Kamis, 13 Januari 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Thursday, January 13, 2011

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Natural dissolved organic matter plays dual role in cycling of mercury (January 13, 2011) -- Nature has a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with mercury, but researchers have made a discovery that ultimately could help explain the split personality. ... > full story

New approach to modeling power system aims for better monitoring and control of blackouts (January 13, 2011) -- Major power outages are fairly infrequent, but when they happen they can result in billions of dollars in costs -- and even contribute to fatalities. New research has led to the development of an approach by which high-resolution power-system measurements, also referred to as synchrophasors, can be efficiently used to develop reliable models of large power systems, which would help us keep an eye on their health. ... > full story

Robotic surgery of 'tremendous benefit' to patients (January 13, 2011) -- Robot-assisted surgery dramatically improves outcomes in patients with uterine, endometrial, and cervical cancer. Moreover, because of fewer post-operative complications and shorter hospital stays, robotic procedures also cost less. ... > full story

Mobile telephony without base stations (January 13, 2011) -- The new generation of mobile phone technology makes it possible to communicate directly from one telephone to another without having to rely on base stations. A Swedish researcher presents a program that runs on telephones and can deliver messages even when the infrastructure for telecommunication has been knocked out. ... > full story

Delivering a potent cancer drug with nanoparticles can lessen side effects (January 12, 2011) -- Researchers have shown that they can deliver the cancer drug cisplatin much more effectively and safely in a form that has been encapsulated in a nanoparticle targeted to prostate tumor cells and is activated once it reaches its target. ... > full story

New laboratory aims to revolutionize surgery with real-time metabolic profiling (January 12, 2011) -- Metabolic profiling of tissue samples could transform the way surgeons make decisions in the operating theater, say researchers at a new laboratory being launched in the UK. Scientists have installed a high resolution solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer to analyze intact tissue samples from patients taking part in studies, to investigate whether it can ultimately give surgeons detailed diagnostic information while their patients are under the knife. ... > full story

Lab-on-a-chip developed for fast, inexpensive blood tests: Smartphone app next (January 12, 2011) -- While most blood tests require shipping a vial of blood to a laboratory for analysis and waiting several days for the results, a new device invented by a team of engineers and students uses just a pinprick of blood in a portable device that provides results in less than 30 minutes. The next step will turn blood testing into a smartphone application. ... > full story

NASA radar reveals features on asteroid (January 12, 2011) -- Radar imaging at NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar in the California desert on Dec. 11 and 12, 2010, revealed defining characteristics of recently discovered asteroid 2010 JL33. The images have been made into a short movie that shows the celestial object's rotation and shape. ... > full story

Virus killer gets supercharged: Discovery greatly improves common disinfectant (January 12, 2011) -- Researchers report that adding silicone to titanium dioxide, a common disinfectant, dramatically increases its ability to degrade aerosol- and water-borne viruses. ... > full story

Most distant galaxy cluster identified (January 12, 2011) -- Astronomers have uncovered a burgeoning galactic metropolis, the most distant known in the early universe. This ancient collection of galaxies presumably grew into a modern galaxy cluster similar to the massive ones seen today. ... > full story

Polymer membranes with molecular-sized channels that assemble themselves (January 12, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a solution-based method for inducing polymer membranes with molecular-sized channels to assemble themselves. Fully compatible with commercial membrane-fabrication, this new technique is believed to be the first example of organic nanotubes fabricated into a functional membrane over macroscopic distances. ... > full story

Water on moon originated from comets (January 12, 2011) -- The same researcher who first discovered water on the moon, has now determined the lunar water may have originated from comets smashing into the moon soon after it formed. ... > full story

Coiled nanowires may hold key to stretchable electronics (January 12, 2011) -- Researchers have created the first coils of silicon nanowire on a substrate that can be stretched to more than double their original length, moving us closer to incorporating stretchable electronic devices into clothing, implantable health-monitoring devices, and a host of other applications. ... > full story

NASA tests new propulsion system for robotic lander prototype (January 12, 2011) -- NASA's Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project has completed a series of hot fire tests and taken delivery of a new propulsion system for integration into a more sophisticated free-flying autonomous robotic lander prototype. The project is to develop a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers to achieve scientific and exploration goals on the surface of the moon and near-Earth asteroids. ... > full story

No left turn: 'Superstreet' traffic design improves travel time, safety (January 12, 2011) -- The so-called "superstreet" traffic design results in significantly faster travel times, and leads to a drastic reduction in automobile collisions and injuries, according to researchers who have conducted the largest-ever study of superstreets and their impacts. ... > full story

Planck's new view of the cosmic theater (January 12, 2011) -- The first scientific results from the European Space Agency's Planck mission focus on the coldest objects in the universe, from within our galaxy to the distant reaches of space. ... > full story

Wake up and smell the willow: 'Pre-roasted' plant matter could be burned in coal-fired power stations (January 12, 2011) -- More plant matter could be burned in coal-fired power stations if this "green" fuel was delivered pre-roasted like coffee beans, according to researchers from UK. ... > full story

DNA introduced directly into cell nucleus using protein nanodisks (January 12, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered a novel gene therapy method using particles measuring only a few nanometers which encapsulate genetic material and introduce themselves directly into the cell nucleus. The nanodisks, as researchers have named the particles, travel rapidly to the interior of the cell until reaching the nucleus, thus increasing the efficiency of the gene transfer process. ... > full story

New insights into sun's photosphere (January 12, 2011) -- Researchers at Big Bear Solar Observatory have reported new insights into the small-scale dynamics of the Sun's photosphere. The observations were made during a period of historic inactivity on the Sun. The high-resolution capabilities of BBSO's new 1.6-meter aperture solar telescope have made such work possible. ... > full story

Study estimates land available for biofuel crops (January 12, 2011) -- Using detailed land analysis, researchers have found that biofuel crops cultivated on available land could produce up to half of the world's current fuel consumption -- without affecting food crops or pastureland. Focusing on marginal land, the team assessed land availability from a physical perspective to identify land around the globe available to produce grass crops for biofuels, with minimal impact on agriculture or the environment. ... > full story

International Space Station begins new era of utilization (January 12, 2011) -- A new era of utilization for research and technology begins for the completed International Space Station. The orbiting laboratory shifts focus in 2011 from finalizing construction efforts to full-scale use of the facility for scientific investigation and technological advances. ... > full story

Planck mission peels back layers of the Universe (January 12, 2011) -- The Planck mission released a new data catalogue Jan. 11, 2011 from initial maps of the entire sky. The catalogue includes thousands of never-before-seen dusty cocoons where stars are forming, and some of the most massive clusters of galaxies ever observed. Planck is a European Space Agency mission with significant contributions from NASA. ... > full story

NASA's Fermi catches thunderstorms hurling antimatter into space (January 11, 2011) -- Scientists have detected beams of antimatter produced above thunderstorms on Earth -- a phenomenon never seen before. Scientists think the antimatter particles were formed in a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF), a brief burst produced inside thunderstorms and shown to be associated with lightning. It is estimated that about 500 TGFs occur daily worldwide, but most go undetected. ... > full story

New glass stronger and tougher than steel (January 11, 2011) -- A new type of damage-tolerant metallic glass, demonstrating a strength and toughness beyond that of steel or any other known material, has been developed. ... > full story

'Liquid pistons' could drive new advances in camera lenses and drug delivery (January 11, 2011) -- A few unassuming drops of liquid locked in a very precise game of "follow the leader" could one day be found in mobile phone cameras, medical imaging equipment, implantable drug delivery devices, and even implantable eye lenses. ... > full story

Bottle rockets can cause serious eye injuries in children (January 11, 2011) -- Bottle rockets can cause significant eye injuries in children, often leading to permanent loss of vision, according to a new study. ... > full story

Wave power could contain fusion plasma (January 11, 2011) -- Researchers may have found a way to channel the flux and fury of a nuclear fusion plasma into a means to help sustain the electric current needed to contain that very same fusion plasma. ... > full story

NASA's Kepler mission discovers its first rocky planet (January 11, 2011) -- NASA's Kepler mission confirmed the discovery of its first rocky planet, named Kepler-10b. Measuring 1.4 times the size of Earth, it is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system. The discovery of this planet, called an exoplanet, is based on more than eight months of data collected by the spacecraft from May 2009 to early January 2010. ... > full story

Graphene grains make atom-thick patchwork 'quilts' (January 11, 2011) -- Artistry from science: researchers have unveiled striking, atomic-resolution details of what graphene "quilts" look like at the boundaries between patches, and have uncovered key insights into graphene's electrical and mechanical properties. ... > full story

How do you make lithium melt in the cold? (January 11, 2011) -- Sophisticated tools allow scientists to subject the basic elements of matter to conditions drastic enough to modify their behavior. By doing this, they can expand our understanding of matter. A research team was able to demonstrate surprising properties of the element lithium under intense pressure and low temperatures. ... > full story

Hubble zooms in on a space oddity (January 11, 2011) -- One of the strangest space objects ever seen is being scrutinized by the penetrating vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. A mysterious, glowing green blob of gas is floating in space near a spiral galaxy. Hubble uncovered delicate filaments of gas and a pocket of young star clusters in the giant object, which is the size of our Milky Way galaxy. ... > full story

Shellfish safer to eat, thanks to biosensor technology (January 11, 2011) -- New technology promises to make shellfish safer to eat. A new test not only ensures shellfish are free of toxins before they reach the food chain but is likely to revolutionize the global fishing industry. While the current process for monitoring potentially dangerous toxins in shellfish takes up to two days, the new test slashes the testing time to just 30 minutes using new biosensor technology and provides a much more reliable result. ... > full story

Cassini to probe icy moon Rhea for clues to Saturn rings (January 11, 2011) -- Saturn's icy moon Rhea might seem a strange place to look for clues to understanding the vast majestic rings encircling Saturn. But that's what NASA's Cassini spacecraft plans to do on its next flyby of Rhea. ... > full story

Energy limits global economic growth, study finds (January 11, 2011) -- A new study establishes macroecological correlations across countries and over time between per capita gross domestic product and per capita energy use. The authors infer a causal linkage. Correlations between these same two measures and measures of lifestyle quality lead the authors to believe that energy production would have to increase several-fold to support a still-growing world population in the current US lifestyle. ... > full story

Couch potatoes beware: Too much time spent watching TV is harmful to heart health (January 11, 2011) -- Spending too much leisure time in front of a TV or computer screen appears to dramatically increase the risk for heart disease and premature death from any cause, perhaps regardless of how much exercise one gets, according to a new study. ... > full story

IPv6 guide provides path to secure deployment of next-generation Internet protocol (January 11, 2011) -- As the day draws nearer for the world to run out of the unique addresses that allow us to use the Internet, researchers have issued a guide for managers, network engineers, transition teams and others to help them deploy the next generation Internet protocol (IPv6) securely. ... > full story

Planck satellite team uncovers secrets of the universe (January 11, 2011) -- The European Space Agency's Planck satellite mission is revealing thousands of "exotic" astronomical objects, including extremely cold dust clouds, galaxies with powerful nuclei and giant clusters of galaxies. ... > full story

14 billion years of cosmic history in one: Planck mission presents first results (January 11, 2011) -- The Planck conference will be dedicated to the impressive results achieved in the first year with the Planck Surveyor satellite mission to study the Big Bang, 14 billion years ago: a catalog with 15000 celestial objects such as galaxy clusters, quasars, radio galaxies, nearby galaxies and galactic dust clouds, 25 scientific papers, as well as the most precise measurement of the far infrared background, which reveals star formation in the early universe. ... > full story

VISTA stares deeply into the blue lagoon (January 10, 2011) -- A new infrared image of the Lagoon Nebula was captured as part of a five-year study of the Milky Way using the European Southern Observatory's VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. This is a small piece of a much larger image of the region surrounding the nebula, which is, in turn, only one part of a huge survey. ... > full story

With proper planning, selective rather than mass vaccination can reduce spread of flu, say physicists (January 10, 2011) -- During outbreaks of the flu, hospitals often reporting overcrowding, and doctors advise people who have not yet been vaccinated against flu to get their shots. Surprisingly, however, three physicists have developed an unconventional, theoretical strategy for intensive but limited vaccination against infectious diseases (such as flu) that would replace the practice of mass inoculation over a prolonged period. The physicists developed their theory using a technique borrowed from quantum mechanics. ... > full story

Researchers developing bio-based polymers that heal cracks (January 10, 2011) -- Researchers are developing biorenewable polymers capable of healing themselves as they degrade and crack. The self-healing properties can increase material lifetimes and reduce maintenance. There are challenges, but researchers think there's potential to develop new and effective materials. ... > full story

Spinning the unspinnable: Superconducting, energy storing and catalytic yarns based on ancient types of spirals (January 10, 2011) -- Researchers found that by twisting nanotube sheets into various spirals, they absorb greater concentrations of embedded materials, while preserving the flexibility and strength of nanotube fibers. ... > full story

Surprising flares in crab nebula (January 10, 2011) -- Astronomers have recently detected two short-duration gamma-ray pulses coming from the Crab Nebula, which was previously believed to emit radiation at very steady rate. The pulses were fueled by the most energetic particles ever traced to a discrete astronomical object. ... > full story

From dusty punch cards, new insights into link between cholesterol and heart disease (January 10, 2011) -- A stack of punch cards from a landmark study published in 1966, and the legwork to track down the study's participants years later, has yielded the longest analysis of the effects of lipoproteins on coronary heart disease. The study tracked almost 1,900 people over a 29-year period, which is nearly three times longer than other studies that examine the link between different sizes of high-density lipoprotein particles and heart disease. ... > full story

Dwarf galaxy harbors supermassive black hole (January 10, 2011) -- The discovery of a relatively nearby dwarf galaxy with a supermassive black hole shows astronomers what young galaxies in the very early Universe probably were like. It also greatly strengthens the case for such supermassive black holes forming before the galaxies built up to full size. ... > full story

Extracting cellular 'engines' may aid in understanding mitochondrial diseases (January 10, 2011) -- Medical researchers who crave a means of exploring the genetic culprits behind a host of neuromuscular disorders may have just had their wish granted by a research team that has performed surgery on single cells to extract and examine their mitochondria. ... > full story

Biofuel grasslands better for birds than ethanol staple corn, researchers find (January 10, 2011) -- Developing biofuel from native perennials instead of corn in the Midwest's rolling grasslands would better protect threatened bird populations, research suggests. Federal mandates and market forces both are expected to promote rising biofuel production, but the environmental consequences of turning more acreage over to row crops for fuel are a serious concern. ... > full story

The 'mad' Egyptian scholar who proved Aristotle wrong (January 10, 2011) -- Ibn al-Haytham's 11th-century Book of Optics, which was published exactly 1000 years ago, is often cited alongside Newton's Principia as one of the most influential books in physics. Yet very little is known about the writer, considered by many to be the father of modern optics. ... > full story

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