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Environment

Solar-powered air-con uses heat to cool shopping center

Solar-concentrating thermal technology is being used to power the air-conditioning system of an entire shopping center in Australia solely from the rays of the sun. With around 60 percent of all energy used in shopping centers being consumed by heating and cooling needs, the new system could lead the way to significant power and cost savings in a range of large commercial spaces.Read More

Space

Essential feature of life detected outside our solar system

A molecule that exhibits a specific property associated with all life on Earth has been discovered in interstellar space for the first time. Displaying the quality of chirality, or "handedness", this molecule has a distinct one-way molecular geometry found only in biological building blocks like amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. This discovery may help provide answers to the origins of homochirality, whereby all a substance's molecules are of the same chiral form, and why it appears so important for biology.Read More

Energy

A salty battery bath to combat EV range anxiety

The degradation of electrodes in lithium-based batteries has been a major inhibitor to their operating life, particularly when dendrites "growing" from these corroding electrodes short-circuit in the electrolyte. Australian researchers have found that pre-treating lithium electrodes in a special salt bath decreases the breakdown of the electrodes and boosts performance and battery life so markedly it could bring an end to range anxiety for drivers of electric vehicles.Read More

Energy

Cactus-inspired membrane boosts fuel cell performance

Here's something that you might not know about the humble cactus: it has tiny cracks in its skin, which open up at night when conditions tend to be more humid. This allows it to take up moisture. During the day, those cracks close up, keeping the moisture inside. Now, scientists have applied that same principle to a membrane which could make fuel cells a more viable option for powering vehicles.Read More

Environment

How infecting carp with herpes can help save dying river systems

When carp were first introduced into Australia in the mid-19th century, acclimatizing settlers hoped the freshwater fish would bring a taste of home to their food and recreational activity down under. Today, these pests are running riot across the country's waterways, seriously compromising the health of its rivers and native species. The Australian government is now moving to cut populations through the controlled release of carp-specific herpes virus, which it says is capable of killing individual fish off within 24 hours. Read More

Environment

Semiconductive fabric soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria and pollutants

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been catastrophic in many ways, but if there's any silver lining to the disaster it's the efforts to find better ways to better extract oil from water that emerged in the aftermath. The latest candidate to emerge in this area is a multipurpose fabric covered in tiny semi-conducting rods, affording it a unique set of properties that could see it used to deal with everything from water decontamination to wiping down your kitchen counter.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Barley-based beer goes gluten-free for the first time

While beer menus has become more accomodating for those with an intolerance to gluten, the options still involve some departure from the traditional recipe to avoid grains as the source of the starch. But Australian scientists have developed a type of gluten-free barley that has been used to produce the world's first barley-based gluten-free beer. The brew lands on the shelves of German supermarkets today.Read More

Medical

New molecule has stem cells primed for harvesting within the hour

Securing a match for a bone marrow transplant to treat a cancer patient can be difficult enough, but it is not all smooth sailing from that point either. Preparing a donor's stem cells for harvesting involves a lot of time and injections of growth factor to boost stem cell populations ahead of the procedure. But Australian scientists have now unearthed a more direct route, discovering a new molecule that entices an adequate number of stem cells out into the blood stream to make for a much easier, swifter collection.Read More

Medical

Bats' 24/7 immunity holds clues to tackling infectious disease

If bats were as susceptible to viruses like Ebola as humans are, then blindness would be the least of their worries. But despite serving as a natural host for more than 100 different viruses, these nocturnal mammals don't display any resulting signs of disease. Australian scientists are claiming to have now figured out why, in a revelation that potentially brings us a step closer to safeguarding the human population from Ebola and other deadly diseases.Read More

Space

Unknown galaxies discovered lurking behind the Milky Way

In recent radio telescope studies, many hundreds of previously undiscovered galaxies have been found to exist in an area in which an enormous magnetic abnormality known as the "Great Attractor" is located. The new research may help shed light on why our galaxy, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is being inextricably pulled in that direction.Read More

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