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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.


‘Hot Jupiters’ Hide Water from NASA’s Telescopes

December 14, 2015 4:42 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Among the nearly 2,000 exoplanets astronomers have discovered, "Hot Jupiters" have an apparent death wish. Orbiting close to their host stars, these gaseous planets make Mercury’s orbit look like long distance. An international team of astronomers has discovered why some "Hot Jupiters" appear to hold less water than expected.


$7M XPRIZE Competition Dives into the Ocean Depths

December 14, 2015 4:38 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Peter Diamandis, the chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, announced the launch of the $7 million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. The three-year competition will challenge participating teams to spur innovation for unmanned ocean exploration. 


Close Encounters of a Drone Kind

December 14, 2015 2:09 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Today, the FAA announced that all drone units weighing between 0.55 and 50 lbs must be registered with the government by Feb. 19, 2016.     


The R&D Index Market Pulse, Dec. 14, 2015: Oil Selloff Likely to Drive Down Energy R&D Investments

December 14, 2015 12:04 pm | by Tim Studt, Contributing Editor | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Watch for the week ending December 11, 2015, closed at 1,503.08 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The Index was down 3.5% (or more than 50 basis points) over the previous week ending December 4, 2015. This is the third week in a row that the R&D Index has lost value with every one of the R&D Index members dropping from 1.22% (Johnson & Johnson) to 9.3% (Qualcomm).


Rare Skeleton of Ancient Carnivorous Mammal Found in Wyoming

December 14, 2015 11:59 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Much of what scientists know about the genus Galecyon is based on fossilized teeth specimens. However, a partial skeleton of a Galecyon was recently recovered from Wyoming’s Willwood Formation, giving researchers an unprecedented glimpse into this creature’s ecology and evolution.


Internet Frustration? Your Mouse May Be Giving You Away

December 14, 2015 9:24 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A researcher has developed a new technology capable of gauging the emotions of Internet users based on how they move their computer mouse. Eventually, this may give websites the power to not just disseminate information, but sense what you’re feeling, allowing web developers to work out a website’s kinks based on user emotions.


Stormy Jupiter-like Stars

December 11, 2015 1:33 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The L-dwarf star W1906+40 was discovered by scientists with the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer in 2011. With a temperature of about 3,500 F, the star is cool compared to other stars in the universe. It’s cool enough that tiny mineral clouds form in its atmosphere. According to NASA, this presents the best evidence for cloudy storms on a star.


How Do Scientists View Religion?

December 11, 2015 12:06 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A new global study from Rice Univ. is challenging the presumptions about the science-religion interface. Prof. Elaine Howard Ecklund discusses the study with R&D Magazine.


Astronaut Scott Kelly Weighs in on Paris Climate Talks

December 10, 2015 11:04 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

As the Paris U.N. Climate Conference winds down, negotiators are still hammering out the details of a global deal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Speaking with Popular Scienceastronaut Scott Kelly, R&D Magazine’s Scientist of the Year, threw in his two cents regarding what negotiators in Paris should consider when making these decisions.


Dawn Spacecraft Uncovers Clues About Ceres’ Brightness

December 10, 2015 9:35 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

As scientists set their sights on Ceres, an illuminating phenomenon reared its head. Peppering the surface are more than 130 bright spots. Generally, the planet’s surface is dark, similar to fresh asphalt. However, the bright areas, associated with impact craters, reflect about 50% of the shining sunlight. Now, scientists have identified the bright areas as a type of salt. 


New Image Sheds Light on Ancient Cosmic Collision

December 9, 2015 4:47 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Three-hundred and sixty million years ago, elliptical galaxy NGC 5291 was impacted by a fast-moving galaxy that drove into its core. Huge gas streams were sent shooting off into surrounding space, eventually gathering to form a ring around NGC 5291. Scientists from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have taken new images of this galaxy with the Very Large Telescope located at the Paranal Observatory.


FDA Approves Military Device for Civilian Gunshot Wounds

December 9, 2015 2:17 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week approved a military gunshot wound dressing for civilian usage that’s capable of controlling severe, life-threatening bleeding. The XSTAT 30 uses a syringe to inject a gunshot wound with small sponges, which subsequently swell and fill the wound within 20 seconds of contacting blood. 


Greenpeace Allegedly Uncovers Academics Willing to Dispute Climate Science for Cash

December 9, 2015 12:08 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A sting operation by Greenpeace has uncovered academics associated with Pennsylvania State Univ. and Princeton Univ., who were willing to produce papers and work casting doubt on climate science in return for money.


New Mosasaur Species Discovered in Japan

December 9, 2015 9:41 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

During the Late Cretaceous Period, a 10-ft long beast waited, shrouded in ocean darkness. This nocturnal hunter waited for glowing squid and fish to cross its path before lashing out. While the hunting technique is speculation, the conjecture comes via a new species of mosasaur discovered in a small creek in Japan.


Hyperloop Test Facility Coming to Nevada

December 8, 2015 4:42 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Starting in the 2016’s first quarter, startup company Hyperloop Technologies Inc. will begin testing its transportation technology at a 50-acre site in Nevada’s Mountain View Industrial Park.



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