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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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Fingerprints: Keys to Ancestry?

October 2, 2015 12:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The whorls and ridges unique to your fingerprint may reveal more than just identity. Research from North Carolina State Univ. indicates these unique stamps may give clues to your ancestral background.


How to Prevent BSC Contamination and Protect Valuable Cell Cultures

October 2, 2015 11:31 am | by Marc Dunn, Global Technical Applications Specialist – Clean Air, Thermo Fisher Scientific | Thermo Fisher Scientific | Comments

When working with valuable cell cultures, contaminating microorganisms, especially mycoplasma species, can be detrimental to the accuracy of resulting data, while introducing a potential hazard to laboratory personnel. Fortunately, the biological safety cabinet (BSC) provides a ventilated sterile work environment in which to safely handle biological samples, protecting both the cultures and users from hazardous particles.


Snake’s Genome Has Design for Limbs

October 2, 2015 10:18 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Earlier this year, researchers David M. Martill, Helmut Tischlinger and Nicholas R. Longrich published a paper on a four-legged snake fossil dating from the early Cretaceous period. Found in Brazil’s Crato Formation, Tetrapodophis’ skeleton displayed the sinuous body found in modern day snakes, but small hinged limbs jutted from its sides.


Mummies in Ancient Britain?

October 1, 2015 7:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Like the ancient Egyptians, Bronze Age Britons practiced their own form of mummification. And it may have been a wide-spread funerary practice, according to new research from the Univ. of Sheffield, Univ. of Manchester and Univ. College London.


Boosting Brain Function with Video Games

October 1, 2015 4:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Pick up that controller, friend, because video games may just help you improve your cognitive abilities. A new study published in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences found action video games are most beneficial to cognitive abilities.


From Turing to Watson: The Long-Burning Hype of Machine Learning

October 1, 2015 3:14 pm | by Thomas Slowe, Founder & CEO, Nervve | Comments

Each year, technology industry watchers anxiously await the release of Gartner’s Hype Cycle to see what’s rising, what’s falling and what’s completely fizzled when it comes to emerging technologies. Many observers specifically look for the “peak of inflated expectations” to see which technologies have hit their high point when it comes to media saturation, but still need several years before reaching their true potential.


Utility-Scale Solar Prices on Decline

October 1, 2015 1:04 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Due to lower installed costs, improved performance and a swell to build projects before reductions in federal incentives occur, utility-scale solar energy pricing is lower than ever, according to a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


Fossilized Pigments Reveal Secrets to Ancient Mammal Colors

October 1, 2015 10:13 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Dated between 55.8 and 33.9 million years ago, the Eocene Epoch was characterized by warm climates, tropical vegetation and the appearance of many modern mammal orders. According to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, palm trees flourished as far north as Alaska and Spitsbergen Island in the north Atlantic. Crocodilians lived in the Arctic Circle. As time wore on, the climate cooled.


Dining on a Meal of Plastic

September 30, 2015 7:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

You may want to opt for a different coffee-carrying receptacle. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans discard 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups per year. What’s more, the coffee cup used today will still be present in a landfill 500 years from now. However, the solution to ridding the environment of these persisting materials may lie in a creepy-crawly.


Magnetic Fields Point to Extraterrestrial Life

September 30, 2015 3:23 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Earth’s magnetic field is vital for life. It deflects solar wind and protects the planet’s atmosphere, according to European Space Agency. The field is generated in Earth’s core and emanates outwards. Using computer simulations to replicate planets in the habitable zones of low-mass stars, Univ. of Washington researchers found tidally locked Earth-like planets may possess protective magnetic fields.


Making the Human Body Durable for Space Flight

September 30, 2015 10:47 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

When European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, NASA’s Terry Virts and Roscosmos commander Anton Shkaplerov returned to Earth following an extended period in space, helping hands greeted them upon exiting the landing module. Members of the ground crew carried the space travelers to a sitting area nearby the landing site.


Keithley Instruments’ Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter SMU Instrument: Higher Power Tester

September 30, 2015 7:37 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 Keithley Instruments’ Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter SMU Instrument, which won the R&D 100 Award in 2013. The drive toward greater energy efficiency is creating increased demand for more efficient high-power semiconductor devices.


Warming Antarctic May Allow Threatening King Crabs to Expand Range

September 29, 2015 6:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In the past 50 years, the western Antarctic Peninsula warmed over four times faster than the average rate of the Earth’s overall warming, according to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. These temperature fluctuations, according to an international group of scientists, threaten species that thrive in frigid waters with negligible variation in seasonal sea temperatures.


First Glowing Reptile

September 29, 2015 2:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

On a July night, marine biologist David Gruber was scuba diving in the Solomon Islands, documenting corals and creatures known for their biofluorescence. Slime neon greens and subtle reds can be seen in video footage from National Geographic. Around 40 min into the dive, Gruber saw an unexpected entity glowing in the dark waters.


Creating Fake Teeth as Strong as the Real Deal

September 29, 2015 12:46 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

As the hardest substance in the human body, enamel covers the crown of a tooth, protecting the sensitive dentine beneath. Each day, teeth are subjected to the chomping and chewing of food substances, from soft bananas to hard candy. According to Live Science, the “basket-weave-like microstructure” of enamel is behind a tooth’s durability.  



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