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Offsetting global warming: Molecule in Earth’s atmosphere could ‘cool the planet’

Scientists have shown that a newly discovered molecule in Earth’s atmosphere has the potential to play a significant role in offsetting global warming by cooling the planet.

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Knights of the Nano Table

Among the United Kingdom’s many traditions is the Queen’s New Year’ Honors List, a list of politicians, actors, writers and others awarded with knighthoods for distinguished services in fields ranging from charitable work to business to acting. Among this years honorees are Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, both of the University of Manchester.

As noted here in October 2010, Professors Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of graphene.

The two new knights join Sir Mark Edward Welland, head of theUniversity of Cambridge’s Nanoscience Centre, in being honored for their contributions to the fields of nanotechnology and nanoparticle research. Sir Mark’s knighthood was discussed here inJune 2011.

According to a press release on the University of Manchester’s site, Professor Geim seemed to be taking his knighthood in stride:

Professor Geim said: “In my life, I have got used to being called four-letter names. Going down to three is a completely new experience which I will hopefully enjoy.”

Rule Britannia.

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Graphene quantum dots: The next big small thing

Scientists have found a way to turn common carbon fiber into graphene quantum dots, tiny specks of matter with properties expected to prove useful in electronic, optical and biomedical applications.

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Blame your taste buds for liking fat: Receptor for tasting fat identified in humans

Why do we like fatty foods so much? We can blame our taste buds. In the first study to identify a human receptor that can taste fat, researchers report that our tongues recognize and have an affinity for fat and that variations in a gene can make people more or less sensitive to the taste of fat in foods.

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Scarcity of women leads men to spend more, save less

The perception that women are scarce leads men to become impulsive, save less, and increase borrowing, according to new research.

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Discrimination may harm your health

Racial discrimination may be harmful to your health, according to new research. In the study, the authors examined data containing measures of social class, race and perceived discriminatory behavior and found that approximately 18 percent of blacks and 4 percent of whites reported higher levels of emotional upset and/or physical symptoms due to race-based treatment.

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Optical nanoantennas enable efficient multipurpose particle manipulation

Researchers have shown that by tuning the properties of laser light illuminating arrays of metal nanoantennas, these nano-scale structures allow for dexterous optical tweezing as well as size-sorting of particles.

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New ‘smart’ nanotherapeutics can deliver drugs directly to the pancreas

Scientists have developed “smart” nanotherapeutics that can be programmed to selectively deliver drugs to the cells of the pancreas. The approach was found to increase drug efficacy by 200-fold in in vitro studies based on the ability of these nanomaterials to both protect the drug from degradation and concentrate it at key target sites, such as regions of the pancreas that contain the insulin-producing cells.

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Magnetic actuation enables nanoscale thermal analysis

In recent years an atomic force microscope-based technique called nanoscale thermal analysis has been employed to reveal the temperature-dependent properties of materials at the sub-100 nm scale. Typically, nanothermal analysis works best for soft polymers. Researchers have now shown that they can perform nanoscale thermal analysis on stiff materials like epoxies and filled composites.

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New insights into an ancient mechanism of mammalian evolution

A team of geneticists and computational biologists have reveal how an ancient mechanism is involved in gene control and continues to drive genome evolution.

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