Sunday, September 03, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Electronic life extension:

Peter Bruce of the University of St. Andrews and team have devised a new and efficient way to improve battery power as well as make charge last longer by using lithium oxide intercalation materials. They describe their results in the latest issue of Advanced Materials.

Nanotube ink: Desktop printing of carbon nanotube patterns:

Using an off-the-shelf inkjet printer, a team of scientists has developed a simple technique for printing patterns of carbon nanotubes on paper and plastic surfaces. The method, which is described in the August 2006 issue of the journal Small, could lead to a new process for manufacturing a wide range of nanotube-based devices, from flexible electronics and conducting fabrics to sensors for detecting chemical agents.

Bacteria beat the heat:

How do some microorganisms manage to exist and even thrive in surroundings ranging from Antarctica to boiling hot springs? A team of scientists from the Weizmann Institute's Plant Sciences Department, led by Prof. Avigdor Scherz, has found that a switch in just two amino acids can make a difference between functioning best at moderate temperatures and being adapted to living in extreme heat.

Diamond technology to revolutionize mobile communications:

The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has teamed with industrial and academic partners under a DARPA Phase II research and development program to develop a new technology based on Ultrananocrystalline Diamond (UNCD), a novel material developed at Argonne that will enable diamond resonators and oscillators to be directly integrated with microelectronics chips for next-generation telecommunication devices.

Carnegie Mellon CyLab researchers create new system to address phishing fraud:

Carnegie Mellon University Cylab researchers have developed a new anti-phishing tool to protect users from online transactions at fraudulent Web sites.

Harvard scientists identify compounds that stimulate stem cell growth in the brain:

Harvard scientists have identified key compounds that stimulate stem cell growth in the brain, which may one day lead to restored function for people affected by Parkinson's disease, strokes, multiple sclerosis and a wide range of neurological disorders. These findings, which appear in the September 2006 issue of the FASEB Journal, provide important clues as to which compounds may be responsible for causing key brain cells, neurons, to regenerate and ultimately restore brain function.

Spread of plant diseases by insects can be described by equations that model interplanetary gravity:

Researchers from Penn State University and the University of Virginia show that the spread of diseases by insects can be described by equations similar to those that describe the force of gravity between planetary objects. Their findings are detailed in the September issue of the American Naturalist.

Why are there so many weeds in your garden this year?:

Some years, no matter how diligently you pull, your backyard garden is always covered with weeds. Other years, with the minimum of effort, your garden remains weed-free. What is the cause of these oscillations? A group of weed scientists based at the Spanish National Research Council spent 15 years studying flixweed -- a member of the mustard family commonly found in areas where the ground has been cultivated or disturbed -- in an attempt to identify the processes underlying these fluctuations.

Study shows fruit and vegetable juice consumption may reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease:

Drinking fruit and vegetable juices frequently may delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. In a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Medicine, researchers followed almost 2000 subjects for up to 10 years and found that the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease was reduced by 76 percent for those who drank fruit and vegetable juices more than three times per week compared with those who drank juices less than once per week.

Real-time traffic routing from the comfort of your car:

Engineers have developed a system for taking anonymous cell-phone location information and turning it into an illuminated traffic map that identifies congestion in real time. The system takes advantage of the steady stream of positioning cues -- untraced signals all cell phones produce, whether in use or not, as they seek towers with the strongest signals. It is the first traffic-solution technology that monitors patterns on rural roads and city streets as easily as on highways.

CU, Scripps researchers provide evidence of how proteins fold:

Experimental evidence provided by a Cornell researcher and colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., support a long-held theory of how and where proteins fold to create their characteristic shapes and biological functions.

Molecular motor helps cells tell which way is up:

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago show how a newly discovered molecular motor helps a cell determine which way is up.

Rising health expenses are a good value, researchers say:

Despite dramatic increases in health expenses since 1960, the return on medical spending is high, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University and the University of Michigan. Studying health and spending trends from 1960 to 2000, the researchers concluded that health care in America has been cost-effective on the whole, although ballooning costs for the elderly are a cause for concern.

Flying on hydrogen: Researchers use fuel cells to power unmanned aerial vehicle:

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have conducted successful test flights of a hydrogen-powered unmanned aircraft believed to be the largest to fly on a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell using compressed hydrogen.

First quantum cryptographic data network demonstrated:

A joint collaboration between Northwestern University and BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Mass., has led to the first demonstration of a truly quantum cryptographic data network. By integrating quantum noise protected data encryption with Quantum Key Distribution, the researchers have developed a complete data communication system with extraordinary resilience to eavesdropping. The method makes use of the inherent and irreducible quantum noise in laser light to enhance the security of the system.



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