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Tracking tiny songbirds across continents

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 22:24
A pair of newly published papers lay out a method for outfitting birds with geolocators or radio transmitters that cuts precious weight from the package, allowing the devices to be used on very small birds, and demonstrate that the trackers do not harm the birds or impede their migration.

Tax cuts for middle, lower income Americans boost economy while tax breaks for the rich do little to help

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 18:06
Tax cuts for ordinary Americans boost economic growth and create jobs, while tax breaks for the rich do little to help the economy.

Energy consumption rises with automated bill payment

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 16:56
The adage 'out of sight, out of mind' applies to utility consumption, according to new research. A study of 16 years of billing records from one South Carolina electric utility found that residential customers using automated bill payment consumed 4 to 6 percent more power than those who did not. Commercial electricity customers used 8 percent more.

A smartphone with ultimate macro feature: DNA-scanning fluorescent microscope

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 15:32
Researchers have recently developed a device that can turn any smartphone into a DNA-scanning fluorescent microscope.

Multifractals suggest the existence of an unknown physical mechanism on the Sun

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 15:32
The famous sunspots on the surface of the Earth's star result from the dynamics of strong magnetic fields, and their numbers are an important indicator of the state of activity on the Sun. Researchers have been conducting multifractal analysis into the changes in the numbers of sunspots. The resulting graphs were surprisingly asymmetrical in shape, suggesting that sunspots may be involved in hitherto unknown physical processes.

Enron becomes unlikely data source for computer science researchers

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 14:10
Computer science researchers have turned to unlikely sources -- including Enron -- for assembling huge collections of spreadsheets that can be used to study how people use this software. The goal is for the data to facilitate research to make spreadsheets more useful.

Making robots more human: Wearable sensors read human facial expressions

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 14:10
Most people are naturally adept at reading facial expressions -- from smiling and frowning to brow-furrowing and eye-rolling -- to tell what others are feeling. Now scientists have developed ultra-sensitive, wearable sensors that can do the same thing. Their technology could help robot developers make their machines more human.

New technology, tablets still a struggle for older generations

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 14:09
Learning a new technology can be a daunting task for adults of any age, but this is especially true in older adults. New research looked at tablet acceptance and use across multiple generations.

Quantum particles at play: Game theory elucidates the collective behavior of bosons

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 14:59
Quantum particles behave in strange ways and are often difficult to study experimentally. Using mathematical methods drawn from game theory, physicists have shown how bosons, which like to enter the same state, can form multiple groups.

Mathematics reveals how fluid flow affects bacteria

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 14:59
Researchers have used mathematical equations to shed new light on how flowing fluid hinders the movement of bacteria in their search for food.

Patient portals could widen health disparities

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 13:19
Online patient portals are increasingly important for doctor-patient communication and access to health care information. But patient portals could widen the gap in health disparities. Patients with low health literacy, less education and who are African American were much less likely to use these portals compared with white patients and those who were more health literate. These people lose the opportunity to easily engage their doctor about health concerns or medications, quickly refill prescriptions and get lab results, authors of a new report say.

Advancing security and trust in reconfigurable devices

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 13:16
A research team is studying a range of security challenges involving programmable logic devices – in particular, field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Blogging on the ice: Connecting audiences with climate-change sciences

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 12:20
Climate change is a perennially controversial subject frequently splashed across mainstream headlines. However, what we see in the news is not always what the scientists at the front line of climate change experience. Some scientists have been trying to counteract these misconceptions via citizen journalism and directly connecting with the public through blogging rather than official media channels.

Human brain inspires computer memory

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 12:17
How is it possible to create computer memory that is both faster and consumes less energy? Researchers have unlocked the physical mechanisms involved in new-generation magnetic memory, and have shown that these mechanisms could be used as "synapses" in a new type of neuro-inspired system, able to learn how to store and retrieve information.

Cost of staying cool when incomes heat up

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 22:27
The demand for more air conditioning will also cause consumers to use more electricity causing stress on energy prices, infrastructure, and environmental policy, according to a new study.

Supercomputer helps identify materials to improve fuel production

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 20:35
Argonne Leadership Computing Facility resources are being used to demonstrate a predictive modeling capability that can help accelerate the discovery of new materials to improve biofuel and petroleum production.

App can detect sleep apnea events via smartphone

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 17:30
Diagnosing sleep apnea -- a disease which affects roughly 1 in 13 Americans -- typically requires an overnight hospital stay and costs thousands of dollars. A new smartphone app can wirelessly test for sleep apnea events in a person's own bedroom without needing special sensors attached to the body.

Researchers train computers to identify gene interactions in human tissues

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 16:48
Researchers have trained a computer to crunch big biomedical data in order to recognize how genes work together in human tissues. Combining genomic data from 38,000 experiments, this research group has generated functional genetic maps for 144 human tissues types and organs. This big step in the use of large genomic data sets enables great strides in functional human genetics, with important applications for treatment of disease. The findings shed light on genetic interactions that underlie human diseases, the investigators say.

Text messaging reduces pain medicine requirements during surgery

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 15:26
Patients who text messaged a stranger just before minor surgeries required less supplemental pain relief than patients receiving standard therapy or distraction techniques, according to a study. While both texting conditions reduced the need for pain management better than standard surgery, only texting a stranger reduced it beyond the distraction method of playing a mobile phone game, investigators say.

Is the universe a hologram?

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 14:16
The 'holographic principle,' the idea that a universe with gravity can be described by a quantum field theory in fewer dimensions, has been used for years as a mathematical tool in strange curved spaces. New results suggest that the holographic principle also holds in flat spaces. Our own universe could in fact be two dimensional and only appear three dimensional -- just like a hologram.