Artificial Night-Lights Are Growing, Getting Brighter Environment Technology 

Artificial Night-Lights Are Growing, Getting Brighter

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore As soon as it gets dark, street lights, which have become widespread in the developed world—and are rapidly expanding in the developing world—are switched on. Indeed, since the second half of the twentieth century, Earth has become brighter at night. Now, new satellite-based research shows that our outdoor artificial night-lights are still spreading to more areas on Earth and have gotten brighter over the past few years. How night-lights impact the world Outdoor lighting is regarded as a necessity, especially in highly populated areas, but artificial…

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Science of Skateboarding, Halfpipe Physics Physics 

Science of Skateboarding: Half-Pipe Physics

By Kate Stone and Jonathan Trinastic Skateboarders might seem to defy gravity as they soar high above a half-pipe, but they are actually taking advantage of specific physics principles that help them reach such heights. GotScience interviews physicist Jonathan Trinastic to learn more. GotScience: As a physicist, what do you see happening in these photos? Dr. Jonathan Trinastic: Skateboarders on a half-pipe take advantage of two primary physics conservation principles: conservation of energy and angular momentum. Let’s start with conservation of energy. Energy can be broken down into two main…

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power grid, science policy, energy Physics Science Policy Technology 

Science Policy Challenges, Part Two: A Strained Grid

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic This is the second in a series of four articles by Dr. Jonathan Trinastic in our new Science Policy section. Just over a year ago, over 230,000 Ukrainians lost connection to their country’s electricity grid after hackers took control of computers and shut down regional substations. The attack had been planned for months, likely by an experienced and well-funded team. Such an organized assault could soon be seen somewhere in the United States. “Everything about this attack was repeatable in the United States,” said Robert Lee,…

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Cooling Computers: Graphene-based film on an electronic component with high heat intensity (Johan Liu / Chalmers University of Technology) Engineering Physics Technology 

Cooling Electronics with Graphene-based Film

How many fans does it take to keep your computer from overheating? Electronic systems accumulate a great deal of heat, mostly due to the ever-increasing demand on functionality. Computer users have been using cool air (and even liquid) to reduce heat, but now researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed a method for efficiently cooling electronics using graphene-based film. The film is a mere 20 micrometers thick, yet has four times the thermal conductivity capacity of copper. Cooling Electronics, Protecting the Environment Getting rid of excess heat in efficient…

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Eva, the first evaporation-powered vehicle, has a turbine engine that rotates as water evaporates from the walls of the engine (Photo by Xi Chen, Columbia University) Engineering Environment Physics Technology Videos 

Turning Evaporation into Electricity

By Kate S. The power of water has long been harnessed by humanity, but one part of the water cycle — evaporation — has been overlooked until now. Many scientists are experimenting with improved solar cells and biofuels, but Columbia University scientists have a new, noteworthy idea. They have announced the development of a novel device that turns evaporation into electricity. In fact, the small prototype generates enough electricity to power a lightbulb and the rotary engine that drives a miniature car. Energy from Evaporation When evaporation energy is scaled…

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Biofuel: Inforgraphic courtesy of Eric Taylor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Biology Engineering Environment Oceanography 

Fish Food Turned into Two New Biofuels

By Kate S. A common algae commercially grown to make fish food could become a future source of biofuel, according to a new study. The research team, led by Greg O’Neil of Western Washington University and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has pioneered a technique that uses a single species of algae called Isochrysis to make both biodiesel and jet fuel. The scientists believe that the ability to produce two types of biofuel from one algae holds some promise for future commercialization. They stress that this is only…

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