Thursday, March 14, 2013
ORNL in the News

Cray re-soldering Titan’s connectors, supercomputer testing could be done in April

(Oak Ridge Today) Hundreds of connectors are being re-soldered each week, and the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory—the world’s fastest machine—could be in regular production by May, a lab official said Wednesday. Jeff Nichols, ORNL associate lab director for computing and computational sciences, said connectors on the $100 million computer’s motherboards had too much gold, and solder was interacting with the gold on connector pins, making the solder unstable and leading to cracks...3/13

NASA Starts Making Plutonium

(Discovery News) After a 25-year hiatus, the Unites States has produced its first non-weapons grade plutonium needed to power space probes when solar energy won’t suffice...After encapsulating the radioactive starter material neptunium, putting it into a reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and radiating it for a month, the DOE did successfully generate plutonium, said Jim Green, chief of NASA’s planetary science division...3/14


Congressional panel faults nuke agency in Y-12 break-in

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Federal investigators said Wednesday a security breach last summer at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex exposed a larger pattern of cultural and management problems at the federal agency that oversees the nation’s nuclear stockpile...3/14

Protesters tripped alarms like crazy, but Y-12's security force didn't respond; B&W report blames WSI for most problems

(Knoxville News Sentinel) As three protesters moved deeper and deeper into "Zone 63," the last buffer before they reached the inner sanctum of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, their movements were triggering alarms like crazy...3/13

State & Regional

Educational Fracking? UT Wants to Research Oil and Gas Drilling, But at What Cost?

(Metro Pulse) The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is the flagship public research university in the state. So it makes sense that it’d want to invest in a longterm project to study the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the oil and gas industry in the state...3/13


Wary of Attack With Smallpox, U.S. Buys Up a Costly Drug

(NY Times) The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox medicine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment of it last week...3/12

East Tennessee

Paper mill in Calhoun, Tenn., once known as Bowater, idles its last newsprint machine

(Times Free Press) ...Next week, Bowater's successor company, now known as Resolute Forest Products, will shut down its last newsprint machine in Calhoun after decades of shedding forest lands and mill jobs in response to the shrinking size and circulation of its newspaper customers...3/13

Consultant to Discuss Gas and Oil Research Initiative at Science Forum

(Tennessee Today) Richard Evans, a UT research consultant will discuss the Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center’s Gas and Oil Research Initiative at the Science Forum on Friday...3/12

energy & science policy

House Subcommittee Reviews Access to Data

(AIP) “We want to maximize access to data while protecting personal privacy, avoid any negative impact on intellectual property rights and innovation, and preserve data without ridiculous cost or administrative burdens,” explained House Research Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-IN)...3/13

Chinese firm puts millions into U.S. natural gas stations

(Reuters) ENN Group Co Ltd, one of China's largest private companies, is quietly rolling out plans to establish a network of natural gas fueling stations for trucks along U.S. highways...3/14

science & technology

Inequality quantified: Mind the gender gap

(Nature) Female scientists have made steady gains in recent decades but they face persistent career challenges. US universities and colleges employ far more male scientists than female ones and men earn significantly more in science occupations...3/6

In Search of Energy Miracles

(NY Times) At a legendary but secretive laboratory in California, Lockheed Martin is working on a plan that some employees hope might transform the world’s energy system: a practicable type of nuclear fusion...China is racing to develop nuclear energy using an abundant element called thorium...3/11

Resurrecting A Forest

(National Geographic News) Can modern genetic science help bring American chestnut forests back from near extinction?...3/12

A Dangerous Fixation

(Slate) Synthetic nitrogen was born 100 years ago; it’s why half of us are alive...3/12

Physicists Say They Have Found a Higgs Boson

(AP) Physicists say they are now confident they have discovered a long-sought subatomic particle known as a Higgs boson. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, says a look at all the data from 2012 shows that what they found last year was a version of what is popularly referred to as the "God particle."...3/14

Other Stories

Tim Berners-Lee Explains The Necessity Of Open Web Standards

(Forbes) An idiot journalist once introduced Tim Berners-Lee as the “Inventor of the Internet.” He was quickly and firmly corrected by the man himself, who pointed out that the he invented the World Wide Web, not the Internet...3/13