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Making new materials an atomic layer at a time

April 17, 2014 | Comments

Researchers in Pennsylvania and Texas have shown the ability to grow high quality, single-layer materials one on top of the other using chemical vapor deposition. This highly scalable technique, often used in the semiconductor industry, can produce materials with unique properties that could be applied to solar cells, ultracapacitors for energy storage, or advanced transistors for energy efficient electronics, among many other applications.

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A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

April 17, 2014 3:11 pm | Comments

The solar lamp developed by a start-up in Switzerland is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people in the world. Designed to be made by anyone, these solar-powered light-emitting diode lamps require nothing more than locally-found equipment. Only the solar panels are ordered from abroad.

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Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

April 17, 2014 3:02 pm | by Beth Newcomb, USC | Comments

A new study has discovered that stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue. The presence of hydrogen sulfide produced by the cells governs the flow of calcium ions, which activates a chain of cellular signals that results in osteogenesis, or the creation of new bone tissue, and keeps the breakdown of old bone tissue at a proper level.

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Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

April 17, 2014 2:56 pm | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | Comments

Detected by NASA's orbiting Kepler telescope, a newly found planet is the most Earth-like planet yet detected. Astronomers say the distant, rocky world is similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life. The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

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The trials of the Cherokee were reflected in their skulls

April 17, 2014 12:00 pm | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these cells individually take on their own unique forms, a team sought to pinpoint the shape-controlling factors in pavement cells, which are puzzle-piece-shaped epithelial cells found on the leaves of flowering plants.

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For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

April 17, 2014 11:54 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these cells individually take on their own unique forms, a Caltech team sought to pinpoint the shape-controlling factors in pavement cells, which are puzzle-piece-shaped epithelial cells found on the leaves of flowering plants.

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Neuromorphic computing “roadmap” envisions analog path to simulating human brain

April 17, 2014 11:46 am | by Rick Robinson, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

In the field of neuromorphic engineering, researchers study computing techniques that could someday mimic human cognition. Electrical engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently published a "roadmap" that details innovative analog-based techniques that could make it possible to build a practical neuromorphic computer.

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Researchers develop new antiviral drug to combat measles outbreaks

April 17, 2014 7:57 am | Comments

A novel antiviral drug may protect people infected with the measles from getting sick and prevent them from spreading the virus to others, an international team of researchers says. The team of researchers developed the drug and tested it in animals infected with a virus closely related to one that causes the measles. As reported, virus levels were significantly reduced when infected animals received the drug by mouth.

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Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

April 17, 2014 7:50 am | by Eric Gershon, Yale Univ. | Comments

Scientists at Yale Univ. have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. High-quality quantum switches are essential for the development of quantum computers and the quantum Internet.

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Bionic ankle “emulates nature”

April 17, 2014 7:41 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

These days, Hugh Herr, an assoc. prof. of media arts and sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs. Messages pour in from amputees seeking prostheses and from media outlets pursuing interviews. Then there are students looking to join Herr’s research group.

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Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

April 16, 2014 5:23 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting. Over the last two decades, the rates of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics fell by more than 60%, a new federal study shows. The research also confirms earlier reports of drastic declines in diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.

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Combining IT and science to monitor the weather

April 16, 2014 2:01 pm | by Julie Eble, Penn State Univ. | Comments

At Penn State, the meteorology department’s eWall, or electronic wall, is a major resource for meteorologists around the world for viewing computer-simulated models of the weather Developed by Fred Gadomski, well known "Weather World" host and senior lecturer in meteorology, is a way for students, forecasters and weather enthusiasts to have a one-stop online location for current weather information.

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SpaceX will try again Friday to launch station cargo

April 16, 2014 12:22 pm | by Marcia Dunn - AP Aerospace Writer - Associated Press | Comments

SpaceX is shooting for another launch attempt Friday to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. NASA confirmed the launch date Wednesday, two days after a last-minute rocket leak delayed the mission. Stormy weather, however, is forecast for Friday. Saturday is the backup launch date.

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New barcode could make counterfeiters’ lives more difficult

April 16, 2014 11:16 am | Comments

Counterfeiters, beware! Scientists are reporting the development of a new type of inexpensive barcode that, when added to documents or currency, could foil attempts at making forgeries. Although the tags are easy for researchers to make, they still require ingredients you can’t exactly find at the local hardware store.

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New technique will accelerate genetic characterization of photosynthesis

April 16, 2014 9:12 am | Comments

A type of single-cell green algae called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a leading subject for photosynthesis research, but few tools are available for characterizing the functions of its genes. A team including Carnegie Institution's Martin Jonikas has developed a highly sophisticated tool that will transform the work of plant geneticists by making large-scale genetic characterization of Chlamydomonas mutants possible for the first time.

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Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries

April 16, 2014 8:15 am | by Frances White, PNNL | Comments

Electric vehicles could travel farther and more renewable energy could be stored with lithium-sulfur batteries that use a unique powdery nanomaterial. Researchers added the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges.

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