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The Lead

A Tale of Two Worlds

May 6, 2015 7:00 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

The Internet is a wonderful thing. But, it can be a point of contention, with grandparents, parents and older siblings repeatedly muttering “get off your phone and live in the real world.” I may be guilty of saying this once or twice to my younger sister. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that while it may not be a tangible world, there is a “real world” inside the 0’s and 1’s of the Internet.

Tech Helps Kids Care for Aging Parents

May 5, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Brandon Bailey | News | Comments

Advances in low-cost sensors and wireless networks are fueling a boom in the so-called "smart"...

Seattle: Port Needs New Permit for Oil Fleet

May 5, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Weeks before a 400-foot oil-drilling rig is expected in Seattle, the city's mayor, Ed Murray,...

Image of the Week: Living Suction Cup May Inspire Medical Devices

May 5, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Researchers are studying the Northern clingfish, one of the world’s best suction cups, to...

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Driverless Vehicles Tested on Campus

May 5, 2015 7:00 am | by EPFL | Videos | Comments

Since April 17, the EPFL campus is a life-size laboratory for testing autonomous shuttles as part of the European CityMobil2 project. There is no driver but there is a bellboy. Welcome aboard!

Seattle: Port Needs New Permit for Oil Fleet

May 5, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Weeks before a 400-foot oil-drilling rig is expected in Seattle, the city's mayor, Ed Murray, says the Port of Seattle can't host Royal Dutch Shell offshore Arctic fleet until it gets a new land-use permit. Murray said city planners reviewed the use of Terminal 5, as a base for the drilling fleet and found that it would violate the port's current 20-year-old land-use permit, which allows a cargo terminal on the site.

Google Thinks Big, Starts Small with Wireless Project

May 4, 2015 4:20 pm | by Associated Press, Michael Liedtke | News | Comments

Google wants the wireless services that connect mobile devices to digital content to be cheaper and more reliable. Enter "Project Fi," the Internet company's recently launched attempt to usher in new ways to keep smartphones online while lowering the cost for streaming video, listening to music, getting directions and searching for information.  

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Google Deploys Engineers to Universities as Professors

May 4, 2015 8:35 am | by Associated Press, Martha Mendoza | News | Comments

A freshman Alanna Walton knew something was different about the professor teaching her introduction to computer science course. First, there was her name: Professor Sabrina. She was an African American woman, kept office hours until 2 a.m. if that's what it took to see everyone and had an additional title: Google in Residence.

Study Sets New Standard for Open, Reproducible Research

May 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A group of computer scientists have set a new gold standard for openness and reproducibility in research by sharing the more than 200GB of data and 20,000 lines of code behind their latest results— an unprecedented degree of openness in a peer-reviewed publication. The researchers hope that this new gold standard will be adopted by other fields.

Modularity in Microgravity: How the ISS is State-of-the-art 15 years Later

May 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

The single requirement all new construction laboratories have in common is modularity. When spending millions of dollars on a single structure, it makes sense for developers to demand the most bang for their buck. The modular design of the International Space Station allows it to keep up with evolving technology.

Giant Electromagnet to Map Melted Matter

May 1, 2015 3:00 pm | by Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

Pristine, particle-tracking magnets are rare enough to count on two hands. Most of these one-of-a-kind engineering feats sit at the heart of some of the most ambitious physics experiments in history and were built specifically to discover new facets of matter. Now, a 20-ton superconducting magnet traveled from California's SLAC Lab to New York's Brookhaven Lab as part of a proposed upgrade.

Elon Musk Introduces Home Solar Battery System

May 1, 2015 1:51 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The Powerwall battery is designed to get charged by solar panels during times of peak sunlight– and then to power the household during peak usage times, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced at an unveiling in Hawthorne, California.

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Warp Speed? NASA May Have Advanced Galactic Travel

May 1, 2015 11:52 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

A group of NASA scientists developing technology to make interstellar spaceflight possible by the end of the century may have reached a watershed moment. The “EM drive,” which works by bouncing microwaves around in a chamber, has shown that it can produce thrust without expelling propellant.

Chip ‘Fingerprints’ Can Fight Counterfeiting

May 1, 2015 8:52 am | by MIT, Rob Matheson | News | Comments

No two human fingerprints are exactly alike. For that reason, police use them as evidence to link suspects to crime scenes. The same goes for silicon chips: manufacturing processes cause microscopic variations in chips that are unpredictable, permanent and effectively impossible to clone.

Leg Brace Produces Energy from Movement

May 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

Engineering students have created an energy-generating knee brace that they hope may someday help power artificial hearts. The device is a modified medical brace that generates power with every bend of the knee.

Light May Be Alternative to Opioid Drugs

May 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Washington Univ. School of Medicine in St. Louis | News | Comments

Despite the abuse potential of opioid drugs, they have long been the best option for patients suffering from severe pain. The drugs interact with receptors on brain cells to tamp down the body’s pain response. Now, neuroscientists have found a way to activate opioid receptors with light.

Dive Discovers Sunken History

April 30, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Hawaiʻi | Videos | Comments

The dramatic discovery of a lost World War II-era Imperial Japanese Navy mega-submarine in December 2013 inspired a new search to find key missing pieces of the battleship. The survey, the first to return to I-400 submarine since its discovery, successfully located, mapped and captured on video for the first time not only the submarine’s hangar and conning tower, but an unexpected and significant new discovery— the submarine’s bell.

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Artificial Photosynthesis Key to Fuels, Plastics, Medicine

April 29, 2015 3:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

The global industrial sector accounts for more than half of the total energy used every year. Now, scientists are inventing a new artificial photosynthetic system that could one day reduce industry’s dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy by powering part of the sector with solar energy and bacteria.

Recognizing Expressions Makes Robots More Human

April 29, 2015 3:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

Most people are naturally adept at reading facial expressions to tell what others are feeling. Now, scientists have developed ultra-sensitive, wearable sensors that can do the same thing. Their technology could help robot developers make their machines more human.

Crowdfunding to Pay for Study of Internet-famous Cat

April 29, 2015 3:00 pm | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Lil Bub is a cat who has gotten big on Tumblr, reddit, Facebook and YouTube. People think she is adorable as she has a “multitude of genetic anomalies” that add up to a face many find appealing. Now, scientists are using a crowdfunding site, explicitly intended to fund research, to raise money to sequence Lil Bub’s genome to learn about her specific DNA mutations.

Enron E-mail Trove Helps Researchers Learn About Manipulating Data

April 29, 2015 2:03 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Enron— the company at the heart of what was, perhaps, the biggest corporate fraud in American history— is now serving a public purpose. A collection of approximately 15,000 spreadsheets collected from internal Enron emails, unearthed by prosecutors during a criminal probe, is part of a new study analyzing how people and companies use the data software.

Hawaii Telescope Plan for Volcano Still Simmering Controversy

April 29, 2015 9:41 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The battle over a plan to build one of the world’s largest telescopes atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii is still simmering. A hacker brought down the website for the Thirty-Meter Telescope on Sunday for two hours– just days before a key state agency is to hear arguments for and against the construction.

3-D Human Tool Wins Webby

April 29, 2015 9:14 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

An online tool that has been referred to as the “Google Earth of the Human Body” won a major award this week. The BioDigital Human, a 3-D platform that explains health concepts and medical conditions visually, won a Webby Award for the best health website of the last year.  

Megacities Have Varied Metabolisms

April 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Toronto | News | Comments

New York is an energy hog, London and Paris use relatively fewer resources and Tokyo conserves water like a pro. These are just a few of the findings from a new study on “megacity metabolism”— the world’s first comprehensive survey of resources used and removed in each of the world’s 27 largest metropolitan areas.

Today in Lab History: Thomas Hancock Patents Rubber for Clothing

April 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

On April 29, 1820, Thomas Hancock patented India-rubber springs for various types of clothing such as gloves, suspenders and slip-on boots. Until then, rubber had had limited uses because of its poor properties, being hard and liable to crack in the cold and sticky in heat.

Dogs, Drones Pair to Save Guacamole

April 28, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Tamara Lush | News | Comments

With the killers hiding in the trees, heat-sensing drones are launched into the air. When their whereabouts are narrowed, the dogs are sent in. When it comes to protecting the world's supply of guacamole, no weapon can be spared.

Russian Cargo Ship Can’t Dock with ISS

April 28, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Lynn Berry | News | Comments

Russia's space agency postponed the docking of a cargo ship with the ISS on Tuesday because of problems with the unmanned spacecraft. Russia's Mission Control was having trouble getting data from the craft and decided to postpone the docking at least until Thursday. Americans believe Thursday will be too soon to attempt to dock for safety reasons.

Sleep Apnea? There May Be an App for That

April 28, 2015 9:59 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Approximately one in 13 in the U.S. have sleep apnea. But to diagnose the disease involves an overnight hospital stay and a sleep study that costs thousands of dollars. A group of researchers say they have an app for that– a cheap alternative on a smartphone that could be available widely in a year or two to diagnose the disorder.

Image of the Week: Converter Accepts Different Power Sources

April 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Arkansas | News | Comments

Engineering researchers have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system. Innovations in this field are critical as the U.S. moves toward integration of renewable energy sources to the national power grid.

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