November 30, 2012

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First Electron Microscope Image of DNA Double Helix

Left: A tightrope of DNA between two silicon nanopillars (Image: Enzo di Fabrizio) Right: X -ray diffraction image of DNA looks like

The structure of DNA was originally discovered by using X-ray crystallography, which involves scattering X-rays off atoms in crystallized arrays of DNA to form complex patterns of dots on photographic film. Images were then interpreted using complex mathematics. These new images are now direct pictures of DNA strands, seen through an electron microscope, which sees […]

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November 30, 2012

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Presence of Ice on Mercury Confirmed by MESSENGER Probe

polar-craters-mercury

While the surface of Mercury is hot enough in some places to melt lead, the MESSENGER probe confirmed that there are about a trillion tonnes of water ice trapped inside craters. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science (1, 2, 3) in three papers. The ice, which was long suspected, seems to be […]

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November 29, 2012

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New Observation of Dark Matter in Abell 520

dark matter in the core of the merging galaxy cluster Abell 520

A newly published study from astronomers at Ohio University shows that the core of Abell 520 does not appear to be over-dense in dark matter as previously stated in an earlier study. Athens, Ohio — Astronomers were puzzled earlier this year when NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spotted an overabundance of dark matter in the heart […]

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November 29, 2012

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Smoking Rots the Brain & Lowers Cognitive Performance

cigarette-smoking

A new study from researchers at King’s College in London indicates that smoking rots the brain by damaging memory, learning, and reasoning. The scientists published their findings in the journal Age and Ageing. The study included 8,800 people over the age of 50, and showed that high blood pressure as well as being overweight seemed […]

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November 29, 2012

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Installed Price of PV Systems Continues to Decline

Installed Price of Solar Photovoltaic Systems Continues to Decline

According to the latest annual PV cost-tracking report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the median installed price of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic power systems continues to fall. Berkeley, California — The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of […]

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November 29, 2012

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Cancer-Causing Flame Retardants Remain in Homes Years After Being Banned

old-california-sofa

Flame retardant chemicals, which are designed to slow household fires from burning through homes, have been found in worrisome quantities in US homes, long after some of these were banned because of suspected links to cancer and other conditions. The scientists published their findings in the journal Environmental Science and Technology (1, 2) in two […]

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November 29, 2012

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New Nuclear Engine Will Allow Deep Space Exploration

duff-spaceship-stirling-engine

Researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory have tested a small prototype of a nuclear-reactor engine design, which could power deep space exploration probes. The design is based on a Stirling engine, developed in the 19th century that uses hot pressurized gas to push a piston. It would use a fifty […]

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November 29, 2012

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Prolific Changes in the Human Genome in the Past 5,000 Years

human-chromosomes

Human populations have grown exponentially in the past 5,000 years, and new genetic mutations arise in each new generation. Humans have a vast abundance of rare genetic variants in the protein-encoding sections of the genome. A new study tries to clarify when many of these rare variants arose. The scientists published their findings in the […]

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November 29, 2012

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Hubble and VLA View Elliptical Galaxy Hercules A

super massive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy Hercules A

The Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Array radio telescope combine to create this image of elliptical galaxy Hercules A, also known as 3C 348, and its optically invisible jets that are one-and-a-half million light-years wide. Spectacular jets powered by the gravitational energy of a super massive black hole in the core of the […]

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November 29, 2012

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Atomic Gas Superfluid Might Help Model the Early Cosmos

novel-superfluid

Quantum physicists have shown that superfluid gases can conduct without experiencing any resistance, possibly paving a way to help model the early Universe in the lab. The scientists published their findings in the journal Nature. Atoms within superfluids do not experience resistance since they exploit quantum effects to band together. This allows them to perform […]

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November 28, 2012

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Massive Black Hole is 17 Billion Times Our Sun’s Mass

17-billion-solar-mass black hole in the heart of galaxy NGC 1277

A massive black hole, measuring 17 billion times our sun’s mass and more than 11 times as wide as Neptune’s orbit around the sun, could change theories about how black holes and galaxies form and evolve. Fort Davis, Texas — Astronomers have used the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory […]

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November 28, 2012

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Commercial Network of Microsatellites Aims to Help Weather Prediction

cosmic-satellites

Most orbiting satellites point down towards Earth, but the satellites of the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology look sideways. Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) look towards the curving horizon in order to track the dozens of satellites that are part of the Global Positioning System. By tracking their radio signals, COSMIC is providing atmospheric data that […]

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November 28, 2012

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Nanotube-Based Fabric to Repel Chemical and Biological Agents

Military Fabric to Repel Chemical and Biological Agents

Scientists are working to develop a nanotube-based fabric that repels chemical and biological agents, switching reversibly from a highly breathable state to a protective one in response to the presence of the environmental threat without the need for an external control system. Amherst, Massachusetts – Military uniforms of the future may offer a new layer […]

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November 28, 2012

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Washington State Launches New Plan to Combat Ocean Acidification

clam-season-closed

The state of Washington, the leading US producer of farmed shellfish, announced that it is launching a 42-step plan to reduce ocean acidification. The initiative made by a governor-appointed panel of scientists, policy-makers and shellfish industry representatives. It’s the first US-state-funded effort to tackle ocean acidification. The governor states that she will allocate $3.3 million […]

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November 28, 2012

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Graphite Experiment Shines New Light on Laser-Driven Nuclear Fusion and Astrophysics

Graphite Experiment Shines New Light on Laser-Driven Nuclear Fusion and Astrophysics

A newly published study, which examines how energy is shared between the different species of matter and how it is transferred from strongly heated electrons to the heavy ionic cores of atoms that have been left cool, shines new light on giant planets, white dwarfs & laser-driven fusion. An international team led by researchers from […]

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