Friday, November 7, 2014

Your Wikipedia searches can reveal national flu trends

Image from the Washington Post.   

A year ago, the CDC launched a competition to find better flu models, especially those using social media and Internet data. This recent model, led by Kyle Hickman of the Los Alamos National Laboratories, uses an algorithm to link flu-related Wikipedia searches with CDC data from the same time.

Once the researchers taught their algorithm how searches and diagnoses were connected, the model was able to predict the 2013-2014 flu season in real time. (Full Story)

How Wikipedia data Is revolutionizing flu forecasting

Influenza forecast model.  From MIT TechReview.

This time last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta launched a competition to find the best way to forecast the characteristics of the 2013-2014 influenza season using data gathered from the internet. Today, Kyle Hickmann from Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico and a few pals reveal the results of their model which used real-time data from Wikipedia to forecast the ground truth data gathered by the CDC that surfaces about two weeks later. (Full Story)

Spectroscopy, cameras to help explore the red planet

The Mars 2020 Rover.  NASA image.

Dr. Roger Wiens at Los Alamos National Laboratory will provide the SuperCam, an imaging instrument that combines laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, Raman and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, passive VISIR spectroscopy and high-resolution color imaging for elemental composition and mineral identification. The time-resolved fluorescence can resolve organically produced fluorescence created by inorganic sources, while Raman spectroscopy provides identification of many organic molecules. The SuperCam can also dust off surfaces with laser blasts. (Full Story)

Researchers use scientific guns to induce shock waves into explosive materials

Adam Pacheco pushes the “fire” button at the two-stage gas gun facility. LANL image.

As nuclear weapons go through life extension programs, some changes may be advantageous, particularly through the addition of what are known as "insensitive" high explosives that are much less likely to accidentally detonate than the already very safe "conventional" high explosives that are used in most weapons.

"We're very interested in understanding chemical dynamics in extreme conditions," said Dattelbaum. "Chemical reactions are occurring in very extreme environments with very fast reaction rates, and we really don't fully understand the first bond-breaking steps and the subsequent bond-breaking steps as an explosive detonates." (Full Story)

Video shows scientific guns used to study explosives

The two-stage gas gun.  LANL image.              

As the U.S. nuclear deterrent ages, one essential factor in making sure that the weapons will continue to perform as designed is understanding the fundamental properties of the high explosives that are part of a nuclear weapons system.

"As we move forward with our stockpile and as it's aging and as we're replacing components, we want to make sure that we have confidence that those materials perform as intended," said Dana Dattelbaum, a chemist in the Los Alamos National Laboratory's Shock and Detonation Physics group. "And that we are also continuing to improve on safety." (Full Story)

LANL to utilize Scality REST block driver

“The Scality REST Block Driver will enable us to instantiate hundred plus petabyte file systems protected by erasure coding via the Scality RING,” said Gary Grider, HPC Division Leader at Los Alamos National Lab (LANL). “The ability to share block devices without the need for a fibre channel SAN, using REST/HTTP on inexpensive scale out 10+ Gigabit Ethernet/Infiniband technology, is an important building block for us." (Full Story)

Quantum Materials scales up quantum dot production

Quantum dots emit various colors based on the dot’s size.  LANL image.

“We are also producing a premium line of Quantum Dots utilizing Los Alamos National Labs ‘Thick-Shell’ Giant Quantum Dot technology,” said Stephen B. Squires, Quantum Materials Corp. chairman and CEO.

“By adding 16 layers to the quantum dot shell, they achieved dramatic increases in brightness, lifetime and other singular advantages. Only Quantum Materials’ automated production system is capable of the repetitive cycles necessary to economically add many nanoscale layers.” (Full Story)

Los Alamos tells story of Hanford plutonium assembled into atomic bombs

"Fat Man" display at the Bradbury Science Museum. From the Oregonian.

A visit to the Bradbury Museum of Science helps a Northwest visitor understand the process that began on the Columbia River in Washington's Tri-Cities andended with the explosion of a plutonium bomb.

Like the Hanford part of the Tri-Cities, Los Alamos, M.N., was lightly settled when it was chosen as the place to develop the science to assemble the bomb. The explosive material came from elsewhere: Hanford for the plutonium for the first and third nuclear detonations, and Oak Ridge, Tenn., for uranium for the second. (Full Story)

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