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Wei-Fu Chen examines the atomic structure of the platinum alternative electrocatalyst

Harnessing the power of hydrogen gas presents one of the most promising options available for obtaining a large-scale sustainable energy solution. However, there are numerous and significant challenges present in the production of pure hydrogen, one of the most prominent of which is the high costs associated with the use of rare and expensive chemical elements such as platinum. Accordingly, the team at the Brookhaven National Laboratory set out to create a catalyst with high activity and low costs, that could facilitate the production of hydrogen as a high-density, clean energy source.  Read More

A sample of the man-made mother of pearl (top), compared to the real thing (Image: Nature)...

Mother of pearl, also known as nacre, is the hard iridescent coating found on the outside of pearls, and the inside of certain mollusc’s shells. Besides being a nice-looking material used for jewelry and other types of ornamentation, it’s also remarkably strong. Now, scientists from the University of Cambridge have discovered how to make the stuff themselves.  Read More

Findings at MIT suggest that Titan's geological phenomena may bear remarkably close simila...

After revealing the strong possibility of an underground liquid water ocean on Titan, further analysis of radar data collected by a flyby of the Huygens/Cassini spacecraft is now suggesting that, despite a dramatically different composition, Saturn's largest moon may share many of Earth's geological processes. By studying those features, exogeologists are beginning to answer some pressing questions on the forces that shaped Titan's geological past.  Read More

Researchers have discovered that the chemical AAQ temporarily restores some sight in blind...

Researchers have discovered a chemical that makes cells in the retinas of blind mice sensitive to light, temporarily restoring some vision. They are working on an improved compound that they hope could one day be used to restore sight in human patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, the most common form of inherited blindness, and macular degeneration, the most common cause of acquired blindness in the developed world.  Read More

A Duke University study has revealed that wearing stroboscopic eyewear during physical act...

A study at North Carolina's Duke University has revealed that Stroboscopic training, the performance of physical activity while using eyewear that simulates a strobe-like experience, improves visual short-term memory for up to 24 hours. Participants in the study were taken from the 2010-2011 Duke University men's and women's varsity soccer teams, Duke's 2010-2011 men's basketball team and members of the general Duke community. They were required to engage in physical activities such as playing catch while wearing either the specialized stroboscopic eyewear, designed specifically to limit vision to brief snapshots, or standard clear eyewear that provided uninterrupted vision.  Read More

The entire Mycoplasma genitalium bacterium has been replicated as a computer model

For the first time ever, a computer model of a complete living organism has been created. True, it’s a single-celled organism – in fact, it’s the world’s smallest free-living bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium. Still, all of its systems and the relationships between them have been replicated in silico, allowing scientists to conduct research that might otherwise have proved impossible. It also paves the way for computer modeling of more complex organisms, such as humans.  Read More

Researchers have created an artificial jellyfish (right) dubbed 'Medusoid' using rat heart...

Having roamed the seas for at least 500 million years and holding the title of the oldest multi-organ animal on the planet, jellyfish have certainly stood the test of time. So it’s probably not surprising to see various research groups looking to the gelatinous, umbrella-shaped animals for inspiration in a number of areas, including the development of ocean-going robots. Now researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) looking to gain a better understanding of how biological pumps such as the heart work, have created an artificial jellyfish from rat heart muscle and silicon.  Read More

A prototype tire, made by Apollo Vredestein with rubber derived from Russian dandelion and...

A new generation of environmentally-friendly tires has been launched in Europe. Dutch tire company Apollo Vredestein has produced prototypes of tires manufactured using natural rubber made from guayule and Russian dandelion, the latter also the subject of research being carried out by Bridgestone. The prototypes will now move on to an intensive testing phase before they get to the production phase. The hope is to create an alternative to Asia's rubber monopoly, where the world’s main source of latex, Hevea brasiliensis, mostly comes from.  Read More

A sapphire disk etched in platinum could preserve information for future generations to de...

Storing data for longer than a few years is tricky enough with rapidly advancing technology, so what are you supposed to do if you need to store data for thousands or even millions of years? That's just the problem facing nuclear waste management companies, who need a way to warn future civilizations of hazardous sites that will withstand the test of time. Luckily a recent proposal may have the solution with a sapphire disk etched in platinum that could survive longer than humanity itself.  Read More

A plastic garden furniture armrest without (left) and with (right) a self-cleaning photoca...

For many people, the onset of warmer weather can mean pulling out the ol' scrubbing brush and getting to work on the slimy film of moss, algae, fungi and bacteria that has built up on the garden furniture over the colder months. But we may soon be able to say goodbye to this tiresome chore thanks to researchers at Fraunhofer who are developing coatings that would be activated by the sun’s rays to destroy organic substances attaching themselves to various surfaces.  Read More

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