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A new technique for growing single-crystal nanorods and controlling their shape using biomolecules could enable the development of smaller, more powerful heat pumps and devices that harvest electricity from heat.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered how to direct the growth of nanorods made up of two single crystals using a biomolecular surfactant. The researchers were also able to create “branched” structures by carefully controlling the temperature, time, and amount of surfactant used during synthesis.

Most nanostructures comprised of a core and a shell generally require more than one step to synthesize, but these new research results demonstrate how to synthesize such nanorods in only one step.

Tulane University anthropologist Kit Nelson is the co-director of a National Geographic-sponsored team that is in the process of unraveling a mummy bundle found in Peru's historic Huaura Valley. The mummy is believed to have been an elite member of the Chancay culture, a civilization that thrived in the central coast of Peru from about 1000 to 1400 AD. The territory of the Chancay was later home to the Incas.

Nelson's work was funded by a Faculty Enhancement Grant from Tulane University and through a grant from National Geographic's Committee for Research and Exploration, a century-old body that funds important work in the earth sciences throughout the world.

More than one million Americans currently participate in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. AA participants are stereotyped as being heavy coffee drinkers and cigarette smokers but very little research has quantified their consumption of these two products. Recent findings confirm that coffee and cigarette use among this population is greater than among the general U.S. population: most AA members drink coffee and more than half smoke.

With a grant from the World Anti-Doping Agency, University of Vermont anthropology professor Brian Gilley has spent the last year studying attitudes among under-23-year-old cyclists towards use of performance enhancing drugs.

Since the Tour de France ousted its third cyclist from the race, even after multiple doping scandals the last few years, his findings are interesting.

Using American amateur collegiate cyclists as his control, Gilley interviewed elite junior and young adult Italian, Belgian, and American riders and found a surprising mix of responses about willingness to dope. The majority, he says, believe intense pressure from team managers and sponsors forces them to cheat in order to be competitive.

There's a satellite in medium Earth orbit - one of 31 U.S. Air Force satellites - that carries some special cargo; a collection of sensors to detect and triangulate airborne or space-based nuclear explosions anywhere they may occur.

In the recent past, detection has been no problem — there haven’t been any above-ground explosions for decades - but there could be one any time and the country that did it could simply deny if its leaders didn’t believe anyone could track it.

These sensors have to be ready to detect a real explosion and also to compensate for false alarms: There are lightning bolts that occur more than once per second, energetic particles from the Van Allen radiation belt that collide with electronics on the satellite, a welter of “noise” from cell phone communications, and meteors.

Sideria Hendricks is only 10 years old, but she already has suffered two strokes.

The first occurred on Christmas Eve a few years ago. Sideria suddenly couldn't speak, and her left arm and left leg went limp. She eventually recovered, but later suffered a second minor stroke.

About 3,200 strokes occur each year in children under age 18. Although strokes are among the top ten causes of death in childhood, family members and doctors often are slow to recognize symptoms, said Dr. Jose Biller, a co-author of the American Heart Association's new guidelines for managing strokes in children.