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Showing posts from November 3, 2013

built a solar cell that generates current from both the sun and sound waves.

Safa Shoaee, Joe Briscoe, James R. Durrant, and Steve Dunn took an ordinary polymer solar cell and attached a layer of zinc oxide to it. The zinc oxide formed tiny rods, like hairs, except these were only nanometers long. When the scientists exposed the cell to noise along with light, it generated more current than with the light alone. The sounds that gave the biggest power boost came from pop and rock music. The increase in power wasn’t just because zinc oxide and polymer have a certain taste in tunes. Zinc oxide is a piezoelectric material. That means it generates current when bent or twisted, or, in reverse, bends and twists when a current is applied. Piezoelectric materials are common; they show up in buzzers and small speakers a lot (the piezoelectric stuff is what makes the sound). When the scientists played rock or pop, there were more high-frequency sounds and beats, which have more energy than lower frequency ones. Beats, as on a drum, p

United, American Airlines allow electronics use during takeoff and landing

Travelers on Delta and JetBlue said goodbye to switching their mobile devices off during takeoff and landing just hours after the FAA changed its regulations, and now other airlines have joined the party. American Airlines announced a couple of days ago that the FAA had cleared its flights for the new rules, and United made a similar announcement this afternoon. While larger items like laptops will still need to be stowed at certain points in your journey, the FAA's decision means handheld personal devices like most phones, tablets, e-readers and portable games stay on. There are a few exceptions of course, and in-flight voice calls are still a no-no, but at least you can finally leave those magazines and newspapers at the gate.