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Scientists have created the final predicted form of stable ice, called ice XV, in the lab. But don’t worry — Kurt Vonnegut had nothing to do with it, and the exotic new form of ice can’t destroy civilization.

Types of ice are classified by how close the water molecules pack together and the structure the molecules arrange themselves in. With the new discovery, researchers have identified 16 forms of ice (including two types of ice I) named in order of discovery. Most of the ice on Earth is type Ih (h for hexagonal, hence the six-sided symmetry of all snowflakes). Researchers had long predicted the existence of ice XV, but had never seen it before.

“We have removed the question mark from the phase diagram of water,” says Christoph Salzmann of the University of Oxford in England, coauthor of a paper published online September 2 in Physical Review Letters. A phase diagram maps how molecules will behave at certain pressures and temperatures.

To cre

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Forget about 20/20. “Perfect” vision could be redefined by gadgets that give you the eyes of a cyborg.

The tech industry calls the digital enrichment of the physical world “augmented reality.” Such technology is already appearing in smartphones and toys, and enthusiasts dream of a pair of glasses we could don to enhance our everyday perception. But why stop there?

Scientists, eye surgeons, professors and students at the University of Washington have been developing a contact lens containing one built-in LED, powered wirelessly with radio frequency waves.

Eventually, more advanced versions of the lens could be used to provide a wealth of information, such as virtual captions scrolling beneath every person or object you see. Significantly, it could also be used to monitor your own vital signs, such as body temperature and blood glucose level.

Why a contact lens? The surface of the eye contains enough data about the body to perform personal health

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A large international research team has decoded the genome of the notorious organism that triggered the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century and now threatens this season's tomato and potato crops across much of the US.

Published in the September 9 online issue of the journal Nature, the study reveals that the organism boasts an unusually large genome size more than twice that of closely related species and an extraordinary genome structure, which together appear to enable the rapid evolution of genes, particularly those involved in plant infection. These data expose an unusual mechanism that enables the pathogen to outsmart its plant hosts and may help researchers unlock new ways to control it.


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Israeli archaeologists have uncovered one of the earliest depictions of a menorah, the seven-branched candelabra that has come to symbolize Judaism, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.   The menorah was engraved in stone around 2,000 years ago and found in a synagogue recently discovered by the Sea of Galilee.

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Other researchers have made live frogs and grasshoppers float in mid-air before, but such research with mice, being closer biologically to humans, could help in studies to counteract bone loss due to reduced gravity over long spans of time, as might be expected in deep space missions or on the surfaces of other planets.

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Popular Science

As part of a greater effort to someday build computing elements at an atomic scale, IBM scientists in Zurich have taken the highest-resolution image ever of an individual molecule using non-contact atomic force microscopy. Performed in an ultrahigh vacuum at 5 degrees Kelvin, scientists were able to "to look through the electron cloud and see the atomic backbone of an individual molecule for the first time," a feat necessary for the further development of atomic scale electronic building blocks.

Atomic force microscopy employs a cantilever so small that its tip tapers to a nanoscale point. As the microscope scans, the cantilever bounces up and down in response to the miniscule forces between the tip and the sample, generating a picture of the sample’s surface. The pentacene molecule sampled consists of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms and measures 1.4 nanometers in length, with the space between carbon atoms registering at 0.14 nanometers, or ha

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Scientific American

The Japanese government is prepared to spend some 2 trillion yen on a one-gigawatt orbiting solar power station—and this week Mitsubishi and other Japanese companies have signed on to boost the effort. Boasting some four kilometers of solar panels—maybe of the superefficient Spectrolab variety but more likely domestically sourced from Mitsubishi or Sharp—the space solar power station would orbit some 36,000 kilometers above Earth and transmit power via microwave or laser beam.

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Washington Post

The new genes appear to have at least as big a role as four others discovered in the last 15 years that are known to play a role in Alzheimer's.  

Two of the genes described in the new research may be involved in determining the brain's capacity to clear itself of toxic "amyloid" proteins that collect outside neurons, eventually poisoning them.

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