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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.


A Cold Journey into Antartica's Prehistoric Past

February 2, 2016 11:12 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Buried beneath the perpetual ice of Antarctica are the remnants of a once lush and temperate environment. Millions of years ago, the continent’s life resembled that of fellow southern continents, such as Australia. And traversing about this now-barren frozen landscape were dinosaurs.


NASA’s Attempts at Understanding the Sun’s Magnetism

February 1, 2016 9:44 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Underlying the sun’s activity is a magnetic field, which is responsible for such phenomena as auroras on Earth, and the interplanetary magnetic field and radiation spacefaring missions must traverse. The laws of electromagnetism hold dominion over the sun’s actions, but pinpointing where the invisible magnetic field originates has proven difficult.


The R&D Index Market Pulse, Feb. 1, 2016: Mixed Domestic Factors Still Support Strong 2016

February 1, 2016 8:59 am | by Tim Studt, Contributing Editor | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Watch for the week ending January 29, 2016, closed at 1,418.37 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The Index was up 0.13% (or less than 2 basis points) over the week ending January 15, 2016.


The Man Behind Medrobotics' Flex Robotic System

January 29, 2016 2:57 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In 2010, Prof. Howie Choset, of Carnegie Mellon Univ.’s Robotics Institute, traveled to Prague. He wasn’t there necessarily for vacation, rather it was business. From an operating room, he watched as surgeons used the snake-arm robot he conceived and developed on the first human patient.


Ringing in the Age of Plastic

January 27, 2016 11:29 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Each year, between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the Earth’s oceans. The midpoint estimate is enough to cover 34 Manhattans, and is on par with how much plastic was produced in 1961.


In Southwest, Native American Depopulation Led to Changes in Ecology

January 26, 2016 11:24 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

European missionaries brought more than their religion with them when they populated the U.S. Southwest. They also brought diseases that decimated the local Native American populations.


Scientists Create Genetically-Modified Monkeys to Study Autism

January 25, 2016 2:14 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The scientists engineered the macaques by mutating their MECP2 gene. Such a mutation can result in MECP2 duplication syndrome, which shares a variety of symptoms with autism spectrum disorders.


WHO Commission Calls for High-Level Action for Childhood Obesity

January 25, 2016 11:13 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Between 1990 and 2014, the number of overweight children under the age of five rose from 4.8% to 6.1%. That percentage increase represents nearly 10 million children, from 31 million to 41 million.


China's Growing Interest in Auto Industry Startups

January 22, 2016 2:18 pm | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor | Comments

SAIC Motor Corporation, China’s largest auto manufacturer, led a $70 million investment round in used car startup Beepi earlier this week.


DARPA Wants to Bridge Human-Computer Divide

January 22, 2016 11:59 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Essentially, the device will be capable of translating the ones and zeros from the information technology language to the electrochemical language of neurons.


Trophy Hunting Rams Led to Artificial Evolution

January 22, 2016 11:05 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Two bighorn rams meet atop a snow-peppered rocky mound. They stare down one another, their eyes unblinking. They rear up on their hind legs and charge forward, butting their furled horns against one another.


Brain's Memory Capacity is 10 Times Greater Than Previously Thought

January 21, 2016 2:40 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Scientists have discovered that the brain’s capacity for memory storage is far greater than previously hypothesized. How much greater? Well, the Salk Institute research would increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10, up to at least a petabyte, putting the brain’s capacity on par with the World Wide Web


Alien Life is Likely Extinct and Microbial, Researchers Say

January 21, 2016 1:16 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Astrobiologists from Australian National Univ. have posited that potential extraterrestrials are silent because they’re already dead, and most likely went extinct during a very primitive state of life.


Meet the Dracoraptor, an Ancient Theropod Unearthed in Wales

January 21, 2016 9:41 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In spring 2014, fossil-hunting brothers Rob and Nick Hanigan discovered a dinosaur skeleton on a beach near Penarth, Wales. Living over 200 million years ago, the dinosaur represented the earliest skeleton of a Jurassic dinosaur ever found, and the first theropod skeleton found in Wales. Now, researchers have described and named the dinosaur in a paper published in PLOS One 


Neuroscientists Pinpoint Why Brain Fumbles

January 21, 2016 9:15 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Even the most practiced performers experience anxiety on the stage. Empirical evidence suggests that having an audience can have either facilitative or detrimental effects on a performance. Now, neuroscientists have identified the brain network system responsible for anxious flubs and stumbles.



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