Just about everyone insists that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at building weapons. Iran claims it only wants nuclear power. So how do weapons inspectors get at the truth? They study the country's supply and treatment of uranium, one of the most abundant nuclear materials on the planet.
A kite flown in a strong breeze will quickly unspool string as it climbs higher. KiteGen Research in Italy aims to turn that action into electricity. The company developed a prototype that flies 200-square-foot kites to altitudes of 2,600 feet, where wind streams are four times as strong as they are near ground-based wind turbines.
As the kite's tether unspools, it spins an alternator that generates up to 40 kilowatts. Once the kite reaches its peak altitude, it collapses, and motors quickly reel it back in to restart the cycle. This spring, KiteGen started building a machine to fly a 1,500-square-foot kite, which it plans to finish by 2011, that could generate up to three megawatts—enough to power 9,000 homes.
They say only time heals a broken heart, but Duke University researchers think they can do better. Using embryonic stem cells from mice and their own novel molding technique, a team of researchers at Duke has developed a three-dimensional heart cell "patch" that conducts electrical impulses and contracts, two all important characteristics of heart tissue.
The basis of a human body's cells' ability to communicate with one another is the vesicle. That little ball packed with biological material is the medium through which all of our billions of cells coordinate with each other to keep our conscious stable and our bodies responsive. However, despite that importance, high resolution live imagery of cell and vesicle interaction has remained elusive.
Now, scientists from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded producing the first hi-res live recording of the interaction. In the nearer term, this development could greatly assist the study of diseases, like schizophrenia and Huntington's, that result from vesicle-cell interaction failure.
Animal rights activists, take note: when it comes to experimental cancer treatments, American pet dogs are now in line in front of humans, participating in trials that in several cases have destroyed cancers completely.
Dogs experience cancer in ways similar to humans, making them preferable research subjects to lab rats and mice, whose experimental settings are too regimented to reflect a human reaction to cancers. Those human-like reactions have granted dying dogs access to treatments ahead of dying humans in some cases, allaying some ethical fears while stirring up others.
A Maui resort community is slated for a new smart grid, courtesy of General Electric. The power grid will cut back energy costs by automatically turning off household appliances when electricity prices soar, and aims for the 2012 goal of reducing peak electricity consumption by 15 percent.
The community of Wailea will see new power meters in homes that help monitor electricity usage among different appliances, according to AP. Part of the project also involves upgrading utility computers so that they can better integrate renewable energy from more unpredictable sources such as solar and wind.
Well, here it is. National Geographic has plotted the route of every space mission carried out over the last 50 years onto a map of the solar system, giving a nice visual look at the history of space travel.
Water bears, the tiny creatures that have already been proven to survive direct exposure to the vacuum of space, were slated for launch to a Martian moon this month. But Russian officials chose to delay their first interplanetary mission in more than a decade due to safety and technical issues, until the next launch window opens in 2011.
This Thursday, NASA will kick off the largest aerial survey ever undertaken of Earth's polar regions. The effort will help fill a multi-year gap between the satellite missions that usually track changes in ice, and should also help scientists understand how the changing ice sheets might contribute to sea level rise around the world.
People who dislike having medical cameras snake through their body on the ends of long tubing now have a fun alternative. A new remote-controlled spider bot can scuttle around inside the colon or intestine and perform a medical inspection instead.
Rest assured that the experience sounds much more pleasant than Neo's icky encounter with an electronic bug in The Matrix. Italian scientists have tested the device inside pigs, controlling the spider bot wirelessly to diagnose serious conditions such as cancer.