Πέμπτη, 27 Μαρτίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News


Mass participation experiment reveals how to create wonderful dreams

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:27 PM PDT

Psychologists have announced the results of a two-year study into dream control. The experiment shows that it is now possible for people to create their perfect dream, and so wake up feeling especially happy and refreshed. Researchers also discovered that people's dreams were especially bizarre around the time of a full moon.

The search for seeds of black holes

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 02:03 PM PDT

How do you grow a supermassive black hole that is a million to a billion times the mass of our sun? Astronomers do not know the answer, but a new study using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has turned up what might be the cosmic seeds from which a black hole will sprout. The results are helping scientists piece together the evolution of supermassive black holes -- powerful objects that dominate the hearts of all galaxies.

Engineered bacteria produce biofuel alternative for high-energy rocket fuel

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 01:09 PM PDT

Researchers have engineered a bacterium to synthesize pinene, a hydrocarbon produced by trees that could potentially replace high-energy fuels, such as JP-10, in missiles and other aerospace applications. By inserting enzymes from trees into the bacterium scientists have boosted pinene production six-fold over earlier bioengineering efforts.

Solar system has a new most-distant member

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 12:37 PM PDT

The Solar System has a new most-distant member, bringing its outer frontier into focus. New work reports the discovery of a distant dwarf planet, called 2012 VP113, which was found beyond the known edge of the Solar System. This is likely one of thousands of distant objects that are thought to form the so-called inner Oort cloud. The work indicates the potential presence of an enormous planet, not yet seen, but possibly influencing the orbit of inner Oort cloud objects.

Keeping secrets in a world of spies and mistrust

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 12:37 PM PDT

A new article reviews developments in quantum cryptography and describes how we can keep our secrets secret even when faced with the double challenge of mistrust and manipulation.

Biological testing tool, ScanDrop, tests in fraction of time and cost of industry standard

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:23 AM PDT

A single instrument that can conduct a wide range of biological scans in a fraction of the time and cost of industry standard equipment has been developed. It uses considerably less material and ultra-sensitive detection methods to do the same thing. ScanDrop, is a portable instrument no bigger than a shoebox that has the capacity to detect a variety of biological specimen. For that reason it will benefit a wide range of users beyond the medical community, including environmental monitoring and basic scientific research.

Resistance is not futile: Researchers engineer resistance to ionic liquids in biofuel microbes

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Researchers have identified the genetic origins of a microbial resistance to ionic liquids and successfully introduced this resistance into a strain of E. coli bacteria for the production of advanced biofuels.

First ring system around asteroid: Chariklo found to have two rings

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Astronomers have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of debris.

3-D MRI scans may offer better way to predict survival after targeted chemo for liver tumors

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Specialized 3-D MRI scans to precisely measure living and dying tumor tissue to quickly show whether highly toxic chemotherapy – delivered directly through a tumor's blood supply – is working, demonstrates a series of studies involving 140 American men and women with liver tumors. The findings are the first "proof of principle" that this technology can show tumors in three dimensions and accurately measure tumor viability and death, the researchers report.

Significant progress toward creating 'benchtop human' reported

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 10:53 AM PDT

Scientists are reporting significant progress toward creating "homo minutus" -- a benchtop human. Researchers have successfully developed and analyzed a liver human organ construct that responds to exposure to a toxic chemical much like a real liver.

Scientists track 3-D nanoscale changes in rechargeable battery material during operation

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 08:46 AM PDT

Scientists have made the first 3-D observations of how the structure of a lithium-ion battery anode evolves at the nanoscale in a real battery cell as it discharges and recharges. The details of this research could point to new ways to engineer battery materials to increase the capacity and lifetime of rechargeable batteries.

Dark energy hides behind phantom fields

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 08:45 AM PDT

Quintessence and phantom fields, two hypotheses formulated using data from satellites are among the many theories that try to explain the nature of dark energy. Now researchers suggest that both possibilities are only a mirage in the observations and it is the quantum vacuum which could be behind this energy that moves our universe. Cosmologists believe that some three quarters of the universe are made up of a mysterious dark energy which would explain its accelerated expansion. The truth is that they do not know what it could be, therefore they put forward possible solutions.

Anaerobic treatment of wastewater: A step towards sustainable energy

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 08:45 AM PDT

Until recently, most of the world's energy supplies have come from coal, oil and gas. Scarcity of natural resources, surging energy prices and global warming had focused attention on renewable energy, and consequently, alternative approaches to producing bio-energy. Over the last five years, one particular technology for the production of biocoal - Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) - has undergone significant development and has become a subject of major scientific interest.

Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:27 AM PDT

The smells of summer -- the sweet fragrance of newly opened flowers, the scent of freshly cut grass and the aroma of meats cooking on the backyard grill -- will soon be upon us. Now, researchers are reporting that the very same beer that many people enjoy at backyard barbeques could, when used as a marinade, help reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats.

An answer to the perennial question: Is it safe to pee in the pool?

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Sanitary-minded pool-goers who preach 'no peeing in the pool,' despite ordinary and Olympic swimmers admitting to the practice, now have scientific evidence to back up their concern. Researchers are reporting that when mixed, urine and chlorine can form substances that can cause potential health problems.

Real-life CSI: What can investigators really tell from gunshot residue?

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:26 AM PDT

The popular TV series CSI is fiction, but every day, real-life investigators and forensic scientists collect and analyze evidence to determine what happened at crime scenes. Scientists say they have developed a more rapid and accurate method that could allow crime scene investigators to tell what kind of ammunition was shot from a gun based on the residue it left behind.

Altruistic side of aggressive greed

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:26 AM PDT

In many group-living species, high-rank individuals bully their group-mates to get what they want, but their contribution is key to success in conflict with other groups, according to a study that sheds new light on the evolutionary roots of cooperation and group conflict. In a series of mathematical models, researchers uncovered a mechanism for explaining how between-group conflict influences within-group cooperation and how genes for this behavior might be maintained in the population by natural selection.

ARCHER supercomputer targets research solutions on epic scale

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:22 AM PDT

A new generation supercomputer, capable of more than one million billion calculations a second, is to be inaugurated. ARCHER will help researchers carry out sophisticated, complex calculations in diverse areas such as simulating Earth's climate, calculating the airflow around aircraft, and designing novel materials.

Contaminated white dwarfs: Scientists solve riddle of celestial archaeology

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 06:22 AM PDT

A decades old space mystery has been solved by an international team of astronomers. The team put forward a new theory for how collapsed stars become polluted -- that points to the ominous fate that awaits planet Earth. Scientists investigated hot, young, white dwarfs -- the super-dense remains of Sun-like stars that ran out of fuel and collapsed to about the size of the Earth.

Million suns shed light on fossilized plant

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:04 PM PDT

Scientists have used one of the brightest lights in the Universe to expose the biochemical structure of a 50 million-year-old fossil plant to stunning visual effect. The team of palaeontologists, geochemists and physicists investigated the chemistry of exceptionally preserved fossil leaves from the Eocene-aged 'Green River Formation' of the western United States by bombarding the fossils with X-rays brighter than a million suns produced by synchrotron particle accelerators.

X-rays film inside live flying insects -- in 3-D

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 04:08 PM PDT

Scientists have used a particle accelerator to obtain high-speed 3-D x-ray visualizations of flight muscles in flies. The team developed a CT scanning technique to allow them to film inside live flying insects.

Model predicts blood glucose levels 30 minutes later

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

A mathematical model can predict with more than 90 percent accuracy the blood glucose levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes up to 30 minutes in advance of imminent changes in their levels -- plenty of time to take preventative action. A person's blood glucose levels fluctuate in response to his or her insulin dose, meal intake, physical activity and emotional state. How great these fluctuations are depends on the individual, explain the researchers.

Nanotube coating helps shrink mass spectrometers

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

Nanotechnology is advancing tools that perform on-the-spot chemical analysis for a range of applications including medical testing, explosives detection and food safety. When paper used to collect a sample was coated with carbon nanotubes, the voltage required was 1,000 times reduced, the signal was sharpened and the equipment was able to capture far more delicate molecules.

Substantial decrease in use of cardiac imaging procedure found by study

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 01:44 PM PDT

There has been a sharp decline since 2006 in the use of nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI; an imaging procedure used to determine areas of the heart with decreased blood flow), a decrease that cannot be explained by an increase in other imaging methods, according to a study. "Although the abrupt nature of the decline suggests changing physician behavior played a major role, incident coronary disease, as assessed by [heart attack], also declined [by 27 percent]. We could not determine the relative effects of these factors on MPI use," the authors write.

Closest milemarker supernova in generation observed

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 11:31 AM PDT

Researchers have intently studied the closest type Ia supernova discovered in a generation. The proximity to Earth could yield better understanding of this particular type of supernova that astronomers use to gauge distances in the universe and learn about its expansion history. Type Ia supernovae may begin as a carbon/oxygen white dwarf star that feeds off a neighboring normal star. Once the white dwarf star accretes enough material to reach a mass that's 1.4 times the size of our sun compressed into a ball about the size of Earth, it becomes unstable and explodes into a supernova in a process that still isn't fully understood.

Don't forget F-type stars in search for life

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 10:35 AM PDT

F-type stars, more massive and hotter than our sun, warrant more consideration as spots to look for habitable planets, according to a newly published study that also examined potential damage to DNA from UV radiation.

Model now capable of street-level storm-tide predictions

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 10:35 AM PDT

A new modeling study demonstrates the ability to predict a hurricane's storm tide at a much finer scale than current operational methods. The water that surged into the intersection of New York City's Canal and Hudson streets during Hurricane Sandy -- to choose just one flood-ravaged locale -- was ultimately driven ashore by forces swirling hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic. That simple fact shows not only the scale and power of a tropical cyclone, but the difficulty of modeling and forecasting its potential for coastal flooding on the fine scale needed to most effectively prepare a response.

How to look into the solar interior

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Scientists have proposed the first ever quantitative description of the mechanism responsible for sunspot formation and underlying the solar activity cycle. Magnetic field helicity is one of the so-called motion invariants in magneto-hydrodynamics. It is a conserved quantity, like energy, describing the degree to which the field lines are "wrapped around themselves". During the last 20 years, scientists realized that conservation of this quantity is even more influential upon magnetic field evolution than energy conservation.

Lick's new Automated Planet Finder: First robotic telescope for planet hunters

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 09:15 AM PDT

Lick Observatory's newest telescope, the Automated Planet Finder, has been operating robotically night after night on Mt. Hamilton since January, searching nearby stars for Earth-sized planets. Its technical performance has been outstanding, making it not only the first robotic planet-finding facility but also one of the most sensitive.

Building to take note of individual human thermal comfort: Women feel the cold more than men

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:58 AM PDT

Because people in developed countries spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, their sense of warmth becomes one key comfort factor for interior spaces. Scientists have now developed a new method for assessing the individual thermal comfort experienced by different user groups.

New magnetic materials for extracting energy from tides

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:51 AM PDT

The objective of the MAGNETIDE project is to develop a new type of generator that transforms the mechanical energy produced by the movement of the tides into electric energy. The researchers have modified the generator's design so that components manufactured using PIM, Powder Injection Moulding , could be installed. This would reduce the cost of these systems as well as increasing their efficiency by up to 30%, according to the scientists' calculations.

Sugar, not oil: New possibilities for isobutene from wood sugar

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:48 AM PDT

No more oil – renewable raw materials are the future. This motto not only applies to biodiesel, but also to isobutene, a basic product used in the chemical industry. In a pilot plant researchers now want to obtain isobutene from sugar instead of oil for the first time. And in order not to threaten food supplies, in the long term the sugar should come from wood or straw and not from sugar beet.

Managing renewable energy intelligently

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:48 AM PDT

Although more and more of our electrical energy is coming from sources where supply is variable – whether from wind turbines, solar parks or biomass facilities – grid structures, industry and private households alike are not yet prepared to deal with the inevitable fluctuations. Smart energy management systems are the way to put robust supply networks in place and to ensure that renewables are harnessed as efficiently as possible.

Scientists develop silicon cells capable of absorbing infrared radiation from the sun

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:48 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a silicon photovoltaic cell capable of turning infrared radiation into electricity. The sun is an inexhaustible source of energy which well-exploited, could solve many of the energy suply problems we have today. The photovoltaic cell, commonly known as solar cell, is a device capable of turning solar light into electricity. However, there are many obstacles that prevent a massive use, such as a relatively high cost (0.02 euros per watt generated) and the low efficiency of silicon based solar cells, around 17 per cent.

Rain used to illuminate low income homes

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 03:14 PM PDT

By collecting rainwater, students were able to generate electricity using a microturbine and supplying the vital liquid to homes in a poor community in Iztapalapa, in Mexico City. This system is similar to that used in dams, which uses rainwater to rotate a microturbine and generate electricity. Currently, it is only possible to recharge portable 12 volt batteries, whose energy is sufficient to power LED lamps but not to provide power to the entire house.

Studying crops, from outer space

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 12:40 PM PDT

Plants convert energy from sunlight into chemical energy during a process called photosynthesis. This energy is passed on to humans and animals that eat the plants, and thus photosynthesis is the primary source of energy for all life on Earth. New work uses a breakthrough in satellite technology to measure light that is emitted by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis from space.

Hunt for an unidentified electron object

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 12:40 PM PDT

New research sheds light on the nature of 'unidentified electron objects' -- a mysterious class of objects that exists in superfluid helium at low temperature. Researchers have developed a new mathematical framework capable of describing motions in superfluids -- low temperature fluids that exhibit classical as well as quantum behavior.

Plugging the hole in Hawking's black hole theory

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 11:54 AM PDT

Recently physicists have been poking holes again in Stephen Hawking's black hole theory -- including Hawking himself. Now another professor has jumped into the fray. He believes he has solved the decades-old information paradox debate in a groundbreaking new study.

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