Παρασκευή, 4 Ιουλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News


How knots can swap positions on a DNA strand

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Physicists have been able with the aid of computer simulations to confirm and explain a mechanism by which two knots on a DNA strand can interchange their positions.

From pencil marks to quantum computers

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

One of the hottest materials in condensed matter research today is graphene. Graphene had an unlikely start: it began with researchers messing around with pencil marks on paper. Pencil "lead" is actually made of graphite, which is a soft crystal lattice made of nothing but carbon atoms. When pencils deposit that graphite on paper, the lattice is laid down in thin sheets. By pulling that lattice apart into thinner sheets -- originally using Scotch tape -- researchers discovered that they could make flakes of crystal just one atom thick.

With 'ribbons' of graphene, width matters: A narrow enough ribbon will transform a high-performance conductor into a semiconductor

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Using graphene ribbons of unimaginably small widths -- just several atoms across -- a group of researchers has found a novel way to "tune" the wonder material, causing the extremely efficient conductor of electricity to act as a semiconductor. In principle, their method for producing these narrow ribbons -- at a width roughly equal to the diameter of a strand of human DNA -- and manipulating the ribbons' electrical conductivity could be used to produce nano-devices.

Ultrasound for astronomers? A young star's age can be gleamed from nothing but sound waves

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Determining the age of stars has long been a challenge for astronomers. Astronomers now show that 'infant' stars can be distinguished from 'adolescent' stars by measuring the acoustic waves they emit.

Safer, cheaper building blocks for future anti-HIV and cancer drugs

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Researchers have developed an economical, reliable and heavy metal-free chemical reaction that yields fully functional 1,2,3-triazoles. Triazoles are chemical compounds that can be used as building blocks for more complex chemical compounds, including pharmaceutical drugs.

Controversial clues of two 'Goldilocks planets' that might support life are proven false

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Mysteries about controversial signals from a star considered a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life now have been solved. The research proves, for the first time, that some of the signals actually are from events inside the star itself, not from the two so-called 'Goldilocks planets,' which were suspected to be just-right for life and orbiting the star at a distance where liquid water potentially could exist. No planets there, just star burps.

Tunable quantum behavior observed in bilayer graphene

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Researchers have observed the fractional quantum Hall effect in bilayer graphene and shown that this exotic state of matter can be tuned by an electric field.

Oklahoma earthquakes induced by wastewater injection by disposal wells, study finds

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

The dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 is likely attributable to subsurface wastewater injection at just a handful of disposal wells, finds a new study.

Discovery expands search for Earth-like planets: Newly spotted frozen world orbits in a binary star system

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:21 AM PDT

A newly discovered planet is expanding astronomers' notions of where Earth-like—and even potentially habitable—planets can form, and how to find them. At twice the mass of Earth, the planet orbits one of the stars in the binary system at almost exactly the same distance from which Earth orbits the sun. However, because the planet's host star is much dimmer than the sun, the planet is much colder thanEarth -- a little colder, in fact, than Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

Hollow-fiber membranes could cut separation costs, energy use

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a microfluidic technique for fabricating a new class of metal-organic framework (MOF) membranes inside hollow polymer fibers that are just a few hundred microns in diameter. The new fabrication process, believed to be the first to grow MOF membranes inside hollow fibers, could potentially change the way large-scale energy-intensive chemical separations are done.

Identifying microbial species: New device will help identify the millions of bacteria that populate the world

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:58 AM PDT

Millions of microbial species populate the world, but so far only a few have been identified due to the inability of most microbes to grow in the laboratory. An engineer and a biologist aim to change this. The pair has developed a device that allows scientists to cultivate a single species of bacteria that can then be studied and identified.

Tool helps guide brain cancer surgery

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:29 AM PDT

A tool to help brain surgeons test and more precisely remove cancerous tissue was successfully used during surgery. The mass spectrometry tool sprays a microscopic stream of charged solvent onto the tissue surface to gather information about its molecular makeup and produces a color-coded image that reveals the location, nature and concentration of tumor cells.

NASA radio delivered for Europe's 2016 Mars orbiter

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:27 AM PDT

The first of two NASA Electra radios that will fly aboard the European Space Agency's next mission to Mars has been delivered for installation onto the ESA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).

New social media study investigates relationships among Facebook use, narcissism and empathy

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:25 AM PDT

A new study investigated the relationship among adult Facebook users and found that some Facebook features are linked to selfishness and some Facebook activities may encourage empathy.

Behavioral economics: Rich boys more competitive

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:21 AM PDT

Why do we make the choices that we do? Are we born this way or have we become this way? Behavioral economists are looking for answers by the use of economics and math exercises in the laboratory.

Power consumption of robot joints could be 40% less

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Robots are being increasingly used in industrial processes because of their ability to carry out repetitive tasks in a precise, reliable way. Right now, digital controllers are used to drive the motors of the joints of these robots. And it is no easy task developing and programming these controllers so that they will work efficiently. Scientists have developed a way of propelling these systems or robots in a more energy-efficient way and have shown, on a laboratory level, that in some cases energy consumption can be cut by up to 40%.

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