Σάββατο, 19 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:20 PM PDT

A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into lightweight plastic lenses that have a high refractive index and are transparent to mid-range infrared light. The lenses may have applications in thermal imaging devices. Other potential applications for the new plastic include sulfur-lithium batteries.

Bright points in sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:17 PM PDT

Like a balloon bobbing along in the air while tied to a child's hand, a tracer has been found in the sun's atmosphere to help track the flow of material coursing underneath the sun's surface.

Vitamin B3 might have been made in space, delivered to Earth by meteorites

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:17 PM PDT

Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:17 PM PDT

A combination of advanced technologies may lead to a therapy to prevent or treat respiratory syncytial virus, a potentially lethal respiratory infection affecting infants, young children and the elderly, new research suggests. Despite a wide range of anti-RSV efforts, there are no vaccines or drugs on the market to effectively prevent or treat the infection.

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:16 PM PDT

Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu? Researchers have developed a method of estimating levels of influenza-like illness in the American population by analyzing Internet traffic on specific flu-related Wikipedia articles.

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 01:42 PM PDT

A technology for engineering human cells as therapies has been developed by scientists. The the technology becomes activated only in diseased tissues. It sits on the surface of a cell and can be programmed to sense specific external factors. For example, the engineered cell could detect big, soluble protein molecules that indicate that it's next to a tumor. When the biosensor detects such a factor, it sends a signal into the engineered cell's nucleus to activate a gene expression program, such as the production of tumor-killing proteins or chemicals.

Loud talking, horseplay in car results in more serious incidents for teen drivers

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 11:19 AM PDT

Adolescent drivers are often distracted by technology while they are driving, but loud conversations and horseplay between passengers appear more likely to result in a dangerous incident, according to a new study. Researchers ecruited 52 North Carolina high-school age drivers to have in-vehicle cameras mounted in their cars and trucks to observe distracted driving behaviors and distracted conditions when teen drivers were behind the wheel. Young drivers were recorded in a variety of real-world driving situations over six months -- with parents in the car, with other teens in the car and alone.

First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed by Gemini and Keck observatories

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 11:19 AM PDT

The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The initial discovery, made by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, is one of a handful of smaller planets found by Kepler and verified using large ground-based telescopes. It also confirms that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zone of other stars.

Thinnest membrane feasible has been produced

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 11:19 AM PDT

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The new membrane just produced is as thin as is technologically possible.

Internet use may cut retirees' depression

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:47 AM PDT

Spending time online has the potential to ward off depression among retirees, particularly among those who live alone, according to research. Authors report that internet use reduced the probability of a depressed state by 33 percent among their study sample. Late-life depression affects between 5 and 10 million Americans age 50 and older. This new study shows that the Internet offers older Americans a chance to overcome the social and spatial boundaries that are believed to fuel depression.

Surprising material could play huge role in saving energy: Tin selenide is best at converting waste heat to electricity

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:45 AM PDT

One strategy for addressing the world's energy crisis is to stop wasting so much energy when producing and using it, such as in coal-fired power plants or transportation. Nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. Now scientists have discovered a surprising material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity. This outstanding property could be exploited in solid-state thermoelectric devices, with potentially enormous energy savings.

Fear of the cuckoo mafia: In fear of retaliation, birds accept and raise brood parasites' young

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:45 AM PDT

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the 'protection money' demanded of him by the mob, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to make restaurant owners pay up. Similarly, mafia-like behavior is observed in parasitic birds, which lay their eggs in other birds' nests. If the host birds throw the cuckoo's egg out, the brood parasites take their revenge by destroying the entire nest. Consequently, it is beneficial for hosts to be capable of learning and to cooperate. Previously seen only in field observations, scientists have now modeled this behavior mathematically to confirm it as an effective strategy.

A cross-section of the universe

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:44 AM PDT

An image of a galaxy cluster gives a remarkable cross-section of the universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range from cosmic near neighbors to objects seen in the early years of the universe. The 14-hour exposure shows objects around a billion times fainter than can be seen with the naked eye.

Patented research remotely detects nitrogen-rich explosives

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:41 AM PDT

A patented technique that improves military security and remotely detects improvised explosive devices has been developed by an engineer. The same technique could help police during drug searches. The majority of chemical explosives are nitrogen-rich explosives.

Chiral breathing: Electrically controlled polymer changes its optical properties

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:05 AM PDT

Electrically controlled glasses with continuously adjustable transparency, new polarization filters, and even chemosensors capable of detecting single molecules of specific chemicals could be fabricated thanks to a new polymer unprecedentedly combining optical and electrical properties.

Distracted driving among teens threatens public health and safety

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 06:05 AM PDT

Motor vehicle crashes rank as the leading cause of teen deaths and in 2008, 16% of all distraction-related fatal automobile crashes involved drivers under 20 years of age. These grim statistics, coupled with an increasing nationwide awareness of the dangers of distracted driving for all ages, prompted the publication of important research that explores the causes of distracted driving and offers practical recommendations to reduce the incidence of distracted driving among teens.

Identifying the complex growth process of strontium titanate thin films

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:20 PM PDT

Researchers in Japan have achieved the first successful atomic-level observation of growing strontium titanate thin films.

An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 02:20 PM PDT

Researchers in Japan have discovered a new photocatalyst, Sn3O4, which facilitates the production of hydrogen fuel from water, using sunlight as an energy source.

Making radiation-proof materials for electronics, power plants

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:56 AM PDT

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster made the dangers of radiation all too real. To avoid similar tragedies in the future, scientists are working to develop new radiation-proof materials for nuclear power plants, as well as for less obvious applications such as medical devices and airplanes. An article in Chemical & Engineering News explores the latest developments.

New type of barcode could make counterfeiters' lives more difficult

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 08:30 AM PDT

Counterfeiters, beware! Scientists are reporting the development of a new type of inexpensive barcode that, when added to documents or currency, could foil attempts at making forgeries. Although the tags are easy for researchers to make, they still require ingredients you can't exactly find at the local hardware store.

New nanoparticle for cancer therapy created by physicist

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:08 AM PDT

A complex that may make photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment more efficient and cost effective, and effective against deep tissue cancers, has been created by physicist. Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, harms cancer cells when a photosensitizer introduced into tumor tissue produces toxic singlet oxygen after being exposed to light.

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