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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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NASA 2016 Budget Allots $55M to Habitation Module Development

December 31, 2015 10:13 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

As part of the $19.3 billion allocated by Congress to NASA for the 2016 fiscal year budget, $55 million will go towards accelerated development of a habitation module for use in potential deep space missions.

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Researchers Sequence Ancient Irish Genome

December 30, 2015 10:57 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen’s Univ. Belfast have sequenced the genomes of four ancient Irish humans, dating as far back as 5,200 years ago, and found evidence that the ancient people had origins in the Middle East and Pontic Steppe.

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Individualized Weight Loss Programs May Be Influenced by Genetics

December 29, 2015 11:20 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In the future, techniques to guide weight loss may be tailored to the individual. Molly Bray, a geneticist and professor of nutritional sciences at the Univ. of Texas at Austin, theorizes that one day doctors may feed a combination of genetic data and data from automated sensors into a computer algorithm, which would provide patients with specified recommendations to reach weight loss goals.

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Researchers Train Lie-Detecting Software on Real Cases

December 23, 2015 3:38 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

​Univ. of Michigan researchers have designed lie-detecting software that boasts accuracies up to 75%, outperforming current human capabilities of lie detection.

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Designing Effective Vaccines for Long-Term Spaceflight

December 23, 2015 2:43 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly have presented NASA with an interesting opportunity. As Scott spends one year aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Mark is on ground. NASA is undertaking a slew of experiments on the twins to understand the effects of prolonged spaceflight on human physiology, behavioral health, and microbiology, among other areas.

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First Round-the-World Solar Flight May Resume in April

December 23, 2015 11:37 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Following a nearly 5-day oceanic flight from Japan to Hawaii, the Solar Impulse 2 team announced in July that their attempt at the first round-the-world solar flight would be delayed until 2016 due to needed repairs. Today, a spokesperson confirmed for Agence France-Presse that the plane will be ready to fly by April 20.

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Cool Roofs over Guangzhou Can Reduce Heat Wave Temps

December 23, 2015 10:23 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Chinese and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have found white roofs, or cool roofs, if implemented in Guangzhou, could significantly reduce the urban heat island effect.

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Jade Rabbit on Moon Reveals 'Ground Truth'

December 23, 2015 9:51 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The Chinese lunar rover Yutu—which means “jade rabbit”—is unveiling the first new “ground truth” from the Earth’s celestial neighbor in close to 40 years. 

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The Art in Innovation

December 22, 2015 3:03 pm | by R&D Magazine Staff | Comments

R&D Magazine’s 2015 Innovator of the Year, Skylar Tibbits, knew at young age whatever career path he would embark on would be some creative endeavor. “I knew I would end in a career that dealt with art, as I have various artists in my family and it’s a big part of who I am,” says Tibbits.

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Home Broadband Usage Reach Plateaus

December 22, 2015 10:47 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A new poll from the Pew Research Center indicates the number of Americans using home broadband service has plateaued at 67%, sinking below 2013’s 70%.

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The R&D Index Market Pulse, Dec. 21, 2015: Rally Precedes Fed Rate Increase, but Reality Follows with Stock Slide.

December 21, 2015 11:19 am | by Tim Studt, Contributing Editor | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Pulse for the week ending December 18, 2015, closed at 1,504.95 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The Index was up 0.12% (or less than 2 basis points) over the previous week ending December 11, 2015. Most stocks were up for the first part of last week, but...

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NASA Orders Second Commercial Crew Launch from Boeing

December 21, 2015 11:14 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

After ordering a commercial crew launch from SpaceX in November, NASA ordered an additional launch last week from Boeing Space Exploration in Houston, marking the company’s second order from the space agency. The launch order is the third of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts.

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Training Driverless Cars to “See”

December 21, 2015 11:12 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Researchers have designed two new systems that can recognize objects in the road and orient a user’s location with merely cameras, including smartphone cameras. 

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The New World and Early Carnivorous Wildlife Management

December 21, 2015 8:49 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Excavations into Teotihuacan—which translates to “the city of the gods”—are revealing new understandings of carnivorous wildlife management in the ancient New World. A recent study—published in PLOS One—looked into skeletal and isotopic evidence pointing to the idea that carnivorous animal captivity existed 1,000 years earlier than previously thought

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Rare Mineral May Hold Clues to Life’s Origin on Earth

December 16, 2015 4:23 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Around 4.5 billion years ago, a meteorite was hurdling through space headed for a rocky planet now called Earth. The meteorite carried with it an extraterrestrial mineral, the iron-nickel phosphide schreibersite. According to Professor Matthew Pasek, this now-rare mineral may have been responsible for the chemical spark that led to Earth’s biological life.

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