New transparent solar cells can be used on windows, smartphone screens

Posted in 2014 with tags , , , , on August 22, 2014 by theboldcorsicanflame

solar-clear

Image: Yimu Zhao

Named a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and developed by researchers in Michigan State University in the US, this material can be used to cover anything that has a flat, clear surface. Transparent solar cell technology has been attempted before, but the energy the cells produced was poor and the materials they were made out of were highly coloured.

“No one wants to sit behind coloured glass,” said one of the researchers behind the technology, chemical engineer Richard Lunt, in a press release. “It makes for a very colourful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent.”

The new transparent solar cells are made from tiny organic molecules that absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight such as ultraviolet and near infrared light. This invisble light is then guided to the edge of the solar panel, where thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells pick it up and convert it into energy. “Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” Lunt said.

Not only are they transparent, these solar cells are also flexible. The researchers are now working on scaling the technology up for commercial applications such as window coverings for residential and office buildings, smartphone and tablet screens, electronic signs, and car windows.

“It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” said Lunt. “It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”

http://phys.org/news/2014-08-solar-desnt-block-view.html#ajTabs

HitchBot, The Robot hitchhiking across Canada

Posted in 2014 with tags , on August 21, 2014 by theboldcorsicanflame

I am hitchBOT — a robot from Port Credit, Ontario.

This summer I will be traveling across Canada, from coast-to-coast. I am hoping to make new friends, have interesting conversations, and see new places along the way. As you may have guessed robots cannot get driver’s licences yet, so I’ll be hitchhiking my entire way.

I have been planning my trip with the help of my big family of researchers in Toronto. I will be making my way from the east coast to the west coast starting in July.

As I love meeting people and hearing stories, I invite you to follow my journey and share your hitchhiking stories with me as well. If you see me by the side of the road, pick me up and help me make my way across the country!

Photographer Veronica Craft spotted a group of 50 sea otters performing their morning workout in the bay at Moss Landing, California

Posted in 2014, animals with tags , , , on August 19, 2014 by theboldcorsicanflame

 

 

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They all raised their flippers and paws out of the water in sync, looking like they were taking part in a group workout
Sea otters lift their paws out of the water to keep them warm
They are the only body parts not wholly covered in insulating fur

‘Children, especially, always smile at the images. They love the cuteness of the otters. ‘I wish I could give every single person one of my photos, as American author Mark Twain once said ‘the best way to cheer yourself up is try to cheer somebody else up.

‘Otters are very special animals and trying to keep them safe is something that we all should do.’
Adult sea otters typically weigh between 31 and 99lbs, making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals.

They rest with their webbed flippers out of the water to protect them from the cold ocean. The sea otter’s paws are the only parts of its body that are not wholly covered in insulating and waterproofing fur.
If they were to keep their paws in the water, then all their body heat would drain into the ocean.
Sea otters live in offshore environments, where they dive to the sea floor looking for food.

Morning of August 18th 2014: Venus and Jupiter are converging for a spectacular conjunction in the early morning sky

Posted in 2014, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by theboldcorsicanflame

jupiter_venus_conjonction

Taken by Gary Colwell on August 17, 2014 @ Burlington Ontario Canada

Set your alarm for dawn! Venus and Jupiter are converging for a spectacular conjunction in the early morning sky. At closest approach on the morning of August 18th, the two brightest planets in the solar system will be only 0.2o apart. This is what they looked like one day early, August 17th, from the Canadian side of Lake Ontario

“It was a beautiful conjunction in the pre-dawn sky,” says photographer Gary Colwell. “And it will get even better on Monday morning.”

conjunction_strip

To see the show, find a place with a good view of the north-northeastern horizon. No telescope is required. Jupiter and Venus are bright enough to see with the naked eye even from light polluted cities. In fact, as Colwell’s photo shows, you can see them even after the sun begins to brighten the dawn. A tight conjunction of Venus and Jupiter framed by twilight blue is a great way to start the day.

For more information, see this video from NASA.

http://spaceweather.com/

Max Raabe – Weird Version of “Oops i did it again”

Posted in 2014 with tags , , on August 15, 2014 by theboldcorsicanflame

Volcano: In Sicily, The Stromboli woke up

Posted in 2014 with tags , , on August 15, 2014 by theboldcorsicanflame

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Strong volcanic activity in Sicily. After Etna late July, it was the turn of Stromboli to wake up. A new crater opened last Friday in the upper part of the volcano, about 650 meters above sea level. The authorities have suspended tours to the volcano located in the Aeolian Islands after the onset of a new lava flow.

Hundreds of tourists are dumped on the ferries that ply between the village of Stromboli and the tiny village of Ginostra the other side of the island and on the myriad of small boats offering rides Wed New lava plunging into the sea on the side of the volcano at a place called ‘the Sciara del Fuoco’, literally the fire road, a sort of natural water slide is very visible by boat. For safety reasons, it is forbidden to approach within 300 meters.

But the sight of the entrance to the washing in water that produces steam emissions, stones and ash, could be short-lived. According to the mayor of Lipari, Marco Giorgianni, which depends Stromboli, who had moved in recent days on the Aeolian island, ‘the lava flow is decreasing obvious’ since Saturday.

#1 Anticancer Vegetable

Posted in 2014 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2014 by theboldcorsicanflame

There are two superfood classes of vegetables most adept at blocking human cancer cell growth in a petri dish: the cruciferous family (cabbages, kale, broccoli, spinach, even watercress) and the allium family, which includes garlic, scallions (green onions), yellow onions and leeks. Synergistically, within the human metabolism vs a petri dish, things might be different but this video still shows the results of an interesting study that is worthy of note

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