• Microbes clean up nuclear waste -- and generate electricity

    Researchers have discovered how microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste and other toxic metals; the microbes effectively immobilize the radioactive material and prevent it from leaching into groundwater; the discovery could benefit sites changed forever by nuclear contamination

  • Swiss nuclear energy phase-out possible

    In the wake of Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power generation, other countries have also been examining that option; a respected Swiss research center looked into the mater, finding that restructuring the Swiss energy system without nuclear power by 2050 is in principle technologically possible and economically manageable

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  • New first response, military tool: surveillance insects

    Micro air vehicles (MAVs) are tiny, insect-size UAVs used for search-and-rescue operations, surveillance, monitoring of hazardous environments, and detection of explosives; University of Michigan researchers had an idea: rather than build insect-size UAVs, why not use the insects themselves to fly these missions?

  • Environmentalists challenge DHS border base expansion plan

    Environmentalist groups challenge a plan by DHS to build a new border patrol base on National park Service Land in Arizona, near the U.S.-Mexico border; the groups argue that DHS fails adequately to assess the effects of the department’s border-security and enforcement activities along the U.S.-Mexico border, including tripling the size of its base in the desert

  • Studying the effects of fire on steel structures, nuclear plants

    Building fires may reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius, or more than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, and the strength of steel structures drops by about 40 percent when exposed to temperatures exceeding 500 degrees Celsius; scientists study precisely what happens to the connections between a floor’s steel beams and the building columns when these connections are exposed to intense heat

  • Cutting soot emissions fastest, cheapest way to slow warming

    Reducing soot emissions from diesel engines and other sources could slow melting of sea ice in the Arctic faster and more economically than any other quick fix; the good news is that decreasing soot could have a rapid effect — unlike carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for years, soot disappears within a few weeks, so that there is no long-term reservoir with a continuing warming effect

  • Molecules could help solve radioactive waste concerns

    One component of nuclear waste — called “minor actinides” — present an extreme hazard as they are intensely radioactive and long-lived nuclides; they must be safely stored for at least 100,000 years; researchers have discovered a class of molecules that can selectively extract minor actinides, making the eventual waste far less radiotoxic

  • Artificial volcanoes to reverse global warming

    British scientists are investigating a method to reverse the effects of climate change by creating an artificial volcano and suspending it 12.5 miles above the earth; the team’s goal is to recreate the cooling effect that a volcano has when it releases millions of tiny particles into the stratosphere that bounce some of the Sun’s rays back into space

  • Breakthrough in hydrogen fuel cells

    Hydrogen makes a great fuel because it can be converted easily to electricity in a fuel cell and because it is carbon free; the downside of hydrogen is that, because it is a gas, it can only be stored in high pressure or cryogenic tanks; a team of USC scientists has developed a robust, efficient method of using hydrogen as a fuel source

  • Wake Tech uses grant funding to expand law enforcement education

    North Carolina-based Wake Tech Community College received grants of more than $2.5 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year; the money was used, among other things, to develop training programs in the latest cybercrime and latent evidence technologies and to add a new, state-of-the-art crime lab to its public safety training facility

  • Identifying bad guys in a crowd

    New CCTV technology aims to do two things: for post-incident forensic analysis the system retraces a person’s steps after they have left a site; and for real-time analysis the system alerts security to immediate or imminent threats; researchers say the technology will also address privacy concerns: if a computer could automatically detect and preserve footage “of interest,” the images of the rest of the people captured by CCTVs can be safely deleted, minimizing the invasion to privacy

  • Uncovering mechanisms key to fusion reactor walls

    A new tool will be hitched to an experimental fusion reactor at Princeton University to learn precisely what happens when extremely hot plasmas touch and interact with the inner surface of the reactor; fusion powers the stars and could lead to a limitless supply of clean energy

  • The malaria mosquito is disappearing – researchers wonder why

    The incidence of malaria in many African countries south of the Sahara is falling rapidly; a research group has discovered that the mosquito carrying the malaria parasite has practically disappeared from villages without organized mosquito control; there are several hypotheses about the cause of the decline, but without proper data researchers cannot say whether malaria is being eradicated or whether it is just resting up before returning with renewed vigor

  • Common bacterium stops mosquitoes from transmitting Dengue virus

    Strains of a bacterium commonly found in fruit flies can prevent the Aedes aegypti mosquito from transmitting the virus that causes dengue fever, researchers have found; the discovery could lead to a more effective way to control dengue worldwide

  • San Jose halts gang violence, ends ICE partnership

    Two months after it began its alliance with immigration officials to crack down on gang violence, the San Jose Police Department in California announced that it was ending its partnership with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency; on 24 June, two ICE agents stepped in to help San Jose which was struggling to contain its highest murder rate in twenty years