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Science

World's most powerful X-ray laser recreates conditions at the center of a star

To say things are really heating up at the US Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory isn't just a bad pun, it's one hell (sorry) of an understatement. An Oxford-led team used the Stanford-based facility that houses the world's most powerful X-ray laser to create and probe a 2-million-degree Celsius (or about 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit) piece of matter. The experiment allowed the scientists the closest look yet at what conditions might be like in the heart of the Sun, other stars and planets.Read More

Medical

Silkworms may help repair damaged hearts

Although people do regularly recover from heart attacks, the heart itself never entirely “gets better.” This is because cardiac muscle tissue doesn’t regenerate – any that dies in the event of a heart attack will only be replaced with inactive scar tissue, and the heart’s performance will be permanently compromised as a result. Scientists have responded by trying to develop heart patches made of materials that act as nanoscale scaffolds, upon which new cardiomyocytes (heart cells) can grow. Materials used for these scaffolds have included fibrin, nanofiber, gold nanowires and polymer. Now, new research is suggesting that silkworm silk may be a better choice than any of those.Read More

Science

Is ultrasound the future of male contraception?

Using commercially-available ultrasound technology, scientists have successfully reduced sperm count in rats to a level that would cause infertility in men. Researchers managed to reduce motile sperm to 3 million per cauda epididymis (where sperm are stored), which equates to a Sperm Count Index of zero, measured two weeks after treatment. The research could re-open the door to the investigation of ultrasonic techniques as a practical human contraceptive.Read More

Science

Synthetic cell membrane marks another step towards creation of fully artificial life forms

The cell membrane is one of the most important characteristics of a cell because it separates the interior of all cells from the extracellular environment and controls the movement of substances in and out of the cell. In a move that brings mankind another step closer to being able to create artificial life forms from scratch, chemists from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and Harvard University have created artificial self-assembling cell membranes using a novel chemical reaction. The chemists hope their creation will help shed light on the origins of life. Read More

Science

Perfectly secure cloud computing possible thanks to quantum physics

As numerous companies continue their push to get us to entrust our data to the cloud, there are many still justifiably concerned about the security of cloud computing-based services. Now an international team of scientists have demonstrated that perfectly secure cloud computing is possible by combining the power of quantum computing with the security of quantum cryptography. They carried out what they claim is the first demonstration of “blind quantum computing,” in which a quantum computation was carried out with the input, computation, and output all remaining unknown to the computer, and therefore, also any eavesdroppers.Read More

Music

Chord Dice give songwriters a chance

We uncovered lots of fantastic technology-driven innovations at NAMM recently, but as we saw with PocketStrings, not all good ideas are built around transistors. Chord Dice is another example. This clever songwriting and teaching tool dispenses with chord charts and books and hangs musical theory on the roll of the dice.Read More

Marine

All hands on deck: Wally's new Ace yacht promises plenty of room to move

While it doesn't boast the same kind of square footage as the Wally Island or the WHY, Wally's new Ace displacement yacht will still provide plenty of room to stretch one's legs while cruising the ocean waves. With 1,378 square feet (128 m2) of outside deck space spread over two decks and a 441 square foot (41 m2) interior saloon area contributing to a total square footage of 3,035 (282 m2), Wally says the Ace has 30 percent more space than its nearest competitor of the same length. Read More

Outdoors

Keeping warm with recycled coffee beans

They clearly like a coffee over at Californian sports clothing company Virus. While its employees might order a mocha latte, the company is interested in the grinds. Virus' StayWarm line uses what it calls Coffee Char, or coffee charcoal in the construction of the fabric. The grounds are recycled and processed into a natural fiber to produce a comfortable base layer fabric that traps heat close to the skin.Read More

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