Wednesday, November 24, 2010
ORNL in the News

ORNL scientists crack materials mystery in vanadium dioxide

(ScienceBlog) A systematic study of phase changes in vanadium dioxide has solved a mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades, according to researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory...11/23

ORNL's computing more than a numbers game

(Knoxville News Sentinel) A capability of a supercomputer is generally measured by how many mathematical calculations it can perform in a second. For instance, so-called petascale computers are those capable of at least 1,000 trillion (or a quadrillion) calculations per second, and that extraordinary level of number crunching can be applied to some of the world's most complex scientific problems.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory already hosts a couple of petascale machines and more are on the way, as the evolution of computing continues at a powerful pace...11/24

GOP congressmen: Dollars will keep coming to Tenn.

(Jackson Sun) Two newly elected Republicans who campaigned against congressional earmarks and advocated spending cuts say they will work to keep federal dollars flowing to research and defense projects in the Tennessee Valley...“When you are looking at funding facilities like Oak Ridge (National Laboratory), Redstone Arsenal (in Huntsville) or AEDC (the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, Tenn.), if you package it in a fashion that people understand that this is vital for national defense, then I think we can continue to get funding,” DesJarlais said...11/23


Department of Energy Offers Vehicle Production Group Nearly $50 Million Conditional Loan Commitment

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today an offer of a nearly $50 million conditional loan commitment to The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG).  The conditional loan commitment will support the development of the six-passenger MV-1, a factory-built wheelchair accessible vehicle that will run on compressed natural gas. The vehicle will be produced at the Mishawaka, Indiana AM General Plant...11/22

Top scientist urges 'ambitious' U.S. exascale supercomputer plan

(Computer World) There is an international race to build an exascale supercomputer, and one of the people leading it is Peter Beckman, a top computer scientist at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory...11/24

State & Regional

Nashville flood's lessons learned, Corps says

(Tennessean) Yes, the U.S. Army Corps' Nashville water management chief now has a BlackBerry to communicate during flooding, he said in answer to a question...11/24



U.S. to stage exercises with South Korea; few good options for dealing with North

(Washington Post) North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean island Tuesday, coupled with its choreographed rollout of a new nuclear program, has presented the United States with a massive strategic challenge in one of the most dangerous corners of the world...11/24

TSA workers face verbal abuse from travelers

(Today Travel) Airline passengers aren’t the only ones complaining about the Transportation Security Administration’s new enhanced security procedures. Many TSA employees aren’t too happy, either...11/23

East Tennessee

University of Tennessee notifies 11 of June layoff: School facing $56M in budget cuts with end of stimulus funding

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The University of Tennessee notified 11 people last week in its Office of Alumni and Development Affairs that they will be laid off.  The employees will continue to work until June, when the fiscal year ends and the university faces $56 million in budget cuts. The department will likely create three new higher-paid positions next year...11/24

energy & science policy

Independent Review Panel Lauds Technical Performance, Faults Management of Webb Space Telescope

(AIP) The James Webb Space Telescope Independent Comprehensive Review Panel has concluded that “the technical performance on the Project has been commendable and often excellent,” but criticized the project’s budgeting and program management.  The result has been cost growth and schedule delays that are a continuing concern to a key Senate appropriator...11/23

Inside Energy Extra

11/23 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]

  • Upton presses DOE on stimulus spending
  • Interior looks to speed offshore wind
  • New EPA renewable-fuel targets near
  • BLM plots sage grouse breeding areas

science & technology

DOD tries to uncover secret of flying snakes

(Washington Post) An unusual breed of Asian snakes can glide long distances in the air, and the Department of Defense is funding research at Virginia Tech to find out why. Most animals that glide do so with fixed wings or a wing-like part. But not the "flying snakes" of Southeast Asia, India and southern China - at least five members of the genus Chrysopelea...11/22

Was the Big Bang Preceded by Another Universe (Which Was Preceded by Another Universe)?

(Popular Science) The current widely-held theory of life, the universe, and everything holds that at some point roughly 13.7 billion years ago everything that now is was packed into a tight little package from which sprung the Big Bang, which violently hurled everything into existence...11/22

Other Stories

Pluto Is the Biggest Dwarf Planet, After All?

(National Geographic) Pluto is still not a planet, but it may have regained some of its former glory—new pictures suggest the demoted world is in fact the biggest dwarf planet of them all.  While Pluto had always been an oddball, the 2005 discovery of a body even bigger than Pluto in the same general vicinity forced astronomers to rethink what it takes to be a planet...11/22

Why are we getting fatter? Researchers seek a mysterious culprit

(Phys.Org) So, why are we fat? And getting fatter? Most people would say it's simple: We eat too much and exercise too little. But University of Alabama at Birmingham obesity researcher David B. Allison, Ph.D., says that answer, while valid, may be a little too simple...11/24