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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.

23andMe seeks FDA approval for personal DNA test

August 1, 2012 3:24 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

For years, the Silicon Valley company has resisted government regulation, arguing that it simply provides consumers with information, not a medical service. Genetic test maker 23andMe, however, is now asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve its personalized DNA test in a move that, if successful, could boost acceptance of technology that is viewed skeptically by leading scientists who question its usefulness.

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.

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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.

FDA panel sees little use for metal-on-metal hips

July 2, 2012 6:38 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

Government health experts said Thursday there are few reasons to continue using metal-on-metal hip implants, amid growing evidence that the devices can break down early and expose patients to dangerous metallic particles. The devices were originally marketed as a longer-lasting alternative to older ceramic and plastic models. But recent data from the U.K. and other foreign countries suggests they are more likely to deteriorate.

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.

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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.

Commercial space race gets crowded behind SpaceX

May 24, 2012 12:24 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

NASA has hired Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, but will eventually add astronauts. And the space agency is hiring other companies, too. Several firms—at least eight—think they can make money in space and are close enough to Musk's company to practically surf in his spaceship's rocket-fueled wake.

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.

FDA advisers recommend approving weight loss drug

May 11, 2012 9:35 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Advisers to government health regulators late Thursday recommended that they approve sales of what would be the first new prescription weight-loss drug in the U.S. in more than a decade, despite concerns over cardiac risks.

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.

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FDA review favors first drug for HIV prevention

May 9, 2012 5:32 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

A pill that has long been used to treat HIV has moved one step closer to becoming the first drug approved to prevent healthy people from becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS. The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Gilead Sciences' Truvada appears to be safe and effective for HIV prevention.

First of two papers on lab-made bird flu published

May 3, 2012 5:09 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Four months ago the U.S. government sought to block publication of two studies about how scientists created an easily spread form of bird flu. Now a revised version of one paper is seeing the light of day with the government's blessing. The second paper, which is more controversial because it involves what appears to be a more dangerous virus, is expected to be published later.

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.

Solar panels cause clashes with homeowner groups

April 25, 2012 8:37 am | by Ray Henry, Associated Press | News | Comments

The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not. Homeowners associations around the country have banned or severely restricted the installation of solar panels, and the solar industry has pushed back to halt the practice.

A divided Congress confronts a rising cyberthreat

April 23, 2012 8:44 am | by Donna Cassata and Richard Lardner, Associated Press | News | Comments

As cyber attacks worsen and the tactics employed by hackers grow more nefarious, Congress is being asked to consider legislation to improve defenses for government, municipal, and corporate networks. However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are applying pressure from the other side, saying the rules would cost money without improving risk.

FDA issues draft guidance on nanotechnology

April 22, 2012 1:41 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. government has issued its initial draft guidelines on the use of nanotechnology, particularly nanoparticles, in food and cosmetic products. These recommendations, intended to help guarantee consumer safety within these two industries, do not extend to the other products that fall under Food and Drug Administration oversights, such as drugs and medical devices.

As ice cap melts, militaries vie for Arctic edge

April 16, 2012 7:22 am | by Eric Talmadge, Associated Press | News | Comments

To the world's military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts.

NASA collecting ideas on new strategy for exploring the Red Planet

April 16, 2012 3:36 am | News | Comments

Starting Friday, NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group began accepting ideas and abstracts online from the worldwide scientific and technical community as part of NASA's effort to seek out the best and the brightest ideas from researchers and engineers in planetary science. They hope to develop a new strategy for the exploration of Mars.

Study: Learning-by-doing was important in reducing ethanol costs

April 13, 2012 8:53 am | News | Comments

A new study from the University of Illinois concludes that learning-by-doing, stimulated by increased ethanol production, played an important role in inducing technological progress in the corn ethanol industry. It also suggests that biofuel policies, which induced ethanol production beyond the free-market level, served to increase the competitiveness of the industry over time.

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