Kamis, 17 Maret 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Thursday, March 17, 2011

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Construction of a record-breaking laser gets off the ground (March 17, 2011) -- Researchers have started work has started on the construction of an innovative laser. The compact device will make use of a unique light amplification technology to allow single laser pulses to reach the power of tens of terawatts with world record-breaking amplification parameters. ... > full story

High-tech concrete technology has a famous past (March 16, 2011) -- Almost 1,900 years ago, the Romans built what continues to be the world's largest unreinforced solid concrete dome in the world-the Pantheon. The secret is in the light-weight concrete used to build the dome and a process called internal curing. A new paper reviews the status of modern improvements on this ancient material. ... > full story

Naval sonar exercises linked to whale strandings, according to new report (March 16, 2011) -- An international team of researchers reports the first data on how beaked whales respond to naval sonar exercises. Their results suggest that sonar indeed affects the behavior and movement of whales. ... > full story

New way to test cancer drugs (March 16, 2011) -- A scientist's nanopolymer would make it easier and cheaper for drug developers to test the effectiveness of a widely used class of cancer inhibitors. He created the 'pIMAGO nanopolymer' that can be used to determine whether cancer drugs have been effective against biochemical processes that can lead to cancer cell formation. ... > full story

Earthquake could mean major shortage of some Japanese cars in US (March 16, 2011) -- American consumers thinking about buying a car made by Toyota, Nissan or Honda might want to make their decisions quickly. That's because work at Toyota, Nissan, Honda and other auto plants in Japan has been interrupted following the historic earthquake, resulting in a loss of 10,000 vehicles per day for Toyota alone. ... > full story

First permanent anti-fog coating developed (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers have developed the very first permanent anti-fog coating. This innovation which could eliminate, once and for all, the fog on eyeglasses, windshields, goggles, camera lenses and on any transparent glass or plastic surface. ... > full story

Laser beam makes cells 'breathe in' water and potentially anti-cancer drugs (March 16, 2011) -- Shining a laser light on cells and then clicking off the light-makes the cells "breathe in" surrounding water, providing a potentially powerful delivery system for chemotherapy drugs, as well as a non-invasive way to target anti-Alzheimer's medicines to the brain. ... > full story

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter delivers treasure trove of data (March 16, 2011) -- NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team released March 15, 2011 the final set of data from the mission's exploration phase along with the first measurements from its new life as a science satellite. ... > full story

Large Hadron Collider could be world's first time machine, researchers' theory suggests (March 16, 2011) -- If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider -- the world's largest atom smasher that started regular operation last year -- could be the first machine capable causing matter to travel backwards in time. ... > full story

Room-temperature spintronic computers coming soon? Silicon spin transistors heat up and spins last longer (March 16, 2011) -- Researchers have built "spintronic" transistors and used them to align the magnetic "spins" of electrons for a record period of time in silicon chips at room temperature. The study is a step toward computers, phones and other spintronic devices that are faster and use less energy than their electronic counterparts. ... > full story

New device holds promise of making blood glucose testing easier for patients with diabetes (March 16, 2011) -- Bioengineers and physicians are developing a device designed to make it easier for people with diabetes to monitor their health. Current monitoring devices require that people prick themselves to draw blood for a glucose-level test sample -- often several times a day. The new device would enable accurate glucose-level testing by using tear fluid as a test sample -- relieving people from having to draw blood repeatedly. ... > full story

The development of better biotech enzymes (March 16, 2011) -- Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions, such as laundry detergent digesting protein stains, which are otherwise very difficult to remove. Scientists have now demonstrated a fundamental principle in changing the activity of enzymes by means of protein engineering. ... > full story

Hubble snaps close-up of Tarantula Nebula (March 16, 2011) -- The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced an outstanding image of part of the famous Tarantula Nebula, a vast star-forming cloud of gas and dust in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. In this picture, we see a close-up of the Tarantula's central region, glowing brightly with ionized gases and young stars. ... > full story

Two new SCAP documents help improve automating computer security management (March 16, 2011) -- The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has released two updated publications that help organizations to find and manage vulnerabilities more effectively by standardizing the way vulnerabilities are identified, prioritized and reported. ... > full story

NIST releases final report on Charleston sofa store fire (March 16, 2011) -- The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has released its final report on its study of the June 18, 2007, fire at Sofa Super Store in Charleston, S.C., that trapped and killed nine firefighters. ... > full story

Finding of long-sought drug target structure may expedite drug discovery (March 15, 2011) -- Researchers have solved the 3-D structure of a key biological receptor. The finding has the potential to speed drug discovery in many areas, from arthritis to respiratory disorders to wound healing, because it enables chemists to better examine and design molecules for use in experimental drugs. ... > full story

Mini disks for data storage: Slanted edges favor tiny magnetic vortices (March 15, 2011) -- Slanted exterior edges on tiny magnetic disks could lead to a breakthrough in data processing. Materials researchers were able to create magnetic vortices with a diameter of only one third of a thousandth of a millimeter - structures which were impossible in the past. They could help to store larger amounts of data on increasingly smaller surfaces with as little energy as possible. ... > full story

Basketball: Optimal aim points for bank shots (March 15, 2011) -- New research show that, from many areas of the basketball court within 12 feet of the basket, you have a better chance of scoring with a bank shot than with a direct shot. The study also shows the optimal aim points to convert a bank shot from most areas of the court. ... > full story

MESSENGER spacecraft to swing into orbit around Mercury (March 15, 2011) -- The MESSENGER spacecraft is scheduled to go into orbit around Mercury on March 17. The mission is an effort to study the geologic history, magnetic field, surface composition and other mysteries of the planet. The findings are expected to broaden our understanding of rocky planets in other solar systems. ... > full story

Ferroelectric materials discovery could lead to better memory chips (March 15, 2011) -- Engineering researchers have found a way to improve the performance of ferroelectric materials, which have the potential to make memory devices with more storage capacity than magnetic hard drives and faster write speed and longer lifetimes than flash memory. ... > full story

Better batteries for electric cars (March 15, 2011) -- The breakthrough with electric cars is a long time coming -- not least on account of their key component, the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are still too expensive and their range too limited. New materials should pave the way for better batteries. Simulation software from researchers is helping speed up the development process. ... > full story

Describing humor with an equation (March 15, 2011) -- A new theory of humor addresses questions of human attraction to errors and our susceptibility to ideas we know are bad for us, and summarizes it with an equation. The new theory suggests an equation for identifying the cause and level of our responses to any humorous stimuli: h = m x s. ... > full story

Trapping a rainbow: Researchers slow broadband light waves with nanoplasmonic structures (March 15, 2011) -- A research team has experimentally verified the "rainbow" trapping effect, demonstrating that plasmonic structures can slow down light waves over a broad range of wavelengths, a key for improving optical data processing. ... > full story

Japan quake may have slightly shortened Earth days, moved axis, theoretical calculations suggest (March 15, 2011) -- The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan March 11, 2011 may have slightly shortened the length of each Earth day and shifted its axis. Using a U.S. Geological Survey estimate for how the fault responsible for the earthquake slipped, a NASA research scientist applied a complex model to perform a preliminary theoretical calculation of how the Japan earthquake -- the fifth largest since 1900 -- affected Earth's rotation. The calculations indicate that by changing the distribution of Earth's mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds. ... > full story

Snapshots of laser driven electrons (March 15, 2011) -- Physicists have succeeded in the first real-time observation of laser produced electron plasma waves and electron bunches accelerated by them. ... > full story

New desalination process developed using carbon nanotubes (March 15, 2011) -- A faster, better and cheaper desalination process enhanced by carbon nanotubes has just been developed. The process creates a unique new architecture for the membrane distillation process by immobilizing carbon nanotubes in the membrane pores. Conventional approaches to desalination are thermal distillation and reverse osmosis. ... > full story

Gulf oil spill: Airborne chemistry measurements assess flow rate, fate of spilled gases and oil (March 15, 2011) -- Scientists have found a way to use air chemistry measurements taken hundreds of feet above last year's BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to estimate how fast gases and oil were leaking from the reservoir thousands of feet underwater. The scientists also determined the fate of most of those gas and oil compounds using atmospheric chemistry data collected from the NOAA WP-3D research aircraft overflights in June. ... > full story

New method could improve economics of sweetening natural gas (March 14, 2011) -- Battelle's Antisolvent Swing Regeneration system could make tapping extremely sour gas reserves more economically friendly by drastically reducing the amount of heat needed to remove rotten-egg smelling hydrogen sulfide from natural gas sweetening process. ... > full story

Gender stereotypes about math develop as early as second grade (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers report that children express the stereotype that mathematics is for boys, not for girls, as early as second grade, before gender differences in math achievement emerge. ... > full story

NASA's Hubble rules out one alternative to dark energy (March 14, 2011) -- Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have ruled out an alternate theory on the nature of dark energy after recalculating the expansion rate of the universe to unprecedented accuracy. ... > full story

Solar power systems could lighten the load for British soldiers (March 14, 2011) -- A revolutionary type of personal power pack now in development could help troops when they are engaged on the battlefield. With the aim of being up to 50 percent lighter than conventional chemical battery packs used by British infantry, the solar and thermoelectric-powered system could make an important contribution to future military operations. ... > full story

Statistics can help us avoid counterfeit goods on the Internet, study shows (March 14, 2011) -- Consumers need to know the true perils of purchasing artwork or luxury goods on the Internet, say statisticians. ... > full story

Nanorods could greatly improve visual display of information (March 14, 2011) -- Chemists have developed tiny, nanoscale-size rods of iron oxide particles in the lab that respond to an external magnetic field by aligning themselves parallel to one another like a set of tiny flashlights turned in one direction, and displaying a brilliant color. The research paves the way for fabricating magnetically responsive photonic structures with significantly reduced dimensions so that color manipulation with higher resolution can be realized. ... > full story

Japanese nuclear plants damaged by earthquake, tsunami pose no risk to U.S., experts say (March 14, 2011) -- Although the situation with damaged nuclear reactors in Japan is still uncertain, every hour without further incidents is good news, according to nuclear energy experts. And in any case, the events pose virtually no risk to people in the United States or Canada. ... > full story

Materials identified that may deliver more 'bounce' (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers have identified a class of high-strength metal alloys that show potential to make springs, sensors and switches smaller and more responsive. The alloys could be used in springier blood vessel stents, sensitive microphones, powerful loudspeakers, and components that boost the performance of medical imaging equipment, security systems and clean-burning gasoline and diesel engines. ... > full story

Marangoni convection in space: Observing wine-glass phenomenon in a gravity-free environment (March 14, 2011) -- What do a wine glass on Earth and an International Space Station experiment have in common? Well, observing the wine glass would be one of few ways to see and understand the experiment being performed in space. ... > full story

Computer model shows importance of feet, toes in body balance (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers are using a new model to learn more about how toe strength can determine how far people can lean while keeping their balance. The results could help in building robotic body parts that will closely imitate human movement, and might lead to a new generation of advanced prosthetics. ... > full story

Miniature 'wearable' PET scanner: Simultaneous study of behavior and brain function in animals (March 14, 2011) -- Scientists have demonstrated the efficacy of a "wearable," portable PET scanner they've developed for rats. The device will give neuroscientists a new tool for simultaneously studying brain function and behavior in fully awake, moving animals. ... > full story

Shape memory polymers shed light on how cells respond to physical environment (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers have used shape memory polymers to provide greater insight into how cells sense and respond to their physical environment. ... > full story

Study of 90 animals' thigh bones reveals how they can efficiently carry loads (March 14, 2011) -- The structures inside animals' thigh bones that enable them to support huge loads whilst being relatively lightweight are revealed in a new study. The researchers say their work could lead to the development of new materials based on thigh bone geometry. ... > full story

Breakthrough in nanocomposite for high-capacity hydrogen storage (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers have designed a new composite material for hydrogen storage consisting of nanoparticles of magnesium metal sprinkled through a polymer related to Plexiglas that rapidly absorbs and releases hydrogen at modest temperatures without oxidizing the metal after cycling. This achievement is a major breakthrough in materials design for hydrogen storage, batteries and fuel cells. ... > full story

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: The far side of the moon -- and all the way around (March 14, 2011) -- Because the moon is tidally locked (meaning the same side always faces Earth), it was not until 1959 that the farside was first imaged by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft. And what a surprise --­ unlike the widespread maria on the nearside, basaltic volcanism was restricted to a relatively few, smaller regions on the farside, and the battered highlands crust dominated. The cause of the farside/nearside asymmetry is an interesting scientific question. Past studies have shown that the crust on the farside is thicker, likely making it more difficult for magmas to erupt on the surface, limiting the amount of farside mare basalts. Why is the farside crust thicker? ... > full story

Physicists measure current-induced torque in nonvolatile magnetic memory devices (March 14, 2011) -- Tomorrow's nonvolatile memory devices -- computer memory that can retain stored information even when not powered -- will profoundly change electronics, and researchers have discovered a new way of measuring and optimizing their performance. ... > full story

Researchers use lasers, custom microscope to show gene splicing process in real time (March 14, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a way to use lasers to study the splicing of pre-messenger RNA molecules, an essential process in creating proteins to sustain advanced organisms, including human life. Now this process of splicing, carried out by a cellular micro-machine called the spliceosome, can be viewed in real time. The research paper culminates a five-year-long collaboration of three research laboratories. ... > full story

Ultra high speed film (March 14, 2011) -- How fast an intense laser pulse can change the electrical properties of solids is revealed by new research. Scientists are following the course of electronic switching processes which occur within fractions of a second (femtoseconds). The results of their research may trigger future developments of custom-made and ultra fast opto-electronic components in order to increase data transmission rates or to accelerate optical switches, to name just one example of potential areas of application. ... > full story

Nanotech-enabled consumer products continue to rise (March 13, 2011) -- Over 1,300 manufacturer-identified, nanotechnology-enabled products have entered the commercial marketplace around the world. The most recent update to the group's five-year-old inventory reflects the continuing use of the tiny particles in everything from conventional products like non-stick cookware to more unique items such as self-cleaning window treatments. ... > full story

Color view from orbit shows Mars rover beside crater (March 13, 2011) -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has nearly completed its three-month examination of a crater informally named "Santa Maria," but before the rover resumes its overland trek, an orbiting camera has provided a color image of Opportunity beside Santa Maria. ... > full story

Dawn mission gets Vesta asteroid target practice (March 13, 2011) -- In the lead-up to orbiting the second most massive body in the asteroid belt this coming July, planners of NASA's Dawn mission to the giant asteroid Vesta and scientists have been practicing mapping Vesta's surface, producing still images and a rotating animation that includes the scientists' best guess to date of what the surface might look like. ... > full story

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