Friday, August 20, 2010
ORNL in the News

UT, ORNL Crunching Numbers to Make Sense of Climate Change

(HPCwire) Buried in mountains of meteorological and hydrological data are likely clues that could help in predicting floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather events. Through a new multi-institution project that includes the University of Tennessee and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Auroop Ganguly and colleagues plan to use data mining techniques to enhance the accuracy of climate and earth system models....8/19

Siemens Foundation in Conjunction with Discovery Education Conclude Two Elite STEM Professional Development Programs Empowering Educators Nationwide

(eSchool News) Last month, 20 middle and high school educators from across the country participated in the STARs program. Teachers spent two weeks at the U.S Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., working with some of the nation's top scientists. From June 20th to July 2nd, teachers worked in mentored teams to conduct research on topics such as renewable resources, energy efficiency, superconductivity, and material sciences. In addition, each teacher received a $500 mini-grant to purchase equipment and supplies for his or her classroom....8/19

Supercomputing Enables Largest-Ever Earthquake Simulation

(Dr. Dobb's Journal) The latest simulation is the largest in terms of duration of the temblor (six minutes) and the geographical area covered — a rectangular volume approximately 500 miles (810km) long by 250 miles (405 km) wide, by 50 miles (85km) deep. The team's latest research also set a new record in the number of computer processor cores used, with more than 223,000 cores running within a single 24-hour period on the Jaguar Cray XT5 supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee....8/19

NSF grant funds NC State research on predicting effects of climate change

(Scientific Computing) North Carolina State University researchers are part of a major new research initiative from the National Science Foundation aiming at improving climate scientists' ability to predict potential consequences of climate change. The grant, which is being led by Professor Vipin Kumar from the University of Minnesota, includes $1.8 million in funding for work that will be performed at NC State by Drs. Fred Semazzi and Nagiza Samatova. Samatova, an associate professor of computer science at NC State and joint faculty appointee at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will be developing high performance data analytics algorithms and tools that will ideally be able to improve the accuracy and detail of climate forecasts....8/19

DOE

DOE Announces Nearly $120 Million to Advance Innovative Weatherization Projects, Highlights Progress in the Program Nationally

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today award selections for approximately 120 organizations across the country that will receive nearly $120 million to drive innovation under the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program....8/19

IG cites ORNL for lax control of hard drives with potentially sensitive information

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Judy Penry, the chief financial officer of the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge office, wrote that DOE concurred with the IG's recommendations, such as compliance with DOE regs on storage media no longer in use and additional training of lab employees on policies for removal of hard drives....8/19

National

Israelis and Palestinians to Resume Talks, Officials Say

(New York Times) The parties are expected to resume direct negotiations for the first time in 20 months, delivering the Obama administration a small victory in the Middle East peace process....8/20

State & Regional

Manufacturing jobs make comeback in TN

(Tennessean) Production lines are gearing back up, and a few more people are going back to work in manufacturing here, traditionally among the best-paying jobs in Tennessee just as the national employment picture dims again. "We generally have seen gains this year, and while the levels are really low, the pattern is at least one of growth," said University of Tennessee economist Bill Fox....8/20

TVA to revive mothballed Bellefonte

(Chattanooga Times Free Press) TVA directors will be asked today to spend $250 million in the next fiscal year for engineering and equipment work for the possible completion of the Unit 1 reactor at the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Hollywood, Ala....8/20

energy & science policy

Tribal Lands Struggle To Bring Clean Power Online

(NPR) Many tribal lands in the U.S. don't have electricity yet have a tremendous capacity to produce it from clean energy sources. Only one tribe is currently operating a utility-scale energy facility, as bureaucratic red tape and tax disincentives are hindering renewable energy development on Indian land....8/20

science & technology

Academic scientists say oil from gulf spill is not going away quickly

(Washington Post) Academic scientists are challenging the Obama administration's assertion that most of BP's oil in the Gulf of Mexico is either gone or rapidly disappearing -- with one group Thursday announcing the discovery of a 22-mile "plume" of oil that shows little sign of vanishing....8/20 [Registration Required]

Over a Billion Years, Scientists Find, the Moon Went Through a Shrinking Phase

(New York Times) The Moon is shrinking. As a result of the moon's shrinkage, its brittle crust ruptured and thrust faults pushed crustal materials up the side of a crater and formed distinctive landforms. In making the announcement, scientists were quick to add that the Moon has not shrunk by much, that the shrinking may have occurred over a billion years, and that the Moon will not shrink out of view in the future....8/19

Chernobyl species decline linked to DNA

(BBC News) Scientists working in Chernobyl have found a way to predict which species there are likely to be most severely damaged by radioactive contamination. The secret to a species' vulnerability, they say, lies in its DNA. This discovery could reveal which species are most likely to decline or even become extinct in response to other types of environmental stress....8/20

'Virtual Shellfish' Aid In Studying Oil's Effects

(NPR) Researchers at Mote Marine Lab have developed a "virtual shellfish" -- a device that captures contaminants in the water. After placing the device on the seafloor and collecting it 30 days later, scientists can calculate how much of a contaminant exists in animals and in sea life higher up in the marine food chain....8/20

Focusing on Dark Energy With Cosmic Lens

(Wired) Our view of dark energy, the mysterious force that is shoving the universe apart, just got a little clearer. By observing the way large clumps of mass distort their local space-time into enormous cosmological lenses, astronomers have zoomed in on a quantity that describes how dark energy works....8/19

Other Stories

Why Iran's nuclear reactor may not be an immediate threat

(Christian Science Monitor) Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor is set to be loaded with fuel Saturday. Some hawks say bomb it now, but leading nuclear experts advocate a wait-and-see approach....8/19

Titanic Is Falling Apart

(National Geographic) Slipping beneath the waves on April 15, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic famously disappeared from view until 1985, when it was rediscovered on the bottom of the North Atlantic. Now, scientists say, the legendary liner—beset by metal-eating life-forms, powerful currents, and possibly even human negligence—could be vanishing for good. Titanic is falling apart....8/18