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Finding Chicago's food gardens with Google Earth

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Jan. 3, 2013 — Urban agriculture is promoted as a strategy for dealing with food insecurity, stimulating economic development, and combating diet-related health problems in cities. However, up to now, no one has known how much gardening is taking place in urban areas. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a methodology that they used to quantify the urban agriculture in Chicago.

John Taylor, a doctoral candidate working with crop sciences researcher Sarah Taylor Lovell, was skeptical about the lists of urban gardens provided to him by local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

"Various lists were circulating," he said. "One of them had almost 700 gardens on it."

On closer inspection...

Turning smartphones into secure and versatile keys

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Thanks to ShareKey, digital keys can be transferred by e-mail using a smartphone. (Credit: © Fraunhofer SIT)

Jan. 3, 2013 — It's already possible to open doors using an app -- but we are a long way from seeing widespread acceptance of this in the market. Now, researchers have developed a piece of software that will make the technology even more secure and versatile.

Smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of our daily lives. The...

How computers push on the molecules they simulate

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Dynamic computer simulations of molecular systems depend on finite time steps, but these introduce apparent extra work that pushes the molecules around. Using models of water molecules in a box, researchers have learned to separate this shadow work from the protocol work explicitly modeled in the simulations. (Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Jan. 3, 2013 — Because modern computers have to depict the real world with digital...

Video analysis: Detecting text every which way

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Jan. 3, 2013 — Software that detects and extracts text from within video frames, making it searchable, is set to make a vast resource even more valuable.

As video recording technology improves in performance and falls in price, ever-more events are being captured within video files. If all of this footage could be searched effectively, it would represent an invaluable information repository. One option to help catalogue large video databases is to extract text, such as street...

New design for basic component of computer chips: Researchers demonstrate record-setting p-type transistor

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In this micrograph of an experimental transistor, blue highlighting indicates areas of "strain," where germanium atoms have been forced closer together than they find comfortable. One of the reasons for the transistor's record-setting performance is that the strain has been relaxed in the lateral direction. (Credit: Winston Chern and James Teherani)

Jan. 3, 2013 — Almost all computer chips use two types of transistors: one called p-type, for positive, and one called...

Common data determinants of recurrent cancer are broken, mislead researchers

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Jan. 2, 2013 — In order to study the effectiveness or cost effectiveness of treatments for recurrent cancer, you first have to discover the patients in medical databases who have recurrent cancer. Generally studies do this with billing or treatment codes -- certain codes should identify who does and does not have recurrent cancer. A recent study published in the journal Medical Care shows that the commonly used data determinants of recurrent cancer may be misidentifying patients and...

Toward reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the Internet and telecommunications

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Jan. 2, 2013 — Amid growing concern over the surprisingly large amount of greenhouse gas produced by the Internet and other telecommunications activities, researchers are reporting new models of emissions and energy consumption that could help reduce their carbon footprint.

Their report appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Researchers from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) and Bell Labs explain that the information...

Secure communication technology can conquer lack of trust

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Jan. 2, 2013 — Many scenarios in business and communication require that two parties share information without either being sure if they can trust the other. Examples include secure auctions and identification at ATM machines. Exploiting the strange properties of the quantum world could be the answer to dealing with such distrust: researchers at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore have used the quantum properties of light to perform the...

Tool to evaluate genome sequencing method developed

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Jan. 2, 2013 — Advances in bio-technologies and computer software have helped make genome sequencing much more common than in the past. But still in question are both the accuracy of different sequencing methods and the best ways to evaluate these efforts. Now, computer scientists have devised a tool to better measure the validity of genome sequencing.

The method, which is described in the journal PLOS One, allows for the evaluation of a wide range of genome sequencing...