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  • June 17, 2014
  • 10:54 AM

Power grid designs for the future

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

Planning electrical grids in a steady environment is not overly difficult. A number of large power stations are connected to urban population centres, where much of the power is consumed. Typically, such power grids would look like meshes with  interconnected distribution points that make sure that if one power station fails, others can compensate . However, as electrical demand […]... Read more »

Menck, P., Heitzig, J., Kurths, J., & Joachim Schellnhuber, H. (2014) How dead ends undermine power grid stability. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4969  

  • June 17, 2014
  • 05:43 AM

Hooked on music: What makes music catchy?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Everyone knows a hook when they hear one, but scientist don’t know why. By playing the Hooked on Music game you are exploring the science of songs and helping us to unlock what makes music catchy.... Read more »

J.A. Burgoyne, D. Bountouridis, J. van Balen, & H. Honing. (2013) Hooked: A Game for Discovering What Makes Music Catchy. Proceedings of the 14th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference , 245-250. info:/

  • June 16, 2014
  • 09:43 PM

Synthetic Biology: Engineering Life To Examine It

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Two scientific papers that were published in the journal Nature in the year 2000 marked the beginning of engineering biological circuits in cells. The paper "Construction of a genetic toggle switch in Escherichia coli" by Timothy Gardner, Charles Cantor and James Collins created a genetic toggle switch by simultaneously introducing an artificial DNA plasmid into a bacterial cell. This DNA plasmid contained two promoters (DNA sequences which regulate the expression of genes) and two repressors (genes that encode for proteins which suppress the expression of genes) as well as a gene encoding for green fluorescent protein that served as a read-out for the system. The repressors used were sensitive to either selected chemicals or temperature. In one of the experiments, the system was turned ON by adding the chemical IPTG (a modified sugar) and nearly all the cells became green fluorescent within five to six hours. Upon raising the temperature to activate the temperature-sensitive repressor, the cells began losing their green fluorescence within an hour and returned to the OFF state. Many labs had used chemical or temperature switches to turn gene expression on in the past, but this paper was the first to assemble multiple genes together and construct a switch which allowed switching cells back and forth between stable ON and OFF states.
... Read more »

Daniel R, Rubens JR, Sarpeshkar R, & Lu TK. (2013) Synthetic analog computation in living cells. Nature, 497(7451), 619-23. PMID: 23676681  

  • June 16, 2014
  • 06:08 PM

Better Understanding of Plastics Opens Way to New Batteries

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science have combined two traditional theories in materials science that can explain how the charge dictates the structure of the material. This opens the door for many applications, including a new class of batteries.... Read more »

Sing, C., Zwanikken, J., & Olvera de la Cruz, M. (2014) Electrostatic control of block copolymer morphology. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/nmat4001  

  • June 16, 2014
  • 03:26 PM

Passenger pigeon extinction: it's complicated | @GrrlScientist

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

A newly published study reveals that the extinction of the passenger pigeon likely was due to the combined effects of their natural dramatic population fluctuations and human over-exploitation.... Read more »

Hung Chih-Ming, Shaner Pei-Jen L., Zink Robert M., Liu Wei-Chung, Chu Te-Chin, Huang Wen-San, & Li Shou-Hsien. (2014) Drastic population fluctuations explain the rapid extinction of the passenger pigeon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401526111  

Groenen Martien A. M., Archibald Alan L., Uenishi Hirohide, Tuggle Christopher K., Takeuchi Yasuhiro, Rothschild Max F., Rogel-Gaillard Claire, Park Chankyu, Milan Denis, & Megens Hendrik-Jan. (2012) Analyses of pig genomes provide insight into porcine demography and evolution. Nature, 491(7424), 393-398. DOI: 10.1038/nature11622  

  • June 12, 2014
  • 06:30 PM

Novel Material to Increase CQD Solar Cell Efficiency

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers in the University of Toronto’s Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have designed and tested a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle, an air-stable n-type colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solid.... Read more »

Ning, Z., Voznyy, O., Pan, J., Hoogland, S., Adinolfi, V., Xu, J., Li, M., Kirmani, A., Sun, J., Minor, J.... (2014) Air-stable n-type colloidal quantum dot solids. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/nmat4007  

  • June 10, 2014
  • 04:28 PM

Study Looks at Long-Term Stability of Spent Nuclear Fuel

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A study co-authored by the Joint Research Center (JRC), the EU in-house scientific service, has examined the evolution of components of spent nuclear fuel by comparing actual spent fuel with lab results obtained on fuel analogues in simulated, accelerated timescale.... Read more »

Wiss, T., Hiernaut, J., Roudil, D., Colle, J., Maugeri, E., Talip, Z., Janssen, A., Rondinella, V., Konings, R., Matzke, H.... (2014) Evolution of spent nuclear fuel in dry storage conditions for millennia and beyond. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 451(1-3), 198-206. DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.03.055  

  • June 7, 2014
  • 07:01 AM

Can changing how we build simply dismantle CO2 emissions?

by Andy Extance in Simple Climate

Using fewer steel beams and keeping buildings for their whole design life could cut construction emissions by up to 80%, suggest the University of Cambridge’s Muiris Moynihan and Julian Allwood... Read more »

Moynihan, M., & Allwood, J. (2014) Utilization of structural steel in buildings. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 470(2168), 20140170-20140170. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2014.0170  

  • June 6, 2014
  • 12:51 PM

Self-Healing Metals

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Metals that can repair themselves: a new standard for industry. [Infographic]... Read more »

Hassan, M., Mehrpouya, M., Emamian, S., & Sheikholeslam, M. (2013) Review of Self-Healing Effect on Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Structures. Advanced Materials Research, 87-92. DOI: 10.4028/  

  • June 4, 2014
  • 05:20 PM

Nanotechnology Enables Storing Energy in Copper Wire

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at the University of Central Florida have created a novel device architecture of a coaxial supercapacitor cable that functions both as electrical cable and energy storage device.... Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 10:37 AM

Piezoelectric Transistor to Cut Power Consumption of Microchips

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers from the University of Twente MESA research institute, together with the company SolMateS, have developed a new type of transistor to reduce the power consumption of microchips.... Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 08:45 AM

How Does Your Facebook News Feed Affect You?

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Researchers at Facebook, Inc., the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Cornell University teamed up to study whether manipulating the News Feeds of Facebook users would affect the emotional content of the users' status updates or postings. They recently published their findings in the PNAS paper "Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks" and suggest that they have found evidence of an "emotional contagion", i.e. the idea that emotions can spread via Facebook.... Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 06:25 AM

Video Tip of the Week: LineUp, data ranking visualization tool

by Trey in OpenHelix

  Caleydo, from the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision, a suite of genomics and biomolecular visualization tools. As the project developers state, it’s strength is “the visualization of interdependencies between multiple datasets.” The tip of the week this week is a video introducing one of their newest tools: LineUp. LineUp is an open source […]... Read more »

Gratzl S, Lex A, Gehlenborg N, Pfister H, & Streit M. (2013) LineUp: visual analysis of multi-attribute rankings. IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics, 19(12), 2277-86. PMID: 24051794  

  • June 3, 2014
  • 07:37 AM

Sharing Our Sorrow Via Facebook

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid ("Shared sorrow is half the sorrow") is a popular German proverb which refers to the importance of sharing bad news and troubling experiences with others. The therapeutic process of sharing takes on many different forms: we may take comfort in the fact that others have experienced similar forms of sorrow, we are often reassured by the empathy and encouragement we receive from friends, and even the mere process of narrating the details of what is troubling us can be beneficial. Finding an attentive audience that is willing to listen to our troubles is not always easy. In a highly mobile, globalized world, some of our best friends may be located thousands of kilometers away, unable to meet face-to-face. The omnipresence of social media networks may provide a solution. We are now able to stay in touch with hundreds of friends and family members, and commiserate with them. But are people as receptive to sorrow shared via Facebook as they are in face-to-face contacts?
... Read more »

  • June 2, 2014
  • 08:20 AM

Laser Generates Artificial Sunlight to Test Solar Cells

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laser-based instrument that generates artificial sunlight to help test solar cell properties and find ways to boost their efficiency.... Read more »

  • June 1, 2014
  • 02:59 PM

Electric School Buses Could Save Millions of Dollars

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Electric school buses that feed the power grid could save school districts millions of dollars—and reduce children’s exposure to diesel fumes—based on recent research by the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).... Read more »

  • May 27, 2014
  • 02:45 PM

Solar Freakin’ Roadways- 5 Concerns Analyzed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Solar Roadways, I know most people have been in support of the new blossoming technology and I’m happy to be a part of that [at least in support]. However, no […]... Read more »

Westover Andrew S, Tian John W, Bernath Shivaprem, Oakes Landon, Edwards Rob, Shabab Farhan N, Chatterjee Shahana, Anilkumar Amrutur V, & Pint Cary L. (2014) A Multifunctional Load-Bearing Solid-State Supercapacitor. Nano letters. PMID: 24823645  

  • May 26, 2014
  • 05:12 PM

Novel Battery Tech Harvests Waste Heat

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found an alternative to thermoelectric devices for low-temperature (less than 100 °C) waste-heat conversion into electricity.... Read more »

Lee, S., Yang, Y., Lee, H., Ghasemi, H., Kraemer, D., Chen, G., & Cui, Y. (2014) An electrochemical system for efficiently harvesting low-grade heat energy. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4942  

  • May 26, 2014
  • 01:41 PM

Scientists Examine New Material With Potential Use in Batteries

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Analysis of a manganese-based crystal by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has produced the first clear picture of its molecular structure. The findings could help explain the magnetic and electronic behavior of the whole family of crystals, many of which have potential for use in batteries.... Read more »

Li, X., Ma, X., Su, D., Liu, L., Chisnell, R., Ong, S., Chen, H., Toumar, A., Idrobo, J., Lei, Y.... (2014) Direct visualization of the Jahn–Teller effect coupled to Na ordering in Na5/8MnO2. Nature Materials, 13(6), 586-592. DOI: 10.1038/nmat3964  

  • May 26, 2014
  • 10:18 AM

Structural Supercapacitor Stores Energy, Bears Mechanical Load

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Vanderbilt University scientists have developed a structural supercapacitor that efficiently stores electricity and can simultaneously bear mechanical load. ... Read more »

Westover, A., Tian, J., Bernath, S., Oakes, L., Edwards, R., Shabab, F., Chatterjee, S., Anilkumar, A., & Pint, C. (2014) A Multifunctional Load-Bearing Solid-State Supercapacitor. Nano Letters, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nl500531r  

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