Tuesday, June 29, 2010
ORNL in the News

MIT study urges US gas industry to back price on carbon emissions

(Platts) The natural gas industry should start backing a price on carbon emissions, the head of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study on the future of natural gas said Friday...Methane hydrates, or methane locked in ice, are believed to be located around the world in sea-floor sediments and permafrost. The US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory said estimates on how much energy is stored in methane hydrates range from 350 to 3,500 years' supply...6/25

MIT-ORNL Team Finds Thin Film Persksovite Material Shows Better Oxygen Reduction Than Bulk; Potential for Improved Power Production from SOFCs

(Green Car Congress) Researchers from MIT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, led by MIT professor Yang Shao-Horn, found that La0.8Sr0.2CoO3-δ (LSC) epitaxial thin films deposited on the surface of a crystal of zirconia exhibit better oxygen reduction kinetics than bulk LSC. The finding could lead to more powerful solid oxide fuel cells in the future—the new research suggests that output could be increased by up to a hundredfold by using thin films of certain perovskite compounds...6/28

Bravo for Peter Cummings

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Peter Cummings, principal scientist at ORNL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and John R. Hall Professor in the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt, will receive the 2010 Founder's Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. The award will be presented at the annual meeting, Nov. 7-12, in Salt Lake City...6/28

Scientists to heat terrain in climate test

(UPI) U.S. scientists say they are planning a large-scale ecosystem experiment in Alaska to test the effect of global warming on arctic terrain. While research has been conducted on the impact of climate change in temperate regions of the world, little is known about the effect global warming could have on arctic regions, the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory said in a release Friday. "The arctic regions are important to the topic of global warming," Stan Wullschleger of the laboratory's Environmental Sciences Division said, "because of the large land area they occupy around the world and the layer of permanently frozen soil, known as permafrost."...6/28

DOE

Department of Energy Announces $24 Million for Algal Biofuels Research

(DOE Press Release) The U.S. Department of Energy announced today the investment of up to $24 million for three research groups to tackle key hurdles in the commercialization of algae-based biofuels. The selections will support the development of a clean, sustainable transportation sector - a goal of the Department's continued effort to spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry while creating jobs...6/28

State & Regional

Governor signs TN immigration bill

(The Tennessean) Gov. Phil Bredesen signed an immigration bill Monday that requires local jailers to report to federal officials those people whose immigration status they cannot verify, setting aside objections from law enforcement and civil rights groups...6/29

National

U.S. Charges 11 in Russian Spy Case

(Wall Street Journal) Federal prosecutors alleged 11 people were spies living secret lives in American communities, from Seattle to Washington D.C., sent years ago to infiltrate U.S. society and glean its secrets...6/29

Kagan pledges deference to Congress

(AP) Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan pledged Monday to be properly deferential to Congress if confirmed as a justice and strive to "consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle and in accordance with law."...6/28

East Tennessee

It's about time: UT's Ayres Hall finally gets clocks

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The outside of Ayres Hall at the University of Tennessee has changed little over the years, but now it literally shows the passage of time. For the first time in its 89 years, the iconic building has clocks on each side of its tower...6/28

energy & science policy

Obama funds research into algae-based biofuels

(USA Today) The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday that it's awarding up to $24 million for three research groups to figure out how to make such biofuels commercially viable...6/29

Inside Energy Extra

6/28 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** White House, senators face choices
** BP needs ongoing scrutiny: Bingaman
** House panel drafts oil-spill bill
** DOE awards $24M for biofuels studies
** NNSA to sell excess titanium

science & technology

More Variation in Human Genome Than Expected: Surprisingly Common Transposons or 'Jumping Genes' Are Known to Cause Disease

(Science Daily) Scientists are finding more variation in the human genome than they had previously expected, now that new technologies are allowing researchers a closer look at the genomes of many individuals, according to a new study from University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers...6/25

Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind

(NY Times) At long last, the doodling daydreamer is getting some respect. In the past, daydreaming was often considered a failure of mental discipline, or worse...Neuroscientists complained that the rogue bursts of activity on brain scans kept interfering with their studies of more important mental functions. But now that researchers have been analyzing those stray thoughts, they’ve found daydreaming to be remarkably common — and often quite useful...6/29

Science historian cracks the 'Plato code'

(PhysOrg.com) A science historian at The University of Manchester has cracked "The Plato Code" - the long disputed secret messages hidden in the great philosopher's writings...6/28

An Internet 100 times as fast: A new network design could boost capacity

(PhysOrg.com) The heart of the Internet is a network of high-capacity optical fibers that spans continents. But while optical signals transmit information much more efficiently than electrical signals, they're harder to control. The routers that direct traffic on the Internet typically convert optical signals to electrical ones for processing, then convert them back for transmission, a process that consumes time and energy...6/28

Other Stories

Why Afghanistan's Lithium Is a Big Deal, Even If It Never Leaves the Ground

(Popular Science) Lithium is cheap and widely available, so why do we care about a new resource in a war zone? Because it’s another counter to the irrational fear that the automobile’s lithium-powered electric future is doomed before it begins...6/24

As Lawyers Fight Over the Gulf Moratorium, the Arctic Drilling Rush Continues

(Popular Mechanics) While oil continues to pour into the gulf and lawyers fight over the moratorium on new exploration in the area, drilling goes on in the arctic—likely home to the world's biggest undiscovered stores of conventional fossil fuels...6/24