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Amazon CEO plans to raise sunken Apollo 11 engines

March 29, 2012 1:42 pm | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Using sonar, an expedition spearheaded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has discovered what he claimed were discarded engines from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission lurking 14,000 feet deep. In an online announcement Wednesday, Bezos said he is drawing up plans to recover the sunken engines, jettisoned from the mighty Saturn V rocket just minutes after launch.

Coffee may cause high achievers to slack off

March 29, 2012 11:04 am | News | Comments

While stimulants may improve unengaged workers' performance, a new University of British Columbia study suggests that for others, caffeine and amphetamines can have the opposite effect, causing workers with higher motivation levels to slack off.

Foot find shows prehuman walked same time as Lucy

March 29, 2012 4:06 am | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Until now, there was no proof of another human relative living around the same time as the species made famous by the Lucy skeleton. But a recent fossil discovery reveals there was another creature around 3 million years ago and it gives new insight into the evolution of a key human trait—walking on two legs.

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Surgery can put Type 2 diabetes into remission

March 28, 2012 7:32 am | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer | News | Comments

New research gives clear proof that weight-loss surgery can reverse and possibly cure diabetes, and doctors are saying that this surgery doesn’t have to be a last resort. Two studies, released this week, are the first to compare stomach-reducing operations to medicines alone for "diabesity"—Type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity.

Chemist reveals transparent, flexible memory

March 28, 2012 7:23 am | News | Comments

At this week’s American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego, Rice University chemist James Tour revealed a new device his laboratory has invented. Using silicon oxide as the active component, his team has made a transparent, flexible memory technology that could be combined with other see-through components such as integrated circuits and batteries.

New plastics bleed when cut or scratched

March 27, 2012 10:16 am | by Michael Bernstein, American Chemical Society | News | Comments

A new genre of plastics that mimic the human skin's ability to heal scratches and cuts offers the promise of endowing cell phones, laptops, cars, and other products with self-repairing surfaces, scientists reported. The plastics change color to warn of wounds and heal themselves when exposed to light.

Replacing the Osterizer as standard lab equipment

March 27, 2012 8:20 am | by Kate Rix | News | Comments

After a year in Asia and South America visiting labs that lacked the basics, University of California, Berkeley’s Lina Nilsson and a team of engineering colleagues realized they could develop low-cost, accessible tools that could produce research-grade results. The team has evolved into Tekla Labs, which creates protocols for do-it-yourself laboratory equipment.

Researchers create living human gut-on-a-chip

March 27, 2012 7:55 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created a gut-on-a-chip microdevice lined by living human cells that mimics the structure, physiology, and mechanics of the human intestine. As a more accurate alternative to conventional cell culture and animal models, the microdevice could help researchers gain new insights into intestinal disorders and evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential treatments.

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Collapsible, single-piece material is new class of structure

March 26, 2012 12:53 pm | by Denise Brehm, Civil and Environmental Engineering | News | Comments

Searching for the simplest 3-D structure that could take advantage of mechanical instability to collapse reversibly, a group of engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University discovered the “buckliball”, acollapsible, spherical toy that resembled the structures they’d been exploring, but with a complex layout of 26 solid moving elements and 48 rotating hinges.

A thermal approach to invisibility cloaking

March 26, 2012 8:08 am | News | Comments

In a new approach to invisibility cloaking, a team of French researchers has proposed isolating or cloaking objects from sources of heat—essentially "thermal cloaking." This method taps into some of the same principles as optical cloaking and may lead to novel ways to control heat in electronics and, on an even larger scale, might someday prove useful for spacecraft and solar technologies.

Cameron: Earth's deepest spot desolate, foreboding

March 26, 2012 7:57 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The Deepsea Challenger successfully reached the bottom of the Marianas Trench recently, a place only two others had ever gone. On board the vessel, filmmaker James Cameron spent more than three hours at the bottom, longer than the 20 minutes Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard spent in the only other visit 52 years ago.

Astronomers put forward new theory on size of black holes

March 23, 2012 1:25 pm | News | Comments

Black holes grow by sucking in gas, which forms a disc around the hole and spirals in. But this usually happens too slowly to explain the great size of black holes at the center of many galaxies, including ours. A new theory compares these giants to a Wall of Death, in which two motorcycles—or gas discs—crash and both quickly fall into the hole.

Magnetic field researchers achieve hundred-tesla goal

March 23, 2012 8:58 am | News | Comments

During a six-experiment pulse this week, the previous world record for laboratory-produced magnetic fields was broken by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers. The hundred-tesla field, about 2 million times Earth’s magnetic field was produced with the help of a 1,200-MJ motor generator.

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'Bed-of-nails' breast implant deters cancer cells

March 23, 2012 8:49 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Brown University have created an implant that appears to deter breast cancer cell regrowth. Made from a common federally approved polymer, the implant is the first to be modified at the nanoscale in a way that causes a reduction in the blood-vessel architecture that breast cancer tumors depend upon, while also attracting healthy breast cells.

Discovery sheds new light on wandering continents

March 22, 2012 1:44 pm | by Bill Steigerwald | News | Comments

According to NASA scientist Dr. Nicholas Schmerr, a layer of partially molten rock about 22 to 75 miles underground can't be the only mechanism that allows continents to gradually shift their position over millions of years. He contends that because his research has revealed this melt-rich layer to be spotty, another cause must exist for the movement of plates over the mantle.

Researchers show that memories reside in specific brain cells

March 22, 2012 1:28 pm | by Cathryn Delude, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory | News | Comments

Our memories leave traces that we may conjure up in remembrance, accompanied by time, place, and sensations. These memory “engrams” are more than just conceptual. Recent optogenetics studies have shown that memories really do reside in very specific brain cells, and simply activating a tiny number of neurons can conjure an entire memory.

Findings awaken age-old anesthesia question

March 22, 2012 7:01 am | News | Comments

Why does inhaling anesthetics cause unconsciousness? New insights into this century-and-a-half-old question may spring from research performed at NIST. Scientists from NIST and the National Institutes of Health have found hints that anesthesia may affect the organization of fat molecules, or lipids, in a cell's outer membrane—potentially altering the ability to send signals along nerve cell membranes.

Electricity from trees

March 21, 2012 5:41 am | News | Comments

Plants have long been known as the lungs of the Earth, but a new finding has found they may also play a role in electrifying the atmosphere. Scientists have long-suspected an association between trees and electricity, but researchers from Queensland University of Technology think they may have finally discovered the link.

Super-Earth unlikely able to transfer life to other planets

March 20, 2012 9:29 am | News | Comments

While scientists believe conditions suitable for life might exist on the so-called "super-Earth" in the Gliese 581 system, Purdue University researchers say it's unlikely to be transferred to other planets within that solar system.

Team discovers how bacteria resist a 'Trojan horse' antibiotic

March 19, 2012 8:41 am | News | Comments

A new study describes how bacteria use a previously unknown means to defeat an antibiotic. The researchers found that the bacteria have modified a common "housekeeping" enzyme in a way that enables the enzyme to recognize and disarm the antibiotic.

Researchers develop blueprint for nuclear clock accurate over billions of years

March 19, 2012 6:46 am | News | Comments

A clock accurate to within a tenth of a second over 14 billion years–the age of the universe–is the goal of research being reported this week by scientists from three different institutions. The research provides the blueprint for a nuclear clock that would get its extreme accuracy from the nucleus of a single thorium ion.

Scientists use frogs to battle superbugs

March 19, 2012 5:54 am | News | Comments

In search of ways to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Australian scientists are analyzing synthetic antimicrobial skin secretions of Australian Green-Eyed and Growling Grass frogs. These two species were selected because peptides secreted from their skin form a defense to a broad spectrum of bacteria including Staphylococcus .

Scientists make graphene using microorganisms

March 18, 2012 4:33 pm | News | Comments

A research group in Japan have synthesized graphene by reducing graphene oxide using microorganisms extracted from a local river. The method was inspired by a recent report showing that graphene oxide behaves as a terminal electron acceptor for bacteria.

Skydiver aims to jump from 23 miles, go supersonic

March 18, 2012 9:07 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

"Fearless Felix" Baumgartner has jumped 2,500 times from planes and helicopters, as well as some of the highest landmarks and skyscrapers on the planet. After a successful dress rehearsal last Thursday from 13 miles up, Baumgartner hopes to hurtle toward Earth at supersonic speed from a record 23 miles, breaking the sound barrier with only his body.

Straintronics: Engineers create piezoelectric graphene

March 16, 2012 9:11 am | by Andrew Myers | News | Comments

By depositing atoms on one side of a grid of the “miracle material” graphene, researchers at Stanford have engineered piezoelectricity into a nanoscale material for the first time. And the effect, which could dramatically affect electrical control of graphene materials, can be just as pronounced as in conventional 3D materials.

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