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Airlines Won't Ship Rechargeable Batteries for Fear of Fires

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Joan Lowy | News | Comments

Some of the world's largest airlines are banning bulk shipments of rechargeable batteries in the face of mounting evidence of their potential to cause catastrophic in-flight fires. Citing safety concerns, United Airlines has become the second major U.S. airline to announce it will no longer accept bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power everything from smartphones to laptops to power tools.

Understanding Mosquitoes Key to Aquatic Robots

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by AIP Publishing | News | Comments

Small semi-aqueous arthropods, such as mosquitoes and water striders, are free to go about their...

Scientists Solve Seashell Stumper

March 3, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

For almost a century, scientists have been puzzled by a process that is crucial to much of the...

Today in Lab History: Alexander Graham Bell

March 3, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Alexander Graham Bell, the man credited with inventing the telephone, was born in Scotland on...

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Scientists Solve Seashell Stumper

March 3, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

For almost a century, scientists have been puzzled by a process that is crucial to much of the life in Earth’s oceans: why does the material of seashells and corals sometimes take the form of calcite and, at other times, aragonite. Now, scientists have carried out a detailed, atomic-level analysis of the process. The new explanation could be a step toward enabling the directed synthesis of new materials on demand in the lab.

Tracking Method to Be Tested in Wake of Jet Mystery

March 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Kristen Gelineau | News | Comments

Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia will lead a trial of an enhanced method of tracking aircraft over remote oceans to allow planes to be more easily found should they vanish, like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The announcement comes one week ahead of the anniversary of the disappearance of Flight 370, which vanished last year with 239 people on board. No trace of the plane has been found.

Early Galaxy Was Dusty

March 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by Niels Bohr Institute | News | Comments

Dust plays an extremely important role in the universe— both in the formation of planets and new stars. But dust was not there from the beginning and the earliest galaxies had no dust, only gas. Now, an international team of astronomers has discovered a dust-filled galaxy from the very early universe.

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Whales Inspire New Fluid Sensor

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | by The Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville | News | Comments

How can a humpback whale and a device that works on the same principle as the clicker that starts your gas grill help an unmanned aerial vehicle fly longer and with more stability? Well, it all starts with biological structures called tubercles that the whale uses for its unique maneuvers in the ocean.

Statistical Mechanics Will Save You from Zombies

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by American Physical Society | News | Comments

Reading World War Z, an oral history of the first zombie war, inspired researchers to explore how an "actual" zombie outbreak might play out in the U.S. Focusing on a fictional zombie outbreak as an approach to disease modeling suggests heading for the hills, in the Rockies, to save your brains from the undead.

Cheap Catalyst Performs as Well as Traditional

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Case Western Reserve Univ. | News | Comments

For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to replace precious metal catalysts in fuel cells. Now, for the first time, researchers have shown that an inexpensive metal-free catalyst performs as well as costly metal catalysts at speeding the oxygen reduction reaction in an acidic fuel cell.

Old-fashioned Vandalism Highlights Internet's Vulnerability

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Felicia Fonseca | News | Comments

Computers, cellphones and landlines in Arizona were knocked out of service for hours, ATMs stopped working, 911 systems were disrupted and businesses were unable to process credit card transactions— all because vandals sliced through a fiber-optic Internet cable buried under the rocky desert. This raises questions about the vulnerability of the nation's Internet infrastructure.

How Eyelash Length Protects Health

February 26, 2015 3:00 pm | by Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

A team has discovered that 22 species of mammals– from humans, to hedgehogs to giraffes­– are the same: their eyelash length is one-third the width of their eye. Anything shorter or longer, including the fake eyelashes that are popular in Hollywood and make-up aisles, increases airflow around the eye and leads to more dust hitting the surface.

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Location Influences Electric Car Range, Emissions

February 26, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Many car buyers weighing whether they should go all electric to help the planet have at least one new factor to consider before making the switch: geography. Based on a study of a commercially available electric car, scientists are reporting that emissions and driving range can vary greatly depending on regional energy sources and climate.

Plumbing Loops Cause Geyser Eruptions

February 26, 2015 7:00 am | by UC Berkeley | Videos | Comments

The key to geysers is an underground bend or loop that traps steam and then bubbles it out slowly to heat the water column above until it is just short of boiling. Eventually, the steam bubbles trigger sudden boiling from the top of the column, releasing pressure on the water below and allowing it to boil as well.

Physicists May Have Found Origin of Matter

February 25, 2015 3:00 pm | by UCLA | News | Comments

Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of matter not antimatter. That asymmetry, which favors matter to a very small degree, has puzzled scientists for many years. New research offers a possible solution to the mystery of the origin of matter in the universe.

Healthy Cereal May Contain Mold-related Toxin

February 25, 2015 3:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

Oats are often touted for boosting heart health, but scientists warn that the grain and its products might need closer monitoring for potential mold contamination. They report that some oat-based breakfast cereals in the U.S. contain a mold-related toxin called ochratoxin A, which has been linked to kidney cancer in animal studies.

Lattes Are Less Likely to Spill than Coffee

February 24, 2015 3:00 pm | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Carrying a full cup of coffee from the kitchen to the dining room can be precarious for a tired person who might accidentally send a wave of java sloshing over the rim. But, scientists have found that just a few layers of bubbles can significantly dampen the sloshing motion of liquid. The discovery may have applications far beyond beverages, including the safer transport of liquefied gas in trucks and propellants in rocket engines.

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Physicists See Antiferromagnetic Order in Superconductor Analog

February 24, 2015 7:00 am | by Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

Using ultracold atoms as a stand-in for electrons, a team of physicists has simulated superconducting materials and made headway on a problem that’s vexed physicists for nearly three decades.

Heat Causes Groups of Nanorods to Change Shapes

February 23, 2015 7:00 am | by Argonne National Laboratory | Videos | Comments

Research has revealed previously unobserved behaviors that show how details of the transfer of heat at the nanoscale cause nanoparticles to change shape in ensembles. The new finds depict three distinct stages of evolution in groups of gold nanorods, from the initial rod shape to the intermediate shape to a sphere-shaped nanoparticle.

Printable Armband Can Sense a Fever

February 23, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Tokyo | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a "fever alarm armband," a flexible, self-powered wearable device that sounds an alarm in case of high body temperature. The flexible organic components developed for this device are well-suited to wearable devices that continuously monitor vital signs including temperature and heart rate for applications in healthcare settings.

NASCAR to Promote STEM Education

February 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Kimberly Hefling | News | Comments

It takes a lot of geometry and physics to get a race car to go 200 laps at speeds that can top 200 mph. In a nod to the often overlooked science behind races like Sunday's Daytona 500, NASCAR is announcing a years-long commitment to promote STEM inside classrooms and out.

'Alchemy' May Enable Next-gen Electronic Devices

February 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

Scientists have known how to draw thin fibers from bulk materials for decades. But a new approach to that old method could lead to a whole new way of making high-quality fiber-based electronic devices.

'Robot Garden' to Teach Basic Coding Concepts

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Adam Conner-Simons | Videos | Comments

Here’s one way to get kids excited about programming: a "robot garden" with dozens of fast-changing LED lights and more than 100 origami robots that can crawl, swim and blossom like flowers. A team has developed a system that illustrates their research on distributed algorithms via robotic sheep, origami flowers that can open and change colors and robotic ducks that fold into shape by being heated in an oven.

Dying Exoplanet Key to Learning How Solar System Formed

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by The Open Univ. | News | Comments

Exciting new research has opened up the chance to find out what distant planets are made of. A team of astronomers have made observations that can help reveal the chemical makeup of a small rocky world orbiting a distant star about 1,500 light years away from Earth, increasing our understanding of how planets, including ours, were formed.

Today in Lab History: The Advent of the Flying Car

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Long before concerns about battery fires on planes, or tests of solar planes, the first automobile/airplane was introduced to the world. The Arrowbile was first displayed on Feb. 20, 1937, and took its first flight the following day.

Semiconductor Moves Spintronics Toward Reality

February 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

A new semiconductor compound is bringing fresh momentum to the field of spintronics, an emerging breed of computing device that may lead to smaller, faster, less power-hungry electronics. Created from a unique low-symmetry crystal structure, the compound is the first to build spintronic properties into a material that's stable at room temperature and easily tailored to a variety of applications.

Dark Matter May Be Linked to Extinctions, Geologic Upheavals

February 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by New York Univ. | News | Comments

Research by a professor concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. Movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.

Engineered Bone Marrow Yields Platelets

February 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Tufts Univ. | News | Comments

A team has reported development of the first 3-D tissue system that reproduces the complex structure and physiology of human bone marrow and successfully generates functional human platelets. Using a biomaterial matrix of porous silk, the new system is capable of producing platelets for future clinical use and also provides a laboratory tissue system to advance study of blood platelet diseases.  

Washington Quake Proves Warning System Too Slow

February 18, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Doug Esser | News | Comments

A magnitude-4.3 earthquake that rumbled under Washington state's Cascade Range early Wednesday was "not a great advertisement" for an early warning system undergoing tests, an official said. The system noticed the quake 18 seconds late.

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