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Supercomputers Used to Solve Impossible Problems

The Department of Energy has given out the largest ever awards of the Department's supercomputing time to 57 innovative research projects. Computer simulations will be used to perform virtual experiments that in most cases would be impossible or impractical. Using two world-leading supercomputers with a computational capacity roughly equal to 135,000 laptops, officials say the research could, for example, help speed the development of more efficient solar cells, make improvements in the production of biofuels, or develop medications that can help slow the progression of certain diseases. Selected projects were chosen for their potential to advance scientific discoveries, speed technological innovations, and strengthen industrial competitiveness.

Tags: technology , Scott Carr , DoE

Tuesday - 12/14/2010, 05:39pm EST

Monitors Give Remote Health Status of Warfighters

New sensors that can be worn or ingested by warfighters will be used by pararescuemen and other medical technicians to remotely determine a soldier's health status. The Battlefield Automatic Life Status Monitor, or BALSM, is being developed in coordination with the Air Force Research Lab. The devices provide remote physiologic monitoring for triage, rescue or recovery, as well as a health status history over time for each person. A primary sensor measures the amount of oxygen in the blood and estimates heart rate and respiration. The other sensor is a wireless capsule that when ingested, measures core body temperature. The information is sent to medics through a radio receiver and monitoring software to a computer. Medics can even be notified if a soldier is suffering from a condition such as dehydration or hypothermia before they do.

Tags: technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 12/01/2010, 12:05pm EST

New Online Tool Helps Exporters

Small businesses interested in exporting now have a new online tool to help them tap into the global marketplace to grow their business. Developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration, Six Steps to Begin Exporting is the latest tool in the National Export Initiative toolbox to help entrepreneurs begin exporting. The six-step process begins with a self-assessment to help potential exporters gauge their readiness to successfully engage in international trade. This joint effort is part of several activities by federal agencies to support President Obama's National Export Initiative, which calls for doubling U.S. exports and supporting 2 million jobs over the next five years. So far this year, U.S. exports have increased nearly 18 percent compared to the same period in 2009.

Tags: technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 12/01/2010, 11:57am EST

Air Force Museum Launches Virtual Tour

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has launched an interactive 360-degree virtual tour. Users now have access to lecture series and audio tour podcasts, downloadable maps of the museum and panoramic views. From their computers, history buffs can walk by JFK's Air Force One or the Presidential Gallery at the Museum. Users can navigate a virtual map of a little less than half of the museum and view its exhibits through high-definition, panoramic photos. The completed tour will be rolled out in phases in coming months. The first phase is complete and includes interactive capabilities for the Air Park and Memorial Park. When completed, the entire museum will be accessible through 92 high-definition panoramic "nodes." You'll find it at:

Tags: technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 12/01/2010, 11:52am EST

Biological Secrets Unlocked of How Eating Less Extends Lifespan

For decades, scientists have been searching for the fundamental biological secrets of how eating less extends a lifespan. It's been well documented in species ranging from spiders to monkeys that a diet with consistently fewer calories can dramatically slow the process of aging and improve health in old age. But how such a diet acts at the most basic level to influence metabolism and the decline of tissues and cells has largely remained a mystery. Now, team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin describe a molecular pathway that is a key determinant of the aging process. The study focused on an enzyme known as Sirt-3. The finding not only helps explain the events that contribute to aging, but also provides a rational basis for devising interventions, including drugs that may slow aging.

Tags: technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 12/01/2010, 11:46am EST

Atoms of Anti-matter Trapped for First Time

For the first time ever, researchers have been able to trap and store atoms of antimatter. Trapping the antimatter proved to be much more difficult than creating it for an international team of scientists called ALPHA. The atoms consist of a single negatively charged antiproton orbited by a single positively charged electron. While the number of trapped anti-atoms would be far too small to fuel a starship's reactor, the advance brings us closer to the day when scientists may be able to make tests that reveal how the physics of antimatter differs from that of the ordinary matter. The ALPHA team routinely makes antihydrogen atoms, but most are too 'hot' - or, too energetic - to be trapped. They succeeded by using a specially designed magnetic bottle that keeps the antimatter away from the walls of the trap, where they would be destroyed.

Tags: technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 12/01/2010, 11:45am EST

New Tool Takes Guesswork Out Of Economic Indicators

The Census Bureau has introduced a new, user-friendly Internet tool that takes all the guesswork out of finding, downloading and using data from economic indicators. For the first time, users can access data from several different economic indicators in one place and all in the same format. Bureau official say it provides an easy way to create data tables in text or time series charts in your favorite spreadsheet format. Users can select an indicator and choose data by item, time period and other dimensions using drop-down menus. Of the Census Bureau's 12 economic indicators, four are operational in the new tool now - international trade, manufactures' shipments, monthly wholesale trade and quarterly services. The remainder are expected to be become available throughout the course of 2011.

Tags: technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 12/01/2010, 11:44am EST

Engineered Plants Could Be Precursor to Raw Plastics Material

In theory, plants could be the ultimate "green" factories, engineered to pump out the kinds of raw materials we now obtain from petroleum-based chemicals. In reality, its been an elusive goal. Now, in a first step toward achieving industrial-scale green production, scientists from the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Lab and their collaborators report engineering a plant that does produce the levels of compounds that could potentially be used to make plastics. The raw materials for most precursors currently come from petroleum or coal-derived synthetic gas. Additional technology is needed, but researchers say they've now engineered a new metabolic pathway in plants for producing a kind of fatty acid that can be used as a source of precursors to chemical building blocks for making plastics such as polyethylene.

Tags: technology , Army , Scott Carr

Monday - 11/15/2010, 11:59pm EST

Report Analyzes Broadband Access Across U.S.

The Department of Commerce and National Telecommunications and Information Administration have released a report called "Digital Nation II," that analyzes broadband Internet access across the United States. The study is the the most comprehensive of its kind. It finds that even after accounting for socioeconomic differences, large gaps persist along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines. The report analyzes data collected through a survey of 54,000 households conducted by the Census Bureau. It shows that while virtually all demographic groups have experienced increases of broadband Internet use at home, and 64 percent of households overall have the service, there are still historic disparities among demographic groups. Officials worry that Americans who lack broadband Internet access are cut off from educational and employment opportunities.

Tags: technology , Army , Scott Carr

Monday - 11/15/2010, 11:55pm EST

NOAA Expands Education Portal

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just completed a major update of the agency's primary education resource portal; the website The aim is to better connect educators and students interested in NOAA's education and science resources. The website serves as a portal to lesson plans, educational multi-media, data sources, career profiles, and other education content from across the agency. The content contains five themes. Teachers can find information about hurricanes, tides, climate change, the water-cycle or other earth science topics on the site. The site also provides information on professional development, academic scholarships, career exploration, and education grants. NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources.

Tags: technology , Army , Scott Carr

Monday - 11/15/2010, 11:49pm EST
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