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Computer model could explain how simple molecules took first step toward life

July 28, 2015 1:30 pm | by Peter Genzer, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

Nearly four billion years ago, the earliest precursors of life on Earth emerged. First small, simple molecules, or monomers, banded together to form larger, more complex molecules, or polymers. Then those polymers developed a mechanism that allowed them to self-replicate and pass their structure on to future generations.

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Cosmic Winds Shape Galaxy Evolution

July 28, 2015 1:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

The cloudy oval nucleus of NGC 4921, a spiral galaxy, morphs into a spiraling cinnamon swirl as it extends outwards. The brown turns to blue wisps and the faint arms loop around, fading against a background of stars and other galaxies. NGC 4921 is located in the Coma cluster, 300 million light years from Earth, and is the closest high-mass cluster to our solar system.

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Could stronger, tougher paper replace metal?

July 28, 2015 12:30 pm | by Lee Tune, Univ. of Maryland | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Maryland recently discovered that paper made of cellulose fibers is tougher and stronger the smaller the fibers get. For a long time, engineers have sought a material that is both strong (resistant to non-recoverable deformation) and tough (tolerant of damage).

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Researchers develop new portable power supply for engineering microbes

July 28, 2015 11:50 am | by Mindy Krause, Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

Penn State Univ. engineers have developed a new “portable power supply” that will make it easier to manufacture plastics, therapeutics, fuels and other chemicals from sustainable feedstocks using diverse microbial organisms.

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Ultra-thin hallow nanocages could reduce platinum use in fuel cell electrodes

July 28, 2015 11:00 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

A new fabrication technique that produces platinum hollow nanocages with ultra-thin walls could dramatically reduce the amount of the costly metal needed to provide catalytic activity in such applications as fuel cells. The technique uses a solution-based method for producing atomic-scale layers of platinum to create hollow, porous structures that can generate catalytic activity both inside and outside the nanocages.

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Largest Radio Telescope Set for 2016 Completion

July 28, 2015 10:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

In the mountains of China’s Guizhou Province, workers began constructing the panels of the world’s largest radio telescope, with a dish the size of 30 football fields and shaped like a bowl. According to the Xinhua News Agency, last week technicians began assembling the telescope’s reflector, which is 500 m in diameter and made up of 4,450 panels.

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New material opens possibilities for super-long-acting pills

July 28, 2015 7:58 am | by Kevin Leonardi, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Medical devices designed to reside in the stomach have a variety of applications, including prolonged drug delivery, electronic monitoring and weight-loss intervention. However, these devices, often created with non-degradable elastic polymers, bear an inherent risk of intestinal obstruction as a result of accidental fracture or migration. As such, they are usually designed to remain in the stomach for a limited time.

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Study identifies major player in skin cancer genes

July 28, 2015 7:39 am | by Ziba Kashef, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

A multidisciplinary team at Yale Univ., led by Yale Cancer Center members, has defined a subgroup of genetic mutations that are present in a significant number of melanoma skin cancer cases. Their findings shed light on an important mutation in this deadly disease, and may lead to more targeted anti-cancer therapies.

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Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point

July 28, 2015 7:32 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Using powerful computer simulations, researchers from Brown Univ. have identified a material with a higher melting point than any known substance. The computations showed that a material made with just the right amounts of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon would have a melting point of more than 4,400 K (7,460 F).

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WTO to Eliminate Tariffs on Over 200 IT Products

July 27, 2015 8:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Fifty-four World Trade Organization (WTO) members recently reached an agreement to expand the scope of the organization’s Information Technology Agreement (ITA), effectively phasing out hundreds of tariffs on information technology exports worldwide.

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Benchtop Hybrid Temperature Chamber

July 27, 2015 5:49 pm | by TotalTemp technologies Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

TotalTemp Technologies Inc. offers a new way to do thermal testing. The model HBC-49 is a hybrid temperature chamber/platform. The floor of the chamber is a temperature-controlled hot/cold plate that operates independently or in conjunction with the temperature chamber.

High-Elevation Fires on the Rise in Sierra Nevada

July 27, 2015 5:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

In August 2013, a forest fire blazed through California’s Sierra Nevada. It burned approximately 257,314 acres, and suppression costs alone numbered around $127 million. According the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s estimates, the Rim Fire released 11,352,608 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is akin to annual greenhouse emissions form 2.3 million cars, or annual carbon dioxide emissions from 3.2 coal fired power plants.

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Funds Bolster Algae Biofuel Development

July 27, 2015 2:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Rotifers are semitransparent microscopic animals. Watching them feed under a microscope, one can’t help but feel a sense of awe at nature’s complexity. Its oval-shaped body rotates as it ingests small beads of algae. However, grazers, such as rotifers and chytrids, can account for a 30% loss in annual algal biomass, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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The R&D Index: Market Pulse – July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015 1:30 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

The R&D Index for the week ending July 24, 2015, closed at 1,660.85 for the 25 companies in the Index. The Index was down 3.22% (or more than 55 points) over the previous week (ending July 17) with pharmaceutical companies down 2.90% for the week, automotive companies down 2.01% and ICT (information and communications technology) companies down 4.66%.

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New experimental, theoretical research could help make more efficient windows

July 27, 2015 1:00 pm | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

By tightly integrating experimental and theoretical techniques, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team has provided fundamentally new insights into the specific factors that determine the absorption characteristics of copper complexes.  The results demonstrate that conventional interpretations based on “ligand field theory” are insufficient for capturing the full characteristics of the absorption profile.

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