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Synthetic biology on ordinary paper, results off the page

October 24, 2014 | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Comments

New achievements in synthetic biology, which will allow complex cellular recognition reactions to proceed outside of living cells, will dare scientists to dream big: There could one day be inexpensive, shippable and accurate test kits that use saliva or a drop of blood to identify specific disease or infection.

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Cooking up carbon: Sawdust and iron in the melting pot

October 24, 2014 10:16 am | Comments

Researchers in the U.K. have found a new way to make nanostructured carbon using the waste product sawdust. By cooking sawdust with a thin coating of iron at 700 C, they have discovered that they can create carbon with a structure made up of many tiny tubes. These tubes are one thousand times smaller than an average human hair.

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California startup unveils gun technology for cops

October 24, 2014 8:48 am | by Haven Daley, Associated Press | Comments

A Silicon Valley startup has developed technology to let dispatchers know when a police officer's weapon has been fired. The product by Yardarm Technologies would notify dispatchers in real time when an officer's gun is taken out of its holster and when it's fired. It can also track where the gun is located and in what direction it was fired.

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3-D metamaterials with a natural bent

October 24, 2014 8:44 am | Comments

Scientists have been able to manufacture 3-D isotropic metamaterials, but up to now only on a very small scale. Now, in a significant breakthrough, scientists from RIKEN, in collaboration with colleagues in Taiwan, have succeeded in creating a large metamaterial up to 4-mm-square in size that is essentially isotropic, using a type of metamaterial element called a split-ring resonator.

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Evaluating powerful batteries for modular grid energy storage

October 24, 2014 8:31 am | by Stephanie Holinka, Sandia National Laboratories | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has begun laboratory-based characterization of TransPower’s GridSaver, the largest grid energy storage system analyzed at Sandia’s Energy Storage Test Pad in Albuquerque. Sandia will evaluate the 1 MW, lithium-ion grid energy storage system for capacity, power, safety and reliability. The laboratory also will investigate the system’s frequency regulation.

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Study reveals molecular structure of water at gold electrodes

October 24, 2014 8:19 am | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

When a solid material is immersed in a liquid, the liquid immediately next to its surface differs from that of the bulk liquid at the molecular level. This interfacial layer is critical to our understanding of a diverse set of phenomena. When the solid surface is charged, it can drive further changes in the interfacial liquid. However, elucidating the molecular structure at the solid-liquid interface under these conditions is difficult.

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Breaking the nano barrier

October 24, 2014 8:00 am | by New York Univ. | Comments

Researchers at the New York Univ. Polytechnic School of Engineering have broken new ground in the development of proteins that form specialized fibers used in medicine and nanotechnology. For as long as scientists have been able to create new proteins that are capable of self-assembling into fibers, their work has taken place on the nanoscale. For the first time, this achievement has been realized on the microscale.

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Swiss scientists determine comet's “perfume”

October 23, 2014 4:00 pm | Comments

Rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar and a hint of sweet ether. That heady bouquet, according to Swiss researchers, is the 'perfume' of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Scientists said Thursday they have determined what the comet would smell like by analyzing the chemicals in its coma, the fuzzy head surrounding the nucleus.

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New 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiency

October 23, 2014 1:11 pm | Comments

At first glance, the static, greyscale display created by a group of researchers in Hong Kong might not catch the eye of a thoughtful consumer in a market saturated with flashy, colorful electronics. But a closer look at the specs could change that: the ultra-thin LCD screen is capable of holding 3-D images without a power source, making it a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

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Researchers break the nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiber

October 23, 2014 1:06 pm | Comments

For as long as scientists have been able to create new proteins that are capable of self-assembling into fibers, scientists’ work has taken place on the nanoscale. For the first time, this achievement has been realized on the microscale, a leap of magnitude in size that presents significant new opportunities for using engineered protein fibers.

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Cooling to near absolute zero with magnetic molecules

October 23, 2014 12:56 pm | Comments

An international team of scientists have become the first to successfully reach temperatures below -272.15 C, which is just above absolute zero, using magnetic molecules. The effort, which avoids the use of helium, depends on a form of gadolinium that appropriately has a structure resembling a snowflake.

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NIST offers electronics industry two ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules

October 23, 2014 12:33 pm | Comments

A few short years ago, the idea of a practical manufacturing process based on getting molecules to organize themselves in useful nanoscale shapes seemed far-fetched. Recent work at NIST, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and IBM Almaden Research Center suggest this capability isn’t far off, however, by demonstrating self-assembly of thin films on a polymer template that creates precise rows just 10 nm wide.

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NIST’s finalizes cloud computing roadmap

October 23, 2014 9:41 am | Comments

The final version of the U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volumes I and II has been published by NIST. The roadmap focuses on strategic and tactical objectives to support the federal government’s accelerated adoption of cloud computing. This final document reflects the input from more than 200 comments on the initial draft received from around the world.

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Precise and programmable biological circuits

October 23, 2014 9:37 am | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | Comments

Bio-engineers are working on the development of biological computers: biological material that can be integrated into cells to change their functions. Researchers in Europe have now developed a biological circuit that controls the activity of individual sensor components using internal "timer". This circuit prevents a sensor from being active when not required by the system; when required, it can be activated via a control signal.

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An effective, cost-saving way to detect natural gas pipeline leaks

October 23, 2014 9:30 am | Comments

Major leaks from oil and gas pipelines have led to home evacuations, explosions, millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts and valuable natural resources escaping into the air, ground and water. But scientists say they have developed a new software-based method that finds leaks even when they’re small, which could help prevent serious incidents and save money for customers and industry.

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“Silicon Beach” brings tech boom to Los Angeles

October 23, 2014 9:25 am | by Ryan Nakashima and Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writers | Comments

So long Silicon Valley. These days entrepreneurs and engineers are flocking to a place better known for surfing waves than the Web. Amid the palm trees and purple sunsets of the Southern California coastline, techies have built "Silicon Beach."

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