Friday, December 10, 2010
ORNL in the News

Research finds ultrasonics reduce precipitates

(Biodiesel Magazine) Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered that treating biodiesel with a high-intensity dose of ultrasonic energy can remove and prevent the formation of precipitates. The project, led by Michael Kass, a researcher in ORNL's Energy and Transportation Science Division, could help overcome one of the primary problems associated with the use of biodiesel in cold climates....12/8

Supercomputing research opens doors for drug discovery

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) A quicker and cheaper technique to scan molecular databases developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory could put scientists on the fast track to developing new drug treatments. A team led by Jerome Baudry of the University of Tennessee-ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics adapted a widely used existing software to allow supercomputers such as ORNL's Jaguar to sift through immense molecular databases and pinpoint chemical compounds as potential drug candidates....12/9

DOE

DOE Announces First Companies to Receive Industrial Energy Efficiency Certification

(DOE Press Release) The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the first industrial plants in the country to be certified under the Superior Energy Performance program -- a new, market-based industrial energy efficiency program....12/9

DOE awards DUF6 contract to B&W-URS team; five years, $428 million

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services LLC was announced today as winner of the $428 million, five-year Dept. of Energy contract to operate the depleted uranium hexafluoride facilities at the Portsmouth, Ohio, and Paducah, Ky., sites....12/9

National

Obama 'Confident' Congress Will Pass Tax Deal

(NPR) In the face of strong opposition from members of his own party, President Obama says that he's confident lawmakers will eventually approve a tax cut deal he negotiated with congressional Republicans....12/10

Defense chief keeps pushing for repeal of gay ban

(Reuters) Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Congress on Friday to lift a ban on gays serving openly in the military, saying he was disappointed by the Senate's failure to act this week and fearful of leaving the issue to the uncertainty of the courts....12/10

Gas prices on track for unseasonable spike

(USA Today) Motorists, brace yourselves for a lump of coal this holiday season: higher priced gasoline....12/10

energy & science policy

House Approves Flat 2011 Budget for Most Science Agencies

(Science Insider) The three federal agencies that support the vast majority of academic research would receive no more money in 2011 than in 2010 under a spending bill that narrowly passed the House of Representatives last night. Although the Senate is working on a different version that would provide small increases for those agencies, the House vote is a clear signal that Congress has entered a new era of fiscal austerity....12/9

E.P.A. Delays Tougher Rules on Emissions

(New York Times) The Obama administration is retreating on environmental emissions as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic with more G.O.P. opposition....12/10

As climate-change talks continue, lack of consensus spurs smaller-scale actions

(Washington Post) In response to growing frustration that the U.N. climate negotiations are not producing real-world results, individual nations, states and business are cobbling together patchwork solutions to preserve forests, produce clean energy and scrub pollution from the air....12/10 [Registration Required]

science & technology

Anthropology a Science? Statement Deepens a Rift

(New York Times) Anthropologists have been thrown into turmoil about the nature and future of their profession after a decision by the American Anthropological Association at its recent annual meeting to strip the word "science" from a statement of its long-range plan....12/10

Seafloor Samples Show Troubling Effects Of Oil Spill

(NPR) A trip down to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in a submarine reveals a bleak portrait of the sea life near the ruptured BP well. Scientists are finding a thick layer of oil on the seafloor, and they say it could be years before the ecosystem recovers....12/9

Snails with shells coiling to the left survive snake attacks (w/ Video)

(PhysOrg) Snail shells can spiral to the left (sinistral) or to the right (dextral), as determined by a single gene, and a new study has found the advantage of being in the minority sinistral group: they survive predation by snakes much better than dextral snails. The effect of this advantage is so great they could separate into a distinct species....12/10