Fossil arthropod went on the hunt for its prey

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:40pm
A new species of carnivorous crustacean has been identified, which roamed the seas 435 million years ago, grasping its prey with spiny limbs before devouring it.
Categories: Science

Plants: Calcium and reproduction go together like the birds and the bees

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:40pm
Everyone's heard of the birds and the bees. But that old expression leaves out the flowers that are being fertilized. The fertilization process for flowering plants is particularly complex and requires extensive communication between the male and female reproductive cells. New research reports discoveries in the chemical signaling process that guides flowering plant fertilization.
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Water splitter runs on an ordinary AAA battery

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:40pm
Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most fuel cell vehicle run on hydrogen made from natural gas. Now scientists have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in this device are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron.
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Climate change could see dengue fever come to Europe

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
Dengue fever could make headway in popular European holiday destinations if climate change continues on its predicted trajectory, according to research. The study used current data from Mexico, where dengue fever is present, and information about EU countries to model the likelihood of the disease spreading in Europe. They found that coastal regions around the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, the Po Valley and North East Italy were most at risk.
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Spectacular supernova's mysteries revealed

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
Astronomers are delving into the mystery of what caused a spectacular supernova in a galaxy 11 million light years away, seen earlier this year. The supernova, a giant explosion of a star and the closest one to the Earth in decades, was discovered earlier this year by chance. These phenomena are extremely important to study because they provide key information about our universe, including how it is expanding and how galaxies evolve.
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Forensics research to make cadaver dogs more efficient

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
Specially-trained victim recovery dogs can perform phenomenal feats in sniffing out the whereabouts of bodies and body parts, even beneath mounds of rubble or deep below water. But now a researcher is investigating ways in which they can carry out their grim but vital tasks even more efficiently.  
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Why major cow milk allergen is actually allergenic

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
Cow milk allergy occurs in children and in adults. Scientists have investigated what actually makes the milk allergenic. A specific protein in milk known as beta-lactoglobulin is able to initiate an allergy only when being devoid of iron. Loaded with iron, the protein is harmless. The scientists discovered the same mechanism recently with regard to birch pollen allergy.
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Striatum acts as hub for multisensory integration

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
A new study provides insight on how the brain processes external input such as touch, vision or sound from different sources and sides of the body, in order to select and generate adequate movements. The findings show that the striatum acts as a sensory ‘hub’ integrating various types of sensory information, with specialized functional roles for the different neuron types.
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Water quality in glass, plastic bottles: Better than expected in Spanish study

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
Bottled water sold in Spain is practically free of constituents given off by plastic packaging or glass bottle lids. They are only detected in some cases, albeit in quantities much lower than limits found harmful for health, an analysis of more than 130 types of mineral water reveals. Plastic materials used in food packaging are made up of small molecules or monomers which, together with their additives, can migrate into the product during packaging manufacturing, filling or storage.
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Breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopy

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
Nanometer-scale gold particles are intensively investigated for application as catalysts, sensors, drug delivery devices, biological contrast agents and components in photonics and molecular electronics. Gaining knowledge of their atomic-scale structures, fundamental for understanding physical and chemical properties, has been challenging. Now, researchers at have demonstrated that high-resolution electron microscopy can be used to reveal a three-dimensional structure in which all gold atoms are observed.
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Genetics, lifestyle have a strong impact on biomarkers for inflammation, cancer

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:39pm
For the first time, results from a large-scale study of the significance of genetic, clinical and lifestyle factors for protein levels in the bloodstream have been shown. The results show that genetics and lifestyle are determining factors for protein levels, a discovery that greatly influences the possibilities for using more biomarkers to identify disease.
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Extracorporeal support can significantly increase number of organs for transplant

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:37pm
Using heart-lung support technology, one Transplant Center was able to increase the number of kidneys, livers and pancreases available for transplant by about 20 percent. As of Aug. 6, 2014, 123,191 people nationwide were waiting for a solid organ transplant in the United States. The Institute of Medicine has named donation after circulatory determination of death as the number one research priority to improve organ donation.
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Electronic alerts significantly reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:36pm
Targeted automated alerts in electronic health records significantly reduce urinary tract infections in hospital patients with urinary catheters. In addition, when the design of the alert was simplified, the rate of improvement dramatically increased.
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Unequal demands on women for university service harm careers

Science Daily - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:36pm
Women professors are asked to serve on university committees in such disproportionate numbers that they are deprived of research time that is essential for promotion and find their careers lagging behind their male colleagues as a result.
Categories: Science

A low-cost water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:22pm

Stanford scientists have developed a low-cost device that uses an ordinary AAA battery (or a solar cell) to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Gas bubbles are produced by electrodes made of inexpensive nickel and iron. (Credit: Mark Shwartz/Stanford University)

A cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt AAA battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis has been developed by scientists at Stanford University.

Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive, abundant nickel and iron.

“This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “It’s quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage.”

He and his colleagues describe the new device in a study published in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

The promise of hydrogen

Model of a nanoscale nickel oxide/nickel heterostructure formed on a carbon nanotube, creating a non-precious-metal hydrogen-evolution catalyst (credit: Ming Gong and Hongjie Dai, Stanford University)

Fuel cell technology is essentially water splitting in reverse. A fuel cell combines stored hydrogen gas with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, which powers the car.

The only byproduct is water — unlike gasoline combustion, which emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

In 2015, American consumers will finally be able to purchase fuel cell cars from Toyota and other manufacturers. Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most of the cars will run on hydrogen made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming.

Most of these vehicles will run on fuel manufactured at large industrial plants that produce hydrogen by combining very hot steam and natural gas, an energy-intensive process that releases carbon dioxide as a byproduct.

Splitting water to make hydrogen requires no fossil fuels* and emits no greenhouse gases. But scientists have yet to develop an affordable, active water splitter with catalysts capable of working at industrial scales.

Saving energy and money

The discovery was made by Stanford graduate student Ming Gong, co-lead author of the study. “Ming discovered a nickel-metal/nickel-oxide structure that turns out to be more active than pure nickel metal or pure nickel oxide alone,” Dai said.  “This novel structure favors hydrogen electrocatalysis, but we still don’t fully understand the science behind it.”

The nickel/nickel-oxide catalyst significantly lowers the voltage required to split water, which could eventually save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs, according to Gong. His next goal is to improve the durability of the device.

“The electrodes are fairly stable, but they do slowly decay over time,” he said. “The current device would probably run for days, but weeks or months would be preferable. That goal is achievable based on my most recent results.”

The researchers also plan to develop a water splitter than runs on electricity produced by solar energy.

“Hydrogen is an ideal fuel for powering vehicles, buildings and storing renewable energy on the grid,” said Dai. “This shows that through nanoscale engineering of materials we can really make a difference in how we make fuels and consume energy.”

“Another major use of the nickel oxide/nickel hydrogen evolution catalyst is the cathode for the chloroalkali industry [to produce chlorine and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which are commodity chemicals required by industry],” Dai told KurzweilAI in an email interview. “The improved activity by the catalyst might potentially save the electricity cost of the chloroalkali industry by 10–20 %, which is on the scale of billions of dollars, as the U.S. uses about 8–10% of its electrical energy on chloroalkali electrolysis.”

So when can we expect this innovation to be available commercially? “The catalysts can be produced at very large scale for industrial purposes,” he said. “Currently, the device could work for days, but we are still working on improving the stability of the catalysts. Once the stability is further improved to more than weeks, the device can be easily produced for commercialization, which may take several years.”

Other authors of the study include scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and University of Tennessee. Principal funding was provided by the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford, and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy | Stanford University Professor Hongjie Dai has developed an emissions-free electrolytic device that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen at room temperature.

* Except for the relatively small amount of fuel used in providing a voltage source.

Categories: Science

UPS: We've Been Hacked

Slashdot - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 12:05pm
paysonwelch writes The United Parcel Service announced that customers' credit and debit card information at 51 franchises in 24 states may have been compromised. There are 4,470 franchised center locations throughout the U.S., according to UPS. The malware began to infiltrate the system as early as January 20, but the majority of the attacks began after March 26. UPS says the threat was eliminated as of August 11 and that customers can shop safely at all locations.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

NASA Unveils Best Map Ever of Neptune's Moon Triton (Images, Video)

Space.com - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 10:48am
The new map, made using photos taken by NASA's Voyager 2 probe in 1989, has also been turned into a movie reconstructing the spacecraft's historic Triton encounter — the only time a spacecraft has ever visited the Neptune system.
Categories: Science

OS X Yosemite: How to Use the New, More Powerful Spotlight Search

Wired News - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 10:43am
For those who’ve just started using the beta, or are just anticipating its launch later this year, we’ve got some tips on how to best take advantage of the redesigned OS and its many new features. In this edition, we take on Apple’s systemwide search, Spotlight.






Categories: Science

The Legendary Photographer Who Captured the Softer Side of NYC

Wired News - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 10:43am
Saul Leiter, a New York photographer who died last November, has always been recognized as one of the most important street shooters of his time by those in the art world. But it wasn't until recently that his work came to be known, and loved, by the general public.






Categories: Science

How to Solve Google’s Crazy Open-Ended Interview Questions

Wired News - Fri, 22/08/2014 - 10:43am
Consider the following question that has been asked at actual Google job interviews: How much does the Empire State Building weigh? Now, there is no correct answer to this question in any practical sense because no one knows the answer. Google isn’t interested in the answer, though; they’re interested in the process.






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