Friday, November 12, 2010
ORNL in the News

Jaguar supercomputer faces losing its crown

(ZDNet) Every six months, the Top500 project releases the rankings of the most powerful supercomputers. Although the latest Top500 list will not be released until next week, it has been widely assumed that Jaguar will be overtaken by the Tianhe-1A supercomputer built by China's National University of Defence Technology, located at the National Supercomputing Centre in Tianjin..."China might have the largest number of cores in one computer, so theoretically they have the most powerful computer. But they maybe don't have the most powerful scientific codes yet that use that computer," cautions Jeremy Smith, director of the Center for Molecular Biophysics at the University of Tennessee [jointly run by Oak Ridge National Laboratory], in an interview. "So from that perspective, they may not be at the same level as Oak Ridge."...11/12

STEM and the rest of the story

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Knox County Schools are partnering with Knox County and the city of Knoxville, as well as some other high-powered entities, including the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to do a very laudable thing by bringing a STEM magnet high school to the city's downtown.  STEM is shorthand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics - the new magic go-to term in education...11/12

TVA takes step toward modular reactor at Oak Ridge; ORNL would be primary customer

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Associated Press has moved a story (via the Chattanooga Times Free Press) on TVA advising regulators of potential plans for small modular reactors by 2020. The site would be at the old Clinch River Breeder Reactor Site in Oak Ridge.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory spokesman Billy Stair said the modular reactor plan is a TVA project but ORNL would likely be a primary customer in order to help meet long-term energy needs and achieve carbon-free sustainability goals...11/12

ORNL Purple Heart recipient moves forward

(Scientific Computing) Retired Army Master Sgt. and Purple Heart recipient Richard Robertson was wounded in 2005 in Iraq, losing four of his comrades during an attack.   Now working in the Global Security Directorate of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Robertson told a Veterans Day audience at the Laboratory the memory of those four soldiers has inspired him to keep plugging ahead...11/11


How to Detect Alzheimer's Disease in 30 Seconds

(Emax Health) Researchers have been looking for ways to accurately screen and test for Alzheimer’s disease for many years. The US Department of Energy has developed an x-ray machine that may help detect Alzheimer’s early. Other scientists are exploring the use of a special ophthalmoscope to detect the disease...11/12

State & Regional

U.S. Rep. Duncan seeking change in federal flag policy

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. has asked the federal government to change its policy on the placement of American flags on the graves of veterans.  The Knoxville Republican sent a letter this week to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki questioning the federal rule, which says small flags can be on display on veterans' gravesites only for the Memorial Day holiday.



Obama says he's not caving on tax cuts

(CNN) President Obama declared Friday that his "No. 1 priority" is preserving tax cuts for the middle class, and sharply denied that comments by his senior adviser David Axelrod suggest that his administration is about to cave in to Republicans who also want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy...11/12

G-20 refuses to back US push on China's currency

(Forbes) Leaders of 20 major economies on Friday refused to endorse a U.S. push to get China to let its currency rise, keeping alive a dispute that has raised the specter of a global trade war...11/12

Federal workers' sacrifice would help U.S. debt, deficit panel says

(Washington Post) Federal employees would play a major role in reducing the nation's debt and deficit under a set of draft proposals released Wednesday by the co-chairs of President Obama's deficit commission...11/12



energy & science policy

Proposal by Co-Chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Cites R&D Funding, NASA Commercial Spaceflight Program, and Defense RDT&E Funding

(AIP) Yesterday the Co-Chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released two documents as a starting point for what will be an undoubtedly contentious discussion about the steps the federal government could take to reduce the growing federal budget deficit...11/11 

EPA issues guidelines for cutting greenhouse gases

(USA Today) Increasing energy efficiency is the focus of the first-ever federal guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources issued Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency...11/11

science & technology

China, Innovation Superpower: How To Deal With It.

(Forbes) China has just achieved an impressive milestone: It has built the world's fastest supercomputer. The Tianhe-1A is more than 40% faster than the previous leader, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. This is not an isolated event. Other, more mundane indicators of growing scientific capability in China have been emerging for years, such as the growing portion of articles in leading chemistry and physics journals that come from the country.

Scientists image the sea monster of nuclear fusion: the Rayleigh-Taylor instability

(Phys.Org) A new X-ray imaging capability has taken pictures of a critical instability at the heart of Sandia's huge Z accelerator. The effort may help remove a major impediment in the worldwide, multidecade, multibillion dollar effort to harness nuclear fusion to generate electrical power from sea water...11/12


Other Stories

Scientists learn physics behind how cats drink water without getting wet

(Washington Post) As all cat lovers know well, Felis domestica is a marvel of balance, subtlety and other hidden elegances.  Prepare to learn of another remarkable attribute: Four researchers have painstakingly filmed, analyzed and determined how it is that a cat can drink water while (unlike a dog) keeping its chin and whiskers pleasingly dry...11/12

African Ambush

(National Geographic) A routine trip to the water hole recently resulted in a life-or-death struggle for a pair of African elephants when they were ambushed by a hungry Nile crocodile (pictured).  Tourist Martin Nyfeler of Kloten, Switzerland, captured pictures of the wild encounter during a visit to Zambia's South Luangwa National Park.