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Bedfellows: Humans and Neanderthals

July 30, 2015 3:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Early modern humans and Neanderthals were close bedfellows. Fossil evidence from one of the earliest modern humans in Europe shows the specimen shared between 6 and 9% of its genome with Neanderthals, the highest amount of any human sequenced to date, according to recent findings.

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Sol-gel capacitor dielectric offers record-high energy storage

July 30, 2015 2:00 pm | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Using a hybrid silica sol-gel material and self-assembled monolayers of a common fatty acid, researchers have developed a new capacitor dielectric material that provides an electrical energy storage capacity rivaling certain batteries, with both a high energy density and high power density.

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Boxfish shell inspires new materials for body armor, flexible electronics

July 30, 2015 1:00 pm | by Liezel Labios, Univ. of California, San Diego | News | Comments

The boxfish’s unique armor draws its strength from hexagon-shaped scales and the connections between them, engineers at the Univ. of California, San Diego, have found. They describe their findings and the carapace of the boxfish (Lactoria cornuta) in Acta Materialia. Engineers also describe how the structure of the boxfish could serve as inspiration for body armor, robots and even flexible electronics.

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Mars Orbiter Makes Moves for 2016 Landing

July 30, 2015 12:50 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Launched in August 2005, and arriving at the Red Planet in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting the planet, collecting high-resolution imaging, spectral data and atmospheric and subsurface profiles. In its time, the spacecraft has returned several times more data about Mars than all other deep-space missions combined. NASA is currently conducting 16 deep-space missions.

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Invention will support licensing, transport of spent nuclear fuel

July 30, 2015 12:00 pm | by Dawn Levy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Moving rods of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) to interim storage or a geologic repository requires road or rail travel. Although a heavy shielding cask protects the rods, long distance transportation subjects SNF to vibrations and sudden movements. To understand the effect, both the nuclear industry and its regulator need a reliable method of characterizing how well SNF will withstand the rigors of transportation.

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Blockage-resistant Regulator for Supercritical CO2 Extraction

July 30, 2015 11:50 am | by Equilibar LLC | Equilibar, LLC | Product Releases | Comments

The new BR series of back pressure regulators from Equilibar Precision Pressure Control prevents icing and clogging that commonly occur in supercritical carbon dioxide extraction. Unlike other designs that rely on cumbersome external heating, the BR valve relies on an elegant mechanical design to allow ice and high viscosity oils to slide through the regulator to prevent blockage while also keeping pressure under tight control.

“Failed stars” host powerful auroral displays

July 30, 2015 11:20 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, California Institute of Technology | Videos | Comments

Brown dwarfs are relatively cool, dim objects that are difficult to detect and hard to classify. They are too massive to be planets, yet possess some planet-like characteristics; they are too small to sustain hydrogen fusion reactions at their cores, a defining characteristic of stars, yet they have star-like attributes.

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Fossil Discovery Highlights Alaskan Marine Reptile

July 30, 2015 8:39 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

For Patrick Druckenmiller, the Earth sciences curator at the Univ. of Alaska Museum, the discovery of an ancient marine reptile fossil in the Alaskan mountains illustrates the perfect marriage between nonprofessional and professional paleontologists when it comes to fossil discovery.

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Cutting carbon emissions could have indirect effects on hunger

July 30, 2015 7:57 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

As many of the world’s nations prepare and implement plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, researchers say another critical factor needs to be considered. A new study has found, for the first time, that efforts to keep global temperatures in check will likely lead to more people going hungry. That risk doesn’t negate the need for mitigation but highlights the importance of comprehensive policies.

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Playing “tag” with pollution lets scientists see who’s it

July 30, 2015 7:51 am | by Mary Beckman, PNNL | News | Comments

Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot from different global regions and can track where it lands on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have determined which areas around the plateau contribute the most soot—and where. The model can also suggest the most effective way to reduce soot on the plateau, easing the amount of warming the region undergoes.

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Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode

July 30, 2015 7:43 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

A team of researchers has passed a major milestone in molecular electronics with the creation of the world’s highest-performance single-molecule diode. Working at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, the team used a combination of gold electrodes and an ionic solution to create a single-molecule diode that outperforms the best of its predecessors by a factor of 50.

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Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 30, 2015 7:34 am | by Sam Hostettler, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern Univ. have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell. The engineered ribosome may enable the production of new drugs and next-generation biomaterials and lead to a better understanding of how ribosomes function.

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Trace Metal Fume Hoods

July 29, 2015 4:41 pm | by Hemco Corporation | Hemco Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

HEMCO's UniFlow Trace Metal Fume Hoods are specifically designed for applications where for accurate testing results, it's imperative that the fume hood be constructed of non-metallic materials. The fume hoods are suitable  for water treatment, marine and soil sciences, environmental toxic analysis and toxicology.

Machine Learning’s Impact on Solar Energy

July 29, 2015 1:00 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

In 2013, solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. A USA SunShot Vision Study suggests solar power could provide as much as 14% of U.S. electricity demand by 2030, and 27% by 2050. There are currently two main customers for renewable energy forecasting technologies: utility companies and independent system operators (ISOs).

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All-natural sunscreen derived from algae

July 29, 2015 9:50 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

For consumers searching for just the right sunblock this summer, the options can be overwhelming. But scientists are now turning to the natural sunscreen of algae—which is also found in fish slime—to make a novel kind of shield against the sun’s rays that could protect not only people, but also textiles and outdoor materials.

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