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  • Spread @1:57AM, 2017-02-12
    Tags: , , science, ,   

    Flecks of “solar glitter” can make almost anything solar powered 

    A solar technology invented years ago at Sandia National Laboratories has gotten a step closer to being on the market and that should make you pretty excited. The technology — miniature, flexible solar cells called “solar glitter” that can be integrated into objects of any shape or size — could change the way we approach solar energy generation.

    Read the rest from TreeHugger

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  • Spread @12:15AM, 2017-02-08
    Tags: science, solar. green energy,   

    The state of residential solar power 

    As children, many of us have been fascinated by solar-powered calculators and watches. A few of us may even have received science kits with tiny motors attached to palm-sized solar cells. Generating electricity from light seems magical. Why can’t we run the world this way?

    Read the rest at Ars Technica

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  • Spread @2:44AM, 2017-02-02
    Tags: philanthropy, research, science   

    Exposing the Truth About Bad Science: Cancer Studies Are Fatally Flawed 

    John Arnold says that now, unless he trusts a researcher’s work, he no longer believes the findings of any scientific study until he or someone on the staff carefully vets the paper. “A new study shows …” are “the four most dangerous words,” Arnold wrote on Twitter.

    Meet the former Enron trader and hedge fund founder who’s on a quest to expose bad science.

    Read the rest from Wired

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  • Spread @3:54AM, 2016-07-09
    Tags: , brewing, , science   

    How Craft Brewers Advance Science 

    Not long ago, I found myself in a beer-tasting room in upstate New York, looking out on a field of hops and sampling the craft brews of a company called Indian Ladder Farmstead. Among the list of beers chalked on a blackboard was one particularly hoppy creation named “Dr. Paul Matthews I.P.A.” Naturally I felt obliged to inquire about the eponymous doctor. The owner, Dietrich Gehring, told me that the name was an homage. He said his passion for wild hops had led him to Matthews, to whom he referred as the Lord of the Hops.

    “I’m not an expert in beer,” Matthews cautioned when I reached him, by phone. “I’m a plant engineer and evolutionary biologist.” Matthews, a past president of the Hop Research Council, is the senior research scientist at Hopsteiner, a major hops trader and processor, founded in 1845, in Washington State’s Yakima Valley.

    The hop flower has been used in beer-making at least since the eighth century. Traditionally it was a preservative, but it also imparts flavor. To some, the taste is bitter and unpalatable, and thus many brewers use only minimal amounts.

    Read the rest from The New Yorker

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  • Spread @2:26AM, 2016-07-09
    Tags: , science, scientific method   

    There Is No Scientific Method 

    In 1970, I had the chance to attend a lecture by Stephen Spender. He described in some detail the stages through which he would pass in crafting a poem. He jotted on a blackboard some lines of verse from successive drafts of one of his poems, asking whether these lines (a) expressed what he wanted to express and (b) did so in the desired form. He then amended the lines to bring them closer either to the meaning he wanted to communicate or to the poetic form of that communication.

    I was immediately struck by the similarities between his editing process and those associated with scientific investigation and began to wonder whether there was such a thing as a scientific method. Maybe the method on which science relies exists wherever we find systematic investigation. In saying there is no scientific method, what I mean, more precisely, is that there is no distinctly scientific method.

    There is meaning, which we can grasp and anchor in a short phrase, and then there is the expression of that meaning that accounts for it, whether in a literal explanation or in poetry or in some other way. Our knowledge separates into layers: Experience provides a base for a higher layer of more conceptual understanding. This is as true for poetry as for science.

    Read the rest from The New York Times

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  • Spread @11:17PM, 2016-07-06
    Tags: cascadia, earthwakes, faultlines, science, seismology. the big one   

    The Really Big One 

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    Take your hands and hold them palms down, middle fingertips touching. Your right hand represents the North American tectonic plate, which bears on its back, among other things, our entire continent, from One World Trade Center to the Space Needle, in Seattle. Your left hand represents an oceanic plate called Juan de Fuca, ninety thousand square miles in size. The place where they meet is the Cascadia subduction zone. Now slide your left hand under your right one. That is what the Juan de Fuca plate is doing: slipping steadily beneath North America. When you try it, your right hand will slide up your left arm, as if you were pushing up your sleeve. That is what North America is not doing. It is stuck, wedged tight against the surface of the other plate.

    Without moving your hands, curl your right knuckles up, so that they point toward the ceiling. Under pressure from Juan de Fuca, the stuck edge of North America is bulging upward and compressing eastward, at the rate of, respectively, three to four millimetres and thirty to forty millimetres a year. It can do so for quite some time, because, as continent stuff goes, it is young, made of rock that is still relatively elastic. (Rocks, like us, get stiffer as they age.) But it cannot do so indefinitely.

    Read the rest from The New Yorker

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  • Titus Toledo @10:36PM, 2016-06-23
    Tags: caffeine, , , science,   

    Physics and caffeine 

    A collaboration between the French filmmaker Charlotte Arene and the University of Paris-Sud’s Laboratory of Solid State Physics, Physics and Caffeine explores how the best models for understanding the physical world – from electromagnetism to special relativity to quantum mechanics – converge in every cup of coffee.

    Hat tip: aeon

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  • Spread @2:36AM, 2016-04-22
    Tags: earth, , science, space weather,   

    The #1 Risk to Earth 

    Ben Davidson explains how the sun can trigger the #1 risk to earth, based on severity and likelihood, and the current state of earth’s magnetic reversal, including how our protection from solar energy is weakening with it.

    In the second half of 2015 several minor solar upticks (100x weaker than ‘big’ ones) caused geomagnetic events we would expect from the only the largest flares every decade or so. This trend is expected to continue and it is not a pretty picture for the coming decades.

    Ben is the Director and Founder of Space Weather News, The Mobile Observatory Project, The Disaster Prediction App, SpaceWeatherNews.com, Suspicious0bservers.org, MagneticReversal.org, QuakeWatch.net, ObservatoryProject.com, and the Suspicious0bservers YouTube Channel, with more than 260,000 minds alert to what the mainstream deems ‘unimportant’.

    —Via Suspicious 0bservers

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  • Spread @2:11AM, 2016-04-22
    Tags: , communication, , , science   

    The Secret Life of Plants 

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    Plants have scientifically been shown to draw alternative sources of energy from other plants. Plants influence each other in many ways and they communicate through “nanomechanical oscillations” – vibrations on the tiniest atomic or molecular scale or as close as you can get to telepathic communication.

    Members of Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse’s biological research team have previously shown that green algae not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy: it can draw it from other plants. His research findings were released in the online journal Nature Communications.

    Other research published last year, showed that young corn roots made clicking sounds, and that when suspended in water they would lean towards sounds made in the same frequency range (about 220 Hz). So it seemed that plants do emit and react to sound, and the researchers wanted to delve into this idea further.

    —Read the rest from Uplift Connect

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  • Spread @12:50AM, 2015-10-31
    Tags: , , , science,   

    The 30-Minute Meditation Method 


    New research suggests that meditating just 30 minutes a day for eight weeks can physically change the parts of your brain that regulate emotions and memory.
    Source: Utne Reader

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  • Spread @12:47AM, 2015-09-18
    Tags: alan lightman, miracles, , science   

    Splitting the Moon 

    guernica-nature

    “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

    These words from Exodus describe one of the most famous miracles in the Bible. Never before and never since, in any sea or ocean on earth, have winds created a passageway through which people could walk. In scientific terms, such an event would require a sustained and highly directed column of wind blowing at hurricane force, a phenomenon that could be created only on a small scale in a human-made wind tunnel of the twentieth century. But the parting of the Red Sea occurred three thousand years ago. It was ordered up by Moses and delivered by God. It was a “miracle,” at odds with the behavior of nature, beyond nature, a “supernatural” event, inexplicable except by recourse to divine intervention.

    A recent Harris poll found that 74 percent of Americans surveyed believe in God, and 72 percent believe in miracles. Miracles are usually associated with the actions of gods or other divine beings, and they occur not only in Judaism and Christianity but in all of the major religions of the world. In Islam, Muhammad split the moon. In Hinduism, when Saint Jnanadeva was told that he was not qualified to recite the Vedas, he placed his hand on a water buffalo, which proceeded to chant Vedic verses. Most Buddhists believe that all living creatures experience a cycle of deaths and rebirths, appearing in new bodies and passing through various nonphysical realms on the way.

    —Read the rest of Alan Lightman’s essay on Guernica

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  • Spread @12:25AM, 2015-09-02
    Tags: , bacteria, living language, Ori Elisar, science   

    Living language 

    ‘Living language’ employs paenibacillus vortex bacteria to explore the interaction between nature and an organized culture. each petri dish models the form of a letter from the paleo-hebrew alphabet. The project was produced by Ori Elisar of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. The project is an exploration between human culture and organic activity; each dish begins with an outlined hebrew letter which bacteria then grows along.

    —Read the rest from Design Boom

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  • Spread @1:24AM, 2015-08-31
    Tags: , science, , solar sunflower,   

    Solar Sunflower harnesses 5,000 suns 

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    High on a hill was a lonely sunflower. Not a normal sunflower, mind you; that would hardly be very notable. This sunflower is a solar sunflower that combines both photovoltaic solar power and concentrated solar thermal power in one neat, aesthetic package that has a massive total efficiency of around 80 percent.

    The Solar Sunflower, a Swiss invention developed by Airlight Energy, Dsolar (a subsidiary of Airlight), and IBM Research in Zurich, uses something called HCPVT to generate electricity and hot water from solar power. HCPVT is a clumsy acronym that stands for “highly efficient concentrated photovoltaic/thermal.” In short, it has reflectors that concentrate the sun—”to about 5,000 suns.”

    Read the rest from Ars Technica

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  • Spread @11:38PM, 2015-08-04
    Tags: biomass, extinxtion, science, thermodynamics   

    Continued destruction of Earth’s plant life places humans in jeopardy 

    Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth’s declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a paper published recently by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

     “You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,” said the study’s lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA’s College of Engineering. “The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.”

    Earth was once a barren landscape devoid of life, he explained, and it was only after billions of years that simple organisms evolved the ability to transform the sun’s light into energy. This eventually led to an explosion of plant and animal life that bathed the planet with lush forests and extraordinarily diverse ecosystems.

    The study’s calculations are grounded in the fundamental principles of thermodynamics, a branch of physics concerned with the relationship between heat and . Chemical energy is stored in plants, or , which is used for food and fuel, but which is also destroyed to make room for agriculture and expanding cities.

    Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century.

    “If we don’t reverse this trend, we’ll eventually reach a point where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us,” Schramski said.

    Read the rest from phys.org

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  • Spread @3:55AM, 2015-06-28
    Tags: , science,   

    Flowing salt water over graphene generates electricity 

    Hydroelectricity is one of the oldest techniques for generating electrical power, with over 150 countries using it as a source for renewable energy. Hydroelectric generators only work efficiently at large scales, though—scales large enough to interrupt river flow and possibly harm local ecosystems. And getting this sort of generation down to where it can power small devices isn’t realistic.

    In recent years, scientists have investigated generating electrical power using nano-structures. In particular, they have looked at generating electricity when ionic fluids—a liquid with charged ions in it—are pushed through a system with a pressure gradient. However, the ability to harvest the generated electricity has been limited because it requires a pressure gradient to drive ionic fluid through a small tube. But scientists have now found that dragging small droplets of salt water on strips of graphene generates electricity without the need for pressure gradients.

    Read the rest at Ars Technica

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  • Spread @2:08AM, 2015-06-26
    Tags: , heart, science   

    Inside The Human Heart 

    This new heart simulation, created by researchers at University of Tokyo, is so accurate that it will at times make you queasy. It takes you into straight into the chambers of the heart, showing you not just a clear view of the anatomy, but how the valve tissue actually pulsates inside your body.

    —Read the rest at fastcodesign.com

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