Τρίτη, 1 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Using more wood for construction can slash global reliance on fossil fuels

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 02:06 PM PDT

Increasing the wood harvest to the equivalent of 34 percent or more of annual wood growth to meet construction demands worldwide could drastically reduce the global reliance on fossil fuels while protecting biodiversity and carbon storage capacity, according to a new study.

First phononic crystal that can be altered in real time

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Using an acoustic metadevice that can influence the acoustic space and can control any of the ways in which waves travel, engineers have demonstrated, for the first time, that it is possible to dynamically alter the geometry of a three-dimensional colloidal crystal in real time. The colloidal crystals designed in the study, called metamaterials, are artificially structured materials that extend the properties of existing naturally occurring materials and compounds.

Computer maps 21 distinct emotional expressions — even 'happily disgusted'

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 12:35 PM PDT

Researchers have found a way for computers to recognize 21 distinct facial expressions — even expressions for complex or seemingly contradictory emotions such as "happily disgusted" or "sadly angry." The study more than triples the number of documented facial expressions that researchers can now use for cognitive analysis.

Cheap, better-performing lithium-ion batteries created

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:41 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a cheap, high-performing silicon anode and sulfur-based cathode for lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are a popular type of rechargeable battery commonly found in portable electronics and electric or hybrid cars. Scientists have developed a cost-effective (and therefore commercially viable) silicon anode nearly three times more powerful and longer lasting than a typical commercial anode.

Hybrid vehicles more fuel efficient in India, China than in U.S.

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:41 AM PDT

What makes cities in India and China so frustrating to drive in -- heavy traffic, aggressive driving style, few freeways -- makes them ideal for saving fuel with hybrid vehicles, according to new research. In a pair of studies using real-world driving conditions, they found that hybrid cars are significantly more fuel-efficient in India and China than they are in the United States.

Satellite shows high productivity from US corn belt

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:10 AM PDT

Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere's growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to scientists. Healthy plants convert light to energy via photosynthesis, but chlorophyll also emits a fraction of absorbed light as fluorescent glow that is invisible to the naked eye. The magnitude of the glow is an excellent indicator of the amount of photosynthesis, or gross productivity, of plants in a given region.

Nanoparticle trapped with laser light temporarily violates second law of thermodynamics

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Objects with sizes in the nanometer range, such as the molecular building blocks of living cells or nanotechnological devices, are continuously exposed to random collisions with surrounding molecules. In such fluctuating environments the fundamental laws of thermodynamics that govern our macroscopic world need to be rewritten. Scientists found that a nanoparticle trapped with laser light temporarily violates the famous second law of thermodynamics, something that is impossible on human time and length scale.

Breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technology

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Scientists have managed to create artificial nanostructures called metamaterials that can 'bend light.' But the challenge has been making enough of the material to turn invisibility cloaks into a practical reality. New research, however, may have just cracked that barrier.

New gel allows for targeted therapy after heart attack

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Each patient responds to heart attacks differently and damage can vary from one part of the heart muscle to another. Researchers have now developed a way to address this variation via a material that can be applied directly to damaged heart tissue. The ability of this gel to deliver enzyme inhibitors as needed suggests that the researchers' technique might also find use in other inflammation-related disorders, such as osteoarthritis where the same enzymes degrade cartilage tissue.

What will climate policy mean for coal?

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:42 AM PDT

Limiting climate change to 2 degrees C means shutting down coal power plants -- an unpopular proposition for coal power companies. But a new study shows that delaying climate policies could prove even worse for power plant owners.

Physicists split and collide ultracold atom clouds using steerable 'optical tweezers'

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 08:42 AM PDT

Physicists have pushed the frontiers of quantum technology by developing a steerable 'optical tweezers' unit that uses intense laser beams to precisely split minute clouds of ultracold atoms and to smash them together. The researchers' feat is set to enhance efforts to understand the mysterious ways that atoms interact at temperatures of less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero.

Even micro heart attacks are major problem

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging may help doctors better identify which patients with mild heart disease are likely to develop more serious heart problems long term. CMR imaging provides supporting information to guide treatment decisions and help doctors provide targeted care for patients at highest risk.

'Ivory tower' bucking social media

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:02 AM PDT

University scholars are largely resisting the use of social media to circulate their scientific findings and engage their tech-savvy students, a researcher argues in a new article.

Diamonds are an oil's best friend: Research to find the best nanofluid for heat transfer

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 07:01 AM PDT

A mixture of diamond nanoparticles and mineral oil easily outperforms other types of fluid created for heat-transfer applications, according to new research. Scientists mixed very low concentrations of diamond particles (about 6 nanometers in diameter) with mineral oil to test the nanofluid's thermal conductivity and how temperature would affect its viscosity. They found it to be much better than nanofluids that contain higher amounts of oxide, nitride or carbide ceramics, metals, semiconductors, carbon nanotubes and other composite materials.

Sticky composites improve, 'green up' lithium-ion batteries: New battery technology employs multifunctional materials

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 06:55 AM PDT

Lithium-ion batteries power a vast array of modern devices, from cell phones, laptops, and laser pointers to thermometers, hearing aids, and pacemakers. Scientists have now discovered a "sticky" conductive material that may improve them while eliminating the need for toxic solvents.

Nano-paper filter removes viruses

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:37 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a paper filter, which can remove virus particles with the efficiency matching that of the best industrial virus filters. The paper filter consists of 100 percent high purity cellulose nanofibers, directly derived from nature. Cellulose is one of the most common materials to produce various types of filters because it is inexpensive, disposable, inert and non-toxic.

'Cosmic barometer' could reveal violent events in universe's past

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 05:37 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a way of reading the universe's 'cosmic barometer' to learn more about ancient violent events in space. Exploding stars, random impacts involving comets and meteorites, and even near misses between two bodies can create regions of great heat and high pressure. Researchers have now developed a method for analysing the pressure experienced by tiny samples of organic material that may have been ejected from dying stars before making a long journey through the cosmos.

Effect of important air pollutants may be absent from key precipitation observations

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 12:16 PM PDT

Pioneering new research could have a major impact on climate and environmental science by drastically transforming the perceived reliability of key observations of precipitation, which includes rain, sleet and snow. The ground breaking study examines the effect that increased aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere, emitted as a result of burning fossil fuels, had on regional temperature and precipitation levels.

First functional 'designer' chromosome in yeast synthesized by scientists

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 11:24 AM PDT

The first functional chromosome in yeast has been synthesized by an international research group, an important step in the emerging field of synthetic biology, designing microorganisms to produce novel medicines, raw materials for food, and biofuels. "Our research moves the needle in synthetic biology from theory to reality," remarked a pioneer in synthetic biology, who was a part of the research team.

Predicting oil changes in industrial applications without interrupting operations

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Predictive maintenance of hard-to-access plants, no unnecessary oil changes, no unnecessary laboratory costs and less environmental impact: these are just some of the benefits offered by a new system that can monitor the condition of lubricating oils, hydraulic oils and other fluids in industrial installations without interrupting ongoing operations.

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