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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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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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Metamaterials Help Machines Hear

August 17, 2015 2:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Amid a roomful of auditory stimulation, humans can hone in on a single conversation and dampen extraneous stimuli. Psychologists have referred to this human phenomena as the “cocktail party effect.” Unlike humans, machines are still playing catch-up in this realm. But a new sensor developed at Duke Univ. may bridge the gap, allowing programs, such as Apple’s Siri, the ability to distinguish specific vocalizations in a crowded room.

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Apple Diversity: Overall the Picture’s the Same

August 17, 2015 12:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Apple CEO Tim Cook reported that in the past year the company has made a concerted effort to increase gender and ethnic diversity among its employees, both abroad and in the U.S.

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The R&D Index: Market Pulse – August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015 10:15 am | by Tim Studt | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Pulse for the week ending August 14, 2015, closed at 1606.46 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The R&D Index was down approximately 1.09% (or nearly 18 points) over the previous week (ending August 7, 2015). Pharmaceutical components of the R&D Index were down 0.70% for the week; automotive companies were down 3.39% and ICT (Information Communications Technology) were up 0.23% for the week.

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An Alternative to PCR

August 15, 2015 3:30 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Every cancer laboratory is interested in answering a set of biological questions. The best method or tool to use in pursuit of these answers is often dependent on the type of question asked. For laboratories seeking to develop translational gene expression signatures, the ability to accurately and precisely measure expression of many genes in a cost-effective manner is important.

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Orbiter and Comet Pass Sun Together

August 14, 2015 9:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Expelling 300 kg of water vapor every second, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko made its closest approach to the sun last week, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The agency is using its Rosetta orbiter to follow the icy nucleus’ journey as it hurdles through space.

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Koko the Ape: A Journey into Speech

August 14, 2015 3:20 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The journey began in 1974, the year when three-year-old gorilla Koko moved from the San Francisco Zoo to Stanford Univ. There, Penny Patterson, then a graduate student, worked with Koko as part of her PhD psychology research at the university. What blossomed was a decades-long relationship, and a study into the efficacy of cross-species communication.

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