alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
I only recently found this report about a means to increase the capacity of lithium cells. It could be useful for many things. Netbooks and telephones are the obvious candidates, but it might also make electric cars genuinely practical.

If the use of renewable energy is to be substantially increased, will require a lot of energy storage, the doing of which is not currently known, if frequent power cuts are to be avoided, and this may be part of the solution.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
Here is an animation of sunspot data, and Nasa's prediction for future sunspot activity. It is interesting to see how the prediction of a fairly regular variation is modified as the data for the last year or two is added.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
Nuclear powered bacteria have been found in a goldmine. Analysis shows that they get their energy from the radioactive decay of uranium in the surrounding rocks. It extracts carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide and fixes nitrogen, which comes from the surrounding rocks.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
Here is an interesting news report about cultured neurones controlling a robot body. It is certainly interesting, specially because neurones simulated in software will be given the same tasks, and this should lead to a greater understanding of what neurones do, even if not so much of how they do it.

Is it creepy? I am not sure, but probably not at this stage. After all, I swat insects that bite or sting, and I believe they have more neurones. However, this does raise the interesting question: At what stage, if ever, could a grouping of cultured neurones possibly become conscious (if we can discover what consciousness actually is) and at what stage, if ever, could it become an intelligent entity that should have legal rights?
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
I watched "The Great Global Warming Swindle" a couple of days ago. It increased my knowledge of some of the reasons I had already had doubts about the theory that human activity was causing any significant fraction of the climate change that is happening, as well as adding other reasons not to be a true believer.

Global warming caused by human activity seems to have many aspects including; a misunderstanding, a scam, an excuse to increase taxes, and a cult or a religion.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
In this weeks issue of Electronics Weekly - can't find a web reference - apparently solar cells with an efficiency of just over 40% have been developed. They aren't near to production yet, and they use space grade materials.

The efficiency is gained by using multiple junctions with different bandgaps to absorb different wavelengths. This may well be the only way to make high efficiency solar cells using "conventional" semiconductors, although there may in future be organic approaches that don't need explicit different bandgaps. OTOH chlorophyll isn't that efficient, and rhodopsin is not as efficient as chlorophyll.

A related phenomenon: I noticed a fluctuating reading ont he voltmeter connected to a power supply (under development) that had been switched off for a long while. I noticed a correlation with the sunlight, and found that the LED was generating electricity in response to the sunlight. Of course, the available current is negligible, but it was interesting to observe.


alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)

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