Sci-Tech

  • Today's IT security professionals are expected to offer more than a school certificate

    Demand for IT security specialists in both the private sector and government grows steadily; IT security is the No. 1 growth industry in the government and government contractor sectors; employers, however, no longer see IT security certification as a sufficient qualification, and are looking for a broader set of skills

  • BP oil leak "much bigger" than official estimates'

    BP first asserted that the amount of oil its well releases into the Gulf is about 1,000 barrels daily; following the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency’s (NOAA) initial estimates, that figure has been increased to 5,000 barrels; ocean scientists and engineers now say that amount of oil released daily is more likely to be between five times and 14 times that — about 25,000 to 80,000 barrels a day

  • Scientists discover huge oil plumes deep in Gulf of Mexico; worry for marine life

    The news from the Gulf get worse: Scientists discover giant plumes of oil in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico; one of the plumes was ten miles long, three miles wide, and 300 feet thick; the plumes are depleting the oxygen in the Gulf, prompting fears that the process could eventually kill much of the sea life near the plumes

  • Cigarette butts may be used to prevent corrosion of oil pipes

    Cigarettes butts are so toxic, they kill fish; still, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year; Chinese scientists find that chemical extracts from cigarette butts be used to protect steel pipes from rusting; rust prevention and treatment cost the oil industry millions of dollars annually

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  • Wisconsin researcher punished for unauthorized research on bioterror agent

    A university of Wisconsin researchers conducted unauthorized research on bioterror agent; the researcher developed antibiotic-resistant variants of brucellosis and tested them on mice; the University of Wisconsin was fined $40,000 by the National Institutes of Health, and the professor was ordered to stay out of a lab for five years

  • Tiny sensors embedded in cell phones identify, map airborne toxins in real time

    Cell phones are everywhere people are, so University of California-San Diego’s researchers want to turn the devices into chemical sensors; the tiny sensor, a porous flake of silicon, changes color when it interacts with specific chemicals. By manipulating the shape of the pores, the researchers can tune individual spots on the silicon flake to respond to specific chemical traits

  • New detection technology identifies bacteria, viruses, other organisms within 24 hours

    In the area of biodefense, current systems are centered on the detection of smaller prioritized sets of high-risk pathogens, rather than testing for a much broader spectrum of organisms; a new detection method from Lawrence Livermore allows not only the identification of the biological pathogens on a priority screening list, but also any other already-sequenced bacteria or virus in a sample that first responders, doctors, or regulatory agencies might not have been expecting to find, including possible novel or emerging pathogens

  • Engineers to enhance crane-mounted cargo scanning system

    VeriTainer, a venture-backed specialist in crane-based radiation detection technology for scanning shipping containers, enters into a three-and-a-half years, $4 million n R&D agreement with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to enhance the gamma and neutron detection sensitivity of the company’s radiation scanners

  • Cobham develops more accurate, cost-effective landmine detector

    The Red Cross estimates that 60-100 million mines are in place in 62 countries, causing 800 deaths each month; clearing mines is an expensive proposition, averaging £1m/km2; much of this cost is owed to high number of false alarms from metal detectors; British company develops a dual-sensor mine detector that enables nearly 33 percent more land to be cleared within existing budgets

  • New method to develop latent fingerprints

    Most of the techniques currently used for developing fingerprints rely on the chemistry of the print, but as prints dry or age, the common techniques used to develop latent fingerprints, such as dusting or cyanoacrylate — SuperGlue — fuming often fail; Penn State professor says that using the physical properties of the fingerprint, not the chemistry of the substances left behind, would solve these problems

  • BP tries new, smaller capping device to plug Gulf gusher

    BP is lowering a new device — the top-hat cofferdam — in an effort to plug the oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico; the top-hat is a 5-foot-tall, 4-foot-diameter structure and it weighs less than two tons; BP built the smaller dome after a much larger, four-story containment vessel, designed to cap the larger of two leaks in the well, developed glitches Saturday

  • Sensors emulate insects' acoustic capabilities

    Researchers build sensors emulating the way a mosquito senses an oncoming predator or the swat of a human hand; these sensors have the potential to improve the industrial use of acoustic sensors and actuators, from medical ultrasound imaging, non-destructive testing of materials, and even robot guidance

  • New forensic tool advances data recovery

    Data recovery for images will be applied to other file types; new text tool will make it possible to recover more data from corrupted hard drives; the text tool will examine fragmented chunks of files that may be distributed across a disk and analyze their content to see which ones likely go together

  • Drive-by sniffing out of homemade bomb factories

    Terrorists may not be safe for long — stealthily developing home-made explosives in their bath tubs; Swedish researchers are working on developing an explosive detection systems to be mounted atop police vehicles; the system would effectively monitor urban areas for possible bomb-making activities while on normal patrol; the system’s sensors would detect elevated levels of suspicious substances and then use integrated GPS technology to record the time and location the molecules are being emitted from

  • Corps looking at water diversions to protect Louisiana coast

    The recent, 1,000-year Ohio River Valley rain event that is causing so much flooding in Tennessee and Kentucky is expected to make its way into the New Orleans area by 18 May doubling the current Mississippi River flow to 1 million cfs; The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has an idea: diverting the excess water to push water out of sensitive wetland areas and keep away oil that has been drawing near shore since the 20 April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig