Nanotechnology Is the Future of Renewable Energy

Nanotechnology is advancing so rapidly these days that it seems there is a new nanotech breakthrough being reported on a daily basis.  Top researchers from around the world are using nanotechnology to solve problems once considered impossible, and are even discovering new and interesting properties in our material reality along the way.

2011 alone has seen some major advances in nanotechnology applied to the energy sector, and the promise nanotech holds for renewable energy is exactly what the budding market needs to eventually overtake fossil fuels as the energy generation mode of choice.

Super Efficient Solar Nantennas

University of Missouri researcher Patrick Pinhero and collaborators have developed microscopic antennas called, “nantennas,” that capture sunlight in both the visible and near-infrared spectrum as well as heat energy to create a thin-film solar sheet capable of 90 percent efficiency—far better than the 20 percent efficiency offered by current solar panels.

Energy Generation from Sound

Researchers at Sungkyunkwan University have created microscopic strings of zinc oxide that when exposed to sound vibrate between two electrodes, thus creating a charge. “Sound power can be used for various novel applications including cellular phones that can be charged during conversations and sound-insulating walls near highways that generate electricity from the sound of passing vehicles,” says lead researcher Dr. Sang-Woo Kim.

Energy Transmission Via Nanotubes

A never-before witnessed energy effect has been observed by MIT scientists working with carbon “nanotubes.”  Apparently, heat waves travel through these microscopic tubes up to 10,000 times faster than normal while picking up ambient charged particles along the way, thus creating and electric charge.  This offers untold potential in energy transmission.

Focusing Energy with Nanocones 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has created microscopic zinc oxide cones, dubbed “nanocones,” that exhibit the unique property of focusing and intensifying energy at the cones’ tips.  The nanocones have been applied to solar cells to boost efficiency.

Storing Energy with Nanosponges

University of Texas researchers have created carbon nano-supercapacitors called “nanosponges” which are capable of storing static-electric energy in their sponge-like pores.  Like traditional supercapacitors, nansponges can deliver energy faster and more efficiently than chemical-based batteries, but at a far higher capacity.  Currently, the nanosponges can store the energy equivalent of a lead-acid battery, but material improvements could put them on par with lithium-ion very soon.

Source: Nanotechnology Is the Future of Renewable Energy | Energy Digital

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Ludwig Chicago Nanotechnology Induces Therapeutic Immune Responses Against Multiple Types of Tumors Newswise (Press Release)

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Mutations In a Father’s Sperm Could Predict Risk of Autism In Children, Study Finds

A new study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has found that 'de novo mutations' in a father's sperm can predict the risk of autism in a child (file image)

Mutations in a father’s sperm could predict the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism, a new study suggests. The genetic flaws, known as ‘de novo mutations’, can appear in a child’s DNA through problems with sperm production.

Researchers found that 15 percent of men with autistic children had these disease-causing mutations in their sperm.The team, from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, says the findings could lead to test in which fathers have their sperm screened to determine their future children’s risk of the developmental disorder.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder in which sufferers have a hard time communicating and with behavior.It encompasses several conditions – including autism and Asperger’s syndrome – and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Children are usually diagnosed by age two after they exhibit signs such as reduced eye contact, not responding to their name and performing repetitive movements.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 59 children has ASD.

Boys are much more likely – up to four times – to have the condition than girls. Despite decades of research, the causes of ASD remain a mystery. Both genetics and environmental factors are believed to play a role. However, recent studies have suggested that de novo mutations may be the cause of between 10 and 30 percent of ASD cases.

These mutations occur for the first time in a family member as the result of a mutation in the sperm or egg of a parent. For the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, the team looked at the sperm of eight fathers who had children already diagnosed with ASD.

The sperm was analyzed for mosaicism, a condition in which a person has genetically different sets of cells within their body. ‘While medical textbooks teach us that every cell in the body has an identical copy of DNA, this is fundamentally not correct,’ said first author Dr Martin Breuss, an assistant project scientist at UC San Diego Health Sciences.

‘Mutations occur every time a cell divides, so no two cells in the body are genetically identical.’ Mosaicism occurs in an unborn baby’s early developmental stages after an error in cell division. ‘[It] can cause cancer or can be silent in the body. If a mutation occurs early in development, then it will be shared by many cells within the body,’ said Dr Breuss.

‘But if a mutation happens just in sperm, then it can show up in a future child but not cause any disease in the father.’Disease-causing mutations were found in about 15 percent of the fathers’ sperm cells, the researchers said.

‘My laboratory has a long-standing interest in understanding the origins of pediatric brain disease, and how mutations contributes to disease in a child,’ said co-senior study author Dr Joseph Gleeson, a professor of neuroscience at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

‘We previously showed that mosaicism in a child can lead to diseases like epilepsy. Here, we show that mosaicism in one of parents is at least as important when thinking about genetic counseling.’

The researchers say their findings could be developed into a clinical test that fathers could undergo to test the risk of recurrence in future children or for men who haven’t had children yet but want to know the risk.

By:  Mary Kekatos

Source: Mutations in a father’s sperm could predict risk of autism in children, study finds | Daily Mail Online

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Why Bluetooth Remains an Unusually Painful Technology After Two Decades

In the two decades since it was first included in products available to the general public, Bluetooth has become so widespread that an entire generation of consumers may not be able to remember a time without it.

ABI Research estimates that 5 billion Bluetooth-enabled devices will ship to consumers this year, with that figure expected to rise to 7 billion by 2026. Bluetooth is now in everything from smartphones to refrigerators to lightbulbs, allowing a growing number of products to connect to each other seamlessly — sometimes.

Despite its pervasiveness, the technology is still prone to headache-inducing issues, whether it’s the struggle to set up a new device to connect with, switching headphones between devices or simply being too far out of range to connect.

“I have a very love-hate relationship with Bluetooth,” said Chris Harrison, a professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Melon University. “Because when it works, it’s amazing, and when it doesn’t, you want to rip your hair out.”

“The promise was to make it as seamless and easy as possible,” he said. “Bluetooth never quite got there, unfortunately.”

The reasons for this go back to the very foundation of the relatively low-cost technology.

The rise of Bluetooth

Bluetooth is said to borrow its name from a ninth-century Scandinavian king, Harald “Blue tooth” Gormsson, who was known for his blueish-gray dead tooth and also for uniting Denmark and Norway in 958 AD. Early programmers adopted “Bluetooth” as a code name for their wireless tech that connects local devices, and it eventually stuck.

The technology was differentiated from Wi-Fi by being “inherently short range,” Harrison said. It’s still the case today that the Bluetooth options many consumers are accustomed to in their phones and portable speakers function at lower power and can only connect at limited distances.

Bluetooth signals travel over unlicensed airwaves, which are effectively open to the public for anyone to use, as opposed to privatized airwaves that are controlled by companies like AT&T or Verizon. This may have eased its development and broader adoption, but it came at a cost.

Bluetooth must share and compete with a slew of other products using unlicensed spectrum bands, such as baby monitors, TV remotes, and more. This may generate interference that can disrupt your Bluetooth’s effectiveness.

Harrison cites other reasons why Bluetooth can be “unusually painful,” including cybersecurity issues that can arise when transmitting data wirelessly.

If you set up a Bluetooth speaker in your New York apartment building, for example, you wouldn’t want just anyone within a 50-feet radius to be able to connect to it. But manufacturers never settled on a seamless “discovery mode” process, Harrison said.

“Sometimes the device will start up automatically and be in this, ‘I’m ready to pair mode,'” he added. “Sometimes you have to click some kind of alien sequence to get the device into this particular mode.”

More than that, multiple U.S. government agencies have advised consumers that using Bluetooth risks leaving their devices more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. The Federal Communications Commission has warned that, as with Wi-Fi connections, “Bluetooth can put your personal data at risk if you are not careful.”

At least one high-profile government official is said to be a Bluetooth skeptic: Vice President Kamala Harris. In the much-watched video of Harris congratulating President-elect Joe Biden after the election (“We did it, Joe!“), she can be seen holding a clump of wired headphones in her hands. According to Politico, Harris “has long felt that Bluetooth headphones are a security risk.”

But businesses and consumers continue to embrace Bluetooth. Apple, perhaps most prominently, ditched traditional headphone ports and introduced its popular Bluetooth-enabled wireless earbuds, AirPods. Other tech companies have since rolled out similar products.

Some diehard audiophiles, the sort of people “who complain about Spotify not being high-quality enough,” as Harrison puts it, also refuse to embrace the world of Bluetooth headphones for sound quality reasons.

Despite its flaws, Harrison doesn’t see demand for Bluetooth dying down and admits he himself uses it seamlessly — some “70% of the time.”

“Bluetooth hasn’t seen its pinnacle yet,” Harrison said, predicting the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things, or smart devices, working together in close range will only add to its growth. “Bluetooth will be the glue that connects that all together.”

By:

Source: Why Bluetooth remains an ‘unusually painful’ technology after two decades

Related contents:

The Best Budget Bluetooth Speakers of 2022 How-To Geek

18:34
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Coca-Cola To Release a Pride Series NFT Collection on Polygon (MATIC)

1
  • Coca-Cola has announced plans to release a Pride series NFT collection to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Coca-Cola will be collaborating with artist and advocate Rich Mnisi.
  • The Pride Series NFT collection will be minted on the Polygon Network (MATIC).

The world-renowned beverage company of Coca-Cola has announced that it will be launching a Pride series NFT collection in celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. Each NFT will be unique and ‘aims to shine color-filled light on the community’s members and spread a message of Love.Coca-Cola will be collaborating with designer and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, Rich Mnisi, who hails from South Africa. The team at Coca-Cola further pointed out that Rich Mnisi’s artwork ‘pushes boundaries on the concepts of identity and community.’ They explained:

136 NFTs on the Polygon Network (MATIC).

“Coca-Cola commissioned bespoke Mnisi artwork for this collection to be sliced into individual fragments and dispersed across all 136 collectibles, making each one unique. Our hope with the pieces is to increase visibility by radiating the full spectrum of the community’s colors and spreading a simple message of Love,” the firm said in an announcement last week.

Rich Mnisi and Coca-Cola will collaborate in the creation of 136 NFTs, which are currently being minted on the Polygon Network (eaMATIC). Some of the NFTs are already listed on OpenSea. The Coca-Cola Pride Series NFTs now have a floor price of 1 Ethereum.

In addition, Coca-Cola commissioned the art, hoping each NFT would ‘increase visibility by radiating the full spectrum of the community’s colors and spreading a simple message of Love.’

Furthermore, all proceeds of the initial sale of the NFTs will be donated to charities serving the LGBTQIA+ community. For the first 12 months, the proceeds will be donated directly to OUT, an LGBTQIA+ charity chosen by Rich Mnisi. The organization is the second-oldest in South Arica, professionally serving the LGBTQIA+ community with physical and mental healthcare.

Interestingly, all the funds generated from the initial sale of the 136 NFTs built on the Polygon (MATIC) network, an Ethereum scaling solution, will be donated to multiple charities supporting and fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights. Coca-Cola added that the first charity to benefit will be OUT, the second-oldest LGBT organization in South Africa, which was chosen by Mnisi.

“These free forms represent both love’s permanence and its changing state. They’re to remind us of the power that lies within all of us to choose what love will become. Love is what we make it. Choose to love freely,” Coca-Cola added.

By: John P. Njui

Source: Coca-Cola to Release a Pride Series NFT Collection on Polygon (MATIC) – Ethereum World News

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‘Unprecedented’ Water Levels Threatening Hydropower Generation In The West

The nation’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Powell, is continuing to dry up, placing water supplies and power generation in the West in potentially dire straits.

Lake Powell is an artificial lake in the middle of the Colorado River on the border between Arizona and Utah. Created in 1963 after the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, the lake has become a critical source of hydropower and water for the West.

Now, for the first time, the water levels at the lake are threatening to dip below 3,525 feet in elevation, a critical elevation marker, with water levels dropping a full 45 feet in the past year.A boat cruises along Lake Powell near Page, Ariz., on July 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The critical elevation provides 35 feet of buffer before we reach our minimum power pool elevation where Glen Canyon Dam can no longer generate hydropower, ” said Heather Patno, a hydrologic engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Levels are expected to be below the target elevation for a few weeks before rebounding in April due to snowmelt from mountains along the Colorado River Basin. Hydropower generation is not expected to be affected this spring, but it is possible that the reservoir’s level will dip to critically low levels again in the summer.

“We’re talking about multiple seasons of well-below-average rain and snow that have kind of gotten us to this point, coupled with exceptionally high temperatures which we attribute to regional warming from global warming, ” said Justin Mankin, an assistant geography professor at Dartmouth College and a co-lead at NOAA’s drought task force.

Water conservation measures will likely need to be implemented, something that Mankin says will hit farmers in the West first. As drought conditions continue to build, farmers may be asked to limit their water usage, something which makes growing crops more difficult.

“These are unprecedented times, and these decisions are not taken lightly, and we’re aware of the impacts it has to the Colorado Basin, where there’s 40 million people within the basin,” Patno said.

While water cuts might be necessary to sustain the water supply this year, Mankin believes that the continued drought in the West indicates that more structural solutions might be needed in the future.

A current look at drought conditions in the Western United States as of March 10, 2022.

One peer-reviewed study published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change found that the western United States and parts of northern Mexico are experiencing their driest period in at least 1,200 years, with some calling the unprecedented period of dryness a “megadrought.”

“This drought is indicating we need a structural orientation of our management of water in the West,” Mankin said. “What does it mean for the West to be in an exceptional drought, that is, a drought without exception, every year?”

For the latest weather news check back on AccuWeather.com. Watch the AccuWeather Network on DIRECTVFrontierSpectrumfuboTVPhilo, and Verizon Fios. AccuWeather Now is now available on your preferred streaming platform.

By Zachary Rosenthal

Source: https://www.msn.com

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Critics:

Drought contingency plans define the 3,525-foot mark as a significant “target elevation” for the reservoir, under which the situation becomes dire. As of Thursday, Lake Powell had fallen to just over 3,526 feet in elevation, which is just over 24% of capacity and less than two feet away from the critical level.

“We’re kind of in some uncharted territory, socially and economically,” Justin Mankin, assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and co-lead of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Drought Task Force, told CNN. “It’s totally within reason to expect that the next couple of weeks or so for [Lake Powell] to fall below the critical level.”

Lake Powell’s plunging water level threatens Glen Canyon Dam’s capacity to produce hydropower, much like Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Glen Canyon Dam provides power for many states including Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Nebraska.

The 3,525-foot target is crucial because it allows a 35-foot buffer for emergency response to prevent Lake Powell from dropping below the minimum pool elevation of 3,490 feet above sea level, the lowest at which Glen Canyon Dam is able to generate hydropower.

Lake Powell and nearby Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, have drained at an alarming rate in the last year. In August, the federal government declared a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time after Lake Mead’s water level plunged to unprecedented lows, triggering mandatory water consumption cuts for states in the Southwest which began in January.

The significance of the dwindling supply in the two reservoirs, fed by the Colorado River watershed, cannot be overstated. Water flowing down the Colorado River fills both Powell and Mead, which are part of a river system supplying more than 40 million people living across seven Western states and Mexico. Both reservoirs provide a critical supply of drinking water and irrigation for many across the region, including rural farms, ranches and native communities.

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