News

'Electron Camera' Reveals Nature's Fastest Processes

Using a method known as ultrafast electron diffraction (UED), a scientific instrument from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory reveals nature's fastest processes, including the rapid motions of atoms and molecules. 

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Will Google Glass make a comeback in the workplace?

This week's Question: According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has been distributing a new version of its smart eyewear, Google Glass, to companies, engineered specifically for professionals in workplaces like health care, manufacturing, and energy. The new version will have improved battery life, a faster processer, and a hinge that attaches the device to an existing pair of glasses. When first introduced on a limited basis in 2013, the device raised privacy concerns, even causing some establishments to enact "No Glass" policies. What do you think? Will Google Glass make a comeback in the workplace?  

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Simulations Reveal Material with Record-Setting Melting Point

Using advanced computers and a computational technique to simulate physical processes at the atomic level, researchers at Brown University have predicted that a material made from hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon would have the highest known melting point: 4,400 kelvins (7,460 degrees Fahrenheit), about two-thirds the temperature at the surface of the sun.

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Algorithm Magnifies Motions Indiscernible to the Naked Eye

MIT has been investigating techniques for amplifying movements captured by video, but indiscernible to the human eye. The algorithms can make the human pulse visible and even recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of objects filmed through soundproof glass. A new version of the algorithm can amplify small motions even when they’re contained within objects executing large motions. So, for instance, it could make visible the precise sequence of muscle contractions in the arms of a baseball player swinging the bat, or in the legs of a soccer player taking a corner kick.

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Tests Show Football Player Concussions are Caused by Different Head Motions

When modern football helmets were introduced, they all but eliminated traumatic skull fractures caused by blunt force impacts. Mounting evidence, however, suggests that concussions are caused by a different type of head motion, namely brain and skull rotation. Stanford engineers have produced a collection of results that suggest that current helmet-testing equipment and techniques are not optimized for evaluating these additional injury-causing elements.

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Is long-term Mars living possible?

This week's Question: A recent study created by the Arizona-based Paragon Space Development Corporation says its life support system could help humans survive on Mars. The proposed Environmental Control and Life Support System, the company says, could extract water from Mars’ rocky material and convert some of the water to breathable oxygen. The habitat would be built by autonomous rovers. The study was commissioned by Mars One, a Dutch company that proposes to send colonists on a one-way trip to Mars. What do you think? Is long-term Mars living possible?

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Simulations Reveal Near-Frictionless Material

Scientists from Argonne National Laboratory used simulations to identify and improve a new mechanism for reducing friction. The resulting hybrid material exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale.

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