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Long Line at the Library? It’s Story Time Again

Long Line at the Library? It’s Story Time Again | S&TScan | Scoop.it
Amid an increasing emphasis on the importance of early literacy, libraries in New York are seeing attendance surge at the once-informal reading circles that are becoming fixtures of family routines.
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Researchers Reveal Why Black Phosphorus May Surpass Graphene

Researchers Reveal Why Black Phosphorus May Surpass Graphene | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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In a newly published study, researchers from the Pohang University of Science and Technology detail how they were able to turn black phosphorus into a superior conductor that can be mass produced for electronic and optoelectronics devices.


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New Biosensors Turn Bacteria Into a Source of Natural Energy

New Biosensors Turn Bacteria Into a Source of Natural Energy | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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Super-productive factories of the future could employ fleets of genetically engineered bacterial cells, such as common E. coli, to create valuable chemical commodities in an environmentally friendly way. By leveraging their natural metabolic processes, bacteria could be reprogrammed to convert readily available sources of natural energy into pharmaceuticals, plastics, and fuel products

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Yale Engineers Develop a Shape-Shifting Navigation Device for the Visually Impaired

Yale Engineers Develop a Shape-Shifting Navigation Device for the Visually Impaired | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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Guiding them through the darkness were handheld, shape-shifting cubes that Spiers designed and created with 3-D printing technology. The user’s position in the environment determines the shape of the wireless device. The top half of the cube twists to direct users toward their next destination and extends forward to indicate the distance to reach it. Rather than look at the device, as with a smartphone, users know where to go by feeling the changing shapes.

“The simple idea is that when you’ve arrived at your target destination, it becomes a little cube again,” said Spiers, who specializes in the field of haptics, the sense of touch.

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A New Tool To Identify Nuclear Weapons Without Divulging Secret Information

A New Tool To Identify Nuclear Weapons Without Divulging Secret Information | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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The Zero Knowledge Warhead Verification Program aims to identify nuclear weapons while protecting secret information.

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A New Frontier in 3D Printing, Engineers Print Transparent Glass in 3D

A New Frontier in 3D Printing, Engineers Print Transparent Glass in 3D | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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“We can design and print components with variable thicknesses and complex inner features — unlike glassblowing, where the inner features reflect the outer shape,” Oxman explains. For example, she adds, “We can control solar transmittance. … Unlike a pressed or blown-glass part, which necessarily has a smooth internal surface, a printed part can have complex surface features on the inside as well as the outside, and such features could act as optical lenses.”

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Gallium Nitride Electronics Poised to Drastically Cut Energy Usage

Gallium Nitride Electronics Poised to Drastically Cut Energy Usage | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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CEI’s GaN transistors have at least one-tenth the resistance of such silicon-based transistors, according to the company. This allows for much higher energy-efficiency, and orders-of-magnitude faster switching frequency — meaning power-electronics systems with these components can be made much smaller. CEI is using its transistors to enable power electronics that will make data centers less energy-intensive, electric cars cheaper and more powerful, and laptop power adapters one- third the size — or even small enough to fit inside the computer itself.

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How Do Laser Weapons Work? (Infographic)

How Do Laser Weapons Work? (Infographic) | S&TScan | Scoop.it
A handheld laser weapon is the stuff of science fiction, but the military finds lots of uses for lasers on the battlefield.
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Laser Weapon Melts Test Drone in Midair

Laser Weapon Melts Test Drone in Midair | S&TScan | Scoop.it
Smaller and lighter than Boeing's High Energy Mobile Demonstrator, a new laser gun recently shot down a drone over California.
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Defence scientists present innovative technologies for National Science Week

Defence scientists present innovative technologies for National Science Week | S&TScan | Scoop.it
The Australian Department of Defence joins the celebration of the National Science Week in showcasing new innovative technologies for modern soldiers.

Via Richard Platt
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Richard Platt's curator insight, August 22, 2015 6:13 PM

Australian Ministry of Defence shows off new technologies being developed for troops in the field. 

*  Non-Rigid Electromechanical Exoskeleton was part of the technologies designed for the modern soldiers. The exoskeleton technology takes the weight off a soldier’s back while carrying heavy backpacks, and transfers the weight load to the ground to reduce fatigue, pain and injury when walking over long distances.

*    The Soldier Integrated Power System, is a kit of flexible, lightweight solar cells, and power-generating electronic textiles that can reduce the weight of batteries carried by soldiers. The technology was developed by the Australian company Tectonica under the CTD programme, and has been successfully demonstrated.

*  Defence scientists are exploring a novel energy-harvesting approach that uses power from the structural vibrations of vehicles. The approach converts the vibrations into electrical power for embedded diagnostic sensors and devices.

*   Defence scientists have developed a unique computer security device called Digital Video Guard that provides protection against cyber intrusion. And the scientists have won an innovation award for the development of the device.

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Books, Manuals & Catalogs

Books, Manuals & Catalogs | S&TScan | Scoop.it
Now, print books in quantities of one or thousands. On-demand printing is the path to a profitable future and Canon Solutions America Production Print Solutions is leading the way. With an array of high-speed, high-quality commercial inkjet printers, workflow solutions, and finishing options to choose from, you’ll keep your publishing operation a step ahead of the competition.
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New Type of Thermal Radiation Discovered | Lab Manager

New Type of Thermal Radiation Discovered | Lab Manager | S&TScan | Scoop.it
Nano-photonics expert and physics professor Shawn-Yu Lin has discovered a new type of thermal radiation—in between the two extremes of blackbody radiation and laser light—that could contribute to a cheaper, easier solution for converting sunlight to electricity.

This “third light” is promising because it possesses some of the more favorable traits of both blackbody radiation and laser light.

Thermal radiation impacts every aspect of daily life. Two of the best-known examples are the light emitted from the sun and from incandescent light bulbs. In both cases, the light is classified as blackbody radiation. It is random and broad spectrum, difficult to harness but easy to produce. In contrast, laser light is coherent and directional but difficult to create.


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Blood exerts a powerful influence on the brain

Blood exerts a powerful influence on the brain | S&TScan | Scoop.it
Instead of just responding to the energy needs of neurons, the blood can have a direct and powerful influence on the brain.
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When it comes to the brain, blood also seems to be more than a traveling storyteller. In some cases, the blood may be writing the script.

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Cornstarch Could Lead To Better Protective Gear

Cornstarch Could Lead To Better Protective Gear | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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“Fluids don’t crack, so that’s one of the things that tells us it’s behaving like a solid.”

But only for a few seconds; then it goes back to a fluid state. The potential for this is huge. Crack a bike helmet, and you have to get a new one. But what if it were made from material that heals itself? It could also make for a very flexible material.

“That’s also been a big issue for policemen and military,” Brown said. “Bulletproof vests do great at stopping bullets. But they’re so bulky and rigid that they’re hard to wear for someone running and doing all this physical activity.”

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Solid Electrolyte Paves the Way for Rechargeable Batteries with Almost Indefinite Lifetimes

Solid Electrolyte Paves the Way for Rechargeable Batteries with Almost Indefinite Lifetimes | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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The new findings are based on the idea that a solid electrolyte, rather than the liquid used in today’s most common rechargeables, could greatly improve both device lifetime and safety — while providing a significant boost in the amount of power stored in a given space.

The results are reported in the journal Nature Materials in a paper by MIT postdoc Yan Wang, visiting professor of materials science and engineering Gerbrand Ceder, and five others. They describe a new approach to the development of solid-state electrolytes that could simultaneously address the greatest challenges associated with improving lithium-ion batteries, the technology now used in everything from cellphones to electric cars.

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Engineers Develop Optical Devices That Shape Light in Exotic Ways

Engineers Develop Optical Devices That Shape Light in Exotic Ways | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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The new lenses are not made of glass. Instead, silicon nanopillars are precisely arranged into a honeycomb pattern to create a “metasurface” that can control the paths and properties of passing light waves.

Applications of these devices include advanced microscopes, displays, sensors, and cameras that can be mass-produced using the same techniques used to manufacture computer microchips.

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New Technique Could Enable Chips with Thousands of Cores

New Technique Could Enable Chips with Thousands of Cores | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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At the International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques in October, MIT researchers unveil the first fundamentally new approach to cache coherence in more than three decades. Whereas with existing techniques, the directory’s memory allotment increases in direct proportion to the number of cores, with the new approach, it increases according to the logarithm of the number of cores.

In a 128-core chip, that means that the new technique would require only one-third as much memory as its predecessor. With Intel set to release a 72-core high-performance chip in the near future, that’s a more than hypothetical advantage. But with a 256-core chip, the space savings rises to 80 percent, and with a 1,000-core chip, 96 percent.

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NASA Thrusters Propelled by New Green Propellants Complete Milestones

NASA Thrusters Propelled by New Green Propellants Complete Milestones | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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Currently, most satellite thrusters are powered by hydrazine, a toxic and corrosive fuel that is dangerous to handle and store. In a quest to replace hydrazine with a more environmentally friendly fuel, NASA is testing thrusters propelled by green propellants that can provide better performance than hydrazine without the toxicity. These propellants could help lower costs by eliminating infrastructure needed for handling toxic fuels and reducing processing time–making it less expensive and safer and easier to launch both commercial and NASA spacecraft.

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Efficient Polymer Solar Cells

Efficient Polymer Solar Cells | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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Researchers have developed a solar cell that performed 22.5 percent better than conventional organic solar cells. Results, published online this month in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, demonstrate a power conversion efficiency of 8.7 percent.

Most commercial solar cells today are made from silicon. But polymer cells cost less and weigh less, making them an appealing alternative. The problem is that they’re not very efficient – they fail to convert nearly half their absorbed light energy to electrical power. That’s partly because the polymers used in these cells don’t line up well enough to allow energy to exit the cell easily.

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US Army's Laser Gun Can Blast Enemy Drones: How It Works

US Army's Laser Gun Can Blast Enemy Drones: How It Works | S&TScan | Scoop.it
The U.S. military has a high-powered laser that can shoot down enemy drones and destroy missiles in the blink of an eye. Here's how it works.
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Alternatives to Peer Review in Research Project Funding

Alternatives to Peer Review in Research Project Funding | S&TScan | Scoop.it

Peer review is often considered the gold standard for reviewing research proposals. However, it is not always the best methodology for every research funding process. Public and private funders that support research as wide-ranging as basic science, defence technology and social science use a diverse set of strategies to advance knowledge in their respective fields. This report highlights a range of approaches that offer alternatives to, or modifications of, traditional peer review — alternatives that address many of the shortcomings in peer review effectiveness and efficiency. The appropriateness of these different approaches will depend on the funder's organisational structure and mission, the type of research they wish to fund, as well as short- and long-term financial constraints.

We hope that the information presented in this pack of cards will inspire experimentation amongst research funders by showing how the research funding process can be changed, and give funders the confidence to try novel methods by explaining where and how similar approaches have been used previously. We encourage funders to be as inquisitive about their funding systems as they are about the research they support and make changes in ways that can be subsequently evaluated, for instance using randomised controlled trials. Such an approach would allow researchers to learn more about the effects of different methods of funding and, over time, to improve their knowledge of the most effective ways to support research.

 

Source:

Alternatives to Peer Review in Research Project Funding2013 Update
, RAND Susan Guthrie,Benoit Guerin,Helen Wu,Sharif Ismail,Steven Wooding

Fulltext: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR100/RR139/RAND_RR139.pdf

 


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Defence scientists present innovative technologies for National Science Week

Defence scientists present innovative technologies for National Science Week | S&TScan | Scoop.it
The Australian Department of Defence joins the celebration of the National Science Week in showcasing new innovative technologies for modern soldiers.

Via S. Diez de Medina Ph.D.
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Hybrid solar cells convert both light and heat from sun's rays into electricity

Hybrid solar cells convert both light and heat from sun's rays into electricity | S&TScan | Scoop.it

Solar cells today are getting better at converting sunlight to electricity, but commercial panels still harvest only part of the radiation they're exposed to. Scientists are working to change this using various methods. One approach is to hybridize solar cells with different materials to capture more of the sun's energy.

 

Eunkyoung Kim and colleagues turned to a clear, conductive polymer known as PEDOT to try to accomplish this. The researchers layered a dye-sensitized solar cell on top of a PEDOT film, which heats up in response to light. Below that, they added a pyroelectric thin film and a thermoelectric device, both of which convert heat into electricity. The efficiency of all components working together was more than 20 percent higher than the solar cell alone. With that boost, the system could operate an LED lamp and an electrochromic display.


Via Mariaschnee, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Open access | www.openaccess.nl

Open access | www.openaccess.nl | S&TScan | Scoop.it
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Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research

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