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Science News Reports

Multi-scale modeling in the virtual laboratory 06 August 2015, 23.46 Science
Multi-scale modeling in the virtual laboratory
From the flow of air past an airplane’s wing down to the movement of electrons around individual atoms, supercomputers can be used to simulate materials at diverse scales. Different scales provide different levels of
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XSEDE humanities gateways 06 August 2015, 23.46 Science
XSEDE humanities gateways
Humanities gateways are the newest arrow in the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) quiver. With friendly interfaces, these gateways make it easy for humanities researchers to stay on target and
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Supercomputers stomp grapes to improve US wine 06 August 2015, 23.46 Science
Supercomputers stomp grapes to improve US wine
Researchers at Virginia Tech have modeled and mapped grape production across an area spanning 19 states along the eastern US. Supercomputers helped crunch the numbers and stomp the grapes in an effort to speed wine
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Fuel-free nanomotor is powered by ultrasound and magnetic fields
The magneto-acoustic hybrid nanomotor has dual propulsion modes: an acoustic field (ultrasound) operates on the nanomotor’s gold nanorod segment, while a magnetic field operates on the
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Physicists observe magnetic 'devil's staircase'
Devil’s staircase behavior emerges in the magnetic structure of a cobalt oxide material. Three magnetic phases are shown here, where the arrows represent the different spin configurations that
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Simple hydrogen storage solution is powered by solar energy
The new reversible hydrogen storage method stores hydrogen atoms in cyclohexane and uses solar energy to release the hydrogen atoms, turning the cyclohexane molecule into benzene. The use of solar
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Seabirds may navigate by scent 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Seabirds may navigate by scent
Seabirds called shearwaters manage to navigate across long stretches of open water to islands where the birds breed. It’s not been clear how the birds do this, but there have been some clues. When scientists magnetically
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Why seahorses have square tails 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Why seahorses have square tails
Hammering and squishing 3-D printed seahorse tail segments reveals what’s so great about being square. Angled bones hitched together in a flexible string of squares create protective cages that are four times stronger than
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Wrinkled brain mimics crumpled paper 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Wrinkled brain mimics crumpled paper
Cramming a big brain into a skull may be as easy as just wadding it up. The same physical rules that dictate how a paper ball crumples also describe how brains get their wrinkles, scientists suggest July 3 in Science. That
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Bird photo ID: Birders team with artificial intelligence to solve mystery
The Merlin smartphone app has the solution to your bird watching mysteries. Now, Merlin Bird Photo ID takes it one step farther, identifying birds from uploaded photos. Crowd sourcing and artificial intelligence come together
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Working towards a European open science cloud 03 July 2015, 19.36 Science
Working towards a European open science cloud
Last week, CERN hosted an event to discuss ongoing efforts to develop a ‘European open science cloud’. The aim of this work is to bring public research organizations and e‐infrastructures together with
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HPC for your visual library: How algorithms and supercomputers assess video quality
The volume of video content has exploded in recent years, and museums and libraries face the daunting task of evaluating the condition of their collections to make preservation and access decisions. To meet this challenge,
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AI points to better decision-making despite poker match loss
Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists looked to Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center supercomputer Blacklight in their construction of Claudico, a poker-playing artificial intelligence. Claudico came up short against the
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Caught and caged: the future of drug delivery
Discover how the DNANANO project has been using the Curie supercomputer — a PRACE tier-0 system — to help design nanocages for targeted drug delivery. Simulating one of these nanocages for just 100
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How the NIH facilitates biomedical research: A conversation with George Komatsoulis
At the recent Internet2 Global Summit iSGTW sat down with George Komatsoulis to talk about the state of distributed research and the NIH Commons, a scalable virtual environment to provide high-performance computing and data
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Semiliquid battery competitive with both Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors
The new battery (pink star), in comparison with other energy-storage devices, exhibits a very high power density and a reasonably good energy density. Credit: Ding, et al. ©2015 American Chemical
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New device may make converting waste heat to electricity industrially competitive
The proposed thermoelectric device consists of many parallel nanowires with an external gate voltage that can be tuned to optimize the efficiency and power output for different temperature
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Physicists find ways to increase antihydrogen production
Antihydrogen consists of an antiproton and a positron. Credit: public domain (Phys.org)—There are many experiments that physicists would like to perform on antimatter, from studying its
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NASA picks nine instruments for future mission to Europa
 Your daily roundup of research news Science News Staff Science Ticker Planetary Science 4:54pm, May 26, 2015 A future mission to Europa, illustrated here, will investigate the moon’s subsurface ocean while
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White House hits pause on editing human germline cells
 Your daily roundup of research news Science News Staff Science Ticker 4:05pm, May 26, 2015 Clinical experiments that use DNA-editing methods to alter human germline cells have been put on hold in the United
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Diet and nutrition is more complex than a simple sugar
A new study shows that the simple sugar fructose has different effects on human behavior than glucose. But it’s doesn’t tell us much about what those lollipops will do to our health or behavior. When it comes to studying
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Acting Out Dreams Is Often Early Sign of Parkinson's Disease
Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com A rare sleep disorder that makes people act out their dreams may be an early warning of a deadly neurological illness, a new review of previous research suggests. About half of
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Playing with Fire: AI Makers Must Be Careful 13 April 2015, 23.29 Science
Playing with Fire: AI Makers Must Be Careful
Credit: jimmi | Shutterstock From smartphone apps like Siri to features like facial recognition of photos, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a part of everyday life. But humanity should take more care in
Read More 204 Hits 0 Ratings
Man Tears Tendon After Playing 'Candy Crush' for Weeks
Credit: Authentic Creations / Shutterstock.com A California man tore a tendon in his thumb after playing a puzzle game on his smartphone too much, according to a new report of the case. The case is interesting because
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Marijuana Extract May Help Reduce Epilepsy Seizures
Credit: Atomazul | Shutterstock.com A medicine made from marijuana may provide some relief to people with severe epilepsy who don't get better after trying other treatments, according to a new study. In the study,
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How to Avoid a Shark Attack 13 April 2015, 23.29 Science
How to Avoid a Shark Attack
A great white shark. Credit: Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com The seventh fatal shark attack in four years struck this past weekend at a surfer's paradise in the Indian Ocean. Yet teaching people when and where to swim
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Dog Family: Facts About Canines & Their Cousins
A pack of grey wolves in Slovenia. Credit: Miha Krofel, Slovenia Dogs and humans have been best friends for thousands of years. Researchers know that dogs regularly lived with humans by about 10,000 years ago, and dogs
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Physicists propose method to measure variations in the speed of light
A relation between the angular diameter distance (DA), the Hubble function (H), and the speed of light c at a specific point called the maximum redshift (zM) may allow researchers to detect
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Maze-solving automatons can repair broken circuits (w/ video)
This screenshot from the video below shows the self-healing of an open circuit fault. When a fault occurs, an electric field develops in the gap, which polarizes the conductive particles in the
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Unparticles may provide a new path to superconductivity
Unparticles may emerge when, at high energies, the particle sector couples to the unparticle sector. Physicists plan to look for the signatures of unparticles in future experiments, possibly by
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Focus on disability: Reaching patients with smartphones
Hannah Kuper, co-director of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, explains how cheap smartphone adapters can be used to diagnose ear and eye
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Drawn to the sound: Supercomputers reveal phonon magnetism
Using the Oakley supercomputer and a very small, frozen tuning fork, Joseph Heremans is rewriting our science textbooks. His computational research team has discovered that phonons — sound and heat particles —
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Tiny GEMs, big insights 13 April 2015, 23.27 Science
Tiny GEMs, big insights
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Citizen scientists earn their stripes with tiger-tagging app
Researchers from the University of Surrey, UK, have developed an iPad app that could change the way wildlife is monitored in the future. The Wildsense app loads photos of tigers from the web for analysis by players in return
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Afterglow alerts astronomers to gamma-ray burst
STARBURST  These images from the Samuel Oschin telescope show the sudden appearance of a bright flash (middle frame, in crosshairs) that gradually faded (right). All three photos were taken within several hours on Feb. 26,
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Marijuana component fights epilepsy 13 April 2015, 23.27 Science
Marijuana component fights epilepsy
GREEN OPTION  A no-buzz component of marijuana can reduce severe epileptic seizures, a study suggests. A buzz-free component of marijuana can benefit epilepsy patients who have particularly severe seizures, a new study
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Rubidium atoms used to record coldest temperature — ever
CLUMPED AND COLD  Stanford University physicists used images like this one, which depicts the concentration of rubidium atoms, to determine that they had cooled the atoms to a record-low temperature. T. Kovachy et
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Rosetta data deluge reveals dynamic comet with sand dunes and jets
Last November the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission made history when its Philae lander touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Now, mission researchers have studied new data from a host of
Read More 153 Hits 0 Ratings
Structured photons slow down in a vacuum 24 January 2015, 00.26 Science
Structured photons slow down in a vacuum
The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 m s–1, right? Not necessarily, according to a team of physicists in the UK, which has found that the speed of an individual photon decreases by a tiny amount if it is
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Cellular model of tissue growth could shed light on metastasis
A simple yet potentially very useful model of how living cells interact to create tissue has been created by Anatolij Gelimson and Ramin Golestanian of the University of Oxford in the UK. The simulation considers how
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Magnetic levitation spins up waxy 'tektites' in the lab
Solid wax models of "splash-form tektites" – tiny pieces of natural glass that are created when asteroids or comets impact the Earth – have been created in the lab for the first time by researchers in the UK. Using
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Women shun fields that are perceived to require 'innate ability'
The notion that natural ability or brilliance are required to excel in certain fields could explain the lack of women in those subjects, according to a survey of US academics. The survey, carried out by researchers also in
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Lost Beagle 2 spacecraft found intact on Martian surface
The UK-led Beagle 2 Mars lander, thought lost on the red planet since 2003, has been found partially deployed on the Martian surface. New images show that it successfully touched down on the planet's surface in 2003 but
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Water-soluble silicon leads to dissolvable electronics
(Phys.org)—Researchers working in a materials science lab are literally watching their work disappear before their eyes—but intentionally so. They're developing water-soluble integrated circuits that dissolve in water
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Reversible solid-to-liquid phase transition offers new way to synthesize crystals
(Phys.org) —The simple acts of heating and cooling affect different substances in different ways: some substances may change phase from solid to liquid to gas, while others may irreversibly break down when heat is
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First-of-its-kind tube laser created for on-chip optical communications
(Phys.org)—Nanophotonics, which takes advantage of the much faster speed of light compared with electrons, could potentially lead to future optical computers that transmit large amounts of data at very high speeds.
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Velociraptor: Facts About the 'Speedy Thief' 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Velociraptor: Facts About the 'Speedy Thief'
Velociraptor is one of the most bird-like dinosaurs ever discovered. It was small and fast, and the sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each foot made it a formidable predator. A special bone in its wrist allowed it to
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A Good Night's Rest: The Best Sleep Apps 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
A Good Night's Rest: The Best Sleep Apps
Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com Sleep is crucial to brain functioning, memory formation and to life itself (look up fatal familial insomnia). But all too often, sleep is elusive. The Centers for Disease Control and
Read More 105 Hits 0 Ratings
How To Save Dying Coral Reefs | Video 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
How To Save Dying Coral Reefs | Video
Hot Crocodile Problem Video - Under Antarctic Ice Recreating an Ancient Tsunami An Earth Day Message from a Personal Submersible See the great storm spin, shrink, grow and intensi ... Video - Wave
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Zigzag Physics: Loophole Makes Light Particles Act Drunk
Credit: Iscatel | Shutterstock.com A universal rule of thumb may need to be rewritten: Light moving freely through empty space does not necessarily travel at the speed of light. As physicists have come to know, light
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Here's What to Eat to Lower Inflammation 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Here's What to Eat to Lower Inflammation
Credit: Milleflore Images/Shutterstock.com Ginger, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains are just some of the many foods that have been touted to have anti-inflammatory properties. But do they work? It turns out that experts
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5 Cool Things We Just Learned About Rosetta’s Rubber Ducky Comet
The Rosetta mission made history last year, by being the first manmade spacecraft to ever orbit or land on a comet. Things didn't go exactly as planned, though. The lander Philae bounced around and got lost somewhere on the
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Flying animals can teach drones a thing or two 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Flying animals can teach drones a thing or two
Small drones will soon be zipping between trees and dodging buildings, just like swallows, bees and moths BIOMIMICRY  Scientists are turning to the animal kingdom to inspire the next wave of small drones. View the video Ty
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Decoding sommeliers’ brains, one squirt of wine at a time
TASTE TEST  A gustometer drips precise quantities of colored liquids into the mouth of a woman lying in a brain scanner. Gustometer \guhs-TOH-meh-ter\ n. A device used to squirt measured amounts of liquids into the mouth of
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See Iceland's Lava Field From Space 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
See Iceland's Lava Field From Space
Sometimes Iceland really lives up to its name. For instance, in the picture above, the entire country is basically covered in snow and ice. With one notable exception. See that big black dot in the middle? No, not in the
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Scientists Figure Out How To Unboil Eggs 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Scientists Figure Out How To Unboil Eggs
It has often been said that you can't unscramble an egg. But you might be able to unboil one. When you boil an egg, the heat causes the proteins inside the egg white to tangle and clump together, solidifying it. New research
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Upside-Down Icebergs, Living Fossil Sharks, And Other Amazing Images Of The Week
Lapka, a company that makes sensors to monitor your home and your health, is trying to take Google’s not-yet-released Project Ara smartphone to the next level. This is how the modular smartphone might look with Lapka’s
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Scientists Slow Down The Speed Of Light As It Travels Through Air
Light passes through air at about 299,000,000 meters per second, an accepted constant that hasn’t been challenged—until now. By manipulating a single particle of light as it passed through free space, researchers have
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Football Physics And The Science Of Deflategate 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Football Physics And The Science Of Deflategate
News reports say that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, showing about 2 pounds per square inch (psi) less pressure than the
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Fast and furious: The real lives of swallows 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Fast and furious: The real lives of swallows
FANCY FLIERS  Biophysicist Douglas Warrick tracks radiotagged barns swallows near an Oregon farm. Bret Tobalske, University of Montana For more on small drones inspired by birds and other flying animals, see SN's feature
Read More 117 Hits 0 Ratings
PLANTOID: Robotic solutions inspired by plants 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
PLANTOID: Robotic solutions inspired by plants
Humans tend to see plants as passive organisms that don’t ‘do’ much of anything, but plants do move, and they sense, and they do so in extremely efficient ways. Barbara Mazzolai, coordinator of the PLANTOID
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Exploring the universe with supercomputing 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Exploring the universe with supercomputing
The Center for Computational Astrophysics in Japan recently upgraded its ATERUI supercomputer, doubling the machine’s theoretical peak performance to 1.058 petaFLOPS. Eiichiro Kokubo, director of the center, tells iSGTW
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Unlocking the secrets of vertebrate evolution 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
Unlocking the secrets of vertebrate evolution
As high-performance computers reshape the future, scientists gain the next-generation tools enabling them to see deeper into the past. Paleobiologists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Indiana University look to these
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How's the weather up there? 24 January 2015, 00.24 Science
How's the weather up there?
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Nanostructure puts the gloss on avian eggshells 08 January 2015, 00.14 Science
Nanostructure puts the gloss on avian eggshells
The family of chicken-sized birds native to South America called tinamous lay brightly coloured eggs that are some of the glossiest in nature. Now, an international team of scientists has discovered the secret to the eggs'
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Fast-moving glaciers slide more easily 08 January 2015, 00.14 Science
Fast-moving glaciers slide more easily
As glaciers move faster, they experience less friction between the ice and the ground below. This is the conclusion of Lucas Zoet and Neal Iverson of Iowa State University in the US, who used a new experimental tool to
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Earth News Reports

These Necklaces, Eyeglasses Make Dramatic Statements About U.K.’s Air
Most statement necklaces are just about standing out and looking great, but these dramatic necklaces are actually making a statement about air quality and pollution in the UK. London-based artists Stefanie Posavec and Miriam
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Win a Pair of PETA-Approved Vegan-Leather Espadrilles by M4D3
If you’re kicking off your shoes this summer, make them a pair of these cruelty-free espadrilles. A collaboration between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and “footwear with a purpose” brand M4D3, the
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Organotex: Eco-Friendly Fabric Treatment That Repels Water Like a Plant
ORGANOTEX /ôrɡən ō teks/ n. 1 a: A biodegradable, breathable, and fluorocarbon-free fabric treatment that mimics a plant’s ability to repel moisture. b: Uses a system of plant-based catalysts and organic polymers to
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Chocolate Legos by Akihiro Mizuuchi 06 August 2015, 23.46 Green Architecture
Chocolate Legos by Akihiro Mizuuchi
Chocolate. Lego. Space-invaders. If you are a normal person of the 21st century, at least one of these words should appeal to you. Japanese designer and illustrator Akihiro Mizuuchi has designed and built some moulds that let
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Nooks: unique handmade dollhouses 06 August 2015, 23.46 Green Architecture
Nooks: unique handmade dollhouses
Janine Rewell is an illustrator from Finland. Based in Helsinki, she is easy to recognize with her cool, geometric and colorful illustrations. From newspapers to art galleries, but also in advertising on on human skin, you can
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ShelfPack: The suitcase that turns into a mobile shelf 06 August 2015, 23.46 Green Architecture
ShelfPack: The suitcase that turns into a mobile shelf
According to the clever guy who started this cool Kickstarter project, the last major innovation in suitcase design was in the eightees, with the invention of wheeled cases. A new invention like the ShelfPack was definitely
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Brandversations: when competing logos meet 06 August 2015, 23.46 Green Architecture
Brandversations: when competing logos meet
Brandversations is a graphic design project by Stefan Asafti, a Romanian graphic designer. It consists of a series of posters that display the logo of today’s most famous brands. The catch? Each logo is designed using
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Playful illustrations that will mess with your mind 06 August 2015, 23.46 Green Architecture
Playful illustrations that will mess with your mind
Flyingmouse365 is a brand of funny, illustrated t-shirts. We already shared their illustrations of the part-time jobs of superheroes. They have another series of cool drawings that will make you think a little more, these are
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A chess board that uses 3D printed micro-planters as pieces 06 August 2015, 23.46 Green Architecture
A chess board that uses 3D printed micro-planters as pieces
Elena Low and her husband Kae Woei Lim run together a XYZ Workshop, a creative online hub for makers who enjoy tinkering with desktop manufacturing. They published all kinds of cool 3D printing projects, but this chess board
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10 examples of corporate identity design done the right way 06 August 2015, 23.46 Green Architecture
10 examples of corporate identity design done the right way
Corporate identity design is pretty much the only way to give a face to brands and corporations. It is crucial to any business and shows the importance of the graphic designers in our modern world. In this post you can discover
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Future News Reports

Obama's War Against US Energy Independence:  Give Away Oil Rich Alaskan Islands to Russia!
  By Joe Miller The Obama administration, despite the nation’s economic woes, effectively killed the job-producing Keystone Pipeline last month. The Arab Spring is turning the oil production of Libya and other Arab
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OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials 08 April 2012, 02.33 Administrator Energy
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials Visit http://www.osbitpower.com for further information OSBIT Power (OP), Siemens Wind Power and Statoil have successfully completed offshore
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North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost 12 January 2012, 02.01 Administrator Energy
North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost
        North America’s EV charging infrastructure may soon see significant improvements, thanks to a recent agreement between Eaton Corporation and Coulomb Technologies. Under the deal, Eaton’s Level II and
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Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source? 28 May 2011, 01.34 Administrator Energy
Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source?
      Have scientists already unknowingly discovered the source for all atomic energy reactions, and could the discovery of the gravitomagnetic field be the ultimate energy source?  What if our understandings on how
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Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation 25 September 2011, 16.27 Administrator Energy
Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation
Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet Physicist Antonio Ereditato poses before presenting the result of an experiment, which found a subatomic particle, the neutrino, seemed to move faster than the speed of
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STEORN ORBO  FREE ENERGY:  What's Next a Self Charging Unit for your Electric Car?
Steorn's Free Energy Orbo -- From Permanent Magnets to Solid State Systems   My associate, Hank Mills composed this for PESN, Saturday, February 12, 2011 6:17 Steorn is a small company based in Dublin, Ireland. For
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Cold Fusion, Releases Energy from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field 16 January 2011, 09.17 Administrator Energy
Cold Fusion, Releases Energy  from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field
Cold Fusion "In Bologna we did it" By Ilaria VENTURI, La Republica News, Bolona, Italy For the first time in Italy, in front of experts, the process was carried out using nickel and hydrogen. It 's the way to achieve
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Abu Dhabi Media Zone to generate renewable energy through its façade
Eco Factor: Sustainable development to generate renewable solar energy. Bernard Tschumi Architects have re-imagined their master plan for the new Abu Dhabi Media Zone, by incorporating several environmentally-friendly
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Multi-scale modeling in the virtual laboratory PDF Print E-mail

From the flow of air past an airplane’s wing down to the movement of electrons around individual atoms, supercomputers can be used to simulate materials at diverse scales. Different scales provide different levels of information, but little is known about how these levels are connected. Peter Coveney of University College London has been spearheading a long-term program that seeks to relate the behavior of atoms and molecules to properties at the macroscale.

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XSEDE humanities gateways PDF Print E-mail

Humanities gateways are the newest arrow in the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) quiver. With friendly interfaces, these gateways make it easy for humanities researchers to stay on target and create the scholarship of the 21st century. Digital humanities specialist Alan Craig speaks with iSGTW about XSEDE's latest offering.

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Photorealistic thunderstorm visualization wins XSEDE15 people’s choice award PDF Print E-mail

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Supercomputers stomp grapes to improve US wine PDF Print E-mail

Researchers at Virginia Tech have modeled and mapped grape production across an area spanning 19 states along the eastern US. Supercomputers helped crunch the numbers and stomp the grapes in an effort to speed wine development in the region. What these scientists have learned could aid farmers across the world and protect crops as our climate changes.

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Fuel-free nanomotor is powered by ultrasound and magnetic fields PDF Print E-mail

The magneto-acoustic hybrid nanomotor has dual propulsion modes: an acoustic field (ultrasound) operates on the nanomotor’s gold nanorod segment, while a magnetic field operates on the nanomotor’s helical segment. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

(Phys.org)—Nanoscale motors, like their macroscale counterparts, can be built to run on a variety of chemical fuels, such as hydrogen peroxide and others. But unlike macroscale motors, some nanomotors can also run without fuel, instead being powered by either magnetic or acoustic fields. In a new paper, researchers for the first time have demonstrated a nanomotor that can run on both magnetic and acoustic fields, making it the first magneto-acoustic hybrid fuel-free nanomotor.

The researchers, led by Professor Joseph Wang at the University of California, San Diego, have published a paper on the new class of nanomotors in a recent issue of Nano Letters. As magnetic and acoustic fields are biocompatible and commonly used in medicine, the fuel-free nanomotors could be especially useful for .

The nanomotor can respond to both types of fields due to its bisegmented design: the gold nanorod segment responds to ultrasound, and the nanohelical magnetic segment responds to magnetic fields. The entire device is approximately 3000 nm (3 µm) long.

As the researchers explain, using different fields to power a single device offers the potential for rapid reconfiguration of the device's operation. For example, switching between the two different fields rapidly changes the direction of motion because the fields act on opposite ends of the device. In addition, tuning the amplitude of the ultrasound waves or the frequency of the enables rapid speed regulation, while applying a rotational magnetic field induces a torque that results in corkscrew motion.

Using fields instead of fuel for power also gives the nanomotor the advantage of being able to operate in highly ionic environments, such as seawater and blood. These media typically interfere with the propulsion mechanisms of chemically powered nanomotors, which often rely on the electric-field-induced motion of electrophoresis.

Nanomotors can rapidly change direction and speed under different strengths of magnetic and acoustic fields. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

When several of the new are placed in close proximity, the researchers found that they exhibit swarming behavior similar to the collective behavior seen in some biological systems, such as schools of fish. The researchers observed three different states of switchable collective behavior, depending on the applied field: stable aggregation with ultrasound only, directional swarm motion with magnetic fields only, and a swirling swarm vortex with both fields.

In the future, the broad scope of operations offered by the magnetic and acoustic actuations could lead to an even more intriguing possibility: smart nanovehicles that autonomously reconfigure themselves in response to changes in the environment or their own performance in order to achieve a predetermined mission. This ability could prove especially useful for biomedical applications, such as imaging, drug delivery, and diagnosis. Other applications may include nanoscale manipulation and assembly in the wider field of artificial nanomachines.

Explore further: New study shows the dynamics of active swarms in alternating fields

More information: Jinxing Li, et al. "Magneto-Acoustic Hybrid Nanomotor." Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01945

© 2015 Phys.org



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Physicists observe magnetic 'devil's staircase' PDF Print E-mail

Devil’s staircase behavior emerges in the magnetic structure of a cobalt oxide material. Three magnetic phases are shown here, where the arrows represent the different spin configurations that define each phase. These phases have nearly degenerate magnetic energies, so they all coexist as stable phases, but can be easily altered by external modifications such as doping. Credit: T. Matsuda, et al. ©2015 American Physical Society

(Phys.org)—Many hiking trails feature a "devil's staircase"—a set of steps that are often steep and difficult to climb. The devil's staircase is also the name of a mathematical function whose graph exhibits a jagged step-like organization reminiscent of a real staircase, although in a highly ordered fractal pattern. Devil's staircase behavior emerges in a variety of areas, such as in crystals, phase transitions, and statistical physics.

Now in a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers led by Hiroki Wadati, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo, have observed devil's staircase behavior in a certain magnetic material: the SrCo6O11. By analyzing the of this material, the researchers found that it contains a large number of that have nearly "degenerate," or equal, magnetic energies. The coexistence of these many nearly degenerate magnetic structures gives rise to the devil's staircase behavior, which has the appearance of many (in principle, an infinite number of) proportional step-like structures.

Although the devil's staircase behavior emerges from microscopic effects, the behavior is also reflected in the material's macroscopic properties. One of the most intriguing properties is the material's giant magnetoresistance, which means that an applied magnetic field changes the material's electrical resistance. This property could have implications for designing artificial materials with novel functionalities.

To uncover these microscale magnetic properties of the cobalt oxide, the researchers used a technique called soft X-ray scattering (RSXS), which involves bombarding a material with X-rays and measuring the energy and momentum of the scattered X-rays. As a relatively recent development, RSXS has proven to be a powerful tool for investigating the ordered structures in solid materials. For one of the first times ever, the researchers here used RSXS with magnetic fields of several Tesla. The technique enabled the researchers to discover several microscale magnetic structures that escaped detection in earlier experiments.

The scientists attribute the material's unusually large number of nearly degenerate magnetic phases—and the resulting devil's staircase behavior—to competition between the magnetic phases. This competition results in magnetic frustration, as no single phase is strong enough to dominate the others. The results show that strong magnetic frustration is a key ingredient for giving the material its giant magnetoresistance and also makes the material highly sensitive to very low chemical doping.

To demonstrate this sensitivity, the researchers showed that substituting just 3% of the strontium atoms with barium atoms destroys almost all of the material's degenerate magnetic phases, which greatly changes its overall magnetic properties. Because the material's properties are easily tunable in this way, the scientists hope that this research may offer a path toward engineering and controlling the material's magnetic and electrical properties for various technological applications.

"In future resonant soft X-ray diffraction studies, one can expect to find similar devil's staircase behavior in other materials," Wadati told Phys.org. "The devil's staircase behavior may lead to the development of novel types of spintronics , which can use discrete levels of electrical resistivity."

Explore further: Anomalous spin ordering revealed by brilliant synchrotron soft X-rays

More information: T. Matsuda, et al. "Observation of a Devil's Staircase in the Novel Spin-Valve System SrCo6O11." Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.236403
Also at arXiv:1412.7945 [cond-mat.str-el]

© 2015 Phys.org



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Simple hydrogen storage solution is powered by solar energy PDF Print E-mail

The new reversible hydrogen storage method stores hydrogen atoms in cyclohexane and uses solar energy to release the hydrogen atoms, turning the cyclohexane molecule into benzene. The use of solar energy avoids the need for high temperatures to release the hydrogen. Credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

(Phys.org)—By using solar energy to reversibly attach and detach hydrogen atoms on a 6-carbon ring called benzene, scientists have developed a simple and efficient method to store, transport, and release hydrogen potentially on a large scale. The hydrogen storage problem is currently one of the biggest challenges facing the development of hydrogen as a widespread energy carrier, and the researchers hope that the new strategy may lead to a safe and inexpensive solution to this problem.

The scientists, led by Professor Chao-Jun Li and Associate Professor Zetian Mi at McGill University in Montreal, have published a paper on the new system in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

As the researchers explain, hydrogen has a very high mass energy density but a very low volumetric energy density. The high mass energy density, which is at least three times higher than that of other chemical fuels, is what makes hydrogen such an attractive energy carrier. However, its low volumetric under ambient conditions makes it difficult to store large amounts of hydrogen in small spaces. To overcome this problem, hydrogen is often stored at high pressures or low temperatures, but these storage methods present their own challenges.

The hydrogen storage system demonstrated in the new paper works under and stores the hydrogen in abundant, lightweight, and inexpensive molecules called hydrocarbons. The researchers demonstrated that six can be added to benzene (C6H6) in a "hydrogenation" process that forms cyclohexane (C6H12), which serves as the hydrogen carrier. In the reverse process, cyclohexane is "dehydrogenated" as the six carbons are removed and available for use in energy storage devices and other applications.

This method of storing hydrogen atoms in hydrocarbons is not new, but because the dehydrogenation process requires a large amount of energy to proceed, current versions always require high temperatures to release the hydrogen.

Since performing the reaction at high temperatures is not suitable for practical applications, here the researchers demonstrated that can be used to drive the dehydrogenation reaction at ambient temperatures. This process involves using platinum-based nanoparticles as photocatalysts. After absorbing incoming photons, the platinum nanoparticles temporarily donate their photoexcited electrons to the cyclohexane molecules, breaking the carbon-hydrogen bonds and releasing the hydrogen atoms without the need for elevated temperatures.

Tests showed that this photo-driven dehydrogenation process occurs rapidly (within a few seconds), converts 99% of the cyclohexane to benzene, and has a quantum efficiency (H2 produced per photon consumed) of 6.0%, which rivals the current top-performing solar water splitting devices without an external voltage. To start the hydrogenation process, the researchers simply removed the light source, causing the hydrogen atoms to reattach back onto the benzene. Using this method, 97% of the benzene could be converted back to cyclohexane, and the cycle could be repeated.

The researchers expect that this strategy is more suitable for stationary applications—for instance, for storing and transporting energy produced by wind turbines or other alternative sources—rather than vehicles because of the fact that it requires sunlight to release the hydrogen.

"The applications may include the storage and transport of hydrogen generated from other sources, such as water splitting and water electrolysis, using renewable energies (hydro, wind, nuclear, etc.)," Li told Phys.org.

Taking the next steps forward, McGill University has filed a provisional patent on this technology. In the future, the scientists plan to improve the storage system by reducing the amount of platinum required in the photocatalysts and developing other less expensive alternatives.

"Our future research is focused on developing cheaper and more earth-abundant metal catalysts, such as iron, and to further increase the quantum efficiency," Li said.

Explore further: Muons help understand mechanism behind hydrogen storage

More information: Lu Li, et al. "Simple and Efficient System for Combined Solar Energy Harvesting and Reversible Hydrogen Storage." Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b03505

© 2015 Phys.org



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Seabirds may navigate by scent PDF Print E-mail

Seabirds called shearwaters manage to navigate across long stretches of open water to islands where the birds breed. It’s not been clear how the birds do this, but there have been some clues. When scientists magnetically disturbed Cory’s shearwaters, the birds still managed to find their way. But when deprived of their sense of smell, the shearwaters had trouble homing in on their final destination.

Smell wouldn’t seem to be all that useful out over the ocean, especially with winds and other atmospheric disturbances playing havoc on any scents wafting through the air. But now researchers say they have more evidence that shearwaters are using olfactory cues to navigate. Andrew Reynolds of Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, England, and colleagues make their case June 30 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Messing with Cory’s shearwaters or other seabirds, like researchers did in earlier studies, wasn’t a good option, the researchers say, because there are conservation concerns when it comes to these species. Instead, they attached tiny GPS loggers to 210 shearwaters belonging to three species: Cory’s shearwaters, Scopoli’s shearwaters and Cape Verde shearwaters.

But how would the birds’ path reveal how they were navigating? If they were using olfactory cues, the team reasoned, the birds wouldn’t take a straight path to their target. Instead, they would fly straight for a time, guided in that direction by a particular smell. When they lost that scent, their direction would change, until they picked up another scent that could guide them. And only when a bird got close would it use landmarks, other birds and the odor of the breeding colony as guides. If the birds were using some other method of navigation — or randomly searching for where to go — their paths would look much different.

When the researchers analyzed the paths of the shearwaters, 69 percent of the birds moved in a way that matched what was expected if they were using olfactory cues. Nearly all of the journeys that lasted four or more days took this kind of path, but less than half of short flights that lasted less than two days had this kind of flight path.

“All these animals share the same basic pattern,” the researchers write, “strongly suggesting the presence of an underlying common mechanism of orientation which we have identified as olfactory-cued navigation.”

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Why seahorses have square tails PDF Print E-mail

Hammering and squishing 3-D printed seahorse tail segments reveals what’s so great about being square.

Angled bones hitched together in a flexible string of squares create protective cages that are four times stronger than rounded ones, researchers report July 3 in Science. That’s the conclusion from squeezing 3-D printed seahorse tails, one made of square segments that had been scaled up and the other an engineer’s best estimate of a round equivalent.

Distant seahorse ancestors had armored tails that could have benefited from such square protection.

Modern seahorse tails have gone prehensile. So there’s now a grip bonus, says study coauthor Michael M. Porter, an engineer at Clemson University in South Carolina. Square segments press more surface area against a perch than round ones, giving squared tails better grip control.

tail types

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Wrinkled brain mimics crumpled paper PDF Print E-mail

Cramming a big brain into a skull may be as easy as just wadding it up. The same physical rules that dictate how a paper ball crumples also describe how brains get their wrinkles, scientists suggest July 3 in Science.

That insight, arrived at in part by balling up sheets of standard-sized A4 office paper, offers a simple explanation for the ridges and valleys that give rise to thoughts, memories and emotions. The results also explain the shapes of a multitude of mammal brains ranging from the ultrawrinkled dolphin brain to the smooth brain of manatees, says study coauthor Suzana Herculano-Houzel. “There are no outliers.”

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Bird photo ID: Birders team with artificial intelligence to solve mystery PDF Print E-mail

The Merlin smartphone app has the solution to your bird watching mysteries. Now, Merlin Bird Photo ID takes it one step farther, identifying birds from uploaded photos. Crowd sourcing and artificial intelligence come together to answer a frequently asked question: What bird is that?

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Working towards a European open science cloud PDF Print E-mail

Last week, CERN hosted an event to discuss ongoing efforts to develop a ‘European open science cloud’. The aim of this work is to bring public research organizations and e‐infrastructures together with commercial cloud-computing suppliers to build a common platform offering a range of services to Europe’s research communities.

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HPC for your visual library: How algorithms and supercomputers assess video quality PDF Print E-mail

The volume of video content has exploded in recent years, and museums and libraries face the daunting task of evaluating the condition of their collections to make preservation and access decisions. To meet this challenge, data curators, video engineers, supercomputing experts, and neuroscientists are testing and implementing quality assessment algorithms in supercomputers to rapidly identify levels of video quality in large collections.

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Historypin: Connecting communities through the power of digital maps PDF Print E-mail

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AI points to better decision-making despite poker match loss PDF Print E-mail

Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists looked to Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center supercomputer Blacklight in their construction of Claudico, a poker-playing artificial intelligence. Claudico came up short against the world's best poker players, but what the scientists have learned spells good news for medical decision-making.

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Caught and caged: the future of drug delivery PDF Print E-mail

Discover how the DNANANO project has been using the Curie supercomputer — a PRACE tier-0 system — to help design nanocages for targeted drug delivery.

Simulating one of these nanocages for just 100 nanoseconds would take nearly a decade on a normal workstation. However, by accessing PRACE resources, the research group was able to carry out multiple simulations of this kind in less than thirty days.

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How the NIH facilitates biomedical research: A conversation with George Komatsoulis PDF Print E-mail

At the recent Internet2 Global Summit iSGTW sat down with George Komatsoulis to talk about the state of distributed research and the NIH Commons, a scalable virtual environment to provide high-performance computing and data storage for bio-medical research. When implemented, the Commons will create a marketplace for digital bio-medical resources, driving down costs and democratizing access.

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Congratulations, Science as Art contest winners PDF Print E-mail

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