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Artificial muscle can “remember” movements

November 17, 2014 11:07 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Cambridge have developed artificial muscles which can learn and recall specific movements, the first time that motion control and memory have been combined in a synthetic material. The muscles, made from smooth plastic, could eventually be used in a applications where mimicking the movement of natural muscle would be an advantage, such as robotics, aerospace, exoskeletons and biomedical applications.

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Chemical in coffee may help prevent obesity-related disease

November 17, 2014 10:33 am | by James Hataway, Univ. of Georgia | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Georgia have discovered that a chemical compound commonly found in coffee may help prevent some of the damaging effects of obesity. In a recently published paper published, scientists found that chlorogenic acid, or CGA, significantly reduced insulin resistance and accumulation of fat in the livers of mice who were fed a high-fat diet.

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Spiral laser beam creates quantum whirlpool

November 17, 2014 10:24 am | by Australian National Univ. | Comments

Physicists at Australian National Univ. have engineered a spiral laser beam and used it to create a whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons. The ability to control polariton flows in this way could aid the development of completely novel technology to link conventional electronics with new laser and fiber-based technologies.

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Efficient method developed to measure residual stress in 3-D printed parts

November 17, 2014 10:08 am | by Kenneth Ma, LLNL | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed an efficient method to measure residual stress in metal parts produced by powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing. This 3-D printing process produces metal parts layer by layer using a high-energy laser beam to fuse metal powder particles.

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Study suggests genetic link for male homosexuality

November 17, 2014 10:01 am | by Lindsey Tanner - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

A large study of gay brothers adds to evidence that genes influence men's chances of being homosexual, but the results aren't strong enough to prove it. Some scientists believe several genes might affect sexual orientation. Researchers who led the new study of nearly 800 gay brothers say their results bolster previous evidence pointing to genes on the X chromosome.

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Hand transplant research sheds light on touch

November 17, 2014 8:52 am | by Associated Press, Lauran Neergaard | Comments

Recovery of feeling can gradually improve for years after a hand transplant, suggests a small study that points to changes in the brain, not just the new hand, as a reason. Research presented at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience sheds light on how the brain processes the sense of touch, and adapts when it goes awry. The work could offer clues to rehabilitation after stroke, brain injury, maybe one day even spinal cord injury.

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New method for methanol processing could reduce carbon dioxide emissions

November 17, 2014 8:33 am | by Matthew Chin, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a more efficient way to turn methanol into useful chemicals, such as liquid fuels, and that would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Methanol, which is a product of natural gas, is well-known as a common “feedstock” chemical.

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Lighting the way for future electronic devices

November 17, 2014 8:15 am | by Univ. of Southampton | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Southampton have demonstrated how glass can be manipulated to create electronic devices that will be smaller, faster and consume less power. The researchhas the potential to allow faster, more efficient electronic devices; further shrinking the size of our phones, tablets and computers and reducing their energy consumption by turning waste heat into power.

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Researchers discern the shapes of high-order Brownian motions

November 17, 2014 7:57 am | by Case Western Reserve Univ. | Comments

For the first time, scientists have vividly mapped the shapes and textures of high-order modes of Brownian motions—in this case, the collective macroscopic movement of molecules in microdisk resonators—researchers at Case Western Reserve Univ. report. To do this, they used a record-setting scanning optical interferometry technique.

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Motion-induced quicksand

November 17, 2014 7:45 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

From a mechanical perspective, granular materials are stuck between a rock and a fluid place, with behavior resembling neither a solid nor a liquid. Think of sand through an hourglass: As grains funnel through, they appear to flow like water, but once deposited, they form a relatively stable mound, much like a solid.

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Heart stents may require longer blood thinner use

November 16, 2014 5:00 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Millions of people with stents that prop open clogged heart arteries may need anti-clotting drugs much longer than the one year doctors recommend now. A large study found that continuing for another 18 months lowers the risk of heart attacks, clots and other problems. Even quitting after 30 months made a heart attack more likely, raising a question of when it's ever safe to stop.

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LLNL, IBM to deliver next-generation supercomputer

November 14, 2014 11:01 am | by Lynda L. Seaver, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) announced a contract with IBM to deliver a next-generation supercomputer in 2017. The system, to be called Sierra, will serve the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program. Procurement of Sierra is part of a DOE-sponsored Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore national labs to accelerate the development of high-performance computing.

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Smartphone app to cut risk of power outages

November 14, 2014 10:45 am | by Carl Blesch, Rutgers Univ. | Comments

An easy-to-use smartphone app developed by Rutgers Univ. engineers will help keep the lights on in a heavily wooded New Jersey suburb that suffered widespread power outages during Superstorm Sandy. The smartphone app walks users through documenting hazards, such as branches dangling perilously close to wires or poles cracking and leaning.

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Plants have little wiggle room to survive drought

November 14, 2014 10:27 am | by Stuart Wolpert, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

Plants all over the world are more sensitive to drought than many experts realized, according to a new study by scientists at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles and China’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. The research will improve predictions of which plant species will survive the increasingly intense droughts associated with global climate change.

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New form of crystalline order holds promises for thermoelectric applications

November 14, 2014 9:36 am | by Vanderbilt Univ. | Comments

Since the 1850s scientists have known that crystalline materials are organized into fourteen different basic lattice structures. However, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt Univ. and Oak Ridge National Laboratory now reports that it has discovered an entirely new form of crystalline order that simultaneously exhibits both crystal and polycrystalline properties, which they describe as "interlaced crystals."

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