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Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity

July 21, 2014 7:45 am | by Sarah Yang, Media Relations, UC Berkeley | Comments

New technology under development at the Univ. of California, Berkeley could soon give bomb-sniffing dogs some serious competition. A team of researchers has found a way to dramatically increase the sensitivity of a light-based plasmon sensor to detect incredibly minute concentrations of explosives.

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HIV diagnosis rate fell by third in U.S. over decade

July 19, 2014 11:17 am | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

The rate of HIV infections diagnosed in the U.S. each year fell by one-third over the past decade, a government study finds. Experts celebrated it as hopeful news that the AIDS epidemic may be slowing in the U.S. The reasons for the drop aren't clear. It might mean fewer new infections are occurring. Or that most infected people already have been diagnosed so more testing won't necessarily find many more cases.

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Medical marijuana researcher fired by university

July 18, 2014 9:21 pm | by Astrid Galvan - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

Veterans, medical marijuana activists and scientists welcomed the first federally approved research into pot as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. But their hopes for the research were dashed when the Univ. of Arizona fired researcher Suzanne Sisley, who undertook the study after clearing four years of bureaucratic hurdles.

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Scientists enlist big data to guide conservation efforts

July 18, 2014 12:37 pm | by Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley | Comments

“Big data” has yet to make a mark on conservation efforts to preserve the planet’s biodiversity. But that may soon change with a new model developed by Univ. of California, Berkeley, biologist Brent Mishler and his colleagues in Australia. This effort  leverages the growing mass of data to take into account not only the number of species throughout an area, but also the variation among species and their geographic rarity, or endemism.

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Researchers create new method to draw molecules from live cells

July 18, 2014 12:30 pm | by Jeannie Kever, Univ. of Houston | Comments

Most current methods of identifying intracellular information result in the death of the individual cells, making it impossible to continue to gain information and assess change over time. Using magnetized carbon nanotubes, scientists in Texas have devised a new method for extracting molecules from live cells without disrupting cell development.

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Nature’s strongest glue comes unstuck

July 18, 2014 11:23 am | Comments

Barnacle glue, or cement, sticks to any surface, under any conditions. And it’s still far better than anything we have been able to develop synthetically. Now, over 150 years since it was first described by Charles Darwin, scientists are finally uncovering the secrets behind the super strength of barnacle glue.

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Mats made from shrimp chitin attract uranium like a magnet

July 18, 2014 11:16 am | Comments

A Univ. of Alabama start-up company, 525 Solutions, has received about $1.5 million from the federal government to refine an invention to extract uranium from the ocean for use as fuel. It is an adsorbent, biodegradable material made from the compound chitin, which is found in crustaceans and insects. The researchers have developed transparent sheets, or mats, comprised of tiny chitin fibers, which pull uranium from the water.

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Researchers uncover new cancer cell vulnerability

July 18, 2014 9:59 am | Comments

Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center researchers have uncovered a genetic vulnerability of cancer cells that express telomerase and showed that telomerase-expressing cells depend upon a gene named p21 for their survival. Authors found that simultaneous inhibition of both telomerase and p21 inhibited tumor growth in mice.

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Lipoic acid helps restore, synchronize the “biological clock”

July 18, 2014 9:03 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Researchers have discovered a possible explanation for the surprisingly large range of biological effects that are linked to a micronutrient called lipoic acid: It appears to reset and synchronize circadian rhythms, or the “biological clock” found in most life forms. The ability of lipoic acid to help restore a more normal circadian rhythm to aging animals could explain its apparent value in so many important biological functions.

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66-yard crater appears in far northern Siberia

July 18, 2014 8:47 am | Comments

Russian scientists say they believe a 66-yard wide crater discovered recently in far northern Siberia could be the result of changing temperatures in the region. Andrei Plekhanov, a senior researcher at the Scientific Research Center of the Arctic who visited the crater this week, the crater was mostly likely the result of a "build-up of excessive pressure" underground due to rising temperatures.

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Peering into giant planets from in and out of this world

July 18, 2014 8:40 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboraotry | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system. Researchers can now re-create and accurately measure material properties that control how these planets evolve over time, information essential for understanding how these massive objects form.

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Ultra-fast x-ray laser sheds light on fundamental ultra-fast dynamics

July 18, 2014 8:31 am | by KSU News and Communications Service | Comments

Ultra-fast x-ray laser research led by Kansas State Univ. has provided scientists with a snapshot of a fundamental molecular phenomenon. The finding sheds new light on microscopic electron motion in molecules. The researchers measured at which distances between the two atoms the electron transfer can occur.

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First ab initio method for characterizing hot carriers

July 18, 2014 8:19 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

One of the major road blocks to the design and development of new, more efficient solar cells may have been cleared. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed the first ab initio method for characterizing the properties of “hot carriers” in semiconductors. Hot carriers are electrical charge carriers with significantly higher energy than charge carriers at thermal equilibrium.

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Future electronics may depend on lasers, not quartz

July 18, 2014 8:09 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

Nearly all electronics require devices called oscillators that create precise frequencies. For nearly 100 years, these oscillators have relied upon quartz crystals to provide a frequency reference, much like a tuning fork is used as a reference to tune a piano. However, future high-end navigation systems, radar systems and even possibly tomorrow's consumer electronics will require references beyond the performance of quartz.

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Why airlines didn't avoid risky Ukraine airspace

July 18, 2014 3:22 am | by David Koenig - AP Airlines Writers - Associated Press | Comments

The possibility that the civilian jetliner downed over war-torn eastern Ukraine with nearly 300 people onboard was hit by a missile could have profound consequences for the world's airlines. Airlines might have to be more vigilant about avoiding trouble spots, making flights longer and causing them to burn more costly fuel. They may even be forced to reconsider many international routes.

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