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March 7 2014

Mystery of planet-forming disks explained by magnetism


Astronomers say that magnetic storms in the gas orbiting young stars may explain a mystery that has persisted since before 2006.

Researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to study developing stars have had a hard time figuring out why the stars give off more infrared light than expected. The planet-forming disks that circle the young stars are heated by starlight and glow with infrared light, but Spitzer detected additional infrared light coming from an unknown source.

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March 6 2014

WATCH LIVE NOW: Close-Shave Asteroid 2014 EC Flies Within 38,000 Miles of Earth


The 33-foot-wide (10 meters) near-Earth asteroid 2014 EC will come within 38,000 miles (62,000 kilometers) of Earth's surface this afternoon (March 6) — just 16 percent of the distance between our planet and the moon, which is about 239,000 miles (385,000 km) on average. You can see a video of asteroid 2014 EC's orbit arount the sun here.

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March 6 2014

Asteroid break-up captured on film for the first time


The break up of an asteroid has been captured on film for the first time.

Experts pictured the P/2013 R3 asteroid breaking into ten pieces using Nasa's Hubble space telescope.

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March 6 2014

Going Up: Could Partial Space Elevators Take Us Into Space?


A trip to the moon on gossamer strings? A "partial" space elevator that could carry satellites to geosynchronous orbit might be just the ticket.

A space elevator untethered to Earth, with both of its ends hanging in space, might cut the costs of space travel to high orbit by 40 percent, researchers report in a new Acta Astronautica study.

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March 6 2014

Usain Bolt Could Fly on Saturn Moon Titan: Here's How


Humans would be able to take flight off the surface of Saturn's moon Titan simply by running in a wingsuit — but only if they were as fast as sprinter Usain Bolt, a group of physics students say.

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March 6 2014

Dark matter looks more and more likely after new gamma-ray analysis


Not long after the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope took to the sky in 2008, astrophysicists noticed that it was picking up a steady rain of gamma rays pouring outward from the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

This high-energy radiation was consistent with the detritus of annihilating dark matter, the unidentified particles that constitute 84% of the matter in the universe and that fizzle upon contact with each other, spewing other particles as they go.

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March 6 2014

13-year-old builds working nuclear fusion reactor


Not many 13-year-olds would describe themselves as an "amateur nuclear scientist." That's precisely what Jamie Edwards calls himself. When most kids his age are off playing video games, Edwards stays late after school to work on a control panel for a nuclear fusion reactor. He just reached his goal of becoming the youngest "fusioneer" in history, narrowly beating out the previous record-holder, who pulled it off at 14.

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March 6 2014

20,000 megawatts under the sea: Oceanic steam engines


IF ANY energy source is worthy of the name "steampunk", it is surely ocean thermal energy conversion. Victorian-era science fiction? Check: Jules Verne mused about its potential in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870. Mechanical, vaguely 19th-century technology? Check. Compelling candidate for renewable energy in a post-apocalyptic future? Tick that box as well.

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March 6 2014

Peat soils as gigantic batteries


Researchers have described a process that suppresses the formation of methane in soils that are rich in humic substances. For this process to work, the soils need to switch between having no oxygen and having oxygen.

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March 6 2014

'Tribo-electric,' the buzzword of the future?


Out at sea, gentle waves provide power for thousands of homes. In cities, dancefloor moves generate electricity for nightclubs. In the countryside, hikers use leg power to recharge their phones.

It is an alluring goal of clean, reliable power free from geo-political risks—and scientists in the United States said Tuesday it lies within reach, thanks to a smart way to harvest energy called tribo-electricity.

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March 6 2014

Stained Glass Windows That Double As Solar Panels


Solar panels usually get placed somewhere in the sun, but out of sight. Rooftops, deserts, mausoleums. But what if they were so beautiful we wanted to put them everywhere?

That could happen! Maybe. We've at least got the groundwork laid out, thanks to a University of Michigan research team that's making solar panels like stained-glass windows: translucent, colored panels filled with solar cells.

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March 6 2014

New magnetic material could boost electronics


A highly sensitive magnetic material that could transform computer hard drives and energy storage devices has been discovered.

The metal bilayer needs only a small shift in temperature to dramatically alter its magnetism - a tremendously useful property in electronic engineering.

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March 6 2014

Rise of the human exoskeletons


On the outskirts of Pisa in a back room of a modern block, a machine is waiting for its operator.

The device has arms and legs and is suspended by ropes from a metal frame. Its only other tether is a thick umbilical cable plugged into its back.

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March 6 2014

This App Can Help You Read Up to 1,000 Words a Minute


Who says the Internet is making us less effective readers? Spritz, a new app that’s being released on Samsung devices, is devoted to turning you into a super-powered book devourer, conquering novels in a single bound (or subway ride).

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March 6 2014

3D-printed 'electronic glove' could help keep your heart beating for ever


Scientists have created a revolutionary new electronic membrane that could replace pacemakers, fitting over a heart to keep it beating regularly over an indefinite period of time.

The device uses a “spider-web-like network of sensors and electrodes” to continuously monitor the heart’s electrical activity and could, in the future, deliver electrical shocks to maintain a healthy heart-rate.

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March 6 2014

Angry people 'risking heart attacks'


Having a hot temper may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to researchers.

Rage often precedes an attack and may be the trigger, say the US researchers who trawled medical literature.

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March 6 2014

The Secret To Happiness May Have Been Discovered Almost Two Millennia Ago


One of the greatest texts about happiness and living well wasn't written by a self-help expert, spiritual leader or psychologist. It was written by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, and it may completely change your perspective on dealing with life's challenges.

In 167 AD, Aurelius wrote The Meditations, a 12-book compendium of personal writings, originally written in Greek, that reflect his extensive study of Stoic philosophy.

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March 6 2014

Insomniacs' Brains May Be More Plastic


The brains of people with insomnia may have more plasticity than those of people who sleep well, new research suggests.

The motor cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls movement, tends to be more flexible and active in insomniacs than in people who don't have trouble sleeping, according to a new study.

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