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Archive for the ‘energy’ category: Page 123

Aug 18, 2015

Record-Breaking Laser Hits 2,000 Trillion Watts

Posted by in categories: energy, solar power, sustainability

The most powerful laser beam ever created has been recently fired at Osaka University in Japan, where the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments (LFEX) has been boosted to produce a beam with a peak power of 2,000 trillion watts – two petawatts – for an incredibly short duration, approximately a trillionth of a second or one picosecond.

Values this large are difficult to grasp, but we can think of it as a billion times more powerful than a typical stadium floodlight or as the overall power of all of the sun’s solar energy that falls on London. Imagine focusing all that solar power onto a surface as wide as a human hair for the duration of a trillionth of a second: that’s essentially the LFEX laser.

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Aug 18, 2015

Is Solar Power Right for You? Have Google’s “Project Sunroof” Help You Decide

Posted by in categories: energy, solar power, sustainability

Project Sunroof maps out how much sun and shade hit homes on any given day. Head here to See how much shine your home gets and if solar power is good for you.

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Aug 18, 2015

Going solid-state could make batteries safer and longer-lasting

Posted by in categories: energy, transportation

If you pry open one of today’s ubiquitous high-tech devices—whether a cellphone, a laptop, or an electric car—you’ll find that batteries take up most of the space inside. Indeed, the recent evolution of batteries has made it possible to pack ample power in small places.

But people still always want their devices to last even longer, or go further on a charge, so researchers work night and day to boost the power a given size can hold. Rare, but widely publicized, incidents of overheating or combustion in lithium-ion batteries have also highlighted the importance of safety in battery technology.

Now researchers at MIT and Samsung, and in California and Maryland, have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, the . The new findings are based on the idea that a solid electrolyte, rather than the liquid used in today’s most common rechargeables, could greatly improve both device lifetime and safety—while providing a significant boost in the amount of power stored in a given space.

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Aug 15, 2015

Company in Canada gets U.S. patent for space elevator

Posted by in categories: energy, space, virtual reality

Exploring space while seated on Earth, gazing up on screens in museum theaters or at home via VR headsets. is exciting but the top imagination-grabber is the very idea of finding a way to access space. This is the present-day realm of creative thinking over space elevators, in the use of a giant tower to carry us to space.

Scientists working on space elevators are thinking about materials and designs that can be used to access space as an alternative to rocket technology. A sign of the times is the upcoming Space Elevator Conference 2015 which takes place this month in Seattle.

Imagine, said The Spaceward Foundation, the , serving as a track on which electric vehicles called “climbers” can travel up and down carrying about 10 tons of payload.“There are no intense gravity-loads during the trip, no acoustic vibration, no onboard fuel, nor any of the rest of the drama (and cost) associated with rocket launches,” it added.

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Aug 12, 2015

MIT designs small, modular, efficient fusion power plant

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, nuclear energy

A cutaway view of the proposed ARC reactor (credit: MIT ARC team)

MIT plans to create a new compact version of a tokamak fusion reactor with the goal of producing practical fusion power, which could offer a nearly inexhaustible energy resource in as little as a decade.

Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the sun, involves fusing pairs of hydrogen atoms together to form helium, accompanied by enormous releases of energy.

Continue reading “MIT designs small, modular, efficient fusion power plant” »

Aug 12, 2015

MIT designed an inexpensive fusion reactor that boosts power

Posted by in category: energy

We’re not quite in the fusion age yet, but this is promising. For 50 years, researchers have been saying we’re 25 years away from practical fusion. Now they’re saying 5 years.


The small, modular, efficient, less expensive ARC reactor could help to bring the long-sought power source closer to reality.

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Aug 11, 2015

The Universe is Slowly Dying

Posted by in categories: cosmology, energy

Brace yourselves: winter is coming. And by winter I mean the slow heat-death of the Universe, and by brace yourselves I mean don’t get terribly concerned because the process will take a very, very, very long time. (But still, it’s coming.)

Based on findings from the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, which used seven of the world’s most powerful telescopes to observe the sky in a wide array of electromagnetic wavelengths, the energy output of the nearby Universe (currently estimated to be ~13.82 billion years old) is currently half of what it was “only” 2 billion years ago — and it’s still decreasing.

“The Universe has basically plonked itself down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket and is about to nod off for an eternal doze,” said Professor Simon Driver from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Western Australia, head of the nearly 100-member international research team.

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Aug 10, 2015

Why I Advocate for Becoming a Machine

Posted by in categories: energy, geopolitics, neuroscience, transhumanism

My new story for Vice Motherboard exploring the human journey into eventually becoming a machine: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/why-i-advocate-for-becoming-a-machine And also if you haven’t donated to the Immortality Bus Indiegogo campaign, there are only a few hours left to do so: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/immortality-bus-with-pres…406#/story


Biology is simply not the best system out there for our species’ evolution. It’s frail, terminal, and needs to be upgraded. In fact, even machines may be upgraded in the future too, and rendered as junk as our intelligences figure out ways to become beings of pure organized energy. “Onward” is the classic transhumanist mantra.

No matter what happens, to move forward in the transhumanist age, we need to let go of our egos and our shallow sense of identity; in short, we need to get over ourselves. The permanence of our species lies in our ability to reason, think, and remember who we are and where we’ve been. The rest is just an impermanent shell that changes—and it has already been changing for tens of millions of years in the form of sentient evolution.

Continue reading “Why I Advocate for Becoming a Machine” »

Aug 8, 2015

Cheap, power-efficient flash memory for big data without sacrificing speed

Posted by in categories: computing, energy

A 20-node BlueDBM Cluster (credit: Sang-Woo Jun et al./ISCA 2015)

There’s a big problem with big data: the huge RAM memory required. Now MIT researchers have developed a new system called “BlueDBM” that should make servers using flash memory as efficient as those using conventional RAM for several common big-data applications, while preserving their power and cost savings.

Here’s the context: Data sets in areas such as genomics, geological data, and daily twitter feeds can be as large as 5TB to 20 TB. Complex data queries in such data sets require high-speed random-access memory (RAM). But that would require a huge cluster with up to 100 servers, each with 128GB to 256GBs of DRAM (dynamic random access memory).

Continue reading “Cheap, power-efficient flash memory for big data without sacrificing speed” »

Aug 5, 2015

China is building its first large-scale solar plant in the Gobi Desert

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

In a move that once again proves its commitment to renewable energy, China has begun construction on its first large-scale commercial solar plant out in the sun-dreched expanse of the Gobi Desert. Called Delingha, the colossal facility will spread out across 25 km² (6,300 acres) of vacant land in the country’s Qinghai province, and will feature six huge solar towers hooked up to an array of solar mirrors.

When complete, the plant will have a capacity of 200 megawatts, which means it will be able to supply electricity to 1 million households in Qinghai year-round. “Its designed heat storage is 15 hours, thus, it can guarantee stable, continual power generation,” Qinghai Solar-Thermal Power Group board chair, Wu Longyi, told the press.

The facility is the first solar plant to be run as a commercial entity, and according to Svati Kirsten Narula at Quartz, it’s being jointly developed by BrightSource Energy, based in Oakland, California, and the Shanghai Electric Group in China. The first phase of construction will look at completing two solar towers so they can generate 135 megawatts each to cover more than 452,000 homes, and then the remaining four will be completed to cover at least 1 million.

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