Science

5:00am

Fri September 6, 2013
Science

Finding An All-Natural Alternative To DEET

CDC Researcher Marc Dolan inserts a hand treated with nootkatone into a cage of hungry mosquitoes. The all-natural chemical is a powerful repellant and has the essence of grapefruit.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Since West Nile Virus was first identified more than a decade ago, applying bug spray became a must for summer outings. But sprays containing DEET can be a turn off. They can be smelly and feel greasy. 

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1:38pm

Thu September 5, 2013
Joe's Big Idea

Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:21 pm

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this picture of the sun on June 18. The dark blue area in the upper left quadrant of the sun is a huge coronal hole more than 400,000 miles across. Coronal holes are areas of the sun's outermost atmospheric layer — the corona — where the magnetic field opens up and solar material quickly flows out.
NASA/SDO

There's a hole in the sun's corona. But don't worry — that happens from time to time.

"A coronal hole is just a big, dark blotch that we see on the sun in our images," says Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. "We can only see them from space, because when we look at them [through] a regular telescope, they don't appear."

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3:33pm

Wed September 4, 2013
Science

Scientists Demonstrate Leaner System For Quantum Encryption

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 6:48 pm

Navajo encryption boxes seen at right in 2003 employ principles of quantum physics. The latest research has shown the ability to run larger networks with less such hardware.
Elise Amendola Associated Press

Scientists have demonstrated the ability to scale-up an 'uncrackable' computer encryption system that utilizes quantum physics to ensure security.

The technique is based on information that is carried by photons, the basic particles of light. While it's been demonstrated on a small scale, the team headed by Andrew Shields and publishing in Nature says they've shown that up to 64 users can share a single photon detector, eliminating the need for each one to have such an (expensive) device.

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10:02am

Tue September 3, 2013
Space

U.S. 'Space Fence' Radar System Goes Silent, After 50 Years

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:51 am

A computer image generated by NASA shows objects orbiting Earth, including those in geosynchronous orbit at a high altitude. The objects are not to scale.
NASA

The Space Fence is down. That's the message we get from the SatWatch site, following up on our report last month that the U.S. Air Force was poised to shut down the radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth. It had been in operation since 1961.

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3:15am

Tue September 3, 2013
Animals

The Latest In Scientific Field Equipment? Fido's Nose

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 5:25 pm

Rob Finch

Dave Vesely is busy training his dog, Sharpy. She isn't learning to sit or fetch or even herd sheep; Sharpy is learning to find the nests of western pond turtles.

These turtles are sneaky. After laying their eggs in a small hole, they knead together dirt, leaves and their own urine to plug the opening. Once this mud dries, the nest looks like an unremarkable patch of ground.

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