Τρίτη, 3 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News


Security: Computer scientists develop tool to make the Internet of Things safer

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:59 PM PDT

Computer scientists have developed a tool that allows hardware designers and system builders to test security -- a first for the field. There is a big push to create the so-called Internet of Things, where all devices are connected and communicate with one another. As a result, embedded systems -- small computer systems built around microcontrollers -- are becoming more common. But they remain vulnerable to security breaches. Some examples of devices that may be hackable: medical devices, cars, cell phones and smart grid technology.

Which look bigger, packages of complicated shape or packages of simple shape?

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:59 PM PDT

Which look bigger, packages of complicated shape or packages of simple shape? Some prior research shows that complex packages appear larger than simple packages of equal volume, while other research has shown the opposite -- that simple packages look bigger than the more complex. Researchers believe they have resolved this dilemma.

Microbes engineered for direct conversion of biomass to fuel

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:58 PM PDT

The promise of affordable transportation fuels from biomass -- a sustainable, carbon neutral route to American energy independence -- has been left perpetually on hold by the economics of the conversion process. Researchers have overcome this hurdle allowing the direct conversion of switchgrass to fuel. The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, documents the direct conversion of biomass to biofuel without pre-treatment, using the engineered bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii.

Physicists take quantum leap toward ultra-precise measurement

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Physicists have overcome a major challenge in the science of measurement using quantum mechanics. The scientists developed a way to employ multiple detectors in order to measure photons in entangled states, with an experimental apparatus that uses a fiber ribbon to collect photons and send them to an array of 11 detectors. Their work paves the way for great advances in using quantum states to develop ultra-precise measurement technologies.

Sperm-inspired robots controlled by magnetic fields may be useful for drug delivery, IVF, cell sorting and other applications

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 11:16 AM PDT

A team of researchers has developed sperm-inspired microrobots, which consist of a head coated in a thick cobalt-nickel layer and an uncoated tail. When the robot is subjected to an oscillating field of less than five millitesla, it experiences a magnetic torque on its head, which causes its flagellum to oscillate and propel it forward. The researchers are then able to steer the robot by directing the magnetic field lines towards a reference point.

New pneumatic launchers for analyzing resistance to impacts, improving armor plating

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

New pneumatic launchers make it possible to carry out a wide range of studies on problems of impact that arise in the aeronautics industry and on optimum armor plating in other sectors. "Our goal is to design armor plating whose protective behavior is optimum," explains the head of the laboratory. "If an element is well designed, a collision should not produce any catastrophic damage, but if not, the impact of a piece could go through it like a knife through butter," he comments.

Nano world: Where towers construct themselves

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

A tower which builds itself is absurd -- and however, in the nano world self-assembly is reality. Physicists have investigated how to control the ordering of such self-assembling structures at the nano-scale. Physicists investigated how they can control the ordering of such self-assembling structures and found out how to switch the assembly process on and off.

Using computers to influence the law

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 10:21 AM PDT

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures and, ever since the Supreme Court's 1967 decision in Katz v. United States, the right to be free of unwanted government scrutiny has been tied to the concept of reasonable expectations of privacy. Researchers have examined how advances in machine learning technology may change the way courts treat searches, warrants, and privacy issues.

Transforming hydrogen into safer liquid fuel using atmospheric carbon dioxide

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:58 AM PDT

Scientists have completed their solution for transforming hydrogen gas into a less flammable liquid fuel that can be safely stored and transported. Another possible application of their technology would be to use atmospheric carbon dioxide to synthesize a number of useful chemical products.

Astronomers find a new type of planet: The 'mega-Earth'

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:58 AM PDT

Astronomers have discovered a new type of planet -- a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn't form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered 'super-Earths,' making it a 'mega-Earth.'

Because you can't eat just one: Star will swallow two planets

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:58 AM PDT

Two worlds orbiting a distant star are about to become a snack of cosmic proportions. Astronomers announced that the planets Kepler-56b and Kepler-56c will be swallowed by their star in a short time by astronomical standards. Their ends will come in 130 million and 155 million years, respectively.

'Neapolitan' exoplanets come in three flavors

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:58 AM PDT

The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We have small, rocky terrestrials like Earth and Mars, and large gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter. We're missing the astronomical equivalent of strawberry ice cream -- planets between about one and four times the size of Earth.

Harsh space weather may doom potential life on red-dwarf planets

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:58 AM PDT

Life in the universe might be even rarer than we thought. Recently, astronomers looking for potentially habitable worlds have targeted red dwarf stars because they are the most common type of star, composing 80 percent of the stars in the universe. But a new study shows that harsh space weather might strip the atmosphere of any rocky planet orbiting in a red dwarf's habitable zone.

Researchers propose tactics for ethical use of Twitter data

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:56 AM PDT

Tweets are only 140 characters, but amass enough of them, and researchers can deduce a great deal about subjects ranging from disease outbreaks to social unrest. Researchers have proposed guidelines to make sure data mined from Twitter data is obtained and used ethically.

Increasing legal certainty through cross-national validity within global software market

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:56 AM PDT

The Internet has revolutionized the software industry. A single software market is emerging, independent of national borders, where products and services are digitally distributed. But the legal framework for software transfers is not geographically independent; relevant underlying law varies substantially between different legal systems. New research demonstrates the legal difficulties with this emerging market, but also proposes solutions to such problems.

Creating tabletop light sources in the lab: Physicist builds useful light source from harmonic generation

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:56 AM PDT

Scientists are developing a way to greatly enhance the generation of high-order harmonics to create powerful small tabletop light sources that are important to science and technology. The researchers are building theoretical framework and providing experimental guidance in the area of strong-field physics.

Doing more with less: in cellulo structure determinations

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:47 AM PDT

Anyone involved in macromolecular crystallography will know that for many years scientists have had to rely on a multi-stage process utilizing protein, usually expressed in engineered cells, which is then extracted and purified before crystallization in vitro and finally prepared for analysis. As a counter to this time-consuming and substantial scientific effort, there are a number of examples of protein crystallization events occurring in vivo, with next to no human input. In a case presented in a recent paper, an insect virus exploits the phenomenon as part of its life cycle.

Breakthrough in energy storage: Electrical cables that can store energy

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Nanotechnology scientists have developed a way to both transmit and store electricity in a single lightweight copper wire. Sounds like science fiction, but it may become a reality thanks to breakthrough technology. So far electrical cables are used only to transmit electricity. However, nanotechnology scientists have developed a way to both transmit and store electricity in a single lightweight copper wire.

Stronger than steel: Scientists spin ultra-strong cellulose fibers

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Scientists have successfully tested a new method for the production of ultra-strong cellulose fibers. The novel procedure spins extremely tough filaments from tiny cellulose fibrils by aligning them all in parallel during the production process.

Language: New analysis contradicts earlier findings

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:15 AM PDT

New research presents evidence that the methods employed by the authors of articles published in international science journals are not supported by a more rigorous linguistic analysis. The new analysis comes in response to a number of papers published in high-profile science publications that have argued that statistical analyses of symbol combinations can provide insights into the origins of written language.

Electromobility as privacy hazard: Leaving information with every electric fill-up

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Consumers who charge an electric vehicle on a regular basis may leave a data trail. With each charging process, the system saves when and where it took place and which customer paid for it -- a privacy risk, says one expert, who presents a solution designed to ensure the privacy of users' data during the charging process.

World's best thermometer made from light

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Physics researchers have produced the world's most sensitive thermometer – three times more precise than the best thermometers in existence. They report they have been able to measure temperature with a precision of 30 billionths of a degree.

Rare chemical phenomenon that could be harnessed to harvest solar energy demonstrated by researchers

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:01 AM PDT

The chemical reaction responsible for propelling microscopic crystals to leap distances up to hundreds of times their own size when they are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light has been successfully unraveled by a team of international scientists. This popping effect, akin to the bursting of popcorn kernels at high temperatures, demonstrates the conversion of light into mechanical motion. It is the first instance of a "photosalient effect" driven by a photochemical reaction in solids to be reported.

The 'Serpent' star-forming cloud hatches new stars

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Stars that are just beginning to coalesce out of cool swaths of dust and gas are showcased in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). Infrared light has been assigned colors we see with our eyes, revealing young stars in orange and yellow, and a central parcel of gas in blue. This area is hidden in visible-light views, but infrared light can travel through the dust, offering a peek inside the stellar hatchery.

Nano-platform ready: Scientists use DNA origami to create 2-D structures

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Scientists have developed a method using DNA origami to turn one-dimensional nano materials into two dimensions. Their breakthrough offers the potential to enhance fiber optics and electronic devices by reducing their size and increasing their speed. DNA origami employs approximately two hundred short DNA strands to direct longer strands in forming specific shapes.

NASA's saucer-shaped craft preps for flight test

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 06:53 AM PDT

NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle, has completed final assembly at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. This experimental flight test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit future Mars missions, including those involving human exploration. Three weeks of testing, simulations and rehearsals are planned before the first launch opportunity on the morning of June 3.

STMD: Advancing NASA’s path to Mars

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is paving the way for future Mars exploration. The directorate is currently investing in and developing bold, disruptive technology required for future deep-space missions. This critical work leads a concerted effort throughout the agency, including at the program level and across multiple centers, as well as with partners in American industry.

Joint implants without an expiry date

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

Artificial joints have a limited lifespan. After a few years, many hip and knee joints have to be replaced. Much more complex are intervertebral disc implants, which cannot easily be replaced after their "expiry date" and which up to now have had to be reinforced in most cases. This restricts the patient's freedom of movement considerably. Researchers have now succeeded in coating mobile intervertebral disc implants so that they show no wear and will now last for a lifetime.

LDSD testing for large payloads to Mars

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 06:42 AM PDT

What will it take to land heavier spacecraft on Mars? How will engineers slow large payloads traveling at supersonic speeds in a thin Martian atmosphere? Can this be done? NASA's Wallops Flight Facility is playing an integral role in potentially answering those questions with the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator mission, or LDSD.

Crowdsourcing answer to cancer cell drug sensitivities

Posted: 01 Jun 2014 05:19 PM PDT

An open challenge to predict which breast cancer cell lines will respond to which drugs, based only on the sum of cells' genomic data, has released its results. The winning entry was 78 percent accurate in identifying sensitive versus resistant cell lines, and was one of 44 algorithms submitted by groups from around the world.

Exciton detected in metal for first time: Microscopic quantum mechanical description of how light excites electrons in metals

Posted: 01 Jun 2014 12:09 PM PDT

Scientists have detected a fundamental particle of light-matter interaction in metals, the exciton for the first time. Humankind has used reflection of light from a metal mirror on a daily basis for millennia, but the quantum mechanical magic behind this familiar phenomenon is only now being uncovered.

Tracking animals on videos: Software able to identify and track a specific individual within a group

Posted: 01 Jun 2014 12:08 PM PDT

It is easy to follow the route traced by an animal by using video recordings of the animal. The problem arises when the behavior of two or more individuals is studied, as animals often cross or interact with other members of the group and wrong assignments of identity for each animal occur. These faults make virtually impossible to identify an individual after several minutes of video.

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