Sunday, February 12, 2006

Recent News from EurekAlert!

Internet game provides breakthrough in predicting the spread of epidemics, report scientists:

Using a popular internet game that traces the travels of dollar bills, scientists have unveiled statistical laws of human travel in the United States, and developed a mathematical description that can be used to model the spread of infectious disease in this country. This model is considered a breakthrough in the field...
A bathroom that cleans itself:
Cleaning bathrooms may be a thing of the past with new coatings that will do the job for you. Researchers at the University of New South Wales are developing new coatings they hope will be used for self-cleaning surfaces in hospitals and in homes...

New design for transistors powered by single electrons:
Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and NTT Corp. of Japan have demonstrated the first reproducible, controllable silicon transistors that are turned on and off by the motion of individual electrons. The experimental designs may have applications in low-power nanoelectronics.

Secrets of the sea yield stronger artificial bone:
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have harnessed the way seawater freezes to develop a porous, scaffolding-like material that is four times stronger than material currently used in synthetic bone. Although still in the investigational stages, variations of this substance could also be used in a myriad of applications in which strength and lightness are imperative, such as dental implants, airplane manufacturing and computer hardware.
Plants reveal a secret and bring researchers nearer a cleaner future:
Using sunlight to power our homes is an unaccomplished dream due to the inefficient technology for the use of solar energy. The study of photosynthesis could provide new clues by explaining how plants absorb almost all the sunlight and transform it into energy. Researchers from Freie Universit.t Berlin used the X-rays of ESRF to investigate the kinetics of photosynthesis. They confirmed the existence of a fifth step in the catalysis process of water into oxygen.

Squinting while staring at a computer monitor can cause painful dry eye:
Squinting at a computer screen can cut in half the number of times someone blinks each minute. And that could lead to an irritating condition called dry eye, new research suggests. The more that the participants in this study squinted their eyes, the less they blinked. And the less they blinked, the more their eyes ached or burned, and the more they reported sensations of dryness, irritation and tearing.

Einstein's dark energy accelerates the universe:
The genius of Albert Einstein, who added a "cosmological constant" to his equation for the expansion of the universe but later retracted it, may be vindicated by new research published today in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The first laugh: New study posits evolutionary origins of two distinct types of laughter:
In an important new study from the forthcoming Quarterly Review of Biology, biologists from Binghamton University explore the evolution of two distinct types of laughter - laughter which is stimulus-driven and laughter which is self-generated and strategic.

Pain research using electronic diaries helps identify who responds to 'placebo effect':
A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System sheds some light on one group of people that seems to experience the 'placebo effect.' The researchers found that people with one type of chronic pain who have greater swings in their pain fluctuations tend to be more likely to respond to placebos.

Study shows value of innovation to manufacturers as outsourcing's impact continues:
A new study of nearly 650 Georgia manufacturing companies underscores the importance of innovation as a competitive strategy - at a time when international outsourcing continues to impact Georgia's manufacturing community.

Bacteria which sense the Earth's magnetic field:
It is not only migratory birds that orient themselves to the magnetic field of the Earth. Also bacteria -- supposedly "simple" organisms -- have evolved to be able to take advantage of the magnetic field in their search for optimal living conditions. Such "magnetotactic"microorganisms use a miniature, cellular compass made of a chain of single nanomagnets, called magnetosomes.


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