Monday, January 23, 2012
ORNL in the News

ORNL physicist creates smarter, safer smoke alarm technology

(WBIR) A physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a new smoke alarm technology that could help save lives...Bruce Warmack said his design is smarter. "The important thing is, if it is a nuisance, it knows that... then it knows to be quiet," he said. The technology fits inside a small micro-controller, about the size of a pinky nail. That piece can analyze a room for normal levels, or detect different types of smoke...1/20

Jaguar ComputerNext-gen super-computers have huge energy cost

(MSNBC) Warehouse-size supercomputers costing $1 million to $100 million can seem as distant from ordinary laptops and tablets as Greek immortals on Mount Olympus...GPUs will also boost the $100 million Titan supercomputer scheduled for installation at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn...1/20

Sandia chemists find new material to remove radioactive gas from spent nuclear fuel

(Insciences Org) Research by a team of Sandia chemists could impact worldwide efforts to produce clean, safe nuclear energy and reduce radioactive waste...The Sandia researchers are part of the Off-Gas Sigma Team, which is led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and studies waste-form capture of volatile gasses associated with nuclear fuel reprocessing...1/23

DOE

Rep. Markey wants DOE to nix support for USEC

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Congressman Ed Markey, D-Mass., today reiterated his opposition to government support for USEC Inc., responding to the latest move in which the Department of Energy is apparently helping keep the plans for the American Centrifuge Project on life support...1/20

State & Regional

TN gun laws, or lack thereof, under attack

(WBIR) Tennessee is among 34 states that don't require any background checks for private sales of firearms, even if the sale is handled by an online site. But now, the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is calling for the federal government to mandate background checks in all gun sales...1/22

Bredesen promotes use of data in educational reform

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen sat down with education leaders last week to discuss the importance of using data to improve national educational standards...1/23

National

Congress puts anti-piracy bill on backburner amid uproar

(Fox News) Congressional leaders announced Friday that they are putting controversial anti-online piracy legislation on the backburner, amid widespread objections from the tech community and others...1/20

Federal employees owe $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes

(Washington Post) Congressional staffers owed about $10.6 million in unpaid taxes in 2010, a slight increase from the previous year and a growing slice of the roughly $1 billion owed by federal and postal workers nationwide...1/23

East Tennessee

Mistakes idle workers at TVA nuclear reactor

(WATE) Mistakes by construction workers at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar reactor project, described Friday by the utility's chief executive as potentially fatal, idled about 1,000 workers temporarily for a safety talk...1/20

energy & science policy

Energy Department Takes First Step to Spur U.S. Manufacturing of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

(DOE Press Release) The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the first step toward manufacturing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the United States, demonstrating the Administration’s commitment to advancing U.S. manufacturing leadership in low-carbon, next generation energy technologies and restarting the nation’s nuclear industry....1/20

Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Science Committee hears an Update on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

(AIP)The House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight met on November 30, 2011 to receive an update on accountability, transparency, and performance issues associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)...1/20

science & technology

Egypt's scientists savour post-revolution year

(Nature News) Scientists have been reflecting on the astonishing gains that the Egyptian revolution has delivered them, as the first anniversary of Egypt's Tahrir Square uprising approaches next week. Over the past year, the science budget has increased by more than a third, salaries have risen and plans have been made for a science and technology city...1/20

BirdSpeed Limit for Birds: Researchers Find Critical Speed Above Which Birds -- And Drones -- Are Sure to Crash

(Science Daily) The northern goshawk is one of nature's diehard thrill-seekers. The formidable raptor preys on birds and small mammals, speeding through tree canopies and underbrush to catch its quarry...1/19

Other Stories

Argentario CoastCruise ship threatens marine paradise

(PhysOrg) A half-million gallons (2,400 tons) of black goo are in danger of leaking out and polluting some of the Mediterranean's most unspoiled sea, where dolphins are known to chase playfully after sailboats and fishermen's catches are so prized that wholesalers come from across Italy to scoop up cod, lobsters, scampi, swordfish and other delicacies...1/20

Joe Paterno, former Penn State football coach, dies at 85

(Fox News) Happy Valley was perfect for Joe Paterno, a place where "JoePa" knew best, where he not only won more football games than any other major college coach, but won them the right way: with integrity and sportsmanship...1/22

Out there

Carnivorous PlantWorm-Eating Plant Found—Kills via Underground Leaves

(National Geographic) Scientists have solved an underground mystery: Why does a plant that survives on sunlight grow leaves beneath the earth? Flowering plants of the genus Philcoxia are the only known plants with the "awkward" feature of subterranean leaves, said Rafael Oliveira, a plant biologist at the State University of Campinas in Brazil...1/10