Friday, May 4, 2012
ORNL in the News

Wood chips - tons of them - to power lab's new heating system

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Smoldering wood chips in oxygen-starved chambers will be used to generate steam heat for most of the buildings at Oak Ridge National Laboratory...The new $60 million system will create enough steam heat to power the equivalent of 18,000 homes, said Bob Baugh, director of the lab's utilities division...5/4

10 layoffs at ORNL

(Knoxville News Sentinel) As part of the ongoing Workforce Restructuring Program announced by Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason in September 2011, about 10 employees received layoff notices this week. Some of those were in the lab's medical facility...5/3

Lignol Joins Carbon Fiber Consortium

(The Sacramento Bee) Lignol Energy Corporation a leading technology company in the advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals sector, today announced that it has become a member of the Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium...The Consortium is managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the US Department of Energy system...5/3

Secret Capacity of Computer Memory Material

(California Science & Technology News) A team led by Johns Hopkins engineers has discovered some previously unknown properties of a common memory material, paving the way for development of new forms of memory drives, movie discs and computer systems that retain data more quickly, last longer and allow far more capacity than current data storage media...co-authors of the paper were Y. Q. Cheng of Johns Hopkins and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee...5/3

National

Clinton says U.S. willing to work with North Korea if it reforms

(Reuters) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the United States was willing to work with North Korea if it changed its ways, and also said more pressure should be brought to bear on Sudan and Syria...5/4

DOE

U.S. and Japan Complete Successful Field Trial of Methane Hydrate Production Technologies

(Energy.gov) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the completion of a successful, unprecedented test of technology in the North Slope of Alaska that was able to safely extract a steady flow of natural gas from methane hydrates – a vast, entirely untapped resource that holds enormous potential for U.S. economic and energy security...5/2

East Tennessee

Oak Ridge funding pleases Alexander

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today praised the inclusion last week in the fiscal year 2013 Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill of $25 million to begin addressing mercury contamination at the Y-12 National Security Complex, $340 million (a 113 percent increase from fiscal year 2012) for construction of the Uranium Processing Facility, and $94 million for a supercomputer upgrade at Oak Ridge National Lab, saying the bill showed "that, even while we are reducing overall spending in this bill, the committee's support for these projects demonstrates they are priorities for our entire nation."...5/3

Big South Fork initiatives to be reviewed Friday

(AP) Officials at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will review ongoing park initiatives Friday. They will also discuss the exotic hemlock wooly adelgid infestation affecting the region's eastern hemlock stands...5/4

science & technology

Supermoon Coming Saturday—Not a Threat to Earth

(National Geographic News) On Saturday night, the full moon will be closer to Earth than at any other time this year, an occurrence that's been labeled a supermoon. Due to the moon's egg-shaped orbit, there are times when our natural satellite is at perigee—its closest to Earth—and at apogee, its farthest...5/3

Wild Plants Respond to Climate Change Quicker than Science Suggested

(Scientific American) Scientific experiments to measure the rate and effects of climate change on plants aren't matching up to what is happening in nature, a new study finds...5/3

‘Ome,’ the Sound of the Scientific Universe Expanding

(NY Times) The age of “omes” is here. It began with the genome, continued with the proteome, branched out with the memome and reached full flowering with the notion of the omome...5/3

Nanofiber Paper is Waterproof, Magnetic

(Discovery News) The nanotech paper development was led by Roberto Cingolani, the scientific director of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology) in Genoa. Cingolani and his fellow scientists wanted to give normal paper super powers. So they came up with a process that creates a soft 3-D shell around each fiber in the material...5/3

Other Stories

More employers give green light to flexible hours

(Fortune) According to the 2012 National Study of Employers, a massive survey of companies across a range of industries conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and the nonprofit Families and Work Institute, more employers now try to accommodate their staffers' work-life needs than in pre-recession 2005...5/3

Japan’s Leaders Fret as Nuclear Shutdown Nears

(NY Times) Barring an unexpected turnaround, Japan on Saturday will become a nuclear-free nation for the first time in more than four decades, at least temporarily...5/3