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Home country: USA
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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Batteries Included: A Solar Cell that Stores its Own Power

By: Pam Frost Gorder
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Is it a solar cell? Or a rechargeable battery?

Actually, the patent-pending device invented at The Ohio State University is both: the world’s first solar battery.

In the October 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications, the researchers report that they’ve succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device.

Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.



The IOC Demands That Helped Push Norway Out of Winter Olympic Bidding Are Hilarious

By Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oslo is dropping out of bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing as the only remaining cities seeking to host the event. Why? One reason is that people are starting to realize that spending mega-money to build sporting venues that may not ever be used again doesn't make economic sense. Another is that the International Olympic Committee is a notoriously ridiculous organization run by grifters and hereditary aristocrats. Norwegian citizens were particularly amused/outraged (amuseraged) by the IOC's diva-like demands for luxury treatment during the hypothetical Games. Here's a piece in the Norwegian media about the controversy, with translation provided by a generous Norwegian reader named Mats Silberg:

They demand to meet the king prior to the opening ceremony. Afterwards, there shall be a cocktail reception. Drinks shall be paid for by the Royal Palace or the local organizing committee.
Separate lanes should be created on all roads where IOC members will travel, which are not to be used by regular people or public transportation.
A welcome greeting from the local Olympic boss and the hotel manager should be presented in IOC members' rooms, along with fruit and cakes of the season. (Seasonal fruit in Oslo in February is a challenge ...)
The hotel bar at their hotel should extend its hours “extra late” and the minibars must stock Coke products.
The IOC president shall be welcomed ceremoniously on the runway when he arrives.
The IOC members should have separate entrances and exits to and from the airport.
During the opening and closing ceremonies a fully stocked bar shall be available. During competition days, wine and beer will do at the stadium lounge.
IOC members shall be greeted with a smile when arriving at their hotel.
Meeting rooms shall be kept at exactly 20 degrees Celsius at all times.
The hot food offered in the lounges at venues should be replaced at regular intervals, as IOC members might “risk” having to eat several meals at the same lounge during the Olympics.


Roots grow out of vagina after woman uses potato as contraceptive

After experiencing pain in her abdominal area, the Columbian woman went to a local hospital to get help.

Embarrassed, she told nurses she had put a potato into her vagina two weeks ago, because she was advised it would prevent pregnancy. According to Columbiareports.co, the potato germinated and grew roots. The nurse who attended to the woman found the roots had visibly emerged from her vagina. The potato was eventually removed, non surgically.

Sex education is a taboo subject in the conservative Columbian community after families boycotted classes aimed at informing the youth on such topics.


Elephants and rhinos 'could be extinct within two decades' because of ivory poaching

Elephants and rhinos could be extinct within the next two decades, conservation campaigners are warning.

Wildlife campaigners say an estimated 35,000 elephants and 1,000 rhinos are killed each year as demand for ivory and rhino horn drives increasing poaching rates.

This demand means both species could potentially be wiped out within the next 20 years.

The warning comes ahead of marches across the world demanding greater protection for the two species.

The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos kicks off on Saturday, with hundreds of people are set to march through London wearing elephant and rhino masks.



Friday TOON Roundup 4 - The Rest








Middle East


(see: http://election.democraticunderground.com/10025607025)

Friday TOON Roundup 3 - Hong Kong Protests

Friday TOON Roundup 2 - GOP and minions

Friday TOON Roundup 1 - Service Failure

How Technology Traced HIV to Its Very Beginnings

In the early 1980s, when AIDS deaths began to ripple across the U.S. in force, most people—including healthcare professionals—had never even heard of the virus behind the outbreak. It was a distant infection on African continent. Few predicted it would explode into a pandemic that would baffle scientists into the 21st century.

Now, researchers are piecing together HIV's full origin story: how it went from a simian virus in chimps to a human one that has infected an estimated 75 million people worldwide. In a paper published today in the journal Science, researchers follow the first reported cases of HIV from Cameroon (which previous studies had suggested as the likely place that the virus jumped from chimps to humans) down the Sangha River to Kinshasa, now the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) was at the very heart of the development of the pandemic," says Jacques Pépin, an epidemiologist at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada and coauthor on the paper. "That is where the virus was amplified to the extent that it eventually spread from there to the rest of the world."



MIT Thinks It Has Discovered the 'Perfect' Solar Cell

A new MIT study offers a way out of one of solar power's most vexing problems: the matter of efficiency, and the bare fact that much of the available sunlight in solar power schemes is wasted. The researchers appear to have found the key to perfect solar energy conversion efficiency—or at least something approaching it. It's a new material that can accept light from an very large number of angles and can withstand the very high temperatures needed for a maximally efficient scheme.

Conventional solar cells, the silicon-based sheets used in most consumer-level applications, are far from perfect. Light from the sun arrives here on Earth's surface in a wide variety of forms. These forms—wavelengths, properly—include the visible light that makes up our everyday reality, but also significant chunks of invisible (to us) ultraviolet and infrared light. The current standard for solar cells targets mostly just a set range of visible light.

That makes sense because visible light is the most intense form of light that reaches the Earth's surface. Many other forms, such as microwaves and x-rays, are mostly blocked by the planet's atmosphere, but the full spectrum reaching Earth still extends outward from what's known as the solar cell "band gap." This is the range of frequencies within which a material is able to convert solar energy into electrical energy.

The band gap is a feature of photovoltaic solar cells in particular. This is the scheme in which photons, the carriers of the electromagnetic force, and what we'd usually call "light," collide with atoms in some material. This collision delivers a bunch of extra force to those atoms, which respond by shedding electrons. All those electrons add up to current—electricity. It's an ingenious way to harvest energy, but it's currently not all it could be.


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