Πέμπτη, 24 Απριλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Innovation improves drowsy driver detection

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:09 PM PDT

A new way to detect when drivers are about to nod off behind the wheel has been developed. "Video-based systems that use cameras to detect when a car is drifting out of its lane are cumbersome and expensive. They don't work well on snow-covered or curvy roads, in darkness or when lane markers are faded or missing. Our invention provides an inexpensive and user-friendly technology that overcomes these limitations and can help catch fatigue earlier, well before accidents are likely to happen," said a developer of the device.

Cyber buddy is better than 'no buddy'

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:10 PM PDT

A researcher is looking to give exercise enthusiasts the extra nudge they need during a workout, and her latest research shows that a cyber buddy can help. The study is the first to indicate that although a human partner is still a better motivator during exercise, a software-generated partner also can be effective.

Superconducting qubit array points the way to quantum computers

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:10 PM PDT

A fully functional quantum computer is one of the holy grails of physics. Physicists have moved one step closer to making a quantum computer a reality by demonstrating a new level of reliability in a five-qubit array. Quantum computing is anything but simple. It relies on aspects of quantum mechanics such as superposition. This notion holds that any physical object, such as an atom or electron -- what quantum computers use to store information -- can exist in all of its theoretical states simultaneously. This could take parallel computing to new heights.

Mapping the road to quantum gravity

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:09 PM PDT

The road uniting quantum field theory and general relativity -- the two great theories of modern physics -- has been impassable for 80 years. Could a tool from condensed matter physics finally help map the way?

Atomic switcheroo explains origins of thin-film solar cell mystery

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 12:09 PM PDT

Treating cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar cell materials with cadmium-chloride improves their efficiency, but researchers have not fully understood why.

Hearing quality restored with bionic ear technology used for gene therapy: Re-growing auditory nerves

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Researchers have for the first time used electrical pulses delivered from a cochlear implant to deliver gene therapy, thereby successfully regrowing auditory nerves. The research also heralds a possible new way of treating a range of neurological disorders, including Parkinson's disease, and psychiatric conditions such as depression through this novel way of delivering gene therapy.

Halving hydrogen: First view of nature-inspired catalyst after ripping hydrogen apart provides insights for better fuel cells

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

A fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen into electricity must tear open a hydrogen molecule. Now researchers have captured a view of such a catalyst holding onto the two halves of its hydrogen feast, provides insight into how to make the catalyst work better.

Pollutants from coal-burning stoves strongly associated with miscarriages in Mongolia

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Burning coal for domestic heating may contribute to early fetal death according to a new study that took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia -- the coldest capital city in the world. Researchers report "alarmingly strong statistical correlations" between seasonal ambient air pollutants and pregnancy loss.

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer segments in a living cell

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

A way to detect and measure cancer levels in a living cell by using tiny gold particles with tails of synthetic DNA has been developed by scientists. The process uses gold nanoparticles to target and bind to fragments of genetic material known as BRCA1 messenger RNA splice variants, which can indicate the presence and stage of breast cancer. The number of these mRNA splice variants in a cell can be determined by examining the specific signal that light produces when it interacts with the gold nanoparticles.

Odds of storm waters overflowing Manhattan seawall up 20-fold

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Maximum water levels in New York harbor during major storms have risen by nearly two and a half feet since the mid-1800s, making the chances of water overtopping the Manhattan seawall now at least 20 times greater than they were 170 years ago, according to a new study.

Predicting drift of floating pumice 'islands' can benefit shipping

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:25 AM PDT

A new technique will aid in predicting the dispersal and drift patterns of large floating 'islands' of pumice created by volcanic eruptions at sea. Known as pumice rafts, these large mobile accumulations of pumice fragments can spread to affect a considerable area of the ocean, damaging vessels and disrupting shipping routes for months or even years. The ability to predict where these rafts will end up could give enough advance warning for protective measures to be put in place on shipping routes or in harbours where the presence of pumice is hazardous.

Some astronauts at risk for cognitive impairment, animal studies suggest

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Rats exposed to high-energy particles, simulating conditions astronauts would face on a long-term deep space mission, show lapses in attention and slower reaction times, even when the radiation exposure is in extremely low dose ranges, new research shows. The cognitive impairments — which affected a large subset, but far from all, of the animals — appear to be linked to protein changes in the brain, the scientists say.

Following a protein's travel inside cells is key to improving patient monitoring, drug development

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

A technique to detect subcellular location of a protein has been developed by scientists. In science, "simple and accessible detection methods that can rapidly screen a large cell population with the resolution of a single cell inside that population has been seriously lacking," said one engineer involved in the study. Their work involved a simple and unique tweak to the conventional cell staining process allowed the researchers to accurately define the subcellular location of the protein by measuring the amount of the residual protein after release.

Airport security-style technology could help doctors decide on stroke treatment

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 08:15 AM PDT

A new computer program could help doctors predict which patients might suffer potentially fatal side-effects from a key stroke treatment. The program assesses brain scans using pattern recognition software similar to that used in airport security and passport control. Currently, stroke affects over 15 million people each year worldwide. Ischemic strokes are the most common and these occur when small clots interrupt the blood supply to the brain.

In lab tests, the antimicrobial ingredient triclosan spurs growth of breast cancer cells

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Some manufacturers are turning away from using triclosan as an antimicrobial ingredient in soaps, toothpastes and other products over health concerns. And now scientists are reporting new evidence that appears to support these worries. Their study found that triclosan, as well as another commercial substance called octylphenol, promoted the growth of human breast cancer cells in lab dishes and breast cancer tumors in mice.

How to avoid water wars between 'fracking' industry and residents

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk unless there are adequate safeguards.

Steering chemical reactions with laser pulses

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Ultra short laserpulses in the femtosecond-range give scientists a powerful new method of controlling chemical reactions. A team of researchers could now show that the fragmentation of carbohydrates can be controlled by these pulses.

Male-biased tweeting: Gender differences in the use of Twitter

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far from being the norm in Hollywood movies. The same goes for Twitter, as a new study shows.

Liquid spacetime: What if spacetime were a kind of fluid?

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 06:52 AM PDT

What if spacetime were a kind of fluid? This is the question tackled by theoretical physicists working on quantum gravity by creating models attempting to reconcile gravity and quantum mechanics. Some of these models predict that spacetime at the Planck scale is no longer continuous – as held by classical physics – but discrete in nature. Just like the solids or fluids we come into contact with every day, which can be seen as made up of atoms and molecules when observed at sufficient resolution. A structure of this kind generally implies, at very high energies, violations of Einstein's special relativity (a integral part of general relativity).

Physicists consider implications of recent revelations about the universe's first light

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Recent evidence that the universe expanded from microscopic to cosmic size in a mere instant brings with it important implications. During a live Google Hangout, leading astrophysicists from the University of Chicago and Stanford University discussed what this potential 'crack in the cosmic egg' means for our understanding of the universe.

Newly-approved brain stimulator offers hope for individuals with uncontrolled epilepsy

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:20 PM PDT

A recently FDA-approved device has been shown to reduce seizures in patients with medication-resistant epilepsy by as much as 50 percent. When coupled with an innovative electrode placement planning system, the device facilitated the complete elimination of seizures in nearly half of the implanted patients enrolled in the decade-long clinical trials.

Building stronger bridges: Structures lab fulfills private, public needs

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 12:28 PM PDT

It all comes down to bridging a gap. Researchers are helping companies develop new materials and products —- self-consolidating concrete columns and prestressed concrete bridge girders -- that bridge a physical gap. Many of those newly developed products are used in public works projects funded by federal, state and local governments, thus bridging a commercial gap.

Bioinformatics profiling identifies a new mammalian clock gene

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. Could big data approaches help find them? To accelerate clock-gene discovery, investigators used a computer-assisted approach to identify and rank candidate clock components, which they liken to online Netflix-like profiling of movie suggestions for customers. This approach found a new core clock gene, which the team named CHRONO.

Checking up on crude oil in the ground: Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:46 AM PDT

Scientists have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence and concentration of hydrogen sulfide in crude oil and natural gas while they're still in the ground.

Impact of Facebook unfriending analyzed by researchers

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Two studies are shedding new light on the most common type of 'friend' to be unfriended on Facebook and their emotional responses to it. The studies show that the most likely person to be unfriended is a high school acquaintance. Both studies were based on a survey of 1,077 people conducted on Twitter.

Queuing theory helps physicist understand protein recycling

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 06:13 PM PDT

A picture of waiting in line helps one physicist understand how cells operate, especially as it relates to what the consequences could be of protein traffic jams inside cells. "If you consider the analogy of a subway, it's a fairly apt one," the researcher said. "A subway can deal with a certain number of customers with its limited number of outlets. If the flow is correct, the system works fine. If people arrive in bunches, it can jam the system. The same is true in cells."

LEDs get seal of approval: Safe for skin, experts say

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT

There was a time when no one thought about light bulbs -- one blew, you screwed another one in. Nowadays, it's more complicated, as energy efficiency concerns have given rise to a slew of options, including incandescent, compact fluorescent lights, and light emitting diodes. LEDs are the most expensive option, but they are also the most energy efficient, are getting more cost-efficient, and they are growing in popularity. With this increasing acceptance, concerns have arisen about long- or short-term direct skin exposure.

Reference pricing for proton therapy will help establish clinical benefits

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 01:41 PM PDT

"Reference pricing" for proton therapy has been proposed by researchers. This is a relatively new model that establishes a standard price for different therapies with similar outcomes. Proton therapy is in the proverbial chicken or the egg scenario. Companies are pulling back on reimbursements to treat some cancers—notably prostate, breast and lung—because of the added expense and limited evidence to back it up. But in order to demonstrate the technology's clinical benefit—which is showing promise as a more effective and better tolerated radiation—more studies with patients are needed.

New technology for greenhouses developed

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 11:54 AM PDT

Agricultural and fruit producers could acquire high-tech greenhouses at a considerably less cost, thanks to researchers who are developing computer systems to control climatic variables within such infrastructures. The technology consists of a motherboard, embedded computer systems (for specific functions), a graphical interface for monitoring variables such as humidity, temperature , wind speed and radiation, as well as elements that enable wireless connectivity between the greenhouse and mobile devices like cell phones.

Unattended Aircraft, rockets and weather balloons designed

Posted: 21 Apr 2014 11:54 AM PDT

In order to manufacture national aerospace technology, specialists have carried out a program for the design and manufacture of unattended aircraft, rockets and weather balloons.

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