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Finding the switch: Researchers create roadmap for gene expression

April 14, 2014 8:00 am | by Tracey Peake, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State Univ., UNC-Chapel Hill and other institutions have taken the first steps toward creating a roadmap that may help scientists narrow down the genetic cause of numerous diseases. Their work also sheds new light on how heredity and environment can affect gene expression.

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Scientists gain new insight into mysterious electronic phenomenon

April 14, 2014 7:54 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

For more than a quarter of a century, high-temperature superconductors have perplexed scientists who seek to understand the physical phenomena responsible for their unique properties. Thanks to a new study by Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have identified and solved at least one paradox in the behavior of high-temperature superconductors.

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A molecular approach to solar power

April 14, 2014 7:38 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

It’s an obvious truism, but one that may soon be outdated: The problem with solar power is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine. Now a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Univ. has come up with an ingenious workaround: a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand.

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Glasses strong as steel

April 14, 2014 7:29 am | by Eric Gershon, Yale Univ. | Comments

Scientists at Yale Univ. have devised a dramatically faster way of identifying and characterizing complex alloys known as bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), a versatile type of pliable glass that's stronger than steel. Using traditional methods, it usually takes a full day to identify a single metal alloy appropriate for making BMGs.

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NASA OKs space station visit despite dead computer

April 13, 2014 3:20 pm | by Marcia Dunn - AP Aerospace Writer - Associated Press | Comments

NASA is pressing ahead with Monday's planned launch of a supply ship despite a critical computer outage at the International Space Station, promising the situation is safe. Mission managers decided Sunday to proceed with the countdown for the SpaceX capsule, Dragon, already a month late in delivering more than 2 tons of cargo.

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Cost of fighting warming 'modest,' says UN panel

April 13, 2014 12:20 pm | by Karl Ritter - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

The cost of keeping global warming in check is "relatively modest," but only if the world acts quickly to reverse the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, the head of the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change said Sunday. Such gases, mainly carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, rose on average by 2.2% a year in 2000-2010.

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One kind of supersymmetry shown to emerge naturally

April 11, 2014 1:27 pm | by Julie Cohen, UC Santa Barbara | Comments

As yet, no one has found supersymmetry in our universe, including at the Large Hadron Collider. This absence of empirical evidence hasn’t stopped physicist Tarun Grover from being able to provide definitive mathematical evidence for supersymmetry in a condensed matter system. Sought after in the realm of subatomic particles by physicists for several decades, supersymmetry describes a unique relationship between particles.

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New physical phenomenon on nanowires seen for the first time

April 11, 2014 1:06 pm | Comments

For optical communication to happen, it is essential to convert electrical information into light, using emitters. On the other end of the optical link, one needs to translate the light stream into electrical signals using detectors. Current technologies use different materials to realize these two distinct functions, but this might soon change thanks to a new discovery by researchers at IBM.

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Greenland ice cores show industrial record of acid rain

April 11, 2014 11:29 am | by Hannah Hickey, Univ. of Washington | Comments

The rise and fall of acid rain is a global experiment whose results are preserved in the geologic record. By analyzing samples from the Greenland ice sheet, Univ. of Washington atmospheric scientists found clear evidence of the U.S. Clean Air Act. They also discovered a link between air acidity and how nitrogen is preserved in layers of snow.

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Enzyme “wrench” could be key to stronger, more effective antibiotics

April 11, 2014 10:10 am | by Tracey Peake, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Builders and factory workers know that getting a job done right requires precision and specialized tools. The same is true when you’re building antibiotic compounds at the molecular level. New findings from North Carolina State Univ. may turn an enzyme that acts as a specialized “wrench” in antibiotic assembly into a set of wrenches that will allow for greater customization.

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Did you know? 3M Company has won 30 R&D 100 Awards

April 11, 2014 9:46 am | Comments

3M Company is known for its innovative products, and that’s reflected in the Minnesota-based company’s substantial number of R&D 100 Awards wins over the years. 3M was one of R&D Magazine’s very first winners, getting an Award for an electrical curing concept in 1963. But not all of 3M’s awards for adhesives and coatings; the company was at the forefront of new innovations for the information age.

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LLNL shines new light on additive manufacturing approach

April 11, 2014 8:14 am | by James A Bono, LLNL | Comments

For nearly a century, electrophoretic deposition (EPD) has been used as a method of coating material by depositing particles of various substances onto the surfaces of various manufactured items. Since its earliest use, EPD has been used to deposit a wide range of materials onto surfaces. This process works well, but is limited. EPD can only deposit material across the entire surface and not in specific, predetermined locations, until now.

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Mechanical forces affect T-cell recognition, signaling

April 11, 2014 8:04 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

T-cells use a complex process to recognize foreign pathogens and diseased cells. In a paper published in Cell, researchers add a new level of understanding to that process by describing how the T-cell receptors use mechanical contact—the forces involved in their binding to the antigens—to make decisions about whether or not the cells they encounter are threats.

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Study to measure gravity’s effects on plant cells in space

April 11, 2014 7:53 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | Comments

A Purdue Univ. experiment that will test how plant cells sense and respond to different levels of gravity is scheduled to launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday (April 14). Understanding how gravity impacts plants is key for determining the conditions necessary to grow plants in space.

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How the brain pays attention

April 11, 2014 7:43 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Picking out a face in the crowd is a complicated task: Your brain has to retrieve the memory of the face you’re seeking, then hold it in place while scanning the crowd, paying special attention to finding a match. A new study reveals how the brain achieves this type of focused attention on faces or other objects.

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