With Wednesday's landing of Endeavour, just one more space shuttle flight remains, putting an end to 30 years of Florida shuttle launches and more than 535 million miles of orbits controlled at Houston's Johnson Space Center. Now a sense of melancholy has permeated the community that calls itself "the space shuttle family."
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has executed an exclusive licensing agreement with the newly formed Pyrochem Catalyst Corp. for two NETL-developed technologies related to a novel fuel-reforming catalyst. This agreement marks the first time that an NETL-licensed technology has been used as a basis for the creation of a start-up company.
America's new cyber czar said Wednesday, ahead of an international cybersecurity summit in London, that international law and cooperation--not another treaty--was enough to tackle cybersecurity issues for now. Christopher Painter’s comments were in response to the urging of Michael Rake, chairman of one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, to begin forming a cyber nonproliferation treaty.
All evidence for the existence of gravitational radiation has been indirect, but researchers now say that the addition of just one of the proposed detectors for the global network of gravitational radiation monitors would give them a much better chance at capturing these elusive, theoretical waves. Gravitational waves factor heavily in Einstein’s physics, and detecting these are the only way to directly observe a black hole.
Sandia National Laboratories and supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc. are forming an institute focused on data-intensive supercomputers. The Supercomputing Institute for Learning and Knowledge Systems (SILKS), to be located at Sandia in Albuquerque, will take advantage of the strengths of Sandia and Cray by making software and hardware resources available to researchers who focus on a relatively new application of supercomputing.
After setting a soaring vision to land a man on the moon, President John F. Kennedy struggled with how to sell the public on a costly space program. In a scenario that echoes today, he and NASA Administrator James Webb worried about preserving funding amid what Webb calls a "driving desire to cut the budget.”
Do scientists' job locations have any impact on the way their work spreads? According to a study co-authored by an MIT economist, yes, it does, even in the Internet age. Frequent job and location switches, for example, can increase citation frequency for published works. But what happens with patents is entirely different.
Despite its reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse, China’s dominance in this area appears to be at risk, according to an analyst at the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association. Steeply rising wages, a shrinking cost advantage, and a dependence on producing cheaper goods indicate that China may be at less of an advantage than countries like the U.S. and Germany.
While engineers are still tinkering with the electric vehicles’ real-world practicality, economics researchers are also taking a close look at EVs. New research sheds light on the priorities of potential customers and the actual economic impact on different types of drivers. The reports hold some surprises.
In rating the severity of the Fukushima accident as a Level 7 major accident, the highest possible level, the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale has prompted another kind of fallout. Richard Wakefield, a radiological protection specialist at the Univ. of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, is questioning the accuracy of the system, which also placed Chernobyl at Level 7 despite that reactor's much greater release of radiation, and thinks media confusion will result.
Scientists in the close-knit Mars research community will get one last chance to make their case this week when they gather before the "judges"—the team running the $2.5 billion mission that will soon suggest a landing site to NASA. The result will determine where Curiosity will touch down after launching in November.
Last Friday, the manager of most of the electricity in the Pacific Northwest put wind farms on notice that they may be shut down on short notice. A cold, wet spring has given hydroelectric dams so much potential energy that the energy grid is at capacity. The move could precipitate a legal battle between wind farm owners and the U.S. government.
Prior to the Sendai earthquake, nuclear plants supplied about 30% of Japan's electricity, and the government had planned to raise that to 50% by 2030. Now, however, the country will pursue wind, solar, and biomass energy sources as an alternative to what has come to be seen as a risky choice for meeting the country’s energy needs.
A patent battle between two technology heavyweights, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp., has entered court as they try to stake their territory in the European mobile phone market. The dispute centers on alleged patent infringement by ZTE on Huawei’s fourth-generation mobile technology. At stake are billions of dollars in future sales.
Russia will test a next-generation spacecraft, build a new cosmodrome and even consider a manned mission to Mars after 2035, the nation's space chief said Wednesday. Plans include a new launch pad in far east Russia, nuclear rocket engines, and a new spacecraft named Rus.
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has recently developed the world's first certified nanoparticle reference material based on industry-sourced nanoparticles. ERM-FD100 consists of 20 nm dia silica nanoparticles, and nominal size was measured in collaboration with 33 laboratories from 11 different countries. Silica is among the world’s most widely dispersed nanoparticles.
Rare earths are a group of 17 minerals that are used in products such as flatscreen TVs and lightweight batteries for mobile phones and hybrid cars. China accounts for almost all production of rare earths, and now plans to tighten control over producers and restrict output in a five-year development strategy.
Analysis of the $3.8 trillion proposed budget is beginning to flow, and early reports of its impact on research and innovation is positive, at least from the perspective of scientists. The president placed priorities on energy and medical research, which explains why standout winners in the budget plan include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and U.S. Dept of Energy.
The Energy Biosciences Institute has this week released “Grand Challenges for Life-Cycle Assessment of Biofuels”, a new report that analyzes and organizes the roadblocks facing the advancement and practical use of biofuels. The report was created by Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, the Univ. of Illinois, and BP energy corporation.
IBM and Samsung Electronics Co. announced this week they have signed a patent cross-license agreement, which means each will license its respective patent portfolios to the other. In 2010, IBM was the top producer of new patents in the U.S., while South Korea's Samsung was also among the top 10.
Fifty-three percent of medium to large U.S. companies who responded to a recent survey by The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) say they are planning to increase their R&D budgets in 2011. This and other survey results, including positive hiring expectations, have led IRI to describe a level of optimism not seen since 2008.
Cures for paralysis, blindness and diabetes could all be in reach with embryonic stem cell research, but the pursuit of medical progress is being choked by the U.S. rush to secure patents, experts say.
The report from Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, called “Best Practices in Merit Review”, is calling for reform of all of processes supporting the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy research and development effort to reflect a sense of urgency.
More than half of midsize companies are planning to increase their information technology budgets over the next 12 to 18 months, according to an IBM global study of more than 2,000 midsize companies representing more than 20 countries. Two-thirds are adopting cloud technologies, and almost as many are pursuing analytics for greater insight and efficiency.
2010 patent grants hit an all-time high, 31% over 2009. Once again, IBM tops the list as the first company to break 5,000 patents in a single year, and it did so handily. Other notable filers include Apple, Qualcomm, NEC, and SAP, all of which saw 70+% gains in patents this year.