• en Static electricity could charge our electronics.

  • Unhappy with the life of your smartphone battery? Thought so. Help could be on the way from one of the most common, yet poorly understood, forms of power generation: static electricity.


    (Image credit: Schlueter/Getty)

    “Nearly everyone has zapped their finger on a doorknob or seen child’s hair stick to a balloon. To incorporate this energy into our electronics, we must better understand the driving forces behind it,” says James Chen, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

    Chen is a co-author of a study in the December issue of the Journal of Electrostatics that suggests the cause of this hair-raising phenomenon is tiny structural changes that occur at the surface of materials when they come into contact with each other.

    The finding could ultimately help technology companies create more sustainable and longer-lasting power sources for small electronic devices.

    Supported by a $400,000 National Science Foundation grant, Chen and Zayd Leseman, PhD, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering at Kansas State University, are conducting research on the triboelectric effect, a phenomenon wherein one material becomes electrically charged after it contacts a different material through friction.

    The triboelectric effect has been known since ancient times, but the tools for understanding and applying it have only become available recently due to the advent of nanotechnology.

    “The idea our study presents directly answers this ancient mystery, and it has the potential to unify the existing theory. The numerical results are consistent with the published experimental observations,” says Chen.

    The research Chen and Leseman conduct is a mix of disciplines, including contact mechanics, solid mechanics, materials science, electrical engineering and manufacturing. With computer models and physical experiments, they are engineering triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs), which are capable of controlling and harvesting static electricity.

    “The friction between your fingers and your smartphone screen. The friction between your wrist and smartwatch. Even the friction between your shoe and the ground. These are great potential sources of energy that we can to tap into,” Chen says. “Ultimately, this research can increase our economic security and help society by reducing our need for conventional sources of power.”

    As part of the grant, Chen has worked with UB undergraduate students, as well as high school students at the Health Sciences Charter School in Buffalo, to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

    Source: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2019/01/024.html

    #Sustainability #Engineering #Science #World #Future

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  • You think that the universe resides outside of you and it is true that there is something out there all right. However, that something is nothing like your perception of things. Let’s take the materialist view. That is that everything is just “stuff”. Atoms, molecules, quarks and radishes and all kinds of other “stuff”. That stuff is a kind of vibratory energy through which other kinds of energy flow. Energy is likewise “stuff” just in a different form.

    Your brain for all of its gooey gray grossness is a pretty complex thing. More complex than just about anything else in the universe. Stars and planetary systems are BIG but relatively simple. Now, within this gray matter are trillions perhaps a hundred trillion or more neurons. These are specialized cells. They are connected with neural pathways like a gigantic and complex net. When we observe we make pathways. When we think we make other pathways in exactly the same fashion except that the data comes from the brain, i.e. the pathways that are already present.

    The brain forging neural networks in real time.

    Now, everything you know, remember and experience has no existence for you aside from patterns in this network which began to form the instant your brain developed enough in the womb. So, all of your experiences are just patterns. If the patterns were changed, as in an accident then your reality changes. It is all just patterns connecting and relating to other patterns in this neural network. This is thought, cognition and self-awareness on a macro scale.

    Yet, reality, objective reality is something else altogether. It has an extrinsic existence outside of this pattern of neural networks. Your knowledge of it is very limited. Just enough to get around, find food shelter and a mate. When you sleep something else happens. The network fires in patterns. Not random patterns. Very meaningful patterns but without the necessity of obeying the laws of time, space or physics.

    Consciousness is so much more complex than even the greatest neuroscientists, medical researchers and philosophers can even begin to grasp and the waking mind is the least significant part of the picture.

    #Science #Psychology #Brain #Consciousness #Universe

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  • en Oxygen: The terraforming of Earth

  • (Picture by Alexander Gerst from the ISS)

    We take good old O2 for granted. People are always going on about how early Earth was “perfect” for life. A perfect hell maybe. No ozone layer, no oxygen, extreme heat, an abundance of highly corrosive chemicals in the atmosphere including sulfur and methane.

    Much like found on Titan the largest of the moons of Jupiter today. It was a literal red sky hell. With all of that methane and sulfur, it must have smelled like a frat house on chili and hard boiled egg night. So, the Earth was devoid of oxygen in the beginning but as I said there was a metric butt-load of methane and sulfur in the oceans.

    So, little single-celled organisms developed that lived on methane and sulfur. After a while, the sulfur level dropped and the methane level did as well. No one is sure why. There still was little oxygen. So some more little critters evolved which produced oxygen called “cyanobacteria”.

    It took a billion years for these critters to terraform our planet for the evolution of animals and more complex plants. To this day all plants incorporate these ancient cyanobacteria into their cells in structures known as a “cyanoplasts”. You see life itself changed the planet to support life.

    This is what life does.

    More informations to this topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxygenation_Event

    #Science #Enviroment #Universe #Earth #Life

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  • en DNA: Life’s Changelog

  • One of the most interesting things about DNA is that we have discovered, in humans, the 3% of the code which builds our physical bodies also has encoded within the bodies of all of our ancestors. We can switch on these old systems (in animals of course since this would be highly unethical to do to human beings) and give a chicken teeth or scales. We are not just us. We are all the physical forms in our lineage.

    Now, that accounts for 3% of our storage. What of the other 97%? It is memories. Now the skeptic will go “yeah right Mr. Science”. Hear me out here though. Why is it so hard to accept memories encoded into the helix? In fact all “instinct” is encoded memory. What beach to lay your eggs by the light of the full moon if you are a tortoise. Where to migrate if you are a starling or a monarch butterfly. Sharks even have maps of the magnetic markers on the seafloor. None of this is learned. It is there at birth.

    There is a very good evolutionary reason for this. Rapid adaptation. We have a repository of past experiences so we do not have to reinvent the wheel every time our environment changes. Human beings have noted this for at least as long as we have records and this has given rise to theories of reincarnation which appeared in nearly every civilization on Earth. Science has resisted this because it sounds too “supernatural” in the same way they resisted the “Big Bang” because it sounded too much like creation. Yet, it is anything but supernatural. It is entirely natural and the only explanation which makes any sense.

    #Science #Philosophy #Biology #Life #Origins

    (Picture courtesy of Ya-Webdesign)

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  • en More than Human

  • The next evolutionary step for humans. Some of us will make the conscious choice to have our bodies integrated into a machine such as a spacecraft or a probe. By integrated I mean encased in a pod permanently connected up tp a “Matrix-like” system where our bodily functions are taken care of by the pod and where the sensors of the ship become our senses and we are the mind and soul of the machine.

    A perfect blend of machine and flesh.

    Over time our bodies would mesh with the pod and we would look very little like a human. To human eyes we would seem grotesque and removal from life support would mean death, So, our bodies remain in a windowless pod greatly shielded from radiation, heat or the effect of gravity or g-forces.

    Then as this hybrid being, we could survive where no human could survive. We could live indefinitely if we slowed the body down while keeping the brain functioning. We could explore the universe this way. We would be more than human.

    #evolution #futurism #science #transhumanism

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  • HIV Eliminated By Bone Marrow Transplant In Cancer Patient

  • That man had been diagnosed with HIV in 2003. Then, in 2012 the unidentified patient was diagnosed with a cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma. After standard treatments failed, they gave the patient a stem-cell transplant – essentially killing off his old immune system and giving him a new one.

    The doctors selected a donor who had two copies of a particular mutation in the CCR5gene that prevents HIV from infecting T-cells, a part of the immune system where the virus takes hold and does its damage. As a result, the man ended up with an immune system that was naturally resistant to HIV.

    Source: NPR https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/05/700361887/bone-marrow-transplant-renders-second-patient-free-of-hiv 

    #medicine #technology #CRISPR #geneediting #HIV #science

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