July 31, 2014

New system to optimize public lighting power consumption

Researchers at UPM, in collaboration with UPCO, have designed a new regulation system of light flow for public lighting achieving a significant energy saving and the consequent reduction of economic and environmental costs.

In order to meet the requirements of the latest energy efficiency of public lighting regulation, researchers from the School of Industrial Engineers of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, have designed an energy regulation system based on the combination of diverse electromagnetic elements. This system is able to efficiently reduce the luminous flux of lamps by reducing the voltage.

Hector is the best rescuer

click to expand

Rescue robots from TU Darmstadt win RoboCup world championship in Brazil

At this year’s RoboCup, which was held July 19 to 25 in João Pessoa, Brazil, Team Hector of the TU Darmstadt beat the international competition in the RoboCup Rescue League to become world champion for the first time. In addition, the team once again won the prize for the most intelligent robot.

Charging electric cars efficiently inductive

click to expand

We already charge our toothbrushes and cellphones using contactless technology. Researchers have developed a particularly efficient and cost-effective method that means electric cars could soon follow suit.

Surprise: biological microstructures light up after heating

Physicists from Radboud University investigated tubular biological microstructures that showed unexpected luminescence after heating. Their findings were published in Small on July 29. Optical properties of bioinspired peptides, like the ones investigated, could be useful for applications in optical fibers, biolasers and future quantum computers.

Free Pores for Molecule Transport

click to expand

Researchers Identify Cause of Surface Barriers of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) – Relevant to Gas Storage

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can take up gases similar to a sponge that soaks up liquids. Hence, these highly porous materials are suited for storing hydrogen or greenhouse gases. However, loading of many MOFs is inhibited by barriers. Scien-tists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) now report in “Nature Communications” that the barriers are caused by cor-rosion of the MOF surface. This can be prevented by water-free synthesis and storing strategies.

Spin Diagnostics - MRI for a quantum simulation

click to expand

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is the medical application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, is a powerful diagnostic tool. MRI works by resonantly exciting hydrogen atoms and measuring the relaxation time -- different materials return to equilibrium at different rates; this is how contrast develops (i.e. between soft and hard tissue). By comparing the measurements to a known spectrum of relaxation times, medical professionals can determine whether the imaged tissue is muscle, bone, or even a cancerous growth. At its heart, MRI operates by quantum principles, and the underlying spectroscopic techniques translate to other quantum systems.

Hope for the overweight

The body has different types of adipose tissue that perform various metabolic tasks: white, beige and brown. For the first time, researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and Harvard Medical School have successfully identified specific surface proteins that can help distinguish between the three types. This discovery makes it possible to develop new treatment options for adiposity*. The work has been published in Science Translational Medicine.

July 30, 2014

Mapping the optimal route between two quantum states

Experiment measures millions of quantum trajectories to predict ‘most likely’ route

As a quantum state collapses from a quantum superposition to a classical state or a different superposition, it will follow a path known as a quantum trajectory. For each start and end state there is an optimal or “most likely” path, but it is not as easy to predict the path or track it experimentally as a straight-line between two points would be in our everyday, classical world.

New catalyst converts carbon dioxide to fuel

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing the process closer to commercial viability.

Watching Schrodinger’s cat die

One of the famous examples of the weirdness of quantum mechanics is the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat.

If you put a cat inside an opaque box and make his life dependent on a random event, when does the cat die? When the random event occurs, or when you open the box?

Automatic Parking Assist Standard on Every SS

click to expand

Technology aids drivers with parallel, perpendicular parking

The SS Sedan is Chevrolet’s first and only vehicle to offer standard Automatic Parking Assist.

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics

Long before humans figured out how to create colors, nature had already perfected the process — think stunning, bright butterfly wings of many different hues, for example. Now scientists are tapping into those secrets to develop a more environmentally friendly way to make colored plastics. Their paper on using structure — or the shapes and architectures of materials — rather than dyes, to produce color appears in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

‘Green buildings’ have potential to improve health of low-income housing residents

The “green building” trend is often associated with helping the environment by using eco-friendly materials and energy-saving techniques, but these practices are designed to improve people’s health, too. Now scientists are reporting evidence that they can indeed help people feel better, including those living in low-income housing. Published in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology, the study found that certain health problems of public housing residents who moved into green buildings noticeably improved.

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

click to expand

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients who desperately need them. In the ACS journal Langmuir, scientists are reporting new understanding about the dynamics of 3-D bioprinting that takes them a step closer to realizing their goal of making working tissues and organs on-demand.

The Quantum Cheshire Cat

Can neutrons be located at a different place than their own spin? A quantum experiment, carried out by a team of researchers from the Vienna University of Technology, demonstrates a new kind of quantum paradox.

The Cheshire Cat featured in Lewis Caroll’s novel “Alice in Wonderland” is a remarkable creature: it disappears, leaving its grin behind. Can an object be separated from its properties? It is possible in the quantum world. In an experiment, neutrons travel along a different path than one of their properties – their magnetic moment. This “Quantum Cheshire Cat” could be used to make high precision measurements less sensitive to external perturbations.

First E-mail Received in Germany 30 Years Ago

First German Internet E-mail Server Was Established at KIT’s Precursory Institution in 1984 / Start of Rapid Electronic Communication

It is the central means of communication of our times: Electronic mailing. Worldwide, short messages as well as large data packages can be exchanged rapidly and at low costs. 30 years ago, the first e-mail arrived in Germany at the then Universität Karlsruhe (TH), today’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. It was the first internet-based connection between the American network CSNET (Computer Science Net) and the new Karlsruhe CSNET server.

Flexible Metamaterial Absorbers

A research team in Korea has created flexible metamaterial absorbers designed to suppress electromagnetic radiation from mobile electronics.

Electromagnetic metamaterials boast special properties not found in nature and are rapidly emerging as a hot research topic for reasons extending far beyond "invisibility cloaks."

Mysterious Molecules in Space

click to expand

Researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Finger Silicon-Capped Hydrocarbons as Possible Source of Mysterious "Diffuse Interstellar Bands"

Over the vast, empty reaches of interstellar space, countless small molecules tumble quietly though the cold vacuum. Forged in the fusion furnaces of ancient stars and ejected into space when those stars exploded, these lonely molecules account for a significant amount of all the carbon, hydrogen, silicon and other atoms in the universe. In fact, some 20 percent of all the carbon in the universe is thought to exist as some form of interstellar molecule.

July 29, 2014

Mineral magic? Common mineral capable of making, breaking bonds

Reactions among minerals and organic compounds in hydrothermal environments are critical components of the Earth’s deep carbon cycle. They provide energy for the deep biosphere, and may have implications for the origins of life. However, very little is known about how minerals influence organic reactions. A team of researchers from Arizona State University have demonstrated how a common mineral acts as a catalyst for specific hydrothermal organic reactions – negating the need for toxic solvents or expensive reagents.

July 28, 2014

Graphene surfaces on photonic racetracks

Graphene could enable new kind of photonics-based chemical sensors and photo-detectors, University of Manchester researchers have shown.

In an article published in Optics Express, scientists from The University of Manchester describe how graphene can be wrapped around a silicon wire, or waveguide, and modify the transmission of light through it.

Study: Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

Ozone and higher temperatures can combine to reduce crop yields, but effects will vary by region.

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops.

A new study involving researchers at MIT shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.

July 25, 2014

The physics of lead guitar playing

String bends, tapping, vibrato and whammy bars are all techniques that add to the distinctiveness of a lead guitarist's sound, whether it's Clapton, Hendrix, or BB King.

Guitarist and physicist Dr David Robert Grimes has described the physics underlying these guitar techniques in a new paper in the journal PLOS ONE.

8.2% of our DNA is ‘functional’

Only 8.2% of human DNA is likely to be doing something important – is 'functional' – say Oxford University researchers.

The figure of 8.2% is very different from one given in 2012, when some scientists involved in the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project stated that 80% of our genome has some biochemical function.

Want to repel mosquitoes? There's an APP for that: Phone software mimics the sounds of predators to repel biting females

*  Anti-mosquito apps emit frequencies designed to frighten mosquitoes
*  Some mimic the sounds of mosquito predators, such as dragonflies
*  Others use the sound made by the wings of male insects, which females avoid once they’ve mated
*  Experts have warned the apps don’t effect landing rates
*  Entomologist added there is no evidence females avoid males after mating

Russian 'space sex geckos' struggle for survival as their satellite spirals out of control in Earth orbit

click to expand

*  A biological experiment launched from Kazakhstan last week is feared lost
*  Ground controllers are unable to communicate with the Foton-M4 satellite
*  On board it has five geckos intended to reproduce and test the effects of microgravity on reproduction
*  But while the animals are alive, the satellite cannot be controlled
*  This means that the planned landing in two months might not be possible

“Light pollution” may affect love lives of birds in the Viennese Forests

 Artificial light in cities exerts negative effects on humans, animals, and their environment. In an ongoing research project, behavioral biologists at Vetmeduni Vienna are investigating how blue tits in the Viennese Forests react to "light pollution". The study might help to understand effects of “light-at-night” on reproductive behavior of birds. In consequence, it could help developing concepts, minimizing negative effects on the lives of animals and the ecological system, by reducing light sources in specific regions. The research project started this year and is supported by the city of Vienna.

Liquid-like motion of atoms revealed through laser experiment

Physics and Astronomy research team unlocks insights into creation of new nano-materials using nanosized 'building blocks'

A new study by researchers from the Department of Physics and Astronomy has furthered our understanding of how nanosystems work, unlocking the potential to create new materials using nanosized ‘building blocks’.

Study shows role of media in sharing life events

A new study finds that people strategically choose how to share their life events. Posting on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, can intensify emotions — both good and bad.

To share is human.

And the means to share personal news — good and bad — have exploded over the last decade, particularly social media and texting. But until now, all research about what is known as "social sharing," or the act of telling others about the important events in our lives, has been restricted to face-to-face interactions.

July 24, 2014

Antioxidant Biomaterial Promotes Healing

Guillermo Ameer’s antioxidant biomaterial helps vascular grafts heal

When a foreign material like a medical device or surgical implant is put inside the human body, the body always responds. According to Northwestern’s Guillermo Ameer, most of the time, that response can be negative and affect the device’s function.

Brain's dynamic duel underlies win-win choices

People choosing between two or more equally positive outcomes experience paradoxical feelings of pleasure and anxiety, feelings associated with activity in different regions of the brain, according to research led by Amitai Shenhav, an associate research scholar at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University.

Cancer: treatment that prevents tumor metastasis

Tumor metastasis is a leading cause of cancer death. The metastatic switch marking the onset of metastatic dissemination corresponds to the acquisition of specific traits by tumor cells, including migration, invasion, and survival in the blood stream. Three main lines of evidence led us to hypothesize that metastasis is under metabolic control. First, PET with the glucose analog tracer [18]-F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is routinely used for the clinical detection and imaging of tumor metastasis. This application is based on the observation that the vast majority of metastases trap far more glucose than normal tissues (with the exception of the brain), which has often been related to metabolic characteristics already acquired at the primary tumor site.

Yan organic zeolite advance highlighted in Nature Communications

Yushan Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Delaware, is known worldwide for using nanomaterials to solve problems in energy engineering, environmental sustainability and electronics.

His early academic work focused on zeolites, porous rock with a well-defined, crystalline structure. At the atomic scale, their pore size is so precisely decided that zeolites can separate molecules with size differences of merely a fraction of an angstrom (one-tenth of a nanometer), making them useful to the chemical and petroleum industries as molecular sieves for separation and catalysis processes.

Artificial intelligence identifies the musical progression of the Beatles

Music fans and critics know that the music of the Beatles underwent a dramatic transformation in just a few years, but until now there hasn’t been a scientific way to measure the progression.

ETH student develops filter for clean water around the world

An innovative filter makes it possible to purify water more quickly, simply and economically than ever before. The developers hope the device will soon play a big role development aid, and they are looking for investors to help them achieve this goal.

Spinach could lead to alternative energy more powerful than Popeye

Spinach gave Popeye super strength, but it also holds the promise of a different power for a group of scientists: the ability to convert sunlight into a clean, efficient alternative fuel.

Purdue University physicists are part of an international group using spinach to study the proteins involved in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert the sun’s energy into carbohydrates used to power cellular processes.

How Honey Bees Stay Cool

Research indicates a parallel between bee hives and humans

Honey bees, especially the young, are highly sensitive to temperature and to protect developing bees, adults work together to maintain temperatures within a narrow range. Recently published research led by Philip T. Starks, a biologist at Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences, is the first to show that worker bees dissipate excess heat within a hive in process similar to how humans and other mammals cool themselves through their blood vessels and skin.

'Big picture' thinking doesn't always lead people to indulge less, study says

Buy the latest electronic gizmo du jour, or use that money to fix a leaky roof? Go out with friends, or stay home to catch-up on work to meet that looming deadline? And after you've finished that big project, do you treat yourself to a slice of chocolate cake or settle for a piece of fruit?

These are the kind of self-control dilemmas that people face all the time. And according to research from a University of Illinois expert in new product development and marketing, self-focus plays an important role in how consumers make decisions.

Smarter Than a First-Grader?

UCSB researcher shows that New Caledonian crows can perform as well as 7- to 10-year-olds on cause-and-effect water displacement tasks

In Aesop’s fable about the crow and the pitcher, a thirsty bird happens upon a vessel of water, but when he tries to drink from it, he finds the water level out of his reach. Not strong enough to knock over the pitcher, the bird drops pebbles into it — one at a time — until the water level rises enough for him to drink his fill.

Reading at a young age makes you smarter: Children who enjoy books early in life perform better at school during adolescence

*  Scientists tested reading and intelligence levels of 1,890 pairs of twins
*  They did this when the children were aged seven, nine, 10, 12 and 16
*  They found children who had better than average reading skills from age seven also had higher than average verbal reasoning in adolescence
*  Youngsters who could read well also did better in non-verbal tests

July 22, 2014

Researchers create vaccine for dust-mite allergies

Vaccine reduced lung inflammation to allergens in lab and animal tests

If you’re allergic to dust mites (and chances are you are), help may be on the way.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have developed a vaccine that can combat dust-mite allergies by naturally switching the body’s immune response. In animal tests, the nano-sized vaccine package lowered lung inflammation by 83 percent despite repeated exposure to the allergens, according to the paper, published in the AAPS (American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists) Journal. One big reason why it works, the researchers contend, is because the vaccine package contains a booster that alters the body’s inflammatory response to dust-mite allergens.

YOKOHAMA’s Chinese Subsidiary for Production and Sale of Passenger Car Tires Receives Award as “Energy Efficiency Forerunner”

The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., announced today that in June the Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co., Ltd., a producer and seller of tires for passenger cars in China, was commended as an “Energy Efficiency Forerunner” at the 2013 Annual Petroleum and Chemical Energy Efficiency Benchmarking Enterprise Conference. The commendation is aimed at promoting the energy saving policies of the Chinese government. Hangzhou Yokohama was recognized for the lowest consumption of energy per ton of tires produced.

TomTom Expands its Real-Time Traffic Service to Turkey

TomTom (TOM2) has today launched its real-time traffic service in Turkey. The service helps drivers, businesses and governments make smarter decisions when tackling traffic congestion.

TomTom’s real-time traffic creates a clear picture of traffic conditions as they evolve, keeping drivers in control of their journeys, with the most accurate, largest coverage area and the highest update frequency of real-time traffic information.

July 21, 2014

A noble gas cage

New material traps gases from nuclear fuel better and uses less energy than currently available options

When nuclear fuel gets recycled, the process releases radioactive krypton and xenon gases. Naturally occurring uranium in rock contaminates basements with the related gas radon. A new porous material called CC3 effectively traps these gases, and research appearing July 20 in Nature Materials shows how: by breathing enough to let the gases in but not out.

More than glitter

Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs.

A special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes, making them good candidates to deliver drugs directly to target cells.

A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-vesicle fusion, a crucial process that allows signal transmission between neurons. In the July 21 issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe in detail the mechanism by which these nanoparticles are able to fuse with a membrane.

July 19, 2014

Heidelberg physicists succeed in revealing the scaling behaviour of exotic giant molecules

When a two-body relation becomes a three-body relation, the behaviour of the system changes and typically becomes more complex. While the basic physics of two interacting particles is well understood, the mathematical description of a three- or many-body system becomes increasingly difficult, such that calculating the dynamics can blast the capacities of even modern super computers. However, under certain conditions, the quantum mechanical three-body problem may have a universal scaling solution. The predictions of such a model have now been confirmed experimentally by physicists of Heidelberg University. The scientists under Prof. Dr. Matthias Weidemüller investigated three-particle molecules, known as trimers, under exotic conditions

July 18, 2014

Never Before Published in English: The Library of Chinese Humanities Will Be Available as Open Access at De Gruyter Online

China's classical literary heritage from the beginning of the Common Era through the 13th century will be systematically published for the first time in bilingual Chinese-English editions. The Library of Chinese Humanities, which is slated to comprise 20 volumes, will provide academics and interested readers around the globe with access to seminal works of ancient Chinese literature in their original versions alongside faithful and easily comprehensible translations.

New gene discovered that stops the spread of deadly cancer

click to expand

Salk scientists identify gene that fights metastasis of a common lung cancer.

Scientists at the Salk Institute have identified a gene responsible for stopping the movement of cancer from the lungs to other parts of the body, indicating a new way to fight one of the world's deadliest cancers.

Ultrafast X-ray laser sheds new light on fundamental ultrafast dynamics

click to expand

Ultrafast X-ray laser research led by Kansas State University has provided scientists with a snapshot of a fundamental molecular phenomenon. The finding sheds new light on microscopic electron motion in molecules.

Eye movements reveal difference between love and lust

Soul singer Betty Everett once proclaimed, “If you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss.” But a new study by University of Chicago researchers suggests the difference between love and lust might be in the eyes after all.