Science & technology

More cars getting stop-start despite driver resistance

Gas-saving stop-start systems, which turn off the engine when the vehicle isn't moving and restart it when the brake pedal is released, will be standard on more cars and trucks than ever before — whether drivers like it or not.

NASA Prepares its Science Fleet for Oct. 19 Mars Comet Encounter

NASA’s extensive fleet of science assets, particularly those orbiting and roving Mars, have front row seats to image and study a once-in-a-lifetime comet flyby on Sunday, Oct. 19.

PCAST Pushes to Commercialize Nanotech

In a report out today on the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology urges the government to "transition its activities toward facilitating commercialization by directing the formulation of specific nanotechnology Grand Challenges."

Happy National Cybersecurity Awareness month

There is little as customers that we can do about the security of the companies and government agencies with which we conduct business, but there are things we can do to protect ourselves from identity theft and the effects of massive data breaches that are a part of modern life.

Navy's Self-Guided, Unmanned Patrol Boats Make Debut

Self-guided unmanned patrol boats that can leave warships they're protecting and swarm and attack potential threats on the water could join the Navy's fleet within a year, defense officials say, adding the new technology could one day help stop attacks like the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen.

Number of Women Rises 5% at Microsoft

The number of women who make up Microsoft's global workforce jumped 5 percent over the last year, although the percentage of female workers at the company still remains only 29 percent. The figures come from Microsoft's latest figures on corporate diversity, which it released alongside the launch of a new "Global Diversity and Inclusion" Web site.

Danger: Voice Technologies Distract Drivers

Hands-free technology is supposed to make driving safer -- three out of four drivers believe hands-free technology is safe to use -- but Apple’s Siri and various in-car systems could ultimately drive you toward a fender bender. That’s according to a new research from the AAA Foundation for Safety Traffic that shows how distracting these technologies really are.

NASA’s NuSTAR Telescope Discovers Shockingly Bright Dead Star

Astronomers have found a pulsating, dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. This is the brightest pulsar – a dense stellar remnant left over from a supernova explosion – ever recorded. The discovery was made with NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR.

The ethics of Hacking 101

Shenoi, Brumley and Hotz are players in a controversial area of technology: the teaching and practice of what is loosely called “cyberoffense.” In a world in which businesses, the military and governments rely on computer systems that are potentially vulnerable, having the ability to break into those systems provides a strategic advantage.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenge Partners Commit to Innovation with New Investments in Breakthrough Science

At an event in Seattle commemorating the tenth anniversary of Grand Challenges, a group of international partners today announced three new initiatives aimed at creating breakthroughs in science.

Sleeper spaceship could carry first humans to Mars in hibernation state

Sleeper spacecraft with crews in suspended animation have been flying through futuristic science fiction movies like "Avatar," "Alien," "Pandorum" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" for decades. Now science reality is catching up, as medical advances have made stasis possible via a method called therapeutic hypothermia.

SPIE leaders delighted with photonics manufacturing institute announcement by White House

SPIE leadership and researchers in photonics-related industries reacted enthusiastically to the news from the Obama Administration committing more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute.

As NIH funding drops, faculty head to Capitol Hill

NIH funding has steadily decreased over the past several years, with especially steep cuts stemming from the 2013 sequester. As researchers find themselves feeling the funding cuts more deeply, some are turning directly to Congress—including four Duke professors who met with lawmakers two weeks ago as part of the Annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day, which brought representatives of the medical community to Washington, D.C.

Fountain of youth: A congressman's plan to make NIH grantees younger

A member of Congress has waded into the thorny issue of the graying of U.S. biomedical researchers with a radical solution: He wants to order the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to bring down the average age at which new investigators receive their first grant by 4 years within a decade. Not surprisingly, the idea is getting a rocky reception from biomedical research advocates.

White House Cybersecurity Plans Hinge on Industry Dialogue

October marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an occasion Jay Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, greeted with a stark warning. "We've been losing. We've been losing every step of the way. We are still losing today," Healey said at an event hosted by the Information Technology Industry Council and the law firm King and Spalding. "If anything, the bad guys are continuing to pull away from us."

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