|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Saturday, February 15, 2003
Biomimicry yields nanomaterials
: For electronics, radar deflection, and solar cells: "Daniel Morse of the University of California, Santa Barbara, said he has harnessed the ability of the lowly sponge to develop silicon-based, photovoltaic devices. The organisms "fabricate beautifully structured, 3-dimensionally organized high performance materials," he said. They accomplish this under benign conditions -- unlike those used in the human fabrication of silicon chips, which can involve high temperatures and pressures and polluting materials. Morse and colleagues discovered a class of proteins, which he nicknamed "silicateins," that direct the manipulation of silica in sponges found in the waters just outside his California lab. He said he discovered silacatein enzymes can act as nanomachines to make titanium dioxide by aligning titanium and oxygen atoms, thereby turning the material into "one of the most efficient photovoltaic converters of sunlight to electricity yet known." " 12:13:17 PM
Anchors Away for Hydrogen Research
: Cpt. Douglas Brown, a professor of marine engineering at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, New York on Long Island leads an effort with LILCO and Plug Power. It uses PV to generate hydrogen on land, with a sailboat coverted to use a fuel cell for power. (Some have suggested that using H2 for shipping would provide greater environmental benefit with fewer infrastructure changes and less re-engineering than automobiles). 12:05:03 PM
Kyocera cells power telecom in Africa
: "Kyocera Solar, Inc. has been chosen by Siemens Communications to provide solar-powered systems for telecommunication projects in Ethiopia and Uganda. The photovoltaic (PV) systems will power large microwave stations, manufactured by Siemens Mobile Communications SpA, allowing Ethiopia Telecommunications Corporation to expand its network to reach 54 new sites in Ethiopia. Three additional PV systems will power telecommunications in Uganda. " The systems range from 1 to 14 kw. Operations expected late 2003. 11:52:01 AM
: "A young entrepreneur in Nepal plans to set up the world's highest cyber cafe. Tsering Gyalzen hopes the internet facility at Mount Everest base camp will open by March. .. Mr Gyalzen, a 33-year-old science graduate, says he is financing nearly half of the estimated $40,000 project himself. A number of foreign firms have offered hardware and other equipment. " 11:46:18 AM
Further coverage of Spheral Solar cells
: "Spheral Solar of Cambridge, Ontario, .. expects the company to start making its flexible panels next year." Claimed efficiency is 11%, using waste silicon from the electronics industry and plastic . Applications include consumer electronics and building materials. 11:38:48 AM
Customer-owned Networks and ZapMail
: The economic logic of customer owned networks
: "According to Metcalfe's Law, the value of an internet connection rises with the number of users on the network. However, the phone companies do not get to raise their prices in return for that increase in value. This is a matter of considerable frustration to them.
The economic logic of the market suggests that capital should be invested by whoever captures the value of the investment. The telephone companies are using that argument to suggest that they should either be given monopoly pricing power over the last mile, or that they should be allowed to vertically integrate content with conduit. Either strategy would allow them to raise prices by locking out the competition, thus restoring their coercive power over the customer and helping them extract new revenues from their internet subscribers.
However, a second possibility has appeared. If the economics of internet connectivity lets the user rather than the network operator capture the residual value of the network, the economics likewise suggest that the user should be the builder and owner of the network infrastructure.
The creation of the fax network was the first time this happened, but it won't be the last. WiFi hubs and VoIP adapters allow the users to build out the edges of the network without needing to ask the phone companies for either help or permission. Thanks to the move from analog to digital networks, the telephone companies' most significant competition is now their customers" 12:13:18 AM