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Friday, January 23, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Scientists 'bend' elastic waves with new metamaterials that could have commercial applications

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 02:00 PM PST

Sound waves passing through the air, objects that break a body of water and cause ripples, or shockwaves from earthquakes all are considered 'elastic' waves. These waves travel at the surface or through a material without causing any permanent changes to the substance's makeup. Now, engineering researchers have developed a material that has the ability to control these waves, creating possible medical, military and commercial applications with the potential to greatly benefit society.

Scientists set quantum speed limit

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 12:48 PM PST

The flip side of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the energy time uncertainty principle, establishes a speed limit for transitions between two states. Physical chemists have now proved this principle for transitions between states that are not entirely distinct, allowing the calculation of speed limits for processes such as quantum computing and tunneling. The proof puts on sound footing a relationship that most physicists use daily.

New research re-creates planet formation, super-Earths and giant planets in the laboratory

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:54 AM PST

New laser-driven compression experiments reproduce the conditions deep inside exotic super-Earths and giant planet cores, and the conditions during the violent birth of Earth-like planets, documenting the material properties that determined planets' formation and evolution processes.

Rosetta Comet 'pouring' more water into space

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:30 AM PST

There has been a significant increase in the amount of water "pouring" out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet on which the Rosetta mission's Philae lander touched down in November 2014. The 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer) comet was releasing the earthly equivalent of 40 ounces (1.2 liters) of water into space every second at the end of August 2014.

Watching the birth of a comet magnetosphere

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 11:18 AM PST

Astronomers have shown what happens when a magnetosphere forms round a comet. The RPC-ICA instrument onboard the Rosetta spacecraft has been watching the early stages of how a magnetosphere forms around Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it moves closer to the Sun along its orbit and begins to interact with the solar wind. As the comet gets warmer, volatile substances, mainly water, evaporate from the surface and form an atmosphere around the comet. The Sun's ultraviolet radiation and collisions with the solar wind ionizes some of the comet's atmosphere. The newly formed ions are affected by the solar wind electric and magnetic fields and can be accelerated to high speeds. When the comet gets close enough to the Sun, its atmosphere becomes so dense and ionized that it becomes electrically conductive. When this happens, the atmosphere starts to resist the solar wind and a comet's magnetosphere is born - a region surrounding the comet that is shielded from the solar wind.

Exotic, gigantic molecules fit inside each other like Russian nesting dolls

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 10:27 AM PST

Scientists have experimentally observed for the first time a phenomenon in ultracold, three-atom molecules predicted by Russian theoretical physicist Vitaly Efimov in 1970.

Black hole on a diet creates a 'changing look' quasar

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:45 AM PST

Astronomers have identified the first 'changing look' quasar, a gleaming object in deep space that appears to have its own dimmer switch. The discovery may offer a glimpse into the life story of the universe's great beacons.

Major breakthrough in reading ancient scrolls

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:44 AM PST

Revolutionary software is making a breakthrough in reading 2,000-year old Herculaneum scrolls, computer scientists report. After working for more than 10 years on unlocking an ancient piece of history, what lies inside damaged Herculaneum scrolls, one researcher will accomplish the next step in allowing the world to read the scrolls, which cannot be physically opened.

Profitable phishing schemes slyly tinker with our heads, then rip us off

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:43 AM PST

Researchers have found evidence that the incredible spread of email phishing scams may be due to phishers' increased use of "information-rich" emails that alter recipients' cognitive processes in a way that facilitates their victimization.

Wild west physics: Bridging the gap between the study of 'outer space' and 'inner space'

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 08:43 AM PST

The next frontier in physics may require teeny-tiny answers to big questions, and vice versa. Call it macro-micro physics: the study of the huge paired with the study of the very, very small.

Growing bone in space: Study to test therapy for bone loss on the International Space Station

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:22 AM PST

Stem cell researchers are to send rodents into space to test new therapy for prevention of bone loss. The research has enormous translational potential for astronauts in space flight and patients on Earth with osteoporosis or other bone loss problems from disease, illness or trauma.

Telescope to seek dust where other Earths may lie

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:04 AM PST

The NASA-funded Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, has completed its first study of dust in the "habitable zone" around a star, opening a new door to finding planets like Earth. Dust is a natural byproduct of the planet-formation process, but too much of it can block our view of planets.

Gullies on protoplanet Vesta suggest past water-mobilized flows

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 06:00 AM PST

Protoplanet Vesta, visited by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2013, was once thought to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its surface. However, a new study shows evidence that Vesta may have had short-lived flows of water-mobilized material on its surface, based on data from Dawn.

NASA, Microsoft collaboration will allow scientists to 'work on Mars'

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:58 AM PST

NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software called OnSight, a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens.

Is glass a true solid? New research suggests it is

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:48 AM PST

Does glass ever stop flowing? Researchers have combined computer simulation and information theory, originally invented for telephone communication and cryptography, to answer this puzzling question.

Gold 'nano-drills' help with DNA analysis

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Spherical gold particles are able to 'drill' a nano-diameter tunnel in ceramic material when heated. This is an easy and attractive way to equip chips with nanopores for DNA analysis, for example, nanotechnologists report.

Engineers develop world's longest 'flat pack' arch bridge

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Civil Engineers and pre-cast concrete specialists have developed the world's longest 'flat pack' arch bridge.

Computers: Visually pleasing graphics enhance user performance

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

An eye-catching and appealing graphic on a mobile phone or website helps people perform tasks quicker and more easily as the job gets more demanding. Investing a little bit extra to design aesthetically pleasing visuals for electronic devices, websites or anything people need to interact with will be beneficial in the long run.

Fine motor skills for robotic hands

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

Tying shoelaces, stirring coffee, writing letters, playing the piano. From the usual daily routine to demanding activities: Our hands are used more frequently than any other body part. Through our highly developed fine motor skills, we are able to perform grasping movements with variable precision and power distribution. This ability is a fundamental characteristic of the hand of primates. Until now, it was unclear how hand movements are planned in the brain. Neuroscientists can now predict grip movements of the hand by measuring brain cell activity.

Computer scientists improve privacy of Internet currency Bitcoin

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:45 AM PST

It is traded on special stock exchanges and is accepted not only by various online shops, but also by thousands of brick-and-mortar stores across the globe: the virtual currency Bitcoin. The users benefit from its advantages: Since it does not require a central bank, the transactions can be concluded more quickly and with reduced charges. Moreover, many Bitcoin users appreciate more anonymity while paying. Nevertheless, its popularity is also resulting in thefts with increasing frequency. Computer scientists have now presented an approach that enhances anonymity and can be applied without long waits.

Self-powered intelligent keyboard could provide a new layer of security

Posted: 22 Jan 2015 05:35 AM PST

By analyzing such parameters as the force applied by key presses and the time interval between them, a new self-powered non-mechanical intelligent keyboard could provide a stronger layer of security for computer users. The intelligent keyboard records each letter touched, but also captures information about the amount of force applied to the key and the length of time between one keystroke and the next. Such typing style is unique to individuals, and so could provide a new biometric for securing computers from unauthorized use.

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