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The Lead

Simple Urine Test Could Diagnose HCV

November 17, 2015 | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor | Comments

This method could significantly reduce the time and cost it takes to accurately diagnose the disease, thanks to a technology known as an enzyme immunoassay.

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R&D Daily

Research exploits extraordinary properties of graphene

November 30, 2015 10:52 am | by Univ. of Exeter | Comments

Innovative new research led by the Univ. of Exeter has demonstrated how the extraordinary properties of graphene can be exploited to create artificial structures that can be used to control and manipulate electromagnetic radiation over a wide range of wavelengths.


Coming to a monitor near you

November 30, 2015 7:33 am | by Sarah Yang, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

An emerging class of atomically thin materials known as monolayer semiconductors has generated a great deal of buzz in the world of materials science. Monolayers hold promise in the development of transparent LED displays, ultra-high efficiency solar cells, photo detectors and nanoscale transistors. Their downside? The films are notoriously riddled with defects, killing their performance.


Doping powers new thermoelectric material

November 30, 2015 7:26 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

In the production of power, nearly two-thirds of energy input from fossil fuels is lost as waste heat. Industry is hungry for materials that can convert this heat to useful electricity, but a good thermoelectric material is hard to find. Increasing the efficiency of thermoelectric materials is essential if they are to be used commercially.


Tiny octopods catalyze bright ideas

November 30, 2015 7:19 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Nanoscale octopods that do double duty as catalysts and plasmonic sensors are lighting a path toward more efficient industrial processes, according to a Rice Univ. scientist. Catalysts are substances that speed up chemical reactions and are essential to many industries, including petroleum, food processing and pharmaceuticals. Common catalysts include palladium and platinum, both found in cars’ catalytic converters.


Leaders of warming Earth meet in Paris to cut emissions

November 30, 2015 7:00 am | by Seth Borenstein and Angela Charlton, Associated Press | Comments

Addressing the twin threats of global warming and extremist violence, the largest group of world leaders ever to stand together kicked off two weeks of high-stakes climate talks outside Paris on Monday, saying that by striking an ambitious deal to cut emissions they can show terrorists what countries can achieve when they are united.


Scientists Observe Hungry Black Hole Eating Star

November 27, 2015 11:55 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In a galaxy 300 million light-years away, a star, roughly the size of the sun, felt the overwhelming gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole. It was sucked in, swallowed by the void, before being ejected as jets of matter, traveling nearly the speed of light.


Star’s Mysterious Dimming Likely Caused by Comets

November 27, 2015 9:57 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

About one month ago, a group of scientists floated the idea that the dimming of star KIC 8462852 could be caused by an orbiting megastructure of alien origin. However, there were more promising, natural theories. Now, a new study using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reinforces the theory the dimming is caused by a swarm of comets.


Tech Tats: The Future of Wearables?

November 25, 2015 12:05 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A forlorn girl sits at the bottom of a staircase in her household. An adult comes by with a small plastic case, opening it to reveal a rectangle sheet. The adult applies the sheet to the girl’s arm and holds a cloth over it. The cloth is pulled away and a small circuit board-like array with glowing green dots is stuck to the girl’s deltoid. The adult pulls out her smartphone, where the girl’s vitals are displayed.  


Dr. Computer, You’re Wanted in Couples Therapy

November 25, 2015 11:49 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

A team from the university’s Viterbi School of Engineering and the Univ. of Utah designed a computer algorithm that used speech-processing techniques to break down recordings from marriage counseling sessions into acoustic features. Impressively, the algorithm was capable of predicting whether a couple’s relationship would better or worsen with nearly 79% accuracy.


Launching into the Aurora Borealis

November 25, 2015 11:44 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

NASA, this winter, will launch two sounding rockets through the Northern Lights in Norway to study what is known as a cusp aurora, when “energetic particles are accelerated downward into the atmosphere directly from the solar wind—that is, the constant outward flow of solar material from the sun,” according to NASA.


Will we have to rewrite Einstein’s theory of general relativity?

November 25, 2015 11:38 am | by The Conversation | Comments

Einstein famously labored hard to create the theory of general relativity, but it is less well known that he also helped to launch quantum mechanics, which he didn’t much care for. These two views of the world are the very foundation stones of modern physics – without them we would not have things such as space travel, medical imaging, GPS systems or nuclear energy.


Anti-seismic bricks to improve buildings’ response to earthquakes

November 25, 2015 11:31 am | by Polytechnic Univ. of Valencia | Comments

Sisbrick is a new class of earthquake-resistant building materials that seismically isolates partition walls from the main building structure, significantly reducing the tension between these two elements and, therefore, the damage incurred.


Next-generation fuel cells are ready for low-emission electricity production

November 25, 2015 11:13 am | by VTT | Comments

Researchers are developing a new-generation, long-life fuel cell system offering efficiency higher than that of competing technologies. The project will result in new, energy-efficient and commercially viable applications.


Biologists Induce Flatworms to Grow Heads, Brains of Other Species

November 25, 2015 11:00 am | by Tufts Univ. | Comments

Biologists have succeeded in inducing one species of flatworm to grow heads and brains characteristic of another species of flatworm without altering genomic sequence. The work reveals physiological circuits as a new kind of epigenetics – information existing outside of genomic sequence – that determines large-scale anatomy.


Closing the loop on an HIV escape mechanism

November 25, 2015 9:14 am | by University of Delaware | Comments

For the past three and a half years, a team of researchers from six universities has been working to uncover new information about a protein that regulates HIV’s capability to hijack a cell and start replicating. Their findings point to a new avenue for developing potential strategies to thwart the virus.



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