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Another reason to buy gold: nanoparticles help to kill brain tumors

April 18th, 2012

Another reason to buy gold: nanoparticles help to kill brain tumors

Stanford scientists have used lab-made gold nanoparticles to highlight malignant tissue in the brain, making it easier for surgeons to cut out tumors while leaving healthy bits intact. Measuring just five millionths of an inch in diameter, these tiny glistening orbs are injected into the patient and then left to bleed out through leaky blood vessels in parts of the brain that have been damaged by the disease. They then get stuck in the bad tissue itself, marking it out for the scalpel when viewed with the right type of imaging. It’s not totally new — we’ve actually seen gold nanotech deployed against the Big C in stem cells before, but better to be useful than avant-garde.

SOURCE via Science Daily

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New material brings semiconducting to the graphene party

April 18th, 2012

New material brings semiconducting to the graphene party

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have cooked up a new graphene-based material that could provide a speed boost for all electronics. We’ve seen the carbon allotrope turn up in circuitry and transistors before, but the new chemical modification — graphene monoxide — is said to be easier to scale up, and most importantly is semiconducting, unlike the insulating or conducting forms that have preceded it. This also means graphene can now provide the triad of electrical conductivity characteristics. The scientists were honest enough to admit the discovery was as much by chance as design, with it coming to light while investigating another material containing carbon nanotubes and tin oxide. We’re sure they’re not the first to make a discovery this way, we just haven’t had time to check the notes to be sure of it.

SOURCE via TG Daily

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Professor beats traffic ticket with physics paper

April 18th, 2012

Professor beats traffic ticket with physics paper

We’ve never been falsely accused of a traffic violation, having earned every last second of our time before a judge, but when it does happen to us, we’ll certainly want to brush up on our physics. Dmitiri Krioukov, a physicist with the University of California, recently pleaded his way out of a fine for rolling through a stop sign using the power of mathematics. Krioukov worked up a four-page physics paper underscoring the differences between linear and angular motion to prove that he could have theoretically come to a complete stop and resumed traveling in the time it took another vehicle to pass between him and the citing officer.

The idea is that perception of speed can be altered depending on one’s viewpoint. Since the officer viewed Krioukov from the side and the physicist supposedly came to a complete stop very quickly before accelerating again just as fast, it appeared as if he never stopped at all. Or at least that was the notion. Whether or not the judge believed the professor didn’t matter so much as the fact that Krioukov managed to shed some doubt on the accusation. He was declared innocent and spared the $400 fine.

But the story doesn’t end there. The physicist left a flaw in his proof, and has invited everyone to see if they can figure it out. From our layman’s point of view, it appears Krioukov’s Toyota Yaris managed to fall from 22 mph to 0 and vault back up to 22 in the span of three seconds. Must be quite the machine. You can check out the full paper here.

SOURCE via Physics Central

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Satellite images reveal 8,000 years of civilization, besides plenty of rooftop pranks

March 22nd, 2012

Satellite images reveal 8,000 years of civilization, besides plenty of rooftop pranks

When on the hunt for ancient civilizations, it’s not all about Pyramids and monuments. Archaeologists have developed a method of spotting smaller human settlements using spy-satellite photos from the 60s, digital maps and modern multi-spectral images of the planet’s surface. The Scientists are looking for “anthrosols” which are left by decayed organic matter and mud-brick buildings. Containing a higher level of organic matter, anthrosols impart a different texture and appearance to untouched soil, giving it a distinct visual signature. Software is used to spot these visual fingerprints from images over a 50 year period. Data from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission is also used to determine the volume of the matter, and therefore the likely length of survival of the settlement. To give an idea of how prolific the system is, it’s believed to have discovered 14,000 settlement sites in a 23,000 square kilometer area of Syria alone — none of them Atlantis.

SOURCE via Nature

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Astronomers discover a planet made of water

February 22nd, 2012

Astronomers discover a planet made of water

Zachory Berta says that “GJ1214b is like no planet we know of.” Like Berta, part of a team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics lead by David Charbonneau, his colleagues were surprised when they discovered that this planet is made mostly of water.

Larger than Earth but smaller than Uranus, GJ1214b has a lot more water and a lot less solid material than our home planet. According to their research, this waterworld is entirely covered with an ocean. Even its atmosphere is a thick steam layer. Not just hazy, but a “dense atmosphere of water vapor.”

According to Berta, what’s happening in this new type of world is something that we can’t imagine: “the high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like ‘hot ice’ or ‘superfluid water,’ substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience.”

Their theory is that GJ1214b formed “farther out from its star, where water ice was plentiful” and then it kept getting closer, which started to make all that ice to liquify.

Right now, GJ1214b orbits its red-dwarf star “every 38 hours at a distance of 1.3 million miles.” This results in a steam temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not good if you are in the Swedish sauna business.

SOURCE via Hubble

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New super-Earth detected, ‘best candidate’ for supporting life

February 7th, 2012

New super-Earth detected, 'best candidate' for supporting life

A new potentially life-bearing “super-Earth” has been discovered orbiting a relatively nearby star. Described as the “best candidate” for supporting liquid water — and therefore life — the planet (GJ 667Cc) is believed to be about 4.5 times the size of Earth. The parent star (GJ 667C) is 22 light years away, and this is the second potentially Earth-like rock scientists have discovered orbiting the M-class dwarf. With a 28.15 day cycle, it’s calculated to receive 90 percent as much light as Earth, and much of that is infrared (meaning the actual energy delivered is about equal) — crucially hinting at similar temperatures and favourable conditions. Not enough is known about the atmosphere right now to fully nail the water prospects, but it’s still our best hope of discovering life as we (don’t) know it yet.

SOURCE via Scientific American

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Biomask project could regrow burn victims’ faces, Brad Pitt face model still unavailable

February 1st, 2012

Biomask project could regrow burn victims' faces, Brad Pitt face model still unavailable

We know it’s cliche to say something sounds like science fiction, but this is seriously one of the more far out there concepts we’ve ever heard. Researchers from UT Arlington and Northwestern University are working with surgeons from the Brooke Army Medical Center on a project called Biomask. The idea is to skip surgery and have patients wear a mask, layered with sensors, actuators and medicine delivery tools for several months while their face slowly regenerates.

The outside of the medical miracle would be a hard shell to protect the electronics and the injured person’s healing face. Underneath, a second layer would monitor tissue growth, watch for infections and feed data back to doctors. An on board system would be able to dynamically alter the treatment, sending antibiotics or stem cells where they’re needed.

The team actually hope to turn this facial reconstruction mask into a reality by 2017, a goal that we’ll diplomatically call optimistic.

SOURCE via Wired

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Kepler just nearly doubled science’s stock of known exoplanets

January 31st, 2012

Kepler just nearly doubled science’s stock of known exoplanets

NASA released dramatic new findings from the planet-scouting Kepler spacecraft project Thursday. Looks like the universe is way, way more crowded than we had realized.

The Space Administration announced Thursday that the Kepler Spacecraft has discovered 26 new exoplanets in 11 systems. This nearly doubles the number of confirmed exoplanets, bringing the tally to 60, and upping the number of known extra-solar star systems to 16. Another 2,300 celestial candidates are awaiting confirmation of their planet-ness. And, according to Kepler program scientist Doug Hudgins, all of these bodies were discovered, “in just two years staring at a patch of sky not much bigger than your fist.” Not a bad haul for such a small swath of space.

The new planets range in size from 1.5-times the size of Earth to larger than Jupiter. You can put away your “Take Me to Your Leader” t-shirts, though—every one of the new 26 planets orbits its star far more closely than Venus does; placing them well out of the habitable zone needed to sustain life and liquid water.

SOURCE via The Register

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IBM says you’ll need 12 Atoms to hold a bit, we nod

January 13th, 2012

IBM says you’ll need 12 Atoms to hold a bit, we nod

Rather than trying to shrink current data storage technologies further, IBM took the opposite approach and designed a new system from the ground up, building it individual atoms. The new storage could lead to 100-fold increases in chip densities. Take that, Moore’s Law.

Researchers at IBM, in conjunction with the German Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, used a scanning tunneling microscope to line up iron atoms that comprise the magnetic storage system. They found that twelve iron atoms, assembled in two rows of six, was the minimum number necessary to stably hold a single bit of information. Eight pairs of rows, obviously, are needed to hold a byte. Conventional hard drives require more than a million atoms per bit, topping a half billion per byte.

Unfortunately researchers aren’t holding their breath waiting for this technology to come to market. Its production would require an entirely new fabrication process and the huge capital outlay for equipment and facilities that comes with it. The prototype itself only existed in an extremely low-temperature environment and data had to be written with a scanning tunneling microscope.

The situation wasn’t a complete wash, however. IBM identified a type of magnetism that could prove extremely useful in future data storage products. Known as antiferromagnetism, it’s the inverse of the force what keeps your kids art on the fridge. Conventional magnetism doesn’t work well on the atomic scale as neighboring magnets would interfere with one another. Antiferromagnetism, on the other hand, inhibits this interaction and allows researchers to build much smaller structures.

SOURCE via Popular Science

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Pure carbon could solve all your heat dissipation worries

January 12th, 2012

Pure carbon could solve all your heat dissipation worries

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin said that a new form of graphene could essentially prevent laptops and other electronics from overheating and enable chip companies and device manufacturers to pack much more powerful chips into mobile devices.

Graphene, an atom-thick layer of carbon, typically consists of 98.9 percent 12C (carbon) and 1.1 percent 13C, but the graphene created by the University of Texas at Austin scientists represents 99.9 percent 12C and isotopically pure carbon. In their experiments, the material was 60 percent more effective at managing and transferring heat than normal graphene, the scientists said.

“This demonstration brings graphene a step closer to being used as a conductor for managing heat in a variety of devices. The potential of this material, and its promise for the electronic industry, is very exciting,” said Rodney Ruoff, a physical chemist at the University’s Cockrell School.

“Because self-heating of fast and densely packed devices deteriorates their performance, graphene’s ability to conduct heat well will be very helpful in improving them,” added Alexander Balandin, a professor of Electrical Engineering, chair of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California Riverside and a corresponding author of the research paper published in the journal Nature Materials.

“Initially, graphene would likely be used in some niche applications, such as thermal interface materials for chip packaging or transparent electrodes in photovoltaic solar cells or flexible displays,” he continued. “But, in a few years, the uses of graphene will be diverse, broad and far-reaching because the excellent heat conduction properties of this material are beneficial for all its proposed electronic applications.”

SOURCE via Eureka

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