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The new polymer film developed at MIT  that generates power from water vapor (Image: Ning ...

A team of researchers at MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research has developed a new polymer film that generates power from water vapor. Consisting of two polymer films, the material makes remarkably acrobatic somersaults in the presence of even tiny traces of evaporated water, opening the way for new types of artificial muscles for controlling robotic limbs or powering micro and nanoscopic devices.  Read More

Black holes blaze magenta in this NuStar photo of spiral galaxy IC342 (Photo: NASA)

Black holes, which abound in the Universe, convert matter into geometry – the larger the amount of matter that disappears through the event horizon, the larger they grow, with the only external sign of their presence being the warping of space due to their gravity. In the process, a great deal of extremely hot gas is generated, and that gas emits hard x-rays. Now NASA's NuSTAR space telescope can find black holes by forming high-resolution images of the cosmos in hard x-rays.  Read More

Two strands of the new CNT fiber support and supply current to an LED bulb

At about 100 times the strength of steel at one sixth the weight and with impressive electrical conductive properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have promised much since their discovery in 1991. The problem has been translating their impressive nanoscale properties into real-world applications on the macro scale. Researchers have now unveiled a new CNT fiber that conducts heat and electricity like a metal wire, is very strong like carbon fiber, and is flexible like a textile thread.  Read More

A recent analysis of the data gathered from the Kepler telescope has revealed that Earth-s...

The latest analysis of data coming from NASA's Kepler telescope has revealed that nearly all the Sun-like stars in our galaxy appear to have planets orbiting them, and that at least 17 percent of them – about one in six – are hosting a planet the size of our own in close orbit. Because the Milky Way is estimated to contain some 100 billion stars, this means that our galaxy alone could have at least 17 billion Earth-sized planets, some of which may harbor the conditions for life.  Read More

Researchers have found an inexpensive and efficient catalyst that can produce hydrogen for...

Hydrogen has been hailed as the fuel of the future, but producing it cleanly using platinum as a catalyst is simply too costly to service the world's energy needs. On the flipside, producing hydrogen with fossil fuels not only releases CO2 as a byproduct, but is unsustainable, negating hydrogen's green potential. However, hydrogen may yet make good on its promise thanks to a group of scientists at the University of Cambridge.  Read More

Simulation of the clotting process, showing the platelets in gold and the Willebrand facto...

Blood clots are one way in which the body heals itself after injuries on even the tiniest level. The process is fast, reliable and goes on every minute of the day without our being aware of it. Now, a team led by MIT assistant professor of materials science and engineering Alfredo Alexander-Katz is studying blood clots as a new model for producing self-healing materials.  Read More

The Big Internet Museum finishes up with Gangnam Style – currently anyway

The internet only became commercialized in 1995, but its genesis goes back to the late 1960s, more precisely October 29, 1969. That was the date when Robert William Tayor, a former NASA researcher working for the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), launched the ARPAnet operational network, which is recognized as the precursor to what became the internet. ARPAnet provides the starting point for visitors to the recently launched The Big Internet Museum, a virtual venue for all things great and downright silly about the internet.  Read More

The compact radiation source developed by Kovaleski's team at the University of Missouri (...

While we’ve seen developments that could see T-ray spectrometers featuring in a future handheld tricorder-like device, good ol’ X-rays could also get a guernsey thanks to an engineering team from the University of Missouri. The team has invented an accelerator about the size of a stick of gum that can create X-rays and other forms of radiation, opening up the possibility of cheap and portable X-ray scanners.  Read More

A Photuris firefly, which was the focus of the research (Photo: Optics Express)

Fireflies ... they’ve allowed us to image the bloodstream and they’ve inspired the creation of a light that could run on waste. Now, they’ve helped an international team of scientists get over 50 percent more light out of existing LED bulbs. The secret lies in the insects’ scales.  Read More

Artist's rendering of the International Prototype Kilogram (Image: Greg L)

According to researchers at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, the kilogram is very likely getting heavier. How can this be? Mainly because we’re talking about the definitive kilogram, the International Prototype Kilogram (IPK) kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris. But because this is the kilo against which all kilos are defined, in a theoretical sense at least, all kilograms will technically be heavier too.  Read More

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