Led by a handful of federal agencies -- like the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation -- most people working on the initiative are on a forced furlough, leaving the project to gather dust in the interim.
Meet the post-modern Prometheus. It's not a monster made out of cadaver parts that University of Southampton scientists have brought to life with the power of lightning, but a rather smaller target: the Nokia 925 smartphone.
Nokia recruited a team led by Neil Palmer, manager of the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory, for the undertaking. Using the lab's equipment, the team created artificial lightning bolts, which were captured, tamed, and channeled into the smartphone's battery. … Read more
Build a tiny plane, cover it in fluorescent oil, and use the results to improve the design of future air-based transport.
That's what researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., hope to achieve with a toy-size model of a hybrid plane. The image above shows a 5.8 percent scale model of a futuristic hybrid wing body, coated in fluorescent oil before being blasted with air. … Read more
Chemical reaction networks make up an old language of equations that detail how chemicals behave together. Now engineers at the University of Washington are taking this language into the 21st century with a computer program for chemistry that can help direct the movement of synthetic molecules.
This standardized set of instructions on how to "program" how DNA molecules interact in a test tube or cell could pave the way for smart drug delivery systems and disease detectors at the cellular level, the researchers report this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.… Read more
A team of physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University is working on a novel MRI technique that has achieved nanoscale resolution -- meaning scientists could soon view biological samples such as influenza viruses very clearly.
The experimental result brings MRI one step closer to atomic-scale imaging, says lead researcher Raffi Budakian of the University of Illinois, who reports his findings in the journal Physical Review X. "Imagine a 3D image slice-by-slice of an influenza virus and then looking at all the chemical components with nanometer-scale resolution. That's our dream. It provides a toolset for biology that doesn't yet exist."… Read more
The top authority for assessing scientific research on climate change has concluded that global warming is "unequivocal," that humans are "extremely likely" to be the dominant cause, and that there's stronger evidence now for placing the blame with us.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, first convened by the United Nations in 1988, periodically releases reports to assess global warming research findings, and on Friday, its 259 authors from 39 countries announced the IPCC's fifth report -- a major update since the last one in 2007. The new report won't surprise anyone who'… Read more
After examining fine-grained soil particles extracted by the Curiosity rover from beneath the surface of Mars, scientists have concluded that roughly 2 percent of the Martian surface soil is made up of water. While showing no indication of organic material besides Earth-transported microbes, the results bode well for future manned missions to Mars, wherein astronauts could mine the soil for water, and advance scientists' understanding of Mars' history.
The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, are part of one article in a five-paper special section on the Curiosity mission that began in August 2012. "One of the most … Read more
When a disaster strikes, there's a very short window of time in which to locate and free survivors trapped under rubble. The Finder portable radar system, developed through a collaboration between NASA and the US Department of Homeland Security, could make it much easier for emergency responders to find victims.
"Finder" is short for "Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response." The device works by sending a low-power microwave radar signal through the rubble. The signals that bounce back are analyzed for patterns that indicate a person's breathing or heartbeat.… Read more
Perhaps Google Street View should be renamed "Google Anything View." Google's wandering cameras have now made their way into CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the atom-smashing wonder located under the Franco-Swiss border.
Since it wasn't feasible to send a Google Street View car into the Large Hadron Collider facility, a specially equipped trike was employed instead. The Street View explorations are now available online for the public to peruse. You can follow along through the tunnels of the particle collider and pretend you're on the staff at CERN.… Read more
The Hyperloop may not be such a long shot after all. Thanks to a community of enthusiasts who have gathered around the concept on the entrepreneurial collaboration platform JumpStartFund, Elon Musk's theorized high-speed tube transport system will soon have its own corporation behind it.
"We want to be the ones that actually make things happen," Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and co-founder of JumpStartFund, said in an interview Wednesday. "So of course we need to create a corporation. Whoever decides to dedicate more time to this than just logging onto the platform deserves to be part of this … Read more