Brewing up sustainability

Each day, breweries and wineries produce thousands of gallons of wastewater, which is either poured down the drain or shipped to treatment facilities at a high cost to the companies.

This system detects global trends in social networks two months in advance

A new method of monitoring identifies what information will be relevant on social networks up to two months in advance. This may help predict social movements, consumer reactions or possible outbreaks of epidemics.

Report: Graphene not all good

In a first-of-its-kind study of how a material some think could transform the electronics industry moves in water, researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering found graphene oxide nanoparticles are very mobile in lakes or streams and therefore likely to cause negative environmental impacts if released.

A laser-powered farewell to moon mission

Just before NASA’s latest Moon mission ended last week, an ESA telescope received laser signals from the spacecraft, achieving data speeds like those used by many to watch movies at home via fibre-optic Internet.

The shadows of Saturn

Saturn's rings cast shadows on the planet, but the shadows appear to be inside out! The edge of Saturn's outermost A ring can be seen at the top left corner of the image.

Star is discovered to be a close neighbor of the Sun and the coldest of its kind

A "brown dwarf" star that appears to be the coldest of its kind -- as frosty as Earth's North Pole -- has been discovered by a Penn State University astronomer using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Images from the space telescopes also pinpointed the object's distance at 7.2 light-years away, making it the fourth closest system to our Sun.

Climate change: don't wait until you can feel it

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence for the impending dangers of human-made climate change, policy decisions leading to substantial emissions reduction have been slow.

Research shows smartphone sensors leave trackable fingerprints

Fingerprints — those swirling residues left on keyboards and doorknobs — are mostly invisible. They can affirm your onetime presence, but they cannot be used to track your day-to-day activities.

Stanford bioengineers create circuit board modeled on the human brain

Stanford bioengineers have developed a new circuit board modeled on the human brain, possibly opening up new frontiers in robotics and computing. For all their sophistication, computers pale in comparison to the brain. The modest cortex of the mouse, for instance, operates 9,000 times faster than a personal computer simulation of its functions.

NASA honors William Shatner (AKA Captain Kirk)

After nearly 50 years of warping across galaxies and saving the universe from a variety of alien threats and celestial disasters, Star Trek’s William Shatner finally went where no other member of Starfleet has gone before. This weekend, the acclaimed actor and director was honored with NASA’s Distinguished Public Service medal, the highest award bestowed by the agency to non-government personnel.

NASA analyzes ozone’s ups and downs

New NASA research on natural ozone cycles suggests ozone levels in the lowest part of Earth’s atmosphere probably won't be affected much by projected future strengthening of the circulating winds that transport ozone between Earth's two lowest atmospheric layers.

Multilayer, microscale solar cells enable ultrahigh efficiency power generation

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign use a printing process to assemble tiny cells into multilayer stacks for extraordinary levels of photovoltaic conversion efficiency.

Claim: Wetlands likely to blame for greenhouse gas increases

A surprising recent rise in atmospheric methane likely stems from wetland emissions, suggesting that much more of the potent greenhouse gas will be pumped into the atmosphere as northern wetlands continue to thaw and tropical ones to warm, according to a new international study led by a University of Guelph researcher.

Report: Ozone levels drop 20 percent with switch from ethanol to gasoline

A Northwestern University study by an economist and a chemist reports that when fuel prices drove residents of São Paulo, Brazil, to mostly switch from ethanol to gasoline in their flexible-fuel vehicles, local ozone levels dropped 20 percent. At the same time, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide concentrations tended to go up.

Researcher develops smart components that assemble themselves

Skylar Tibbits SM '10 was constructing a massive museum installation with thousands of pieces when he had an epiphany. “Imagine yourself facing months on end assembling this thing, thinking there’s got to be a better way,” he says.

Astronomical forensics spot planetary disks in NASA's Hubble archive

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have applied a new image processing technique to obtain near-infrared scattered light photos of five disks observed around young stars in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes database. These disks are telltale evidence for newly formed planets.

Traces of recent water on Mars

The southern hemisphere of Mars is home to a crater that contains very well-preserved gullies and debris flow deposits. The geomorphological attributes of these landforms provide evidence that they were formed by the action of liquid water in geologically recent time.

NASA's Spitzer and WISE telescopes find close, cold neighbor of the Sun

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered what appears to be the coldest "brown dwarf" known -- a dim, star-like body that surprisingly is as frosty as Earth's North Pole.

Reconstructed ancient ocean reveals secrets about the origin of life

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have published details about how the first organisms on Earth could have become metabolically active. The results, which are reported in the journal Molecular Systems Biology, permit scientists to speculate how primitive cells learned to synthesize their organic components – the molecules that form RNA, lipids and amino acids. The findings also suggest an order for the sequence of events that led to the origin of life.

What would the ancient Maya have thought about Facebook?

If Facebook were around 1,400 years ago, the ancient Maya might have been big fans of the virtual self. The Maya believed that part of your identity could inhabit material objects, like a courtier's mirror or sculptor's carving tool. Maya might even name these objects, talk to them or take them to special events. They considered these items to be alive.