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Flight is Greener than Driving

April 27, 2015 | by Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Flying in a plane is not only safer than driving a car, it's also better for the environment. In follow-up research from last year, a study found that it takes twice as much energy to drive than to fly.

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Japanese nuclear plant cleared to restart

May 28, 2015 12:50 pm | by Associated Press | Comments

Today, a nuclear plant in southern Japan obtained the final permit needed to restart its reactors, paving the way for it to become the first to go back online under new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. All of Japan's more than 40 reactors are currently offline for repairs or safety inspections.

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Donuts, math and superdense teleportation of quantum information

May 28, 2015 12:26 pm | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

Putting a hole in the center of the donut allows the deep-fried pastry to cook evenly, inside and out. As it turns out, the hole in the center of the donut also holds answers for a type of more efficient and reliable quantum information teleportation, a critical goal for quantum information science.

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Spiraling laser pulses could change graphene

May 28, 2015 11:46 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

A new study predicts that researchers could use spiraling pulses of laser light to change the nature of graphene, turning it from a metal into an insulator and giving it other peculiar properties that might be used to encode information. The results pave the way for experiments that create and control new states of matter with this specialized form of light, with potential applications in computing and other areas.

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Designing less odorous latrines

May 28, 2015 11:37 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

About 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to sanitary toilets. Latrines are an option for many of those people, but these facilities’ overwhelming odors can deter users, who then defecate outdoors instead. To improve this situation, fragrance scientists paired experts’ noses and analytical instruments to determine the odor profiles of latrines with the aim of countering the offensive stench.

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Diagnosing cancer with help from bacteria

May 28, 2015 11:31 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Univ. of California at San Diego have devised a new way to detect cancer that has spread to the liver, by enlisting help from probiotics, beneficial bacteria similar to those found in yogurt. Many types of cancer, including colon and pancreatic, tend to metastasize to the liver. The earlier doctors can find these tumors, the more likely that they can successfully treat them.

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Merging galaxies break radio silence

May 28, 2015 11:20 am | by Hubble Information Centre | Comments

In the most extensive survey of its kind ever conducted, a team of scientists have found an unambiguous link between the presence of supermassive black holes that power high-speed, radio-signal-emitting jets and the merger history of their host galaxies. Almost all of the galaxies hosting these jets were found to be merging with another galaxy, or to have done so recently.

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Paleontologists pioneer laser-beam scanning of dinosaur fossils

May 28, 2015 8:18 am | by Brendan Lynch, KU News Service | Comments

A team of scientists based largely at the Univ. of Kansas and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Washington has developed methods of using commercial-grade laser equipment to find and analyze fossils of dinosaurs. The new laser method causes fossil samples to fluoresce, revealing complex details unseen with traditional visual enhancers like ultraviolet light.

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Breakthrough heralds super-efficient light-based computers

May 28, 2015 8:07 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | Comments

Stanford Univ. electrical engineer Jelena Vuckovic wants to make computers faster and more efficient by reinventing how they send data back and forth between chips, where the work is done. In computers today, data is pushed through wires as a stream of electrons. That takes a lot of power, which helps explain why laptops get so warm.

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New technique to understand cloud behavior

May 28, 2015 7:53 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

With two off-the-shelf digital cameras situated about 1 km apart facing Miami’s Biscayne Bay, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists are collecting 3-D data on cloud behavior that have never been possible to collect before. The photos allow the team to measure how fast the clouds rise, which in turn can shed light on a wide range of areas, ranging from lightning rates to extreme precipitation to the ozone hole.

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Who needs water to assemble DNA?

May 28, 2015 7:42 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Scientists around the world are using the programmability of DNA to assemble complex nanometer-scale structures. Until now, however, production of these artificial structures has been limited to water-based environments, because DNA naturally functions inside the watery environment of living cells. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have now shown that they can assemble DNA nanostructures in a solvent containing no water.

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Expanding the code of life with new “letters”

May 28, 2015 7:29 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as “letters,” that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides can do the same thing, raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses.

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Spinning a new version of silk

May 28, 2015 7:22 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

After years of research decoding the complex structure and production of spider silk, researchers have now succeeded in producing samples of this exceptionally strong and resilient material in the laboratory. The new development could lead to a variety of biomedical materials made from synthesized silk with properties specifically tuned for their intended uses.

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EPA plans temporary pesticide restrictions while bees feed

May 28, 2015 12:04 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | Comments

If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing. A federal rule to be proposed Thursday would create temporary pesticide-free zones when certain plants are in bloom around bees that are trucked from farm to farm by professional beekeepers, which are the majority of honeybees in the U.S.

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Study reveals flaws in gene testing; results often conflict

May 27, 2015 12:21 pm | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

The first report from a big public-private project to improve genetic testing reveals it's not as rock solid as many people believe, with flaws that result in some people wrongly advised to worry about a disease risk and others wrongly told they can relax. Researchers say the study shows the need for consumers to be careful about choosing where to have a gene test done and acting on the results.

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Researchers develop intelligent handheld robots

May 27, 2015 11:41 am | by Univ. of Bristol | Comments

What if handheld tools know what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the Univ. of Bristol have developed and started studying a novel concept in robotics: intelligent handheld robots.

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