DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'News You Can Use.' Category

Pre-Inca Canals May Solve Lima’s Water Crisis

2nd July 2015

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A revival of pre-Inca water technology in the mountains of the Andes is set to keep taps flowing in the drought-affected Peruvian capital, Lima. Grouting ancient canals, it turns out, is a far cheaper solution to the city’s water crisis than building a new desalination plant.

Lima is one of the world’s largest desert cities and relies for water on rivers that flow out of the Andes. But those rivers diminish to a trickle during a long dry season, leaving the population of almost 9 million with intermittent water supplies.

Now the city’s water utility company, Sedapal, has decided to invest in conservation projects in the Andes to keep the rivers flowing and taps running. And researchers have discovered that the most cost-effective way is to revive a system of ancient stone canals, known locally as amunas, that were built in the Andes by the Wari culture between AD 500 and 1000, centuries before the rise of the Incas.

Sometimes the old ways are best.

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A Monument to Mercantilist Superstitions Shuttered!

1st July 2015

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I.e. Ex-Im Bank authorization expired. One less Crustian transnational slush fund down, hundreds left to go.

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Man Called Rod Is Hit by Lightning for a Second Time

29th June 2015

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Dude, take the hint.

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Scientists Figure Out Why Humans Have Chins

29th June 2015

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Hey, tenure doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

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Hadrian the Robot Bricklayer Can Build a Whole House in Two Days

27th June 2015

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Doing jobs that Americans won’t do….

I wonder whether it speaks Spanish?

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

27th June 2015

Wooden Watch.

Wooden Combination Lock.

Automatic Parked Car Finder.

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These Absurd Robots Do Pointless Jobs

22nd June 2015

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Doing the jobs that Americans won’t do. (Probably for good reason.)

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Magnetically Levitating Elevators Could Reshape Skylines

21st June 2015

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With the debut of passenger elevators some 150 years ago, cities were forever changed. Freed from the tyranny of stairwells, architects built as high as they liked. That is, until they ran into another barrier: the weight of steel cables. A new elevator design from German company ThyssenKrupp may solve that problem by trading cables for tracks that employ magnetic levitation, or maglev. Unconstrained by a linear pulley system, the cars–to be tested in Germany next year–will travel higher and in new directions, moving horizontally and even diagonally. The system, called Multi, may help make possible buildings of unprecedented size and energy efficiency, like this conceptual Edison Tower. Patrick Bass, CEO of ThyssenKrupp North America, says supertall, power-producing skyscrapers could help accommodate booming urbanization.

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Samsung Makes Big Trucks Transparent in the Name of Road Safety

21st June 2015

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Back in 2009, Russian design house Art Lebedev introduced the dramatically titled Transparentius concept for improving road safety. It was remarkably simple: put a camera on the front of large, slow-moving trucks and connect it to video displays on the back, thereby informing trailing drivers whether it’s safe to overtake the big rig. That’s the exact same idea that Samsung is now pursuing with a new prototype truck. Making use of its abundance of outdoor displays, the Korean company has stitched together a video wall of four displays at the rear of the truck, which transmits video captured by a wireless camera at the front.

Great idea. How much is it going to cost?

I smell another government mandate that will cost consumers and benefit a big company.

 

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Color Vision Test

21st June 2015

Chcck it out.

Apparently I have the eyes of a dog. Who knew?

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

20th June 2015

Amazingly Automated Sewing and Embroidery Machines.

Quick searing knife toasts bread as you slice it.

Millenium Falcon MultiTool.

Water Bottle Underwear.

Balancing Knife. This is really slick.

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German Lasers Hit Moving Drone

19th June 2015

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The future is here, it’s just not evenly distribueed.

(Look for an appropriate government program to hit Congress any day now.)

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Now You Can 3D-Print Objects Made of Wood Fibers

17th June 2015

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This could be huge.

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Scientists Make Friction Disappear By Coating Diamonds With Graphene

16th June 2015

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How Harry’s Bought a German Razor Factory

15th June 2015

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“I went into the drug store. I’d run out of razor blades and just had a really frustrating purchase experience,” Katz-Mayfield recalls. “They were locked in a case, which I found to be a little bit absurd. I was buying razor blades — not diamond jewelry. And I wound up spending over $20 for four razor blades and some shaving cream, and I didn’t have a good feeling as a consumer. I knew I was getting taken advantage of, and I didn’t really have any choice in the matter.”

Harry’s sells shaving kits, individual razors, and bottles of shaving cream. For $15, you can get a shaving kit complete with a five-blade razor, three replacement blades, and shaving cream. When you consider that just a razor and a couple replacement blades from Gillette will run you anywhere from $10 to $15, Harry’s kits look like a pretty good deal.

I use ’em, and I like ’em.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

13th June 2015

The Bat-Hook.

Protective Rain Hat. You first.

Outlet with USB power.

Cryptex Steampunk USB Drive.

Roccbox Portable Stone Bake Oven.

Clip-Together Furniture.

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Christopher Lee: The Untold Life of the SAS Soldier Who Spoke Several Languages and Almost Died Twice In WWII

12th June 2015

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Lee was attached to the precursor of the SAS, known as the Long range Desert Group (LRDG), in North Africa from 1941. He reportedly moved behind enemy lines, destroying Luftwaffe aircraft and fields, until he was seconded to the army and served with a Gurkha regiment.

“I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let’s just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like,” he said in 2011.

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Polar Bears Seen Killing and Eating Dolphins That Have Been Forced North by Global Warming

11th June 2015

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Watching Greenpeace heads explode all over the world….

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In the Netherlands, a Giant Wind Turbine for People to Live on

11th June 2015

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Instead of tilting at windmills, how about living in one? The Dutch Windwheel is a giant proposed wind turbine for the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which will feature apartments and hotel rooms along the outside of the structure.

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Quest to Mine Seawater for Lithium Advances

8th June 2015

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Researchers at Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency have come up with a new method of processing seawater to extract lithium—an element that plays a key role in advanced batteries for electric vehicles and one that, if current predictions for the EV market prove accurate, could be in short supply before the end of the decade.

More importantly, and why the Japanese are the lead dogs on this one, is that Communist China has a chokehold on materials like lithium and nobody in that neck of the woods wants to be dependent on China for their tech business.

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Poland Developing Liquid Body Armor

7th June 2015

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Liquids are great at absorbing bullets’ energy. Fired underwater, an AK-47 can only send a bullet a few feet forwards, while in the air the same bullets would easily fly over 1,000 feet. This is great news for secret agents looking to avoid henchmen by swimming underwater, but it’s impractical advice for anyone else unless they want to carry six-foot-thick tanks of water around themselves at all times. Fortunately, researchers have found liquids that work even better than water at stopping bullets. The latest, developed by Poland’s Military Institute of Armament Technology in Warsaw, is a new non-Newtonian Shear Thickening Fluid, and it might replace Kevlar in body armor of the future.

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Vanishing Friction

7th June 2015

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Friction is all around us, working against the motion of tires on pavement, the scrawl of a pen across paper, and even the flow of proteins through the bloodstream. Whenever two surfaces come in contact, there is friction, except in very special cases where friction essentially vanishes — a phenomenon, known as “superlubricity,” in which surfaces simply slide over each other without resistance.

Now physicists at MIT have developed an experimental technique to simulate friction at the nanoscale. Using their technique, the researchers are able to directly observe individual atoms at the interface of two surfaces and manipulate their arrangement, tuning the amount of friction between the surfaces. By changing the spacing of atoms on one surface, they observed a point at which friction disappears.

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Planarian Regeneration Model Discovered by Artificial Intelligence

7th June 2015

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An artificial intelligence system has for the first time reverse-engineered the regeneration mechanism of planaria—the small worms whose extraordinary power to regrow body parts has made them a research model in human regenerative medicine. – See more at: http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/planarian-regeneration-model-discovered-artificial-intelligence#sthash.vx4oaN4F.dpuf

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Researchers Reveal Medieval Drawings Erased Centuries Ago

7th June 2015

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Dating from 1250, The Black Book of Carmarthen at the National Library of Wales is the earliest surviving medieval manuscript written solely in Welsh, and contains some of the earliest references to King Arthur and Merlin.

Despite its importance and decades of scholarly research, the work of a PhD student from the University of Cambridge has revealed tantalising new glimpses of verse, and some images, from the 750-year-old book.

Myriah Williams and her supervisor Professor Paul Russell from Cambridge’s Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, believe that a 16th century owner of the book, probably a man named Jaspar Gryffyth of Ruthin, summarily erased centuries’ worth of additional verse, doodles and marginalia which had been added to the manuscript as it changed hands throughout the years.

However, using a combination of ultraviolet light and photo editing software, the 16th century owner’s penchant for erasure has been partly reversed to reveal snatches of poetry which are previously unrecorded in the canon of Welsh verse. Currently, the texts are very fragmentary and in need of much more analysis, although they seem to be the continuation of a poem on the preceding page with a new poem added at the foot of the page.

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De Valette’s Battle-sword

7th June 2015

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This Hospitaller sword is shrouded in mystery, but it is well known and it is, in any case, still in Malta. Information about its origins is very scarce and it merits attention  because of its strong tradition in local collective memory. It is the presumed personal  battle-sword of de Valette donated to the chapel of Our Lady of Damascus in Birgu (Vittoriosa) at the end of the siege of 1565.

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Colosseum Killing Machine Reconstructed After More Than 1,500 Years

7th June 2015

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For the first time, experts recreate one of the 28 timber machines that hoisted wild animals into the Colosseum, where they were pitted against gladiators and each other

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Super Samurai: Robot Beats Japanese Master Swordsman

6th June 2015

Read it. And watch the video.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

6th June 2015

Pantelligent.

Giant Wooden Dog House.

Three-Person Water Balloon Launcher.

Buzzwords-as-a-Service.

‘Room in a Box’ Cardboard Furniture Set.

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Climate Change Brings Needed Rain to Africa

5th June 2015

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And if it puts New York and Boston and Miami and LA under water, that’s just a bonus.

Mark this down: Everybody who wants to stop ‘climate change’ is now officially raaaaacist.

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A Bay Area Startup Spins Lab-Grown Silk

4th June 2015

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Scientists, at least those who aren’t arachnophobes, have tried to mass-produce spider silk for decades with little success. Spiders are territorial and cannibalistic—try to farm them, and they end up eating each other. But scientists have long believed that if spiders would only cooperate, fabric made from their silk would be well-suited for use in military and medical equipment, like wound sutures or artificial tendons, as well as in high-performance athletic clothing and other garments.

Bolt Threads has ditched the live spiders but held on to this goal. The company has developed a synthetic alternative to spider silk by engineering proteins identical to the natural threads stretched across the nooks in your basement. It’s raised $40?million from Silicon Valley venture capital firms Foundation Capital, Formation 8, and Founders Fund to commercialize its technology and turn those proteins into fabric. “Over the past few decades, as clothing companies squeezed on price, they’ve taken the innovation out of apparel,” says Dan Widmaier, a graduate of the UCSF Ph.D. program in chemical biology and Bolt’s chief executive officer.

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Scientists Develop Test That Can Detect Every Known Human Virus in Single Drop of Blood

4th June 2015

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A simple test has been developed that can detect every known human virus in a single drop of blood. It can confirm present and past viral infections, even if they occurred many years ago, scientists said.

The test is based on the rapid and simultaneous detection of the hundreds of different antibodies that the human immune system makes when the body is invaded by viruses ranging from influenza and herpes to HIV and Ebola.

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App to Test Eyesight ‘as Accurate’ as Traditional Sight Charts, Study Suggests

3rd June 2015

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The Portable Eye Examination Kit, or Peek, has been designed and developed the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Strathclyde and the NHS Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research.

Research published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology showed that the results from the app tests were as reliable as those from standard paper-based charts and illuminated vision boxes in an eye clinic.

The eye tests are designed not to be dependent on familiarity with symbols or letters used in the English language, and instead feature a “tumbling E” on the screen, showing the letter E in different orientations.

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The Lincoln Memorial Could Have Been a Pyramid.

3rd June 2015

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Orphan Black and The Doom of Men

3rd June 2015

Jeff Somers, one of my Recommended Writers (see column over there on the right) gives us some good news.

Orphan Black is a nifty little Sci-Fi show shown on BBC America about a young woman, a snarky grifter-type from the foster system, who sees a woman who could be her twin jump to her death one night. Stealing the woman’s purse, and eventually impersonating her, she discovers that she’s one of many clones — identical physical replicas raised by a variety of parents all over the world.

There are, as you might imagine, conspiracies.

The main takeaway everyone has about Orphan Black is that one actress, Tatiana Maslany, plays all of the clones. For the most part that means she plays five distinct characters on a regular basis, and she’s played several other clones to boot. Even more impressive, she often depicts the clones impersonating each other, which is kind of mind-bending, if you think about it, because she finds little tics and ways of making it clear that this one distinct character is impersonating another distinct character. The acting she does on this show is nothing short of amazing.

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Tank Crushes Learner Driver’s Car in Germany, Causing Almost £9,000 Worth of Damage

2nd June 2015

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Suggestion: Don’t get in the way of a tank. Especially don’t get in the way of a British tank.

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Doctors Hail ‘Spectacular’ Step Towards Cancer Cure

1st June 2015

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A British trial brought “spectacular” results, with tumours shrinking or disappearing completely in half of inoperable skin cancer patients.

The findings came as a series of studies showed that the drugs, which use the body’s defences to combat the disease, were effective against some of the most deadly tumours, including those of the lung, bowel, liver and head.

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Cancer Breakthrough: UK Team Says ‘Sleeping Cells’ Hold Key to Why Disease Recurs

31st May 2015

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Genetic evidence suggests cancer cells can go to sleep – avoiding the effects of treatment – only to “wake up” decades later.

The ground-breaking British study could lead to new ways of rooting out dormant cancerous cells and eradicating their return.

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Hand-Written Notes Better for Long-term Comprehension

31st May 2015

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But you knew that.

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Barnard College for Women May Accept Transgender Students

31st May 2015

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I’ve seen women from Barnard; I doubt that anyone will notice.

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The Changing Geography of Racial Opportunity

30th May 2015

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We found, for all three major minority groups,   that the best places were neither the most liberal in their attitudes nor had the most generous welfare programs. Instead they were located primarily in regions that have experienced broad-based economic growth, have low housing costs, and limited regulation. In other words, no matter how much people like Bill de Blasio talk about the commitment to racial and class justice, the realities on the ground turn out to be quite different than he might imagine.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

30th May 2015

Reusable Cups & Saucers from Old Coffee Grounds.

Portable Air Pump.

Pizza Hut Australia To Launch Meat Pie Stuffed Crust Pie

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Why Tesla’s Batteries Won’t Work for Rooftop Solar

28th May 2015

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I assumed that the rooftop PV system would generate just enough power to fill annual domestic demand and that the surplus power generated in summer would be stored for re-use in the winter in Tesla batteries. The result was an across-the board generation cost of around $35/kWh. Clearly the Tesla battery storage option isn’t economically viable, or at least not under the scenario I chose.

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US Air Force Confirms Boeing’s Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon

28th May 2015

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Known as the ” CHAMP,” or Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, the American military project is an attempt to develop a device with all the power of a nuclear weapon but without the death and destruction to people and infrastructure that such a weapon causes. Theoretically, the new missile system would pinpoint buildings and knock out their electrical grids, plunging the target into darkness and general disconnectedness.

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Mutant Bacteria Will Test You for Disease and Color Your Pee Accordingly

27th May 2015

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In the first study, researchers manipulated E. coli’s genes to make the bacteria reliably detect high glucose levels in urine–an indicator of diabetes. Once the glucose levels reach a certain threshold, the bacteria turn red. When the researchers tested these “bactosensors” in samples from 13 patients, the bacteria indicated problematically high glucose levels just as reliably as conventional urine dipsticks. The researchers hope that this same sort of bacterial genetic manipulation could help detect other diseases.

Progress! You can’t stop it.

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Irish and Scots May Have Been First to Settle Iceland, Researcher Finds

26th May 2015

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Hah.

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Researchers First too Create a Single-Molecule Diode

25th May 2015

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Under the direction of Latha Venkataraman, associate professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, researchers have designed a new technique to create a single-molecule diode, and, in doing so, they have developed molecular diodes that perform 50 times better than all prior designs. Venkataraman’s group is the first to develop a single-molecule diode that may have real-world technological applications for nanoscale devices. Their paper, “Single-Molecule Diodes with High On-Off Ratios through Environmental Control,” is published May 25 in Nature Nanotechnology.

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Plants Could Pave The Way For Greener Roads

25th May 2015

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Asphalt contains bitumen, a product of the oil-refining process. But some scientists and engineers believe that they could get the same results by using lignin, a compound found in all kinds of plants. Lignin is strong: it binds together material in trees. It is also plentiful, and currently discarded as a waste product in the process of making paper.

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See-Through Solar Is Tomorrow’s Threat to Oil

24th May 2015

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Solar energy is the future. The problem is, it’s been the future for a long time. And while progress has been made, using the sun as a primary source of power hasn’t really broken through.

One possible breakthrough, however, is becoming clearer—literally. The engineers at Ubiquitous Energy are developing solar panels that are completely transparent and as thin as a laminate. They can do this by creating see-through solar cells that absorb only the invisible parts of the solar spectrum—ultraviolet and infrared radiation.

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What to Learn in College to Stay One Step Ahead of Computers

24th May 2015

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Don’t ever say we don’t have useful stuff here.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

23rd May 2015

Portable Folding Kayak. Well, you never know when you might need one….

TGX Tactical Flask.

Electric Boot Dryer.

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