• The U.S. faces severe helium-3 shortages; nuclear detection, science suffer

    The decay of tritium, the radioactive heavy-hydrogen isotope used in nuclear weapons, long produced more helium-3 than could be used; the United States stopped making new tritium in 1988, and so the remaining supply has been dwindling as it decays; the post 9/11 rush to build and deploy radiation detectors, however, increased dramatically the demand on the U.S. declining helium-3 resources — and now scientific research dependent on helium-3 suffers, and soon there will not enough even for security devices

  • Day of portable, brief-case size X-ray machine nears

    A California company is working on developing flat-panel image sensors which would enable it to make a briefcase-sized X-ray machine powered by a laptop battery; such a system might be used in the field by the military or instead of bulky bedside systems used in hospital intensive-care units

  • DHS's researchers receive a 2-year, $2.3 billion appropriation

    In a vote of confidence, the House Homeland Security Committee unanimously passes a 2-year, $2.3 billion appropriation to fund the push-the-envelope R&D efforts of DHS’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate; among other things, the bill would create an Office of Public-Private Partnerships inside S&T to make sure that promising private-sector products and solutions get the support they need; to ensure good ideas do not fall through the cracks, S&T would also establish a Rapid Response Division

  • DARPA director urges universities to create and “elite army of futuristic technogeeks”

    Between 2001 and 2008, DARPA’s funding to research schools was cut in half; less funding meant fewer graduate students: Combined with a 43 percent decrease in computing and science enrollment among undergrads, this means a shortage in technologists in the making; DARPA chief wants this trend reversed

  • Montana State team developing new way to fight influenza, bioterrorism threats

    Researchers develop aerosol spray containing tiny protein cages that will activate an immune response in the lungs; the protein cages trigger the rapid production of lymphoid tissue in the lung; the technology could be used to prevent or treat a range of pulmonary diseases including influenza; it might counter bioterrorism threats, such as airborne microbes

  • New technologies unveiled to protect U.K. 75 million mobile phone users from crime

    U.K. e-commerce, or contatcless, mobile transactions, will account for £151 billion by 2013. the U.K. government’s Design Council unveils three solutions aiming to make mobile phones – and, hence, e-commerce – safer

  • Immunovaccine offers enhanced anthrax vaccine candidate

    Currently, to provide protection from anthrax, individuals receive a 6-dose regime with three injections given two weeks apart, followed by three additional injections given at 6, 12, and 18 months; annual booster injections of the vaccine are recommended thereafter; Canadian company Immunovaccine says it developed a method to cut this arduous regimen by half

  • Tulane University, Corgenix awarded $15,000,000 to expand Lassa fever research

    Lassa fever, because of its high fatality rate, the ability to spread easily by human-to-human contact, and the potential for aerosol release, is classified as a bio safety level 4 agent and is included on the NIAID Category A list of potential bioterrorism threats; new study will focus on identification of novel B-cell epitopes on Lassa virus proteins, aiming to develop agents to treat and prevent the disease

  • INL develops safer, more efficient nuclear fuel for next-generation reactors

    The advanced nuclear fuel, which would be used in next-generation high-temperature gas reactors, has set a particle fuel record by consuming approximately 19 percent of its low-enriched uranium; this is more than double the previous record set by German scientists in the 1980s, and more than three times that achieved by current commercial light water reactor fuel

  • Oklahoma State rejects anthrax study over euthanasia of primates

    The U.S. National Institutes of Health wanted OSU to conduct research on treatment for anthrax; the study involves baboons, which must be destroyed after anthrax exposure to ensure they do not infect others; In April, OSU announced that animals will no longer be euthanized in teaching labs at the veterinary school; measure was the result of pressure by Madeleine Pickens, the wife of billionaire benefactor and OSU alumnus T. Boone Pickens

  • New Ebola vaccine protects against lethal infection in animal models

    Ebola virus is the the cause of severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates; it is transmitted through direct contact of bodily fluids with infected individuals resulting in death up to 90 percent of the time; no licensed vaccines or antivirals are available against EBOV; researchers say new vaccine shows promise

  • DARPA wants shrink-blade helicopters

    DARPA is looking at a helicopter — or “morphcopter” — with shrinking blades; adjustable shrinking blades would offer performance benefits and options such as whisper mode for easier operations in confined spaces

  • DARPA can help slumping U.S. economy

    Expert: DARPA should be used in expanded ways to help the U.S. economy and American society

  • U.K. companies invest in R&D

    Survey of R&D spending by the 850 U.K. companies most active in R&D and the 1,400 most active companies globally show that U.K. companies increased their R&D budgets by 6 percent (the top 88 companies increased their budgets by 10.3 percent); global competitors average a 9.5 percent increase

  • A simpler route to invisibility

    Two years ago Duke University researchers built an invisibility cloak — a device that can make objects vanish from sight, at least when viewed using a narrow band of microwave frequencies; researchers now show how to create cloaks that work across a wider range of frequencies