Tech

They've been dubbed "grassoline" – second generation biofuels made from inedible plant material, including fast-growing weeds, agricultural waste, sawdust, etc. – and numerous scientific studies have shown them to be prime candidates for replacing gasoline to meet our transportation needs. However, before we can begin to roll down the highways on sustainable, carbon-neutral grassoline, numerous barriers must be overcome, starting with finding ways to break lignocellulosic biomass down into fermentable sugars.

A team of researchers from the University of Huelva has developed an environmentally-friendly lubricating grease based on ricin oil and cellulose derivatives, according to the journal Green Chemistry. The new formula does not include any of the contaminating components used to manufacture traditional industrial lubricants.

Dental disease may be a wake-up call that your diet is harming your body.

"The five-alarm fire bell of a tooth ache is difficult to ignore," says Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel, professor of dental public health sciences at the University of Washington (UW) School of Dentistry in Seattle. Beyond the immediate distress, dental pain may portend future medical problems. It may be a warning that the high-glycemic diet that led to dental problems in the short term may, in the long term, lead to potentially serious chronic diseases.

BERKELEY, CA – Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have demonstrated a way to fabricate efficient solar cells from low-cost and flexible materials. The new design grows optically active semiconductors in arrays of nanoscale pillars, each a single crystal, with dimensions measured in billionths of a meter.

Troy, N.Y. – A destructive earthquake will strike a lone, wooden condominium in Japan next week, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Michael Symans will be on site to watch it happen.

Iron and manganese compounds, in addition to sulfate, may play an important role in converting methane to carbon dioxide and eventually carbonates in the Earth's oceans, according to a team of researchers looking at anaerobic sediments. These same compounds may have been key to methane reduction in the early, oxygenless days of the planet's atmosphere.

July 9, 2009 (Honolulu) – Specialty care physicians can improve the health of high-risk patients by reviewing electronic health records and proactively providing e-consultations and treatment plan recommendations with primary care physicians, according to a Kaiser Permanente paper published online in the British Medical Journal.

The use of cardiac CT for low-risk chest pain patients in the emergency department, instead of the traditional standard of care (SOC) workup, reduces a patient's length of stay and hospital charges, according to a study performed at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. The SOC workup, which is timely and expensive, consists of a series of cardiac enzyme tests, ECGs and stress testing.

Investigators from Hospital for Special Surgery have shown that a biodegradable scaffold or plug can be used to treat patients with damaged knee cartilage. The study is unique in that it used serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and newer quantitative T2 mapping to examine how the plug incorporated itself into the knee. The research, abstract 8372, will be presented during the annual meeting of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, June 9-12, in Keystone, Colo.

Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar recently unveiled four newly designed solar power collection dishes at Sandia National Laboratories’ National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF).