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New Weather Forecasting Models Developed

Thanks to more powerful and reliable super computers - NOAA - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - is now using enhanced weather and marine forecast models for the Great Lakes. That means that forecasts can be extended from 36 to 60 hours into the future to better serve mariners, the shipping industry, emergency responders, water resource managers and others. The Great Lakes Operational Forecast System is now running on the super computers. They operate around the clock, offering a more reliable computing framework to generate Great Lakes forecast models and ultimately producing more timely forecasts. It also marks a first step toward linking NOAA's environmental modeling efforts with state-of-the art technology that paves the way for a more seamless way to deliver forecasts.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Sunday - 01/09/2011, 02:28pm EST

New Public Access Prototype Now Available

The National Archives and Records Administration's new Online Public Access is now available. It's part of NARA's Open Government plan - including the development of online services. Archives officials say it's also a key component of the agency's Transformation Plan - to become more customer-focused and to ensure the nation's heritage is accessible to everybody. The prototype portal provides access to digitized records, and information about the Archives own records. It also provides a centralized means of searching multiple National Archives resources at once. The prototype currently contains 10.9 million permanent electronic records. The National Archives will add additional functionality in the coming year, including an image zooming feature that will enable users to zoom and pan the online holdings, and social sharing through Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Sunday - 01/09/2011, 02:27pm EST

Researchers Link Cancer With Enzyme Shutdown

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.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Sunday - 01/09/2011, 02:27pm EST

Applications Accepted for Fuel Cell R&D Grants

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.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology , FAA

Sunday - 01/09/2011, 02:22pm EST

NextGen Technology Enables Fastest, Safest Toy Delivery

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.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology , FAA

Monday - 12/27/2010, 11:20am EST

New Nevada Solar Farm Powers Nearly 75K Homes

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.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Monday - 12/27/2010, 11:18am EST

Programs Determine the Nature of Cyber-threats

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.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology , DARPA , cyber

Monday - 12/27/2010, 11:11am EST

Researchers Warn of Effects From Hotter, Dryer Weather in Southwest U.S.

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.

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Monday - 12/20/2010, 01:14pm EST

Supercomputing Opens Doors for Drug Discovery

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.

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Monday - 12/20/2010, 01:13pm EST

World's Smallest Battery Built

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.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Monday - 12/20/2010, 01:11pm EST
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