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Japan probe finds miswiring of Boeing 787 battery

February 20, 2013 6:49 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

A probe into the overheating of a lithium ion battery in an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 found it was improperly wired, Japan's Transport Ministry said Wednesday. The Transport Safety Board said in a report that the battery of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit was incorrectly connected to the main battery that overheated, although a protective valve would have prevented power from the APU from doing damage.

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Researchers develop tool for reading the minds of mice

February 19, 2013 3:41 pm | Comments

If you want to read a mouse's mind, it takes some fluorescent protein and a tiny microscope implanted in the rodent's head. Stanford University scientists have demonstrated a technique for observing hundreds of neurons firing in the brain of a live mouse, in real time, and have linked that activity to long-term information storage. The work could provide a useful tool for studying new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

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Mimicking nature in engineering

February 19, 2013 3:31 pm | Comments

Lizards and frogs are about to take up residence in the laboratories of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering. The National Science Foundation has awarded engineers and scientists at Virginia Tech a little over a half a million dollars to investigate the water entry and exit problems that are apparent in engineering mechanics based on a better understanding of biology.

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Researchers create semiconductor "nano-shish-kebabs"

February 19, 2013 3:16 pm | Comments

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new type of nanoscale structure that resembles a “nano-shish-kebab,” consisting of multiple 2D nanosheets that appear to be impaled upon a 1D nanowire. However, the nanowire and nanosheets are actually a single, 3D structure consisting of a seamless series of germanium sulfide (GeS) crystals. The structure holds promise for use in the creation of new, 3D technologies.

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Judge approves Transocean's $1B spill settlement

February 19, 2013 12:05 pm | by MICHAEL KUNZELMAN - Associated Press | Comments

A U.S. judge on Tuesday approved Swiss-based Transocean Ltd.'s agreement with the Justice Department to pay $1 billion in civil penalties for its role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico—the nation's worst offshore oil spill. Last week, a different judge approved Transocean's criminal settlement with the federal government. The company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and will pay $400 million in criminal penalties.

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Sanofi says FDA starts review of diabetes drug

February 19, 2013 11:45 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

French drugmaker Sanofi said Monday the Food and Drug Administration is starting a review of its once-a-day diabetes treatment lixisenatide. Lixisenatide is a treatment for type 2 diabetes in adults. It works by increasing the body's insulin production and is part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists.

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Production process doubles speed, efficiency of flexible electronics

February 19, 2013 10:44 am | Comments

Stretched-out clothing might not be a great practice for laundry day, but in the case of microprocessor manufacture, stretching out the atomic structure of the silicon in the critical components of a device can be a good way to increase a processor's performance.

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Researchers coat spinal polymer implants with bioactive film

February 19, 2013 9:29 am | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have, for the first time, successfully coated polymer implants with a bioactive film. The discovery should improve the success rate of such implants. The polymer used in these implants, called PEEK, does not bond well with bone or other tissues in the body. This can result in the implant rubbing against surrounding tissues, which can lead to medical complications and the need for additional surgeries.

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New X-ray tool proves timing is everything

February 19, 2013 9:17 am | Comments

With SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser, timing is everything. Its pulses are designed to explore atomic-scale processes that are measured in femtoseconds. Determining the instant in time at which the laser strikes a sample, either by itself or in concert with another laser pulse, can be vital to the success of an experiment.

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Artificial platelets could treat injured soldiers on the battlefield

February 19, 2013 9:04 am | Comments

When it comes to healing the terrible wounds of war, success may hinge on the first blood clot—the one that begins forming on the battlefield right after an injury. Researchers exploring the complex stream of cellular signals produced by the body in response to a traumatic injury believe the initial response—formation of a blood clot—may control subsequent healing. Using that information, they're developing new biomaterials, including artificial blood platelets laced with regulatory chemicals that could be included in an injector device the size of an iPhone.

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Chip cleans up common flaws in amateur photographs

February 19, 2013 8:28 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | Comments

Your smartphone snapshots could be instantly converted into professional-looking photographs with just the touch of a button, thanks to a processor chip developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The chip can perform tasks such as creating more realistic or enhanced lighting in a shot without destroying the scene's ambience, in just a fraction of a second. The technology could be integrated with any smartphone, tablet computer, or digital camera.

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Professor brings access to previously untapped higher frequency bandwidth

February 19, 2013 8:26 am | Comments

Society's increasing technology use and data consumption is causing an information bottleneck, congesting airwave frequencies and sending engineers searching for access to higher capacity bandwidths. Until now, no technology has existed to tap into and successfully use these frequencies, which span 30 to 100 GHz.

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Water on the moon: It's been there all along

February 19, 2013 8:10 am | Comments

Traces of water have been detected within the crystalline structure of mineral samples from the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions, according to a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues. The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a magma ocean on a mostly molten early moon. The new findings indicate that the early moon was wet and that water there was not substantially lost during the moon's formation.

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New analysis links ozone levels, cardiac arrest

February 19, 2013 7:58 am | Comments

Researchers at Rice University have found a direct correlation between out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and levels of air pollution and ozone. Their work has prompted more CPR training in at-risk communities.

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Engineering cells for more efficient biofuel production

February 19, 2013 7:47 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

In the search for renewable alternatives to gasoline, heavy alcohols such as isobutanol are promising candidates. Not only do they contain more energy than ethanol, but they are also more compatible with existing gasoline-based infrastructure. For isobutanol to become practical, however, scientists need a way to reliably produce huge quantities of it from renewable sources. Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemical engineers and biologists have now devised a way to dramatically boost isobutanol production in yeast, which naturally make it in small amounts.

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