|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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Monday, September 15, 2003
Invention for Sustainable Development
: "The Lemelson Foundation Invention for Sustainable Development Program fosters and unleashes human creativity and invention to meet basic human needs and build sustainable livelihoods for the world's poor people. " Advisory board members include Ashok Gadgil. 5:46:29 PM
Economist update on Nanosys nanorod solar cells:
"Japan's leading maker of building materials, Matsushita Electric Works in Osaka. MEW, which is famous for its resin moulding and processing technology, has joined forces with Nanosys, a start-up co-founded by Dr Alivisatos in Palo Alto, California. The partners plan to develop nanorod composite cells for the construction materials industry in Asia. Nanosys and MEW (a subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial, the world's largest consumer electronics maker) hope to release commercial versions of the new solar cells by 2007.
The plan is to incorporate the composite solar cells into decorative roofing tiles or sidings, says Stephen Empedocles, a co-founder and director of business development at Nanosys. .. Dr Alivisatos thinks that if he can get the nanorods to point in a single direction, rather than randomly, he can boost the composite's energy efficiency. If that can be increased to 10%, Nanosys will have the basics for producing solar cells that are easy to work with and cheap to make. In June, the National Science Foundation awarded Nanosys a research grant worth $850,000 to develop the nanocomposite solar cell further. " 4:39:24 PM
More light than heat
: "What is needed is a glass that lets in light but keeps out stifling heat. Such glasses exist but are generally considered a luxury .. One version consists of a thin layer of silver sandwiched between plates of ordinary glass.
Writing in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters, Stefan Schelm and Geoff Smith of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, suggest a handy solution to the problem. The window they have developed consists of a sheet of plastic, rather than silver, sandwiched between plates of glass. The plastic, a standard polyvinyl butyral laminate is doped with nanoparticles of lanthanum hexaboride. This substance was chosen because it absorbs infra-red radiation but very little visible light. Because infra-red wavelengths carry the bulk of the heat, this allows the plastic layer to filter out most of the heat.
The nanoparticles do not even have to be particularly pure. Any contaminants created during production are so small, and fortunately transparent, as not to matter. The doped plastic transmits only 5% of the infra-red light, even when the concentration of nanoparticles is as low as 0.02%. The only side-effect is that the glass has a very slight blue-green tinge. .. Mr Schelm did not just happen upon lanthanum hexaboride, but chose it after modelling how conducting nanoparticles absorb light. By adjusting the size of the nanoparticles, or perhaps choosing a slightly different material, Mr Schelm may eventually get rid of the blue-green tinge." I wonder if this can be combined with concentrators and high-efficiency PVs -- like from spectrolabs, yielding >25% up to 400 suns -- to make PVs pay? 4:33:56 PM
Grid MP Global Service Statistics
: United Devices public grid used for Smallpox, Anthrax, and Cancer research, with 1m computers registered but apparently about 100k active (currently about 250 processor-years of computing per day). United Devices offers programs for organizations
to build grids out of their computer networks and offer them to other customers (as Gateway has done). 4:13:34 PM
Fabricates MEMS on demand from CAD drawings with 3 week turnaround. 3:22:59 PM
Decision tree of different media available for communicating today, and when to use each. 10:23:39 AM
Test bed for the Internet: "The Internet has spawned a smaller clone of itself called PlanetLab, which has been designed as the new virtual test bed for the next generation of Web-based applications. This global virtual laboratory imitates our usage of the World Wide Web to develop new business tools, computer programs and weapons against worms and viruses. The project sponsored by Intel Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., as well as many universities, is currently running on more than 160 machines at 65 sites worldwide... Anyone who wants to use PlanetLab for developing code simply has to donate a computer -- known as a node -- to the network, thus increasing its capability. " 10:20:32 AM
Bin Laden's hideout in wilds of Pakistan:
Good map of Waziristan, with this comment: "President Pervez Musharraf, has survived at least three assassination attempts since he threw his support behind the US-led war on terror in September 2001" 8:16:48 AM
In search of technology, Army turns to moths, sponges, biotechs
"Two Bay Area biotech companies have been enlisted in a $50 million effort by the U.S. Army to create new types of sensors, electronics and information technology by unlocking some of nature's mysteries. The Army Research Office awarded a five-year grant to a partnership of three research universities to launch the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. The University of California, Santa Barbara, will lead the partnership with collaboration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology. .. "It's a bit of an unusual take on biotech in that it focuses on material science and information science, not specifically on health care where I think most people think biotechnology impacts their lives," said David Tirrell, Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies program coordinator for the Caltech campus. "It requires an unusual combination of skills, which is why not a lot of people are doing this." " 12:28:59 AM
There's progress in Baghdad but...
: "The visitor returning to Baghdad after three months' absence cannot fail to be struck by improvements in the Iraqi capital's life. But there is always a "but."" 12:20:09 AM