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Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from intersteller space

August 15, 2014 | by Robert Sanders, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

Since 2006, when NASA’s Stardust spacecraft delivered its aerogel and aluminum foil dust collectors back to Earth, a team of scientists has combed through them. They now report finding seven dust motes that probably came from outside our solar system, perhaps created in a supernova explosion and altered by eons of exposure to the extremes of space. They would be the first confirmed samples of contemporary interstellar dust.

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R&D Daily

Many patients don’t understand electronic lab results

August 20, 2014 10:48 am | by Laurel Thomas Gnagey, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

While it's becoming commonplace for patients to see the results of laboratory work electronically, a new Univ. of Michigan study suggests that many people may not be able to understand what those numbers mean. The research found that people with low comprehension of numerical concepts—or numeracy—and low literacy skills were less than half as likely to understand whether a result was inside or outside the reference ranges.

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Research paves way for development of cyborg moth “biobots”

August 20, 2014 9:46 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

North Carolina State Univ. researchers have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for monitoring the electrical signals moths use to control those muscles. The work opens the door to the development of remotely-controlled moths, or “biobots,” for use in emergency response.

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Researchers create engineered energy-absorbing material

August 20, 2014 9:36 am | by James A Bono, LLNL | Comments

Materials like solid gels and porous foams are used for padding and cushioning, but each has its own advantages and limitations. To overcome limitations, a team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has found a way to design and fabricate, at the microscale, new cushioning materials with a broad range of programmable properties and behaviors that exceed the limitations of the material's composition through 3-D printing.

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Exporting coal to Asia could slash emissions

August 20, 2014 9:26 am | by Tim Lucas, Duke Univ. | Comments

Under the right scenario, exporting U.S. coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21% drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning the fossil fuel at plants in the U.S., according to a new Duke Univ.-led study. For the reduction to occur, U.S. plants would need to replace the exported coal with natural gas. And in South Korea, the imported coal must replace other coal as the power source.

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Engineers take step toward photonic circuits

August 20, 2014 8:35 am | by Richard Cairney, Univ. of Alberta | Comments

The invention of fiber optics revolutionized the way we share information, allowing us to transmit data at volumes and speeds we’d only previously dreamed of. Now, electrical engineering researchers at the Univ. of Alberta are breaking another barrier, designing nano-optical cables small enough to replace the copper wiring on computer chips.

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Bubbling down: Discovery suggests surprising uses for common bubbles

August 20, 2014 8:29 am | by John Sullivan, Office of Engineering Communications, Princeton Univ. | Comments

Anyone who has ever had a glass of fizzy soda knows that bubbles can throw tiny particles into the air. But in a finding with wide industrial applications, Princeton Univ. researchers have demonstrated that the bursting bubbles push some particles down into the liquid as well.

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NMR using Earth’s magnetic field

August 20, 2014 8:19 am | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Earth’s magnetic field, a familiar directional indicator over long distances, is routinely probed in applications ranging from geology to archaeology. Now it has provided the basis for a technique which might, one day, be used to characterize the chemical composition of fluid mixtures in their native environments.

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Solar energy that doesn’t block the view

August 20, 2014 8:05 am | by Tom Oswald, Media Communications, Michigan State Univ. | Comments

A team of researchers at Michigan State Univ. has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface.

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Biomarker in aggressive breast cancer identified

August 20, 2014 7:53 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

Two Northwestern Univ. scientists have identified a biomarker strongly associated with basal-like breast cancer, a highly aggressive carcinoma that is resistant to many types of chemotherapy. The biomarker, a protein called STAT3, provides a smart target for new therapeutics designed to treat this often deadly cancer.

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The power of salt

August 20, 2014 7:46 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy.

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AstraZeneca says DOJ closes probe into drug trial

August 19, 2014 1:23 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

British drugmaker AstraZeneca says the U.S. Dept. of Justice has closed its investigation into a clinical trial of the company's blood thinner Brilinta, and plans no further action. The company announced in October 2013 that federal officials were looking into the 18,000-patient study, which began in 2009.

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U.S. wants cars to talk to each other

August 19, 2014 10:34 am | by Associated Press, Joan Lowy | Comments

The Obama administration has said it is taking a first step toward requiring that future cars and light trucks be equipped with technology that enables them to warn each other of potential danger in time to avoid collisions. A research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the technology could eventually prevent 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year, saving 1,083 lives.

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500-million-year reset for the immune system

August 19, 2014 10:22 am | Comments

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics re-activated expression of an ancient gene, which is not normally expressed in the mammalian immune system, and found that the animals developed a fish-like thymus. To the researchers' surprise, while the mammalian thymus is utilized exclusively for T cell maturation, the reset thymus produced not only T cells, but also served as a maturation site for B cells.

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First indirect evidence of so-far undetected strange baryons

August 19, 2014 10:06 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

New supercomputing calculations provide the first evidence that particles predicted by the theory of quark-gluon interactions but never before observed are being produced in heavy-ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, a facility that is dedicated to studying nuclear physics. These heavy strange baryons, containing at least one strange quark, still cannot be observed directly.

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Supermaterials: Five reasons to embrace synthetic diamond

August 19, 2014 9:48 am | by Element Six | Comments

Synthetic diamond’s molecular structure makes it the world’s most versatile supermaterial. With greater hardness than all other materials, its strength is ideal for cutters used in oil and gas drilling, where it enables longer tool lifetime by minimizing wear, reduces downtime and drives down operating costs and carbon footprints.

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