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Submission Creating bacterial 'fight clubs' to discover new drugs->

Science_afficionado writes: Vanderbilt chemists have shown that creating bacterial "fight clubs" is an effective way to discover natural biomolecules with the properties required for new drugs. They have demonstrated the method by using it to discover a new class of antibiotic with anti-cancer properties.
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Comment Robot workers should pay FICA/ Social Security (Score 1) 628

If robot workers are required to pay FICA/Social Security taxes then they can support me and a lot of other people in our retirement. Seriously, the extent to which robots will displace human workers will depend primarily on the economic and legal structures that we put in place. Nothing is preordained. It is clear that robots will have an increasing capability of adding value/creating wealth. The real question we should all be concerned with is how this wealth will be distributed.

Submission Electric eel shocks like a Taser->

Science_afficionado writes: After a nine month study, a Vanderbilt biologist has determined that the electric eel emits series of millisecond, high-voltage pulses to paralyze its prey just before it attacks. The high-voltage pulses cause the motor neurons in its target to violently contract, leaving it temporarily immobilized in the same fashion as the high-voltage pulses produced by a Taser. He documented this effect using high-speed video. The eel, which is nocturnal and has very poor eyesight, also uses closely spaced pairs of high-voltage pulses when hunting for hidden prey. He determined that the pulses cause the prey's body to twitch which produces water movements that the eel uses to locate its position even when it's hidden from view.
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Submission Are the world's religions ready for ET?-> 2

Science_afficionado writes: At the current rate of discovery, astronomers will have identified more than a million exoplanets by the year 2045. That means, if life is at all common in the Milky Way, astronomers will soon detect it. Realization that the nature of the debate about life on other worlds is about to fundamentally change lead Vanderbilt astronomer David Weintraub to begin thinking seriously about how people will react to such a discovery. He realized that people's reactions will be heavily influenced by their religious beliefs, so he decided to find out what theologians and leaders from the world's major religions have to say about the matter. The result is a book titled "Religions and Extraterrestrial Life" published by Springer this month. http://www.springer.com/social... He discovered that from Baptists to Buddhists, from Catholics to Mormons, from Islam to the Anglican Communion religious views differ widely.
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Submission Guarding against 'Carmageddon' cyberattacks->

Science_afficionado writes: One of the research projects featured at the SmartAmerica Challenge EXPO in DC was a collaboration between engineers at Vandebilt University and UC Berkeley to develop methods for detecting cyberattacks on smart road systems that use computers, a network of sensors and computer-controlled traffic signals to reduce traffic congestion on heavily traveled stretches of freeway. The goal is to give operators the tools they need to identify such attacks when they occur and, ultimately, create sofware tools that can automatically detect and take measures to block such attacks.
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Submission Astronomers identify signature of Earth-eating stars->

Science_afficionado writes: Fortunately for us, the Sun doesn't appear to have had much of an appetite for its rocky planets. That isn't the case for other G-class stars with exoplanets. So Vanderbilt astronomers have developed a model that estimates the effect that ingesting large amounts of the rocky material from which ‘terrestrial’ planets like Earth, Mars and Venus are made has on a star’s chemical composition and has used the model to analyze a pair of twin stars which both have their own planets.
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Submission Step toward liberating electronic devices from their power cords->

Science_afficionado writes: A new type of supercapacitor that can hold a charge when it takes a lickin’ has been developed by engineers at Vanderbilt University. It is the first “multi-functional” energy storage device that can operate while subject to realistic static and dynamic loads – advancing the day when everything from cell phones to electric vehicles will no longer need separate batteries. These devices could make it possible to design electrical devices that are not limited by plugs and external power sources.
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Submission Grad student makes nanowires just three atoms thick->

Science_afficionado writes: A Vanderbilt University graduate student, working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has discovered a way to create nanowires capable of linking transistors and other components made out of the monolayer material TMDC. His accomplishment is an important step toward creating monolayer microelectronic devices, which could be as thin and flexible as paper and extremely tough.
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Submission Progress reported in creating "homo minutus" -- a benchtop human to test drugs->

Science_afficionado writes: Vanderbilt University scientists reported significant progress toward creating "homo minutus" — a benchtop human — at the Society of Toxicology meeting on Mar. 26 in Phoenix. The advance is the successful development and analysis of a human liver construct//organ-on-a-chip that responds to exposure to a toxic chemical much like a real liver. The achievement is the first result from a five-year, $19 million multi-institutional effort led by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), to develop four interconnected human organ constructs — liver, heart, lung and kidney — that are based on a highly miniaturized platform nicknamed ATHENA (Advanced Tissue-engineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer). The project is supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Similar programs to create smaller-scale organs-on-chips are underway at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health.
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Submission Nanoscale terahertz optical switch breaks miniaturization barrier-> 1

Science_afficionado writes: There is a general consensus that ultimately photons will replace electrons running through wires in most of our microelectronic devices. One of the current technical barriers to the spread of optoelectronics has been the difficulty in miniaturizing the ultrafast optical switches required. Now a team of physicists at Vanderbilt has made terahertz optical switches out of nanoparticles of vanadium dioxide, a material long known for its ability to rapidly change phase between metallic to semiconducting states. They report in the Mar. 12 issue of Nano Letters that they have created individually addressable switches that are 200 nm in diameter and can switch between transparent and opaque states at terahertz rates.
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Submission New class of "hypervelocity stars" discovered escaping the galaxy->

Science_afficionado writes: Astronomers have discovered a surprising new class of “hypervelocity stars” that are moving at more than a million miles per hour, fast enough to escape the gravitational grasp of the Milky Way galaxy. The 20 hyper stars are about the same size as the sun and, other than their extreme speed, have the same composition as the stars in the galactic disk. The big surprise is that they don't seem to come from the galaxy's center. The generally accepted mechanism for producing hypervelocity stars relies on the extreme gravitational field of the supermassive black hole that resides in the galaxy's core. So the discovery means that astrophysicists must come up with an entirely new method for speeding stars to hypervelocities.
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Submission You don't know what your fingers are doing when you are typing->

Science_afficionado writes: A team of cognitive psychologists at Vanderbilt and Kobe universities have found that skilled typists can’t identify the positions of many of the keys on the QWERTY keyboard and even when people are learning to type they don’t appear to learn key locations, a conclusion that conflicts with current theories of automatic learning.
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Submission Tech advances make robotic legs that move like natural limbs->

Science_afficionado writes: Recent advances in robotics technology make it possible to create prosthetics that can duplicate the natural movement of human legs. This capability promises to dramatically improve the mobility of lower-limb amputees, allowing them to negotiate stairs and slopes and uneven ground, significantly reducing their risk of falling as well as reducing stress on the rest of their bodies. In a perspective published this week in Science Translational Medicine, pioneers in advanced prosthetics technology at Vanderbilt University describe the technological developments that have made this possible and the benefits this will have for amputees.
      Perspectives article: http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/5/210/210ps15
      Story and video on robotic leg: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2011/08/bionic-leg/

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Submission Goal of national robotics grant is to create smarter surgical robots

Science_afficionado writes: Providing surgical robots with a new kind of machine intelligence that significantly extends their capabilities and makes them much easier and more intuitive for surgeons to operate is the goal of a major new grant announced as part of the National Robotics Initiative.
    Vanderbilt University News Release: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/10/nri-grant/
    NSF News Release: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=129284&org=NSF&from=news

Submission Silicon supercapacitor promises built-in energy storage for electronic devices

Science_afficionado writes: Solar cells that produce electricity 24/7. Mobile phones with built-in power cells that work for weeks between charges and recharge in seconds. These possibilities are raised by a novel supercapacitor made from porous silicon invented by material scientists at Vanderbilt University described in a paper published in the Oct. 22 issue of the journal Scientific Reports. News release: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/10/device-electricity-silicon-chips/ Paper: http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/131022/srep03020/full/srep03020.html

Dinosaurs aren't extinct. They've just learned to hide in the trees.