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Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream

October 20, 2014 | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Comments

DNA has garnered attention for its potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, biology and more. Researchers have been working to master the ability to coax DNA molecules to self-assemble into the precise shapes and sizes needed in order to fully realize these nanotechnology dreams.

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High blood-sugar levels may harden heart valves

October 21, 2014 8:05 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. bioengineers have found new evidence of a possible link between diabetes and the hardening of heart valves. A Rice laboratory, in collaboration with the Univ. of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School, discovered that the interstitial cells that turn raw materials into heart valves need just the right amount of nutrients for proper metabolic function.

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Getting the salt out

October 21, 2014 7:54 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

The boom in oil and gas produced through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is seen as a boon for meeting U.S. energy needs. But one byproduct of the process is millions of gallons of water that’s much saltier than seawater, after leaching salts from rocks deep below the surface. Now researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Saudi Arabia say they have found an economical solution for removing the salt from this water.

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World record in data transmission with smart circuits

October 21, 2014 7:39 am | Comments

Fewer cords, smaller antennas and quicker video transmission. This may be the result of a new type of microwave circuit that was designed at Chalmers Univ. of Technology. The research team behind the circuits currently holds an attention-grabbing record: 40 Gbps, about twice as fast as the previous record at 140 GHz. The results will be presented at a conference this week in San Diego.

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Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

October 20, 2014 11:04 am | Comments

Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has cracked one mystery of glass to shed light on the mechanism that triggers its deformation before shattering. The study improves understanding of glassy deformation and may accelerate broader application of metallic glass, a moldable, wear-resistant, magnetically exploitable material that is thrice as strong as the mightiest steel and ten times as springy.

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Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires

October 20, 2014 10:37 am | Comments

The claim by microbiologist Derek Lovley and colleagues at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst that the microbe Geobacter produces tiny electrical wires, called microbial nanowires, has been mired in controversy for a decade, but the researchers say a new collaborative study provides stronger evidence than ever to support their claims. Their finding involves a new imaging technique, electrostatic force microscopy.

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EU seeking to create $1.27 billion Ebola fund

October 20, 2014 10:27 am | by Raf Casert - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

European Union nations are working to reach 1 billion euros ($1.27 billion) in aid by the end of the week to fight Ebola in West Africa and are seeking a common approach to the crisis.EU foreign ministers began a week of talks Monday so their 28 leaders can agree by Friday on better measures to fight Ebola, anything from financial aid to common repatriation procedures, more Ebola treatment facilities and better training for health workers.

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“Mega” cells control the growth of blood-producing cells

October 20, 2014 9:38 am | Comments

While megakaryocytes are best known for producing platelets that heal wounds, these "mega" cells found in bone marrow also play a critical role in regulating stem cells according to new research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. The study is the first to show that hematopoietic stem cells (the parent cells) can be directly controlled by their own progeny (megakaryocytes).

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Goldilocks principle wrong for particle assembly

October 20, 2014 9:32 am | by New York Univ. | Comments

Microscopic particles that bind under low temperatures will melt as temperatures rise to moderate levels, but re-connect under hotter conditions, a team of New York Univ. scientists has found. Their discovery points to new ways to create "smart materials," cutting-edge materials that adapt to their environment by taking new forms, and to sharpen the detail of 3-D printing.

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IBM to pay $1.5 billion to shed its costly chip division

October 20, 2014 8:58 am | by Michelle Chapman, AP Business Writer | Comments

IBM will pay $1.5 billion to Globalfoundries in order to shed its costly chip division.  According to IBM Director of Research John E. Kelly III in an interview Monday, handing over control of the semiconductor operations will allow it to grow faster, while IBM continues to invest in and expand its chip research. Privately held Globalfoundries will get IBM's global commercial semiconductor technology business.

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Protons hog the momentum in neutron-rich nuclei

October 20, 2014 8:36 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Like dancers swirling on the dance floor with bystanders looking on, protons and neutrons that have briefly paired up in the nucleus have higher-average momentum, leaving less for non-paired nucleons. Using data from nuclear physics experiments, researchers have now shown for the first time that this phenomenon exists in nuclei heavier than carbon, including aluminum, iron and lead.

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A 3-D map of the adolescent universe

October 20, 2014 8:18 am | by Kate Greene, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light-years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, 3-D maps of a slice of the adolescent universe. The map shows a web of hydrogen gas that varies from low to high density at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see today.

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Energy storage of the future

October 20, 2014 7:55 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | Comments

Personal electronics such as cell phones and laptops could get a boost from some of the lightest materials in the world. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have turned to graphene aerogel for enhanced electrical energy storage that eventually could be used to smooth out power fluctuations in the energy grid.

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Ebola fear, monitoring eases for some in Dallas

October 20, 2014 1:26 am | by Marilynn Marchione - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

Ebola fears began to ease for some Monday as a monitoring period passed for those who had close contact with a victim of the disease and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port and a laboratory worker on board testing negative for the virus. Federal officials meanwhile ramped up readiness to deal with future cases.

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A new material brings spintronics closer

October 17, 2014 1:45 pm | Comments

Spintronics is a new field of electronics, using electron spin rather than charge. Researchers have discovered that a common insulating material behaves as a perfect spintronic conductor because it is not affected by background electron charge. In addition, the material’s properties make it an ideal platform for directly observing a strange subatomic particle that could one day lead to a different, more stable type of quantum computers.

Geneticists evaluate cost-effective genome analysis

October 17, 2014 1:39 pm | Comments

Scientists perform genome sequences because want to know why individuals differ from each other and how these differences are encoded in the DNA. However, sequencing a complete genome still costs around $1,000, and sequencing hundreds of individuals would be costly. In two recent review papers, scientists discuss why DNA sequencing of entire groups, or pool sequencing, can be an efficient and cost-effective approach.

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