• Cleaning toxins from the oilsands

    Oilsands development uses a vast amount of water and even though it’s recycled multiple times, the recycling concentrates the toxins and metals leftover from extracting and upgrading the bitumen, resulting in controversial tailings ponds that are a significant risk to the environment; scientists offer a way to make oilsands exploitation cleaner

  • Flying robots imitate honey bees in complex maneuvers

    Scientists have developed a novel autopilot that guides aircraft through complex aerobatic maneuvers by watching the horizon as a honey bee does

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  • Lawmakers make steep cuts to DHS research budget

    Over the weekend the Senate approved an omnibus spending bill that would result in deep cuts to DHS’ research and development arm

  • Creating drought-tolerance in crops

    Researchers’ discovery creates new blueprint for engineering drought tolerant crops; the researchers found a way to rewire this cellular machinery to heighten the plants’ stress response — a finding that can be used to engineer crops to give them a better shot at surviving and displaying increased yield under drought conditions

  • Measuring the effect of fire on materials

    Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are developing an infrared measuring method to analyze the thermal properties and resistance to fire of composite materials; this advance would have applications in areas where fire safety requires that the composite materials withstand high temperatures

  • Scrub carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere too expensive

    While it is possible chemically to scrub carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere in order to lessen the severity of global warming, the process is prohibitively expensive for now; best to focus on controls for coal-burning power plants, say researchers

  • Improving pothole repairs

    The alarming increase in the number of road potholes in the United Kingdom — an outcome of reduced road maintenance, increasing traffic volumes, heavier loads, and repeated adverse weather — is creating potentially hazardous driving conditions, causing serious concerns to the authorities as well as to the public; engineers are looking foe ways to improve pothole repairs

  • “Smart Connector” to detect, pinpoint damage to cellular cables

    Researchers have developed the Smart Connector, a new sensor that once installed in the connecting units of coaxial cables can provide information about equipment damage and pinpoint the exact location through self-diagnosing technologies — some of the most advanced in the field today

  • Study tracks safety of underground CO2 storage

    An international team of geoscientists show that carbon dioxide can safely be stored underground in depleted natural gas fields; fhe experiment, in the Otway basin near Melbourne, Australia, is the most heavily monitored project for CO2 storage in the world

  • Brain's failure to appreciate others may permit atrocities

    A person can become callous enough to commit human atrocities because of a failure in the part of the brain that is critical for social interaction; this function may disengage when people encounter others they consider disgusting, thus “dehumanizing” their victims by failing to acknowledge they have thoughts and feelings; this also may help explain how propaganda — depicting Tutsi in Rwanda as cockroaches and Hitler’s classification of Jews in Nazi Germany as vermin — has contributed to torture and genocide

  • A UAV that uses wind power as a bird does

    An engineering Ph.D. students wins prizes for the design of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) — dubbed Green Falcon II — which would be powered by the sun and wind; “While all airplanes mimic the shape of birds, the Green Falcon II will literally use the wind to power its movement, just as a bird would,” the young inventor says

  • Scarce minerals, metals threaten manufacturing

    The growing scarcity of certain minerals and metals is leading to explosive prices and delivery delays; since the relationships among these resources are strong, both the causes of and the solutions to scarcity are complex; for a manufacturing organization with a global supply chain, this can spell trouble

  • Making better, cleaner cement

    Humans the world over use more water, by volume, than any other material; in second place, at more than seventeen billion tons consumed each year, comes concrete made with Portland cement; making cement, however, releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide; structural studies at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source could point to reduced carbon emissions and stronger cements

  • Research may yield more compact antennas for military use

    Researchers say that the tall, bulky antennas the U.S. military uses could be scrapped for low-profile, broadband antennas — thanks to a different approach to antenna design that replaces large dipole antennas with a more compact and conformal multi-mode radiator

  • Shale gas development and healthy water sources

    Geological formation known as the Marcellus Shale contains gas reservoir holding nearly 500 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas; at current use rates, that volume could meet the U.S. demand for natural gas for more than twenty years; trouble is, extracting shale gas involves considerable pollution risks for water; Pennsylvania has more miles of stream per unit land area than any other state in the United States – and it is concerned about the quality of its water if more shale gas is extracted