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By: Stefanie Peterson

The cost of cheap clothes at Wal-Mart, Sears

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A deadly fire at a Bangladesh apparel factory that manufactured items for major U.S. stores like Wal-Mart and Sears raises troubling questions about the high cost of cheap clothing, and whether the world’s largest companies are doing enough to monitor worker conditions in their overseas production facilities.

A total of 112 people were killed and at least 200 more were injured in a fire Saturday at the Tazreen Fashions Factory, located near Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka. Two days later, another apparel factory near Dhaka caught fire. Ten people were injured after jumping from windows to escape the inferno at the 10-story building. Eye witnesses say that managers had locked the windows and gates to the buildings, which had no fire escapes, effectively trapping the workers in.

By: Stefanie Peterson

Invista and Exim Knits develop new Lycra fabrics

Invista is working with India’s Exim Knits to develop fabrics with Lycra fibre that possess the dual qualities of excellent recovery and enhanced elongation. Exim Knits Pvt. Ltd., which has stste of the art production facilities, is a manufacturer and exporter of knit, woven and organic cotton products which was established in India 21 years ago.

By: Stefanie Peterson

3D printing: The hype, the hopes, the hurdles

MARANA, Ariz. – Three-dimensional printing: hype, or hope?

That’s the question industry leaders sought to answer at the Techonomy conference here in the sunny greater Tucson area. A panel of experts – Geomagic’s Ping Fu, Shapeways‘ Peter Weijmarshausen and PARC’s Stephen Hoover, with CNET’s own Paul Sloan moderating — discussed the promises, pitfalls and potential of a technology that allows almost anyone to turn a digital file into a perfect copy of a physical object, from puzzle pieces to airplane wings, in materials such as plastic, metal and rubberlike polymers.

Can 3D printing change the world? Let’s dive in.

By: Stefanie Peterson

Nanotube yarn flexes its muscles

An international team of researchers led by Ray Baughman of the University of Texas at Dallas has developed a new type of artificial muscle made from a “yarn” of twisted carbon-nanotube threads infused with wax. The new actuator structures are different from previously made devices in that they do not need an external electrolyte to function. The muscles can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight, can contract and expand extremely quickly and can operate over a wide temperature range. Such properties could make them ideal for use in a range of future applications, such as humanoid robots, intelligent textiles and advanced rotary motors.

By: Stefanie Peterson

Green Friendly ‘Bluesign’ Clothing

Bluesign is an emerging standard for environmental health and safety in the manufacturing of textiles. The Switzerland-based organization, officially known as Bluesign Technologies AG, provides independent auditing of textile mills, examining manufacturing processes from raw materials and energy inputs to water and air emissions outputs. Each component is assessed based on its ecotoxicological impact. Bluesign ranks its audit findings in order of concern, and suggests ways to reduce consumption while recommending alternatives to harmful chemicals or processes where applicable.

By: Stefanie Peterson

J.C. Penney Co. is hoping it has finally hit rock bottom.

The bad news just keeps getting worse for the struggling department-store chain, which on Friday reported a wider third-quarter loss than Wall Street expected on a nearly 27-percent drop in revenue. That marks the third consecutive quarter of huge profit losses and steep sales declines as customers continue to show that they are not happy with its decision this year to ditch hundreds of coupons and annual sales in favor of everyday low pricing.

By: Stefanie Peterson

Seed cotton prices hike by Rs 150/40kg

RAHIMYAR KHAN – Due to apprehensions of lower domestic cotton production against earlier estimates for the current year, the cotton ginners have prompted with enhanced purchasing of seed cotton.  The prices of seed cotton (phutti) have risen by Rs 100 to 150 per 40 kg in various parts of the country and touched highest price of this season Rs 3,000 per 40 kg during last two days. It is expected that prices of cotton lint will also show corresponding upward trend. The upset in cotton prices due to announcement of cotton lint imports last week will eventually be again turn to upward trend.Seed cotton prices hike by Rs 150/40kg

By: Stefanie Peterson

H&M again world’s biggest user of organic cotton

Hennes and Mauritz Group (H&M) was the biggest user of organic cotton worldwide in the second consecutive year in 2011, according to Textile Exchange’s latest Global Sustainable Textiles Market Report.

H&M continued to increase its already world leading use of organic cotton further which is part of H&M’s strategic goal to only use more sustainable cotton by 2020.

By: Stefanie Peterson

Innovative medical textiles eliminates bacteria

Scientists at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech (UPC) in Spain have succeeded in eliminating infectious bacteria from medical textiles by using an enzymatic pre-treatment combined with simultaneous deposition of nanoparticles and biopolymers under ultrasonic irradiation. This was an outcome of the SONO (‘A pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process’) project, which is funded under the ‘Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies’ (NMP) Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of EUR 8.3 million. SONO is targeting the improvement of antimicrobial properties on medical textiles through the use of the state-of-the-art technique.

By: Stefanie Peterson

The Basics of Cloud Forensics

Cloud computing is said to be a game changing technologies in the recent history of computing. Unfortunately, due to its young age, cloud companies don’t have yet any process that allows for a set procedure on how to investigate or go about cloud issues. Due to this absence, they have no means of ensuring the robustness and suitability of cloud services when it comes to supporting investigations of criminal activity.