patient relationship, study suggests (December 29, 2010) -- Doctors with a profile on the social networking site Facebook may be compromising the doctor-patient relationship, because they don't deploy sufficient privacy settings, new research suggests. ... > full story

SOHO spots 2,000th comet (December 29, 2010) -- As people on Earth celebrate the holidays and prepare to ring in the New Year, an ESA/NASA spacecraft has quietly reached its own milestone: on Dec. 26, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) discovered its 2,000th comet. ... > full story

Hot embossing glass -- to the nearest micrometer (December 29, 2010) -- The lens is what matters: if lens arrays could be made of glass, it would be possible to make more conveniently sized projectors. Researchers have now developed a process that allows this key component to be mass produced with extreme accuracy. ... > full story

When the black hole was born: Astronomers identify the epoch of the first fast growth of black holes (December 28, 2010) -- A team of astronomers has determined that the era of first fast growth of the most massive black holes occurred when the universe was only about 1.2 billion years old -- not two to four billion years old, as was previously believed -- and they're growing at a very fast rate. ... > full story

Major obstacles to cellulosic biofuel production overcome with new yeast strain (December 28, 2010) -- A newly engineered yeast strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar from plants to produce ethanol, researchers report. The sugars are glucose, a six-carbon sugar that is relatively easy to ferment; and xylose, a five-carbon sugar that has been much more difficult to utilize in ethanol production. The new strain, made by combining, optimizing and adding to earlier advances, reduces or eliminates several major inefficiencies associated with current biofuel production methods. ... > full story

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

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