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A Carbon-Neutral Fuel Alternative

October 1, 2015 | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

As early as the 1950s, researchers were looking at algae for methane gas production. The algae was grown on rooftops of Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT). Drawings and illustrations of open pond raceways on the roof of Harvard Univ. were also recovered from the 1950s. The reason for this research was algae naturally make oil, and this intrigued researchers as a feedstock for biodiesel.

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Tackling Discrepancies in Forest Definitions

October 6, 2015 10:30 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Depending on where you live, a glance out the window may yield a perimeter of trees. The leaves and branches thicken to the untouched wilds beyond. But what constitutes a forest? Published in Nature Climate Change, a study from NASA and other institutions aimed to tackle discrepancies between “forest” definitions from different organizations.


A Good Vent: A Brief Look at Energy-Efficient Lab Ventilation Strategies

October 6, 2015 8:27 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

In today’s lab world, most people are aware of the amount of air they use in their labs. Along with this well-known fact, lab owners and users both know the use of air in a lab environment is the single biggest issue with energy consumption, and that labs are energy hogs. With these realizations, lab owners and users must find one or more strategies to fix this issue, and do so fast.


Boulder Placement Explained by 800-Ft Tsunami

October 5, 2015 8:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In 1958, rock fall resulting from a 7.7 earthquake brought forth something fantastical from the depths of Alaska’s Lituya Bay. A megatsunami measuring over 1,720 ft wreaked havoc on the surrounding area, killing five people. According to the Western States Seismic Policy Council, scientists later discovered a massive rock broke from an inlet wall and fell 2,000 ft into the bay. It was the largest tsunami ever recorded.


Making Crops Naturally Insect-Resistant

October 5, 2015 4:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

When herbivorous insects indulge in a smorgasbord of leafy greens, some wild plants boast a variety of mechanisms to prevent their destruction at the roving pincers of their attackers.


Gene-editing Technique Stops AIDS Virus in its Tracks

October 5, 2015 3:30 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

With millions of people infected with the HIV virus world-wide, a cure has yet to be found. The reason why vaccines and drugs are so hard to develop for this virus relates to both mutation and latency of the virus. When humans make copies of our DNA during reproduction, it’s reproduced with very high fidelity, where there’s one mistake made for every billion events.


Meeting Clean Energy Demands

October 5, 2015 1:30 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Demand for clean energy is primarily driven by concerns over emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and their associated environmental effects. However, the emissions aren’t solely created from traditional power generation plants. In fact, 31% of global GHG emissions are represented by the by-product gases created by industrial facilities, such as refineries, chemical plants, food processing plants and oil and gas drilling sites.


Applying Color to Virtual Characters

October 5, 2015 12:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A child’s imagination can help a cartoon character burst forth from the confines of a 2-D page. But with tablets, computers and television becoming more ubiquitous and prevalent in society, activities, such as coloring, may seem archaic. However, Disney Research is looking to change that with the help of augmented reality.  


Big Data: The Future of Energy and Utilities

October 5, 2015 10:50 am | by Stephen Callahan, VP of Global Strategy and Solutions for the Energy & Utilities Industry, IBM | Comments

Today’s energy and utility companies face an unfamiliar landscape in which they must integrate alternative energies, expand situational awareness across the system and deepen their relationships with customers, while continuing to do what they have always done—delivering reliable, safe and affordable energy to everyone.


The Volcanic Past of Pluto’s Charon

October 5, 2015 9:44 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A rugged surface with mountains, canyons, craters, landslides and color variation. New images from Pluto’s moon Charon are inducing a hullabaloo among NASA scientists.


The R&D Index Market Pulse, October 5, 2015: Indicators Point to Continued Recovery

October 5, 2015 9:18 am | by Tim Studt | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Pulse for the week ending October 2, 2015, closed at 1485.85 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The R&D Index was up 1.07% (or more than 15 basis points) over the previous week (ending September 25, 2015). All three R&D Index sectors (pharmaceutical, automotive and ICT) were also up modestly for the week.


The Secrets of Machu Picchu’s Skeletons

October 2, 2015 5:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Located 2,430 m above sea level, where the Peruvian Andes meet the Amazon Basin, Machu Picchu is located on a picturesque ridge, and holds mysteries of an ancient past. Approximately 200 stone terraces populate the green mountaintop. Built in the 15th century by the Incas, and abandoned when the empire was toppled by Spaniards, the structure remained hidden from the world until explorer Hiram Bingham’s 1911 expedition.


Mini Satellites for Laser Communication

October 2, 2015 3:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Miniature satellites, weighing a miniscule 5 lbs, are being prepped by NASA to test the efficacy of space-to-Earth laser communication. Launching Oct. 8 aboard the Atlas rocket in California, the first satellite from NASA’s Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) mission will attempt to precisely position itself while transferring data via laser to the ground.


Fingerprints: Keys to Ancestry?

October 2, 2015 12:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The whorls and ridges unique to your fingerprint may reveal more than just identity. Research from North Carolina State Univ. indicates these unique stamps may give clues to your ancestral background.


How to Prevent BSC Contamination and Protect Valuable Cell Cultures

October 2, 2015 11:31 am | by Marc Dunn, Global Technical Applications Specialist – Clean Air, Thermo Fisher Scientific | Thermo Fisher Scientific | Comments

When working with valuable cell cultures, contaminating microorganisms, especially mycoplasma species, can be detrimental to the accuracy of resulting data, while introducing a potential hazard to laboratory personnel. Fortunately, the biological safety cabinet (BSC) provides a ventilated sterile work environment in which to safely handle biological samples, protecting both the cultures and users from hazardous particles.


Snake’s Genome Has Design for Limbs

October 2, 2015 10:18 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Earlier this year, researchers David M. Martill, Helmut Tischlinger and Nicholas R. Longrich published a paper on a four-legged snake fossil dating from the early Cretaceous period. Found in Brazil’s Crato Formation, Tetrapodophis’ skeleton displayed the sinuous body found in modern day snakes, but small hinged limbs jutted from its sides.



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