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The Lead

Startup Gains Grant to Build Next-Gen Nuclear Reactors

February 11, 2016 | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor | Comments

X-energy, a startup operating in stealth since 2009, was the recipient of a $40 million grant from the Department of Energy last month.

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Scientists Bid Farewell to Comet Lander Philae

February 12, 2016 1:56 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Sixty hours after the spacecraft Philae landed on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014, communication went dark. Today, scientists with the German Aerospace Center announced it’s time to bid the lander goodbye.

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New Nanotechnology Detects Biomarkers of Cancer

February 12, 2016 1:13 pm | by WAKE FOREST BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER | Comments

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a new technology to detect disease biomarkers in the form of nucleic acids, the building blocks of all living organisms.

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Memory Replay Prioritizes High-reward Memories

February 12, 2016 12:19 pm | by University of California - Davis | Comments

Why do we remember some events, places and things, but not others? Our brains prioritize rewarding memories over others, and reinforce them by replaying them when we are at rest, according to new research.

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The Origin of a Species

February 12, 2016 12:14 pm | by University of Oxford | Comments

A study has uncovered the key role played by a single gene in how groups of animals diverge to form new species.

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Scientists Discover Electrons Moving like Honey in Graphene

February 12, 2016 12:08 pm | by University of Manchester | Comments

Electrons that act like slow-pouring honey have been observed for the first time in graphene, prompting a new approach to fundamental physics.

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Engineers Develop Flat, Ultralight Lens that could Change How Cameras are Designed

February 12, 2016 12:03 pm | by University of Utah | Comments

Imagine digital cameras or smartphones without the bulky lenses or eyeglasses with lenses that are paper thin.

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This Giant Prehistoric Flightless Bird Called the Arctic Home

February 12, 2016 11:51 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In the 1970s, paleontologists unearthed the fossil toe bone of a large bird. But only recently have researchers confirmed that the bone belonged to Gastornis, a genus of flightless bird that weighed several hundred pounds.

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The ACTUV won’t replace manned warships. Rather, the two will operate in conjunction with one another, with the autonomous vessel potentially being used for countermine missions and logistics resupply. Courtesy of DARPA

DARPA Will Launch an Autonomous Warship this Spring

February 12, 2016 11:42 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In April, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will launch a sleek, 132-foot warship from Portland, OR, testing its abilities over a succeeding period of 18 months. And the real kicker? The ship is entirely autonomous, fully operational without an onboard crew. Already, autonomous vessels designed for countermine missions exist.  

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Researchers from Drexel and Paul Sabatier University in France have reported a method for embedding a supercapacitor energy storage device in the silicon wafer of a microchip.

Carbon films can give microchips energy storage capability

February 11, 2016 4:58 pm | by Drexel University | Comments

After more than half a decade of speculation, fabrication, modeling and testing, an international team of researchers led by Drexel University’s Yury Gogotsi, Ph.D. , and Patrice Simon, Ph.D., of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, have confirmed that their process for making carbon films and micro-supercapacitors will allow microchips and their power sources to become one and the same.

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The new technology will enable users to access centimeter-level accuracy location data through their mobile phones and wearable technologies, without increasing the demand for processing power.

GPS tracking down to the centimeter

February 11, 2016 4:52 pm | by Sarah Nightingale, University of California, Riverside | Comments

Researchers have developed a new, more computationally efficient way to process data from GPS to enhance location accuracy from the meter-level down to a few centimeters. The optimization will be used in the development of autonomous vehicles, improved aviation and naval navigation systems, and precision technologies. It will also enable users to access centimeter-level accuracy location data through their mobile phones...

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Lynden Archer, second from left, the William C. Hooey Director and James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering and director of the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, in a classroom with graduate stude

Room-temperature lithium metal battery closer to reality

February 11, 2016 4:47 pm | by Tom Fleischman, Cornell University | Comments

Rechargeable lithium metal batteries have been known for four decades to offer energy storage capabilities far superior to today’s workhorse lithium-ion technology that powers our smartphones and laptops. But these batteries are not in common use today because, when recharged, they spontaneously grow treelike bumps called dendrites on the surface of the negative electrode.

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Exploiting cellular convection in a thick liquid layer to pattern a polymer film Courtesy of Iman Nejati/TU Darmstadt

Bumpy liquid films could simplify fabrication of microlenses

February 11, 2016 4:42 pm | by American Institute of Physics (AIP) | Comments

Have you ever noticed that, when heated, a film of oil in a pan doesn’t remain completely flat? Instead, it forms a wavy pattern that resembles the exterior of an orange. These sorts of deformations inspired a group of researchers at the Technical University of Darmstadt, in Germany, to explore whether they could be used to improve and streamline microfabrication processes.

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Eusociality in Arthropods Dates Back 100 Million Years

February 11, 2016 4:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Preserved in 100-million-year-old amber, the confrontational interaction between extinct ant species indicates that advanced sociality in arthropods was present tens of millions of years earlier than previously thought.

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Silicon Chip with Integrated Laser: Light from a Nanowire

February 11, 2016 1:01 pm | by Technical Univ. of Munich | Comments

Physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a nanolaser, a thousand times thinner than a human hair. Thanks to an ingenious process, the nanowire lasers grow right on a silicon chip, making it possible to produce high-performance photonic components cost-effectively.

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For VR Pioneers, No Rush to Succeed in 2016

February 11, 2016 12:55 pm | by Derrik J. Lang, AP Entertainment Writer | Comments

Palmer Luckey doesn't just want to sell a bunch of virtual reality headsets. He wants buyers to use them every day.

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