By: Sheng Ran

Nature often reveals itself in surprising ways, so scientists, who study nature, have a lot of opportunities to be surprised. Over the past year and a half, I have been working on UTe2, a simple compound made of two parts, uranium and tellurium, which I discovered is a superconductor. That is, it conducts electricity without resistance under certain conditions.

Superconductivity is exciting because it’s almost like a superpower: It can help scientists detect very weak brain activity, accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light, and potentially provide the building blocks for futuristic quantum computers that could solve complex problems our current computers can’t touch.

HERSHEY, Pa. — Can a computer be used to explain why an environmental toxin might lead to neurodegenerative disease? According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, a computer generated-simulation allowed them to see how a toxin produced by algal blooms in saltwater might cause Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

The researchers investigated an environmental toxin called β-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) that has been linked to significantly increased occurrence of sporadic ALS in populations with frequent dietary consumption of food sources containing high levels of BMAA — including the Chamorro population of Guam where ALS incidence is approximately 100 times greater than other populations.

By Maj. Peter J. Molineaux | 91st Cyber Brigade

PEMBROKE, N.H. — The Virginia Army National Guard’s Bowling Green-based 91st Cyber Brigade completed the process of hosting Cyber Yankee ’19 via its ShadowNet enterprise solution, a custom-built private cloud that uses VPN connectivity to provide aligned units with tailored cyber training at the individual and collective levels.

The brigade hosted the five-day exercise on the ShadowNet platform remotely at its Data Center in Fairfax, Virginia, as it was physically conducted Aug. 5-9 at the Edward Cross Training Complex in Pembroke, New Hampshire.

The nursery could help restore damaged reefs using fully formed coral colonies rather than small fragments.

When a ship grounds on coral reef, the accident can severely damage the reef and scatter countless small coral fragments onto the seafloor. But these pieces of coral aren’t yet dead—they can gain new life if placed into a coral nursery. This small installation allows the coral fragments, which average around 4-inches in length, to recover and grow until they’re large enough for conservation managers to outplant them back into reefs that need them.

by Jessica Hallman

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Internet users may soon have a way to have their questions about online privacy policies answered automatically, thanks to a new multi-institution research project that includes Penn State.

The project is funded by a recent $1.2 million multi-institution grant from the National Science Foundation, with $437,000 allocated for Penn State. The project aims to enable people to ask questions about the privacy issues that matter to them when reviewing privacy policies.

Currently, more than 90% of people consent to legal terms and conditions without reading them, according to a 2017 Deloitte survey. Reasons range from complex language, lack of time, length of the material and general indifference.

by Asher Jones

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Viruses, spread through mosquito bites, cause human illnesses such as dengue fever, Zika and yellow fever. A new control technique harnesses a naturally occurring bacterium called Wolbachia that blocks replication of viruses and breaks the cycle of mosquito-borne disease, according to an international team of researchers.