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Thursday, February 12, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

In a first, astronomers catch a multiple star system in the process of forming

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 11:12 AM PST

This finding supports model predictions about how two- and three-star systems form. Astronomers say understanding why and how multiple star systems form is essential for grasping phenomena such as star and planet formation, planet frequency and habitability.

Analogue quantum computers: Still wishful thinking?

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:20 AM PST

Many challenges lie ahead before quantum annealing, the analogue version of quantum computation, contributes to solve combinatorial optimization problems. Traditional computational tools are simply not powerful enough to solve some complex optimization problems, like, for example, protein folding. Quantum annealing, a potentially successful implementation of analogue quantum computing, would bring about an ultra-performant computational method.

Love online is about being real, not perfect

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 10:19 AM PST

How you fill out an online profile makes a big difference in how you're seen by others. New research shows it is better to be real with your information than trying to be perfect.

Fluorescing food dyes as probes to improve food quality

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:25 AM PST

Food dyes can give cakes, candy and sodas brilliant colors of the rainbow. Now a team of food scientists has found that food coloring may be able to play more than its traditional esthetic role in food presentation.

Better batteries inspired by lowly snail shells

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 09:25 AM PST

Researchers have isolated a peptide, a type of biological molecule, which binds strongly to lithium manganese nickel oxide (LMNO), a material that can be used to make the cathode in high performance batteries. The peptide can latch onto nanosized particles of LMNO and connect them to conductive components of a battery electrode, improving the potential power and stability of the electrode.

Unexpected 'storm' at galaxy's core: Supermassive black hole blasting gas, transforming galaxy

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 07:19 AM PST

Astronomers found surprisingly energetic activity in what they otherwise considered a "boring" galaxy, and their discovery provides important insight on how supermassive black holes can have a catastrophic effect on the galaxies in which they reside.

Why comets are like deep fried ice cream

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 06:08 AM PST

Astronomers tinkering with ice and organics in the lab may have discovered why comets are encased in a hard, outer crust. Using an icebox-like instrument nicknamed Himalaya, the researchers show that fluffy ice on the surface of a comet would crystalize and harden as the comet heads toward the sun and warms up. As the water-ice crystals form, becoming denser and more ordered, other molecules containing carbon would be expelled to the comet's surface. The result is a crunchy comet crust sprinkled with organic dust.

Dynamic side of the early universe: Only 380,000 years after the Big Bang

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:40 AM PST

The Planck collaboration has released data from four years of observation by the European Space Agency's Planck spacecraft. The aim of the Planck mission is to study the Cosmic Microwave Background, the light left over from the Big Bang. The measurements, taken in nine frequency bands, were used to map not only the temperature of the radiation but also its polarization, which provides additional information about both the very early Universe (when it was 380,000 years old) and our Galaxy's magnetic field.

Scientists take first X-ray portraits of living bacteria

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:29 AM PST

Researchers have captured the first X-ray portraits of living bacteria. This milestone is a first step toward possible X-ray explorations of the molecular machinery at work in viral infections, cell division, photosynthesis and other processes that are important to biology, human health and our environment.

Smashing polarized protons to uncover spin and other secrets

Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:29 AM PST

If you want to unravel the secrets of proton spin, put a "twist" in your colliding proton beams. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) is the only facility in the world with the ability to collide such spin-polarized protons. The latest round of these collisions has just begun and will continue for approximately the next nine weeks.

Advent of geoengineering may help lower temperature of debate over climate change

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:26 PM PST

Geoengineering, an emerging technology aimed at counteracting the effects of human-caused climate change, also has the potential to counteract political polarization over global warming, according to a new study.

Novel non-stick material joins portfolio of slippery surface technologies

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:20 PM PST

The technology leverages the molecular structure of polymers, which makes them highly capable of taking up and storing considerable volumes of lubricating liquids in their molecular structure, like sponges. This allows for absorption of a large reservoir of lubricant, which can then travel to the surface and render it continuously slippery and repellent -- creating an environment that challenges bacteria's ability to colonize.

Power efficiency in the violin: Key design features boost violins' acoustic power

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 06:20 PM PST

Some of the most prized violins in the world were crafted in the Italian workshops of Amati, Stradivari, and Guarneri -- master violinmaking families from the 17th and 18th centuries who produced increasingly powerful instruments in the renaissance and baroque musical eras. These violins, worth millions of dollars today, represent the Cremonese period -- what is now considered the golden age of violinmaking. Now acousticians and fluid dynamicists, along with violinmakers, have analyzed measurements from hundreds of Cremonese-era violins, identifying key design features that contribute to these particular violins' acoustic power, or fullness of sound.

Methane emissions vary at natural gas gathering and processing facilities

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:59 PM PST

A new study found wide variations in the amount of methane being emitted at U.S. natural gas gathering facilities and processing plants. Their findings indicate facility-level methane emissions ranged from less than 1 kilogram per hour to 698 kilograms per hour, while loss rates ranged from less than 0.01 percent to greater than 10 percent.

Nanotubes self-organize and wiggle: Evolution of a nonequilibrium system demonstrates MEPP

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:20 AM PST

Since the mid-20th century, research has pointed to an extension of the second law for nonequilibrium systems: the Maximum Entropy Production Principle states that a system away from equilibrium evolves in such a way as to maximize entropy production, given present constraints. Now, physicists have demonstrated the emergence of self-organized structures that drive the evolution of a non-equilibrium system to a state of maximum entropy production.

Worms in space: Exploring health effects of microgravity

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 11:17 AM PST

To prepare for people for safely journeying into space for extended periods of time in the future, it's crucial to gain a better understanding of the biophysics involved within reduced gravity and microgravity environments. To this end, researchers are preparing to send transparent microscopic worms up to the International Space Station.

When is a Pollock not a Pollock? Computer analysis verifies authenticity of Jackson Pollock's drip painting

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:32 AM PST

Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was perhaps most famous for his 'drip painting' technique. His legacy, however, is plagued by fake 'Pollocks' and even experts often have trouble distinguishing the genuine from the counterfeit. Now, a machine vision approach has demonstrated 93 percent accuracy in spotting true Pollocks.

Extreme-temperature electronics

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:30 AM PST

Scientists have discovered that molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a semiconductor material, may be a promising candidate to make thin-film transistors for extreme temperature applications.

Engineered insulin could offer better diabetes control

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 10:05 AM PST

Engineers hope to improve treatment for diabetes patients with a new type of engineered insulin. In tests in mice, the researchers showed that their modified insulin can circulate in the bloodstream for at least 10 hours, and that it responds rapidly to changes in blood-sugar levels.

On quantum scales, there are many second laws of thermodynamics

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 01:14 PM PST

New research has uncovered additional second laws of thermodynamics which complement the ordinary second law of thermodynamics, one of the most fundamental laws of nature. These new second laws are generally not noticeable except on very small scales, at which point, they become increasingly important.

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