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2014 warmest year on record

January 20, 2015 8:37 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | Comments

For the third time in a decade, the globe sizzled to the hottest year on record, federal scientists announced. Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA calculated that in 2014 the world had its hottest year in 135 years of record-keeping. Earlier, the Japanese weather agency and an independent group out of UC Berkeley also measured 2014 as the hottest on record.

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“Microcapsules” have potential to repair damage caused by osteoarthritis

January 20, 2015 8:29 am | by Queen Mary Univ. of London | Comments

A new “microcapsule” treatment delivery method developed by researchers at Queen Mary Univ. of London could reduce inflammation in cartilage affected by osteoarthritis and reverse damage to tissue. A protein molecule called C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), which occurs naturally in the body, is known to reduce inflammation and aid in the repair of damaged tissue.

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Self-destructive effects of magnetically doped ferromagnetic topological insulators

January 20, 2015 8:19 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

The discovery of "topologically protected" electrical conductivity on the surface of some materials whose bulk interior acts as an insulator was among the most sensational advances in the last decade of condensed matter physics, with predictions of numerous unusual electronic states and new potential applications. But many of these predicted phenomena have yet to be observed, until now.

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System encourages creativity, makes robot design fun

January 20, 2015 8:01 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | Comments

A new cardboard-robotic toolkit allows children to create custom robots they control wirelessly with hand gestures without formal education in programming or electronics. The system, called HandiMate, uses motorized "joint modules" equipped with wireless communicators and microcontrollers. Children create robots by using Velcro strips to attach the modules to any number of everyday materials and objects.

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New laser could upgrade the images in tomorrow’s technology

January 20, 2015 7:23 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | Comments

A new semiconductor laser developed at Yale Univ. has the potential to significantly improve the imaging quality of the next generation of high-tech microscopes, laser projectors, photo lithography, holography and biomedical imaging. Based on a chaotic cavity laser, the technology combines the brightness of traditional lasers with the lower image corruption of light-emitting diodes.

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Flu vaccine 23% effective

January 16, 2015 2:04 pm | by Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

As predicted, this year's flu vaccine is doing a pretty crummy job. It's only 23% effective, primarily because it doesn't include the bug that is making most people sick, according to a government study released today. That's one of the worst performances in the last decade, since U.S. health officials started routinely tracking how well vaccines work. In the best flu seasons, the vaccines were 50 to 60% effective.

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First critical-care transport helicopter simulator for flight nurse training

January 16, 2015 1:51 pm | by Case Western Reserve Univ. | Comments

Acute care nurse practitioner students, specializing in flight nursing at Case Western Reserve Univ., will soon be training in the nation’s first state-of-the-art simulator built in an actual helicopter. The simulator creates the sense of treating critically injured patients from takeoff to landing. The helicopter simulator was installed at the university’s Cedar Avenue Service Center.

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New genetic clues found in fragile X syndrome

January 16, 2015 1:40 pm | by Julia Evangelou Strait, Senior Medical Sciences Writer, Washington Univ., St. Louis | Comments

Scientists have gained new insight into fragile X syndrome by studying the case of a person without the disorder, but with two of its classic symptoms. In patients with fragile X, a key gene is completely disabled, eliminating a protein that regulates electrical signals in the brain and causing a host of behavioral, neurological and physical symptoms.

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Scientists discover better metal contact that improved 2-D transistor performance

January 16, 2015 1:23 pm | by Curt Richter, NIST | Comments

2-D materials, such as molybdenum-disulfide, are attracting much attention for future electronic and photonic applications ranging from high-performance computing to flexible and pervasive sensors and optoelectronics. But in order for their promise to be realized, scientists need to understand how the performance of devices made with 2-D materials is affected by different kinds of metal electrical contacts.

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Wrangling over pesticide ingredients comes to a head in 2015

January 16, 2015 1:06 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Consumer advocates are fighting a new rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency that aims to address concerns over “inert” ingredients, including fragrances and dyes, in pesticides for non-food use. They say the proposal, which could become final this year, doesn’t go far enough to protect human health and the environment from the ingredients’ potential impacts.

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How is oil cheap when we use so much?

January 16, 2015 12:16 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, Associated Press | Comments

The world burns enough oil-derived fuels to drain an Olympic-sized swimming pool four times every minute. Global consumption has never been higher—and is rising. Yet, the price of a barrel of oil has fallen by more than half over the past six months because the globe, experts say, is awash in oil.

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Solving an organic semiconductor mystery

January 16, 2015 12:07 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Organic semiconductors are prized for light-emitting diodes, field effect transistors and photovoltaic cells. As they can be printed from solution, they provide a highly scalable, cost-effective alternative to silicon-based devices. Uneven performances, however, have been a persistent problem.

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New “triggered-release” mechanism could improve drug delivery

January 16, 2015 11:58 am | by Tom Frew, International Press Officer, Univ. of Warwick | Comments

More efficient medical treatments could be developed thanks to a new method for triggering the rearrangement of chemical particles. The new method, developed at the Univ. of Warwick, uses two “parent” nanoparticles that are designed to interact only when in proximity to each other and trigger the release of drug molecules contained within both.

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Nanoparticles for clean drinking water

January 16, 2015 11:47 am | by Univ. of Twente | Comments

One way of removing harmful nitrate from drinking water is to catalyze its conversion to nitrogen. This process suffers from the drawback that it often produces ammonia. By using palladium nanoparticles as a catalyst, and by carefully controlling their size, this drawback can be eliminated. It was research conducted by Yingnan Zhao of the Univ. of Twente’s MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology that led to this discovery.

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Study details link between inflammation and cancer

January 16, 2015 9:28 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals one reason why people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as colitis have a higher risk of mutations that cause cancer. The researchers also found that exposure to DNA-damaging chemicals after a bout of inflammation boosts these mutations even more, further increasing cancer risk.

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