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— Space

Herschel images present a stunning insight into the distribution of matter in our galaxy

Three stunning new images from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory are providing new insights into how matter is distributed in our galaxy. Observations made by the orbital telescope have led astronomers to conclude that our galaxy is threaded with filamentary structures similar to those featured in the newly-released images, the smallest of which stretches across 170 light years of space.

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— Military

New catalyst material quickly neutralizes nerve gas

While the Iran-Iraq war of 1981-1988 saw the only large-scale use of chemical weapons since WWII, in a world beset by rogue states, civil wars, and terrorism, protecting against nerve agents and disposing of them remains a major problem. One bright spot is a team from Northwestern University, which has developed a new material capable of neutralizing nerve gases. The zirconium-based Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) called NU-1000 is not only useful for disposing of stockpiles of such toxins, but also for use in gas masks and protective suits for soldiers and rescue workers. Read More
— Space

Researchers theorize two mechanisms that prevent prolific star creation in galaxy clusters

For a long time, scientists have been searching for an answer as to how galaxy clusters regulate the number of stars they create. Given that the amount of interstellar gas used to create the stellar giants exists in such abundance, this theoretically allows for the creation of many times the current number of stars. A team of researchers from MIT, Columbia University and Michigan State University believe they have found the answer. Read More
— Around The Home

Sense+ turns a smartphone dock into a potential life-saver

While most smartphone docks focus on bringing da noise to add some life to a party, the Sense+ Docking Station is designed to be a potential life-saver. The portable device packs built-in smoke and gas detection sensors to sound an alert in the event of fire. The Sense+ also works in conjunction with an accompanying app that automatically calls friends and family if the user doesn’t respond. Read More
— Science

Shale gas and atmospheric CO2: help or hindrance?

Since peaking in 2005, US domestic energy CO2 emissions have fallen by 8.6 percent. A new report asserts that up to half of this reduction may be down to "energy switching," as generators switch from coal to shale gas (partly on cost grounds), which emits about half the CO2 when burned. Yet the same report, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, questions the wisdom of touting shale gas as a low-carbon technology, with its authors actually asserting that "the exploitation of shale gas reserves is likely to increase total emissions." How so? Read More
— Science

“Hydrate-phobic” surface coatings to keep oil and gas pipes flowing

As the world’s appetite for oil and gas continues to increase while access to easily accessible reserves decreases, deep-sea oil and gas wells are being positioned in ever-deeper waters. The dangers and difficulties faced in such operations were highlighted in 2010 with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While placing a containment dome over a leak and piping the oil to a surface storage vessel had worked on leaks in shallower water, the attempt to do the same on the Deepwater Horizon’s largest leak failed when the formation of methane hydrate crystals blocked the opening at the top of the dome. Now researchers at MIT have developed surface coatings that can inhibit the buildup of these methane hydrates and keep the gas and oil flowing. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Morphix Chameleon - wrist worn chemical detection for first responders

When it comes to toxic gases, what you can’t see can most definitely hurt you. To improve the safety of military personnel, firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel who are often called into situations where they may be exposed to toxic gases, Morphix Technologies has developed the Chameleon chemical detection device. Designed to be worn on the forearm, the device can hold up to ten disposable cassettes, each of which detects a different toxic gas. Read More