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Shaping the Future of Energy Storage with Conductive Clay

Materials scientists from Drexel University’s College of Engineering invented the clay, which is both highly conductive and can easily be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes. It represents a turn away from the rather complicated and costly processing—currently used to make materials for lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors—and toward one that looks a bit like rolling out cookie dough with results that are even sweeter from an energy storage standpoint.

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Process Converts Human Waste Into Rocket Fuel

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Buck Rogers surely couldn’t have seen this one coming, but at NASA’s request, University of Florida researchers have figured out how to turn human waste – yes, that kind -- into rocket fuel.

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NIH Scientists Determine How Environment Contributes to Several Human Diseases

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Using a new imaging technique, National Institutes of Health researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures. These damaged molecules trigger cell death that produces some human diseases, according to the researchers. The work, appearing online Nov. 17 in the journal Nature, provides a possible explanation for how one type of DNA damage may lead to cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and lung disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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When Dogs Drink Water

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If you've ever watched a dog drink water, you know that it can be a sloshy, spilly, splashy affair -- in other words, adorable. Behind all of the happy, wet messes, however, lies the mechanical logic of carnivorous compensation -- dogs splash when they drink because they have the cheeks of a predatory quadruped. By studying the drinking habits of various dog breeds and sizes, researchers have recently identified and modeled the fluid dynamics at play when dogs drink water.

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New Plastic that Disappears When You Want It To

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Plastic populates our world through everything from electronics to packaging and vehicles. Once discarded, it resides almost permanently in landfills and oceans. A discovery by researchers at North Dakota State University, Fargo, holds scientific promise that could lead to a new type of plastic that can be broken down when exposed to a specific type of light and is reduced back to molecules, which could then be used to create new plastic. The research by the Center for Sustainable Materials Science is published in Angewandte Chemie.

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Full Speed Ahead: The Physical Art of Sailing

Olympic sailors tip their masts precariously close to the water's surface while turning, right their vessels at what looks like the last possible moment, and bounce up and down over the edge of their boats on the straightaways. Every aspiring Olympic sailor must master these unsteady sail propulsion techniques, but there is no scientific literature that explains exactly how the moves increase a boat's speed. A team of researchers from Cornell University is working to change that.

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Is Interstellar’s Science So Stellar?

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Interstellar features astronauts who take a wormhole ride to another galaxy to explore planets around a massive black hole. In a conversation last week, Berkeley Lab's David Schlegel discussed the science in the movie and what Hollywood could learn from scientists about fantastic settings in outer space.

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Next-Door Leopards: First GPS-Collar Study Reveals how Leopards Live with People

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In the first-ever GPS-based study of leopards in India, led by WCS and partners has delved into the secret lives of these big cats, and recorded their strategies to thrive in human-dominated areas.

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Imagination, Reality Flow in Opposite Directions in the Brain

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As real as that daydream may seem, its path through your brain runs opposite reality. Aiming to discern discrete neural circuits, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have tracked electrical activity in the brains of people who alternately imagined scenes or watched videos.

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'Cloaking' Device Uses Ordinary Lenses to Hide Objects Across Continuous Range of Angles

Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, scientists have recently developed several ways--some simple and some involving new technologies--to hide objects from view. The latest effort, developed at the University of Rochester, not only overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, but it uses inexpensive, readily available materials in a novel configuration.

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