Friday, December 7, 2012
ORNL in the News

Pushing the boundaries of electron microscopy to unlock graphene’s potential

(ASM International) Electron microscopy at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is providing unprecedented views of the individual atoms in graphene, offering scientists a chance to unlock the material's full potential for uses from engine combustion to consumer electronics...12/6

December 2012 Story Tips

(Newswise) DISASTER RESPONSE - Limiting access...Ensuring that only people who have legitimate business are allowed to enter areas hit by floods, hurricanes or other disasters is a big challenge...ENERGY - New MAXLAB facility complete...Residential and commercial buildings of tomorrow could use less energy because of research that will be performed at the new $16 million Maximum Building Energy Efficiency Research Laboratory...MEDICAL - Results in seconds...Detecting parasites in biological or medical samples has never been faster than when using a dime-sized microchip...SUPERCOMPUTING – Research time on Titan...Oak Ridge National Laboratory is home to Titan, a supercomputer ranked No. 1 in speed and No. 3 in energy efficiency...IMAGING – Marker-less motion correction...Medical scans of children and people with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease could have greater clarity because of a technology developed by researchers...12/6

DOE

NNSA says 'subcritical' experiment successful

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The National Nuclear Security Administration says that a subcritical experiment was successfully conducted this week in Nevada to support the nation's nuclear weapons program. The experiment was dubbed, "Pollux."...12/6

Additional funds for USEC's centrifuge project

(Knoxville News Sentinel) USES, citing "solid progress" on the American Centrifuge project, today said additional federal funds ($45.7 million) have been made available for the project's research and demonstration program. According to USEC, the cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy was amended to continue the funding through February 23...12/6

The Future Of US Energy In 4 Charts

(Business Insider) Periodically the US Department of Energy publishes a long-term forecast on the state of energy fundamentals in the US. Their current projection looks as far out as 2040. Here are some key aspects of the forecast...12/6

National

Could the ‘platinum coin option’ solve the U.S. debt crisis?

(Washington Post) If President Obama wants to avoid an economic calamity next year, he could always show up at a news conference bearing two shiny platinum coins, each worth $1 trillion. Okay, that sounds utterly insane. But some economists and legal scholars have suggested that the “platinum coin option” is one way to defuse a crisis if Congress cannot or will not lift the debt ceiling soon. At least in theory...12/6

Building a Smarter, Smaller Military

(Time) Fact: The fiscal crisis will compel reductions in defense spending. More important fact: How do we do it in ways that make sense?...12/6

energy & science policy

STEM Visa Bill Passes House; Stopped in Senate

(AIP) The House of Representatives passed HR 6429, the STEM Jobs Act, on November 30, by a vote of 245-139. HR 6429 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make up to 55,000 visas available to immigrants who have a doctorate degree in a field of “computer and information sciences and support services, engineering, mathematics and statistics, and physical sciences” from a US university, agree to work five years for a US employer, and who have taken all their doctoral coursework while physically present in the US....12/6

science & technology

How the IPCC Underestimated Climate Change

(Scientific American) Scientists will tell you: There are no perfect computer models. All are incomplete representations of nature, with uncertainty built into them...12/6

High-Voltage DC Breakthrough Could Boost Renewable Energy

(National Geographic) Thomas Edison championed direct current, or DC, as a better mode for delivering electricity than alternating current, or AC. But the inventor of the light bulb lost the War of the Currents...But now, more than a century after Edison's misguided stunt, DC may be getting a measure of vindication...12/5

Cleanroom: The Machine That Manufactures Air

(The Atlantic) The story of how one engineer purified air, and made our age of advanced electronics possible...12/6

Making Permanent Digital Records Not So Permanent

(NPR) The Internet is forever — and so are texts, tweets and Facebook updates — but a startup has big ambitions to bring privacy and impermanence to online communication. The company, called Wickr, lets users decide how long a message lives...12/4

Maori stones hold magnetic clues

(BBC) An archaeological search is under way in New Zealand to find sites containing old ovens, or hangi as they are known...Abandoned stones at these locations could shed light on Earth's magnetic behaviour going back hundreds of years...12/7

Other Stories

African high-speed data network open to researchers

(Nature) A high-speed network that allows faster data transmission both among researchers in southern and eastern Africa and with scientists in Europe and other parts of the world has been launched...12/6

Federal Agencies Are Failing to Uphold Obama's Stated Commitment to Transparency

(The Atlantic) A new report for the National Security Archive shows the majority of agencies lagging far behind in complying with a 2009 presidential order...12/5