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Biden's Cancer Moonshot to Cost $1B Over Two Years

February 4, 2016 12:14 pm | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor | Comments

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be the primary recipient of the funding to foster more medical research.

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Butterfly-Like Insect Fluttered Around During Mesozoic Era

February 4, 2016 12:08 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Superficially, Kalligrammatid lacewings (Oregramma illecebrosa) resembled the modern-day butterfly. As they flitted about the Eurasian environment, they sucked up sugary pollen droplets with their proboscises. But these insects are separated from modern butterflies by some 50 million years.

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This is a pastel painting of a new species, Xenoturbella profunda, found by researchers in a hydrothermal vent in the Gulf of California. Courtesy of John Meszaros

Four New Deep-Sea Worm Species Described

February 4, 2016 9:47 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Found idling near deep-sea hypothermal vents and whale carcasses, the creatures look more like elongated and deflated hot water balloons than worms. For decades, scientists sought to understand the genus Xenoturbella. A single species found off the coast of Sweden in 1950 started the scientific journey. With one body opening — a mouth — and no brain, gills, eyes, kidneys, or anus, the creatures appear primordial.

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Hypothetical children born via MRT would have three parents, with their nuclear DNA stemming from one male and one female, and the mitochondrial DNA from another woman.

Panel Recommends FDA Should Approve Three-Person Embryos

February 4, 2016 8:56 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has recommended the FDA consider clinically investigating viability of mitochondrial replacement techniques, which attempt to transfer DNA from healthy human eggs to diseased embryos. In other words, hypothetical children born via this therapy would have three parents, with their nuclear DNA stemming from one male and one female, and the mitochondrial DNA from another woman.

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Studies by two independent groups from the U.S. and the Netherlands indicate that the observed excess of gamma rays from the inner galaxy likely comes from a new source rather than from dark matter. The best candidates are rapidly rotating neutron stars,

Galactic center's gamma rays unlikely to originate from dark matter

February 3, 2016 4:36 pm | by Princeton University | Comments

Bursts of gamma rays from the center of our galaxy are not likely to be signals of dark matter, but rather other astrophysical phenomena, such as fast-rotating stars called millisecond pulsars, according to two new studies, one from a team based at Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another based in the Netherlands.

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Jack Chakhalian (left) and Srimanta Middey are part of a team that created an artificial material with a structure comparable to graphene.

Physicists create artificial graphene

February 3, 2016 4:23 pm | by University of Arkansas | Comments

An international group of physicists led by the University of Arkansas has created an artificial material with a structure comparable to graphene. “We’ve basically created the first artificial graphene-like structure with transition metal atoms in place of carbon atoms,” said Jak Chakhalian. “This discovery gives us the ability to create graphene-like structures for many other elements,” said Srimanta Middey.

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Illustrations of two compounds made from phosphorus atoms (orange) and hydrogen atoms (white). Such compounds are potential superconductors, and may form when phosphine is squeezed under extremely high pressures, according to University at Buffalo chemist

Phosphine as a superconductor? Sure, but the story may be complicated

February 3, 2016 4:17 pm | by Charlotte Hsu, University at Buffalo | Comments

Phosphine is one of the newest materials to be named a superconductor, a material through which electricity can flow with zero resistance. In 2015, scientists reported that they had liquefied the chemical and squeezed it under high pressure in a diamond vise to achieve superconductivity. Now, a different group of researchers is providing insight into what may have happened to the phosphine as it underwent this intense compression.

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Common antacid tablets, chopped down into nanoparticle size, stopped growth in a cancer tumor.

Novel nanoparticle may help keep tumor growth at bay

February 3, 2016 4:11 pm | by Beth Miller, Washington University | Comments

Engineers found a way to keep a cancerous tumor from growing by using nanoparticles of the main ingredient in common antacid tablets. They used two novel methods to create nanoparticles from calcium carbonate that were injected intravenously into a mouse model to treat solid tumors. The compound changed the pH of the tumor environment, from acidic to more alkaline, and kept the cancer from growing.

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A novel mechanism for controlling the energy transfer could, ultimately, help convert waste heat back into electricity, for example to improve the overall efficiency of solar cells.

Helping turn waste heat into electricity

February 3, 2016 4:04 pm | by Springer | Comments

At the atomic level, bismuth displays a number of quirky physical phenomena. A new study reveals a novel mechanism for controlling the energy transfer between electrons and the bismuth crystal lattice. Mastering this effect could, ultimately, help convert waste heat back into electricity, for example to improve the overall efficiency of solar cells.

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Despite portions of the B-ring being close to 10 times more opaque than the A-ring, the researchers reported that the B-ring may only weigh around two or three times more than the A-ring.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Stepping on the Scale: Scientists “Weigh” Saturn’s Most Massive Ring

February 3, 2016 2:11 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Of all of Saturn’s rings, the B-ring is the most opaque and most massive. In fact, it’s the most opaque ring in the solar system, according to NASA. But it’s not well understood. Researchers reported their results from “weighing” the B-ring’s opaque center for the first time. They achieved the feat by analyzing the ring’s spiral density waves, which are created by the gravitational forces from both Saturn’s moons and the planet itself.

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By looking at the composition of crystals trapped at different times during the evolution of the magma body, the team was able to show that the magma that eventually erupted had spent most of its lifetime in a bubble-free state.

On the Path to Predicting Volcanic Eruptions

February 3, 2016 11:50 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Despite advances in the field of volcanology, volcanoes are still unpredictable behemoths, capable of spurting forth magma and ash at a moment’s notice. But scientists from the University of Oxford, Durham University, and the Vesuvius Volcano Observatory are attempting to understand what makes a volcano tick, or, more aptly, erupt. To do that, they’re looking to the past.

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The basic aerofoil panel array could reduce surface pollution from aircraft exhausts at the airfield boundary by at least 25 percent.

Boosting rapid dispersal of aircraft pollution

February 3, 2016 11:06 am | by Inderscience | Comments

A series of aerofoil-shaped panels downwind of an airport runway could break up the plumes of exhaust gases from departing aircraft, preventing those gases from staying near the ground and so dispersing them more quickly. A similar array could be used to prevent vehicle pollutants accumulating downwind of motorways, or even to disperse ground frosts over arable fields.

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Skiers working their way up the slope see in real time the length of their turns going up, their cadence, the symmetry of their steps, the temperature of the snow, and more. © 2016 Adventure ski touring

Reaching new heights with connected skis and 1,400 pieces of data per second

February 3, 2016 10:50 am | by Cécilia Carron, EPFL | Comments

Thanks to a small screen on their skis, backcountry skiers can see various data recorded by sensors as they ski. The length and number of turns going up, their cadence and even the symmetry of their steps appear on the device. It was developed by an EPFL spin-off that teamed up with a local equipment manufacturer. The device, which attaches directly to the skis, is small and light and loaded with sensors.

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The nuclear fusion research center at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics where the first plasma has been produced at the "Wendelstein 7-X" in Greifswald, Germany. (Stefan Sauer/dpa via AP)

Scientists switch on nuclear fusion experiment

February 3, 2016 10:34 am | by Associated Press | Comments

Scientists in northeast Germany have flipped the switch on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a physicist herself, pushed the button on February 3, 2016, to inject a tiny amount of hydrogen into the Wendelstein 7-X device at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald.

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Physicists sent short ultraviolet laserpulses of two picoseconds through a crystal. This leads to the creation of four photons that are entangled in their orbital angular momentum — here depicted as red blue spirals. The rainbow colored circles illustrate

Four photons entangled in orbital angular momentum

February 3, 2016 10:19 am | by Leiden Institute of Physics | Comments

For the first time, scientists have entangled four photons in their orbital angular momentum. Leiden physicists sent a laser through a crystal, thereby creating four photons with coupled rotation. So far, this has only been done for two photons. The discovery makes uncrackable secret communication of complex information possible between multiple parties.

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