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Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category

Jun 25, 2016

The top 10 emerging technologies of 2016

Posted by in categories: economics, solar power, sustainability

(credit: WEF)

The World Economic Forum’s annual list of this year’s breakthrough technologies, published today, includes “socially aware” openAI, grid-scale energy storage, perovskite solar cells, and other technologies with the potential to “transform industries, improve lives, and safeguard the planet.” The WEF’s specific interest is to “close gaps in investment and regulation.”

“Horizon scanning for emerging technologies is crucial to staying abreast of developments that can radically transform our world, enabling timely expert analysis in preparation for these disruptors. The global community needs to come together and agree on common principles if our society is to reap the benefits and hedge the risks of these technologies,” said Bernard Meyerson, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer of IBM and Chair of the WEF’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies.

The list also provides an opportunity to debate human, societal, economic or environmental risks and concerns that the technologies may pose — prior to widespread adoption.

Jun 25, 2016

LIFE, Business & the Butterfly Effect

Posted by in categories: business, space, sustainability

How we can influence the butterfly effect to better our personal endeavours (article I just wrote).


It’s funny, when we look around at our daily lives, we begin to see the things which reflect us. Our environment breeds our mindset. Our aptitude becomes driven by the exponential increase of clutter or minimalism, by work, or by passions. We each have the opportunity to create our own atmosphere, ensuring we surround ourselves by the people and places which foster an eminent light within us. This fire ignites the desire to reach our potential, present in the opportunity the future holds. Like a dream that feels all too real, our life can have many outcomes that lead to the predictable… or the unknown. We are each given a myriad amount of choices — varying in amplitude — which culminate to provide a chance at betterment… or the opposing force. We are given the responsibility to define that road ahead. By making the most of every minuscule and prominent decision, the balance will tip in our favor. People often fail to see this metric… that each choice has a butterfly affect across the horizon of time. Kindness can have a lasting impact. It can make the difference between life and death — success — or failure — because it is the most assured way of bettering the souls of yourself and others.

When we take the path of most resistance, it often starts with countless hurtles, and intermittent mountains along the way. The frontier is never easy, but it always comes with vast rewards to those who can brave it. Each day of life is another battle, and when you have within your mind a war-zone that plagues your focus, it can seem an impossible feat to overcome. But… so was creating fire, then harnessing power, then driving, then flying and exploring space. It never stopped us before, and it should never stop us now. It might start with an adjustment of priorities, of things which eclipse your sight on a consistent basis. It can be searching for more about your passion, and looking into bridging the gap between your interests and your life.

Continue reading “LIFE, Business & the Butterfly Effect” »

Jun 23, 2016

Solar Impulse 2 completes world’s first solar-powered Atlantic flight

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

The flights take such a long time because Solar Impulse 2, as the name suggests, is completely powered by sunlight. The plane’s massive 72-metre wings (broader than a 747!) are covered in some 269.5 square metres of photovoltaic cells. During the day, the cells power four 14kW (17.4hp) electric motors and top-up four 41kWh lithium-ion batteries. During the evening, the motors are driven by the batteries. Max cruise speed when the sun is up is 49 knots (90km/h), and a rather languid 33 knots (60km/h) at night.

The solar cells don’t quite refill the batteries during the day, which means the plane can’t fly forever just yet. Max flight duration is somewhere around five to six days.

For power-saving reasons, the Solar Impulse 2 cockpit can only carry a single human, and is both unheated and unpressurised. The pilots do sleep while they’re up in the air, but usually just for 20 minutes at a time (the telemetry data for one flight showed 10 catnaps of 20 minutes over a 24-hour period). Now multiply those conditions by a continuous flight time of three or four days and you have some idea of the rigours that Piccard and Borschberg must go through.

Continue reading “Solar Impulse 2 completes world’s first solar-powered Atlantic flight” »

Jun 21, 2016

Elon Musk Aims to Shore Up SolarCity by Having Tesla Buy It — By Michael J. de la Merced and Peter Eavis | The New York Times

Posted by in categories: business, Elon Musk, energy, environmental, sustainability, transportation

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” … Tesla Motors said on Tuesday that it had offered to buy SolarCity in an all-stock deal, one that could value the latter at as much as $2.8 billion. The aim, Mr. Musk argues, is to create a renewable-energy giant, collecting clean electricity and putting it to work propelling cars.”

Read more

Jun 21, 2016

Using Enzymes to Enhance LEDs

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, particle physics, quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

Robert Dunleavy had just started his sophomore year at Lehigh University when he decided he wanted to take part in a research project. He sent an email to Bryan Berger, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, who invited Dunleavy to his lab.

Berger and his colleagues were conducting experiments on tiny semiconductor particles called quantum dots. The optical and electronic properties of QDs make them useful in lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), medical imaging, solar cells, and other applications.

Dunleavy joined Berger’s group and began working with cadmium sulfide (CdS), one of the compounds from which QDs are fabricated. The group’s goal was to find a better way of producing CdS quantum dots, which are currently made with toxic chemicals in an expensive process that requires high pressure and temperature.

Continue reading “Using Enzymes to Enhance LEDs” »

Jun 19, 2016

Self-driving tractors and data science: A visit to a modern farm

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI, science, sustainability, transportation

Self driving tractors are a big benefit for farmers and thier families.


Farming isn’t the low-tech endeavour some might think.

Jun 18, 2016

City on Mars: A Mars City Design Workshop

Posted by in categories: space travel, sustainability

Join this workshop where esteemed speakers and selected teams will guide us in building a sustainable city on Mars.

Jun 17, 2016

Startup creates renewable hydrogen energy out of sunlight and water

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

California startup HyperSolar and University of Iowa researchers have teamed up to make renewable energy in a way that draws inspiration from plants. Using water and sunlight, they are able to make renewable hydrogen energy. At the end of May, HyperSolar announced a “breakthrough” in efficiency, and the University of Iowa just renewed a year-long research agreement with the startup.

Jun 15, 2016

Turning CO2 Into Stone

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

The latest weapon against climate change? Turning carbon dioxide into stone.

Jun 15, 2016

New Energy-Carrying Particles Help Advance Solar-Cell Development

Posted by in categories: particle physics, solar power, sustainability

Nice.


Scientists have designed new energy-carrying particles that improve the way electrons are transported and could be used to develop new types of solar cells and miniaturized optical circuitry.

The work of researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego, MIT, and Harvard University has synthetically engineered particles called “topological plexcitons,” which can enhance a process known as exciton energy transfer, or EET.

Continue reading “New Energy-Carrying Particles Help Advance Solar-Cell Development” »

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