Tuesday, August 31, 2010
ORNL in the News

UT and ORNL name director for interdisciplinary research center

(Seymour Herald) The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have named physics professor Lee Riedinger as director of the UTK/ORNL Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE).
Riedinger joined the physics faculty at UT Knoxville in 1971. He has held various administrative positions at UT Knoxville before returning to teaching and research, most recently as interim vice chancellor for research in 2006-07. He has also played an integral role in strengthening the relationship between UT Knoxville and ORNL in his posts as ORNL's deputy director for science and technology beginning in 2000 and associate laboratory director for university partnerships in 2004-06...8/30

High-value outage for Oak Ridge reactor

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The longest outage of the year is under way at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Flux Isotope Reactor, one of the world's premier research facilities, and there's a bunch of activities planned to address concerns and help extend the reactor's lifetime. "There are 182 work activities planned for this 54-day outage," ORNL research reactors chief Ron Crone said via e-mail. "In addition to the routine testing and preventive maintenance activities, there are several larger scope activities planned."...8/30

Bacteria from Hot Springs Reveal Clues to Evolution of Early Life and to Unlock Biofuels’ Potential

(Science Magazine) Biochemists Alan Lambowitz and Georg Mohr began investigating Thermosynechococcus elongatus, a cyanobacterium that can survive at temperatures up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, after they noticed an unusually high percentage of the bacteria's genetic sequence was composed of elements known as group II introns....The technology for using group II introns in gene targeting, known as targetron technology, was pioneered by Lambowitz and his coworkers. Lambowitz and Mohr are already working with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to see if they can successfully genetically engineer thermophilic bacteria for increased biofuel production...8/31

September 2010 Story Tips

(Newswise) GEOLOGY – Penetrating pores...Using neutron scattering to examine rock formations in Texas, Wisconsin and other parts of the country, Larry Anovitz, David Cole and Gernot Rother of Oak Ridge National Laboratory are gaining insight into little-understood geologic processes...GEOGRAPHY – Knowing where 7 billion people live...LandScan’s latest edition features improved spatial refinement, especially within urban settings, according to Eddie Bright, one of the developers of the global population distribution model...SUPERCOMPUTING – Running with a Jaguar... Four of six teams competing for the top honor among scientific computing applications ran on Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Jaguar supercomputer, the world’s most powerful...WIND ENERGY – “All about” just a click away...Wind energy is an important player in efforts to replace fossil energy with renewable-energy sources...8/31

UT, ORNL collaborate to improve accuracy of climate change models

(The Daily Beacon) Researchers from UT and ORNL are participating in a new multi-institutional project dedicated to predicting climate change more accurately. The project uses data mining, the process of discovering patterns in data, to “ ... discover hidden patterns among model-simulated variables that are relatively better predicted and establish their relations with those that are not, with the goal of improving predictions of the more crucial variables,” Auroop Ganguly, senior staff member in ORNL’s Computational Sciences and Engineering Division and adjunct professor at UT, said...8/31

Pellissippi Place Opens, Anchors High Tech Future of Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley

(PRNewswire) By any economic development measure, 450-acre Pellissippi Place, which elected officials opened in a dramatic evening "Lighting of the Park" ceremony Aug. 30, represents the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley at its most ambitious...Business Facilities magazine just ranked Tennessee "State of the Year' winner, saying the state "has laid the foundation for robust growth in automotive manufacturing and clearly established itself as one of the players to watch in the alternative energy sector." The business publication, which is closely read by business decision makers and the economic development community nationwide, in particular praised the Innovation Valley's high tech expertise and many business collaborations with Oak Ridge National Laboratory...8/30

Man works to lengthen LED light life

(Knoxville News Sentinel) With LED lights now coming into their own, a local start-up is trying to get a leg up on the competition by turning down the heat. Using a novel material developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, LED North America soon will be offering a product that can more than double the guaranteed life of an LED streetlight by helping cool the fixtures more effectively, according to founder, managing partner and, so far, sole employee Andrew Wilhelm...8/31


Obama to loosen export controls: Will it help economy or hurt security?

(CS Monitor) The Obama administration says less will be more when it comes to limits on US exports that have potential military uses...8/30

State & Regional

CD will feature recordings made in 1939 of people living in, around Smokies

(Knoxville News Sentinel) In 1937 a young graduate student from California named Joseph S. Hall was hired by the National Park Service to document the speech of the residents still living in the newly formed Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That first summer, Hall, a linguist by training, recorded his findings in notebooks. When he returned to the Smokies two years later to continue his fieldwork, his equipment included two recording machines - one that ran on a truck battery, the other powered by a portable battery pack...8/31

East Tennessee

Plants Keep Watch

(Tennessee Alumnus) A farmer scans his crop with a hand-held device that measures the plants’ chemical content or detects a particular protein marker. Sensors glow and an infection is confirmed. Calls are made. More measurements are taken. Producers head to their fields, and state and federal agents fly overhead with devices that call to mind the Star Trek tricorder. Within a few days the extent to which an entire region’s crop is threatened by a pathogen is assessed and mitigation efforts are in place...8/25

UT ranks high among public universities

(The Daily Beacon) The U.S. News and World Report rankings saw UT crack the top 50 public schools in the country this year...8/29

energy & science policy

EPA called on to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Environmentalists urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today to regulate toxic ash from coal-fired power plants as a hazardous waste...8/30

Inside Energy Extra

8/30 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- New vehicle labeling system eyed
- BLM struggles to track lease protests
- Agencies urged to improve Energy Star
- Poll finds support for carbon regs

science & technology

Development of Tiny Thorium Reactors Could Wean the World Off Oil In Just Five Years

(Popular Science) ...Thorium, named for the Norse god of thunder, is much more abundant than uranium and has 200 times that metal's energy potential. Thorium is also a more efficient fuel source -- unlike natural uranium, which must be highly refined before it can be used in nuclear reactors, all thorium is potentially usable as fuel...8/30

NASA Tests Engine With an Uncertain Future

(NY Times) One hundred fifty-four feet long, packed with 700 tons of propellant and anchored to the side of a Utah hill, a solid rocket motor developed for NASA’s next generation of rockets is to unleash 3.6 million pounds of thrust in a test Tuesday morning. Whether this motor design will ever go anywhere is uncertain...8/30

Lightning in Humid Regions Could Be Harvested for Energy

(Wired Science) Move over solar, wind and wave power — there’s a new renewable on the block. Researchers are experimenting with devices that can pull electricity from the air...8/27

Shrinking Atmospheric Layer Linked to Low Levels of Solar Radiation

(Science Daily) Large changes in the sun's energy output may drive unexpectedly dramatic fluctuations in Earth's outer atmosphere...8/27

Other Stories

Obama expands sanctions against North Korea

(AP) The Obama administration on Monday widened the scope of U.S. financial penalties against North Korea, escalating pressure on the Pyongyang regime to give up its nuclear weapons...8/30

U.S. Wants Report Card for Cars

(Wall Street Journal) The government proposed labeling each new passenger vehicle with a letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions, part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to promote electric cars and other advanced-technology vehicles...8/30

The Oxford English Dictionary Definitions of ‘Print’ And ‘Digital’

(Wired News) The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary is the bibliophile’s equivalent to the movie geek’s high-end home theater setup. It’s a mighty, totem-like symbol of mystical multiple-shelf-spanning lexicographic power. But when the third edition is completed sometime in the next decade or so, there might not be anything physical on the bookshelves to show off...8/31