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New technique reveals switches in RNA
Scientists at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Torino (Italy), have developed a method to visualize and quantify alternative structures of RNA molecules. These alternative RNA 'shapes' can have important functional relevance in viruses and bacteria. The method was used to identify a conserved structural switch in the RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. (2021-02-22)

Researchers grow artificial hairs with clever physics trick
Things just got hairy at Princeton. Researchers found they could coat a liquid elastic on the outside of a disc and spin it to form useful, complex patterns. When spun just right, tiny spindles rise from the material as it cures. The spindles grow as the disc accelerates, forming a soft solid that resembles hairs. Published in PNAS Feb. 22 (2021-02-22)

Single atoms as a catalyst: Surprising effects ensue
Catalysts are getting smaller - ''single-atom'' catalysts are the logical end point of this downsizing. However, individual atoms can no longer be described using the rules developed from larger pieces of metal, so the rules used to predict which metals will be good catalysts must be revamped - this has now been achieved at TU Wien. As it turns out, single atom catalysts based on much cheaper materials might be even more effective. (2021-01-22)

New negative pressure ventilator requiring fewer staffing resources developed in fight against COVID-19
A new negative pressure ventilator which could provide additional treatment options for patients with respiratory failure, including those with COVID-19 - and whose design can be easily adapted to developing countries - has been created by a team that includes anaesthetists, nurses and engineers. (2021-01-19)

Giving the hydrogen economy an acid test
Tsukuba University scientists show that the effectiveness of hydrogen-producing metal catalysts protected by graphene depends on the ability of protons to penetrate into the inner metallic surface. This work may lead to widely available hydrogen-powered cars. (2021-01-14)

Blue-light stride in perovskite-based LEDs
Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have developed efficient blue light-emitting diodes based on halide perovskites. ''We are very excited about this breakthrough'', says Feng Gao, professor at Linköping University. The new LEDs may open the way to cheap and energy-efficient illumination. (2021-01-13)

Inferring human genomes at a fraction of the cost promises to boost biomedical research
A new method, developed by Olivier Delaneau's group at the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the University of Lausanne, offers game-changing possibilities for genetic association studies and biomedical research. For less than $1 in computational cost, GLIMPSE is able to statistically infer a complete human genome from a very small amount of data. It offers a first realistic alternative to current approaches, and so allows a wider inclusion of underrepresented populations. (2021-01-13)

Positive 'tipping points' offer hope for climate
Positive 'tipping points' could spark cascading changes that accelerate action on climate change, experts say. (2021-01-10)

Consumers challenged by high status peers make a 'status pivot,' new study finds
When outshone by peers in one area of life, such as financial success, consumers will embrace making a 'status pivot' to show prowess in another aspect of life, such as personal relationships, social life, parenting, physical and mental health, and fitness, according to a new report by researchers from Boston College, Boston University and London Business School. (2020-12-21)

A shock to the PPE system
A researcher at The University of Tokyo has shown that the N95 masks used by health care workers to prevent the spread of COVID can be sterilized and recharged using a van de Graaff generator. This work may lead to a much larger supply of personal protective equipment for those most likely to be exposed to the virus. (2020-12-17)

LOOP technique for I&D of abscesses in adults is safe, effective alternative to I&D with packing
LOOP technique for incision and drainage (I&D) of abscesses in adults is a safe and effective alternative to the traditional I & D with packing and may offer an alternative to the standard regimen in the treatment of uncomplicated skin abscesses in pediatric patients. (2020-12-16)

Silica the best environmental alternative to plastic microbeads, finds study
Following bans on plastic microbeads in wash-off cosmetics, a new study weighs up the environmental costs of alternatives. (2020-12-14)

Social media provides SMEs with tools to mitigate internationalisation-related threats
For SMEs seeking to enter the international markets, social media is a tool for overcoming liabilities connected to their smallness, newness and foreignness, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. (2020-12-10)

Reactive Video playback that you control with your body
An international team of researchers from Lancaster University, Stanford University and FXPAL, have created a system that dynamically adapts to mirror the position of the viewer's body and matches the speed of video playback to the viewer's movements. (2020-12-10)

Self-collected saliva samples prove effective for diagnosing COVID-19
Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) have found that SARS-CoV-2 genetic material can be reliably detected in self-collected saliva samples at a rate similar to that of nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs. The rate of detection using saliva samples was similar across different testing platforms, and saliva samples remained stable for up to 24 hours when stored with ice packs or at room temperature, according to a new study in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. (2020-12-10)

NUS engineers discover new microbe for simpler, cheaper and greener wastewater treatment
Researchers from NUS have discovered a new strain of bacterium that can remove both nitrogen and phosphorous from sewage wastewater. Their findings offer a simpler, cheaper and greener method of wastewater treatment. (2020-12-08)

This flexible and rechargeable battery is 10 times more powerful than state of the art
A team of researchers has developed a flexible, rechargeable silver oxide-zinc battery with a five to 10 times greater areal energy density than state of the art. The battery also is easier to manufacture; while most flexible batteries need to be manufactured in sterile conditions, under vacuum, this one can be screen printed in normal lab conditions. The device can be used in flexible, stretchable electronics for wearables as well as soft robotics. (2020-12-07)

Bend, don't break: new tool enables economic glass design
Computer scientists develop a design tool that opens up the use of a cost-efficient technology for curved glass panels. The tool is based on a deep neural network and allows for the free-form design of beautiful glass façades. (2020-12-07)

New procedure will reduce the need for rare metals in chemical synthesis
Researchers from Kanazawa University performed an important type of tertiary alkylative cross-coupling reaction without using a rare-metal catalyst. Such efforts are needed to improve the long-term sustainability of important chemical syntheses and minimize supply chain disruptions caused by pandemics and other crises. (2020-11-27)

Safe ultraviolet light could be used to sterilise high-risk COVID-19 environments
Research at Cranfield University is paving the way for a new solution to kill aerosolised COVID-19 in enclosed environments such as hospitals and long-term care facilities. Computational modelling has shown that low dose far-ultraviolet C (UVC) lighting can be used to disinfect in-room air, increasing disinfection rates by 50-85% compared to a room's ventilation alone. (2020-11-26)

Deadly snake bites: Potential antivenom discovered
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people lose their mobility or life after having been bitten by a venomous snake. The problem is particularly widespread in low-income countries, as antivenom is expensive, or not available, and treatment requires trained healthcare personnel. Now Danish researchers propose an alternative type of antivenom, named Serpentides, that is simple to make, cheaper to produce and can be used by anyone, anywhere. (2020-11-26)

Eating dried fruit may be linked with better diet quality and health markers
Penn State research found that people who ate dried fruit were generally healthier than those who did not, and on days when people ate dried fruit they consumed greater amounts of some key nutrients than on days when they skipped. However, they also found that people consumed more total calories on days when they ate dried fruit. (2020-11-24)

New plant-based gel to fast-track 'mini-organs' growth, improve cancer treatment
Monash University researchers have created the world's first bioactive plant-based nanocellulose hydrogel to support organoid growth for biomedical applications. This includes cancer development and treatment. (2020-11-24)

New findings speed progress towards affordable gene therapy
In a promising advance for affordable, personalised medicine, researchers have used metal-organic frameworks to successfully deliver the genetic snipping tool CRISPR/Cas9 into human cancer cells. (2020-11-20)

Taking out the trash is essential for brain health
Researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have identified a protein called Wipi3 that is essential for cellular waste disposal via the alternative autophagy system. Deletion of Wipi3 in the brains of mice causes growth and motor defects attributed to neuronal accumulation of iron, resulting in neurodegeneration. However, over-expression of another alternative autophagy protein, Dram1, reverses the effects in Wipi3 deficiency, and may represent a novel treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. (2020-11-19)

A patented solution for dry mouth relief and food product development
A team of scientists from the University of Leeds have developed a new hydrogel that has significant potential for oral care products that can help with dry mouth relief. (2020-11-17)

This tableware made from sugarcane and bamboo breaks down in 60 days
Scientists have designed a set of 'green' tableware made from sugarcane and bamboo that doesn't sacrifice on convenience or functionality and could serve as a potential alternative to plastic cups and other disposable plastic containers, which can take as long as 450 years or require high temperatures to degrade. This non-toxic, eco-friendly material only takes 60 days to break down. This plastic alternative is presented November 12, 2020 in the journal Matter. (2020-11-12)

Faster disclosure under RTRS delivering transparency that helps muni market stakeholders
University of Oregon researchers have found three-fold benefits when the gap in trade reporting in municipal bond markets changed from a full day to fifteen minutes after implementation of the Real-Time Transaction Reporting System. Municipalities, they report, can benefit from the real-time reporting system through more efficient capital markets, creating benefits for society because municipal bond offerings fund infrastructure investments that often improve quality of life, education and public safety. (2020-11-10)

Chemical scissors snip 2D transition metal dichalcogenides into nanoribbon
One of the biggest challenges in making hydrogen production clean and cheap has been finding an alternative catalyst necessary for the chemical reaction that produces the gas, one that is much cheaper and abundant than the very expensive and rare platinum that is currently used. Researchers in Korea have now found a way to 'snip' into tiny nanoribbons a cheap and plentiful substance that fits the bill, boosting its catalytic efficiency to at least that of platinum. (2020-10-29)

CAM modes provide environment-specific water-saving benefits in a leaf metabolic model
Several plant lineages living in arid environments have evolved crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis, a water-saving mode of carbon fixation in which CO2 uptake and CO2 fixation are temporally separated. Researchers from IPK Gatersleben and the University of Oxford tested whether full CAM is also necessarily the best solution for C3 crops grown in temperate environments and attempted to identify alternative metabolic modes that best balance the trade-off between water loss and photosynthetic productivity under a range of environments. (2020-10-29)

RUDN University chemist suggested increasing the biofuel production efficiency with silica-supported
A chemist from RUDN University developed a silica-supported heteropolyacid system to produce ethers from waste products of the wood and paper industry and agriculture. Ethers can be used as biofuels, and the new method increases the efficiency of their production 4 to 10 times, thus reducing energy consumption and making the manufacturing of biofuels cheaper. (2020-10-28)

Waiter! This soup is not fly
Black Soldier Fly larvae contains more zinc and iron than lean meat and its calcium content is higher than milk. Less than half a hectare of black soldier fly larvae can produce more protein than cattle grazing on around 1200 hectares, or 52 hectares of soybeans. New research has identified the barriers for introducing fly protein into Western human diets as a sustainable, healthy alternative to both meat and plant proteins. (2020-10-28)

RUDN University chemist created a catalyst from orange peel for organic compounds production
N-heterocycles are organic substances used in the chemical industry and medicine. To produce them, expensive catalysts made from noble metals are used. A chemist from RUDN University developed a nanocatalyst for N-heterocycles that consists of zinc oxide and niobium and can be obtained using orange peel without any additional chemical agents. The catalyst makes the reaction almost 100% effective, thus increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost of N-heterocycles production. (2020-10-23)

Social media postings linked to hate crimes
A new paper in the Journal of the European Economic Association, published by Oxford University Press, explores the connection between social media and hate crimes. The researchers combined methods from applied microeconomics with text analysis tools to investigate how negative rhetoric about refugees on social media may have contributed to hate crimes against refugees in Germany between 2015 and 2017. (2020-10-06)

Emerging field of integrative palliative care highlighted in journal special issue
An emerging field characterized as ''combining the natural synergy between integrative health and palliative medicine (2020-10-06)

Planaria flatworms can be alternative screening tool to avoid rabbit skin testing
A new, accurate screening tool for clinical skin products has been developed which uses flatworms rather than rabbits (2020-10-01)

How green hydrogen can become cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels
The green hydrogen revolution is coming, and Australia is perfectly placed to take advantage of it, an analysis of production costs by UNSW engineers has shown. (2020-09-30)

Scientists got one step closer to solving a major problem of hydrogen energy
A team of scientists from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) together with their colleagues from Austria, Turkey, Slovakia, Russia (MISIS, MSU), and the UK found a way to hydrogenate thin metallic glass layers at room temperature. This technology can considerably expand the range of cheap, energy-efficient, and high-performance materials and methods that can be used in the field of hydrogen energy. An article about the study was published in the Journal of Power Sources. (2020-09-29)

Bird genes are multitaskers, say scientists
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have found that although male and female birds have an almost identical set of genes, they function differently in each sex through a mechanism called alternative splicing. (2020-09-25)

Mirror-like photovoltaics get more electricity out of heat
New heat-harnessing 'solar' cells that reflect 99% of the energy they can't convert to electricity could help bring down the price of storing renewable energy as heat, as well as harvesting waste heat from exhaust pipes and chimneys. (2020-09-21)

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