September 29, 2014 report
Best of Last Week – Rethinking black holes, trusting of scientists by Americans and a new 3D cloaking device
(Phys.org) —What a week for physics—a team of researchers has found evidence that suggests that the water in our solar system predates the Sun—they claim it came from interstellar space even before the formation of our sun. Closer to home and over at Sandia National Laboratory, researchers have produced a "significant" amount of fusion neutrons using a magnetized fusion technique. The process still doesn't achieve the break-even point, but it does demonstrate the validity of their approach.
In unsettling news, researchers at Princeton University have found that scientists are seen as competent but are not trusted by Americans—in part, because they are not seen as friendly or warm enough—there also appears to be some concern about the funding process.
In the applied sciences, a team of researchers claim to have revolutionized solar power with new "gold nanocluster" technology—they say their technique increases solar performance by more than 10 percent. Meanwhile, at the University of Rochester, a team of researchers announced that they'd developed a "cloaking device" that uses ordinary lenses to hide objects across a range of angles—it's the first to achieve continuous 3D cloaking, the team claims.
In news from biology, a research team has found new evidence of ancient multicellular life that sets the evolutionary timeline back 60 million years—fossil find shows living things existed as far back as 600 million years ago. Also at MIT's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, researchers have developed a means to identify early signs of pancreatic cancer, which is very good news, because cancer of the pancreas is one of the most deadly. And in completely unrelated news, a team of geologists found that well water chemicals changed prior to two different earthquakes—perhaps there is a way to predict quakes after all.
And finally, in one last bit of alarming news, if you've had a nagging suspicion that you might have Alzheimer's, researchers in Kentucky suggest you might be right—apparently, we notice when it's more than just normal age related memory lapses.
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