Tech

Japanese researchers have been immersing iron-based compounds in hot alcoholic beverages such as red wine, sake and shochu to induce superconductivity.

Scientists from the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan, found that immersing pellets of an iron-based compound in heated alcoholic beverages for 24 hours greatly increase their superconducting ability.

A process called gasification can turn carbonaceous fuels—coal, petroleum, or biomass—into syngas, a cleaner-burning fuel mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

Scientists from the National Energy Technology Laboratory are concluding a three-year project using supercomputers at Oak Ridge and Argonne national laboratories for simulations to reduce the cost and time of building commercial-scale gasifiers. The efforts will inform the design of advanced technologies to supply clean, reliable and affordable electricity.

Nuclear reactor technology research dwindled away when nuclear power fell out of favor several decades ago. But the realization that anti-science activism against nuclear power has led to increased fossil fuel usage, emissions and global warming has meant renewed interest in fission-based energy - and that means knowledge gained in past research is relevant again.

Researchers at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working with Idaho National Laboratory, revived work to fabricate high-quality coated-particle fuel for high-temperature gas reactors (HTGRs).

MADISON, WI MARCH 4, 2011 – North and South Carolina have seen a steady increase in swine production over the last 15 years. In North Carolina alone, swine production generates approximately a quarter of the state's gross farm receipts. The presence of so many large-scale pig farms leads to the problem of proper animal waste disposal.

BINGHAMTON, NY – Lijun Yin wants computers to understand inputs from humans that go beyond the traditional keyboard and mouse.

"Our research in computer graphics and computer vision tries to make using computers easier," says the Binghamton University computer scientist. "Can we find a more comfortable, intuitive and intelligent way to use the computer? It should feel like you're talking to a friend. This could also help disabled people use computers the way everyone else does."

Some of the most dreaded diseases in the world such as plague, typhoid and cholera are caused by bacteria that have one thing in common: they possess an infection apparatus which is a nearly unbeatable weapon. When attacking a cell of the body, they develop numerous hollow-needle-shaped structures that project from the bacterial surface. Through these needles, the bacteria inject signal substances into the host cells, which re-program the latter and thereby overcome their defense.

RENO, Nev. – A new, rapid blood test that could lead to early diagnosis and potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people stricken with fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries, is getting closer to market with a recent collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno and Immuno-Mycologics (IMMY) in Oklahoma.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers are moving into the demonstration phase of a novel gas turbine system for power generation, with the promise that thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency will be increased to as much as 50 percent — an improvement of 50 percent for nuclear power stations equipped with steam turbines, or a 40 percent improvement for simple gas turbines. The system is also very compact, meaning that capital costs would be relatively low.

DURHAM, N.C.— A Duke University team has seen for the first time how soft polymers, such as wire insulation, can break down under exposure to electrical current.

Researchers have known for decades that polymers, such those insulating wires, may break down due to deformation of the polymers. But the process had never been seen.

St. Louis, MO, March 4, 2011 – The combined effects of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy may increase the risk of bone fractures in breast cancer survivors. In a study scheduled for publication in the April issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, asked post-menopausal breast cancer survivors whether they had fallen in the past year and then tracked their falls over a six-month study period.

BIGLERVILLE, PA—Blossom or fruitlet thinning is a labor-intensive part of commercial peach and nectarine production. The use of mechanical string blossom thinners has been shown to reduce labor requirements and improve fruit size in peach crops, but stone fruit producers have needed more information about the range of thinning times. New research from Tara Auxt Baugher and colleagues from The Pennsylvania State University and Penn State Cooperative Extension gives producers sought-after data about optimum thinning times.

The American Thoracic Society has released a new official report recommending research priorities in incorporating ambulatory management of adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) into healthcare systems. The report identifies barriers preventing incorporation of portable monitor testing into clinical management pathways and recommends research and development needed to address those barriers.

The statement appears in the March 1, 2011, issue of the Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society.

HUNTSVILLE -- Students from two university campuses in Texas and Washington recently were surveyed on allowing concealed handguns on campus.

According to research led by Dr. Jeffrey Bouffard at Sam Houston State University's College of Criminal Justice, more students were uncomfortable with concealed weapons on campus than those at ease with guns on college grounds. The study will be presented at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Meeting in Toronto this month.

There comes a time in life for every bird to spread its wings and leave the nest, but for gray catbirds, that might be the beginning of the end. Smithsonian scientists report fledgling catbirds in suburban habitats are at their most vulnerable stage of life, with almost 80 percent killed by predators before they reach adulthood. Almost half of the deaths were linked to domestic cats.

Troy, N.Y. – Recent research by doctoral student Sevan Goenezen holds the promise of becoming a powerful new weapon in the fight against breast cancer. His complex computational research has led to a fast, inexpensive new method for using ultrasound and advanced algorithms to differentiate between benign and malignant tumors with a high degree of accuracy.