My name is Steve and I’m a sub auroral ion drift

Photo: The Aurora Named STEVE Couresty: NASA Goddard That stunning image is one of a series, many of which were taken by amateur photographers as noted in a March 14, 2018 US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA)/Goddard Space Flight Center news release (also on EurekAlert) by Kasha Patel about how STEVE was discovered, Notanee Bourassa knew that what he was seeing in the night sky was not normal. Bourassa, an IT technician in Regina,…

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Graphene flakes bring spintronics a step closer?

Italian researchers are hoping that graphene flakes will be instrumental in the development of spintronics according to a March 14, 2018 news item on phys.org, Graphene nanoflakes are promising for possible applications in the field of nanoelectronics, and the subject of a study recently published in Nano Letters. These hexagonal nanostructures exhibit quantum effects for modulating current flow. Thanks to their intrinsic magnetic properties, they could also represent a significant step forward in the field…

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Getting more value from brines: tech improvements reduce costs, increase recoveries for lithium

The demand for lithium is projected to increase 73 per cent by 2025. Lithium extraction is often expensive and time consuming, so how can mining companies keep up with this fast-rising demand? Keep reading to learn about new advances in lithium recovery technologies.

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Heuristic models as inspiration-for and falsifiers-of abstractions

Last month, I blogged about abstraction and lamented that abstract models are lacking in biology. Here, I want to return to this. What isn’t lacking in biology — and what I also work on — is simulation and heuristic models. These can seem abstract in the colloquial sense but are not very abstract for a computer scientist. They are usually more idealizations than abstractions. And even if all I care about is abstract models —…

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Body-on-a-chip (10 organs)

Also known as human-on-a-chip, the 10-organ body-on-a-chip was being discussed at the 9th World Congress on Alternatives to Animal Testing in the Life Sciences in 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic (see this July 1, 2015 posting for more). At the time, scientists were predicting success at achieving their goal of 10 organs on-a-chip in 2017 (the best at the time was four organs). Only a few months past that deadline, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of…

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‘Lilliputian’ skyscraper: white graphene for hydrogen storage

This story comes from Rice University (Texas, US). From a March 12, 2018 news item on Nanowerk, Rice University engineers have zeroed in on the optimal architecture for storing hydrogen in “white graphene” nanomaterials — a design like a Lilliputian skyscraper with “floors” of boron nitride sitting one atop another and held precisely 5.2 angstroms apart by boron nitride pillars. Caption Thousands of hours of calculations on Rice University’s two fastest supercomputers found that the…

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Flat gallium (gallenene) and nanoelectronics

Another day, another 2D material. A March 9, 2018 news item on ScienceDaily announced the latest thin material from Rice university, Scientists at Rice University and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have discovered a method to make atomically flat gallium that shows promise for nanoscale electronics. The Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan and colleagues in India created two-dimensional gallenene, a thin film of conductive material that is to gallium what graphene is…

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Know any Canadian scientists (Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs) who’d like to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators?

The folks at the Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC) have just announced a pilot project heavily influenced by a successful Australian initiative matching scientists and lawmakers for a day. This is going to cost the participant money and the application deadline is August 31, 2018. If you’re still interested, from a July 10, 2018 CSPC announcement (received via email), The Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC), in partnership with the Chief Science Advisor of Canada [Mona…

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Symbiosis (science education initiative) in British Columbia (Canada)

Is it STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) or is it STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics)? It’s STEAM as least as far as Dr. Scott Sampson is concerned. In his July 6, 2018 Creative Mornings Vancouver talk in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) he mentioned a major science education/outreach initiative taking place in the province of British Columbia (BC) but intended for all of Canada, Symbiosis There was some momentary confusion as Sampson’s slide…

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Nanoscale measurements for osteoarthritis biomarker

There’s a new technique for measuring hyaluronic acid (HA), which appears to be associated with osteoarthritis. A March 12, 2018 news item on ScienceDaily makes the announcement, For the first time, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have been able to measure a specific molecule indicative of osteoarthritis and a number of other inflammatory diseases using a newly developed technology. This preclinical [emphasis mine] study used a solid-state nanopore sensor as a tool for…

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