Tech

The unique properties of thin layers of graphite – known as graphene – make the material attractive for a wide range of potential electronic devices. Researchers have now experimentally demonstrated the potential for another graphene application: replacing copper for interconnects in future generations of integrated circuits.

In a paper published in the June 2009 issue of the IEEE journal Electron Device Letters, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology report detailed analysis of resistivity in graphene nanoribbon interconnects as narrow as 18 nanometers.

A fresh approach to public sector leadership is vital if the Scottish Government's vision of a more successful country is to realised – especially given challenges such as the current financial situation and a general loss of trust in leaders - according to a new report from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

New York, NY, June 4, 2009 – In 2007, before the current economic downturn, an American family filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of illness every 90 seconds; three-quarters of them were insured. Over 60% of all bankruptcies in the United States in 2007 were driven by medical incidents. In an article published in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, the results of the first-ever national random-sample survey of bankruptcy filers shows that illnesses and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of bankruptcies.

The ever-growing demand for digital storage of videos, images, music and text calls for storage media that pack increasingly more data onto chips that keep shrinking in size. However, this demand runs in sharp contrast to the history of data storage. Compare the stone carvings in the Egyptian temple of Karnak, which store approximately two bits of data per square inch but can still be read after nearly 4,000 years, to a modern DVD which can store 100 giga (billion) bits of data per square inch but will probably remain readable for no more than 30 years.

Sleeping tablets have been associated with a four-fold increase in suicide risk in the elderly. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Geriatrics have shown that, even after adjusting for the presence of psychiatric conditions, sedatives and hypnotics were both associated with an increased risk of suicide.

Using sensors capable of detecting drugs in breath, new technology developed at University of Florida monitors health-care workers' hand hygiene by detecting sanitizer or soap fumes given off from their hands.

By reminding workers to clean their hands to remove disease-causing organisms such as the bacteria MRSA, the system could help reduce hospital-acquired infections and save millions of dollars now spent to treat them.

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated entanglement—a phenomenon peculiar to the atomic-scale quantum world—in a mechanical system similar to those in the macroscopic everyday world. The work extends the boundaries of the arena where quantum behavior can be observed and shows how laboratory technology might be scaled up to build a functional quantum computer.

New York/London/Nairobi, 3 June 2009 -- Some $155 billion was invested in 2008 in clean energy companies and projects worldwide, not including large hydro, a new report launched today says.

Of this $13.5 billion of new private investment went into companies developing and scaling-up new technologies alongside $117 billion of investment in renewable energy projects from geothermal and wind to solar and biofuels.

DALLAS – June 3, 2009 – A simple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test involving breathing oxygen might help oncologists determine the best treatment for some cancer patients, report researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The secret of a successful sandcastle could aid the revival of an ancient eco-friendly building technique, according to research led by Durham University.

Researchers, led by experts at Durham's School of Engineering, have carried out a study into the strength of rammed earth, which is growing in popularity as a sustainable building method.

Just as a sandcastle needs a little water to stand up, the Durham engineers found that the strength of rammed earth was heavily dependent on its water content.

Electronic memory chips may soon gain the ability to bend and twist as a result of work by engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). As reported in the July 2009 issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters,* the engineers have found a way to build a flexible memory component out of inexpensive, readily available materials.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Actinic keratoses are sun-damaged rough patches or lesions on the skin — often pink and scaly — that doctors have long believed can turn into a form of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.

Now researchers at Brown University, the Veterans Administration Medical Centers in Providence and Oklahoma City, and others have determined that actinic keratoses appear responsible for a larger spectrum of skin cancers than previously thought. Their research is highlighted in the current edition of Cancer.

Approximately a third of the electricity consumed by large data centers doesn't power the computer servers that conduct online transactions, serve Web pages or store information. Instead, that electricity must be used for cooling the servers, a demand that continues to increase as computer processing power grows.

And the trend toward cloud computing will expand the need for both servers and cooling.

In these times of trillion-dollar budgets and deficits, $6.3 billion may not seem like much money, but that's what the United States potentially could save on each group of adolescents who enter foster care every year.

These savings could be achieved by using a more intensive and more costly private model of foster care than programs offered by public agencies across the country, according to new research led by economists and foster care experts from the University of Washington and Casey Family Programs, a non-profit agency with offices in Washington and Oregon.

Penguin poo (guano) stains, visible from space, have helped British scientists locate emperor penguin breeding colonies in Antarctica. Knowing their location provides a baseline for monitoring their response to environmental change.