Rabu, 09 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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Some of Mars' missing carbon dioxide may be buried (March 9, 2011) -- Rocks on Mars dug from far underground by crater-blasting impacts are providing glimpses of one possible way Mars' atmosphere has become much less dense than it used to be. At several places where cratering has exposed material from depths of about 5 kilometers (3 miles) or more beneath the surface, observations by a mineral-mapping instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate carbonate minerals. ... > full story

Enzymes from garden compost could favour bioethanol production (March 9, 2011) -- Today, bioethanol is primarily made from glucose. If xylose – which is found in straw, willow and other fast-growing plant species – could also be used efficiently, then ethanol production could increase significantly. A researcher in applied microbiology is well on the way to making this a reality. ... > full story

NASA develops light microscope for International Space Station (March 9, 2011) -- NASA has begun testing a new multi-capability microscope on the International Space Station. It will help scientists study the effects of the space environment on physics and biology aboard the orbiting laboratory. The microscope is isolated from vibrations on the station, allowing it to obtain clear, high-resolution images. Using high-resolution magnification, scientists can examine microorganisms and individual cells of plants and animals, including humans. ... > full story

Intelligence analysts need not fear 'Watson,' study shows (March 9, 2011) -- A new study on the future of predictive analytics, which examined the outlook for intelligence analysis in the computerized age, shows machines not yet capable of detecting deliberately deceptive data. ... > full story

Extremely fast magnetic random access memory (MRAM) computer data storage within reach (March 9, 2011) -- Magnetic random access memory (MRAM) is the most important new module on the market of computer storage devices. Like the well known USB sticks, they store information into static memory, but MRAM offers short access times and unlimited writing properties. Commercial MRAMs have been on the market since 2005. They are, however, still slower than the competitors they have among the volatile storage media. An invention made by researchers in Germany changes this situation: A special chip connection, in association with dynamic triggering of the component, reduces the response from - so far - 2 ns to below 500 ps. This corresponds to a data rate of up to 2 GBit (instead of the approx. 400 MBit so far). ... > full story

Graphene oxide’s solubility disappears in the wash (March 9, 2011) -- Graphene oxide has had a scrum of researchers fall upon it as it retains much of the properties of the highly valued super material pure graphene, but it is much easier, and cheaper, to make in bulk quantities; easier to process; and its significant oxygen content appears to make it soluble in water. However new research has found that that last assumption is incorrect and unfortunately graphene oxide's solubility literally comes out in the wash. ... > full story

How can robots get our attention? (March 8, 2011) -- Researchers have found that they can program a robot to understand when it gains a human's attention and when it falls short. ... > full story

Identifying 'anonymous' email authors (March 8, 2011) -- Researchers have developed an effective new technique to determine the authorship of anonymous emails. Tests showed their method has a high level of accuracy -- and unlike many other methods of ascertaining authorship, it can provide presentable evidence in courts of law. ... > full story

Rare observation of cosmic explosion (March 8, 2011) -- Astronomers have discovered a new cosmic explosion: a gamma-ray burst and its associated supernova. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most powerful blasts in the Universe, and are thought to be created in the deaths of the most massive stars. ... > full story

Student innovation transmits data and power wirelessly through submarine hulls (March 8, 2011) -- Steel walls are no match for one doctoral student. He has developed and demonstrated an innovative new system that uses ultrasound to simultaneously transmit large quantities of data and power wirelessly through thick metal walls, like the hulls of ships and submarines. ... > full story

Teaching robots to move like humans (March 8, 2011) -- Researchers find people can better understand robot movements when robots move in a more human way. ... > full story

Researchers hunt for green catalysts (March 8, 2011) -- Scientists are looking for cleaner, greener and cheaper catalysts. They are turning to biology for some ideas. And they're developing high-throughput approaches to quickly test a reaction using up to a hundred trillion different catalysts. ... > full story

Microbial forensics used to solve the case of the 2001 anthrax attacks (March 8, 2011) -- Researchers working with the FBI have published the first scientific paper based on their investigation into the anthrax attacks of 2001. The case was groundbreaking in its use of genomics and microbiology in a criminal investigation, a new field called microbial forensics. More than 20 people contracted anthrax from spores mailed in letters in 2001, and five people died. ... > full story

New mathematical model of information processing in the brain accurately predicts some of the peculiarities of human vision (March 8, 2011) -- The human retina -- the part of the eye that converts incoming light into electrochemical signals -- has about 100 million light-sensitive cells. So retinal images contain a huge amount of data. High-level visual-processing tasks -- like object recognition, gauging size and distance, or calculating the trajectory of a moving object -- couldn't possibly preserve all that data: The brain just doesn't have enough neurons. So vision scientists have long assumed that the brain must somehow summarize the content of retinal images, reducing their informational load before passing them on to higher-order processes. ... > full story

New interpretation of Antarctic ice cores: Prevailing theory on climate history expanded (March 8, 2011) -- Climate researchers have expanded a prevalent theory regarding the development of ice ages. Physicists have completed new calculations on the connection between natural insulation and long-term changes in global climate activity. Up to now the presumption was that temperature fluctuations in Antarctica, which have been reconstructed for the last million years on the basis of ice cores, were triggered by the global effect of climate changes in the northern hemisphere. The new study shows, however, that major portions of the temperature fluctuations can be explained equally well by local climate changes in the southern hemisphere. ... > full story

Drug delivery with nanoparticles (March 8, 2011) -- Researchers are able to produce medicine encapsulated in nanoparticles the size of viruses, but new research has shown another great challenge in nanomedicine -- the immune system -- and the importance of the coating polymers on the nanoparticle surface. ... > full story

Preparing for the unexpected (March 8, 2011) -- How can you plan for an emergency the nature of which you don't know? Researchers in Germany are working on strategies and technologies that would help to predict and improve the response to crises. ... > full story

NASA studies the body's ability to fight infection (March 7, 2011) -- Why do some people get sick while others stay healthy? Since space shuttle Discovery launched into orbit Feb. 24, 2011, it has brought NASA scientists one step closer to helping astronauts and the public discover ways to battle and prevent serious illness and infection. ... > full story

Relaxation leads to lower elasticity: Model system delivers vital clues on the aging processes of elastic polymers (March 7, 2011) -- As they age, many materials exhibit changes in their properties. Although such phenomena crop up in many domains, the underlying processes are oftentimes not fully understood. Particularly interesting in this context are polymer materials found in plastics and in biological systems. A group of physicists in Germany has developed a model system casting light on essential aspects of these processes. ... > full story

Is March Madness always the same? (March 7, 2011) -- Why is it that the same teams seem to dominate the annual men's collegiate basketball tournament? For that matter, why does the same small group of institutions seem to top annual best-college rankings? ... > full story

'Nano-Velcro' technology used to improve capture of circulating cancer cells (March 7, 2011) -- Researchers have announced the successful demonstration of a 2nd-generation CTC enrichment technology, capable of effectively identifying and capturing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood samples collected from prostate cancer patients. This new approach could be even faster and cheaper than existing methods and captures a greater number of CTCs. ... > full story

Removing arsenic from drinking water (March 7, 2011) -- Pioneering technology which is transforming the lives of millions of people in Asia is now being used to create safer drinking water in the United States. ... > full story

Web use doesn't encourage belief in political rumors, but e-mail does (March 7, 2011) -- Despite the fears of some, a new study suggests that use of the internet in general does not make people more likely to believe political rumors. However, one form of internet communication -- e-mail -- does seem to have troubling consequences for the spread and belief of rumors. ... > full story

Stretchable balloon electronics get to the heart of cardiac medicine (March 7, 2011) -- Cardiologists may soon be able to place sensitive electronics inside their patients' hearts with minimal invasiveness, enabling more sophisticated and efficient diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias. Scientists have successfully integrated stretchable electronics technology with standard endocardial balloon catheters. The balloon device can both map and ablate over large areas of the heart simultaneously, using integrated arrays of multifunctional sensors and ablation electrodes. ... > full story

Japanese scientists use alcoholic drinks to induce superconductivity (March 7, 2011) -- Japanese researchers have been immersing iron-based compounds in hot alcoholic beverages such as red wine, sake and shochu to induce superconductivity. Scientists have found that immersing pellets of an iron-based compound in heated alcoholic beverages for 24 hours greatly increase their superconducting ability. ... > full story

New camera makes seeing the 'invisible' possible (March 7, 2011) -- The science similar to the type used in airport body scanners could soon be used to detect everything from defects in aerospace vehicles or concrete bridges to skin cancer, thanks to new research. ... > full story

Food science challenges for NASA missions to Mars (March 7, 2011) -- Space food for astronauts tastes better and is now healthier than ever before due to significant food science developments. However, a new study highlights the challenges that need to be addressed so that astronauts can travel to Mars and beyond. ... > full story

'Elephant trunks' in space: WISE captures image of star-forming cloud of dust and gas (March 7, 2011) -- NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, captured this image of a star-forming cloud of dust and gas, called Sh2-284, located in the constellation of Monoceros. Lining up along the edges of a cosmic hole are several "elephant trunks" -- or monstrous pillars of dense gas and dust. ... > full story

NASA light technology successfully reduces cancer patients painful side effects from radiation and chemotherapy (March 7, 2011) -- A NASA technology originally developed for plant growth experiments on space shuttle missions has successfully reduced the painful side effects resulting from chemotherapy and radiation treatment in bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients. ... > full story

Spitzer captures infrared rays from 'Sunflower' galaxy (March 7, 2011) -- The various spiral arm segments of the Sunflower galaxy, also known as Messier 63, show up vividly in a new image taken in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared light is sensitive to the dust lanes in spiral galaxies, which appear dark in visible-light images. Spitzer's view reveals complex structures that trace the galaxy's spiral arm pattern. ... > full story

Probing atomic chicken wire: Mounting graphene on boron nitride dramatically improves electronic properties (March 7, 2011) -- Graphene -- a sheet of carbon atoms linked in a hexagonal, chicken wire structure -- could someday make electronic devices smaller, faster and more energy-efficient. Researchers have demonstrated that mounting graphene on boron nitride instead of silicon oxide dramatically improves its electronic properties. ... > full story

A misunderstanding leads to method for making nanowells (March 7, 2011) -- A safe, simple, and cheap method of creating perfectly etched micron and smaller size wells in a variety of substrates has been developed. Similar patterned surfaces are currently made using complex and expensive photolithography methods and etch processes under clean room conditions and used in the fabrication of many optical, electrical, and mechanical devices. ... > full story

The scars of impacts on Mars (March 7, 2011) -- ESA's Mars Express has returned new images of an elongated impact crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars. Located just south of the Huygens basin, it could have been carved out by a train of projectiles striking the planet at a shallow angle. ... > full story

Speedy generic approval may not benefit consumers as much as expected, mathematical model shows (March 7, 2011) -- Faster approval times for generic drugs will get them into consumers' hands quicker, but may not make the price any better, a pricing and marketing researcher has found. A mathematical model shows that fewer firms enter the marketplace because the chances of getting there first and commanding the best profits are dramatically smaller when drug approval times are shorter. ... > full story

Human cues used to improve computer user-friendliness (March 6, 2011) -- Researchers want computers to understand inputs from humans that go beyond the traditional keyboard and mouse. They have now developed ways to provide information to a computer based on where a user is looking as well as through gestures or speech. ... > full story

Cadmium in children’s jewelry: 100 times recommended maximum exposure if mouthed or swallowed (March 6, 2011) -- Young children who mouth or swallow jewelry containing cadmium may be exposed to as much as 100 times the recommended maximum exposure limit for the toxic metal, according to new research. The study measured bioavailability, or how much cadmium leached out of the jewelry. The research also found that damaged pieces of jewelry in some cases leached up to 30 times more cadmium than undamaged pieces. ... > full story

Fast laser could revolutionize data communications (March 6, 2011) -- Researchers have shown that a surface emitting laser – a cheaper and more energy-efficient type of laser for fiber optics than conventional lasers – can deliver error-free data at a record speed of 40 Gbit/s. The breakthrough could lead to faster Internet traffic, computers and mobile phones. ... > full story

New microscope produces dazzling 3-D movies of live cells (March 6, 2011) -- Scientists have invented a new microscope that uses an exquisitely thin sheet of light -- similar to that used in supermarket bar-code scanners -- to peer inside single living cells. The images they obtained reveal the three-dimensional shapes of cellular landmarks in unprecedented detail. ... > full story

NASA makes use of historic test site for new robotic lander prototype tests (March 6, 2011) -- Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have begun the first phase of integrated system tests on a new robotic lander prototype at Redstone Test Center's propulsion test facility on the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal, also in Huntsville. These tests will aid in the design and development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of performing science and exploration research on the surface of the moon or other airless bodies, including near-Earth asteroids. ... > full story

Clean fuel worsens climate impacts for some vehicle engines (March 5, 2011) -- A pioneering program by one of the world's largest cities to switch its vehicle fleet to clean fuel has not significantly improved harmful vehicle emissions in more than 5,000 vehicles -- and worsened some vehicles' climate impacts -- a new study finds. ... > full story

New non-surgical autopsy technique set to revolutionize post-mortem practice (March 4, 2011) -- A new non-surgical post-mortem technique that has the potential to revolutionize the way autopsies are conducted around the world has been pioneered by forensic pathologists and radiologists. ... > full story

Nanotechnology: New 'frozen smoke' may improve robotic surgery, energy storage (March 4, 2011) -- A spongy substance that could be mistaken for packing material has the nanotechnology world buzzing. Scientists have engineered the world's lightest carbon material in such a way that it could be used to detect pollutants and toxic substances, improve robotic surgery techniques and store energy more efficiently. ... > full story

The dusty disc of NGC 247 (March 4, 2011) -- A new image of NGC 247 reveals the fine details of this highly inclined spiral galaxy and its rich backdrop. Astronomers say this highly tilted orientation, when viewed from Earth, explains why the distance to this prominent galaxy was previously overestimated. ... > full story

Scientists create cell assembly line: New technology synthesizes cellular structures from simple starting materials (March 4, 2011) -- Borrowing a page from modern manufacturing, scientists have built a microscopic assembly line that mass produces synthetic cell-like compartments. ... > full story

NASA's Glory satellite fails to reach orbit (March 4, 2011) -- NASA's Glory spacecraft launched aboard a Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California March 4, 2011 at 5:09:45 a.m. EST failed to reach orbit. Telemetry indicated the fairing, the protective shell atop the Taurus XL rocket, did not separate as expected about three minutes after launch. ... > full story

Risks of chemical exposure: Scientists call for 'swifter and sounder' testing of chemicals (March 4, 2011) -- Scientific societies representing 40,000 researchers and clinicians are asking that federal regulators tap a broader range of expertise when evaluating the risks of chemicals to which Americans are being increasingly exposed. ... > full story

Method developed to match police sketch, mug shot: Algorithms and software will match sketches with mugshots in police databases (March 4, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a set of algorithms and created software that will automatically match hand-drawn facial sketches to mug shots that are stored in law enforcement databases. ... > full story

Two languages in peaceful coexistence in one society (March 4, 2011) -- Physicists and mathematicians have shown that two languages can remain stable in one society in the long-term. This research refutes earlier research which sought to show how one of two languages would inevitably die out. ... > full story

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