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The Lead

Photosynthesis Inspires Better Fuels

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Max Planck Institute | News | Comments

Thanks to new insights into the details of photosynthetic water splitting, the prospects for the development of clean fuels based on water and sunlight are improving.

Water Splitter Runs on AAA Battery

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | Videos | Comments

Scientists have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to...

Sunlight Controls Fate of Permafrost's Released Carbon

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Scientists need to understand the mechanisms that control the conversion of organic soil carbon...

Toothpaste Ingredient May Have Formed in Dying Stars

August 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Lund Univ. | News | Comments

The fluorine that is found in products such as toothpaste was likely formed billions of years...

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Food Waste May Be Turned into Bioplastic

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Your chairs, synthetic rugs and plastic bags could one day be made out of cocoa, rice and vegetable waste rather than petroleum, scientists are now reporting. The novel process they have developed could help the world deal with its agricultural and plastic waste problems.

Sunblock is Possible Hazard to Sea Life

August 20, 2014 2:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

When certain sunblock ingredients wash off skin and into the sea, they can become toxic to some of the ocean’s tiniest inhabitants, which are the main course for many other marine animals.

Meeting of Rivers, Seas May Be Source of Power

August 20, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation, called pressure retarded osmosis, in which two waters of different salinity are mixed to produce energy.

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‘Chili-pepper Receptor’ May Be Key to Treating Pain

August 20, 2014 2:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

As anyone who has bitten into a chili pepper knows, its burning spiciness— though irresistible to some— is intolerable to others. Scientists exploring the chili pepper’s effect are using their findings to develop a new drug candidate for many kinds of pain, which can be caused by inflammation or other problems.

Cheap Graphene Rubber Bands Can Monitor Health

August 20, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Surrey | News | Comments

Although body motion sensors already exist in different forms, they have not been widely used because of their complexity and cost of production. Now, researchers have treated common elastic bands with graphene to create a flexible sensor that is sensitive enough for medical use and can be made cheaply.

Seafood Swaps Can Contain Unexpected Mercury

August 20, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Hawai‘i at Mānoa | News | Comments

New measurements from fish purchased at retail seafood counters in 10 different states show the extent to which mislabeling can expose consumers to unexpectedly high levels of mercury, a harmful pollutant. Fishery stock "substitutions"— which falsely present a fish of the same species, but from a different geographic origin— are the most dangerous mislabeling offense.

Artificial Cells Act Real

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Weizmann Institute | News | Comments

Scientists have created an artificial, network-like cell system that is capable of reproducing the dynamic behavior of protein synthesis. This achievement is not only likely to help gain a deeper understanding of basic biological processes, but it may pave the way toward controlling the synthesis of both naturally occurring and synthetic proteins for a host of uses.

Long-lasting Joint Lubrication Mimics Nature

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Johns Hopkins Medicine | News | Comments

By finding a way to bind a slippery molecule naturally found in the fluid that surrounds healthy joints, researchers have engineered surfaces that have the potential to deliver long-lasting lubrication at specific spots throughout the body. The finding could eventually offer a new way to ease the pain of arthritic joints, keep artificial joints working smoothly or even make contact lenses more comfortable.

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Old Batteries Could Be Recycled into Solar Cells

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | Videos | Comments

A system proposed by researchers recycles materials from discarded car batteries— a potential source of lead pollution— into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

Bionic Liquid Key to Closed Loop Biofuel Refineries

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

While the powerful solvents known as ionic liquids show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of advanced biofuels, an even more promising candidate is on the horizon— bionic liquids.

England Seeks ‘Choc Doc’ for Sweet Study

August 18, 2014 8:17 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Is there a doctor of chocolate in the house? Cambridge Univ. in England is seeking a doctoral student to pursue what sounds like the sweetest job in the world: studying the fundamentals of chocolate.

Potential Ebola Drug Made from Tobacco

August 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Malcolm Ritter | News | Comments

It's an eye-catching angle in the story of an experimental treatment for Ebola: the drug comes from tobacco plants that were turned into living pharmaceutical factories. Using plants this way can produce complex and valuable proteins for medicines. That approach, studied for about 20 years, hasn't caught on widely in the pharmaceutical industry.

Cinnamon May Fight E. Coli Outbreaks

August 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Inside Science News Service, Allison Jarrell | News | Comments

For centuries, cinnamon has been used to enhance the flavor of foods, but new research shows that the spice could also help make foods safer. According to a study, the ancient cooking spice could help prevent some of the most serious foodborne illnesses caused by pathogenic bacteria.

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Salt Bolsters Lithium Battery Life

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

Chemical engineers have achieved a breakthrough in the race for safer, longer-lasting batteries to power the world’s automobiles, cell phones, computers and autonomous robots. Adding certain halide salts to liquid electrolytes spontaneously creates nanostructured surface coatings on a lithium battery anode. The coating hinders the development of detrimental dendritic structures that grow within the battery cell.

Toxic Fracking Fluids Raise Red Flags

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

As the oil and gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing proliferates, a new study on the contents of the fluids involved in the process raises concerns about several ingredients. Out of nearly 200 commonly used compounds, there’s very little known about the potential health risks of about one-third, and eight are toxic to mammals.

Scientists Uncover Powerful Click Chemistry Reactivity

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | News | Comments

Chemists have used click chemistry to uncover unprecedented, powerful reactivity for making new drugs, diagnostics, plastics, smart materials and many other products. The new reactions enable chemists to link molecules of their choice together using derivatives of a common commercial chemical considered essentially inert.

Jell-O-like Substance Attracts, Kills Cancer Cells

August 14, 2014 2:00 pm | by Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

Chasing cancer cells with chemotherapy drugs can save lives, but there's no guarantee that the treatment will kill every runaway cancer cell in the body. What if a treatment could lure them out of hiding and eliminate them in one swift blow? A scientist has created such a therapy— a tissue-like biomaterial that attracts cancer cells, like bits of metal to a magnet, and entraps them.

Egyptians Mummified the Dead Earlier than Thought

August 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Macquarie Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have discovered new evidence to suggest that the origins of mummification started in ancient Egypt 1,500 years earlier than previously thought. The findings of an 11-year study push back the origins of a central and vital facet of ancient Egyptian culture by over a millennium.

New Test Reveals Tumor Weaknesses

August 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Anne Trafton | News | Comments

For decades, scientists have known that cancer can be caused by genetic mutations, but more recently they have discovered that chemical modifications of a gene can also contribute to cancer. Now, engineers have developed a fast, reliable method to detect this type of modification, known as methylation, which could offer a new way to choose the best treatment for individual patients.

Dust Chemistry Influences Rain, Climate

August 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

Dusty air blowing across the Pacific from Asia and Africa plays a critical role in precipitation patterns throughout the drought-stricken western U.S. Today, a scientist is presenting new research suggesting that the exact chemical make-up of that dust, including microbes found in it, is the key to how much rain and snow falls from clouds throughout the region.

Research Aims to Create Versatile ‘Tapes’

August 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by Technische Universität München | News | Comments

A research project is aiming to develop tiny flat molecule tapes that could find versatile applications. Via direct coupling on a silver surface, scientists successfully formed dimers and short chains of porphin molecules— essential to many biological processes, such as photosynthesis and respiration— without contaminating by-products.

Copper Foam Converts CO2 to Useful Chemicals

August 13, 2014 7:00 am | by Brown Univ. | News | Comments

A catalyst made from a foamy form of copper has vastly different electrochemical properties from catalysts made with smooth copper in reactions involving carbon dioxide, a new study shows. The research suggests that copper foams could provide a new way of converting excess CO2 into useful industrial chemicals.

Antineutrino Detectors May Aid Non-proliferation

August 13, 2014 7:00 am | by Virginia Tech | News | Comments

Neutrinos could provide the world with clues about nuclear proliferation in Iran and other political hotspots. Neutrinos are produced by the decay of radioactive elements, and nuclear reactors produce large amounts of neutrinos that cannot be shielded or disguised, which could help regulatory agencies monitor plutonium production.

X-ray Tech Sees Mercury in Skin Cream

August 13, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

As countries try to rid themselves of toxic mercury pollution, some people are slathering and even injecting creams containing the metal onto or under their skin to lighten it, putting themselves and others at risk for serious health problems. To find those most at risk, scientists are reporting that they can now identify these creams and intervene much faster than before.

‘Shape-shifting’ Material May Aid Facial Reconstruction

August 13, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Injuries, birth defects or surgery to remove a tumor can create gaps in bone that are too large to heal naturally. Researchers are reporting today that they have developed a “self-fitting” material that expands with warm salt water to precisely fill bone defects, and also acts as a scaffold for new bone growth.

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