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Sep 27, 2018

Device that integrates solar cell and battery could store electricity outside the grid

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Scientists in the United States and Saudi Arabia have harnessed the abilities of both a solar cell and a battery in one device—a “solar flow battery” that soaks up sunlight and efficiently stores it as chemical energy for later on-demand use. Their research, published September 27 in the journal Chem, could make electricity more accessible in remote regions of the world.

While sunlight has increasingly gained appeal as a clean and abundant source, it has one obvious limitation—there is only so much sunlight per day, and some days are a lot sunnier than others. In order to keep solar energy practical, this means that after sunlight is converted to electrical energy, it must be stored. Normally this takes two devices—a solar cell and a —but the solar flow battery is designed to perform like both.

“Compared with separated solar energy conversion and electrochemical energy storage devices, combining the functions of separated devices into a single, integrated could be a more efficient, scalable, compact, and cost-effective approach to utilizing solar energy,” says Song Jin, a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jin and his team developed the device in collaboration with Jr-Hau He, a professor of electrical engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

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Sep 27, 2018

Superconducting metamaterial traps quantum light

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, quantum physics

Conventional computers store information in a bit, a fundamental unit of logic that can take a value of 0 or 1. Quantum computers rely on quantum bits, also known as a “qubits,” as their fundamental building blocks. Bits in traditional computers encode a single value, either a 0 or a 1. The state of a qubit, by contrast, can simultaneously have a value of both 0 and 1. This peculiar property, a consequence of the fundamental laws of quantum physics, results in the dramatic complexity in quantum systems.

Quantum computing is a nascent and rapidly developing field that promises to use this complexity to solve problems that are difficult to tackle with conventional computers. A key challenge for computing, however, is that it requires making large numbers of qubits work together—which is difficult to accomplish while avoiding interactions with the outside environment that would rob the qubits of their quantum properties.

New research from the lab of Oskar Painter, John G Braun Professor of Applied Physics and Physics in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, explores the use of superconducting metamaterials to overcome this challenge.

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Sep 27, 2018

Primeval Black Holes Could Reveal How the Universe Formed

Posted by in category: cosmology

Primordial black holes that formed early in the universe’s history could shed light on how exactly the universe formed.

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Sep 27, 2018

The Best Inexpensive Drones For Beginners

Posted by in category: drones

You’d like to get into the drone sensation, but you don’t want to break the bank to do it. Don’t worry: there are plenty of options in the $100–300 range that include everything you need.

Before we continue: the term “drone” is a misnomer, since it technically describes something that can navigate on its own, not simply a remote control device. But then again, some of the more advanced models available—even a few on this list!—can indeed fly on their own, returning to their operator if a signal is lost, performing some pre-programmed tricks, or even avoid obstacles. So perhaps a persnickety terminology gripe is unwarranted, but we always want to ensure our readers are well informed and end up with a product that meets their expectations.

We’ve selected the best all-around drone for beginners, a cheap and durable one for kids, a drone that folds up for easy travel, one that’s ideal if you want to get into the exciting drone racing scene, and an upgrade model if you’re ready to spend a little more for advanced features.

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Sep 27, 2018

SpaceX’s BFR and Raptor deemed “science-fiction”

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, ethics, space travel

Speaking in a September 7th interview with French newspaper Courrier International, Dr. Francis Rocard – director of French space agency CNES’ solar system exploration program – had little good to say about SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk’s long-term ambitions in space, going so far as to question the CEO’s driving ethics and label the company’s next-generation rocket and propulsion system “science-fiction”.

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Sep 27, 2018

Bizarre Particles Keep Flying Out of Antarctica’s Ice, and They Might Shatter Modern Physics

Posted by in category: particle physics

There’s something out there that physicists have never seen before, and it’s coming up from the bottom of the Earth. Scientists think it’s a brand-new particle.

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Sep 27, 2018

Will the US Military Space Force’s Reach Extend to the Moon?

Posted by in categories: economics, government, military, space travel

Just how valuable is that stretch of space between Earth and the moon’s orbit? Might this celestial real estate become hot property as an extension of military arenas in low Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit, and geosynchronous orbit?

Given forecasts of 21st-century activity on and around the moon by both private and government entities, could this be an economic area of development that needs protection in sthe years and decades to come? [In Photos: President Donald Trump and NASA].

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Sep 27, 2018

Switching Off ALPL Gene Contributes to Bone Aging

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

A recent open-access mouse study published by Xi’an Institute of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine scientists in the journal Bone Research describes how the ALPL gene affects bone aging and suggests that metformin might constitute a viable therapeutic option to prevent it [1].

Study abstract

Mutations in the liver/bone/kidney alkaline phosphatase (Alpl) gene cause hypophosphatasia (HPP) and early-onset bone dysplasia, suggesting that this gene is a key factor in human bone development. However, how and where Alpl acts in bone ageing is largely unknown. Here, we determined that ablation of Alpl induces prototypical premature bone ageing characteristics, including bone mass loss and marrow fat gain coupled with elevated expression of p16INK4A (p16) and p53 due to senescence and impaired differentiation in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Mechanistically, Alpl deficiency in MSCs enhances ATP release and reduces ATP hydrolysis. Then, the excessive extracellular ATP is, in turn, internalized by MSCs and causes an elevation in the intracellular ATP level, which consequently inactivates the AMPKα pathway and contributes to the cell fate switch of MSCs.

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Sep 27, 2018

Over 2,000 European AI experts join hands to challenge US, China in artificial intelligence

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The alliance urges the European Commission to implement an AI strategy for the EU as a whole along the lines of the US National AI Research and Development Plan that was released in late 2016, and China’s Next Generation AI Development Plan that was issued the following year.

More than 2,000 researchers join forces to urge EU to help continent build ‘Google-style’ infrastructure as counterweight to the two leading AI players.

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Sep 27, 2018

Unexpected find from a neutron star forces a rethink on radio jets

Posted by in category: space

Astronomers found something not predicted by current theory when they took a closer look at the emissions from a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field.

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