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Combating the Life Science Data Avalanche

August 10, 2015 | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Big data has become a growing issue in science, as these data sets are so large and complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. This is especially true for the life science industry, where the growing size of data hasn’t been met with tools for analyzing and interpreting this data at the same rate, leading to what many call a “data avalanche.”

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Manna from Heaven: Converting CO2 to Carbon Nanofiber

August 19, 2015 5:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

During World War II, copper, aluminum, steel and zinc became metals appropriated for military use. Around the same time, manufacturers began exploring plastics, such as acrylic, nylon, phenolic and polyethylene. Production increased, and the plastic industry flourished. Stuart Licht, of George Washington Univ.’s Dept. of Chemistry, likened the carbon nanofiber industry to the plastics market at the beginning of World War II.

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Increasing Solar Cell Efficiency with “Green” Antennas

August 19, 2015 3:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Though capable in laboratory settings of achieving 25% efficiency, commercially produced silicon solar cells typically reach levels between 13% and 14%. Challar V. Kumar, of the Univ. of Connecticut’s Dept. of Chemistry, unveiled an edible and digestible light antenna capable of increasing the efficiency of commercial solar panels.

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No Bones About It: Earliest Human-like Hand Found

August 19, 2015 1:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Composed of 27 bones, the human hand is a feat of evolution. As humanity’s earliest ancestors came down from the trees, hands changed, becoming optimal for tool usage, rather than tree climbing. Today, a typical primate hand is characterized by small thumbs with long curved fingers. But the human hand consists of a longer, muscular thumb with shortened and straightened fingers.

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Adelphi Technology Inc.’s High Output Neutron Generator DD-100 Series: A New Neutron Source

August 19, 2015 7:35 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 Adelphi Technology Inc.’s High Output Neutron Generator DD-100 Series, which won a R&D 100 Award in 2012. Particle accelerator facilities rely on large, heat-generating electromagnets to provide the ions required for generating plasma.

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Solar Net Metering Debate at National Energy Summit

August 18, 2015 6:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The National Clean Energy Summit isn’t just the story of clean energy development in Nevada, where the eighth annual summit will be held, it’s the story of clean energy in the west and across the nation, according to Lydia Ball, a consultant with the Clean Energy Project.

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Folk Remedies for Mosquito Repellents

August 18, 2015 4:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

When it comes to warding off hungry mosquitos, researchers have found traditional folk remedies are just as effective as commercial products such as DEET. Used by the Blackfeet Indians in Alberta and the Flathead Indians in Montana, sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) is one remedy investigated by Charles Cantrell, of the USDA-Natural Products Center and the Thad Cochran Research Center.

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Space Elevators: Rising From Science Fiction to Reality

August 18, 2015 2:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Arthur C. Clarke’s 1979 novel “The Fountains of Paradise” concerns a space elevator constructed using a cable and counter-balanced mass system built on the mythical island of Taprobane. While the concept may differ from Clarke’s vision, Thoth Technology Inc., a Canadian space company, announced last month it was granted a U.S. patent for a space elevator.

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Researchers Find Underlying Controls of Sleep-Wake Cycle

August 18, 2015 12:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Ravi Allada, professor and chair of neurobiology at Northwestern Univ.’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, was in medical school when his advisor mutagenized a fruit fly. His adviser was studying the effect of anesthetics on flies in light of their mutations. By chance, he changed a fly’s sodium channel. When not under anesthesia, the fly exhibited odd walking behaviors, halting and stopping every few steps.

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Mapping Lunar Caves with Photons

August 18, 2015 10:30 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The lunar surface is home to over 200 holes, ranging from 5 to more than 900 m in diameter. Some might house caves fit for future astronauts to explore and use for shelter. NASA researchers have suggested lunar bases in caves would protect astronauts from radiation, wild temperature swings and incoming meteoroids.

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What Smart Home and IoT Devices Makers Need to Know about ZigBee 3.0

August 18, 2015 8:00 am | by Cees Links, Founder & CEO, GreenPeak Technologies | Comments

Developers of set-top boxes, gateways, sensors and appliances for the Smart Home are faced with a variety of challenges when considering how to connect their systems to the Internet. In addition to competing connectivity standards, a variety of platforms, protocols and “standards” from the world’s largest technology companies are making this decision much more complicated.

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Sunlight Releases Pollutant from Urban Grime

August 18, 2015 7:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Found caked on buildings, statues and other outdoor surfaces in cities, urban grime is the result of chemical compounds discharged from automobiles, factories and other sources. At the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, James Donaldson, of the Univ. of Toronto, presented his research, which found natural sunlight triggers the release of nitrogen oxide compounds from grime.

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Solar Prices Fall for Fifth Consecutive Year

August 17, 2015 10:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

For the fifth consecutive year, the installed price for grid-connected solar photovoltaic systems in the U.S. has dropped in price, according to a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Supplying Power Where Power Is Due

August 17, 2015 7:30 pm | by Princeton Power Systems | Comments

Annobon Island is the southern-most island of Equatorial Guinea. The island has a population of approximately 5,000 residents, with limited access to reliable electricity. In 2014, residents of Annobon Island had access to electricity for about five hours per day, if at all, and, even then, the electricity didn’t come cheap as they would spend an average of 15 to 20% of their annual income on supplemental power.

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Trolls Edit Wikipedia’s Politically Controversial Science Pages

August 17, 2015 6:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

“Wiki it,” may be a common response when one is at a loss for knowledge. According to the Pew Research Center, 53% of American Internet users consulted the site back in 2010, an increase from 36% in 2007. Globally, Wikipedia is the seventh most popular Website.  

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Point-of-Care for Ebola

August 17, 2015 4:00 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

In December 2013, Ebola broke out in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Since then, approximately 28,000 people were suspected or confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus disease (EVD). And more than 11,300 people have already died from the infection, according to an August 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report.

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