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Joshua Carroll

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
So, time for something fun... People don't realize just how much energy there is locked up in matter. This is what was so amazing about Einstein's equation, E=mc^2. It is simply the correlation of energy to matter (energy equivalence of any given amount of matter). What is each letter in this equation mean?
E is amount of energy measured in Joules.
m is mass measured in kilograms.
c is the speed of light (3.00 × 10^8 m^2/s^2)
I'm going to play with this equation and show you just how much energy you contain inside of yourself (roughly). Bear in mind these aren't exact amounts, nor is this utilizing the derivatives of this equation. This is simply showing the basic function of what Einstein figured out in the equation's basic form...

Let's use me as an example:
1 Josh = 190lbs
1 lbs = 453.6g
So 190lbs × 453.6g/1 lbs = 86,184g
So 1 Josh = 86,184g
86,184g × 1kg/1000g = 86.18kg.

So now that I'm in the right unit of measurement (kg), let's plug the numbers in:
E= (86.18kg)(3.00 × 10^8)^2
E= 7.76 × 10^18 J
That looks like this- 7,760,000,000,000,000,000, or 7.8 septillion joules of energy.
What does that mean, though? How much is that? Let's put it into terms that you can easily quantify:
1 Joule = 2.39 × 10^-13 kilotons of explosive.
Let's convert the energy equivalent of me into kilotons of tnt.
1 Josh = 7.76 × 10^18 J
7.76 ×10^18 J × 2.39 × 10^-13 kT/1 J =
1,854,640 kilotons of explosives.

Let's put that into perspective: The bomb dropped on Nagasaki in Japan was approximately 21 kilotons of explosive. So that means I have 88,316 × more explosive energy in me than the bomb that destroyed an entire city... and that goes for everyone. Below are links further explaining this equation and how it can be used, as well as why it is so important within the scientific community:

http://www.emc2-explained.info

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass%E2%80%93energy_equivalence

http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/february-2005/explain-it-in-60-seconds
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Please, don't you even think about farting!*

*I know it's a stupid comment but I can't couldn't resist. Sorry...
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Singlet fission is a process that can potentially boost the efficiency of solar energy conversion.

This is the main subject of a research article published by chemists at the University of California, Riverside in the Journal Physical Chemistry Letters. The article discusses a process they are confident if implemented effectively, may increase solar cell efficiency by as high as 30%.

That’s all great–but what do we understand by the process of ‘Singlet fission’?

Read More: http://www.pvbuzz.com/solar-energy-efficiency-boost/

Publication: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jz500676c

#solarenergy #energyefficiency #energyefficiency #solarcellefficiency 
Singlet fission, in which an initially excited singlet state spontaneously splits into a pair of triplet excitons, is a process that can potentially boost the efficiency of solar energy conversion.
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Peptineo

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 

Regenerative medicine continues to progress thanks to 3 billion in stem cell funding.  California has moved forward on its own to provide critical funding in this arena.   As questions continue to be raised about the ethical use of stem cells, even for life-saving research, researchers now have the opportunity to move forward.  The video describes activities in California and the institute that was established to champion this emerging field.  Of note is a recent investment by CIRM to support use of stem cells in HIV research (http://www.cirm.ca.gov/about-cirm/newsroom/press-releases/06252014/calimmune-approved-treat-second-group-hiv-stem-cell-gene).  Other activities include into the role that cancer stem cells play in the progression of cancer (http://cirmresearch.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-man-behind-curtain-protein-helps.html)
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Think Science

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Meat-eaters’ greenhouse gas emissions are twice as high as vegans’

People who eat meat produce double the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from their diets than vegans, researchers report May 31 in Climatic Change.
Everything from producing, transporting, storing, cooking and even wasting food contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and meat products have higher emissions because of the methane released from animals’ digestive systems.
As a result, meat-eaters who consume 50 to 99 grams of meat each day contribute 5.63 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents to the atmosphere per day, while vegans contribute only 2.89 kilograms, the researchers found. Vegans had the lowest dietary greenhouse gas emissions, followed by vegetarians and then people who only ate fish.
Governments could use the findings to update their recommendations for a “healthy, sustainable diet,” the authors suggest.
https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/meat-eaters%E2%80%99-greenhouse-gas-emissions-are-twice-high-vegans%E2%80%99
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+Jerzy Kaltenberg very insightful. I'm not all that well versed on the ins and outs of agriculture. I had heard about anthropologist and historians considering it a calamity. I think it was important when it was developed, but shouldn't have been drawn out exponentially the way it has. 
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Ben Norwood

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Is it just me, or is the hyperbole attached to the photo junk science?

If I'm interpreting it correctly, power stored in a "solar heat plate" (whatever that is) is apparently sufficient to electrolyse water into hydrogen and oxygen; the hydrogen is somehow used to power the device (how?!) while discharging oxygen. Plunging the laptop into water (!) somehow automatically charges the battery, while also discharging oxygen.

I think the designers need to take a chemistry course or two, then come back and tell us how this mythical device is supposed to work.

[EDIT] While originally seen as an unliked G+ post, I've found the designer's page, which has a few more images, including a cross-sectional view. It seems as though the concept has a flexible screen and keyboard which roll up into the tube. I very much doubt we'll see this appear in reality (too many problems with the science), but it's an interesting concept nonetheless.

http://www.yankodesign.com/2011/07/14/oxygenated-notebook/
 
Plantbook Laptop 

According to the designers ”The system uses an external water tank, hence the Plantbook continuously absorbs water when soaking it in water and generates electrolysis using power stored in a solar heat plate installed on the top. In this process, it is operated using hydrogen as energy source and discharges oxygen. If you put it into a water bottle while you don’t use the laptop, it automatically charges a battery and discharges oxygen.

A leaf-shaped strap hanging on the top is made with silicon. It plays a role of a hand ring and a green LED indicates when the battery is charged. Using this LED, users can check how much spare capacity the batter has”.
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رااااااااااااائع
 ·  Translate
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Derick Ajumni

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Scientists have successfully studied how plastic solar panels work. Well, they claim this is the ‘holy grail’ to understanding the fundamental mechanistic workings (in molecular detail) of the process by which solar cells convert sunlight into energy.

Why is this important?

This breakthrough helps open up more opportunities to improve the technology's cost efficiency which could lead to a wider use of the technology.    

Read More:  http://www.pvbuzz.com/plastic-solar-panels-breakthrough/

Reference: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140701/ncomms5288/full/ncomms5288.html

#organicsolarcell   #plastic   #solarpanels   #organicsolarcell   #PV   #solarenergy 
Scientists at the University of Montreal and collaborators have successfully figured out how light beams excite the chemicals in plastic solar panels--enabling them to produce charge.
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I suspect we'll have vinyl solar panels house siding someday. The government will probably even pass tax break laws to encourage homeowners to invest in them. In 5 years?
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Maxim Kotsemir

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Measuring National Innovation Systems Efficiency – A Review of DEA Approach
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1989392

The paper reviews the application of the data envelopment analysis (DEA) method for measuring the efficiency of national innovation systems (NIS). The paper firstly visualizes the logic of DEA method and briefly summarizes the key advantages and main limitations of the DEA method. Further, this paper provides a comprehensive review of 11 empirical studies on cross-country analysis of NIS efficiency with DEA technique. In its main part the paper analyses the specifications of DEA models used in the reviewed studies, the content of the country samples, sets of input and output variables used and the resulting lists of efficient countries. 

The review detects general trends and differences in the sets of variables and the content of country samples. Moreover, this paper highlights the problem of “small countries bias” in the reviewed studies: situation when “small” (in terms of national innovation system scope and the level of development) countries (like Venezuela, Kyrgyzstan etc.) are included in the country sample, these “small” countries become the efficient ones. 

In general, empirical studies on cross-country analysis of national innovation systems efficiency using DEA method pay little attention to profound analysis of previous relevant studies. Therefore, this paper is among the first papers with deep review of such empirical studies.

The full version can be downloaded for free here
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1989392 
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Gary Ray R
owner

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Piezoelectric Powered Pacemaker
Researchers have developed a piezoelectric material that can replace the batteries in a pacemaker.

From Materials Science on G+
 
Piezoelectric Materials Power Heart Pacemaker

One of the wonders of modern medicine is the pacemaker.   It is a small electronic device that is placed in the chest to control the heartbeat.  

A pacemaker is a small device that's placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. This device uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.  ⓐ

Pacemakers are used to treat arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.  ⓐ

One of the issues with pacemakers is that they need electric power from batteries.
Unfortunately, the battery technology used to power these devices has not kept pace and the batteries need to be replaced on average every seven years, which requires further surgery. To address this problem, a group of researchers from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a cardiac pacemaker that is powered semi-permanently by harnessing energy from the body's own muscles.  ⓑ

The research team, headed by Professor Keon Jae Lee of KAIST and Professor Boyoung Joung, M.D. at Severance Hospital of Yonsei University, has created a flexible piezoelectric nano-generator that has been used to directly stimulate the heart of a live rat using electrical energy produced from small body movements of the animal.  ⓑ

Piezoelectric means that the electricity is generated from mechanical stress of a material.
The piezoelectric effect describes the relation between a mechanical stress and an electrical voltage in solids.  ⓒ

The researchers at KAIST have developed a new material that is flexible and is piezoelectric.  Meaning you can bend it and it generates electric voltage.

The team created their new high-performance flexible nanogenerator from a thin film semiconductor material. In this case, lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT) was used rather than the graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes of previous versions. As a result, the new device was able to harvest up to 8.2 V and 0.22 mA of electrical energy as a result of small flexing motions of the nanogenerator. The resultant voltage and current generated in this way were of sufficient levels to stimulate the rat's heart directly.  ⓑ

You can see a demonstration of this in the video at the KAIST site below. 

The direct benefit of this experimental technology could be in the production and use of self-powered flexible energy generators that could increase the life of cardiac pacemakers, reduce the risks associated with repeated surgeries to replace pacemaker batteries, and even provide a way to power other implanted medical monitoring devices.  ⓑ

Hat Tip to +Tomo Owa 

Original Research (paywall)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201400562/abstract

NIH   National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.   What is a Pacemaker
ⓐ  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/

ⓑ  GIZMAG  
Cardiac pacemaker powered by body's own muscles developed  
http://www.gizmag.com/self-powered-cardiac-pacemaker-piezoelectric-nanogenerator/32685/

ⓒ  http://www.piezomaterials.com/  

ⓓ  The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) 
The First Demonstration of a Self-powered Cardiac Pacemaker
http://www.kaist.edu/_prog/_board/?mode=V&no=19802&code=ed_news&site_dvs_cd=en&menu_dvs_cd=0601&list_typ=B&skey=&sval=&smonth=&site_dvs=&GotoPage=

Image  The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
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Sue Clarkin's profile photoBermira Gates's profile photosyedali abdullah's profile photoAnthony Battle's profile photo
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I think a more interesting application might be to charge batteries for bionics.
 I can imagine walking (muscles in your legs) being used to charge a bionic arm.
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Brandon Petaccio

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Establishing Cause
This is a question I've been contemplating, which applies to all fields: How does research establish a causal relationship between conditions or events and outcomes? For example, I just saw that some research was released showing a correlation between consuming copious television and an increased risk of death. Many have interpreted this to mean that it is dangerous to watch television, because they have confused correlation with causation. I understand that principle just fine.

What I'm having a hard time with is figuring out how to establish cause at all.

It seems that even in cases where we directly observe a process from beginning to end, we only posit cause on grounds that one thing follows after another thing. And is that not just correlation? Is it not true that the things we say to be causal are just more highly correlated to outcomes? I wonder if somebody just needs to help me make a distinction between cause and correlation... cause the more I think about it, the more similar they appear to be...
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Şəhriyar İmanov has been removed from the community for ad hominem comments.
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Circus Bazaar

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
We just published a really nicely laid out piece on Biomimicy and its broader uses. Would love the feedback. As far as science goes we are just getting started with it as a part of our publication. Enjoy :)
http://bit.ly/1pvy0PZ
Biomimicry is the new buzz word that is likely to dominate bio sciences for many decades to come. Nature in its astonishing complexity has provided human technology with a 'how to' template fresh f
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Can you please add more explanation to your post?  As per our guidelines.

2. No links without explanation. Accompany any link with an explanation of why you think it's share-worthy. Write a paragraph or two (not just a sentence) that summarizes the key scientific content and why you were intrigued.

The more information you include in your post, the more people will read it, and hopefully they will understand it better.  More explanation also gives more keywords to search with, so people who are interested in the topic can look back and find your post easily.

Thanks, it is easy to edit a post.
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Frank Furtstealth

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Mars One - University Challenge - 2018 Lander

Mars One revealed a conceptual design study produced by Lockheed Martin [1], which details a Mars Precursor Lander mission for 2018. It will be based on the successful 2007 NASA Phoenix lander.

This mission will include several payloads with a total weight of 44kg [2]:

1. Water extraction (10kg)
2. Soil acquisition (15kg)
3. Thin film solar power demonstrator (6kg)
4. Camera system (5kg)
5. Open for random proposals (2kg)
6. Open for random proposals (2kg)
7. Educational payload (2kg)
8. Winning university experiment (2kg)

An example proposition for the university challenge experiment: 
http://www.thenational.ae/uae/technology/uae-academic-hopes-invention-will-land-on-mars-in-four-years-time

I was thinking about something "easier" and more fun, than the self-healing circuit board mentioned above, like capturing some sounds on Mars (96% CO2 atmosphere, 0.006 bar), or a small camera attached to a balloon. Or more complicated, a greenhouse experiment with actual plants, maybe LED illuminated. Or do these experiments sound too "easy", would they be better suited for the educational payload aimed at high schools, rather than the university challenge?

May the best team win!

More info here: http://www.mars-one.com/news/press-releases/mars-one-announces-request-for-proposals-for-2018-mars-lander-payloads

The actual documents:

[1] Proposal Information Package (Lockheed Martin) - http://www.mars-one.com/images/uploads/MarsOne_PIP.pdf

[2] Request for Proposals (Mars One) - http://www.mars-one.com/images/uploads/MarsOne-RFP.pdf
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Peptineo

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
 
Today, the CDC provided update on incident involving unintended anthrax exposure earlier in the year.  In the update, several key changes were outlined. First, a moratorium on the movement of infectious biological materials from BSL3 or BSL-4 facilities was instituted pending internal review.  Second,  a high-level group was established to immediately address laboratory safety.  This group will approve movement of biological materials between labs and serve as an intermediate step in the establishment of key leadership to manage these type of activities going forward.  For more information see: http://ow.ly/z3yO2 

Additionally, a detailed report was generated on the anthrax incident and is now available for review:  http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/integrity/docs/Final_Anthrax_Report.pdf

#CDC
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There is a lot of interesting yet unsettling information in the above links.
I like that the CDC is being transparent about this incident.  The problem was they thought some samples were sterile when they still had viable anthrax on them.  No one was infected. 

What is also troubling is this revelation of another incident after the anthrax incident.  From the Press Release:
While finalizing this report, CDC leadership was made aware that earlier this year a culture of non-pathogenic avian influenza was unintentionally cross-contaminated at the CDC influenza laboratory with the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of influenza and shipped to a BSL-3 select-agent laboratory operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were no exposures as a result of that incident.  The CDC influenza laboratory is now closed and will not reopen until adequate procedures are put in place. Further investigation, review, and action is underway.
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A collaborative team of scientists from PNNL and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center studied nutrient turnover in the gardens of leaf-cutter ants using #metabolomic and #metaproteomic techniques at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL. The team’s findings could improve the process to convert #biomass to #biofuels and other advanced bioproducts. Read more at http://1.usa.gov/1zpYicN

* * * 

Found in ecosystems throughout the Neotropics, these ants feed on fungus gardens cultivated on fresh foliar biomass. The team found that many free amino acids and sugars are depleted during biomass degradation, indicating that easily accessible nutrients from plant material are readily consumed by microbes in these ecosystems. 

The team found that numerous free amino acids and sugars are depleted throughout the process of biomass degradation, indicating that easily accessible nutrients from plant material are readily consumed by microbes in these ecosystems. Accumulation of cellobiose and lignin derivatives near the end of the degradation process supports the research team's previous characterization of lignocellulases produced by the fungal cultivar of the ants.

Their results also suggest that derivatives of urea may be an important source of nitrogen in fungus gardens, especially during nitrogen-limiting conditions. No protein-free arginine ("free" arginine) was detected in the team's metabolomic experiments, despite evidence that the host ants cannot produce this amino acid, which is a key nutrient for the ants. This suggests that biosynthesis of this metabolite may be tightly regulated in fungus gardens. These results provide new insights into microbial community-level processes that underlie this important ant-fungus symbiosis.

Their findings also show the value of metabolomics as a tool for understanding nutrient dynamics in microbial ecosystesm and untangling the complex molecular details underlying mutlispecies associations. These studies provide insights that could lead to technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other advanced biofuels.

"Although recent investigations have shed light on how plant biomass is degraded as it moves through the strata of fungus gardens, the goal of this study was to gain insight into the cycling of nutrients that takes place in these specialized microbial ecosystems," said Dr. Kristin Burnum-Johnson, a PNNL biochemist and co-author of a research paper that will appear in “Environmental Microbiology Reports.” 

Read more at http://1.usa.gov/1zpYicN. 
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Does h-index have any practical value?

For example, requiring a mínimum h-index for academic jobs.

Being a professor demands a minimal PhD training, publishing regularly in indexed journals, going to conferences, teaching and being evaluated, transmiting knowledge, etc. and now for academic jobs (Academic absurd cases: Looking for candidates with a minimum h-index) some Universities also request a minimum of points in the h-index (publications-citations), isn’t it somewhat exaggerated?
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If you  don't know about the  h index, from WIKI.
The h-index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. The index can also be applied to the productivity and impact of a group of scientists, such as a department or university or country, as well as a scholarly journal. The index was suggested in 2005 by Jorge E. Hirsch, a physicist at UCSD, as a tool for determining theoretical physicists' relative quality and is sometimes called the Hirsch index or Hirsch number.

Hirsch suggested (with large error bars) that, for physicists, a value for h of about 12 might be typical for advancement to tenure (associate professor) at major research universities. A value of about 18 could mean a full professorship, 15–20 could mean a fellowship in the American Physical Society, and 45 or higher could mean membership in the United States National Academy of Sciences.
The London School of Economics found that professors in the social sciences had average h-indices ranging from 2.8 (in law) to 7.6 (in economics)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-index
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SciFi Author: Lacerant Plainer
moderator

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
 
The Foldscope: A $1 microscope : While looking at optics and diffraction limits, I came upon this amazing idea. It uses origami to create a microscope with a magnification of roughly 2000x! A simple idea which will go a long way to STEM education. The idea is still under testing, but it has generated enough interest to be funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

The basic principle of using a small spherical lens held close to the eye dates back to Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), who was the first to see single-celled organisms using such a lens held in a device of his own design. http://goo.gl/B2Hc9L

Article Extract: This amazing microscope — a bookmark-sized piece of layered cardstock with a micro-lens — only costs about 50 cents in materials to make. Prakash’s dream is that this ultra-low-cost microscope will someday be distributed widely to detect dangerous blood-borne diseases like malaria, African sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and Chagas.

“What came out of this project is what we call use-and-throw microscopy.” The Foldscope can be assembled in minutes, includes no mechanical moving parts, packs in a flat configuration, is extremely rugged and can be incinerated after use to safely dispose of infectious biological samples. With minor design modifications, it can be used for bright-field, multi-fluorescence or projection microscopy.

Twelve Foldscope variants are available, each designed to aid the identification of a particular disease-causing organism. To enable several people to use them at once, each microscope can project images with a built-in projector. The Foldscope is designed to be assembled by the end user, and hence is colour-coded to help with the assembly. Each unit costs less than one US dollar to build, with estimates varying from 50 cents to 97 cents.

Article link +Stanford University  : http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2014/03/10/stanford-bioengineer-develops-a-50-cent-paper-microscope/

+Popular Mechanics link with video: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/med-tech/the-$1-unbreakable-origami-microscope-16903659

Video link: Manu Prakash (Stanford): Foldscope: Origami Based Paper Microscopes

Official website : http://www.foldscope.com/faqs/

Research paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.1211

Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foldscope

Pics courtesy: Foldscope.com, Stanford.edu, gizmag.com, lichtmikroskop.net

#science #microscope #idea  
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Hehehe +Becky Coleman I'm so doing this.
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Gary Ray R
owner

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Fireworks, How do they Work?

I put this together last year and thought today would be a good day to repost it. 
 
What Makes Those Wonderful Fireworks Red, White, and Blue?
And How Do They Get UP There?

Across the US today and tomorrow millions of us will watch fireworks shows and the ohhhs and ahhhs will be loud.  I thought I would put a short summary and list of sources on how they work.

The basics are as the Metaist said on his blog:
There are lots of different kinds of fireworks, but basically they work by launching a bundle of things into the air which explodes mid-air.
The different colors and arrangements that fireworks make is the result of how the bundle is arranged and the kinds of materials that are used.
From  http://metaist.com/blog/2012/05/reader-question-how-do-fireworks-work.html

Chemistry.about.com has descriptions of some of the basics:
http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingswork/a/fireworks.htm

Firecrackers are the original fireworks. In their simplest form, firecrackers consists of gunpowder wrapped in paper, with a fuse. Gunpowder consists of 75% potassium nitrate (KNO3), 15% charcoal (carbon) or sugar, and 10% sulfur. The materials will react with each other when enough heat is applied. Lighting the fuse supplies the heat to light a firecracker. The charcoal or sugar is the fuel. Potassium nitrate is the oxidizer, and sulfur moderates the reaction.  
We remember that from when JTK fought the Gorn, in the original Star Trek.

A sparkler consists of a chemical mixture that is molded onto a rigid stick or wire. These chemicals often are mixed with water to form a slurry that can be coated on a wire (by dipping) or poured into a tube. Once the mixture dries, you have a sparkler. Aluminum, iron, steel, zinc or magnesium dust or flakes may be used to create the bright, shimmering sparks. An example of a simple sparkler recipe consists of potassium perchlorate and dextrin, mixed with water to coat a stick, then dipped in aluminum flakes. The metal flakes heat up until they are incandescent and shine brightly or, at a high enough temperature, actually burn. A variety of chemicals can be added to create colors.    Also from Chemistry.about.com

When most people think of 'fireworks' an aerial shell probably comes to mind. These are the fireworks that are shot into the sky to explode. Some modern fireworks are launched using compressed air as a propellent and exploded using an electronic timer, but most aerial shells remain launched and exploded using gunpowder. Gunpowder-based aerial shells essentially function like two-stage rockets. The first stage of an aerial shell is a tube containing gunpowder, that is lit with a fuse much like a large firecracker. The difference is that the gunpowder is used to propel the firework into the air rather than explode the tube. There is a hole at the bottom of the firework so the expanding nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases launch the firework into the sky. The second stage of the aerial shell is a package of gunpowder, more oxidizer, and colorants. The packing of the components determines the shape of the firework.  From Chemistry.about.com

From From Science-Summer-Fireworks, Live Science.
http://news.yahoo.com/science-summer-fireworks-145608909.html
The aerial shell is the standard one people use … it's the mainstay on everything for professional displays," said Paul Nicholas Worsey, a professor of mining and nuclear engineering at the University of Missouri at Rolla and an expert in fireworks who teaches college courses on the subject.  

Depending on the chemical elements they contain, the stars glow different colors as they burn.

Worsey explained that the easiest colors to generate are red with strontium and green with barium. Sodium produces a "strong yellow color," Worsey said, and magnesium makes white light. Blue is trickier and usually involve chlorine compounds and copper.

The razzle-dazzle of the stars changing colors is achieved by coating the star in various layers of different compositions, rather like a Gobstopper candy. "The outside burns first and burns inwards, and as it goes through the different layers the star will change color in the air," Worsey told LiveScience.

Other compositions containing longer-burning gold or silver make for the trailing, weeping willow-like effects. "Something that burns a long time? Gold is a good one for that," said Worsey. "It'll go down almost to the ground before it goes out."

Titanium can be used for a sparkling effect, Worsey said, while the particularly loud, noisy or crackling firecrackers usually contain some sort of flash powder, such as magnesium perchlorate, that burns quickly.

Nice lesson in fireworks chemistry at:
http://chemistry.about.com/od/fireworkspyrotechnics/a/fireworkcolors.htm

Planet-Science has some videos on how fireworks are made.
http://www.planet-science.com/categories/over-11s/technology/2011/11/how-do-fireworks-work.aspx

NBC News has a nice scientific explanation at:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077329/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/surprisingly-scientific-flash-behind-fireworks/

Popular Mechanics has a good slideshow on how fireworks are made.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/gonzo/how-fireworks-work-photo-gallery#slide-1

Image from:  (Image: Camera Slayer at Flickr) 
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Katrina Jackson's profile photoGary Ray R's profile photoDuncan Burgess's profile photoCliff Bramlett's profile photo
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just awesome!
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The Daily Fusion

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Net energy analysis—a technique that seeks to compare the amount of energy a technology delivers over its lifetime with the energy needed to build and maintain it—should be a critical energy policy tool, according to Stanford scientists.

The technique can complement conventional energy planning, which often focuses on minimizing the financial cost of energy production, Stanford researchers say.

“The clearest answer to ‘Why is net
energy important?’ is that net energy, not money, fuels society,” wrote lead author Michael Carbajales-Dale, a research associate in Stanford’s Department of Energy Resources Engineering, in the July 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change. “Net energy analysis can identify potential costs and barriers to technology development that
 a traditional financial analysis might not.”

Read more: http://bit.ly/TpRwmc

Original research: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2285
Study: Net energy analysis — a technique that can complement conventional energy planning — should become a critical energy policy tool.
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Gopalan Sampath's profile photoGary Ray R's profile photoraphael santerre's profile photo
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Net energy applies only electric power?? If a system extracts electric as well as well heat power from the same solar capture setup is it superior investment?
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The material Perovskite continues to be a marvel with its distinct crystal structure, and flexible properties.

The rush to develop non-toxic solar cells made of perovskite material is believed to one day be the solution to manufacturing less expensive solar capturing substrates for electricity generation.

This excitement comes with an environmental drag since–lead (Pb)–is the main element in perovskite. This means the perovskite material may be very toxic for the environment.

So researchers have been working on ways to replace this lead with tin as a non-toxic alternative to current perovskite solar-cell technology.

Read More: http://www.pvbuzz.com/non-toxic-solar-cells-perovskite/

Publication: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/ee/c4ee01076k#!divAbstract (it may or may not be free–depending on your geographic region)

#perovskite #solarpanels #solarcellefficiency #solartechnology
The rush to develop non-toxic solar cells made of perovskite material is heating up the research in solar cell efficiency and is believed to maybe one day be the solution to the manufacture of less expensive solar capturing substrate to generate electricity.
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KQED SCIENCE

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Gigantic Ocean Eddies Seen From Space Could Change Climate Model

"Enormous vortices of water, measuring 60 miles across, spin their way across the sea at a deliberate pace—3 miles per day...Just how much water gets carried around by all these eddies? The total is staggering: more than 30 times the amount dumped by all the world’s rivers into the ocean, according to a paper published to today in Science."

Learn more how this new research could impact climate modeling from WIRED. 

Link to the study abstract: http://goo.gl/CtksyC
Video showing sea surface height maps from radar altimetry: http://goo.gl/50rvrE
The weather is a dance between an odd couple: the frantic atmosphere and the staid sea. The atmosphere changes quickly, as when a strong wind suddenly starts to blow or a cyclone careens ashore. The ocean seems more sedate. Its wide gyres trace the edges of continents, carrying sun-warmed water from the equator out towards…
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Mark Arjomandi's profile photoGary Ray R's profile photosteve white's profile photoGustavo Gesualdo's profile photo
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he is, is he?
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A team of specialists in renewable energy technologies with focus in organic solar cell modules at the Technical University of Denmark have successfully developed a rapid, scalable and industrially viable protocol to manufacture large sheets of flexible organic solar cells.

This breakthrough engineered application of roll-to-roll processing is a huge step forward for renewable energy technology.

The manufactured tandem OPV modules are made up of 14 layers which are quickly printed, coated or stacked on each other using this relatively inexpensive, scalable and high yield protocol 

Why is this important?: http://www.pvbuzz.com/breakthrough-manufacture-large-area-flexible-organic-solar-cell-modules/

#breakthrough #engineering #organicsolarcell #renewableenergy #solarmodules 
A research team of specialists in renewable energy technologies with focus in organic solar cell modules at the Technical University of Denmark have successfully developed a rapid, scalable and industrially viable protocols to manufacture large sheets of flexible organic solar cells.
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Marcelo Skovronsky's profile photoLacerant Plainer's profile photosteve white's profile photoMean Oliva's profile photo
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+Derick Ajumni anytime. Since I have done so much work on this, I am happy to get into it.
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