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Gene-altered mosquitoes could be used vs. dengue

December 6, 2012 9:26 am | by Jennifer Kay, Associated Press | News | Comments

Mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys are waiting for the federal government to sign off on an experiment that would release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever in the tourist town of Key West. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first such experiment in the U.S. Some residents, however, are worried about the risks.

Science chief wants to see China lead way in breakthroughs

November 30, 2012 10:00 am | News | Comments

Bai Chunli, as head of the largest research organization China, publicly expressed concern recently about when the Chinese scientific community will make an innovative, Nobel Prize-level scientific advance. Citing “negative elements,” he believes that despite massive investments in research and education, China’s scientific research is still weak and needs to improve.

Official backs studying quake risks at nuke plants

November 9, 2012 4:51 pm | by Ray Henry, Associated Press | News | Comments

In March, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission instructed power companies to re-evaluate the seismic and flooding hazards that their power plants face. Recent earthquakes in the eastern U.S., coupled with evidence of the results of the 2011 earthquake in Japan, have highlighted the importance of this effort in order to implement new design measures.

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Judge backs NASA lab in work discrimination case

November 5, 2012 10:32 am | News | Comments

A California judge has tentatively ruled in favor of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a former computer specialist who alleged he was singled out in part because of his belief in intelligent design.

Food vs. fuel: Is there surplus land for bioenergy?

October 18, 2012 8:37 am | News | Comments

Increasing demand for bioenergy feedstock is generating land-use conflicts and food vs. fuel controversies. An team of 11 scientists from seven European countries and the United States have recently published a study that gives scientific background to the debate. It supports a reassessment of the land available for bioenergy feedstock production.

Restricting nuclear power has little effect on the cost of climate policies

October 2, 2012 9:03 am | News | Comments

Applying a global energy-economy computer simulation that fully captures the competition between alternative power supply technologies, a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Dayton, Ohio, analyzed trade-offs between nuclear and climate policies. They found that incremental costs due to policy options restricting the use of nuclear power do not significantly increase the cost of even stringent greenhouse-gas emissions reductions.

Researchers make call for specialty metals recycling

September 24, 2012 2:56 pm | News | Comments

According to recent paper published by Yale University scientists, an international policy is needed for recycling scarce specialty metals that are critical in the production of consumer goods. Specialty metals account for more than 30 of the 60 metals on the periodic table, and their rapidly accelerating usage in many industries makes the complete lack of recycling a concern.

Study: Tradeoffs needed in battling urban heat island effects

September 11, 2012 4:15 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers from Arizona State University have found that warming resulting from megapolitan expansion is seasonally dependent, with greatest warming occurring during summer and least during winter. Painting the roofs of buildings white can combat this effect, but not without consequences for the region’s hydroclimate.

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EPA releases nanomaterial case study regarding nanoscale silver

August 6, 2012 6:05 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has completed and published a comprehensive environmental assessment (CEA) framework study of engineered nanoscale silver, specifically with regard to its behavior in disinfectant sprays. Though not a formal assessment, many factors such as product life cycle, environmental transport and fate, exposure-dose in receptors, and potential impacts in these receptors are covered in the report.

DOE grant goes to lithium-ion battery development

August 6, 2012 5:43 am | News | Comments

Washington University in St. Louis recently landed a $2 million U.S. Dept. of Energy grant with $1.2 million in matching funds from the university to design a battery management system for lithium-ion batteries that will guarantee their longevity, safety and performance. The development is geared toward electric vehicle technologies.

NSF reports on state-by-state R & D activities

August 3, 2012 5:20 am | News | Comments

A recent report released by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found state government agency expenditures for research and development totaled $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2009, a 7% increase over the fiscal 2007 total of $1.1 billion. The survey marked the first time NSF asked state agencies to classify their R&D according to specific categories.

Gas drilling research suffers from lack of funding

August 2, 2012 10:28 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

Is gas drilling ruining the air, polluting water and making people sick? The evidence is sketchy and inconclusive, but a lack of serious funding is delaying efforts to resolve those pressing questions and creating a vacuum that could lead to a crush of lawsuits, some experts say.

NREL study shows renewable energy potential in every state

August 2, 2012 5:35 am | News | Comments

A new study of renewable energy’s technical potential finds that every state in the nation has the space and resource to generate clean energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory produced the study, which looks at available renewable resources in each state and establishes an upper-boundary estimate of development potential.

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Federal panel supports Kansas biosecurity lab project

July 15, 2012 2:20 pm | by John Milburn, Associated Press | News | Comments

A government-backed committee of the National Research Council issued a report Friday saying the United States would have adequate biosecurity protections even if plans for a proposed $1.14 billion lab in Kansas are scaled back.

Can fracking pollute water? Study tries to answer

July 13, 2012 3:51 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

A drilling company in southwestern Pennsylvania has given researchers at National Energy Technology Laboratory access to a commercial drilling site, a move that may provide some of the first solid answers to a controversial question: Can gas drilling fluids migrate and pose a threat to drinking water?

Study: Natural gas “much-needed tool” in climate battle

July 10, 2012 2:54 pm | News | Comments

The conclusion of a new study by Cornell University Professor Lawrence M. Cathles shows that, no matter the timeframe considered, substituting natural gas energy for all coal and some oil production provides about 40% of the global warming benefit that a complete switch to low-carbon sources would deliver. And, it would be a far quicker option than going to sources like nuclear or solar.

DARPA creates program to promote robotic actuation efficiency

July 5, 2012 7:41 am | News | Comments

Humans and animals have evolved to consume energy very efficiently for movement. If robotic actuation can be made to approach the efficiency of human and animal actuation, the range of practical robotic applications will greatly increase. To help this progression, DARPA has created the M3 Actuation program with the goal of achieving a 2,000% increase in the efficiency of power transmission and application.

China defends curbs on rare earths

June 20, 2012 3:44 am | by Joe McDonald, Associated Press | News | Comments

China on Wednesday defended its export curbs on rare earths used in high-tech products as an environmental measure and rejected a World Trade Organization challenge by the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Study: U.S. must encourage development of Canadian oil sands

June 12, 2012 5:03 am | News | Comments

To successfully reduce the United States' dependence on fuels from outside North America, the government must pursue policies that foster the diversion of Canadian oil sands crude to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, according to a new study by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

A new look at prolonged radiation exposure

May 15, 2012 3:42 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative. The study found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected.

Support for climate change action drops

May 9, 2012 10:22 am | by Rob Jordan, Stanford University | News | Comments

Americans' support for government action on global warming remains high but has dropped during the past two years, according to a new survey by Stanford University researchers in collaboration with Ipsos Public Affairs. Political rhetoric and cooler-than-average weather appear to have influenced the shift, but economics doesn't appear to have played a role.

How biotech will benefit from new patent laws

May 1, 2012 5:48 pm | News | Comments

Industrial biotechnology companies rely heavily on patents to attract investment to fund R&D. The recent America Invents Act stands to have a significant impact on technology innovators such as biotech firms, and two recently published papers from patent law experts help explain the extent of these shifts.

Study: Clean energy scale-up needs reality check

May 1, 2012 5:30 pm | by Mark Golden, Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University | News | Comments

In a post-Solyndra, budget-constrained world, the transition to a decarbonized energy system faces great hurdles. Overcoming these hurdles will require smarter and more focused policies. Two Stanford writers outline their visions in a pair of analyses.

Study: America's clean energy policies need a reality check

May 1, 2012 12:28 pm | by Mark Golden, Stanford University | News | Comments

In a post-Solyndra, budget-constrained world, the transition to a decarbonized energy system faces great hurdles. Overcoming these hurdles will require smarter and more focused policies. Two Stanford University writers outline their visions in a pair of high-profile analyses.

Student-devised process would prep Chinese shale gas for sale

May 1, 2012 7:18 am | News | Comments

A team of Rice University students recently fulfilled a challenge to economically turn shale gas produced in China into a range of useful, profitable and environmentally friendly products. In building its plan, the team had to deal not only with processing what's known as "sour gas" straight out of the wellhead, but also had to come up with a solid budget for the construction and profitable operation of the plant as well as a strategy to protect the environment.

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