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Two catalysts efficiently turn plastic trash into diesel

posted onJune 20, 2016
by l33tdawg

Plastics are great. They can take any shape and serve an endless variety of roles. But... the beginning and end of a plastic’s life are problematic. While some plastics are made from renewable agricultural products, most are derived from petroleum. Plastics are not as easy to recycle as we'd like, and a huge percentage ends up in landfills (or the ocean), where they can be virtually immortal.

Man lives for over a year without a heart in his body

posted onJune 8, 2016
by l33tdawg

Getting an organ transplant isn't simple. There simply aren't enough organs available to accommodate everyone who needs one. In the US alone, there are over 121,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list, and an average of 22 people die every day due to lack of available transplant organs.

For heart patients, an amazing new technology has just been proven able to keep patients alive until that crucial organ becomes available. Stan Larkin, now 25, has just received a heart transplant after living for 17 months on an external total artificial heart.

NASA releases dozens of patents into the public domain

posted onMay 11, 2016
by l33tdawg

NASA has released 56 of its previously patented technologies to the public domain for unrestricted commercial use. The released patents are completely free to use and don't require any licensing agreements with the US space agency.

"These technologies were developed to advance NASA missions but may have non-aerospace applications and be used by commercial space ventures and other companies free of charge, eliminating the time, expense and paperwork often associated with licensing intellectual property," NASA's Gina Anderson said in a statement.

Number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy: Tens of billions

posted onMay 11, 2016
by l33tdawg

It is one thing to observe the periodic dimming of a star’s light, as NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has done for thousands of planet “candidates” since its launch in 2009. However, to confirm that such dimmings are in fact due to a planet passing in front of a star, as opposed to any number of false positives such as a binary star companion, requires intensive follow-up work with ground-based instruments, most often a measurement of radial velocity to determine the object’s mass.

Did Scientists Stumble on a Battery that Lasts Forever?

posted onMay 3, 2016
by l33tdawg

Imagine a battery that could be recharged for decades. No more getting rid of cell phones because of waning battery life. No more landfills filled with lithium ion batteries.

This is one step closer to reality, thanks to work by researchers from the University of California at Irvine.

Mathematicians Have Discovered a Prime Conspiracy

posted onMarch 21, 2016
by l33tdawg

Two mathematicians have uncovered a simple, previously unnoticed property of prime numbers—those numbers that are divisible only by 1 and themselves. Prime numbers, it seems, have decided preferences about the final digits of the primes that immediately follow them.

Sergey Brin’s Search for a Parkinson’s Cure

posted onMarch 18, 2016
by l33tdawg

Several evenings a week, after a day’s work at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, Sergey Brin drives up the road to a local pool. There, he changes into swim trunks, steps out on a 3-meter springboard, looks at the water below, and dives.

Scientists Search for Signatures of Alien Life Hidden in Gas

posted onMarch 14, 2016
by l33tdawg

Huddled in a coffee shop one drizzly Seattle morning six years ago, the astrobiologist Shawn Domagal-Goldman stared blankly at his laptop screen, paralyzed. He had been running a simulation of an evolving planet, when suddenly oxygen started accumulating in the virtual planet’s atmosphere. Up the concentration ticked, from 0 to 5 to 10 percent.

“Is something wrong?” his wife asked.


The rise of oxygen was bad news for the search for extraterrestrial life.