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March 25, 2013
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  • Could flow batteries back up electric grids?
    An onion farm in Oxnard, Calif., is using a flow battery to supply 600 kilowatts of electricity over a six-hour period, saving the farm substantial amounts of money. To power flow batteries, two aqueous electrolytes held in different tanks are pumped through a membrane into a separate chamber, causing a chemical reaction that produces electrons. Flow batteries may be more cost-effective in the long run and safer to manage than lithium-ion batteries, they're also expensive and difficult to maintain. However, manufacturers are confident that with additional testing, they'll be able to soon introduce them to the mainstream. New Scientist (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Study: Foreshocks occur when 2 tectonic plates slowly collide
    Slight creeping movements from the Earth's tectonic plates may be the cause of foreshocks, small tremors that occur days or hours before a larger earthquake, according to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Researchers at the Institute of Earth Science in Grenoble, France, studied earthquakes magnitude 6.5 and up around the Pacific Ocean. They found that as plates slowly collided, small areas would resist and eventually break, causing the small tremors that could precede a larger earthquake. "If we understand better where and how earthquakes begin, we can better mitigate earthquake hazard." said study co-author Virginie Durand. Our Amazing Planet (3/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Scientists develop ultra-fast fiber optics
    Researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. have developed optical fibers with ultra-thin glass rims, capable of sending large amounts of information at speeds more than 15,000 faster than traditional hollow fibers. "Previous fibers either have higher bandwidth but high loss, or lower loss but narrower bandwidth," said researcher Francesco Poletti. "We've achieved both in the same fiber." New Scientist (3/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 3-D printer uses sun's power to turn sand into glass
    A solar-powered 3-D printer can turn regular grains of sand into glass, technology that experts say can potentially turn remote desert areas into thriving, large-scale industries. The Solar Sinter, developed by German designer Markus Kayser, uses solar power to melt sand grains and shape them into the desired product, resulting in a cost-effective means of creating material. "I would really love to see companies using or developing this process into a business," Kayser said. "Many ideas remain stuck in university, but it would be nice if the Solar Sinter concept became a commercially viable process as, in the end, it's free and clean energy." SciDev.net (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Regular exercise in childhood may prevent fractures later in life
    Swedish researchers who followed more than 2,300 7- to 9-year-olds found that those who exercised daily had higher bone mineral density compared with the control group, possibly lowering their risk for fractures later in life. The findings were presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine meeting. HealthDay News (3/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  Research Policy Regulations 
  • NSF says it's slowly improving logistics of Antarctic program
    The National Science Foundation says it has taken steps toward upgrading and improving the logistics operations of its U.S. Antarctic Program, a statement that comes after an NSF-organized panel released detailed recommendations in July. The NSF has already made progress toward some of the panel's recommendations and is "in the process of developing a longer-range implementation strategy to respond accordingly," wrote then-NSF Director Subra Suresh in a summary response to the panel's report. ScienceMag.org/Science Insider blog (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sigma Xi News 
  • Subscribe to American Scientist magazine
      
    Are you taking advantage of everything Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society has to offer? American Scientist is the premier interdisciplinary magazine for science and research. Act now and receive a one-year subscription for only $30. Subscribe today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Join us for the 2013 Science Across Borders meeting
      
    Sigma Xi cordially invites you to attend a two-day science meeting on June 4 and 5 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The meeting will bring together students, professional scientists, Sigma Xi members and the public. There will be various feature sessions including Science and Development; Science and Diplomacy; and Science, Technology and Peace Building. Learn more and register. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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