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The same structure that gives seashells their strength has been replicated in glass  (Phot...

In the future, if you drop a glass on the floor and it doesn't break, thank a mollusk. Inspired by shellfish, scientists at Montreal's McGill University have devised a new process that drastically increases the toughness of glass. When dropped, items made using the technology would be more likely to deform than to shatter.  Read More

In the game EteRNA, players are asked to solve puzzles that predict how RNA will fold once...

Results from the crowdsourced game and experiment, EteRNA, which combines RNA folding puzzles with laboratory synthesis, show that human gamers are able to develop better models of RNA folding than previous computer algorithms. Design rules formulated by the online community have even been used to construct a new algorithm, EteRNABot, and in some cases represent completely new understandings about RNA folding that have yet to be explained mechanically.  Read More

Holographic spots and a hologram illuminated from the center (Photo: Ali Yetisen)

A team of interdisciplinary researchers have created "smart" holograms that can monitor health conditions or diagnose diseases, by changing color in the presence of disease indicators in a person's breath or bodily fluids. When developed into a portable medical test, these responsive holograms could make testing for medical conditions and monitoring one's health very easy, the scientists claim.  Read More

The spherical middle chamber of DarkSide-50 is filled with 7,000 gal of scintillator fluid

Like the Higgs Boson, dark matter is one of those things in the Universe that evidence points to, but is very difficult to pin down. A team of researchers is looking to verify the existence of this most elusive of ingredients that is thought to make up 23 percent of the Universe using powerful detectors buried deep in an Italian mountain.  Read More

The blue cloud of strontium at the heart of the world's most precise and stable clock (Pho...

Not satisfied with the accuracy of the "quantum logic clock" (which only gains or loses one second every 3.7 billion years), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and JILA have unveiled an even more precise timekeeper. The strontium lattice clock sets new standards for precision and stability, only gaining or losing one second about every five billion years.  Read More

The good ol' red, white and blue – turkeys show off their color-changing skin (Photo: Shut...

Turkeys may not be everyone's idea of beautiful birds, but they certainly have colorful skin on their heads. What's more, that skin changes color with the animal's mood. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have now copied the process by which those color changes occur, and used it to create a biosensor that could be used to detect airborne toxins.  Read More

Ball lightning appears at the impact point of a lightning strike, and its emission spectru...

A scientific team in China fortuitously recorded the first optical spectrum of an example of ball lightning. The ball lightning, which was accompanied by a cloud to ground lightning strike, appears to have consisted at least partially of vaporized soil from the location of the strike. While ball lightning may result from a variety of sources, this observation provides considerable evidence that the vaporized silicon explanation is valid, although possibly not unique.  Read More

The batteries, actually mini fuel cells, could be refilled with sugar as needed (Photo: Sh...

Even today's best rechargeable lithium batteries do lose their ability to hold a charge after a while, and are considered toxic waste once discarded. In just a few years, however, they may be replaced by batteries that are refillable and biodegradable, and that will also have a higher energy density yet a lower price ... and they'll run on sugar.  Read More

A closeup of the tiny thermal PV system, in which a carbon nanotube layer absorbs solar en...

It’s not a new idea to improve upon traditional solar cells by first converting light into heat, then reemitting the energy at specific wavelengths optimally tuned to the requirements of the solar cell, but this method has suffered from low efficiencies. However, new research at MIT using nanoscale materials finally shows how thermophotovoltaics could become competitive with their traditional cousins, and grant benefits such as storing solar energy in the form of heat to postpone conversion into electricity.  Read More

A sample of NaCl3, which was considered 'forbidden' in classical chemistry (Photo: Alexand...

In the field of exotic new materials, we've examined one of the strongest ones and another declared to be impossible; scientists now report creating "forbidden" materials, out of ordinary table salt, that violate classical rules of chemistry. Not only does the development challenge the theoretical foundation of known chemistry, but it is also expected to lead to the discovery of new exotic chemical compounds with practical uses and shed light on the composition of early planetary cores.  Read More

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