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Scientists unravel the mysterious mechanics of spider silk

Scientists now have a better understanding of why spider silk fibers are so incredibly strong. Recent research, published by Cell Press on February 15th in Biophysical Journal, describes the architecture of silk fibers from the atomic level up and ...

New Zealand earthquake damage illustrates risks posed by shallow crustal faults

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The terribly destructive earthquake that just hit Christchurch, New Zealand, was only a moderate 6.3 magnitude, but had certain characteristics that offer an important lesson to cities up and down the West Coast of North Americ...

Advance could speed use of genetic material RNA in nanotechnology

Scientists are reporting an advance in overcoming a major barrier to the use of the genetic material RNA in nanotechnology -- the field that involves building machines thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair and now is dominated ...

34 percent of Galician secondary schools exceed maximum recommended radon levels

Researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) have analysed levels of radon, a natural radioactive gas, in 58 secondary schools in Galicia. The results show that 34% of these schools exceed the limit of 400 Bequerels/m3 recom...

The sweetness of biodegradable plastics

Tel Aviv ― Environmentalists around the world agree ― plastic bags are choking our landfills and polluting our seas. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher is developing new laboratory methods using corn starch and sugar to help susta...

From toxicity to life: Arsenic proves to be a building block

LIVERMORE, Calif. - Arsenic - an element that triggers death for most Earthly life forms - is actually allowing for a bacterium to thrive and reproduce. In a study that may prompt the rewriting of textbooks, a team of astrobiologists and chemists...

Playing with building blocks of creativity help children with autism

In an attempt to help children with autism learn the building blocks of creativity, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) tapped a toy box staple for help -- legos. By building lego structures in new and unique ways, chil...

Getting lost in buildings: Architecture can bias your cognitive map

Some people always know which way is north and how to get out of a building. Others can live in an apartment for years without knowing which side faces the street. Differences among people that include spatial skills, experience, and preferred strat...

Engineers test effects of fire on steel structures

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers at Purdue University are studying the effects of fire on steel structures, such as buildings and bridges, using a one-of-a-kind heating system and a specialized laboratory for testing large beams and other com...

Engineered plants make potential precursor to raw material for plastics

UPTON, NY In theory, plants could be the ultimate green factories, engineered to pump out the kinds of raw materials we now obtain from petroleum-based chemicals. But in reality, getting plants to accumulate high levels of desired products has been...

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