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Nature's medicine cabinet could yield hundreds of new drugs

December 13, 2011 4:49 am | News | Comments

According to a new analysis by a New York Botanical Garden scientist, there are probably at least 500 medically useful chemicals awaiting discovery in plant species whose chemical constituents have not yet been evaluated for their potential to cure or treat disease.

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Spiders give whole new meaning for thinking on your feet

December 13, 2011 4:01 am | News | Comments

As part of research to understand how miniaturization affects brain size and behavior, Smithsonian researchers measured the central nervous systems of nine species of spiders, some smaller than the head of a pin. As the spiders get smaller, their brains get proportionally bigger, sometimes filling most of their body cavity and even their legs.

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Microneedle sensors may allow real-time monitoring of body chemistry

December 13, 2011 3:22 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego have developed new technology that uses microneedles to allow doctors to detect real-time chemical changes in the body—and to continuously do so for an extended period of time.

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High-energy physicists set record for network data transfer

December 13, 2011 3:10 am | News | Comments

Researchers have set a new world record for data transfer, helping to usher in the next generation of high-speed network technology. At the SuperComputing 2011 conference, the international team transferred data in opposite directions at a combined rate of 186 Gbps in a wide-area network circuit.

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New LHC data further narrows hunt for 'God' particle

December 13, 2011 3:04 am | News | Comments

One of two research teams hunting for the Higgs boson announced Tuesday that the latest data has helped narrow the search. The particle is more likely to be found in the lower energy ranges of the Large Hadron Collider, and this finding is expected to be confirmed later in the day by the second team.

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Physicists create the smallest conceivable switch

December 13, 2011 3:00 am | News | Comments

Porphyins are ring-shaped molecules that can flexibly change their structure, making them useful for a wide array of applications. Researchers in Germany have taken a variety of this material, tetraphenylporphyrin, and built a molecular switch that holds a pair of hydrogen atoms that can change their positions between just two configurations.

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Ultimate slow motion

December 13, 2011 2:57 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion exposures per second. That's fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of a burst of light traveling the length of a 1-L bottle, bouncing off the cap and reflecting back to the bottle's bottom.

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Synchrotron studies could produce a better cement

December 12, 2011 12:57 pm | News | Comments

Portland cement is one of the most important building materials in the world, which makes recent structural studies of the cement binder calcium-silicate-hydrate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Advanced Light Source potentially crucial in reducing carbon emissions. The findings could also yield stronger cement.

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Chemically scrubbing carbon dioxide from the air too expensive

December 12, 2011 10:54 am | News | Comments

While it is possible to chemically scrub carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere in order to lessen the severity of global warming, the process is prohibitively expensive for now. Best to focus on controls for coal-burning power plants, say researchers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Colossal conducting variation at the nanoscale

December 12, 2011 10:43 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory and in Ecuador have found that, at just the right temperatures, nanoclusters form and improve the flow of electrical current through certain oxide materials. This work could be used in a number of industrial applications including spintronics, which exploit electrical and magnetic properties for use in solid-state electronics.

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NIF achieves record ramp-compression pressures

December 12, 2011 9:55 am | News | Comments

In the first university-based planetary science experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), researchers have gradually compressed a diamond sample to a record pressure of 50 Mbar (50 million times Earth's atmospheric pressure).

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Survey reveals scientists have trouble accessing stem cell lines

December 12, 2011 9:39 am | News | Comments

The promise of stem cell research for drug discovery and cell-based therapies depends on the ability of scientists to acquire stem cell lines for their research. A survey of more than 200 human embryonic stem cell researchers in the United States found that nearly four in ten researchers have faced excessive delay in acquiring a human embryonic stem cell line and that more than one-quarter were unable to acquire a line they wanted to study.

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Climate conference approves landmark deal

December 12, 2011 8:10 am | by Arthur Max, Associated Press | News | Comments

A U.N. climate conference reached a hard-fought agreement Sunday on a complex and far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades. The United States was a reluctant supporter, concerned about agreeing to join an international climate system that likely would find much opposition in the U.S. Congress.

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3D electronics can be connected with carbon nanotubes

December 12, 2011 7:47 am | News | Comments

To build denser electronics, developers of 3D, or stacked, chips, have primarily used copper. However, copper has several disadvantages that can limit the reliability of 3D electronics. Researchers have recently demonstrated that two stacked chips can also be vertically interconnected with carbon nanotube vias through the chips.

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New solar cell dye significantly boosts cell efficiency

December 12, 2011 7:40 am | News | Comments

Dye-sensitized solar cells are made of inexpensive and environmentally benign materials including a dye, an electrolyte and titanium dioxide. A recently introduced dye, NCSU-10, has been shown to absorb more photons at lower dye concentrations, possibly helping developers build more transparent cells for windows and facades.

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