Wednesday, April 18, 2012
ORNL in the News

ORNL Improves Enzyme Functionality with Jaguar

(HPC Wire) Light of specific wavelengths can be used to boost an enzyme's function by as much as 30 fold, potentially establishing a path to less expensive biofuels, detergents and a host of other products. In a paper published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, a team led by Pratul Agarwal of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory described a process that aims to improve upon nature - and it happens in the blink of an eye...4/17

Energy Department Report Finds Major Potential to Increase Clean Hydroelectric Power

(Energy.gov) As part of President Obama’s all-out, all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today released a renewable energy resource assessment detailing the potential to develop electric power generation at existing dams across the United States that aren’t currently equipped to produce power...This report, funded by the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, will be a valuable tool for state and local officials, as well as industry stakeholders. It was produced by the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in partnership with Idaho National Laboratory...4/17

Ford sets goal of cutting 750 pounds out of every car by end of decade

(Impact Lab) Like any biggest loser, Ford needs some help if it is going to get to its goal. It went right to Dow Chemical, which thinks it can come through with an affordable automotive diet pill of sorts known as carbon fiber...Ford says the joint development effort will also leverage work that Dow has already begun with Turkish carbon fiber manufacturer AKSA and the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory...4/17

Recent demolition makes ORNL cleaner, safer

(Oak Ridger) U.S. Department of Energy cleanup contractor Safety and Ecology Corp. recently removed four structures as part of the Building 3026 C/D Hot Cells Project. The structures, which once processed radioisotopes, have been a safety concern for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory since the building's outer structure was removed in 2010...4/16

DOE

Not secret: microwaves still not ready at Y-12

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ...The goal is to use microwaves for melting highly enriched uranium and casting the nuclear material in specific forms and shapes for the nuclear weapons program...4/18

US House budget for DOE would boost fossil energy, cuts renewables R&D

(Platts) The US House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee on Tuesday released its draft fiscal 2013 budget for the US Department of Energy, giving the agency $26.3 billion, a cut of $358 million below the current year's level and $1.8 billion below President Barack Obama's request...4/17

National

U.S., NATO to Hand Off Frontline Combat

(Time) The United States and its NATO allies are readying plans to pull away from the front lines in Afghanistan next year as President Barack Obama and fellow leaders try to show that the unpopular war is ending...4/18

East Tennessee

Knox County’s Red Air Quality Alert

(Tennessee Today) The university is monitoring the air quality in the area due to the smoke associated with the mulch fire just northwest of campus. The Knox County Health Department changed the air quality status yesterday from orange, unhealthy for sensitive people, to red, which means unhealthy for everyone...4/17

energy & science policy

With Flat Budget Proposed, Clamor Builds in Congress for More NIH Spending

(GEN) This election year wouldn’t appear to offer much hope for real year-over-year growth in the NIH budget, with both sides of the political spectrum attacking sky-high federal spending. President Barack Obama is proposing to keep NIH’s budget flat in FY 2013 at $30.702 billion in discretionary budget authority from Congress and $30.86 billion in overall program level funding...4/18

science & technology

Entirely New Carbon-Based Material Synthesized from Graphene

(Science Daily) Scientists and engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) have discovered an entirely new carbon-based material that is synthesized from the "wonder kid" of the carbon family, graphene...4/16

Will gas crowd out wind and solar?

(Fortune) [Editorial] Fracking technology has given the U.S. a 100-year supply of cheap natural gas. What's its impact on coal, nuclear, wind, and solar power?...4/17

From Silicon Valley, A New Approach To Education

(NPR) Last year when Andrew Ng, a computer science professor at Stanford University, put his machine-learning class online and opened enrollment to the world, more than 100,000 students signed up...4/18

Troublesome Karakoram glaciers getting bigger, new study suggests

(CS Monitor) Despite the global temperature increase and the overall shrinking of the world's glaciers, some glaciers in the Karakoram mountains have actually grown over the past decade, according to a new study...4/16

Other Stories

Bold strategies for Indian science

(Nature) When an Indian prime minister publicly admits that India has fallen behind China, it is news. Manmohan Singh's statement last January at the Indian Science Congress in Bhubaneswar that this is so with respect to scientific research...4/11

Angry North Korea threatens retaliation, nuclear test expected

(Reuters) A bristling North Korea said on Wednesday it was ready to retaliate in the face of international condemnation over its failed rocket launch, increasing the likelihood the hermit state will push ahead with a third nuclear test...4/18