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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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Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries

April 15, 2014 3:29 pm | Comments

The chemistry of lithium-ion batteries limits how much energy they can store, and one promising solution is the lithium-sulfur battery, which can hold as much as four times more energy per mass. However, problematic polysulfides usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, however, have developed a new powdery nanomaterial that could solve the issue.

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Astronomers: ‘Tilt-a-worlds’ could harbor life

April 15, 2014 3:17 pm | by Peter Kelley, Univ. of Washington | Comments

A fluctuating tilt in a planet’s orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by a team of astronomers. In fact, sometimes it helps because such “tilt-a-worlds,” as astronomers sometimes call them, are less likely than fixed-spin planets to freeze over, as heat from their host star is more evenly distributed.

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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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Jefferson Lab accelerator achieves 12 GeV commissioning milestone

April 15, 2014 9:31 am | Comments

Following an upgrade of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, the accelerator delivered the highest-energy electron beams it has ever produced into a target, recording the first data of the 12 GeV era. The machine sent electrons around the racetrack three times, resulting in 6.11 GeV electrons at 2 nanoAmps average current for more than an hour.

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Nano shake-up: Nanocarriers fluctuate in size and shape

April 15, 2014 9:26 am | by Diane Kukich, Univ. of Delaware | Comments

Nanotechnology has unlocked new pathways for targeted drug delivery, including the use of nanocarriers that can transport cargoes of small-molecule therapeutics to specific locations in the body. Researchers have recently demonstrated that processing can have significant influence on the size of nanocarriers for targeted drug delivery. It was previously assumed that once a nanocarrier is created, it maintains its size and shape anywhere.

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Entering the R&D 100? These 10 tips will help you finish with style

April 15, 2014 9:18 am | Comments

The R&D 100 Awards is our most prestigious Awards event of the year, and after 52 years of doing this, R&D’s editors believe it’s one of the best ways to gauge the competitiveness of new, technologically-advanced products. But completing our entry process doesn’t have to be difficult. First-time competitors and veteran product development both can benefit from a few helpful tips the editors have put together.

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