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The Lead

A Carbon-Neutral Fuel Alternative

October 1, 2015 | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

As early as the 1950s, researchers were looking at algae for methane gas production. The algae was grown on rooftops of Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT). Drawings and illustrations of open pond raceways on the roof of Harvard Univ. were also recovered from the 1950s. The reason for this research was algae naturally make oil, and this intrigued researchers as a feedstock for biodiesel.

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First Ancient African Genome Sequenced

October 9, 2015 10:24 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Located in the Ethiopian highlands, the Mota cave yielded a breakthrough discovery for researchers. Buried face-down in the cave was a 4,500-year-old man. Thanks to the cave’s cool and arid environment, the researchers successfully found intact DNA in the man’s petrous, a thick bone located near the base of the skull behind the ear.


This Robotic Finger is Ocean Bound

October 9, 2015 8:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Using an amalgam of 3-D printing, shape memory alloys, computer-aided design (CAD) and a thermal training technique, Florida Atlantic Univ. Prof. Erik Engeberg, of the Dept. of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, and his team developed a bio-inspired robotic finger that operates and feels like a human finger.


Scientists Target Sodium Channel for Breast Cancer Prevention

October 8, 2015 5:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In the U.S., one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer within her lifetime. The year 2015 saw an estimated 231,840 new cases of the disease in the country. Though death rates have been decreasing since 1989, about 40,290 will die this year due to the disease.


Global Coral Bleaching Prompts Concern from NOAA

October 8, 2015 3:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The stomping grounds of many fish species, coral reefs provide protection and shelter. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), they’re essential in the lifecycle of over 4,000 fish species and support more than 800 hard coral species. Add invertebrates and macrofauna, such as sharks and sea turtles, to the mix and it’s a staggering amount oceanic dwellers that rely on these ecosystems.


Cosmic Ripples Provide New Mystery for Astronomers

October 8, 2015 12:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Cosmic ripples emanating from the nearby dusty disk of star AU Microscopii (AU Mic) are leaving astronomers baffled. “Our observations have shown something unexpected,” said Anthony Boccaletti, of the Paris Observatory.


Agave: The Elixir for Parties and Biofuel?

October 8, 2015 10:03 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Famous for its role in tequila and mezcal production, the agave plant was worshipped by Mexico’s natives long before the Spaniards arrived in the 15th century. The Aztec goddess Mayheul was closely associated with agave, a symbol for life, health, dance and fertility. According to the International Organic Agave Alliance, archeological findings date the plants usage back some 10,000 years.


A Push to Carbon-Free Transportation

October 8, 2015 7:33 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Carbon dioxide, the gas most connected to recent global warming, represented about 82% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in 2013. Transportation accounted for 27% of those emissions, with more than 90% of U.S. transportation petroleum-based, according to the latest EPA report.


Machine Learning Predicts Violent Crimes

October 7, 2015 8:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle recounted the 2012 death of Kristy Huddleston, who died after suffering a gunshot wound to the head from her husband, Bourne Huddleston, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. The piece reported combat veterans are responsible for 21% of domestic violence nationwide. Additionally, veterans account for 20% of U.S. suicides.


Tarzan-like Ancestor Boasted Versatility in Hands and Feet

October 7, 2015 4:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A prehistoric Tarzan, Homo naledi wasn’t only capable of walking upright, but was adept at climbing trees, according to a second round of research papers on the new hominin published in Nature Communications.


Powering Electric Cars with Candle Soot

October 7, 2015 2:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Soot clouds produced from the flickering tips of candle flames may help create an inexpensive method for anode materials used in electric car batteries. Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad researchers successfully synthesized carbon nanoparticles from carbon soot, and applied the material to larger batteries. Their research is described in Electrochimica Acta 


Will Ultracapacitors Overtake Batteries in the Energy-Storage Race?

October 7, 2015 1:30 pm | by Taavi Madiberk, CEO, Skeleton Technologies | Comments

The short answer to the headline’s question is probably not. Perhaps this isn’t the answer you were expecting from the CEO of an ultracapacitor manufacturer. However, ultracapacitors and batteries are different technologies with different benefits for different applications. The idea a battle exists between the two is perhaps a bit of an energy-storage myth.


Protea Bioscience’s LAESI DP-1000 System: Tech Combo Samples Live Cells

October 7, 2015 11:14 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Every Wednesday, R&D Magazine will feature a R&D 100 Flashback, chosen from our R&D 100 Awards archive of winners. This week’s flashback is Protea Bioscience Inc’s LAESI DP-1000 System, which won the R&D 100 Award in 2012. Mass spec technologies that effectively analyze biological samples in water exist, but often the analysis must be performed under vacuum or requires sample preparation or the addition of a matrix.


“Primeval Beaver” Inherited Earth from Dinosaurs

October 7, 2015 11:08 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Carissa Raymond, a Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln undergrad student, was fossil hunting in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin when she found black teeth in the dirt. With cusps like kernels of corn, the teeth resembled those of multituberculate mammals, an extinct branch of rodent-like mammals dating back 100 million years.  


An Index for the Search for Life

October 6, 2015 8:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Though not launching for another three years, the James Webb Space Telescope is being called “the premier observatory of the next decade” by NASA. Outfitted with a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-m primary mirror, the apparatus is capable of measuring the physical and chemical properties of planetary systems.


Argonne Opens Its Doors to Startups and Businesses

October 6, 2015 3:19 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In 2009, Andreas Roelofs cofounded aixACCT Systems Inc., a company specializing in piezoelectric material testing. For a fledgling business, the technology and expertise required to bring a product to market may seem out of the realm of possibility. Equiptment worth millions of dollars isn’t something many have access to.



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