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Study will test survivors' blood to treat Ebola

November 18, 2014 11:00 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

A coalition of companies and aid groups announced plans Tuesday to test experimental drugs and collect blood plasma from Ebola survivors to treat new victims of the disease in West Africa. Plasma from survivors contains antibodies, substances the immune system makes to fight the virus.

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Warmth, flowing water on early Mars were episodic

November 18, 2014 11:46 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

Ample evidence of ancient rivers, streams and lakes make it clear that Mars was at some point warm enough for liquid water to flow on its surface. While that may conjure up images of a tropical Martian paradise, new research published in Nature Geoscience throws a bit of cold water on that notion.

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Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang

November 18, 2014 10:34 am | by Laura Gallagher, Imperial College London | Comments

New research by a team of European physicists could explain why the universe did not collapse immediately after the Big Bang. Studies of the Higgs particle have suggested that the production of Higgs particles during the accelerating expansion of the very early universe (inflation) should have led to instability and collapse.

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Scientists reveal weak spots in Ebola’s defenses

November 18, 2014 9:27 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | Comments

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have identified weak spots on the surface of Ebola virus that are targeted by the antibodies in ZMapp, the experimental drug cocktail administered to several patients during the recent Ebola outbreak. The study provides a revealing 3-D picture of how the ZMapp antibodies bind to Ebola virus.

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New acoustic sensor developed for chemical, biological detection

November 18, 2014 9:14 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Testing for ovarian cancer or the presence of a particular chemical could be almost as simple as distinguishing an F sharp from a B flat, thanks to a new microscopic acoustic device that has been dramatically improved by scientists at Argonne National Laboratory. The device, known as a surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor, detects frequency changes in waves that propagate through its crystalline structure.

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As temperatures rise, soil will relinquish less carbon to atmosphere

November 18, 2014 8:26 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Here’s another reason to pay close attention to microbes: Current climate models probably overestimate the amount of carbon that will be released from soil into the atmosphere as global temperatures rise, according to research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The findings are from a new computer model that explores the feedbacks between soil carbon and climate change.

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Two sensors in one

November 18, 2014 8:10 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemists have developed new nanoparticles that can simultaneously perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluorescent imaging in living animals. Such particles could help scientists to track specific molecules produced in the body, monitor a tumor’s environment, or determine whether drugs have successfully reached their targets.

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Chemical disguise transforms RNAi drug delivery

November 18, 2014 7:57 am | by Heather Buschman, Univ. of California, San Diego | Comments

Small pieces of synthetic RNA trigger a RNA interference (RNAi) response that holds great therapeutic potential to treat a number of diseases, especially cancer and pandemic viruses. The problem is delivery: It’s extremely difficult to get RNAi drugs inside the cells in which they are needed.

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Researchers create, control spin waves

November 18, 2014 7:50 am | by James Devitt, New York Univ. | Comments

A team of New York Univ. and Univ. of Barcelona physicists has developed a method to control the movements occurring within magnetic materials, which are used to store and carry information. The breakthrough could simultaneously bolster information processing while reducing the energy necessary to do so.

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Study: Polar bears disappearing from key region

November 17, 2014 5:01 pm | by Seth Borenstein - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | Comments

A key polar bear population fell nearly by half in the past decade, a new U.S.-Canada study found, with scientists seeing a dramatic increase in young cubs starving and dying. Researchers chiefly blame shrinking sea ice from global warming. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Environment Canada captured, tagged and released polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010.

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Advance in cryopreservation could change management of world blood supplies

November 17, 2014 3:58 pm | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Engineers at Oregon State Univ. have identified a method to rapidly prepare frozen red blood cells for transfusions, which may offer an important new way to manage the world’s blood supply. It’s already possible to cryopreserve human red blood cells in the presence of 40% glycerol, but is rarely done because of the time-consuming process to thaw and remove the glycerol from the blood.

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Mixing light at the nanoscale

November 17, 2014 3:46 pm | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | Comments

The race to make computer components smaller and faster and use less power is pushing the limits of the properties of electrons in a material. Photonic systems could eventually replace electronic ones, but the fundamentals of computation, mixing two inputs into a single output, currently require too much space and power when done with light.

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Graphene/nanotube hybrid benefits flexible solar cells

November 17, 2014 3:37 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. scientists have invented a novel cathode that may make cheap, flexible dye-sensitized solar cells practical. The Rice laboratory of materials scientist Jun Lou created the new cathode, one of the two electrodes in batteries, from nanotubes that are seamlessly bonded to graphene and replaces the expensive and brittle platinum-based materials often used in earlier versions.

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Huge solar plant lags in early production

November 17, 2014 3:01 pm | by Michael R. Blood - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

The largest solar power plant of its type in the world isn't producing as much energy as planned. One of the reasons is as basic as it gets: The sun isn't shining as much as expected. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened in February, with operators saying it would produce enough electricity to power a city of 140,000 people.

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Solar-friendly form of silicon shines

November 17, 2014 11:16 am | by Carnegie Institute | Comments

Silicon is the second-most-abundant element in the Earth's crust. When purified, it takes on a diamond structure, which is essential to modern electronic devices—carbon is to biology as silicon is to technology. A team of Carnegie scientists has synthesized an entirely new form of silicon, one that promises even greater future applications.

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