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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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This is a branch of Dracaena marginata. Courtesy of Linnea Hesse

The inside story: MRI imaging shows how plants can inspire new engineering materials

July 1, 2015 10:39 am | by Society for Experimental Biology | Comments

3-D imaging of plant branching structures is allowing researchers to see how exactly their internal tissues respond under stress, giving new insights into the design of potential new engineering materials, such as those used in aircraft. Researchers have developed a new method to visualize the junction between branches and stems. The method uses MRI to study how vascular tissue within the ramifications deforms under stress and strain.

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A fresh CNF based microwave silicon transistor chip. After 3 weeks of putting it in a woodpile, the chip was partially degraded with the help of fungi. Courtesy of Jung-Hun Seo, Shaoqin Gong and Zhenqiang Ma/University of Wisconsin-Madison

Biodegradable, flexible silicon transistors developed

July 1, 2015 10:26 am | by Zhengzheng Zhang, American Institute of Physics | Comments

Researchers have come up with a new solution to alleviate the environmental burden of discarded electronics. They have demonstrated the feasibility of making microwave biodegradable thin-film transistors from a transparent, flexible biodegradable substrate made from inexpensive wood, called cellulose nanofibrillated fiber (CNF). This work opens the door for green, low-cost, portable electronic devices in future.

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Subterranean objects influence the tick rate of local clocks that are located above the Earth’s surface. New lava filling a magma chamber beneath a volcano makes a clock located above that volcano tick more slowly than a clock that is located further away

Monitoring volcanoes with ground-based atomic clocks

July 1, 2015 10:07 am | by University of Zurich | Comments

An international team led by scientists from the University of Zurich finds that high-precision atomic clocks can be used to monitor volcanoes and potentially improve predictions of future eruptions. In addition, a ground-based network of atomic clocks could monitor the reaction of the Earth’s crust to solid Earth tides.

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New method can make cheaper solar energy storage

July 1, 2015 7:46 am | by EPFL | Comments

Storing solar energy as hydrogen is a promising way for developing comprehensive renewable energy systems. EPFL scientists have now developed a simple, unconventional method to fabricate high-quality, efficient solar panels for direct solar hydrogen production with low cost.

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NASA missions monitor a waking black hole

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by NASA | Comments

NASA's Swift satellite detected a rising tide of high-energy X-rays from the constellation Cygnus on June 15, just before 2:32 p.m. EDT. The outburst came from V404 Cygni, a binary system located about 8,000 light-years away that contains a black hole. Every couple of decades the black hole fires up in an outburst of high-energy light, becoming an X-ray nova. Until the Swift detection, it had been slumbering since 1989.

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Water used for hydraulic fracturing varies widely across United States

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by American Geophysical Union | Comments

The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new study.

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Scientists propose new model of mysterious barrier to fusion known as the 'density limit'

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory | Comments

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a detailed model of the source of a puzzling limitation on fusion reactions. The findings complete and confirm previous PPPL research and could lead to steps to overcome the barrier if the model proves consistent with experimental data. 

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Chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Carnegie Mellon University | Comments

Carnegie Mellon University chemists have developed two novel methods to characterize 3-dimensional macroporous hydrogels -- materials that hold great promise for developing "smart" responsive materials that can be used for catalysts, chemical detectors, tissue engineering scaffolds and absorbents for carbon capture.

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New model of cosmic stickiness favors 'Big Rip' demise of universe

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Vanderbilt University | Comments

The universe can be a very sticky place, but just how sticky is a matter of debate. That is because for decades cosmologists have had trouble reconciling the classic notion of viscosity based on the laws of thermodynamics with Einstein's general theory of relativity. However, a team from Vanderbilt University has come up with a fundamentally new mathematical formulation of the problem that appears to bridge this long-standing gap.

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Does radiation from X-rays and CT scans really cause cancer?

July 1, 2015 12:00 am | by Loyola University Health System | Comments

In recent years, there has been widespread media coverage of studies purporting to show that radiation from X-rays, CT scans and other medical imaging causes cancer. But such studies have serious flaws, including their reliance on an unproven statistical model.

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Growing cell membranes are seen in this time lapse sequence (numbers correspond to minutes of duration). Courtesy of Michael Hardy, UC San Diego

Scientists create synthetic membranes that grow like living cells

June 30, 2015 11:34 am | by UC San Diego | Comments

Chemists and biologists have succeeded in designing and synthesizing an artificial cell membrane capable of sustaining continual growth, just like a living cell. Their achievement will allow scientists to more accurately replicate the behavior of living cell membranes, which until now have been modeled only by synthetic cell membranes without the ability to add new phospholipids.

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Congenital heart experts from Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital have successfully integrated two common imaging techniques to produce a three-dimensional anatomic model of a patient’s heart. The 3-D model printing of patients’ hearts has bec

First 3-D heart printed using multiple imaging techniques

June 30, 2015 11:18 am | by Spectrum Health | Comments

Congenital heart experts have successfully integrated two common imaging techniques to produce a three-dimensional anatomic model of a patient’s heart. This is the first time the integration of computed tomography (CT) and three-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography (3DTEE) has successfully been used for printing a hybrid 3-D model of a patient’s heart.

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 A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real time and under real operating conditions. A team of scientists used a newly developed reaction cha

X-Rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time

June 30, 2015 11:03 am | by Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

A new technique reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real time and under real operating conditions. Scientists used a newly developed reaction chamber to combine x-ray absorption spectroscopy and electron microscopy for an unprecedented portrait of a common chemical reaction. The results demonstrate a powerful operando technique that may revolutionize research on catalysts, batteries, fuel cells...

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By focusing lasers onto silicon buried under a clear layer of silicon dioxide, the group has perfected a way to reliably blast tiny cavities in the solid silicon. This creates extremely high pressure around the explosion site and forms the new phases.

Making new materials with micro-explosions

June 30, 2015 10:49 am | by Australian National University | Comments

Scientists have made exotic new materials by creating laser-induced micro-explosions in silicon, the common computer chip material. The new technique could lead to the simple creation and manufacture of superconductors or high-efficiency solar cells and light sensors. By focusing lasers onto silicon buried under a clear layer of silicon dioxide, the group has perfected a way to reliably blast tiny cavities in the solid silicon.

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Computer simulations are layered over a picture of a time trial rider. Riders can save around six seconds if the team car maintains a gap of five meters, instead of the 10 meters laid down by the regulations. Courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology

Aerodynamic effects can save tens of seconds in cycling time trials

June 30, 2015 10:35 am | by Eindhoven University of Technology | Comments

Will next Saturday’s Tour de France prologue get the winner it deserves? New aerodynamic research shows that riders in a time trial can save vital seconds by riding closer to the following team car. Over a short distance like the prologue of the Tour de France, that can save as much as six seconds: enough to make the difference between winning and losing. On longer events like world championships, the effect can add up to tens of seconds.

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