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Superfast computers a step closer to reality

March 23, 2015 9:03 am | by Univ. of Surrey | Comments

The team demonstrated a quantum on/off switching time of about a millionth of a millionth of a second—the fastest-ever quantum switch to be achieved with silicon and over a thousand times faster than previous attempts. The team will  investigate how to connect quantum objects to each other, creating the bigger building blocks needed for quantum computers.

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Satellite imagery can aid development projects

March 23, 2015 8:52 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Projects that target aid toward villages and rural areas in the developing world often face time-consuming challenges, even at the most basic level of figuring out where the most appropriate sites are for pilot programs or deployment of new systems such as solar-power for regions that have no access to electricity. Often, even the sizes and locations of villages are poorly mapped, so time-consuming field studies are needed.

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Sewage could be a source of valuable metals, critical elements

March 23, 2015 8:42 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Poop could be a goldmine, literally. Surprisingly, treated solid waste contains gold, silver and other metals, as well as rare elements such as palladium and vanadium that are used in electronics and alloys. Now researchers are looking at identifying the metals that are getting flushed and how they can be recovered. This could decrease the need for mining and reduce the unwanted release of metals into the environment.

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New membranes deliver clean water more efficiently

March 23, 2015 8:31 am | by Univ. of Melbourne | Comments

Researchers from the Melbourne School of Engineering at the Univ. of Melbourne, in conjunction with CSIRO, have developed new membranes or microfilters that will result in clean water in a much more energy-efficient manner. Published in Advanced Materials, the new membranes will supply clean water for use in desalination and water purification applications.

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Squid-inspired invisibility stickers to protect soldiers

March 23, 2015 8:21 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Squid are the ultimate camouflage artists, blending almost flawlessly with their backgrounds so that unsuspecting prey can't detect them. Using a protein that's key to this process, scientists have designed "invisibility stickers" that could one day help soldiers disguise themselves, even when sought by enemies with tough-to-fool infrared cameras.

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Twisted light increases efficiency of quantum cryptography systems

March 23, 2015 8:03 am | by Leonor Sierra, Univ. of Rochester | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Rochester and their collaborators have developed a way to transfer 2.05 bits per photon by using “twisted light.” This remarkable achievement is possible because the researchers used the orbital angular momentum of the photons to encode information, rather than the more commonly used polarization of light.

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Processing tech converts packing peanuts to battery components

March 23, 2015 7:53 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Researchers have shown how to convert waste packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that outperform conventional graphite electrodes, representing an environmentally friendly approach to reuse the waste.

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FDA approves genetically engineered potatoes, apples

March 20, 2015 2:06 pm | by Mary Clare Jalonick And Keith Ridler, Associated Press | Comments

Potatoes that won't bruise and apples that won't brown are a step closer to U.S. grocery store aisles. The federal Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the genetically engineered foods, saying they are "as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts."

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Self-powered sensors that communicate could warn of bridge, building defects

March 20, 2015 10:28 am | by Tom Oswald, Media Communications, Michigan State Univ. | Comments

Imagine a bridge or a dam that could sense a structural defect before it happens, diagnose what the problem will be and alert the authorities before something bad happens. Three Michigan State Univ. researchers are developing a new technology known as substrate computing. This will allow sensing, communication and diagnostic computing, all within the substrate of a structure, using energy harvested from the structure itself.

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Bioinformatics tool for metagenome analysis

March 20, 2015 10:07 am | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a new method for DNA analysis of microbial communities such as those found in the ocean, the soil and our own guts. Metagenomics is the study of entire microbial communities using genomics.

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Lack of effective timing signals could hamper IoT development

March 20, 2015 8:30 am | by Chad Boutin, NIST | Comments

Our fast-approaching future of driverless cars and “smart” electrical grids will depend on billions of linked devices making decisions and communicating with split-second precision to prevent highway collisions and power outages. But a new report released by NIST warns that this future could be stalled by our lack of effective methods to marry computers and networks with timing systems.

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Mapping redox switches in cyanobacteria advances use as biofuel

March 20, 2015 8:19 am | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Comments

Chemical reactions involving reduction and oxidation, or redox, play a key role in regulating photosynthesis in plants and metabolism in animals and humans, keeping things running on an even keel. Now, in a recently published study, a team of scientists shed light on the role redox plays in cyanobacteria, tiny organisms with the potential to produce a lot of energy.

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U.N. warns world could have 40% water shortfall by 2030

March 20, 2015 8:15 am | by Katy Daigle, AP Environment Writer, Associated Press | Comments

The world could suffer a 40% shortfall in water in just 15 years unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource, a U.N. report warned Friday. Many underground water reserves are already running low, while rainfall patterns are predicted to become more erratic with climate change.

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Massive amounts of fresh water, glacial melt pouring into Gulf of Alaska

March 20, 2015 8:00 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | Comments

Incessant mountain rain, snow and melting glaciers in a comparatively small region of land that hugs the southern Alaska coast and empties fresh water into the Gulf of Alaska would create the sixth largest coastal river in the world if it emerged as a single stream, a recent study shows.

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Theoretical study suggests huge lava tubes could exist on moon

March 20, 2015 7:37 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Lava tubes large enough to house cities could be structurally stable on the moon, according to a theoretical study. The volcanic features are an important target for future human space exploration because they could provide shelter from cosmic radiation, meteorite impacts and temperature extremes.

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