News, Renewable Energy

The two-in-one solar cell might harness energy cheaply and efficiently

Test sample of a monolithic perovskite-silicon multijunction solar cell produced by the MIT-Stanford University team. Image: Felice Frankel

A team at Stanford and MIT has devised a novel configuration that combines silicon – the leading solar cell semiconductor – and perovskite – a cheap mineral, only recently exploited for converting solar energy – to form two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harness energy across a wider spectrum. While performance at this stage is not impressive (it’s equally as good or bad as conventional single-layer silicon cells), researchers believe they have methods at their disposal that could double efficiency. If that were to happen, than these could be the cheap, but efficient solar cells we’ve all been waiting for….

Art, Great Pics, Videos

This camera shaped like a gun shoots 8 bit photos of your Nintendo self

8bit camera

Time to get a bit geeky with Dmitriy Morozov latest contraption: an 8 bit camera that prints photos on a receipt. How’s that for recycling tech? As you can notice, the display is handled by none another than the Game Boy, while the hardware is controlled via the ever trusty Arduino. Morozov is a Moscow-based artist whose ‘thing’ is mixing art with diy electronics….

News, Technology

3D printing to the next level: Terminator style

carbon3d

A new company called Carbon3D, founded by a team of physicists and chemists, were inspired by the iconic Terminator villein, the self-morphing T-1000, to build a machine that 3D prints objects from a puddle of raisin. Unlike conventional 3D printers which add material layer by layer, the latest innovation works fundamentally different. The models it prints are extremely sophisticated and detailed, making it a valuable tool for consumer products, not just prototyping as is the norm today….

News, Technology

Anti-robot protest rallied at SXSW is just a marketing stunt – the message isn’t

stop robots SXSW

About two dozen University of Texas students gathered on Saturday at the entrance to the SXSW tech and entertainment festival to voice their concerns about the risks artificial intelligence might pose to humanity. Though largely ignored by hipster pedestrians nearby, the protest does raise some legitimate concerns even though technology is still far off from any Skynet scenario. Thankfully, we might never cross this SciFi threshold….

Physics, Videos

Einstein’s most famous equation – explained [VIDEO]

einstein

This year we celebrate a century since Albert Einstein’s posited his most famous equation: E=mc2. But what does it mean? How does it affect me? These are all highly pertinent questions, and luckily Symmetry Magazine put together an amazing video that puts all this to rest, and while fitting anti-potatoes and the Higgs boson in the same picture. Wait till you see it. …

Environment, Renewable Energy

Nicaragua covers 50% of its energy demand with renewables, and expects 90% by 2020

Photovoltaic power plant in Diriamba, about 25 miles from Managua. Image: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

The central American republic of Nicaragua is nothing short of a renewable energy paradise: great winds, a scorching tropical sun and 19 volcanoes that can be tapped for geothermal. Not too long ago, the country had been enslaved by its over-dependence on foreign oil imports, since it practically has no performing oil rigs. Since 2005, the country has embarked on…

Animals, Biology, News

How Antarctic octopuses survive in freezing waters

Antarctic octopuses survive in cold waters by holding higher concentrations of blue blood proteins. Image: National Geographic

Octopus species that live in ice-cold Antarctic waters employ an unique strategy to transport oxygen to its tissue and survive, according to German researchers. The study suggests the octopuses’ specialized pigments, analogous to hemoglobin in vertebrates, are in higher concentration in the Antarctic region than in warmer waters. This would help to explain why octopuses are more adapted to climate change and warming waters…

Animals, Biology, News

How the praying mantises make their amazing leaps

praying mantis

Praying mantises are peculiar creatures, by human standards. The insect often stands in a pose that looks like it is praying, but make no mistake – it’s a formidable killer and an unforgiving lover. The unholy mantis uses its spiky front legs with great accuracy to ledge unto prey, but also to hold onto its male lover after mating to chop of his head. Ouch! A less known aspect of praying mantises is their agility. The insects make extremely calculated leaps and controlled landings, all in the blink of an aye. Now, a team from University of Cambridge and University of Bristol, UK, have found out how they manage their acrobatic feats. In short, it’s a complex interplay between the counter-rotation of three body parts to exchange momentum. This orients the insect towards its target with great precision….

Health & Medicine, News

Heroin overdose kills four times as many people as in 2000

A photo of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, as part of a makeshift memorial in front of his apartment building in New York. Hoffman died of a heroin overdose last February, a tragedy which put overdose back into media attention. REUTERS

Since 2000, the number of deaths from heroin overdose have quadrupled. At the same time, the profile of the average overdosed fatality has shifted from older back men to younger white males, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). …

Environment, Environmental Issues, News

UK government is killing its solar industry by cutting subsidies

solar

The UK boasts 650,000 solar installations across homes, offices, schools, churches, warehouses, farms, police stations, train stations and even a bridge. It’s been one of the fastest growing solar markets in Europe. At the end of 2013, there were 2.8GW of solar power arrays installed, but by the end of 2014 this figure climbed to 5GW or nearly double in only 12 months. However, drastic and discriminatory changes in renewable subsidies to come in effect in May of this year are expected to collapse solar development to 1% of its current level. …