Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Quantum Dot Recipe May Lead To Cheaper Solar Panels

From Slashdot:

Science Daily is reporting that scientists have developed a new method for cost-effectively producing four-armed quantum dots that have previously been shown to be particularly effective at converting sunlight into electrical energy. The discovery could clear the way for better, cheaper solar energy panels.

Cheaper and better are always good, right?

Sunday, April 22, 2007


This post is a little out of the ordinary; it's for an AP Biology project. I have other close-ups that I can run through filters if there are requests.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Tip for Saving Gas: Reduce Weight

Weight is an enemy of fuel economy. If you drive a minivan and don't regularly carry 6-7 people, consider removing those unused seats to reduce weight. The same applies for many SUVs with third-row seats. By removing the center row in our van, we get an extra 10+ miles from each tank.

Also, if your car looks like a college dorm, remove some of the stuff you don't need! Not only will it save you gas, but it may also improve the driving characteristics of your car.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Tata MiniC.A.T. Air Car

"Zero pollution and very low running costs"

Many respected engineers have been trying for years to bring a compressed air car to market, believing strongly that compressed air can power a viable "zero pollution" car. Now the first commercial compressed air car is on the verge of production and beginning to attract a lot of attention, and with a recently signed partnership with Tata, India’s largest automotive manufacturer, the prospects of very cost-effective mass production are now a distinct possibility. The MiniC.A.T is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fibreglass. The heart of the electronic and communication system on the car is a computer offering an array of information reports that extends well beyond the speed of the vehicle, and is built to integrate with external systems and almost anything you could dream of, starting with voice recognition, internet connectivity, GSM telephone connectivity, a GPS guidance system, fleet management systems, emergency systems, and of course every form of digital entertainment. The engine is fascinating, as is and the revolutionary electrical system that uses just one cable and so is the vehicle’s wireless control system. Microcontrollers are used in every device in the car, so one tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, indicators etc

There are no keys – just an access card which can be read by the car from your pocket.

Most importantly, it is incredibly cost-efficient to run – according to the designers, it costs less than one Euro per 100Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car has a top speed of 68 mph.

Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at adapted petrol stations to administer compressed air. In two or three minutes, and at a cost of approximately 1.5 Euros (approx. US $2), the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometres.

As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4 hours.

Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 50,000 Km.

The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0 - 15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hyundai QarmaQ’s Plastic Skin: Reduces Weight, Saves Gas

Any concept vehicle with a name derived from the word the Inuit’s use for their dwellings made of Earth, whalebone, and animal skins is bound to be interesting. Hyundai Europe's Design and Technical Center in Russelsheim, Germany partnered with GE Plastics in the Netherlands to create the QarmaQ – a quirky looking Crossover CoupĂ© concept.

One of the QarmaQ’s key features is its innovative use of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles to create a large portion of the vehicle’s skin. GE says the use of plastics, instead of more traditional metal and glass, gives the vehicle a 130-pound weight savings. That weight loss equates to 20 gallons a year savings in gas, not to mention fewer plastic bottles clogging up the local landfill. These numbers are nothing to scoff when you think of all the cars on the road.

Full Article At Yahoo! Autos

Monday, February 26, 2007

Child-Safety Experts Call For Restrictions On Childhood Imagination

Child-Safety Experts Call For Restrictions On Childhood Imagination

The Onion

Child-Safety Experts Call For Restrictions On Childhood Imagination

WASHINGTON, DC—"By constantly reminding kids that they're human children with no magical skills, you ensure that they will live a prolonged life," child-safety expert Kenneth McMillan said.

WASHINGTON, DC—The Department of Health and Human Services issued a series of guidelines Monday designed to help parents curtail their children's boundless
imaginations, which child-safety advocates say have the potential to rival motor
vehicle accidents and congenital diseases as a leading cause of disability and
death among youths ages 3 to 14.

"Remember, if you see a single sparkle of excitement in their eyes, you haven't done enough."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What Windows Vista is Really Like

She gets out of bed and stretches, perfect curves sliding under silky lingerie and momentarily making me forget about breakfast, meatloaf, and whoever it was I was married to before last night. She seems to know this, and smiles at me again, but apparently she's serious about making breakfast. She turns and strides confidently from the room. As she does, I see for the first time the large Microsoft logo splayed across her back. My stomach lurches as I suddenly remember everything.

Windows Vista. I bought a new computer yesterday... and it came with Windows Vista.

*Almost* makes me want to take the Vista plunge