Top Technology News -- ScienceDaily
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:04:03 EDT

Mathematics predicts a sixth mass extinction

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:21:16 EDT
Scientists have analyzed significant changes in the carbon cycle over the last 540 million years, including the five mass extinction events. They have identified 'thresholds of catastrophe' in the carbon cycle that, if exceeded, would lead to an unstable environment, and ultimately, mass extinction.
Unique type of object discovered in our solar system

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:47:24 EDT
Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet.
Wave Glider surfs across stormy Drake Passage in Antarctica

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:46:58 EDT
A hardy ocean drone made a first-ever attempt to surf across Antarctica's stormy Drake Passage gathering data about ocean mixing.
Automatic code reuse: System automatically modifies code for transfer to other programs

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:46:51 EDT
Researchers have developed a new system that allows programmers to transplant code from one program into another. The programmer can select the code from one program and an insertion point in a second program, and the system will automatically make modifications necessary -- such as changing variable names -- to integrate the code into its new context.
New concept of terrestrial planet formation

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:17:47 EDT
Scientists are proposing a new way of understanding the cooling and transfer of heat from terrestrial planetary interiors and how that affects the generation of the volcanic terrains that dominate the rocky planets.
World's first 'molecular robot' capable of building molecules

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:17:44 EDT
Scientists have created the world's first 'molecular robot' that is capable of performing basic tasks including building other molecules.
Scientists make atoms-thick 'Post-It notes' for solar cells and circuits

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:17:01 EDT
A new study describes an innovative method to make stacks of semiconductors just a few atoms thick. The technique offers scientists and engineers a simple, cost-effective method to make thin, uniform layers of these materials, which could expand capabilities for devices from solar cells to cell phones.
Spinning a lighter, safer electrode

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:35:59 EDT
A fabric-like material electrode has been created that could help make energy storage devices -- batteries and supercapacitors -- faster and less susceptible to leaks or disastrous meltdowns. Their design for a new supercapacitor, which looks something like a furry sponge infused with gelatin, offers a unique alternative to the flammable electrolyte solution that is a common component in these devices.
Straining the memory: Prototype strain engineered materials are the future of data storage

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:34:11 EDT
Researchers have strain-engineered a data storage material to store data by exploiting a process of avalanche atomic switching. Memory cells using this material substantially outperform state-of-the-art phase change memory devices.
Mathematicians ask: What's in a ripple?

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:34:02 EDT
When a fluid or a gas experiences a sudden disturbance, it often gives rise to a phenomenon known as an undular bore, which consists of a series of rapid oscillations that propagate and spread. But how to describe what transpires? New mathematics research brings us closer to finding an answer.
Is the Milky Way an 'outlier' galaxy? Studying its 'siblings' for clues

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:33:52 EDT
The most-studied galaxy in the universe -- the Milky Way -- might not be as 'typical' as previously thought, according to a new study. Early results from the Satellites Around Galactic Analogs (SAGA) Survey indicate that the Milky Way's satellites are much more tranquil than other systems of comparable luminosity and environment. Many satellites of those 'sibling' galaxies are actively pumping out new stars, but the Milky Way's satellites are mostly inert.
Real or fake? Creating fingers to protect identities

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:33:49 EDT
Biometric experts for the first time have designed and created a fake finger containing multiple key properties of human skin. Commonly called a spoof, this fake finger has been used to test two of the predominant types of fingerprint readers to help determine their resilience to spoof attacks.
Mathematical simulations shed new light on epilepsy surgery

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:43:43 EDT
Results from an unexpected quarter is could help neurologists to identify which brain region to remove to eliminate an epilepsy patient’s symptoms. Mathematicians have shown that it is sensible to examine the interconnections between different brain regions closely, instead of searching for abnormal regions only.
Naked molecules dancing in liquid become visible

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:42:02 EDT
Moving, vibrating and leaping molecules make up our world. However, capturing their movement is not an easy task. Scientists were able to see the movement of molecules stored inside a graphene pocket without the need to stain them. This study paves the way for observing the dynamics of life building blocks, like proteins and DNA, as well as the self-assembly of other materials.
Gravity waves influence weather and climate

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:00:43 EDT
Gravity waves form in the atmosphere as a result of destabilizing processes. The effects of gravity waves can only be taken into consideration by including additional special components in the models.
Risks vary widely in drone-human impacts

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:03:46 EDT
New research suggests there's wide variation in the risk that unmanned aircraft pose to people on the ground.
Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:03:40 EDT
Whispering gallery mode resonators rely on a phenomenon similar to an effect observed in circular galleries, and the same phenomenon applies to light. When light is stored in ring-shaped or spherical active resonators, the waves superimpose in such a way that it can result in laser light. Investigators now report a new type of dye-doped WGM micro-laser that produces light with tunable wavelengths.
Security cameras vulnerable to attacks using infrared light

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:02:28 EDT
Researchers have demonstrated that security cameras infected with malware can receive covert signals and leak sensitive information from the very same surveillance devices used to protect facilities.
Clear tactics, but few easy solutions, for hospitals combating ransomware

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:48:21 EDT
Hospitals facing the prospect of ransomware attacks like the one that afflicted British hospitals in May can take many concrete steps to better protect themselves, but some of the most important measures -- such as a national policy not to pay ransoms -- may be tougher to formulate.
Wikipedia used to give AI context clues

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:04:24 EDT
A team of computer scientists is teaching artificial intelligence agents how to interact with the world in a way that makes sense.
Political polarization? Don't blame the web

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:04:21 EDT
Despite the popular narrative that the web is to blame for rising political polarization, a study by economists has found that recent growth in polarization is greatest for demographic groups in which individuals are least likely to use the internet and social media. This means that data does not support the claim that the internet is the most significant driver of partisanship.
Mercury's poles may be icier than scientists thought

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:31:29 EDT
A new study identifies three large surface ice deposits near Mercury's north pole, and suggests there could be many additional small-scale deposits that would dramatically increase the planet's surface ice inventory.
Advanced lithium-ion and metal-air batteries

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:31:26 EDT
Engineers are developing energy storage technologies that are cheaper, safer and more efficient.
UK oil and gas reserves may last only a decade, study suggests

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:31:18 EDT
The UK has low oil and gas resources and limited prospects for fracking, according to a new analysis by scientists, who recommend a shift towards greater use of renewable, clean energy.
One-way track for microwaves based on mechanical interference

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:31:06 EDT
Researchers use interference in the motion of a micrometer-size drum to route microwave signals in a single direction.
Rogue wave analysis supports investigation of the El Faro sinking

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:12:42 EDT
A new analysis done to support the investigation into the 2015 sinking of the El Faro cargo ship has calculated the likelihood of a massive rogue wave during Hurricane Joaquin in October of that year – and demonstrated a new technique for evaluating the probability of rogue waves over space and time.
Fluorescence microscopy on a chip: no lenses required

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:11:24 EDT
Fluorescence microscopy gives researchers incredible power to illuminate the tiniest structures and capture the real-time activities of live cells by tagging biological molecules with a veritable rainbow of fluorescent dyes. This power comes at a cost: The technology can be expensive and time-consuming and, so far, has resisted attempts at automation. 
Nonlinear physics bridges thoughts to sounds in birdsong

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:05:22 EDT
The beautiful sound of birdsongs emerging from the trees is a wonderful example of how much nature can still teach us, even as much about their origins are still mysterious to us. About 40 percent of bird species learn to vocalize when they are exposed to a tutor, a behavior of interest to many neurologists and neurobiologists. The other 60 percent can vocalize instinctually in isolation. The variety across species, and the relationship between the nervous system and biomechanics makes birdsong production a complex process to unravel and understand.
Cost effective quantum moves a step closer

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:26:03 EDT
Researchers have taken an important step towards enabling quantum networks to be cost-effective and truly secure from attack. The experiments prove the viability of a measurement-device-independent quantum key distribution (QKD) system, based on readily available hardware.
A dream of foam: better concrete, beer froth and ice cream

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:25:41 EDT
Researchers have discovered a new method to design stable foams. Their findings could make beer froth and ice cream last longer -- and revolutionize construction materials such as concrete.
Novel strategy for chirality controlled synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:25:33 EDT
Researchers have developed a novel strategy for controlling chirality of single-walled carbon nanotubes.
Size matters in the detection of exoplanet atmospheres

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:26:27 EDT
A group-analysis of 30 exoplanets orbiting distant stars suggests that size, not mass, is a key factor in whether a planet’s atmosphere can be detected. The largest population-study of exoplanets to date successfully detected atmospheres around 16 ‘hot Jupiters’, and found that water vapor was present in every case.
What do we need to know to mine an asteroid?

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:26:12 EDT
The mining of resources contained in asteroids, for use as propellant, building materials or in life-support systems, has the potential to revolutionise exploration of our Solar System. To make this concept a reality, we need to increase our knowledge of the very diverse population of accessible Near Earth Asteroids (NEA).
Nanosat fleet proposed for voyage to 300 asteroids

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:26:10 EDT
A fleet of tiny spacecraft could visit over 300 asteroids in just over three years, according to a mission study. The Asteroid Touring Nanosat Fleet concept comprises 50 spacecraft propelled by innovative electric solar wind sails (E-sails) and equipped with instruments to take images and collect spectroscopic data on the composition of the asteroids. Each nanosat would visit six or seven asteroids before returning to Earth to deliver the data.
Molecular motors: Slowing the clockwork

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:26:06 EDT
Progress on the way to smart nanomachines: Chemists have modified the synthesis of a molecular motor so as to reduce the speed of its light-driven rotation, thus permitting the researchers to analyze the mechanism of motion in complete detail.
Nanocapsules enable cell-inspired metabolic reactions

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:24:54 EDT
Researchers have succeeded in developing capsules capable of producing the bio-molecule glucose-6-phosphate that plays an important role in metabolic processes. The researchers were able to produce the metabolite in conditions very similar to the biochemical reaction inside natural cells.
Supercontinuum lasers can lead to better bread and beer

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:10:32 EDT
Researchers have analyzed whole grains with long near-infrared wavelengths using a new type of light source, the supercontinuum laser. The research has significance for our knowledge of food ingredients and may, for example, eventually lead to better quality of bread and beer.
Graphene and other carbon nanomaterials can replace scarce metals

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:10:29 EDT
Scarce metals are found in a wide range of everyday objects around us. They are complicated to extract, difficult to recycle and so rare that several of them have become "conflict minerals" which can promote conflicts and oppression. New research shows that there are potential technology-based solutions that can replace many of the metals with carbon nanomaterials, such as graphene.
Solar wind impacts on giant 'space hurricanes' may affect satellite safety

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:10:24 EDT
Could the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Costa Rica set off a hurricane in California? For most people, this hypothetical scenario may be difficult to imagine on Earth -- particularly when a real disaster strikes. Yet, in space, similarly small fluctuations in the solar wind as it streams toward the Earth's magnetic shield actually can affect the speed and strength of 'space hurricanes,' a researcher explains.
One step closer to lifelike robots

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:10:00 EDT
Researchers have developed a 3-D-printable synthetic soft muscle that can lift 1,000 times its own weight. The muscle has intrinsic expansion ability and, unlike previous artificial muscles, it does not require an external compressor or high voltage equipment, signaling a breakthrough in the creation of soft robots that can move independently. The new material also has a strain density -- an ability to expand -- that is 15 times larger than natural muscle.
The sublime challenge of jet noise

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 23:22:47 EDT
A scientists is using ALCF resources to create high fidelity simulations of jet turbulence to determine how and where noise is produced. The results may lead to novel engineering designs that reduce noise over commercial flight paths and on aircraft carrier decks.
Optical, electrical bistability study sheds light on next-gen high speed data transfer

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 23:22:11 EDT
Today, electrical bistable devices are the foundation of digital electronics, serving as building blocks of switches, logic gates and memories in computer systems. However, the bandwidth of these electronic computers is limited by the signal delay of time constants important to electronic logic operations. In an attempt to mitigate these problems, scientists have considered the development of an optical digital computer, and one team has gone so far as to demonstrate the optical and electrical bistability for switching in a single transistor.
New mirror-coating technology promises dramatic improvements in telescopes

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 22:23:01 EDT
An electrical engineer has teamed up with astronomers to improve telescope mirrors using thin-film technology from the electronics industry. They are developing new protective coatings using an atomic layer deposition system large enough to accommodate telescope mirrors.
DNA triggers shape-shifting in hydrogels, opening a new way to make 'soft robots'

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 22:22:47 EDT
Biochemical engineers have used sequences of DNA molecules to induce shape-changing in water-based gels, demonstrating a new tactic to produce "soft" robots and "smart" medical devices that do not rely on cumbersome wires, batteries or tethers.
Fake news more likely to thrive online due to lowered fact-checking

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:34:31 EDT
Fake news is more likely to thrive online due to lowered fact-checking, according to new American research.
Blood tests: Sound waves separate biological nanoparticles for 'liquid biopsies'

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:34:22 EDT
A prototype device developed by an international team of engineers can sift exceedingly tiny particles called exosomes from blood samples without having to send samples off to a lab. The device, which combines acoustic cell-sorting and microfluidic technologies, could be a boon to both scientific research and medical applications.
Enzyme's worth to biofuels shown in recent research

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:34:01 EDT
A newly discovered enzyme proves adept at breaking down cellulose fibers regardless of whether their crystalline structure is simple or highly complex. No other enzyme has shown that ability.
New self-powered paper patch could help diabetics measure glucose during exercise

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:33:54 EDT
A new paper-based sensor patch developed by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York could allow diabetics to effectively measure glucose levels during exercise.
2-D Electronics' metal or semiconductor? Both

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:15:31 EDT
Researchers produced the first 2-D field-effect transistor (FET) made of a single material.
Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:17:13 EDT
Scientists have harnessed the power of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into fuels and alcohols at efficiencies far greater than plants. The achievement marks a significant advance in the effort to move toward sustainable sources of fuel.
Copper catalyst yields high efficiency CO2-to-fuels conversion

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:17:10 EDT
Scientists have developed a new electrocatalyst that can directly convert carbon dioxide into multicarbon fuels and alcohols using record-low inputs of energy. The work is the latest in a round of studies tackling the challenge of a creating a clean chemical manufacturing system that can put carbon dioxide to good use.
Coatings needed for concentrating solar power

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:17:07 EDT
Next-generation concentrating solar power (CSP) plants require high-temperature fluids, like molten salts, in the range of 550-750 degrees Celsius to store heat and generate electricity. At those high temperatures, however, the molten salts eat away at common alloys used in the heat exchangers, piping, and storage vessels of CSP systems. New research is aimed at mitigating corrosion levels in CSP plants with nickel-based coatings.
New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:36:03 EDT
Researchers have just shown the first new type of quantum oscillation to be reported for thirty years. It is the first of its kind to be present at high temperature and on the mesoscale and sheds light on the Hofstadter butterfly phenomenon.
Just squeeze in -- when spaces are tight, nature loosens its laws

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:35:49 EDT
It turns out that when they're in a hurry and space is limited, ions, like people, will find a way to cram in -- even if that means defying nature's norms. Researchers have now shown that the charged particles will actually forgo their 'opposites attract' behavior, called Coulombic ordering, when confined in the tiny pores of a nanomaterial.
Step towards better 'beyond lithium' batteries

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:35:44 EDT
A step towards new 'beyond lithium' rechargeable batteries with superior performance has been made.
Scalable process discovered to produce structural colors inspired by bird feathers

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:35:32 EDT
Researchers made nano-sized balls of melanin aggregate into clusters called supraballs. Melanin appears black in individual nanoparticles. But altering spacing of the nanoparticles in the ball affects how the particles scatter light. A thin silica coating on the outside of melanin nanoparticles acts like a bumper, limiting how close the particles can pack together. Varying the diameter of the melanin core and the thickness of the silica shell creates supraballs in a range of colors.
Physicists discover a tri-anion particle with colossal stability

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:35:26 EDT
Chemists have created the most stable tri-anion particle currently known to science. A tri-anion particle is a combination of atoms that contains three more electrons than protons. This discovery is novel because previously known tri-anion particles were unstable due to their numerical imbalance.
When radio galaxies collide, supermassive black holes form tightly bound pairs

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:35:23 EDT
Supermassive black holes found in the centers of galaxies can form gravitationally bound pairs when galaxies merge, according to a new study.
A new approach to ultrafast light pulses

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:35:21 EDT
A team of researchers has found a new way of producing high-speed pulses of light using two-dimensional molecular aggregates, which could enable new photonic devices such as optically based microchips.
More evidence of water on Mars

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:35:18 EDT
River deposits exist across the surface of Mars and record a surface environment from over 3.5 billion years ago that was able to support liquid water at the surface. A region of Mars named Aeolis Dorsa contains some of the most spectacular and densely packed river deposits seen on Mars.