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The Lead

Shifts in states of matter: It’s complicated

November 7, 2014 | by Anne M. Stark, LLNL | Comments

The process of phase changes- those transitions between states of matter- is more complex than previously thought. A team researchers has found that we may need to rethink one of science’s building blocks and illustrate how a proper theoretical description of transitions has remained unclear.

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Gasoline from sawdust

November 26, 2014 8:45 am | by KU Leuven | Comments

Researchers at KU Leuven’s Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, they were able to convert the cellulose in sawdust into hydrocarbon chains. These hydrocarbons can be used as an additive in gasoline, or as a component in plastics.

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Fast, low-cost DNA sequencing technology one step closer to reality

November 26, 2014 8:19 am | by Joe Caspermeyer, Biodesign Institute | Comments

A team of scientists from Arizona State Univ.’s Biodesign Institute and IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center have developed a prototype DNA reader that could make whole genome profiling an everyday practice in medicine. Such technology could help usher in the age of personalized medicine, where information from an individual’s complete DNA and protein profiles could be used to design treatments specific to their individual makeup.

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AUV provides first 3-D images of underside of Antarctic sea ice

November 26, 2014 8:03 am | by Peter West, NSF | Comments

A National Science Foundation-funded research team has successfully tested an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that can produce high-resolution, 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. SeaBED, as the vehicle is known, measured and mapped the underside of sea-ice floes in three areas off the Antarctic Peninsula that were previously inaccessible.

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A hybrid vehicle that delivers DNA

November 26, 2014 7:46 am | by Cory Nealon, Univ. at Buffalo | Comments

A new hybrid vehicle is under development. Its performance isn’t measured by the distance it travels, but rather the delivery of its cargo: vaccines that contain genetically engineered DNA to fight HIV, cancer, influenza and other maladies. The technology is a biomedical advancement that could help unleash the potential of DNA vaccines, which despite much research, have yet to make a significant impact in the treatment of major illnesses.

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Researchers develop heat-conducting plastic

November 25, 2014 8:59 pm | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

The spaghetti-like internal structure of most plastics makes it hard for them to cast away heat, but a Univ. of Michigan research team has made a plastic blend that does so 10 times better than its conventional counterparts. Plastics are inexpensive, lightweight and flexible, but because they restrict the flow of heat, their use is limited in technologies like computers, smartphones, cars or airplanes.

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Space station's 3-D printer pops out first creation

November 25, 2014 8:43 pm | by Marcia Dunn, Associated Press | Comments

The first 3-D printer in space has popped out its first creation. The 3-D printer delivered to the International Space Station two months ago made a sample part for itself this week. It churned out a faceplate for the print head casing.

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Blu-ray disc can be used to improve solar cell performance

November 25, 2014 8:23 pm | by Northwestern Univ. | Comments

Who knew Blu-ray discs were so useful? Already one of the best ways to store high-definition movies and television shows because of their high-density data storage, Blu-ray discs also improve the performance of solar cells, according to new research from Northwestern Univ.

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Want a Nobel Prize? You can buy one

November 25, 2014 5:03 pm | by Associated Press | Comments

The 1962 Nobel Prize James Watson won for his role in the discovery of the structure of DNA is going on the auction block. The auctioneer says the gold medal could bring $2.5 to $3.5 million on Dec. 4. Christie's says it's the first Nobel medal to be offered at auction by a living recipient. Watson made the 1953 discovery with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins.

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How turkeys may be lifesavers

November 25, 2014 4:51 pm | by Todd Hollingshead, Brigham Young Univ. | Comments

While the turkey you eat on Thursday will bring your stomach happiness and could probably kick-start an afternoon nap, it may also save your life one day. That’s because the biological machinery needed to produce a potentially life-saving antibiotic is found in turkeys. Looks like there is one more reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving.

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Material snaps together like Legos

November 25, 2014 4:45 pm | by Brendan M. Lynch, KU News Service | Comments

Physicists at the Univ. of Kansas have fabricated an innovative substance from two different atomic sheets that interlock much like Lego toy bricks. The researchers said the new material, made of a layer of graphene and a layer of tungsten disulfide, could be used in solar cells and flexible electronics.

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Doctor behind "free radical" aging theory dies

November 25, 2014 2:02 pm | by By Josh Funk - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98. Harman, who worked into his mid-90s at the Univ. of Nebraska Medical Center died after a brief illness at a hospital in Omaha.

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Environmental “tipping points” key to predicting extinctions

November 25, 2014 11:35 am | by Tracey Peake, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have created a model that mimics how differently adapted populations may respond to rapid climate change. Their findings demonstrate that depending on a population’s adaptive strategy, even tiny changes in climate variability can create a “tipping point” that sends the population into extinction.

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Breakthrough in flexible electronics enabled by inorganic-based laser lift-off

November 25, 2014 11:20 am | by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) | Comments

Flexible electronics have been touted as the next generation in electronics in various areas, ranging from consumer electronics to bio-integrated medical devices. In spite of their merits, insufficient performance of organic materials arising from inherent material properties and processing limitations in scalability have posed big challenges to developing all-in-one flexible electronics systems.

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Researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals

November 25, 2014 10:42 am | by Kenneth Ma, LLNL | Comments

Nanoporous metals have a wide range of applications because of their superior qualities. They posses a high surface area for better electron transfer, which can lead to the improved performance of an electrode in an electric double capacitor or battery. Nanoporous metals offer an increased number of available sites for the adsorption of analytes, a highly desirable feature for sensors.

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Angiogenesis drug could provide treatment for TB

November 25, 2014 9:27 am | by Karl Bates, Duke Univ. | Comments

The body responds to tuberculosis infection by locking the bacterial offenders into tiny clusters of immune cells called granulomas, which are a hallmark of the disease. This containment strategy succeeds at first, but eventually the bacteria manage to break out of these intercellular jails and spread throughout the body.

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