Senin, 04 April 2011

ScienceDaily Technology Headlines

for Monday, April 4, 2011

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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

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

New nanomaterial can detect and neutralize explosives (April 2, 2011) -- Scientists have described the development and successful initial tests of a spray-on material that both detects and renders harmless the genre of terrorist explosives responsible for government restrictions on liquids that can be carried onboard airliners. It is an ink-like explosive detector/neutralizer. ... > full story

Novel nanowires boost fuel cell efficiency (April 1, 2011) -- Engineers have created a new fuel cell catalyst system using nanowires made of a novel material that boosts long-term performance by 2.4 times compared to today's technology. The nanowires are made of a metal alloy known as a bulk metallic glass and have high surface areas, thereby exposing more of the catalyst. They also maintain their activity longer than traditional fuel cell catalyst systems. ... > full story

World first: Calculations with 14 quantum bits (April 1, 2011) -- Quantum physicists have now achieved controlled entanglement of 14 quantum bits (qubits) and, thus, realized the largest quantum register that has ever been produced. With this experiment the scientists have not only come closer to the realization of a quantum computer but they also show surprising results for the quantum mechanical phenomenon of entanglement. ... > full story

Sugar-grain sized meteorites rocked the climates of early Earth and Mars, according to new study (April 1, 2011) -- Bombardments of 'micro-meteorites' on Earth and Mars four billion years ago may have caused the planets' climates to cool dramatically, hampering their ability to support life, according to new research. ... > full story

Getting to know the strong force: One of the four fundamental forces of the universe (April 1, 2011) -- In new work, high-energy physicists have observed two long-sought quantum states in the bottomonium family of sub-atomic particles. The result will help researchers better understand one of the four fundamental forces of the universe -- the strong force -- that helps govern the interactions of matter. ... > full story

Mysteries of Jupiter and Saturn rings: Forensic sleuthing ties ring ripples to impacts (April 1, 2011) -- Like forensic scientists examining fingerprints at a cosmic crime scene, scientists working with data from NASA's Cassini, Galileo and New Horizons missions have traced telltale ripples in the rings of Saturn and Jupiter back to collisions with cometary fragments dating back more than 10 years ago. ... > full story

Professor uses math analytics to project 2011 Major League Baseball winners (April 1, 2011) -- For over a decade, a math professor has applied mathematical analysis to compute winning games for each Major League Baseball Team. ... > full story

Scientists reach beyond the clouds with a mobile phone app to explore the outer atmosphere (April 1, 2011) -- Engineering scientists have reached above the clouds in a first-of-its-kind experiment to develop new technologies that probe the stratosphere using an unmanned vehicle. ... > full story

Advance toward making biodegradable plastics from waste chicken feathers (April 1, 2011) -- In a scientific advance literally plucked from the waste heap, scientists have described a key step toward using the billions of pounds of waste chicken feathers produced each year to make one of the more important kinds of plastic. ... > full story

First non-trivial atom circuit: Progress toward an atom SQUID (March 31, 2011) -- Researchers have created the first non-trivial "atom circuit," a donut-shaped loop of ultracold gas atoms circulating in a current analogous to a ring of electrons in a superconducting wire. ... > full story

Astronomers take a look inside red giant stars (March 31, 2011) -- Astronomers have used data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft to see into the core of red giant stars. The scientists said the discovery will help astronomers learn more about red giants. Our sun will evolve into a red giant in about 5 billion years. ... > full story

Blood simple circuitry for cyborgs (March 31, 2011) -- Could electronic components made from human blood be the key to creating cyborg interfaces? Circuitry that links human tissues and nerve cells directly to an electronic device, such as a robotic limb or artificial eye might one day be possible thanks to the development of biological components. ... > full story

Engineer studies how to reduce impact of power tools vibrations (March 31, 2011) -- The study of work-vibrations exposure is a relatively new in North America, although it has been a subject of significance in Europe. ... > full story

Mysterious 'ribbon' of energy and particles that wrap around solar system's heliosphere isolated (March 31, 2011) -- Scientists have isolated and resolved the mysterious "ribbon" of energy and particles discovered in the heliosphere -- the huge bubble that surrounds our solar system and protects us from galactic cosmic rays. ... > full story

Astrophysicist: White dwarfs could be fertile ground for other Earths (March 31, 2011) -- Hundreds of planets have been discovered outside the solar system in the last decade. Now an astrophysicist is suggesting that the best place to look for planets that could support life is around dying stars called white dwarfs. ... > full story

Gesture-controlled microscope developed by Finnish researchers (March 31, 2011) -- Researchers in Finland have created a hand-and-finger gesture-controlled microscope. The method is a combination of two technologies: web-based virtual microscopy and a giant-size multitouch display. ... > full story

Fast-recharge, lithium-ion battery could be perfect for electric cars (March 31, 2011) -- The next-generation battery, like next-generation TV, may be 3-D, scientists say. They have described a new lithium-ion battery, already available in a prototype version, with a three-dimensional interior architecture that could be perfect for the electric cars now appearing in auto dealer showrooms. ... > full story

Seeing below the surface: Engineers devise a new way to inspect advanced materials used to build airplanes (March 31, 2011) -- Many airplane manufacturers have started building planes from advanced composite materials, which consist of high-strength fibers, such as carbon or glass, embedded in a plastic or metal matrix. Such materials are stronger and more lightweight than aluminum, but they are also more difficult to inspect for damage. A professor of aeronautics and astronautics has devised a new way to detect that internal damage, using a simple handheld device and heat-sensitive camera. ... > full story

Open-source software designed to minimize synthetic biology risks (March 31, 2011) -- A software package designed to minimize the potential risks of synthetic biology for the nation's defense and security is now available to the gene synthesis industry and synthetic biology community in an open-source format. ... > full story

'Spincasting' holds promise for creation of nanoparticle thin films (March 31, 2011) -- Researchers have investigated the viability of a technique called "spincasting" for creating thin films of nanoparticles on an underlying substrate -- an important step in the creation of materials with a variety of uses, from optics to electronics. ... > full story

Computerized systems reduce psychiatric drug errors, research suggests (March 31, 2011) -- Coupling an electronic prescription drug ordering system with a computerized method for reporting adverse events can dramatically reduce the number of medication errors in a hospital's psychiatric unit, new research suggests. ... > full story

Test after eye surgery: New halometer tests alterations in night vision (March 31, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a new tool to test night vision after eye surgery. ... > full story

Blocking carbon dioxide fixation in bacteria increases biofuel production (March 30, 2011) -- Reducing the ability of certain bacteria to fix carbon dioxide can greatly increase their production of hydrogen gas that can be used as a biofuel, researchers report. ... > full story

When is an asteroid not an asteroid? (March 30, 2011) -- On March 29, 1807, German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers spotted Vesta as a pinprick of light in the sky. Two hundred and four years later, as NASA's Dawn spacecraft prepares to begin orbiting this intriguing world, scientists now know how special this world is, even if there has been some debate on how to classify it. ... > full story

54 beneficial compounds discovered in pure maple syrup (March 30, 2011) -- Researchers have discovered 34 new beneficial compounds in pure maple syrup and confirmed that 20 compounds discovered last year in preliminary research play a key role in human health. ... > full story

Physicists detect low-level radioactivity from Japan arriving in Seattle (March 30, 2011) -- Physicists are detecting radioactivity arriving in Seattle from Japanese nuclear reactors damaged in a tsunami following a mammoth earthquake, but the levels are far below what would pose a threat to human health. ... > full story

River water and salty ocean water used to generate electricity (March 30, 2011) -- Researchers have developed a rechargeable battery that uses freshwater and seawater to create electricity. Aided by nanotechnology, the battery employs the difference in salinity between fresh and saltwater to generate a current. A power station might be built wherever a river flows into the ocean. ... > full story

Antibiotics wrapped in nanofibers turn resistant disease-producing bacteria into ghosts (March 30, 2011) -- Encapsulating antibiotics inside nanofibers, like a mummy inside a sarcophagus, gives them the amazing ability to destroy drug-resistant bacteria so completely that scientists described the remains as mere "ghosts," according to a new report. ... > full story

MESSENGER sends back first image of Mercury from orbit (March 30, 2011) -- NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has captured a historic image of the planet Mercury. The image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the Solar System's innermost planet. Over the subsequent six hours, MESSENGER acquired an additional 363 images before downlinking some of the data to Earth. The MESSENGER team is currently looking over the newly returned data, which are still continuing to come down. ... > full story

Next-generation device developed to track world's air quality (March 30, 2011) -- A new air-quality measuring instrument that is more economical, more portable and more accurate than older technologies has just been developed. ... > full story

New media and eating habits: Computer has replaced the kitchen table as focal point of meals for college students (March 30, 2011) -- A new study has analyzed how new-media technology, including the Internet and smartphones, are changing college students' eating habits and their relationship to food. Findings indicate that individuals are more likely to have meals while sitting at the computer than at the kitchen table, and that they use social media as the main avenue to obtain recipe and nutritional information. ... > full story

Catching cancer with carbon nanotubes: New device to test blood can spot cancer cells, HIV on the fly (March 30, 2011) -- A bioengineer and an aeronautical engineer have together created a new device that can detect single cancer cells in a blood sample, potentially allowing doctors to quickly determine whether cancer has spread from its original site. ... > full story

'Bacterial dirigibles' emerge as next-generation disease fighters (March 30, 2011) -- Scientists have developed bacteria that serve as mobile pharmaceutical factories, both producing disease-fighting substances and delivering the potentially life-saving cargo to diseased areas of the body. They reported on this new candidate for treating diseases ranging from food poisoning to cancer -- termed "bacterial dirigibles." ... > full story

Waste ash from coal could save billions in repairing US bridges and roads (March 30, 2011) -- Coating concrete destined to rebuild America's crumbling bridges and roadways with some of the millions of tons of ash left over from burning coal could extend the life of those structures by decades, saving billions of dollars of taxpayer money, scientists report. A new coating material for concrete made from flyash is hundreds of times more durable than existing coatings and costs only half as much. ... > full story

Household bleach can decontaminate food prep surfaces in ricin bioterrorist attack (March 30, 2011) -- Help for a bioterrorist attack involving ricin, one of the most likely toxic agents, may be as close at hand as the laundry shelf, according to a new report. It concluded that ordinary household bleach appears to be an effective, low-cost, and widely available way to decontaminate food preparation surfaces in homes, restaurants, and processing plants that are tainted with ricin. ... > full story

Heavy metals open path to high temperature nanomagnets (March 30, 2011) -- A chemistry student has discovered a path to making molecular magnets work at exceptionally high temperatures. The solution? Build magnets using just a few atoms of heavy non-iron metals. ... > full story

Imaging the paintings under the paintings of the Old Masters (March 30, 2011) -- Gaze upon Rembrandt's "The Night Watch," or one of the great Dutch master's famous self-portraits. Scientists have taken art appreciation a step further and have now developed a technique to see the paintings under the paintings of Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rubens, and other 17th Century Old Master painters. ... > full story

Deciphering hidden code reveals brain activity (March 29, 2011) -- By combining sophisticated mathematical techniques more commonly used by spies instead of scientists with the power and versatility of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a neurologist has developed a new approach for studying the inner workings of the brain. A hidden pattern is encoded in the seemingly random order of things presented to a human subject, which the brain reveals when observed with fMRI. ... > full story

Key plant traits yield more sugar for biofuels (March 29, 2011) -- New clues about plant structure are helping researchers narrow down a large collection of poplar tree candidates and identify winners for future use in biofuel production. ... > full story

Some ingredients in 'green' products come from petroleum rather than natural sources (March 29, 2011) -- With more and more environmentally conscious consumers choosing "green" products, scientists have now reported that the first reality check has revealed that the ingredients in those product may come from a surprising source -- petroleum, rather than natural plant-based sources. ... > full story

New 'nanodrug' breaks down barriers to attack breast cancer cells from the inside out (March 29, 2011) -- Unlike other drugs that target cancer cells from the outside with minimal effect, this "transport vehicle" carries multiple drugs that spare healthy cells, accumulate in tumor cells and strike cancer-specific molecular targets inside. ... > full story

Researchers make first perovskite-based superlens for the infrared (March 29, 2011) -- Researchers have fabricated a superlens from perovskite oxides that are ideal for capturing light in the mid-infrared range, opening the door to highly sensitive biomedical detection and imaging. It may also be possible to turn the superlensing effect on/off, opening the door to highly dense data writing and storage. ... > full story

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