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+ - Are the world's religions ready for ET?-> 2

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Guarding against 'Carmageddon' cyberattacks->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Astronomers identify signature of Earth-eating stars->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Step toward liberating electronic devices from their power cords->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Grad student makes nanowires just three atoms thick->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Progress reported in creating "homo minutus" -- a benchtop human to test drugs->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Nanoscale terahertz optical switch breaks miniaturization barrier-> 1

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - New class of "hypervelocity stars" discovered escaping the galaxy->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - You don't know what your fingers are doing when you are typing->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Tech advances make robotic legs that move like natural limbs->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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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+ - Goal of national robotics grant is to create smarter surgical robots

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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"
Power

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

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) 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"
Robotics

+ - Humanoid robot helps train children with autism->

Submitted by
Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado writes "Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed an intelligent, adaptive system centered on a humanoid robot that is designed to help treat young children diagnosed with ASD. An initial test with a dozen children demonstrated that they responded almost as well to the robot as they did to a human therapist in training sessions designed to teach them a critical social communication skill. The system and the test are described in the March issue of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering [http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6373737&contentType=Journals+%26+Magazines&searchWithin%3Dsarkar%26punumber%3D7333]"
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+ - Researchers commissioned to create "microbrain" to improve drug testing->

Submitted by
Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado writes "Creating a device called a microbrain bioeactor that simulates brain chemistry using a small number of human cells is the goal of a $2.1 million award that is part of a major new federal initiative to develop a human-on-a-chip: a series of “organs on a chip” designed to improve the drug development process.

Additional link: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jul2012/ncats-24.htm"

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