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Tailored flexible illusion coatings hide objects from detection

October 13, 2014 10:53 am | Comments

Developing the cloak of invisibility would be wonderful, but sometimes simply making an object appear to be something else will do the trick, according to Penn State Univ. engineers. To do this, they employ what they call "illusion coatings," which are made of a thin flexible substrate with copper patterns designed to create the desired result. The metamaterial coatings can function normally while appearing as something else.

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All that glitters is...slimy? Gold nanoparticles measure snot stickiness

October 13, 2014 10:40 am | Comments

Some people might consider mucus an icky bodily secretion best left wrapped in a tissue, but to a group of researchers in North Carolina, snot is an endlessly fascinating subject. The team has developed a way to use gold nanoparticles and light to measure the stickiness of the slimy substance that lines our airways. The new method could help doctors better monitor and treat lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

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Scientists create mimic of “good” cholesterol to fight heart disease, stroke

October 13, 2014 10:28 am | Comments

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have created a synthetic molecule that mimics “good” cholesterol and have shown it can reduce plaque buildup in the arteries of animal models. The molecule, taken orally, improved cholesterol in just two weeks.

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Ultra-fast charging batteries last 20 years, charge to 70% in 2 min

October 13, 2014 9:02 am | Comments

Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a new type of lithium-ion battery in which the traditional graphite used for the anode has been replaced with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide. The new design allows the battery to endure more than 10,000 cycles, vs. about 500 recharge cycles for typical rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

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What to do about the dwindling stock of antibiotics

October 13, 2014 8:57 am | by Diana Lutz, Washington Univ. in St. Louis | Comments

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that at least 2 million Americans are sickened by antibiotic resistant infections each year and survive. Twenty-three thousand die. These experiences leave deep impressions not just on the patients but on their family and friends.

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Millions of voiceprints quietly being harvested

October 13, 2014 8:44 am | by Raphael Satter, Associated Press | Comments

Over the telephone, in jail and online, a new digital bounty is being harvested: the human voice. Businesses and governments around the world increasingly are turning to voice biometrics, or voiceprints, to pay pensions, collect taxes, track criminals and replace passwords. Those companies have helped enter more than 65 million voiceprints into corporate and government databases.

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Researchers use real-world data to model the effect of more solar on the grid

October 13, 2014 8:41 am | by Louise Lerner, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

American electrical utilities do a pretty fantastic job of getting us electricity when we need it. In 2006, the power was out on average for just 0.03% of the year in the U.S. But right now, this system depends on getting most of its power from coal, nuclear and gas plants: big, dependable power plants that can be turned on and off when needed.

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Bio-inspired “nano-cocoons” offer targeted drug delivery against cancer

October 13, 2014 8:39 am | by Matt Shipman, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale “cocoons” made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon before unleashing anticancer drugs. The new system is DNA-based, which means it is biocompatible and less toxic to patients than systems that use synthetic materials.

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Solid nanoparticles can deform like a liquid

October 13, 2014 8:24 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

A surprising phenomenon has been found in metal nanoparticles: They appear, from the outside, to be liquid droplets, wobbling and readily changing shape, while their interiors retain a perfectly stable crystal configuration. The research team behind the finding says the work could have important implications for the design of components in nanotechnology, such as metal contacts for molecular electronic circuits.

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Can all U.S. hospitals safely treat Ebola?

October 13, 2014 4:38 am | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

A breach of infection control resulting in a Dallas health worker getting Ebola raises fresh questions about whether hospitals truly can safely take care of people with the deadly virus, as health officials insist is possible. Even in the U.S., with the best conditions and protective gear available, mistakes can happen that expose more people to Ebola, the new case reveals.

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Plasmonic paper detects trace amounts of chemicals and molecules

October 10, 2014 12:25 pm | Comments

Using a common laboratory filter paper decorated with gold nanoparticles, researchers at Washington Univ. in St. Louis have created a unique platform, known as “plasmonic paper,” for detecting and characterizing even trace amounts of chemicals and biologically important molecules, including explosives, chemical warfare agents, environmental pollutants and disease markers.

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The new family portrait? 3-D-printed statue selfies

October 10, 2014 11:52 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | Comments

The advent of digital cameras and smartphones killed the traditional mall portrait studio, but 3-D printing has sparked a new trend. Overloaded with digital photos, statues may be moving in to fulfill our desire for portraits that stand out. New York's Museum of Art and Design offered scans and statues earlier this year. Shapeways, the company that supplied the exhibit, scanned about 6,000 people and sold about 1,500 statues for $30.

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Autism as a disorder of prediction

October 10, 2014 11:13 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Autism is characterized by many different symptoms: difficulty interacting with others, repetitive behaviors and hypersensitivity to sound and other stimuli. Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists have put forth a new hypothesis that accounts for these behaviors and may provide a neurological foundation for many of the disparate features of the disorder.

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Leaky, star-forming galaxies help researchers better understand the universe

October 10, 2014 10:57 am | by Tracey Reeves, Johns Hopkins Univ. | Comments

By focusing on large, star-forming galaxies in the universe, researchers at Johns Hopkins Univ. were able to measure its radiation leaks in an effort to better understand how the universe evolved as the first stars were formed. The team reports in a paper published online in Science that an indicator used for studying star-forming galaxies that leak radiation, is an effective measurement tool for other scientists to use.

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Satellite sees hot spot of methane in U.S. Southwest

October 10, 2014 9:14 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | Comments

A surprising hot spot of the potent global-warming gas methane hovers over part of the southwestern U.S., according to satellite data. That result hints that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies considerably underestimate leaks of methane, also called natural gas. While methane isn't the most plentiful heat-trapping gas, scientists worry about its increasing amounts and have had difficulties tracking emissions.

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