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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category: Page 8

Dec 24, 2019

Solar power from ‘the dark side’ unlocked by a new formula

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Engineers calculate the ultimate potential of next-generation solar panels

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Most of today’s solar panels capture sunlight and convert it to electricity only from the side facing the sky. If the dark underside of a solar panel could also convert sunlight reflected off the ground, even more electricity might be generated.

Double-sided solar cells are already enabling panels to sit vertically on land or rooftops and even horizontally as the canopy of a gas station, but it hasn’t been known exactly how much electricity these panels could ultimately generate or the money they could save.

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Dec 22, 2019

We’ve just had the best decade in human history. Seriously

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, sustainability

Let nobody tell you that the second decade of the 21st century has been a bad time. We are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history. Extreme poverty has fallen below 10 percent of the world’s population for the first time. It was 60 percent when I was born. Global inequality has been plunging as Africa and Asia experience faster economic growth than Europe and North America; child mortality has fallen to record low levels; famine virtually went extinct; malaria, polio and heart disease are all in decline.

Little of this made the news, because good news is no news. But I’ve been watching it all closely. Ever since I wrote The Rational Optimist in 2010, I’ve been faced with ‘what about…’ questions: what about the great recession, the euro crisis, Syria, Ukraine, Donald Trump? How can I possibly say that things are getting better, given all that? The answer is: because bad things happen while the world still gets better. Yet get better it does, and it has done so over the course of this decade at a rate that has astonished even starry-eyed me.

Perhaps one of the least fashionable predictions I made nine years ago was that ‘the ecological footprint of human activity is probably shrinking’ and ‘we are getting more sustainable, not less, in the way we use the planet’. That is to say: our population and economy would grow, but we’d learn how to reduce what we take from the planet. And so it has proved. An MIT scientist, Andrew McAfee, recently documented this in a book called More from Less, showing how some nations are beginning to use less stuff: less metal, less water, less land. Not just in proportion to productivity: less stuff overall.

Dec 21, 2019

London’s electric buses are getting fake noise, and it’s positively psychedelic

Posted by in categories: law, sustainability, transportation

From next year, some of London’s electric buses will play artificial noise while traveling at low speeds, and the specific sound that’s been created for them is an ambient treat for the ears. The noise was created by Zelig Sound, which has been working with Transport for London on the audio over the past year.

The sound is being introduced in response to a new EU law which stipulates that all electric vehicles will eventually need to produce artificial noise while traveling at low speeds, to make up for the lack of noise from their internal engines. If you can’t hear a vehicle, then you’re not as aware of its presence, and research suggests pedestrians are more likely to be hit by electric or hybrid cars as a result.

Wired reports the base note is a soft F#maj7 chord, with a slight pulsing sound in the background. This is what gets played when a bus is stationary:

Continue reading “London’s electric buses are getting fake noise, and it’s positively psychedelic” »

Dec 17, 2019

Scientists Are Working on Spray-On Solar Panels

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Perovskites have been a hot research topic for the past 10 years, but we think we really have something here that can move us forward.

Dec 16, 2019

JBL says its solar-powered headphones deliver ‘unlimited’ listening

Posted by in category: sustainability

You might never have to plug the Reflect Eternal in for a recharge.

Dec 14, 2019

Sleeping Driver Spotted Behind the Wheel of Tesla in Massachusetts

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Another Tesla driver was caught sleeping behind the wheel on the highway.

Dec 13, 2019

NASA finds ‘water ice’ just below the surface of Mars

Posted by in categories: space, sustainability

Locating ice means future astronauts have a source of drinking water and rocket fuel.

Dec 13, 2019

🎧 Photo

Posted by in categories: satellites, solar power, sustainability

Calling all radio amateurs! We’re challenging anyone with amateur radio equipment to catch the first signals from #OPS –SAT, ESA’s brand new space software lab. On 17 December, OPS-SAT will be launched into space with ESA’s #Cheops exoplanet satellite.

Once launched, the satellite will deploy its solar panels and ultra-high frequency antenna, and then start to send signals back home. Could you be the first on Earth to catch them? ESA’s mission control team in Darmstadt are asking for your help to find the fledgling #CubeSat 👉 http://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Operations/Calling_radio…nd_OPS-SAT

Dec 13, 2019

Elon Musk’s Plan for One Giant Solar Farm Is a Little Insane, but Not Completely Insane

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, solar power, sustainability

Elon Musk has revived his idea to power the entire U.S. with one single, giant solar farm. In a recent tweet evidently directed at fellow mega-billionaire Bill Gates, Musk insinuated that his grand solar plan is actually quite simple (hat-tip to Inverse):

Dec 12, 2019

AI-driven robots are making new materials, improving solar cells and other technologies

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

Decision-making algorithms transform how automated systems evaluate and synthesize novel compounds.

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