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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Spider electro-combs its sticky nano-filaments

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:23 PM PST

A spider commonly found in garden centers in Britain is giving fresh insights into how to spin incredibly long and strong fibers just a few nanometers thick. The majority of spiders spin silk threads several micrometers thick but unusually the 'garden centre spider' or 'feather-legged lace weaver' can spin nano-scale filaments. Now scientists think they are closer to understanding how this is done.

Researchers tune friction in ionic solids at the nanoscale

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 01:49 PM PST

New experiments have uncovered a way of controlling friction on ionic surfaces at the nanoscale using electrical stimulation and ambient water vapor.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft captures best-ever view of dwarf planet Ceres

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:11 AM PST

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres on Jan. 25, and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the first human-made probe to visit a dwarf planet.

Stomach acid-powered micromotors get their first test in a living animal

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

Researchers have shown that a micromotor fueled by stomach acid can take a bubble-powered ride inside a mouse. These tiny motors, each about one-fifth the width of a human hair, may someday offer a safer and more efficient way to deliver drugs or diagnose tumors. The experiment is the first to show that these micromotors can operate safely in a living animal.

New mechanism unlocked for evolution of green fluorescent protein

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

A primary challenge in the biosciences is to understand the way major evolutionary changes in nature are accomplished. Sometimes the route turns out to be very simple. An example of such simplicity is provided in a new publication that shows, for the first time, that a hinge migration mechanism, driven solely by long-range dynamic motions, can be the key for evolution of a green-to-red photoconvertible phenotype in a green fluorescent protein.

Asteroid that flew past Earth has moon

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:06 AM PST

Scientists working with NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, have released the first radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86. The images show the asteroid, which made its closest approach on Jan. 26, 2015 at 8:19 a.m. PST (11:19 a.m. EST) at a distance of about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers, or 3.1 times the distance from Earth to the moon), has its own small moon.

'Yellowballs' are part of the development of massive star

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 10:11 AM PST

Citizen scientists wanted to know: What are the yellow objects on these infrared images from the Spitzer Space Telescope? Astronomers now report that the "yellowballs" are part of the development of massive stars.

New pathway to valleytronics: Femtosecond laser used to manipulate valley excitons

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:24 AM PST

Researchers have uncovered a promising new pathway to valleytronics, a potential quantum computing technology in which information is coded based on the wavelike motion of electrons moving through certain 2-D semiconductors.

Targeted MRI/ultrasound beats standard biopsy to detect high-risk prostate cancer

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:12 AM PST

Targeted biopsy using new fusion technology that combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound is more effective than standard biopsy in detecting high-risk prostate cancer, according to a large-scale study.

Bubbles from the galactic center: A key to understanding dark matter and our galaxy's past?

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:14 AM PST

The astrophysicists who discovered two enormous radiation bubbles in the center of our galaxy discuss what they may tell us about the Milky Way and how they could help in the search for dark matter.

Ancient star system reveals Earth-sized planets forming near start of universe

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:14 AM PST

A Sun-like star with orbiting planets, dating back to the dawn of the Galaxy, has been discovered by an international team of astronomers. At 11.2 billion years old, it is the oldest star with Earth-sized planets ever found and proves that such planets have formed throughout the history of the Universe.

The origin of life: Labyrinths as crucibles of life

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:11 AM PST

Water-filled micropores in hot rock may have acted as the nurseries in which life on Earth began. A team has now shown that temperature gradients in pore systems promote the cyclical replication and emergence of nucleic acids.

The laser pulse that gets shorter all by itself

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:10 AM PST

A new method of creating ultra short laser pulses has been created: Just by sending a pulse through a cleverly designed fiber, it can be compressed by a factor of 20.

Web surfing to weigh up bariatric surgery options

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:10 AM PST

Obese people considering weight-reducing surgery are only topped by pregnant women when it comes to how often they turn to the Internet for health advice. While most use it to read up on relevant procedures and experiences, some patients actually chooses a surgeon based solely on what they have gleaned from the web, a study concludes.

Economic trade-offs of owning versus leasing a solar photovoltaic system

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:10 AM PST

Two new reports examine the economic options customers face when deciding how to finance commercial or residential solar energy systems. Analysts found that businesses that use low-cost financing to purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system and homeowners who use solar-specific loans can save up to 30 percent compared with consumers who lease a PV system through a conventional third-party owner.

New search engine lets users look for relevant results faster

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:09 AM PST

Researchers have developed a new search engine that outperforms current ones, and helps people to do searches more efficiently.

Bad weather warnings most effective if probability included, new research suggests

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:48 AM PST

Risk researchers find that the public may respond best to severe weather warnings if they include a probability estimate, an important finding not only for the present but also for the longer-term future as climate change brings more frequent and severe threats.

Carbon nanoballs can greatly contribute to sustainable energy supply

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:01 AM PST

Researchers have discovered that the insulation plastic used in high-voltage cables can withstand a 26 per cent higher voltage if nanometer-sized carbon balls are added. This could result in enormous efficiency gains in the power grids of the future, which are needed to achieve a sustainable energy system. The renewable energy sources of tomorrow will often be found far away from the end user. Wind turbines, for example, are most effective when placed out at sea. Solar energy will have the greatest impact on the European energy system if focus is on transport of solar power from North Africa and Southern Europe to Northern Europe.

'Bulletproof' Battery: Kevlar Membrane for Safer, Thinner Lithium Rechargeables

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

New battery technology should be able to prevent the kind of fires that grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners in 2013. The innovation is an advanced barrier between the electrodes in a lithium-ion battery.

Making a tiny rainbow: 300 colors about as wide as a human hair

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:58 AM PST

By varying the size and spacing of aluminum nanodisks, researchers generate images that contain over 300 colors and are not much wider than a human hair.

Shell growth observed thanks to 'ion sponge'

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 08:22 AM PST

Researchers are able to observe the formation of shells in real time on a nanometer scale thanks to a new electron microscopy technique. This enabled them for the first time to see how pieces of polymer act as 'ion sponges' – thereby confirming a 30-year-old theory. The required ions are absorbed so that crystals are only formed at these specific locations. Their finding not only throws a new light on biological crystal formation in nature, which is still not fully understood. The results also provide additional understanding of industrial crystal formation processes, which are used for example to increase efficiency in the production of ICs and solar cells.

Chemists control structure to unlock magnetization and polarization simultaneously

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

Scientists have controlled the structure of a material to simultaneously generate both magnetization and electrical polarization, an advance which has potential applications in information storage and processing.

A simulation model to find out the effect of electromagnetic waves on the human body is developed

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 06:54 AM PST

A researcher has simulated the effect that electromagnetic fields have on people. He has developed a model that allows the various phenomena that take place in the propagation of specific electromagnetic waves to be correctly characterized; it also enables one to ascertain whether or not they exceed the levels that could exert harmful effects on health.

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