Tech

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Engineering researchers have crafted a flat surface that refuses to get wet. Water droplets skitter across it like ball bearings tossed on ice.

The inspiration? Not wax. Not glass. Not even Teflon.

Instead, University of Florida engineers have achieved what they label in a new paper a "nearly perfect hydrophobic interface" by reproducing, on small bits of flat plastic, the shape and patterns of the minute hairs that grow on the bodies of spiders.

In a technological advance that its developers are likening to the cell phone and wireless Internet access, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and engineers have devised an undersea optical communications system that—complemented by acoustics—enables a virtual revolution in high-speed undersea data collection and transmission.

Oxford, UK, 24 February 2010 - A recent Special Issue of Business Horizons (www.elsevier.com/locate/bushor), the journal of the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, and published by Elsevier, addresses issues central to healthcare and life sciences. Healthcare reform, for example, has been at the center of U.S. political debate in recent years with renewed attempts to gain bipartisan support from Congress for passage of a national system of health insurance coverage.

The search for new therapeutic agents is time-consuming and expensive. Pharmaceutical companies may have to screen thousands of compounds for the ability to bind a target molecule before they hit upon a promising drug candidate.

Baby monitors of the future could translate infant cries, so that parents will know for certain whether their child is sleepy, hungry, needing a change, or in pain. Japanese scientists report details of a statistical computer program that can analyze a baby's crying in the International Journal of Biometrics.

In the photoacoustic method, a tabletop device scans a lymph node biopsy with laser pulses. About 95 percent of melanoma cells contain melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, so they react to the laser's beam, absorbing the light. The laser causes the cells to heat and cool rapidly, which makes them expand and contract. This produces a popping noise that special sensors can detect. This method would examine the entire biopsy and identify the general area of the node that has cancer, giving pathologists a better idea of where to look for the cancer.

Tropical cyclone 17P has had a brief life. After becoming a tropical storm yesterday, atmospheric conditions have weakened the cyclone back down to tropical depression status today, February 23 and it is expected to dissipate in the next couple of days.

Focusing on a controversial hypothesis that ice existed at the equator some 300 million years ago during the late Paleozoic Period, two University of Oklahoma researchers originated a project in search of clues to the Earth's climate system.

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Lorrie F. Cranor will discuss the risk and benefits of online services that collect and use location information to joint meetings of the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Subcommittee on Communication and Technology at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24 in room 2141 of the Rayburn Office building in Washington, D.C.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The lack of affordable, high-quality on-campus day care programs that cater to undergraduate students who double as parents is a stealth issue that has the potential to harm both the student-parent and the child, says a University of Illinois expert in early childhood education.

In less than four months since launch, the first calibrated images are being delivered by ESA's SMOS mission. These images of 'brightness temperature' translate into clear information on global variations of soil moisture and ocean salinity to advance our understanding of the water cycle.

Researchers from the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR) have calculated the energy and economic potential of urban solid waste, sludge from water treatment plants and livestock slurry for generating electricity in Spain. These residues are alternative sources of renewable energy, which are more environmentally friendly and, in the case of solid urban waste, more cost effective.

OAK BROOK, Ill. – Annual breast cancer screening with both mammography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is likely to be a cost-effective way to improve life expectancy in women with an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study published in the March issue of Radiology. The findings support current American Cancer Society screening recommendations.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Using a treadmill could help infants with prenatal complications or who were injured at birth walk earlier and better, according to a University of Michigan researcher.

Prenatal injuries can often result in self-correcting or fixable neuromotor delays, but sometimes toddlers get a more serious diagnosis, such as cerebral palsy, says Rosa Angulo-Barroso, associate professor of movement science at the U-M School of Kinesiology. Some of those diagnoses may come much later, or in mild cases, never, she says.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology recommends that the drug quinine, although effective, should be avoided for treatment of routine muscle cramps due to uncommon but serious side effects. The guideline is published in the February 23, 2010, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.