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U.N. warns world could have 40% water shortfall by 2030

March 20, 2015 8:15 am | by Katy Daigle, AP Environment Writer, Associated Press | Comments

The world could suffer a 40% shortfall in water in just 15 years unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource, a U.N. report warned Friday. Many underground water reserves are already running low, while rainfall patterns are predicted to become more erratic with climate change.

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Massive amounts of fresh water, glacial melt pouring into Gulf of Alaska

March 20, 2015 8:00 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Incessant mountain rain, snow and melting glaciers in a comparatively small region of land that hugs the southern Alaska coast and empties fresh water into the Gulf of Alaska would create the sixth largest coastal river in the world if it emerged as a single stream, a recent study shows.

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Theoretical study suggests huge lava tubes could exist on moon

March 20, 2015 7:37 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Lava tubes large enough to house cities could be structurally stable on the moon, according to a theoretical study. The volcanic features are an important target for future human space exploration because they could provide shelter from cosmic radiation, meteorite impacts and temperature extremes.

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New transitory form of silica observed

March 20, 2015 7:28 am | by Carnegie Institute | Comments

A Carnegie Institute-led team was able to discover five new forms of silica under extreme pressures at room temperature. Silica is one of the most-abundant natural compounds and a major component of the Earth's crust and mantle. It is well-known even to non-scientists in its quartz crystalline form, which is a major component of sand in many places. It is used in the manufacture of microchips, cement, glass and even some toothpaste.

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U.S. climate change envoy: China, U.S. working closer on deal

March 20, 2015 6:04 am | by Jack Chang, Associated Press | Comments

A U.S. envoy for climate change said Friday that China and the U.S. are working more closely than ever ahead of a conference this year in Paris that raises hopes for a global plan to cut greenhouse emissions. Special Envoy Todd Stern told reporters in Beijing that he still expects hard negotiations between many countries in advance of the U.N. summit.

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Plasmonic ceramic materials key to advances in nanophotonics

March 19, 2015 3:52 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Progress in developing nanophotonic devices capable of withstanding high temperatures and harsh conditions for applications including data storage, sensing, health care and energy will depend on the research community and industry adopting new "plasmonic ceramic" materials, according to a commentary in Science.

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Milky Way’s center unveils supernova “dust factory”

March 19, 2015 3:09 pm | by Blaine Friedlander, Cornell Univ. | Comments

Sifting through the center of the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have made the first direct observations, using an infrared telescope aboard a modified Boeing 747, of cosmic building-block dust resulting from an ancient supernova.

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Sense of smell may reveal weight bias

March 19, 2015 2:46 pm | by Rebecca Kendall, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

Could our reaction to an image of an overweight or obese person affect how we perceive odor? A trio of researchers, including two from the Univ. of California, Los Angeles, says yes. The researchers discovered that visual cues associated with overweight or obese people can influence one’s sense of smell, and that the perceiver’s body mass index matters, too.

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Sharper nanoscopy

March 19, 2015 2:16 pm | by Phillip Schewe, Joint Quantum Institute | Comments

The 2014 chemistry Nobel Prize recognized important microscopy research that enabled greatly improved spatial resolution. This innovation, resulting in nanometer resolution, was made possible by making the emitter of the illumination quite small and by moving it quite close to the object being imaged. One problem with this approach is in such proximity, the emitter and object can interact with each other, blurring the resulting image.

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Ocean pipes “not cool”, would end up warming climate

March 19, 2015 1:52 pm | by Carnegie Institute | Comments

To combat global climate change caused by greenhouse gases, alternative energy sources and other types of environmental recourse actions are needed. There are a variety of proposals that involve using vertical ocean pipes to move seawater to the surface from the depths in order to reap different potential climate benefits.

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Spot treatment

March 19, 2015 1:41 pm | by Sonia Fernandez, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | Comments

Acne, a scourge of adolescence, may be about to meet its ultra-high-tech match. By using a combination of ultrasound, gold-covered particles and lasers, researchers from Univ. of California, Santa Barbara and Sebacia have developed a targeted therapy that could potentially lessen the frequency and intensity of breakouts, relieving acne sufferers the discomfort and stress of dealing with severe and recurring pimples.

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New way to control light

March 19, 2015 1:30 pm | by Univ. of Central Florida | Comments

A device resembling a plastic honeycomb, yet infinitely smaller than a bee’s stinger, can steer light beams around tighter curves than ever before possible, while keeping the integrity and intensity of the beam intact. The work introduces a more effective way to transmit data rapidly on electronic circuit boards by using light.

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Study holds great promise for advancing sustainable energy

March 19, 2015 12:56 pm | by Rutgers Univ. | Comments

New research published by Rutgers Univ. chemists has documented significant progress confronting one of the main challenges inhibiting widespread utilization of sustainable power: Creating a cost-effective process to store energy so it can be used later.

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Researchers use shearing method to create nanofiber “gusher”

March 19, 2015 9:59 am | by Mick Kulikowski, North Carolina State Univ. News Services | Comments

Creating large amounts of polymer nanofibers dispersed in liquid is a challenge that has vexed researchers for years. But engineers and researchers at North Carolina State Univ. and one of its startup companies have now reported a method that can produce unprecedented amounts of polymer nanofibers, which have potential applications in filtration, batteries and cell scaffolding.

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Molecule pinpointed that controls stem cell plasticity

March 19, 2015 9:15 am | by Zach Veilleux, Rockefeller Univ. | Comments

Stem cells can have a strong sense of identity. Taken out of their home in the hair follicle, and grown in culture, these cells remain true to themselves. After waiting in limbo, these cultured cells become capable of regenerating follicles and other skin structures once transplanted back into skin. It’s not clear just how these stem cells retain their ability to produce new tissue and heal wounds, even under extraordinary conditions.

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