Wednesday, March 2, 2011
ORNL in the News

Carbon fiber market: Cautious optimism

(Composites World) A big question before the carbon fiber supply community is whether or not a viable, inexpensive non-polyacrylonitrile-based precursor can be developed to help reduce the cost of carbon fiber. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is pursuing development of a lignin-based precursor that, it's hoped, could reduce carbon fiber cost by as much as 50 percent....3/1

Diesel-saving device taps ORNL power

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Rarely do supercomputers and trucking find their way into the same conversation. But a new device that improves the fuel efficiency of long-haul tractor trailers by 7-12 percent got a boost from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's computing capabilities....3/2

State & Regional

Teacher tenure, charter schools top Beth Harwell's list

(Tennessean) House Speaker Beth Harwell said Tuesday that her chamber plans to take up Gov. Bill Haslam's proposals on tenure and charter schools before considering a measure to do away with teachers' collective bargaining rights....3/2

Other Stories

An Unsung Hero of the Nuclear Age

(Slate) Maj. Harold Hering sacrificed his military career to ask a Forbidden Question about launching nuclear missiles. A question that exposed the comforting illusions of the so called fail-safe system designed to prevent "unauthorized" nuclear missile launches....2/28

Natalie Portman, Oscar Winner, Was Also a Precocious Scientist

(New York Times) As a student at Syosset High School on Long Island back in the late 1990s, Ms. Portman made it all the way to the semifinal rounds of the Intel competition....3/2

National

Government shutdown avoided for now, with a two-week funding extension

(Washington Post) House and Senate leaders on Tuesday bought themselves a little more time in their efforts to avoid a government shutdown, agreeing to a two-week funding extension that also includes $4 billion in spending cuts. ...3/2 [Registration Required]

Both Sides Embrace Government-Waste Study

(Wall Street Journal) A 345-page report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said there were dozens of overlapping programs in areas like defense, transportation and education that could be consolidated to save taxpayers money....3/2

Gaddafi strikes at town, rebels eye foreign help

(Reuters) Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched a major fightback in Libya's east on Wednesday, sparking a rebel warning that foreign military help might be needed to "put the nail in his coffin" and end his long rule....3/2

energy & science policy

Inside Energy Extra

3/1 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** House eases prospect of shutdown
** Frelinghuysen: No DOE funding hike
** Murkowski: ARPA-E won't be zeroed out
** GAO hits Interior again on royalties
** Upton eyes NRC licensing procedures

science & technology

Gibbon songs have regional accents, says new study

(Washington Post) The small apes begin calling out to one another every morning at dawn and again throughout the day. It turns out that some of those songs might have distinctive characteristics similar to accents, according to a recent study in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology....3/1 [Registration Required]

For Turtles, Earth's Magnetism Is A Built-In GPS

(NPR) Loggerhead turtles are born with an ability to know where they are on earth, and which way to swim to get to favorable feeding grounds. That's the conclusion from a new study by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill....3/2

Microscope with 50-nanometre resolution demonstrated

(BBC) A record-breaking optical microscope is demonstrated by UK researchers who used tiny glass beads to cheat the normal rules of light....3/2

Greenhouse solar plant for cheaper extraction of oil

(PhysOrg) A Californian company has found a way to reduce the cost of making steam for use in extracting oil from old oil fields: they heat the water using free sunlight....3/2

New Conditions for Life on Other Planets: Tidal Effects Change 'Habitable Zone' Concept

(Science Daily) Tides can render the so-called "habitable zone" around low-mass stars uninhabitable. This is the main result of a recently published study by a team of astronomers led by René Heller of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam....3/2

Sight Gets Repurposed in Brains of the Blind

(Wired) In the brains of people blind from birth, structures used in sight are still put to work — but for a very different purpose. Rather than processing visual information, they appear to handle language....3/2