Friday, August 12, 2011
ORNL in the News

Scientists experimenting with carbon fiber

(WBIR-TV) Carbon fibers look like fine black hairs, but thousands of them in a strand are incredibly strong. "Its strength is greater than high performance steel but weighs about one fifth," explained ORNL Group Leader Robert Norris. "That enables you to make structures that are significantly lighter than steel structures that still have the same performance."...8/11

5 new instruments at Spallation Neutron Source

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced the completion of a long-running, $68.5 million project that added five neutron-scattering research instruments to the Spallation Neutron Source....8/11

Oak Ridge researchers identify key gene; could streamline biofuels production

(Oak Ridger) A team of researchers at the Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center, which is led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have reportedly pinpointed the exact, single gene that controls ethanol production capacity in a microorganism....8/11

UQM Selected to Receive $3M DOE Funding to Develop Non-rare-earth Magnet Electric Motors for Vehicle Electrification

(Wall Street Journal) The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $3 million to UQM Technologies, Inc., for the development of non-rare-earth magnet electric motors for use in electric and hybrid electric vehicles. UQM will work with Ames Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop and apply new magnet materials in a high performance permanent magnet motor....8/11

DOE

USDA and DOE Fund 10 Research Projects to Accelerate Bioenergy Crop Production and Spur Economic Impact

(DOE Press Release) The U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture have awarded 10 grants totaling $12.2 million to spur research into improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of growing biofuel and bioenergy crops....8/11

East Tennessee

Weather boosting pot production in East Tennessee

(WBIR-TV) Officials say this year's mild temperatures and generous rainfall have boosted the quality of marijuana plants across East Tennessee, but not necessarily their quantity. They're finding better plants but fewer of them....8/11

National

Wall Street's Ups And Downs Leave Investors Worried

(NPR) It's been a volatile couple of weeks on Wall Street. With all of the major stock indexes down more than 10 percent since mid-July, individual investors are wondering what they should do....8/12

State & Regional

Retailers battle Amazon over taxes

(Tennessean) Tennessee is not alone in debating a change to its approach to online sales taxes. Motivated in large part by Amazon's growth, South Carolina, Texas and California also have pressed online retailers to collect sales taxes from their customers...8/12.

energy & science policy

Energy Department panel to endorse shale gas exploration

(Washington Post) A key Energy Department advisory panel will issue a qualified endorsement of shale gas exploration Thursday, saying that hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," can continue safely as long as companies disclose more about their practices and monitor their environmental impact....8/12

science & technology

Fossil 'suggests plesiosaurs did not lay eggs'

(BBC) Scientists say they have found the first evidence that giant sea reptiles - which lived at the same time as dinosaurs - gave birth to live young rather than laying eggs....8/11

Smart Skin: Electronics That Stick and Stretch Like a Temporary Tattoo

(Science Daily) Engineers have developed a device platform that combines electronic components for sensing, medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces, all on an ultrathin skin-like patch that mounts directly onto the skin with the ease, flexibility and comfort of a temporary tattoo....8/11

Millions of Web pages are hacker landmines

(USA Today) Some 8 million Web pages, published mostly by smaller merchants and professional firms, have been hijacked this summer and set up to usurp control of the PCs of unsuspecting site visitors....8/11

Robot-Finger Spinoff Can Model Microscopic Details in 3-D

(Wired) Researchers from MIT have created a handheld device called GelSight that provides ultra-high resolution 3D scans of microscopic surface structure....8/12

Disorder is key to nanotube mystery

(PhysOrg) Scientists often find strange and unexpected things when they look at materials at the nanoscale -- the level of single atoms and molecules. This holds true even for the most common materials, such as water....8/12

Other Stories

How Japan's Fukushima disaster may exacerbate population woes

(Christian Science Monitor) Japan's aging population is resulting in a quickly shrinking workforce and low prospects for growth. Engaging women in the workforce more fully could help, but there's cultural resistance....8/11