Selasa, 22 Februari 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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Antifungal compound found on tropical seaweed has promising antimalarial properties (February 22, 2011) -- A group of chemical compounds used by a species of tropical seaweed to ward off fungus attacks may have promising antimalarial properties for humans. The compounds are part of a unique chemical signaling system that seaweeds use to battle enemies -- and that may provide a wealth of potential new pharmaceutical compounds. ... > full story

Practice more important than child's age in learning to use computer mouse (February 22, 2011) -- Children as young as five years old can learn how to use a computer mouse, new research suggests. While age is an important component in determining how well a child controls a mouse, the study also found that how frequently a child practices may be even more important. ... > full story

Engineering atomic interfaces for new electronics (February 22, 2011) -- Most people cross borders such as doorways or state lines without thinking much about it. Yet not all borders are places of limbo intended only for crossing. Some borders, like those between two materials that are brought together, are dynamic places where special things can happen. For an electron moving from one material toward the other, this space is where it can join other electrons, which together can create current, magnetism or even light. Researchers have made fundamental discoveries at the border regions, called interfaces, between oxide materials. ... > full story

Climate and aerosols: NASA's Glory satellite promises new view of perplexing particles (February 22, 2011) -- Climatologists have known for decades that airborne particles called aerosols can have a powerful impact on the climate. However, pinpointing the magnitude of the effect has proven challenging because of difficulties associated with measuring the particles on a global scale. Soon a new NASA satellite -- Glory -- should help scientists collect the data needed to provide firmer answers about the important particles. In California, engineers and technicians at Vandenberg Air Force Base are currently prepping Glory for a Feb. 23 launch. ... > full story

Brain-machine interfaces make gains by learning about their users, letting them rest, and allowing for multitasking (February 21, 2011) -- You may have heard of virtual keyboards controlled by thought, brain-powered wheelchairs, and neuro-prosthetic limbs. But powering these machines can be downright tiring, a fact that prevents the technology from being of much use to people with disabilities, among others. Researchers in Switzerland have a solution: engineer the system so that it learns about its user, allows for periods of rest, and even multitasking. ... > full story

Better way to diagnose pneumonia (February 21, 2011) -- Researchers have created a new sampling device that could prevent thousands of people worldwide from dying of pneumonia each year. ... > full story

Scientists steer car with the power of thought (February 21, 2011) -- Computer scientists have developed a system making it possible to steer a car with your thoughts. Using new commercially available sensors to measure brain waves -- sensors for recording electroencephalograms (EEG) -- the scientists were able to distinguish the bioelectrical wave patterns for control commands such as "left," "right," "accelerate" or "brake" in a test subject. ... > full story

Advanced NASA instrument gets close-up on Mars rocks (February 21, 2011) -- NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, will carry a next generation, onboard "chemical element reader" to measure the chemical ingredients in Martian rocks and soil. The instrument is one of 10 that will help the rover in its upcoming mission to determine the past and present habitability of a specific area on the Red Planet. Launch is scheduled between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011, with landing in August 2012. ... > full story

Can WISE find the hypothetical 'Tyche' planet at edge of our solar system? (February 21, 2011) -- Two astrophysicists recently proposed the existence of a binary companion to our sun, larger than Jupiter, in the long-hypothesized "Oort cloud" -- a faraway repository of small icy bodies at the edge of our solar system. The researchers use the name "Tyche" for the hypothetical planet. Their paper argues that evidence for the planet would have been recorded by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). ... > full story

Plants that can move inspire new adaptive structures (February 21, 2011) -- The Mimosa plant, which folds its leaves when they're touched, is inspiring a new class of adaptive structures designed to twist, bend, stiffen and even heal themselves. ... > full story

New technology for cheaper, more efficient solar cells (February 21, 2011) -- Applying an organic layer less than a nanometer thick improves the efficiency of certain solar cells three-fold. The technology could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar panels. ... > full story

Manipulating molecules for a new breed of electronics (February 21, 2011) -- Scientists have demonstrated a clever way of controlling electrical conductance of a single molecule, by exploiting the molecule's mechanical properties. ... > full story

Spent nuclear fuel is anything but waste (February 21, 2011) -- Failure to pursue a program for recycling spent nuclear fuel has put the US far behind other countries and represents a missed opportunity to enhance the nation's energy security and influence other countries. ... > full story

Physicists build bigger 'bottles' of antimatter to unlock nature's secrets (February 20, 2011) -- Once regarded as the stuff of science fiction, antimatter -- the mirror image of the ordinary matter in our observable universe -- is now the focus of laboratory studies around the world. While physicists routinely produce antimatter with radioisotopes and particle colliders, cooling these antiparticles and containing them for any length of time is another story. One scientists is constructing what he hopes will be the world's largest antimatter container. ... > full story

Mimicking photosynthesis path to solar-derived hydrogen fuel (February 20, 2011) -- Inexpensive hydrogen for automotive or jet fuel may be possible by mimicking photosynthesis, according to a materials chemist, but a number of problems need to be solved first. ... > full story

Continent-wide telescope extends cosmic 'yardstick' three times farther into universe (February 20, 2011) -- New observations with the Very Long Baseline Array have made the farthest direct distance measurement ever, a key step toward understanding the mysterious Dark Energy that constitutes some 70 percent of the Universe. Other observations are redrawing the map of our home Galaxy and promise to revise our understanding of extrasolar planets. ... > full story

Cassini to sample magnetic environment around Saturn's moon Titan (February 20, 2011) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft is set to skim close to Saturn's moon Titan on Feb. 18, to learn about the interaction between Titan and Saturn's magnetosphere, the magnetic bubble around the planet. ... > full story

Storm-chasing weather radar used to track bat populations (February 20, 2011) -- Scientists are using mobile storm-chasing radars to follow swarms of bats as they emerge from their caves each night to forage on insects. ... > full story

New high-resolution method for imaging below the skin using a liquid lens (February 20, 2011) -- New optical technology provides unprecedented images under the skin's surface. The aim of the technology is to detect and examine skin lesions to determine whether they are benign or cancerous without having to cut the suspected tumor out of the skin and analyze it in the lab. ... > full story

Higher-temperature superconductivity (February 20, 2011) -- An Iowa State theoretical physicist recently described the latest ideas in high-temperature superconductivity. ... > full story

Water, water, everywhere ... but is it safe to drink? (February 20, 2011) -- New research examines society's efforts to reverse and stop groundwater pollution, and the effectiveness of bioremediation technologies -- using microbes to clean up organic contaminants such as petroleum hydrocarbons (oil, gasoline or diesel) or chemicals used in the electronics or transportation industries. ... > full story

Mind over matter: EECoG may finally allow enduring control of a prosthetic or a paralyzed arm by thought alone (February 19, 2011) -- A biomedical engineer is developing brain-computer interfaces based on grids of electrodes that lie beneath the skull but outside the dura mater, the protective membrane that covers the brain. His next project is to slip a thin 32-electrode grid he designed with a colleague under a macaque's skill and to train the monkey to control -- strictly by thinking about it -- a computational model of a macaque arm. ... > full story

Biologists use GPS to 'map' bat teeth to explore evolutionary adaptations to diet (February 19, 2011) -- In a clever use of GPS technology, biologists have "mapped" the topography of bat teeth as if they were uncharted mountain ranges, in order to better understand how toothy ridges, peaks and valleys have evolved to allow different species to eat everything from hard-shelled insects to blood and nectar. ... > full story

Augmented reality system for learning chess (February 19, 2011) -- Students in Spain have designed an innovative augmented reality system for learning to play chess. The system architecture, which combines augmented reality, computer vision and artificial intelligence, includes an application that tracks the movements of each piece, generates an audible description of each move, saves games automatically and can broadcast matches online, making it ideal for a wide range of users, including the visually impaired. ... > full story

Solar flare: Space weather disrupts communications, threatens other technologies (February 18, 2011) -- A powerful solar flare has ushered in the largest space weather storm in at least four years and has already disrupted some ground communications on Earth. ... > full story

Chemical guided missile could be the answer to wiping out cancer (February 18, 2011) -- Medical scientists in Australia have created the world's first cancer stem cell-targeting chemical missile, placing them a step closer to creating a medical 'smart bomb' that would seek out and eradicate the root of cancer cells. ... > full story

Hydrogen cartridges fuel laptops and phones for outdoor enthusiasts (February 18, 2011) -- Scientists have developed new hydrogen cartridges, which provide energy to fuel cells designed to recharge cell phones, laptops and GPS units. The green power source is geared toward outdoor enthusiasts as well as residents of the Third World, where electricity in homes is considered a luxury. ... > full story

The real avatar: Swiss researchers use virtual reality and brain imaging to hunt for the science of the self (February 18, 2011) -- That feeling of being in, and owning, your own body is a fundamental human experience. Now, researchers have announced an important step in decoding the phenomenon. By combining techniques from cognitive science with those of virtual reality and brain imaging, scientists in Switzerland are narrowing in on the first experimental, data-driven approach to understanding self-consciousness. ... > full story

World's first anti-laser built (February 18, 2011) -- More than 50 years after the invention of the laser, scientists have built the world's first anti-laser, in which incoming beams of light interfere with one another in such a way as to perfectly cancel each other out. The discovery could pave the way for a number of novel technologies with applications in everything from optical computing to radiology. ... > full story

Compact high-temperature superconducting cables demonstrated (February 18, 2011) -- A researcher has invented a method of making high-temperature superconducting (HTS) cables that are thinner and more flexible than demonstration HTS cables now installed in the electric power grid while carrying the same or more current. The compact cables could be used in the electric grid as well as scientific and medical equipment and may enable HTS power transmission for military applications. ... > full story

The green machine: Algae clean wastewater, convert to biodiesel (February 18, 2011) -- Researchers are developing biodiesel from microalgae grown in wastewater. The project is doubly "green" because algae consume nitrates and phosphates and reduce bacteria and toxins in the water. The end result: clean wastewater and stock for a promising biofuel. ... > full story

Catching space weather in the act (February 18, 2011) -- Special cameras aboard the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft have snapped the first shots of a complex space environment. Instead of recording light, these two large single-pixel cameras detect energetic neutral atoms. ... > full story

Controlling a computer with thoughts? (February 18, 2011) -- Researchers will place brain-computer interfaces in patients with spinal cord injuries to test if it is possible for them to control external devices, such as a computer cursor or a prosthetic limb, with their thoughts. ... > full story

Sleeping Trojan horse to aid imaging of diseased cells (February 18, 2011) -- A unique strategy developed by researchers in the UK is opening up new possibilities for improving medical imaging. Medical imaging often requires getting unnatural materials such as metal ions into cells, a process which is a major challenge across a range of biomedical disciplines. One technique currently used is called the 'Trojan Horse' in which the drug or imaging agent is attached to something naturally taken up by cells. ... > full story

Improving microscopy by following the astronomers' guide star (February 18, 2011) -- A corrective strategy used by astronomers to sharpen images of celestial bodies can now help scientists see with more depth and clarity into the living brain of a mouse. ... > full story

New method for unraveling molecular structures (February 18, 2011) -- Chemists in Germany have introduced a new method for identifying chemical compounds. The approach they used is an improvement on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements -- for decades one of the most successful methods for determining the chemical structure of organic molecules. The results show a sophisticated approach to structural data when classical methods of analysis fail. ... > full story

Toward an optical atomic clock: Physicists develop atomic frequency standard for one of world’s most precise clocks (February 18, 2011) -- Polish physicists have been aiming to build an optical atomic clock, an extremely precise device with an accuracy of one second in a few dozen billion years, since 2008. The last of the three key components of the clock: an atomic frequency standard based on cold strontium atoms has just been developed. The clock itself will be assembled already this year. ... > full story

3-D video without the goggles (February 18, 2011) -- High-quality video communications capable of supporting flawless video conferencing and home entertainment without goggles could become a reality. Researchers in the UK are working on systems to support telepresence with the aid of three-dimensional 'Avatar-style' stereoscopic video and audio communications. ... > full story

Doing good with operations research (February 18, 2011) -- Karen Smilowitz has studied ways to optimize how freight is moved: how to reduce the distance of trucking routes, for example, or how to get companies to pool their resources and lower costs. More recently, she has taken that work and applied it to nonprofits both at a global and a local level, including finding equitable and efficient distribution of relief supplies in humanitarian logistics and improving operations for mobile delivery of asthma care. ... > full story

Chemist focuses on education for real-world sustainability challenges (February 18, 2011) -- Introductory college science classes need to improve their coverage of issues related to sustainability, a chemistry educator argues in a recent presentation. ... > full story

Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope: Africa to shed light on the 'dark ages' of the universe (February 18, 2011) -- Africa’s bid to build and host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope – which will for the first time provide mankind with detailed pictures of the “dark ages” 13.7 billion years back in time – is gaining momentum with significant scientific breakthroughs. ... > full story

Flocculent spiral has relatively low star formation rate (February 17, 2011) -- The galaxy NGC 2841 -- shown in a new Hubble Space Telescope image -- currently has a relatively low star formation rate compared to other spirals. It is one of several nearby galaxies that have been specifically chosen for a new study in which a pick 'n' mix of different stellar nursery environments and birth rates are being observed. ... > full story

Getting cars onto the road faster (February 17, 2011) -- Auto manufacturers are looking for shorter production times, faster logistics processes, new materials and technologies. A novel software platform will help companies to achieve these goals by reducing not only the development times but also the development costs. ... > full story

Insects hold atomic clues about the type of habitats in which they live (February 17, 2011) -- Scientists have discovered that insects contain atomic clues as to the habitats in which they are most able to survive. The research has important implications for predicting the effects of climate change on the insects, which make up three-quarters of the animal kingdom. ... > full story

Neurologists develop software application to help identify subtle epileptic lesions (February 17, 2011) -- Researchers have identified potential benefits of a new computer application that automatically detects subtle brain lesions in MRI scans in patients with epilepsy. ... > full story

Mobile phone use not related to increased brain cancer risk, UK study suggests (February 17, 2011) -- Radio frequency exposure from mobile phone use does not appear to increase the risk of developing brain cancers by any significant amount, a new study suggests. ... > full story

Scientists elevate warfighter readiness against invisible threats (February 17, 2011) -- In asymmetric warfare, early detection and identification of trace level chemical and biological agents and explosive compounds is critical to rapid reaction, response, and survivability. ... > full story

Physicists propose beaming laser at atmospheric sodium to measure global magnetic field (February 17, 2011) -- Oil and mineral companies, climatologists and geophysicists all rely on expensive satellites to measure the Earth's magnetic field, but there may be a cheaper option. A physicist proposes shining a pulsed orange laser on the layer of sodium atoms 90 km above the Earth to directly read the local magnetic field. All that's needed is a simple laser like those used to produce laser guide stars for telescopes, plus a telescope detector. ... > full story

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