Kamis, 07 April 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Thursday, April 7, 2011

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Two dying stars to be reborn as one (April 7, 2011) -- White dwarfs are dead stars that pack a Sun's-worth of matter into an Earth-sized ball. Astronomers have just discovered an amazing pair of white dwarfs whirling around each other once every 39 minutes. This is the shortest-period pair of white dwarfs now known. Moreover, in a few million years they will collide and merge to create a single star. ... > full story

Micro aircraft improves avionic systems and sensors (April 7, 2011) -- Myriad sensors and systems provide modern aircraft with data for flight control. But a bird's eye perspective is also of great benefit when measuring pollutants, searching for missing persons and even in archaeological research. Postgraduate students have now developed an unmanned aerial vehicle that can be deployed for many such tasks. It has just successfully completed its maiden flight. ... > full story

Tungsten may not be the best shot for making 'green' bullets (April 7, 2011) -- With efforts underway to ban lead-based ammunition as a potential health and environmental hazard, scientists are reporting new evidence that a prime alternative material for bullets -- tungsten -- may not be a good substitute. The report found that tungsten accumulates in major structures of the immune system in animals. ... > full story

Off the hook: Who gets phished and why (April 7, 2011) -- Communication researchers have found that if you receive a lot of email, habitually respond to a good portion of it, maintain a lot of online relationships and conduct a large number of transactions online, you are more susceptible to email phishing expeditions than those who limit their online activity. ... > full story

Taming carbon nanotubes (April 7, 2011) -- Carbon nanotubes have many attractive properties, and their structure and areas of application can be compared with those of graphene, the material for whose discovery the most recent Nobel Prize was awarded. In order to be able to exploit these properties, however, it is necessary to have full control of the manufacturing process. Scientists are now closing in on the answer. ... > full story

Shopping online, privacy, data protection and third-party tracking (April 7, 2011) -- In the wake of yet another e-commerce data breach in which the names and email addresses of millions of online shoppers and credit card users have been accessed illegally, researchers in the US suggest that privacy discussions, and ultimately legislation must urgently focus on the expanding roles of third-parties handling pervasive online customer profiles. ... > full story

Nano fitness: Helping enzymes stay active and keep in shape (April 6, 2011) -- Scientists have developed a new technique for boosting the stability of enzymes, making them useful under a much broader range of conditions. They confined lysozyme and other enzymes inside carefully engineered nanoscale holes, or nanopores. Instead of denaturing, these embedded enzymes mostly retained their 3-D structure and exhibited a significant increase in activity. ... > full story

Third dimension of specific cell cultivation (April 6, 2011) -- Researchers have succeeded in cultivating cells in specific locations on 3-D structures. The fascinating thing is that the cells are offered small "holds" in the micrometer range on the scaffold, to which they can adhere. Adhesion is possible only on these holds, not on the remaining structure. For the first time, cell adhesion and, hence, cell shape are influenced precisely in three dimensions. ... > full story

Improving high-speed optical data transfer by employing ideas from TV antennas (April 6, 2011) -- Standard TV antennas receive signals carried by electromagnetic waves with frequencies in the MHz range and convert them into pulses of electric currents in the connected cables. The antenna connects two very different length scales: the carrier wavelength, ranging from centimeters to meters, and the size of the wiring, typically on the millimeter scale. Now, physicists have successfully applied this radiofrequency antenna concept to the optical wavelength range. ... > full story

NASA's Spitzer discovers time-delayed jets around young star (April 6, 2011) -- Astronomers have discovered that two symmetrical jets shooting away from opposite sides of a blossoming star are experiencing a time delay: knots of gas and dust from one jet blast off four-and-a-half years later than identical knots from the other jet. The finding, which required the infrared vision of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is helping astronomers understand how jets are produced around forming stars, including those resembling our sun when it was young. ... > full story

The 'molecular octopus': A little brother of 'Schroedinger’s cat' (April 6, 2011) -- For the first time, the quantum behavior of molecules consisting of more than 400 atoms was demonstrated by scientists. The research also sheds new light on an important aspect of the famous thought experiment known as "Schroedinger's cat". ... > full story

Renewal of a life and physical sciences research program at NASA could facilitate longer, farther human space missions (April 6, 2011) -- By elevating its life and physical sciences research program, NASA could achieve the biological understanding and technical breakthroughs needed to allow humans to be sent deeper into space, according to a new report. ... > full story

Frozen comet's watery past: Discovery challenges paradigm of comets as 'dirty snowballs' frozen in time (April 6, 2011) -- Scientists have found convincing evidence for the presence of liquid water in a comet, shattering the current paradigm that comets never get warm enough to melt the ice that makes up the bulk of their material. ... > full story

Nanopolymer shows promise for helping reduce cancer side effects (April 6, 2011) -- A biochemist has demonstrated a process using nanotechnology to better assess whether cancer drugs hit their targets, which may help reduce drug side effects. ... > full story

Electron microscopy: New type of genetic tag illuminates life in never-before-seen detail (April 6, 2011) -- By modifying a protein from a plant that is much favored by science, researchers have created a new type of genetic tag visible under an electron microscope, illuminating life in never-before-seen detail. ... > full story

Scientists develop new technology for stroke rehabilitation (April 6, 2011) -- Devices which could be used to rehabilitate the arms and hands of people who have experienced a stroke have been developed by researchers in the UK. ... > full story

Toward a solution to nerve agent exposure: Chemist uses supercomputers to test reagents for new treatments (April 5, 2011) -- A chemist is harnessing the power of supercomputing systems to help develop a new drug that will regenerate a critical enzyme in the human body that "ages" after a person is exposed to deadly organophosphorus nerve agents. ... > full story

Cost-effective manure management, thanks to computer-simulated farms (April 5, 2011) -- Scientists have used computer-simulated farms with the support of field research to compare the environmental impact and economic efficacy of using alternative manure application methods in farming systems. ... > full story

Economics, physics are roadblocks for mass-scale algae biodiesel production, study finds (April 5, 2011) -- Companies looking to engineer an eco-friendly diesel fuel have more red lights in their path. According to researchers, making petroleum diesel completely green would not only bend the laws of physics, it would cost too much green. ... > full story

Invisibility cloaks and more: Force of acoustical waves tapped for metamaterials (April 5, 2011) -- A very simple bench-top technique that uses the force of acoustical waves to create a variety of 3-D structures will benefit the rapidly expanding field of metamaterials and their myriad applications -- including "invisibility cloaks." ... > full story

History of nuclear power needs to be addressed, expert says (April 5, 2011) -- The long-standing conflicts over nuclear power and the risks of radiation exposure are nothing new -- in fact, the debate over the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in Japan are similar to arguments happening between scientists, governmental agencies and the public since 1945, according to an expert on the history of science. ... > full story

Scientists find new type of mineral in historic meteorite (April 5, 2011) -- Researchers have found a new mineral named "Wassonite" in one of the most historically significant meteorites recovered in Antarctica in December 1969. ... > full story

Nanoparticles improve solar collection efficiency (April 5, 2011) -- Using minute graphite particles 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, mechanical engineers hope to boost the efficiency -- and profitability -- of solar power plants. ... > full story

Device enables computer to identify whether user is male or female (April 5, 2011) -- Researchers in Spain have developed a system that analyses a video signal in real time and calculates the gender of the faces pictured in the images. This way, a computer can determine whether the faces pictured in the images or videos belong to a man or a woman. ... > full story

Air France wreckage located nearly 2.5 miles below surface of Atlantic Ocean (April 5, 2011) -- A search team has located the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 some 3,900 meters, or nearly 2.5 miles, below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil's northeastern coast. ... > full story

Vibrant colors in vertical silicon nanowires: Surprising phenomenon may lead to greater sensitivity in image sensor devices (April 5, 2011) -- Engineers may soon be singing, "I'm going to wash that gray right out of my nanowires," thanks to a colorful discovery by a team of researchers. In contrast to the somber gray hue of silicon wafers, the scientists demonstrated that individual, vertical silicon nanowires can shine in all colors of the spectrum. ... > full story

Self-cooling observed in graphene elctronics (April 5, 2011) -- With the first observation of thermoelectric effects at graphene contacts, researchers have found that graphene transistors have a nanoscale cooling effect that reduces their temperature. Using an AMF tip to measure temperature, they found that thermoelectric cooling effects can be stronger at graphene contacts than resistive heating, so graphene transistors are self-cooling. ... > full story

Oxygen sensor invention could benefit fisheries to breweries (April 5, 2011) -- Monitoring oxygen levels in water has applications for oil spills, fish farming, brewing beer and more -- and a researcher is poised to help supply that need. The concept of oxygen sensors isn't new. The challenge, however, has been manufacturing one that can withstand fluctuations in temperature, salinity, carbon dioxide, phosphates and biological wastes. Physicist Ruby Ghosh was able to overcome those obstacles as well as build one that provides real-time data and is relatively inexpensive. ... > full story

Mars in Spain: Subterranean springs in central pre-Pyrenees of Catalonia pose new questions for planetary geomorphology (April 5, 2011) -- A new study on the origin and evolution of peculiar morphologies created by ancient subterranean springs in the central pre-Pyrenees of Catalonia (Spain) pose new questions for planetary geomorphology research. Similar to small volcanoes, these formations until now had only been described in Australia and closely resemble gigantic forms found on Mars. The study may shed new light on the origin of these formations and the search for water on the Red Planet. ... > full story

Chemists produce first high-resolution RNA 'nano square' (April 4, 2011) -- Chemists have produced the first high resolution structure of a nano-scale square made from ribonucleic acid, or RNA. ... > full story

'In-depth' radar: Seeing what lies beneath the surface (April 4, 2011) -- Where do the water pipes and electric cables lie? Could valuable cultural artefacts be hidden here? And how high is the salt concentration on the road today? A georadar can reveal what lies below the surface, providing information that can be extremely useful to industry. A Norwegian researcher wants to evaluate how georadar could be utilized. ... > full story

The Art of Making Stars (April 4, 2011) -- It might look like an abstract painting, but this splash of colors is in fact a busy star-forming complex called Rho Ophiuchi. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Explorer, or WISE, captured the picturesque image of the region, which is one of the closest star-forming complexes to Earth. ... > full story

Formaldehyde: Poison could have set the stage for the origins of life (April 4, 2011) -- Formaldehyde, a poison and a common molecule throughout the universe, is likely the source of the solar system's organic carbon solids -- abundant in both comets and asteroids. Scientists have long speculated about the how organic, or carbon-containing, material became a part of the solar system's fabric. New research shows that these complex organic solids were likely made from formaldehyde in the primitive solar system. ... > full story

Twitter analysis provides stock predictions (April 4, 2011) -- Economists have developed a website that predicts individual stock trends. To this end, economists are using automatic text analysis methods to evaluate thousands of daily Twitter microblog messages, so-called "tweets". ... > full story

Physicists create tap-proof waves (April 4, 2011) -- Scientists in Austria have developed a method to steer waves on precisely defined trajectories, without any loss. This way, sound waves could be sent directly to a target, avoiding possible eavesdroppers. ... > full story

New type of particle accelerator beams its way to a world first (April 4, 2011) -- A new technology that promises a range of applications from treating cancer to powering safer nuclear reactors has reached another world first in its development. Scientists have successfully started up the pioneering EMMA accelerator, which is set to impact fundamental science and change the way such particle accelerators across the world are designed and built in the future. ... > full story

Researchers electrify polymerization (April 4, 2011) -- Scientists are using electricity from a battery to drive atom transfer radical polymerization, a widely used method of creating industrial plastics. The environmentally friendly approach represents a breakthrough in the level of control scientists can achieve over the ATRP process, which will allow for the creation of even more complex and specialized materials. ... > full story

Search for advanced materials aided by discovery of hidden symmetries in nature (April 4, 2011) -- A new way of understanding the structure of proteins, polymers, minerals, and engineered materials has been discovered. The discovery, a new type of symmetry in the structure of materials, greatly expands the possibilities for discovering or designing materials with desired properties. The research is expected to have broad relevance in many development efforts involving physical, chemical, biological, or engineering disciplines, including the search for advanced ferroelectric ferromagnet materials for next-generation ultrasound devices and computers. ... > full story

Microreactors: Small scale chemistry could lead to big improvements for biodegradable polymers (April 4, 2011) -- Using a small block of aluminum with a tiny groove carved in it, scientists are developing an improved "green chemistry" method for making biodegradable polymers. A prime example of the value of microfluidics, a technology more commonly associated with inkjet printers and medical diagnostics, to process modeling and development for industrial chemistry. ... > full story

Stellar nursery: The rose-red glow of star formation (April 4, 2011) -- The vivid red cloud in a new image from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope is a region of glowing hydrogen surrounding the star cluster NGC 371. This stellar nursery lies in our neighboring galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud. ... > full story

Getting the point: Real-time monitoring of atomic-microscope probes adjusts for wear (April 4, 2011) -- Scientists have developed a way to measure the wear and degradation of the microscopic probes used to study nanoscale structures in situ and as it's happening. Their technique can both dramatically speed up and improve the accuracy of the most precise and delicate nanoscale measurements done with atomic force microscopy. ... > full story

A measurement first: 'Noise thermometry' system measures Boltzmann Constant (April 4, 2011) -- Researchers have for the first time used an apparatus that relies on the "noise" of jiggling electrons to make highly accurate measurements of the Boltzmann constant, an important value for many scientific calculations. The technique is simpler and more compact than other methods for measuring the constant and could advance international efforts to revamp the world's scientific measurement system. ... > full story

Research questions the educational possibilities of some TV and computer games (April 4, 2011) -- There is a considerable amount of interest among researchers, educationalists and from the games industry in the educational possibilities offered by video and computer games. Some of the arguments about this educational potential are about so called open-ended games, games where the players set their own goals or plans and chooses which way the game goes. Now research from Sweden reveals that as a mean to challenge pupils' ideas and values, then these open-ended games are not appropriate. ... > full story

Mobile with electricity (April 4, 2011) -- Electric cars are cleaner, quieter and more efficient than gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. Even so, they have not yet caught on. Now, however, a new era is beginning: the era of electric mobility. ... > full story

Smartphones: Delivering seamless, secure exchange of data across multiple platforms (April 4, 2011) -- Applications dominate today's smartphone market. In the future, internet-capable televisions, tablet and desktop PCs, and cars will all run apps, which can, for example, help plan and book a ski trip. To allow web applications run on four screens, the webinos project consortium creates a full open source code base. The tagerted technology will allow different devices and applications to work together, securely, seamlessly and interoperably. Most recentely, the consortium has summarized the first research results in four reports covering use cases, security, technical requirments and industry landscape. ... > full story

How do neurons in the retina encode what we 'see'? (April 3, 2011) -- The moment we open our eyes, we perceive the world with apparent ease. But the question of how neurons in the retina encode what we "see" has been a tricky one. A key obstacle to understanding how our brain functions is that its components -- neurons -- respond in highly nonlinear ways to complex stimuli, making stimulus-response relationships extremely difficult to discern. Now a team of physicists has developed a general mathematical framework that makes optimal use of limited measurements, bringing them a step closer to deciphering the "language of the brain." ... > full story

Next-generation computers: Advance in microchannel manufacturing opens new industry applications (April 3, 2011) -- Engineers have invented a new way to use surface-mount adhesives in the production of low-temperature, microchannel heat exchangers - an advance that will make this promising technology much less expensive for many commercial applications - including next-generation computers, lasers, consumer electronics, automobile cooling systems, fuel processors, miniature heat pumps and more. ... > full story

Optical transistor advance: Physicists rotate beams of light with semiconductor (April 2, 2011) -- Physicists have managed to control the rotation of light by means of a ultra thin semiconductor. The advance could potentially be used to create a transistor that works with light instead of electrical current. ... > full story

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