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For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: Instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, an astronaut may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, musclelike coils. She would then plug in to a spacecraft's power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around her body.

The skintight, pressurized suit would not only support the astronaut, but would give her much more freedom to move during planetary exploration. To take the suit off, she would only have to apply modest force, returning the suit to its looser form.


A new review of literature suggests that while domestic violence rates are higher for homosexual couples, they aren't as high as previous studies have found, and the authors of the paper say the minority stress model may explain the high prevalence rates.

Previous studies indicate that domestic violence affects up to 75 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals. A lack of representative data and underreporting of abuse paints an incomplete picture of the true landscape, suggesting even higher rates. By comparison, 25 percent of heterosexual women report domestic abuse while heterosexual men have rates much lower.  


Mobile phones are in the hands of 80 percent of Americans so manufacturers are scrambling to find new ways to keep people buying the next model.

Being able to use gestures in the space around the phone rather than needing a screen may be the next big thing. Some smartphones have incorporated 3-D gesture sensing based on cameras, for example, but cameras consume significant battery power and require a clear view of the user's hands.

University of Washington engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that could soon contribute to this growing field by letting users "train" their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone.


A longstanding question in science has the role of mitochondria in debilitating and fatal motor neuron diseases.

Mitochondria are organelles – compartments contained inside cells – that serve several functions, including making ATP, a nucleotide that cells convert into chemical energy to stay alive. For this reason mitochondria often are called "cellular power plants." They also play a critical role in preventing too much calcium from building up in cells, which can cause apoptosis, or cell death.

For mitochondria to perform its functions, it must be distributed to cells throughout the body, which is accomplished with the help of small protein "motors" that transport the organelles along axons.


We've all been driving and come upon signs warning us that construction is happening and we have to slow down for the safety of workers and that penalties are going to be doubled. We see billboards with children imploring us to reduce speed because their parents are highway construction employees.

Then it turns out that there is no construction. Speed limit credibility is put to the test by those instances and as a result, people have been routinely ignoring speed limits, according to Dr. Ross Blackman, a scholar at Queensland University of Technology Centre for Accident Research&Road Safety - Queensland, who presented the findings at the Occupational Safety in Transport Conference on the Gold Coast in Australia.


As has been predicted for some time, there is a physics train wreck coming at the semiconductor industry - a size and speed where atoms have reached their limits. Quantum computing has remained a dream for 20 years with little progress, which means chips will have to start getting bigger again, to get better performance - or we settle for playing Angry Birds.

The present size and speed limitations of computer processors and memory could be overcome by replacing silicon with phase-change materials, which are capable of reversibly switching between two structural phases with different electrical states – one crystalline and conducting and the other glassy and insulating – in billionths of a second.