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Scientists capture ultrafast snapshots of light-driven superconductivity

April 16, 2014 | Comments

Carefully timed pairs of laser pulses at the Linac Coherent Light Source have been used to trigger superconductivity in a promising copper-oxide material and immediately take x-ray snapshots of its atomic and electronic structure as superconductivity emerged. The results of this effort have pinned down a major factor behind the appearance of superconductivity, and it hinges around “stripes” of increase electrical charge.

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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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Fish from acidic ocean waters less able to smell predators

April 16, 2014 8:05 am | by Brett Israel, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Fish living on coral reefs where carbon dioxide seeps from the ocean floor were less able to detect predator odor than fish from normal coral reefs, according to a new study. The study confirms laboratory experiments showing that the behavior of reef fishes can be seriously affected by increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean.

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Excitons observed in action

April 16, 2014 7:52 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

A quasiparticle called an exciton has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within materials has never been directly observed. Now scientists have achieved that feat, imaging excitons’ motions directly. This could enable research leading to significant advances in electronics, they say, as well as a better understanding of natural energy-transfer processes, such as photosynthesis.

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Potent, puzzling and (now less) toxic: Team discovers how antifungal drug works

April 15, 2014 5:18 pm | by Diana Yates, Univ. of Illinois | Comments

Scientists have solved a decades-old medical mystery, and in the process have found a potentially less toxic way to fight invasive fungal infections, which kill about 1.5 million people a year. The researchers say they now understand the mechanism of action of amphotericin, an antifungal drug that has been in use for more than 50 years even though it is nearly as toxic to human cells as it is to the microbes it attacks.

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Computational record: Earthquake simulation tops one quadrillion flops

April 15, 2014 4:28 pm | Comments

A team of computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists in Germany have optimized the SeisSol earthquake simulation software at Leibniz Supercomputing Center to push its performance beyond the one petaflop/sec mark, which equates to one quadrillion floating point operations per second. SeisSol is used to investigate rupture processes and seismic waves.

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Sensitive detection method may help impede illicit nuclear trafficking

April 15, 2014 12:34 pm | Comments

According to a new study, coupling commercially available spectral x-ray detectors with a specialized algorithm can improve the detection of uranium and plutonium in small, layered objects such as baggage. This approach enhances the detection powers of x-ray imaging and may provide a new tool to impede nuclear trafficking.

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Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace

April 15, 2014 12:26 pm | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer | Comments

Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones, has been purchased by Google, which says it could help bring Internet access to remote parts of the world. Titan's atmospheric satellites, which are still in development and not yet commercially available, can stay in the air for as long as five years. Titan's website has cited a wide range of uses for the drones.

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Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor

April 15, 2014 11:38 am | Comments

Researchers in Finland have succeeded in creating a surface on nano-sized cellulose crystals that imitates a biological structure. The surface adsorbs viruses and disables them, preventing their spread into cells. The results could prove useful in the development of antiviral ointments and surfaces.

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Moth study suggests hidden climate change impacts

April 15, 2014 11:23 am | by Jim Erickson, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

A 32-year study of subarctic forest moths in Finnish Lapland suggests that scientists may be underestimating the impacts of climate change on animals and plants because much of the harm is hidden from view. The study analyzed populations of 80 moth species and found that 90% of them were either stable or increasing throughout the study period, from 1978 to 2009.

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An Arctic ozone hole? Not quite

April 15, 2014 11:06 am | by Audrey Resutek, MIT | Comments

Since the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, scientists, policymakers and the public have wondered whether we might someday see a similarly extreme depletion of ozone over the Arctic. But a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study finds some cause for optimism: Ozone levels in the Arctic haven’t yet sunk to the extreme lows seen in Antarctica, because international efforts to limit ozone-depleting chemicals have been successful.

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Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage

April 15, 2014 9:43 am | Comments

Researchers in California have created, for the first time, compounds made from mixtures of calcium hexaboride, strontium and barium hexaboride. They also demonstrated that these ceramic materials could be manufactured using a simple, low-cost manufacturing method known as combustion synthesis.

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