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Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from intersteller space

August 15, 2014 | by Robert Sanders, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

Since 2006, when NASA’s Stardust spacecraft delivered its aerogel and aluminum foil dust collectors back to Earth, a team of scientists has combed through them. They now report finding seven dust motes that probably came from outside our solar system, perhaps created in a supernova explosion and altered by eons of exposure to the extremes of space. They would be the first confirmed samples of contemporary interstellar dust.

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Coffee may fight gum disease

August 22, 2014 10:38 am | by Boston Univ. | Comments

Coffee contains antioxidants. Antioxidants fight gum disease. Researchers in dental medicine have found that coffee consumption does not have an adverse effect on periodontal health, and may have protective effects against periodontal disease.

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Vault nanoparticles show promise for cancer treatment, potential HIV cure

August 22, 2014 9:47 am | by Shaun Mason, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

A multidisciplinary team of scientists from the Univ. of California, Los Angeles and Stanford Univ. has used a naturally occurring nanoparticle called a vault to create a novel drug delivery system that could lead to advances in the treatment of cancer and HIV. Their findings could lead to cancer treatments that are more effective with smaller doses and to therapies that could potentially eradicate the HIV virus.

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Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in Atlantic Ocean

August 22, 2014 9:34 am | by Hannah Hickey, Univ. of Washington | Comments

Following rapid warming in the late 20th century, this century has so far seen surprisingly little increase in the average temperature at the Earth’s surface. At first this was a blip, then a trend, then a puzzle for the climate science community. More than a dozen theories have now been proposed for the so-called global warming hiatus, ranging from air pollution to volcanoes to sunspots.

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Sunlight controls the fate of carbon released from thawing Arctic permafrost

August 22, 2014 9:20 am | by Bernie DeGroat, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Just how much Arctic permafrost will thaw in the future and how fast heat-trapping carbon dioxide will be released from those warming soils is a topic of lively debate among climate scientists. To answer those questions, scientists need to understand the mechanisms that control the conversion of organic soil carbon into carbon dioxide gas. Until now, researchers believed that bacteria were largely responsible.

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Team finds first evidence of spin symmetry in atoms

August 22, 2014 9:07 am | by Laura Ost, NIST | Comments

Just as diamonds with perfect symmetry may be unusually brilliant jewels, the quantum world has a symmetrical splendor of high scientific value. Confirming this exotic quantum physics theory, JILA physicists have observed the first direct evidence of symmetry in the magnetic properties—or nuclear “spins”—of atoms.

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Sunblock poses potential hazard to sea life

August 22, 2014 8:24 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

The sweet and salty aroma of sunscreen and seawater signals a relaxing trip to the shore. But scientists are now reporting that the idyllic beach vacation comes with an environmental hitch. When certain sunblock ingredients wash off skin and into the sea, they can become toxic to some of the ocean’s tiniest inhabitants, which are the main course for many other marine animals.

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Electric sparks may alter evolution of lunar soil

August 22, 2014 8:18 am | by David Sims, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, Univ. of New Hampshire | Comments

The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by Univ. of New Hampshire and NASA scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon’s coldest craters through the process of sparking—a finding that could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.

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Laser device may end pin pricks for diabetics

August 22, 2014 8:07 am | by John Sullivan, Office of Engineering Communications, Princeton Univ. | Comments

Princeton Univ. researchers have developed a way to use a laser to measure people's blood sugar, and, with more work to shrink the laser system to a portable size, the technique could allow diabetics to check their condition without pricking themselves to draw blood.

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Clues uncovered to role of magnetism in iron-based superconductors

August 22, 2014 7:57 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

New measurements of atomic-scale magnetic behavior in iron-based superconductors by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt Univ. are challenging conventional wisdom about superconductivity and magnetism. The study provides experimental evidence that local magnetic fluctuations can influence the performance of iron-based superconductors, which transmit electric current without resistance at relatively high temperatures.

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Researchers map quantum vortices inside superfluid helium nanodroplets

August 22, 2014 7:41 am | by Kate Greene, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Scientists have, for the first time, characterized so-called quantum vortices that swirl within tiny droplets of liquid helium. The research, led by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Univ. of Southern California and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, confirms that helium nanodroplets are in fact the smallest possible superfluidic objects and opens new avenues for studying quantum rotation.

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American Ebola doctor urges help fighting outbreak

August 22, 2014 4:25 am | by Kathleen Foody - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

As one of few Ebola survivors with medical expertise, Dr. Kent Brantly seems keenly aware of the position his painful experience has put him in. He hasn't spoken yet about his plans, but spent much of his first public appearance pleading for help for countries still struggling with the virus.

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Study: Combining vaccines boosts polio immunity

August 21, 2014 3:25 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

New research suggests a one-two punch could help battle polio in some of the world's most remote and strife-torn regions: Giving a single vaccine shot to children who've already swallowed drops of an oral polio vaccine greatly boosted their immunity. The World Health Organization officials said the combination strategy already is starting to be used in mass vaccination campaigns in some hard-hit areas.

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Researchers use 3-D printers to create custom medical implants

August 21, 2014 10:18 am | by Dave Guerin, Louisiana Tech Univ. | Comments

A team of researchers at Louisiana Tech Univ. has developed an innovative method for using affordable, consumer-grade 3-D printers and materials to fabricate custom medical implants that can contain antibacterial and chemotherapeutic compounds for targeted drug delivery.

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Yale’s cool molecules are a hot item

August 21, 2014 10:03 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | Comments

It’s official. Yale Univ. physicists have chilled the world’s coolest molecules. The tiny titans in question are bits of strontium monofluoride, dropped to 2.5 thousandths of a degree above absolute zero through a laser cooling and isolating process called magneto-optical trapping. They are the coldest molecules ever achieved through direct cooling, and they represent a physics milestone.

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Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

August 21, 2014 9:46 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients who desperately need them. In Langmuir, scientists are reporting new understanding about the dynamics of 3-D bioprinting that takes them a step closer to realizing their goal of making working tissues and organs on-demand.

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