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Scientists announce breakthrough in quest for fusion power

By - February 13, 2014 2 Pictures
In a perfect example of beating swords into plowshares, a team of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California reached a milestone in the quest for practical fusion power using a process designed for the development and testing of nuclear weapons. The announcement in the February 12 issue of Nature claims that the team used the world’s most powerful laser barrage to produce a controlled fusion reaction where more energy was extracted from the fuel than was put into it. Read More
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Your next fridge could keep cold more efficiently using magnets

By - February 13, 2014 3 Pictures
The fridge is the most common of common household appliances. Despite improvements in efficiency over the years, they remain one of the biggest users of electricity in the home, relying on chemical refrigerant and a compressor to transfer heat from the inside to the outside of the fridge. GE researchers have now developed a new type of refrigeration technology using magnets that is more environmentally friendly and is predicted to be 20 to 30 percent more efficient that current technology ... and it could be in household fridges by the end of the decade. Read More
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Researchers convert plastic bags into a variety of petroleum products

By - February 12, 2014 3 Pictures
Despite efforts to limit their use through implementation of charges or bans, billions of plastic bags continue to clog landfills, waterways and the world's oceans every year. Already a potential source for carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes, researchers have provided another reason not to throw the ubiquitous bags away by converting them into a range of petroleum products. Read More
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Concordia – science at the edge of the world

By - February 7, 2014 7 Pictures
The Concordia Research Station, a joint interest between the French IPEV polar institute and the Italian PNRA Antarctic program, is by all accounts one of the most isolated and inhospitable locations available to humanity, requiring more time to reach than it takes to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency (ESA) takes advantage of the facility's unique location and conditions, conducting extensive research into the implications of long-term space flight on the human body. Read on as we take a look at the conditions at the station, and the importance of the research being carried out there. Read More

Scientists create an inexpensive self-healing polymer

Stretchy, self-healing paints and other coatings recently took a step closer to common use, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Illinois. Scientists there have used "off-the-shelf" components to create a polymer that melds back together after being cut in half, without the addition of catalysts or other chemicals. Read More
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Lithium batteries could soon be safer, thanks to a material inspired by gum

By - February 5, 2014 1 Picture
Although high-capacity lithium batteries make many of today's mobile electronics possible, they do have one flaw – they occasionally catch fire. This can happen when they overheat, and their liquid acid electrolyte ignites and leaks out. Now, however, scientists at Washington State University have created a gummy electrolyte material that could make such fires a thing of the past. Read More

Electronic tongue gets a taste for beer

When we first covered the electronic tongue developed by a team led by Professor Manel Del Valle at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, it was enjoying a glass or two of cava wine. Now the researchers have turned to beer, and report that their electronic tongue can correctly identify different beer varieties with a success rate of almost 82 percent. Read More

Hey, that smells like Frank – body odor ID is on its way

Move over, fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition, because a new form of biometric identification may soon be joining you – body odor. According to scientists at Spain's Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, peoples' unique scent signatures remain steady enough over time to allow for an ID accuracy rate of approximately 85 percent. Read More
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Cod inspire potentially life-saving cold storage tech for human blood

By - February 4, 2014 1 Picture
How is it possible that cold-blooded fish such as cod can live in Arctic waters without just freezing solid? As it turns out, they've got proteins in their bloodstream that act as a sort of antifreeze. British scientists have now copied the fashion in which those proteins work, to create a process by which donated human blood could be frozen for storage, then quickly made available for transfusion. Read More
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