Sci-Tech

  • Maryland's science city development to be approved

    Montgomery County, Maryland will build a science city which official say could create a scientific research center that would rival North Carolina’s Research Triangle or Palo Alto, California; the number of jobs in the area west of Interstate 270 could triple to at least 60,000, many of them high-paying; the county council, heeding the concerns of people who live in neighboring communities, voted to reduce the size of the development from as much as 20 million square feet to a maximum of 17.5 million square feet

  • Researcher builds ultra-dense nanodot memory

    North Carolina State researcher develops a way to store binary data on dots 6 nm in size — possibly leading to a one-square-inch chip holding 2 TB of data; the nanodots are magnetic sensors integrated into a semiconductor and can be made as small as 6 nm in size using semiconductor manufacturing processes

  • Texas A&M scientist tracks origins of bootleg honey from China

    The United States has imposed a 500 percent tariff on honey from China two years ago because the Chinese government is subsidizing Chinese honey makers so they can drive U.S. producers out of the market; the practice has almost ruined the market for domestic U.S. honey; China is trying to get around the anti-dumping measure by putting labels such as “Product of Thailand” or “Product of Indonesia” on Chinese honey; a Texas A&M honey specialist stands in their way by doing melissopalynology — the study of pollen in honey

  • Gulf of Mexico oil reaches coast; White House calls spill event of "national significance"

    Gulf oil spill reaches Louisiana shore; cost of clean up is estimated at $8 billion; DHS secretary Napolitano declares the spill an event of “national significance,” opening the door for increased federal involvement; Louisiana declares state of emergency

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  • New Zealand, Chinese teams win 2010 VEX Robotics World Championship

    Major robotic competition for middle and high school aged students is a resounding success; more than 400 teams competed across four divisions for numerous trophies and awards; the tournament champions were an alliance of two New Zealand teams and one Chinese team

  • Hiding explosives in plain sight: Searchers thrown off by multiple targets

    Researchers find that one strategy a terrorist might adopt is to carry explosives on his body - and liquid jell in his luggage; screeners would likely spot the jell, ask the passenger-terrorist to discard it - and, subconsciously influenced by “satisfaction of search,” move on to screen the next passenger; the research suggests that security might be improved if the screeners worked in a space where they could not see how many travelers were waiting in line and therefore did not feel pressure to hurry with the searches

  • A first: Engineers build giant dome to contain Golf oil spill

    Engineers have began to construct a giant dome over a large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; the dome would capture or gather the oil and allow it to be pumped out of that dome structure; the dome would be similar to welded steel containment structures called cofferdams used in oil rig construction, but it would be an original design never fabricated or tested before

  • Coast guard my use controlled burn for Gulf oil spill

    A large oil spill from a rig in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening vital ecological areas along the Louisiana shore; DHS and the Coast Guard are considering a controlled burn of the menacing oil spill; controlled burns have been done and tested before

  • Pentagon looking for augmented cognition troop trainer

    Today’s troops need to be as cognitively ready as they are physically — if not more; they have also got to spend more time on the ground in urban settings, interacting with locals and canvassing for information; the Pentagon is looking for an immersive troop trainer, one that includes voice-recognition technology, and picks up on vocal tone and facial gestures

  • Software helps World Cup emergency planning

    The organizers of this summer’s World Cup are using a simulation software developed by researchers at the University of Salford which allows emergency personnel and hospital better prepare for different emergencies

  • Report claiming 600,000 Iraqi civilians died in the second Gulf War based on fabrication and falsification

    The 2006 Lancet survey, written by Dr. Gilbert Burnham of Johns Hopkins, claimed 654,965 Iraqi deaths related to the war, or 2.5 percent of the Iraqi population; scientists examining the survey found many flaws in it, and professional bodies censured Burnham for unethical and misleading methodology; John Hopkins University suspended Burnham for five years from being a principal investigator on human subject research; new paper offers evidence that Burnham engaged in data fabrication and falsification in nine broad categories

  • Indonesia to tap volcano power

    Indonesia is a country of 17,000 islands; the archipelago contains 265 volcanoes, estimated to hold around 40 percent of the world’s geothermal energy potential; investors, the World Bank, and the Indonesian government embark on an ambitious plan to add 4,000 megawatts of geothermal capacity — up from the existing 1,189 megawatts — by 2014, and 9,500 megawatts by 2025, by tapping the volcanoes

  • Drivers can now guide a car using their eyes, not hands

    German researchers develop a system which allows drivers to steer their cars using only their eyes: the wheel is turned in the direction the driver is looking; if the driver is distracted, the car begin to drive autonomously; and this, too: drivers may opt to use an iPhone application which lets them to control the car remotely

  • Scent of a man: Odor-killing machine for hunters may aid terrorists

    A Texas-based company has developed a device for hunters which eliminates human odor, thus allowing hunters to get much closer to their prey unnoticed; trouble is, the same device may be used by terrorists to destroy the odor of explosives, thus allowing them to evade bomb-sniffing dogs at airports

  • Laser decontamination for post-chemical attacks, accident clean-up

    Many building materials — like cement and brick — are extremely porous; getting contaminants off surfaces like these is difficult, since they can inhabit cracks and pores; cleaning up chemical-contaminated structures can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming; what if terrorists attacked an urban center with chemicals? Researchers say the answer is to use laser to decontaminate an area after a terrorist attack or an industrial accident