Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Most Dangerous Person in the World

Hint: He's the guy or gal in the mirror. A very nicely written explication of what kills Americans. Another hint: Terrorism is down in the noise level, below peanut allergies.

(Another h/t to Mr. Schneier).

Helpfulness Trumps Paranoia in New York


(h/t Bruce Schneier)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Disruptive Tech: Nanoscale IR Antennas for High-Efficiency, Low-Cost Solar Arrays

This has the potential to be really huge. This research team invented really cool "nantennas" that can turn sunlight into electricity. Yawn? Not so -- they got it to work in IR wavelengths, where traditional photovoltaics perform quite poorly, and they're already achieving 90% efficiency. That's ninety percent, folks.

Incident sunlight is a good source of IR, obviously, but with some wavelength tuning, the new tech works perfectly well on reradiated IR too, meaning you can harvest from the ground, sides of buildings, etc., where you don't have cells installed.

And they've already prototyped a roll-to-roll manufacturing process onto polyethylene film, so that you wouldn't have to somehow attach rigid (and thus fragile) tiles to your roof: You'd just unroll this stuff and staple it down.

Holy cats. This could be seriously huge. They say that industrial-scale application is still years away -- for one thing, the electricity is generated at terahertz frequencies, so they've got to find rectifiers that will (a) work and (b) be cheap to incorporate.

But several of the biggest technical hurdles are already in their wake.