Thursday, December 26, 2013
ORNL in the News

After tough start, ORNL’s Titan ‘running great’

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Cray supercomputer known as “Titan” got off to a rocky start at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, failing its initial acceptance test early this year and requiring significant repairs to fix connectivity issues and to improve the 200-cabinet system’s stability for high-end scientific research...“The news on the computing front is all positive,” ORNL Associate Director Jeff Nichols said in response to questions. “Titan is running great — performing lots of good science. It is even more reliable now than we ever expected it would be and running at well over 90 percent utilization.”...12/23

13 Renewable Energy Breakthroughs of 2013

(Leed Points) While the news about climate change seems to get worse every day, the rapidly improving technology, declining costs, and increasing accessibility of clean energy is the true bright spot in the march toward a zero-carbon future. The year had more clean energy milestones than we could fit on one page, but here are 13 of the key breakthroughs that happened in 2013...at the start of 2013, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory successfully demonstrated a new lithium-ion battery technology that can store far more power in a much smaller size, and that’s safer and less prone to shorts...12/24

DOE

U.S. Energy Department, Pay-Television Industry and Energy Efficiency Groups Announce Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement

(Energy.gov) ...“These energy efficiency standards reflect a collaborative approach among the Energy Department, the pay-TV industry and energy efficiency groups – building on more than three decades of common-sense efficiency standards that are saving American families and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz...12/23

DOE: Gas to outpace coal by 2040

(AP) Natural gas will overtake coal to provide the largest share of U.S. electrical power generation by 2040, according to the latest projections from the federal Department of Energy...12/25

National

US Marines 'positioned' to enter S. Sudan as civil war looms

(CS Monitor) UN officials describe new evidence of atrocities and mass graves as 150 US troops arrive in the Horn of Africa to protect Americans and the US embassy...12/24

East Tennessee

Oak Ridge train excursions give rare glimpse inside Secret City

(The Tennessean) ...Operated by the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum from the small “Wheat” station — a former guard shack from the complex’s early days — the excursion train offers passengers a rare glimpse inside the once-top-secret facility...12/26

The Lakeshore Park Master Plan Offers Little to Object to, but Awaits Funding

(Metro Pulse) ...Landscape architect Mike Fowler, of Ross/Fowler, unveiled a map of ball fields, parking lots, curving drives, and greenspace, with just a few new features, like a 300-seat amphitheater on the north end of the site, a shed for a farmers’ market, and a canoe launch at the south end, in the Fourth Creek embayment...12/18

energy & science policy

Coalition Urges Appropriators to Support DOE Office of Science and ARPA-E

(AIP) After Congress returns on January 6 it will need to vote on legislation to fund the operations of the federal government through September 30. The staffs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will be working through the holiday recess to have final legislation ready for a vote in the House and Senate. Current funding expires on January 15...12/23

Science Nominees Are Home for the Holidays

(Science Magazine) France Córdova, a 65-year-old astrophysicist, was nominated on 31 July to be the next director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). But the process of having the U.S. Senate confirm a president’s choices to serve in his administration is broken. And even though Córdova and her colleagues aren’t the ones who have fueled the recent headline-grabbing congressional battles over presidential nominees, the fallout has slowed the process for everyone...12/23

science & technology

The Best Scientific Visualizations of 2013

(Wired) We live in an image-dominated age, and popular science abounds with visuals: eye-popping photographs, gorgeous graphics and slick information design. Amidst all this eye candy, not much attention is paid to figures accompanying articles in scientific journals and white papers...12/25

Researchers open new possibilities for characterizing nanoparticle interactions

(PhysOrg) Molecules anchored to the surfaces of nanoparticles modify and even control many characteristics of the particles, including how they interact with cells or react to light...12/24

UK bolsters defences against crippling solar storms

(Nature) Christmas dinner by candlelight might seem quaint and appealing, but the possibility of days without satellite communications and power — let alone the television and the means to reheat the leftovers — are more alarming. The UK government has announced plans to fund a new space-weather forecasting service in an effort to lessen the effects of such disaster scenarios...12/26

Other Stories

How Astronauts Nearly Missed Taking the Iconic Earthrise Photo on Christmas Eve, 1968

(The Atlantic) Forty-five years ago today, Christmas Eve 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders saw something no human had ever seen before—our planet as it appeared to rise over the moon's horizon...12/21