Thursday, December 22, 2011

Paint-On Solar Cells Developed

ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2011) — Imagine if the next coat of paint you put on the outside of your home generates electricity from light -- electricity that can be used to power the appliances and equipment on the inside.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

US Chamber of Commerce Infiltrated By Chinese Hackers

Posted by Unknown Lamer  

from the security-through-insecurity dept.

SpzToid writes"The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that a group of hackers in China breached the computer defenses of the United States Chamber of Commerce. The intrusion was quietly shut down in May 2010, while FBI investigations continue. 'A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Geng Shuang, said cyberattacks are prohibited by Chinese law and China itself is a victim of attacks. ... Still, the Chamber continues to see suspicious activity, they say. A thermostat at a town house the Chamber owns on Capitol Hill at one point was communicating with an Internet address in China, they say, and, in March, a printer used by Chamber executives spontaneously started printing pages with Chinese characters.'"According the article, the group "gained access to everything stored on its systems" and may have "had access to the network for more than a year before the breach was uncovered."

The Hobbit Trailer posted!

Superannuated Scientists Still Productive

Posted by timothy  

from the anonymous-ice-floe-pictures-help dept.
An anonymous reader writes"Modern corporations seem to have devalued older scientists. They are all to happy to have their veteran employees, scientists included, take an early retirement so that they can be replaced by younger people who expect fewer benefits and will work for lower pay. Thomas Kuhn, philosopher of science and author of the influential book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, believed that revolution in science was forged only by younger scientists. Some older studies of small academic groups seemed to show that scientific productivity peaks at middle age and declines thereafter. A newer study of 13,680 university professors found that scientific productivity still increases up to age 50, and it then stabilizes from age fifty to retirement for the more industrious researchers. When 'high impact' publications are considered, researchers older than 55 still hold their own. A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the majority of Nobel Laureates in Chemistry from 1901 to 1960 did their prize-winning work by age 40. After 1960, chemistry laureates were more likely to have done their prize-winning work after age 40."

20 most popular Christmas songs graphed by decade of release


New State of Metal Theorized To Be In the Earth's Lower Mantle

Posted by Soulskill  

from the does-it-burn-as-well-as-dead-dinosaurs dept.
slew writes"This article talks about a study accepted to Physical Review Letters which theorizes that iron oxide goes through an insulator/metal phase change with high temperature and pressure. Originally it was thought to be a crystalline structure change, but now apparently it is theorized to be a new type of metallic state. This discovery might offer new insight on how the earth's magnetic field operates."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NASA finds smallest ever black hole by its 'heartbeat' (video)

By   posted Dec 19th 2011 3:07PM

NASA's found the smallest black hole it's ever seen, thanks to the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) -- weighing three times less than our own sun, it's near the bottom weight limit for the super-heavy phenomena. It was discovered by its unique "heartbeat", an X-Ray emission that takes place when gas sucked from a nearby star is swirled around the event horizon until friction causes it to super-heat. The disc then repeats the process every 40 seconds and when examined, looks just like the readout on anECG machine. After the break we've got a video that talks you through it all and we won't mind if you start booming "Space... the final frontier..." halfway through -- we did too.

Is Jupiter Dissolving Its Rocky Core?

Posted by Soulskill  

from the told-you-not-to-drink-all-that-soda-pop dept.
sciencehabit writes"Jupiter is the victim of its own success. Sophisticated new calculations indicate that our solar system's largest planet, which weighs more than twice as much as all of the others put together, has destroyed part of its central core. The culprit is the very hydrogen and helium that made Jupiter a gas giant, when the core's gravity attracted these elements as the planet formed. The finding suggests that the most massive extrasolar planetshave no cores at all."

NASA Considers Sending Telescope To the Outer Solar System

Posted by Unknown Lamer  

from the research-base-on-ganymede dept.
Nancy_A writes"A mission that astronomers and cosmologists have only dreamed about — until now. A team at JPL and Caltech has been looking into the possibility of hitching an optical telescope to a survey spacecraft on a mission to the outer solar system. Light pollution in our inner solar system, from both the nearby glow of the Sun and the hazy zodiacal glow from dust ground up in the asteroid belt, has long stymied cosmologists looking for a clearer take on the early Universe."

Middle-Age Blood Pressure Changes Affect Lifetime Heart Disease, Stroke Risk

ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2011) — An increase or decrease in your blood pressure during middle age can significantly impact your lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to research in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Trends in hit songs

The study found some interesting trends, such as:
  • Before the eighties, the danceability of a song was not very relevant to its hit potential. From then on, danceable songs were more likely to become a hit. Also the average danceability of all songs on the charts suddenly increased in the late seventies.
  • In the eighties slower musical styles (tempo 70-89 beats per minute), such as ballads, were more likely to become a hit.
  • The prediction accuracy of the researchers' hit potential equation varies over time. It was particularly difficult to predict hits around 1980. The equation performed best in the first half of the nineties and from the year 2000. This suggests that the late seventies and early eighties were particularly creative and innovative periods of pop music.
  • Up until the early nineties, hits were typically harmonically simpler than other songs of the era. On the other hand, from the nineties onward hits more commonly have simpler, binary, rhythms such as 4/4 time.
  • On average all songs on the chart are becoming louder. Additionally, the hits are relatively louder than the songs that dangle at the bottom of the charts, reflected by a strong weight for the loudness feature.

Can Science Predict a Hit Song?

ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2011) — Most people remember listening to the official UK top 40 singles chart and watching the countdown on Top of the Pops, but can science work out which songs are more likely to 'make it' in the chart?

Scientists create first solar cell with over 100 percent quantum efficiency

By   posted Dec 19th 2011 6:01AM

Researchers over at the National Renewable Energy Lab have reportedly made the first solar cell with an external quantum efficiency over 100 percent. Quantum efficiency relates to the number of electrons-per-second flowing in a solar cell circuit, divided by the number of photons from the energy entering. The NREL team recorded an efficiency topping out at 114 percent, by creating the first working multiple exciton generation (MEG) cell. Using MEG, a single high energy photon can produce more than one electron-hole pair per absorbed photon. The extra efficiency comes from quantum dots 'harvesting' energy that would otherwise be lost as heat. The cell itself uses anti-reflection coating on a transparent conductor, layered with zinc oxide, lead selenide, and gold. NREL scientist Arthur J. Nozik predicted as far back as 2001 that MEG would do the job, but it's taken until now for the concept to leap over from theory. The hope is, of course, that this will lead to more competitively priced solar power, fueling thetransport of the future.

Neat Christmas vid of Handal's Hallelujah chorus