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Genetic circuit allows both individual freedom, collective good

April 22, 2013 7:42 am | Comments

Individual freedom and social responsibility may sound like humanistic concepts, but an investigation of the genetic circuitry of bacteria suggests that even the simplest creatures can make difficult choices that strike a balance between selflessness and selfishness.

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Survey: Firms still reluctant to make acquisitions

April 21, 2013 7:02 pm | by PAN PYLAS - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

Companies around the world are still reluctant to go on the acquisition trail even though they are becoming are more confident about the global economy, a survey found Monday. In its half-yearly assessment of the intentions of big companies, accounting and consultancy firm Ernst & Young said the growing optimism has yet to be translated into more investment or corporate deal-making.

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Rocket that will carry cargo ship test launched

April 21, 2013 5:41 pm | by BROCK VERGAKIS - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

A company contracted by NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station successfully launched a rocket on Sunday in a test of its ability to send a cargo ship aloft. About 10 minutes after the launch from Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles declared the test a success after observing a practice payload reach orbit and safely separate from the rocket.

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Israeli official says drones could replace planes

April 21, 2013 1:57 pm | by DANIEL ESTRIN - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

Israel's air force is on track to developing drones that within four to five decades would carry out nearly every battlefield operation executed today by piloted aircraft, a high-ranking Israeli officer told The Associated Press Sunday. The officer, who works in the field of unmanned aerial vehicle intelligence, said Israel is speeding up research and development of such unmanned technologies for air, ground, and naval forces.

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Superstorm Sandy literally shook the United States

April 19, 2013 12:57 pm | Comments

When superstorm Sandy turned and took aim at New York City and Long Island last October, ocean waves hitting each other and the shore rattled the seafloor and much of the United States—shaking detected by seismometers across the country, University of Utah researchers have recently found. These “microseisms” generated by Sandy were detected by Earthscope, a network of 500 portable seismometers.

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Computational physics software supported presidential inauguration

April 19, 2013 12:41 pm | Comments

The Naval Research Laboratory aided both the 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inaugurations with a technology called CT-Analyst. The software modeling tool is designed to provide first responders with a tool that can provides accurate, instantaneous, 3D predictions of chemical, biological, and radiological agent transport in urban settings.

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Test launch of unmanned space rocket delayed

April 19, 2013 10:54 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

A test launch of an unmanned rocket that would eventually help carry supplies to the International Space Station has been rescheduled. NASA says the launch will take place no earlier than 5 p.m. Saturday, with a backup opportunity Sunday.

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Random walks on DNA

April 19, 2013 10:19 am | Comments

Scientists have revealed how a bacterial enzyme has evolved an energy-efficient method to move long distances along DNA. The findings present further insight into the coupling of chemical and mechanical energy by a class of enzymes called helicases, a widely distributed group of proteins, which in human cells are implicated in some cancers.

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Professor identifies proton pathway in photosynthesis

April 19, 2013 8:51 am | Comments

A Purdue University-led team has revealed the proton transfer pathway responsible for a majority of energy storage in photosynthesis. The team used X-ray crystallography to describe the molecular structure of the cytochrome complex isolated from cyanobacteria, the most primitive photosynthetic organism. The findings contribute to the understanding of the function of photosynthesis and that of membrane proteins.

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Scientists spin photons to send light in one direction

April 19, 2013 8:43 am | Comments

Researchers in the U.K. have achieved previously unseen levels of control over the travelling direction of electromagnetic waves. In a recent paper, they have shown how their use of circularly polarized light—light containing spinning photons—and metallic nanostructures achieve a “water wheel” effect to send light waves in a single direction along a metal surface.

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Researchers develop device to mitigate blackouts, prevent equipment damage

April 19, 2013 7:54 am | Comments

A local power failure in Ohio ten years ago caused a series of cascading power failures that resulted in a massive blackout. Such blackouts could be prevented in the future, thanks to a new piece of equipment developed by engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas. The device regulates or limits the amount of excess current that moves through the power grid when a surge occurs.

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Fine bubble structure of bread dough visualized for first time

April 19, 2013 7:45 am | Comments

Baking the perfect loaf of bread is both a science and an art, so researchers are using Canada’s only synchrotron to look at the way bubbles form in bread dough to understand what makes the perfect loaf. Researchers from the University of Manitoba alongside scientists at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron used powerful X-rays on the Biomedical Imaging and Therapy beamline to look carefully at the fine details of dough.

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Report: Blackstone drops out of race to buy Dell

April 18, 2013 11:18 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

There appears to be one less bidder pursuing an acquisition of slumping personal computer maker Dell. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Blackstone Group has retreated from its plans to submit an offer to buy most of Dell Inc.'s outstanding stock for $14.25 per share.

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New solar cell coating could boost efficiency

April 18, 2013 2:44 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Throughout decades of research on solar cells, one formula has been considered an absolute limit to the efficiency of such devices in converting sunlight into electricity: Called the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit, it posits that the ultimate conversion efficiency can never exceed 34% for a single optimized semiconductor junction. Now, researchers have shown that there is a way to blow past that limit.

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Robot hands gain a gentler touch

April 18, 2013 12:10 pm | by Carolina Perry, Harvard University | Comments

What use is a hand without nerves, that can't tell what it's holding? What use is a hand that lifts a can of soda to your lips, but inadvertently tips or crushes it in the process? Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a very inexpensive tactile sensor for robotic hands that is sensitive enough to turn a brute machine into a dextrous manipulator.

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