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Abundant element oxides: New development strategy avoids rare materials

July 5, 2011 9:52 am | News | Comments

Although more than 100 elements are known to exist to date, only 60–70 of them are available for practical materials. Of those, an increasingly narrow window of useful materials remain abundant. Researchers in Japan are proposing a development scheme called the “ubiquitous element strategy that could focus materials research on those elements that are best able to meet global demand.

Internet minders approve big rise in domain names

June 20, 2011 8:20 am | by Alex Kennedy, Associated Press | News | Comments

Groups able to pay the $185,000 application can petition ICANN, the keeper of URL standards, next year for new updates to ".com" and ".net" with website suffixes using nearly any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts. The decision culminates six years of negotiations and is the biggest change to the system since ".com" made its debut in 1984.

DARPA tackles cyberspace to protect industry

June 17, 2011 12:28 pm | by John D. Banusiewicz, American Forces Press Service | News | Comments

At a global security conference in Paris Friday, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III outlined a pilot program in which the government helps the defense industry in safeguarding the information their computer systems hold. The program will share classified threat information and the know-how to employ it with participating defense companies or their Internet service providers.

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ONR showcases technology investments

June 17, 2011 12:25 pm | News | Comments

The Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) show held recently in Alexandria, Va., was the stage for the Office of Naval Research’s announcement of nine partnerships with organizations that focus on kindling student interest in STEM disciplines. They include such endeavors as Sally Ride Science and the Gulf Coast initiative.

Dept. of Energy commits $2B for two giant solar plants

June 16, 2011 8:41 am | News | Comments

This week, conditional loan guarantee commitments were issued for two of the biggest capacity solar power projects in North America: the Mojave Solar Project and the Genesis Solar Project. At 250 MW each, the projects would double the United States’ currently installed concentrated solar power capacity.

FDA opens dialogue on nanotech regulation

June 16, 2011 4:42 am | News | Comments

Federal regulators are now laying the groundwork for monitoring a new generation of medical devices, drugs, cosmetics, and other nanoscale products. This week the Food and Drug Administration formerly invited industry leaders to weigh in on possible regulations and restrictions for the rapidly emerging industry.

Nighttime lights clarify economic activity

June 14, 2011 2:09 pm | News | Comments

For some, the glow of lights along Broadway, the Las Vegas Strip or the Sunset Strip in Hollywood mean a fun night out. For an economist, these dazzling lights signify people's pockets are flush with cash; and in fact, a new study confirms it.

The energy debate: coal vs. nuclear

June 13, 2011 11:06 am | News | Comments

Two Rutgers energy and environment researchers recently completed work on a long-term study of consumers’ attitudes toward two high-profile energy sources: coal and nuclear energy. Their work finds that while global warming and safety do factor into Americans’ decisions on these two forms of energy, other factors are at play that figure into their choices.

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The Rising Phoenix

June 9, 2011 7:02 am | by Richard J. Lee, PhD, CEO, RJ Lee Group, Inc. | Articles | Comments

From the ashes of industrial R&D, smaller technology labs fill in the gaps with a new discipline: industrial forensics.

Leveraging Innovation

June 9, 2011 6:53 am | by Ashok Singhal, President, CFD Research Corporation | Articles | Comments

Both small and large organizations struggle to bring new innovations to market. What can be accomplished if they work together?

China plans restructure of rare earths industry

June 8, 2011 11:56 am | News | Comments

One of China’s biggest, state-owned rare earths miners and producers has been given a monopoly over rare earth mining, processing, and trading in the northern part of the country. The move is an effort by the country’s government to bring the rare earths industry, which provides 97% of global supply, under tighter control.

NETL licensing agreement results in new start-up company

June 3, 2011 5:26 am | by Shelley Martin | News | Comments

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.

U.S. says no new cybersecurity treaty needed

June 1, 2011 12:15 pm | by Paisley Dodds, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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Detector array may at last complete Einstein’s jigsaw puzzle

May 27, 2011 7:05 am | News | Comments

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 and Cray to tackle 'big data' in new supercomputing institute

May 27, 2011 4:38 am | News | Comments

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.

New tape: JFK fretted moon program was tough sell

May 25, 2011 6:33 am | by Jay Lindsay, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.”

In making innovation happen, does place matter?

May 20, 2011 1:01 pm | News | Comments

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.

Expert: China to lose manufacturing edge by 2016

May 20, 2011 5:56 am | News | Comments

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.

Recent studies on EVs may inform makers of both policy and autos

May 19, 2011 12:46 pm | by Elizabeth Boyle | News | Comments

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.

Radiation expert criticizes comparison of Fukushima to Chernobyl

May 18, 2011 7:25 am | News | Comments

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.

Northwest power surplus may halt wind energy

May 16, 2011 6:17 am | by Tim Fought, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Japan to scrap plan to boost nuke energy to 50 percent

May 11, 2011 5:02 am | by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Russia's space chief promises new spaceship

April 13, 2011 5:36 am | by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

World's first certified reference material for nanoparticle size analysis

February 18, 2011 5:31 am | News | Comments

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.

What Obama’s proposed budget means for R & D

February 15, 2011 6:29 am | News | Comments

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.

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