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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Biologists partner bacterium with nitrogen gas to produce more, cleaner bioethanol

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 06:21 PM PST

Biologists believe they have found a faster, cheaper and cleaner way to increase bioethanol production by using nitrogen gas, the most abundant gas in Earth's atmosphere, in place of more costly industrial fertilizers. The discovery could save the industry millions of dollars and make cellulosic ethanol -- made from wood, grasses and inedible parts of plants -- more competitive with corn ethanol and gasoline.

Computer chips: Engineers use disorder to control light on the nanoscale

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 01:07 PM PST

A breakthrough could lead to the more precise transfer of information in computer chips, as well as new types of optical materials for light emission and lasers.

Winding borders may enhance graphene

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 11:11 AM PST

Theoretical physicists show precise control of grain boundaries in graphene may give it predictable mechanical and semiconducting properties.

Toward the next biofuel: Secrets of Fistulifera solaris

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 11:11 AM PST

Biofuels are an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, but a key challenge in efforts to develop carbon-neutral, large-scale methods to produce biofuels is finding the right organism for the job. One emerging candidate is the microalga Fistulifera solaris. An international collaboration of scientists has revealed the genome of F. solaris and provided exciting hints at the roots of its ability to grow and produce oil at the same time.

To save your energy while strolling, walk this sway

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 11:10 AM PST

The first people to walk across the original Millennium Bridge may have been unnerved when it began to sway, but the bridge was actually doing them a favor: the swaying enabled them to walk the distance with 5 percent less effort, a new study shows.

Whose numbers determine if a targeted cancer therapy is 'worth it? '

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 11:10 AM PST

"Increasingly physicians are being presented with health economic analyses in mainstream medical journals as a means of potentially influencing their prescribing. However, it is only when you understand the multiple assumptions behind these calculations that you can see that they are by no means absolute truths," says one expert.

Wrinkle predictions: New mathematical theory may explain patterns in fingerprints, raisins, and microlenses

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 10:26 AM PST

As a grape slowly dries and shrivels, its surface creases, ultimately taking on the wrinkled form of a raisin. Similar patterns can be found on the surfaces of other dried materials, as well as in human fingerprints. While these patterns have long been observed in nature, and more recently in experiments, scientists have not been able to come up with a way to predict how such patterns arise in curved systems, such as microlenses.

Dance of the nanovortices captured and recorded with help of X-ray holography

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

It is a familiar phenomenon: If a spinning top is set in rotation on an inclined surface, it scribes a series of small arches. Researchers have now succeeded in capturing this pattern of movement in a magnetic thin film system -- in the form of small magnetic nanovortices. The researchers made a new discovery: The nanovortices possess mass.

Physician guidelines for Googling patients need revisions

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:36 AM PST

With the Internet and social media becoming woven into the modern medical practice, researchers contend that professional medical societies must update or amend their Internet guidelines to address when it is ethical to 'Google' a patient.

A phone so smart, it sniffs out disease

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 09:33 AM PST

Imagine a smartphone that not only finds the nearest five-star restaurant or hails a cab with a quick click, but also diagnoses illness. New technology would enable smartphones to screen their users' breath for life-threatening diseases, developers report.

Mining the Moon becomes a serious prospect

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:46 AM PST

With an estimated 1.6 billion tons of water ice at its poles and an abundance of rare-earth elements hidden below its surface, the Moon is rich ground for mining.

Graphene displays clear prospects for flexible electronics

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:43 AM PST

Semi-transparent, flexible electronics are no longer just science-fiction thanks to graphene's unique properties, researchers have found. Researchers now show that new 2D 'designer materials' can be produced to create flexible, see-through and more efficient electronic devices.

Microscopic monitoring may yield big advances in production of consumer products, pharmaceuticals

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:42 AM PST

A team of physicists has developed a method to monitor the properties of microscopic particles as they grow within a chemical reaction vessel, creating new opportunities to improve the quality and consistency of a wide range of industrial and consumer products.

New reset button discovered for circadian clock

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 08:41 AM PST

A team of biologists has found a way to use a laser and an optical fiber to reset an animal's master biological clock: A discovery that could in principle be used therapeutically to treat conditions like seasonal affect disorder, reduce the adverse health effects of night shift work and possibly even cure jet lag.

Cyanobacterium found in algae collection holds promise for biotech applications

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:57 AM PST

Cyanobacteria are attractive organisms for the bio-production of fuels, chemicals and drugs but have the drawback that most strains in common use grow slowly. Scientists now report that they have recovered a fast-growing strain of cyanobacteria from a stored culture of a cyanobacterium originally discovered in a creek on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin in 1955.

How spaceflight ages the immune system prematurely

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

As the world waits to see if Mars One can establish a human colony on Mars, scientists are working to determine the long-term consequences of living in low or no-gravity conditions, such as those that might exist on the trip to another planet. New research shows that spaceflight may be associated with a process of accelerated aging of the immune system.

Laser treatment reverses effects of early age-related macular degeneration

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 07:56 AM PST

During early stages, it might be possible to reverse age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness that is currently irreversible, researchers report. The treatment involving a nanosecond laser may also have further implications for other eye diseases such as diabetic macular oedema, diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.

Finding valuable materials in metallurgical dumps

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Since metallic raw materials are scarce in Germany, it is reliant on imports. Yet some of these valuable materials are lying around unnoticed in dumps. Researchers are now compiling a Germany-wide registry of these resources, which reveals where these deposits are located and what metals they contain.

New technique captures real-time diagnostic 3-D images

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

A new technique uses Optical Projection Tomography, which is "similar to X-rays, but uses light," explains a researcher.  With this technique, it is possible to use optical markers which are often used with transgenic animals.  One such marker is green fluorescent protein.  Thanks to this substance, one can observe the anatomy and functions of living organisms like flies or very small fish.

Fitness game for the physically impaired

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Modern IT has the potential to make fitness training more varied for people with physical limitations. But what exactly is required? Researchers put this question to thalidomide victims, and developed new IT-based fitness training technology in close collaboration with them. The method motivates users with elements found in computer games.

Scalable electric drive for buses, trucks and more

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Although electric cars meet current trends, driving axles are still too heavy, too expensive and too large for them. To address this situation, researchers have designed an optimized axle module for commercial vehicles. It is powerful, lightweight, compact and cost-effective.

Safe production in Industry 4.0

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Production facilities and components of Industry 4.0 are linked to the Internet, networked with each other, and thus open to attack. Using an IT security laboratory, researchers offer a test environment in order to simulate attacks on this network and to detect any gaps.

Interconnected IT for business models in rural areas

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

More and more people are moving from rural areas to cities, leaving behind crumbling infrastructures that make daily life difficult for those who stay. Some people are bucking this trend. Researchers are now planning to create new business models in rural areas with the help of interconnected IT.

Supercomputing reveals genetic code of cancer

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Cancer researchers must use one of the world's fastest computers to detect which versions of genes are only found in cancer cells. Every form of cancer, even every tumor, has its own distinct variants, they report.

Non-damaging, efficient sterilization: Plasma sterilizer for medical, aerospace applications

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:07 AM PST

Traditional sterilization methods are no longer effective against all pathogens. By means of plasma, on the other hand, exceptionally stubborn bacteria stems can be killed off, researchers have demonstrated. A new sterilizer that is specifically suited for ridding medical instruments of germs efficiently, yet without damaging the material, has been developed and may also have applications for the aerospace industry.

Novel technology could combat flight pollution

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:06 AM PST

A breakthrough propulsion technology to provide greener air transport could be developed after the underlying engineering was declared a success. benefits from collaboration between competing firms

Posted: 02 Feb 2015 05:06 AM PST

Online-selling pioneer has utilized three individual business models, by means of which it engages in productive cooperation with its competitors. By harnessing its competitors within its own business operations and by looking strategically at customer value, has managed to raise the size of its current markets and to create entirely new markets both for itself and for its competitors. Through its competitor cooperation-driven business model, utilizes the existent resources most effectively, because it involves competitors in distributing the expenses incurred by business operations.

Transforming biochar into activated carbon

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 09:16 AM PST

It's about transforming corn stover, dried distillers grain solids and even native grasses into a product more than 1,000 times more valuable--graphene. A team of researchers is converting biochar into graphene which they hope can one day be used in place of expensive, activated carbon to coat the electrodes of supercapacitors.

Minimally invasive treatment based on electrical muscle stimulation corrects spinal curvature in children

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 05:15 AM PST

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) affects 2-3% of children aged between 10 and 16. It is more common in girls than in boys (with a ratio of 10-1). Besides the obvious physical signs derived from the visible spinal deformity, AIS can cause psychological and emotional problems (low self-esteem, poor self-image body, etc.) that significantly reduces patients' quality of life. Now researchers say that a treatment based on electrical muscle stimulation may correct the problem.

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