Scientists at Columbia Univ. developed a unique method for harnessing natural sources of energy. The researchers used tiny bacterial spores to kick-start an energy transfer process that, “on a grand scale, is a hugely important factor in the planet’s climate and weather-namely, evaporation,” according to The New York Times’ Science Take series.
A new international study is the first to use a high-resolution, large-scale computer model to estimate how much ice the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could lose over the next couple of centuries, and how much that could add to sea-level rise. The results paint a clearer picture of West Antarctica’s future than was previously possible.
By combining information about power plant operation with real-time air quality predictions, researchers have created a new capability to minimize the human health effects of air pollution resulting from electric power generating facilities. The Air Pollutant Optimization Model, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a new approach for reducing the health effects of ozone and fine particulate pollution.
Scientists have revealed never-before-seen details of how our brain sends rapid-fire messages between its cells. They mapped the 3-D atomic structure of a two-part protein complex that controls the release of signaling chemicals, called neurotransmitters, from brain cells. Understanding how cells release those signals in less than one-thousandth of a second could help launch a new wave of research on drugs for treating brain disorders.
We’ve all seen dewdrops form on spider webs. But what if they flung themselves off of the strands instead? Researchers at Duke Univ. and the Univ. of British Columbia have now observed this peculiar phenomenon, which could benefit many industrial applications. As long as the strands are moderately hydrophobic and relatively thin, small droplets combining into one are apt to dance themselves right off of the tightrope.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered a new way to improve human and robot safety in manufacturing scenarios by developing a method for robots to project their next action into the 3-D world and onto any moving object.
Rice Univ. scientists have developed a big data technique that could have a significant impact on health care. The Rice lab of bioengineer Amina Qutub designed an algorithm called “progeny clustering” that is being used in a hospital study to identify which treatments should be given to children with leukemia.
Long-standing concerns about portable electronics include the devices’ short battery life and their contribution to e-waste. One group of scientists is now working on a way to address both of these seeming unrelated issues at the same time. They report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces the development of a biodegradable nanogenerator made with DNA that can harvest the energy from everyday motion and turn it into electrical power.
The crime scene investigators on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series seem able to solve any mystery thanks to a little science and a lot of artistic license. But now there is a real-life technique that could outperform even fictional sleuths’ crime-busting tools. Scientists report a way to tell how old fingerprints are. This could help investigators determine which sets are relevant and which ones were left long ago.
Animated characters can mimic human behavior extremely well. They can perform jaw-dropping feats of life and death. But there's one trick that digital denizens haven’t quite yet mastered: getting dressed and putting their pants on one leg at a time. Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology has produced a systematic tool that allows animators to create realistic motion for virtual humans who are getting dressed.
Scientists at Rice Univ. have created a solid-state memory technology that allows for high-density storage with a minimum incidence of computer errors. The memories are based on tantalum oxide, a common insulator in electronics. Applying voltage to a 250-nm-thick sandwich of graphene, tantalum, nanoporous tantalum oxide and platinum creates addressable bits where the layers meet.
It’s 2015, and though Marty McFly hasn’t popped out of a time warp in a flying DeLorean, Lexus International did unveil the Lexus Hoverboard this week in a roughly two minute video. Set in a Barcelona, Spain, skatepark specifically constructed for the device, the video shows professional skater Ross McGouran and others attempting to glide over water and even grind railings with the board, dubbed “Slide."
A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge and University of Warwick used a combination of electron microscopes, video recordings, and other methods to analyze the cleaning abilities of carpenter ants.
Public health officials in Calhoun County, Michigan issued a warning Tuesday saying they had discovered giant hogweed in the area.
The dull black plastic of the device on Joshua Pearce’s desk belies its usefulness. Pearce picks up the box, which has a switch on the side and a small opening on top. A handful of vials sit in a bag nearby, and each would fit snugly in the opening. The set-up seems generic, even bland, except that it could radically change how we deal with water quality issues.