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Search Tags: Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered that a cancer of the digestive tract is linked to a shutdown in an enzyme that helps supply oxygen to cells. In some cases, the enzyme's failure to function resulted from errors in genes containing the information needed to make the enzyme. In others, the cause could not be identified, but is believed to be genetic. Gastrointestinal tumors can occur in cells of the nervous system, which control the muscles of the digestive tract. Within the last 10 years, researchers have found that the majority of adults who develop the tumors have mutations in two genes. Researcher say that tracing the roots of the disease to cellular respiration has yielded a promising lead on how the tumors might form. The finding may also lead to the development of treatments for types of the tumors that have not responded to traditional therapies.
The Department of Energy is now accepting grant applications - for a total of up to $74 million dollars - to support the research and development of clean, reliable fuel cells. The solicitations include up to $65 million over three years to fund continued research and development on fuel cell components with the goal of reducing costs, improving their durability and increasing the efficiency of fuel cell systems. Fuel cells use the energy of hydrogen or other fuels to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity or heat with very few - and inert - byproducts. They can produce power in large stationary systems such as buildings or for vehicles such as commercial forklifts, buses and automobiles. Officials say the awards will help support U.S. leadership in the emerging global fuel cell market, while limiting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels.
Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors at the North Pole certified Santa One, the reindeer-powered sleigh piloted by Santa Claus, prior to its 2010 Christmas Eve delivery mission. Santa One - they report - is outfitted with new satellite-based NextGen technology, that allows Santa to deliver more toys to more children with improved safety and efficiency. Rudolph's nose has been outfitted with avionics that can broadcast Santa One's position to air traffic controllers around the world with improved accuracy. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt says Santa's cockpit display is improved to help improve his situational awareness. Even as energy-efficient as the reindeer-powered sleigh already is, officials say NextGen technologies have further reduced Santa One's carbon hoofprint. Shorter, faster routings mean the reindeer consume less hay.
The department of the Interior has approved the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada. It's the ninth large-scale solar facility started as part of the administration's initiative to encourage the development of renewable energy on U.S. public lands. The plant will use concentrated solar thermal "power tower" technology to contribute 485,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy annually to the Nevada grid. It's part of an effort -across the administration - to advance a renewable energy economy. The project is sited on approximately 22-hundred acres administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The Bureau has approved six renewable energy projects on public lands in Nevada - three solar, two geothermal and one wind - along with a long-distance transmission line that will deliver a variety of energy sources to consumers across the western United States.
Self-proclaimed "technogeeks" at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, after determining the nature of the cybersecurity threat, have created programs to tackle them and, most importantly they say, surprise would-be cyber crooks. Officials at DARPA say the agency's sole mission since its inception in 1958 has been to prevent technological surprises. Two of the agency's recent cybersecurity programs, called CRASH and PROCEED, were created for that purpose. CRASH - the Clean-slate Design of Resilient, Adaptive, Secure Hosts program - seeks to build new computer systems that resist cyberattacks. After successful attacks they learn from the attack, adapt and repair themselves. The program evolved from a workshop DARPA held earlier this year that pulled together experts in cybersecurity and operating-system as well as infectious-disease biologists.
Slower-growing trees, dying trees, forest fires, insect infestation, and big changes in where various tree species are dominant are part of a forecast being suggested for southwestern U.S. forests. That's if temperature and aridity rise as predicted by the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal researchers. Southwestern forests, they say, may experience all of these changes since they are particularly sensitive to warmer temperatures and increased dryness. They report mountain forests across the Southwest are already experiencing forest die-offs and rapid shifts in the types of trees that live there. From watershed protection and timber supplies to recreation, the researchers warn that such changes in Southwest forest vegetation could have significant effects on a wide range of goods and services.
A quicker, cheaper technique for scanning molecular databases could put scientists on the fast track to developing new drug treatments. It's being developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab. A team of researchers have adapted widely-used existing software to allow supercomputers to sift through immense molecular databases - and pinpoint chemical compounds as potential candidates for new drugs. Team leaders call it the missing link between supercomputers and the huge data available in molecular databases like the Human Genome Project. The translation is critical for the first stages of drug development, in which researchers look for appropriate chemicals that interact with a target in the body, typically a protein. With thousands of known proteins and millions of chemicals as potential drugs, the number of possible combination's is astronomical. But with supercomputers, millions of molecules can be processed in a single day.
A benchtop version of the world's smallest battery has been created by a team at Sandia National Lab. Its anode is a single nanowire one seven-thousandth the thickness of a human hair. The tiny rechargeable, lithium-based battery was formed inside a transmission electron microscope at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, a Department of Energy research facility. Researchers say, because nanowire-based materials in lithium ion batteries offer the potential for big improvements in power and energy consumption, investigations into their operating properties should improve new generations of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, laptops and cell phones. An unexpected discovery was that the nanowire rod nearly doubles in length during charging - far more than its diameter increases - disputing a common belief of workers in the field.
As military operations becoming increasingly urban centric - soldiers' ability to locate combatants is severely hindered as enemies may retreat and hide inside buildings. The Army has been developing the capability to locate potentially hostile targets with sense-through-the-wall (or S-T-T-W) technology. Newly developed sensors weigh less than six pounds and can be operated up to 20 meters away from a wall, providing information for warfighters regarding the number and locations of hidden adversaries. Researchers continue to develop ways to detect humans, concealed weapons and explosives and other devices of interest in complex and urban terrain through partnerships with the Army Research Lab and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
High-resolution computer systems capable of networking around the world are being used by researchers at the Air Force Research Lab to build a new supercomputer. It holds the distinction of being one of the cheapest - and one of the greenest - supercomputers in the world because the systems being used are Sony PlayStation 3 game consoles - over 17-hundred of them. It's called the Condor Cluster project and it's being built entirely from off-the-shelf commercial components. Its creators say it could change the supercomputing landscape. The system is capable of making 500 trillion calculations per second -- and represents new ways for supercomputers to increase computational resources while using less energy. The Condor is currently considered the seventh-greenest computer in the world. It cost only 2 million dollars to build, whereas the cheapest comparable supercomputers would cost $50 million or more.