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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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Skype Co-Founders Launch Robot Delivery System

November 4, 2015 12:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

It’s WALL-E’s more robust cousin, and it’s coming to deliver your goods and groceries. While Amazon, Wal-Mart and other services are focused on the skies for package delivery, Starship Technologies, formed by Skype’s co-founders, is playing the ground game.


Autonomous Drone Dodges Trees at 30 MPH

November 4, 2015 11:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Zipping above a mown field, the autonomous drone flies towards groupings of trees. Behind, a human-controlled drone follows. From the second drone’s camera view, the observer sees the drone headed for two thin tree trunks. But before hitting, the autonomous drone banks to the left, dodging the obstacle.


Turning Human Poo into Fuel

November 4, 2015 9:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Close to 1 billion people defecate in the open, and around 2.4 billion don’t have access to proper sanitation, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization. “When it comes to creating misery and poverty, human waste management has few rivals,” said Zafar Adeel, the director of the United Nations Univ.’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH).


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s DNATrax: DNA Provides Clean Air

November 4, 2015 7:16 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Every Wednesday, R&D Magazine will feature a R&D 100 Flashback, chosen from our R&D 100 archive of winners. This week’s flashback is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s DNATrax, which won the R&D 100 Award in 2013. One of the most overlooked threats to human health is poor indoor air quality.


Mission to Space? Pack Sleeping Pills and Skin Cream

November 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

On the International Space Station (ISS), an astronaut witnesses a sunrise and sunset every 90 min. Away from Earth’s day-night cycle, the new environment is bound to make an astronaut’s circadian clock a tad wonky. New research has found sleeping pills and skin cream are among the most common medications astronauts use on long-duration space missions.


Empathizing with Human-like Robots

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

James Coan, a psychology professor at the Univ. of Virginia, claims empathy is hardwired into the human brain. Given enough time and familiarity, you begin associating friends, spouses and lovers with yourself. A lover’s pain becomes your pain; their joy, your joy, and so forth.


Shamed Japanese Researcher Has Doctoral Degree Revoked

November 3, 2015 1:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A Japanese researcher has been stripped of a doctorate degree from her alma mater after becoming enmeshed in a scandal that included plagiarism and fraudulent scientific work. At the start of 2014, Haruko Obokata, who worked at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, published two papers in Nature regarding a method of transforming ordinary body cells into something akin to embryonic stem cells.


Antarctic Ice Sheet Gains Outweigh Losses

November 3, 2015 10:30 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A new NASA study found Antarctic snow accumulation over the last 10,000 years is adding enough ice to outweigh the continent’s loss of glacier ice. However, the findings don’t mean the region is safe from climate change.


Animal Remains Provide Clues to Maya Commoners

November 3, 2015 8:27 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

An examination of 22,000 animal remains stored at the Florida Museum of Natural History has revealed clues about life for the ancient Maya middle and lower class.


Drone Delivery Down Under

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

Drones may deliver your mail sooner than you think—if you live down under, that is. Speaking with the Australian Financial Review, Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour announced the company will trial drone parcel deliveries to rural communities in 2016.


Microbes: Cleaning the Environment Naturally

November 2, 2015 11:22 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In the natural world, humans are far from being the foremost chemists. At least that’s what Catherine Drennan, a professor of biology and chemistry and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), believes.


The R&D Index Market Pulse, November 2, 2015: No Rate Increase and $80 billion in New Funding

November 2, 2015 9:51 am | by Tim Studt | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Pulse for the week ending October 30, 2015, closed at 1,566.18 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The R&D Index was down 0.12%, or slightly less than 2 basis points over the previous week (ending October 23, 2015). Overall, it was a mediocre week for the R&D Index companies with little change, up or down, among the companies' stock values.


Detecting Planets via Circumstellar Spirals

November 2, 2015 9:40 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Two NASA Hubble Fellows are proposing that spiral arm modifications in the circumstellar disks surrounding newborn stars may provide evidence of giant planets, offering a new method of planet detection. Ruobing Dong, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Zhaohuan Zhu, of Princeton Univ., came to the conclusion by computer modeling how gas-and-dust disks evolve around newborn stars.


A Year in Space

October 28, 2015 1:40 pm | by Tim Studt | Comments

Astronaut Scott Kelly has accomplished a lot during his 51 years, much of it in non-normal environments. Nearly 2.5 years of Kelly’s life has been spent in extreme environments, either as a naval test pilot experiencing high-G’s in super-sonic military aircrafts or working on science experiments in the International Space Station (ISS)’s zero-G environment.


Microgravity: Reaching Beyond Earth’s Horizons for Better Genomics Research

October 28, 2015 11:30 am | by Michael Roberts, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space | Comments

Scientific discovery has blossomed in recent decades due to advances in technology and analytical methods, dramatically impacting life science research and human health. Following extensive breakthroughs introduced by the Human Genome Project, scientists continue to unlock the mysteries of disease progression, expanding the application of precision medicine for more personalized, effective and proactive responses to health maintenance.



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