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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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R&D Daily

Children Learn to Code via “Minecraft”

November 18, 2015 11:16 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

To say “Minecraft” has been a success is an understatement. Across gaming platforms, over 70 million copies of the game have been sold. It has inspired a variety of additional merchandise, from Lego sets and clothing to books. In 2014, Microsoft purchased the game’s creator Mojang, a development studio based in Sweden, for $2.5 billion.


The R&D Index Market Pulse, November 18, 2015: Strong U.S. Economy Drives Decision to Increase Interest Rates

November 18, 2015 10:01 am | by Tim Studt | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Pulse for the week ending November 13, 2015, closed at 1,507.87 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The R&D Index was down 3.56% (or more than 55 basis points) over the previous week ending November 6, 2015. This marks the third week in a row that the R&D Index has been down.


Ancient Massive Galaxies in the Crosshairs

November 18, 2015 9:50 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In December 2009, the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s UltraVISTA started surveying a large swath of sky about four times the size of the moon. The apparatus peered deep into the universe for a number of years. Using images from the survey and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers from the Univ. of Groningen’s Kapteyn Astronomical Institute have discovered an array of ancient galaxies, which have long escaped human scrutiny.


Chic Electronic Glasses For Treating Lazy Eye

November 16, 2015 10:56 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Between two and three children out of every 100 suffer from amblyopia, a visual impairment characterized by a reduction in one eye’s vision, as it fails to work properly with the brain. There are two common treatments, patching and eye drops.


Mummified Inca Child Reveals New Genetic History

November 16, 2015 10:06 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Up at the southwestern edge of the Aconcagua Mountain, located in Argentina, mountaineers discovered a partially unearthed mummified child in the summer of 1985. Rather than continuing excavation, the mountaineers contacted professional archeologists, who later identified the body as a seven year old male.


The Mounting Costs of Everyday Lab Problems, And How to Avoid Them

November 9, 2015 4:00 pm | by Thermo Fisher Scientific | Comments

If you’ve worked in a laboratory, you know firsthand it can be frenetic, fast-paced and, at times, overwhelming. This is especially true today, as shrinking budgets force many laboratory managers and analysts to do more with less. But there’s a path forward, and it starts by looking at the laboratory holistically, and solving the obvious, everyday problems first.


NASA Spacecraft Detects 1,000th Gamma-Ray Burst

November 9, 2015 10:02 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 20, 2004, the Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer is dedicated to exploring the brightest explosions in the universe since the Big Bang. Recently the spacecraft detected its thousandth gamma-ray burst (GRB), which is commonly associated with a massive star’s collapse or a black hole’s birth.


The R&D Index Market Pulse, November 9, 2015: October Rally Continues For a Few Companies

November 9, 2015 9:27 am | by Tim Studt | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Pulse for the week ending November 6, 2015, closed at 1,563.49 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The R&D Index was down 0.17% (or less than three basis points) over the previous week (ending October 30, 2015). For the past two weeks, the R&D Index is now down about 0.3% (or less than five basis points).


Gauging Honeybees’ Status via Vibrations

November 9, 2015 7:21 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

When it comes to the working class in the U.S., honeybees are pulling their weight. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), the flying insects contribute over $15 billion to the value of U.S. crop production. They pollinate apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Almonds depend entirely on honeybees for pollination, and blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent.


DOJ Seeks to Stop Drone Contraband Deliveries to Prisons

November 6, 2015 2:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Smuggling contraband into prison via the body or a “friendly” guard may not be a thing of the past. However, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), an agency of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, is looking to curb a new method of smuggling, drones.


Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Robotics and AI Venture

November 6, 2015 12:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Gill Pratt, a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor and DARPA program manager, was like many children. After school he’d flip on the television and watch cartoons. A particular favorite of his was “Gigantor,” an American adaptation of the Japanese anime “Tetsujin 28-gō.” The show featured a little boy controlling a giant robot. After seeing the show, Pratt knew he wanted to build such a robot someday.


A “Cosmic Archaeological Dig” into the Milky Way

November 6, 2015 10:21 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A glimpse through the Sagittarius Window towards the hub of the Milky Way galaxy is like peering into an overcrowded party through a keyhole. The black of space is covered by a sheen of mingling starlight, iridescent blues and reds. Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers performed a “cosmic archaeological dig” on the region, and uncovered clues to the early construction of the Milky Way.


NanoGriptech: Gecko-Inspired Adhesives

November 6, 2015 8:28 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Dexterous climbers, geckos have long been a source of inspiration for materials scientists. The lizards boast a unique sticking ability, allowing them to climb walls and hang upside down.


Where’s Mars’ Atmosphere? “Blowin’ in the Wind”

November 5, 2015 3:13 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program, summed up how Mars lost its atmosphere with a Bob Dylan quote: “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” Via NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, NASA scientists have discovered the Martian atmosphere is losing gas at a rate of 100 g/sec due to stripping solar winds.


Volkswagen Scandal “Delights” UN Climate Chief

November 5, 2015 11:48 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

It might seem surreal. A large automotive manufacturing company is found producing cars with software capable of cheating emissions tests. Then, Volkswagen admits 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide were outfitted with the device. Finally, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says she’s “delighted” by the scandal.



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