Friday, February 25, 2011
ORNL in the News

Switchgrass yields up 33 percent in new breakthrough

(Biofuels Digest) In Tennessee, a research team at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Georgia Tech and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a strain of switchgrass that produces about 33 percent more ethanol than conventional switchgrass....2/24

ORNL partners with Los Alamos, Sandia in pursuit of extreme computing

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Jeff Nichols, ORNL's associate lab director for scientific computing, said Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Sandia would share configurations and work together with industry to design and develop hardware and software for an exaflops computing system (capable in the range of a quintillion or million trillion calculations per second)....2/24

Researchers use Jaguar to shed light on the last major dark spot in astrophysics

(R & D Magazine) The sight of an aurora evokes feelings of mystery and awe in the weekend star gazer and scientist alike. The stargazer may ponder the vastness of our universe or how such vivid color can be created in space, but for the scientist, the questions lie in the composition of the aurora—and how little we actually know about it....2/24

DOE

Department of Energy Finalizes $96.8 Million Loan Guarantee for Oregon Geothermal Project

(DOE Press Release) Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy finalized a $96.8 million Recovery Act supported loan guarantee to a project sponsored by U.S. Geothermal, Inc. to construct a 23 megawatt (net) geothermal power project in Malheur County, in southeastern Oregon....2/24

National

U.S. Pulling Back in Afghan Valley It Called Vital to War

(New York Times) American officials say the Pech Valley consumed resources disproportionate with its importance and there are not enough troops to win decisively against the Taliban and Al Qaeda....2/25

State & Regional

Pell Grants, biofuels funds on cutting board

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Federal research dollars and support for biofuels are at risk in the coming weeks for the University of Tennessee. If funding takes a hit, the most vulnerable research program could be the BioEnergy Science Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory....2/25

energy & science policy

Scientists Are Cleared of Misuse of Data

(New York Times) An inquiry by a federal watchdog agency found no evidence that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manipulated climate data to buttress the evidence in support of global warming....2/25

Should US draw on strategic reserves to temper rise in oil prices?

(Christian Science Monitor) [Video] Rapidly rising oil prices, and fears it could harm the US economy, make tapping the strategic reserves a tempting option. But analysts say it would work only for the short term....2/25

science & technology

Discovery, Bound for Space Station, Leaves Earth One Last Time

(New York Times) The 39th mission for the shuttle, with six astronauts aboard, is to deliver supplies, equipment and a storage module to the International Space Station....2/25

Fungus Knocks Out Malaria In Mosquitoes

(NPR) Scientists have come up with a new approach to controlling malaria. Instead of killing the mosquito that transmits the malaria parasite, the researchers have found a way to let the mosquito live, while killing the parasite inside it....2/24

Researchers find magnetic link to high-temperature superconductivity

(PhysOrg) Researchers from the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science have seen strong indications of a relationship between the superconductive and magnetic properties of high-temperature superconductors....2/24

Can geoengineering put the freeze on global warming?

(USA Today) Scientists call it "geoengineering," but in plain speak, it means things like this: blasting tons of sulfate particles into the sky to reflect sunlight away from Earth; filling the ocean with iron filings to grow plankton that will suck up carbon; even dimming sunlight with space shades....2/25

Discovery of Oldest Northern North American Human Remains Provides New Insights Into Ice-Age Culture

(Science Daily) Scientists have discovered the cremated skeleton of a Paleoindian child in the remains of an 11,500-year-old house in central Alaska....2/24