* Posts by DocJD

60 posts • joined 12 Oct 2011


Microsoft blacklisted TSO Host's email IPs from Hotmail, Outlook inboxes and no one seems to care



Can anyone give an example of Bulk e-mail that isn't spam? I don't use Microsoft for e-mail but, if I did, I'd thank them for this.

Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design


Weekly listing

Thank you for the weekly listing. It is exactly what I like and I have bookmarked it instead of your home page.

If only 3D desktop printers could 3D print sales! Units crash in Q1


The future

I imagine very few people need their own printer but plenty could find occasional uses. I see the future as a 3D printer in most hardware stores (like key making, glass cutting etc.) where people can go to get a custom replacement for knobs, out of stock old auto parts, a family crest, personalized tie clips, self designed phone cases, or whatever.

Beardy Branson: Wacky hyperloop tube maglev cheaper than railways



I saw no mention in the article of when or where Branson called this wacky. So the author, who has no credibility himself, is just inserting his own opinion, backed up by nothing, into the headline. Why not get back to us when you've done something successful?

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation


Re: Not useful

If you lived like the Amish, you wouldn't be on the internet making comments. I suppose that's useful to the rest of us.

Checkmate: DeepMind's AlphaZero AI clobbered rival chess app on non-level playing, er, board


Re: Let's be realistic...

As I understand it, the company is now called Alphabet at the top level because they are, in fact, more than one company. Google is still the search engine/advertising part, but there are other companies split off from Google under the Alphabet umbrella. The fact that these other companies may not be making a profit right now doesn't mean they don't plan to at some time in the future.

Fox News fabricated faux news with Donald Trump, lawsuit claims


If people are allowed to sue over fake news, CNN will go bankrupt.

Apollo center fundraiser: That's one small check from man, one giant leap for our peace of mind


Re: Quote

I'm an engineer and about 30 years ago I talked to the head of the company that built the microphones in the Apollo space suits and asked him about this. He told me, to save power, the microphones were voice activated. While Armstrong SAID "a man" the "a" wasn't loud enough to turn on the mike and was lost.

Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them


Re: Good luck with collecting that fine.

I signed up for nomorobo a month or so ago and it has been working very well for me.

Trump's immigration clampdown has Silicon Valley techies fearing for their house prices


What's the problem?

I don't imagine there are that many Syrians, Somalis etc. working in silicon valley. Also, as far as I know, the temporary ban is on new arrivals, not deporting people already living here. Anyone making up bogeymen under the bed by claiming a ban is likely to be announced on other random countries at any time is either delusional or just trying to stir up crap.

Doomsday Clock moves to 150 seconds before midnight. Thanks, Trump


Past their expiration date

These guys have been irrelevant since the end of the cold war. They are just looking for an excuse to keep themselves in the news.

Whiffy kitchen after last night's chips? Clear the air with SPACE PLASMA


A few details

Plasma does not have to be RF. there are DC plasmas (for example, in a spark plug) and low frequency plasmas (in a fluorescent light). So this device will not necessarily interfere with cell phones, etc.

When they say ozone is created by the hood, that is from the fan motor, not the inert filter. I'm not sure why some ozone will not be created when ambient oxygen goes through the plasma, but perhaps this amount of ozone is very small compared to that from a large motor.

They say it works by "electrons in the plasma react with the odour molecules and neutralise them" which means the molecules are not being broken up (and so will not create new carcinogens) but rather the molecules are charged and the plasma (which contains free electrons) is neutralizing such charge, rather like the old anti-static guns used to get rid of charge on vinyl records. I don't pretend to understand why ionized molecules smell and neutral ones don't, but that is literally what they are claiming.

Daddy, what's 'P2P file sharing'?


I'm surprised...

...at the lack of morals by so many on this site. I would have thought technical people would me more educated and honest.

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it


Why a license?

Brits need a license to watch television? Do they need to pass some kind of test to prove they can watch properly?

Chatbot lawyer shreds $2.5m in parking tickets


I think I've seen this guy

If I remember correctly, the guy who invented this was trying to raise money on Shark Tank (American version of Dragon's Den). I think his goal/business model was eventually to charge a small fee to anyone he helped successfully. Doing it for free was to demonstrate the ability and he wanted to get money from the investors to expand to many additional cities.

Ames boffins mix metals to boost electron velocity


Getting technical about electron velocity

There is a property of solids, called "mobility," used to describe the relationship between the velocity of the moving electrons and the applied electric field. (Most electrons are not moving, they are bound to their host atoms. The electrons which are free to carry electricity are called the "conduction electrons.")

In a vacuum the force on the electron would be qE (where q is the electron charge and E is the electric field--should be a script E with a vector bar on top to differentiate from Energy, but I don't know how to format text on this site) and there is ballistic acceleration just like in a particle accelerator.

In a solid, the electrons do not accelerate ballistically for very long because the they are continually scattering off crystal defects or other things and so they bounce around, moving in the general direction of the E field.

In a superconductor, because of some quantum effects, electrons can pair together (Cooper Pairs) and avoid scattering.

In non-superconducting solids the relationship is

v = µ x E

{That should be the Greek letter "mu" right after the = in case your display font handles optional characters differently than mine} µ stands for "mobility."

There is a limiting AVERAGE electron velocity for a given electric field because the electrons accelerate, then scatter, then accelerate etc. That average velocity in the equation above is called the "drift velocity" because it is just an average net velocity after taking all the scattering into account.

As E increases, the drift velocity increases. However, there is a "saturation velocity" (different for each material) beyond which increasing E doesn't help and mobility doesn't apply. That's one reason why gallium arsenide devices can be faster than silicon devices--GaAs has a higher saturation velocity. Digital GaAs has mostly fallen by the wayside because they haven't been able to shrink device dimensions as well as the silicon industry has. GaAs is still used for some high frequency analog applications. If you shrink a transistor small enough you start to get ballistic effects where some electrons cross the device without scattering, but the new material of this article is meant for the wiring interconnects, not the transistors themselves.

So this new material basically, through quantum effects called "Dirac dispersion," just has a longer mean free path before the electrons scatter. That means a higher drift velocity for the same E field and a higher saturation velocity. (That's why the article says you can use less voltage. Electric field is voltage divided by the distance across which it is applied.) Also important is the fact that this material has a large number of conduction electrons. Total current "I" through a small metal wire on a chip is

I = qnµEA

where q is the charge on an electron

n is the number of conduction electrons per cubic meter

µ is the electron mobility

E is the electric field (given a fixed distance d between ends of the wire, E = V/d)

A is the cross sectional area of the wire

So this material has a large "n" and a large "µ" which leads to a larger current for the same voltage and wire area. But the goal isn't a larger current, which would mean higher power. However, it gives the SAME current at a smaller voltage (lower power) and smaller wire area (higher density of circuits).

I hope this clears things up.

Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player


2 of them?

What would happen if they put their program on 2 different computers and let them play each other? If they just let the programs run for months, playing many games would they learn to get better and better? Would they learn more and more branches that can be pruned, thus making each game faster and faster as they can ignore more and more options?

Comcast repeatedly crams modem upgrade demands into browsers


Modems not supported

My sister, who's using a Motorola cable modem she bought around 4 years ago, gets these notices a lot. I checked into it and here's the deal:

Comcast has a page with a list of cable modems which are no longer supported by their manufacturers. That doesn't mean the modems don't work, just that Comcast has no guarantee they will keep working because of the non-support. Therefore they are asking the owners to upgrade. You can upgrade by renting or buying a new one. But you don't have to. I suppose it's like having software that is no longer supported. I suspect, if you are renting your modem from Comcast they will simply replace it.

Comcast is also rolling out a new cable box with a new interface (X1). It's much nicer and has things like a voice controlled interface (you can still just press buttons on the remote if you like). Perhaps they suspect the unsupported modems will not handle the new interface.

FATTIES have most SUCCESS with opposite SEX! Have some pies and SCORE


A better study would have been to show people a set of photos with a range of body types and ask them which they'd RATHER have sex with. I think the results would differ from this study.

Long-memoried boffins re-invent 1950s ferroelectric tech


Re: What Ferroelectric is

Ramtron did not have its own fab. It had a joint deal with Fujitsu.


What Ferroelectric is

Core memory is ferromagnetic--it stores with a permanent magnetic field which happens when molecules or domains align with each other and can remain aligned without thermal energy disrupting them.

Ferroelectric is when a material is made of polar molecules which have a built in electric field, can be made to align with each other and can remain aligned without thermal energy disrupting them.

If you make a capacitor (basically parallel plates that store charge) with a dielectric (fancy term for insulator) that is ferroelectric, the charge does not leak off. DRAM uses a capacitor dielectric which is not ferroelectric to store a bit, and the charge slowly leaks off, that's why it is "dynamic" and needs to be refreshed. When a ferroelectric material is used the permanent electric field of the dielectric keeps the charge present, so it is non-volatile.

In a capacitor, charge stored is proportional to the voltage between the two parallel plates. A DRAM is read by pulling off the charge as a current and reading the current. Then it has to be rewritten after the read. It is not necessary to pull the charge off a ferroelectric storage cell, you can simply detect the voltage, therefor no need to rewrite.

The "ferro" in ferromagnetic refers to iron (and its magnetic properties). The "ferro" in ferroelectric does not refer to iron, it is just there because the effects of the material are analogous but with electric fields instead of magnetic fields, so they made up an analogous word.

Companies have been making ferroelectric memory (FRAM) for years. The main one I can think of was Ramtron International, recently taken over by Cyprus Semiconductor.

Just ONE THOUSAND times BETTER than FLASH! Intel, Micron's amazing claim


Re: Read the Fine Print

You are correct, HonestAbe!


Re: Manufacturing capacity

The perimeter circuitry will be standard CMOS and does not have to push state of the art FET design because it will occupy such a small percentage of the chip. That makes it easy to manufacture the electronics.

The manufacturing problem will involve whatever the exotic material is that they use for the resistors. Certain elements can, even in very small quantities, contaminate CMOS enough to cause problems like junction leakage. If the resistor material contains such elements they will have to use a dedicated manufacturing line to avoid contaminating other products. If the contamination is critical enough they will have to use a barrier layer to avoid contaminating the FETs out at the perimeter. Luckily, depending on how the material is deposited, it is probably at a fairly low temperature and will have a low diffusion constant.


Re: A few clarifications

Resistance = (Resistivity of the material) ÷ (cross sectional area of the resistor perpendicular to current flow) x (length of the resistor in direction of the current flow) [I could write the equation, but have no idea how to get the Greek letter rho for resistivity into my text.)

If you keep the same aspect ratio and scale all dimensions proportionally by a factor "s", the resistance will go change 1/s (you have s/s^2). So if everything is made 1/2 the size the resistance will go up by a factor of 2.

But notice that, when you calculate the ratio of a given resistor in its high and low resistance states, the area and the length cancel out, leaving only the ratio of the two resistivities, which only depend on the materials parameters and not on the actual size.

As you get really small, the sense current will decrease for a given length and area. If you can then shorten the length (i.e. make the layer of resistance material thinner) you can bring the resistance back down and the sense current back up. Luckily, it is much easier to shrink a deposited thin film thickness than it is to change the dimensions of the photolithograpicly patterned area, so there is a very long way to go before this is a limit.


A few clarifications

It is called 3D memory because bits can be stacked. As shown in your drawing, it is presently at 2 bits high. (This is what they meant by "two layers" not that there are only two layers in the fabrication process.) Bit stacking can be done because the storage is not making use of the single crystal silicon substrate. As long as they can access the various layers of word and bid lines, they can keep stacking the bits.

There ARE transistors on the chip. They are NOT in the memory cells but will be around the perimeter to decode the address, read the signals from the bits and convert them into the appropriate output voltage and send the appropriate signals to write bits. (Although the chip is random access, they will almost certainly read and write Words and not single bits.)

The reason a resistive memory cell can be scaled down farther than present memories:

•DRAM storage depends on the area of the capacitor to store charge. If the area gets too small the amount of charge becomes harder to detect.

•Flash depends on charge of a floating gate. Again, as the gate gets smaller the amount of charge is limited and you have to move it closer to the channel of the transistor (thinner insulator) to modify the threshold voltage. If the gate is too small and the insulator too thin, small amounts of leakage can degrade the storage time.

•A variable memory material will have the same ratio of Low to High resistance no matter how small the bit is as long as the cross sectional area and thickness of the storage volume keep the same ratio as it scales down. It is possible, depending on the resistance change mechanism, to have a lower size limit. For example, phase change memory could be limited by how large the bit must be to exhibit crystalline characteristics, since the surfaces of the volumetric bit will be influenced by the materials on which or to which it is in contact and not be crystalline for some skin depth.

World-beating TWO-QUADRILLION-WATT LASER fired by boffins


Not much to fight with

The amount of energy in one burst is about the same as hitting someone with a baseball bat. (Maybe with a cricket bat also, but I've never seen one and have no idea what they might mass.)

NASA probe snaps increasingly detailed shots of MOIST DWARF goddess


Re: Sub surface ocean? Yeah, right.

The highest pressure would be at the center. Ceres has a low density, so it's probably mostly ice. Radioactive materials are heavy, so any radioactive heating would have to come from a small, rocky core. If the core is rocky, it's not an ocean. Also, heating a planet by radioactivity depends on a smaller surface area to volume ratio to hold in the heat. Ceres is probably too old to still have any radioactive heating.

Ice under high pressure CAN be liquid down to around -20C (but at a higher pressure than calculated above). Surface temperature of Ceres is estimated in the range -70C to -140C. If the core is rocky any liquid water would have to be closer to the surface, and possibly under insufficient pressure to melt the ice even if there is still some core heating. Things are in the ballpark but the odds are small. See the following factoid:

The minimum temperature that liquid water can exist without ever freezing is -21.985 °C at 209.9 MPa; at higher pressures water freezes to ice-three, ice-five, ice-six or ice-seven at increasing temperatures.

SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber


Can anyone clarify this

As far as I know, neither AT&T nor Google Fiber is in my area, so I have no dog in the fight most of you are waging. However, I have two questions, neither one related to Obamacare or politics.

1) I read somewhere that Google Fiber will not carry voice communications specifically to avoid being regulated as a phone company would. Is this true?

2) If they want to regulate ISPs as public utilities, well the water company charges you by how much water you use and the power company charges you by how much electricity you use. So, if the ISPs are regulated by Net Neutrality, would they then charge you by the Megabyte?

Rosetta probot drilling denied: Philae has its 'leg in the air'


Two Legs

How does it keep from tipping over if only two legs are on the "ground?"

Not even 60,000 of you want an ethically-sourced smartphone


Re: Needs a better name

I think just calling it the PC Phone would cover all of that.

Hold onto your hats and follow the BYOD generation


A couple comments

I haven't seen the original survey, but I get the impression it is not a choice between Use our devices at salary X or bring your own at salary X-Y. I suspect it is a case of, if you have two job offers, everything else being equal, would you take the one with a slightly lower salary if they allowed you to use your device and software of choice instead of having no choice and a slightly higher salary.

I got fed up, myself, when IT changed from a service organization to a dictatorship. Their job should be to help you use what you need to use to do your job, not forcing you to use whatever makes IT's life easier.

My last job, which I got in the days when MS-DOS was the standard, I specified that I would take it if I got a Mac. Eventually everyone got Macs, then some years later everyone was forcibly switched over to leased Windows machines. But, to my Boss's credit, he kept his word and continued to buy me Macs out of his department budget. Given that, I would have responded to the survey that, yes I would take a lower salary in order to use the computer of my choice.

Windows 8 or nowt: Consumer Win 7 fans are out of luck


Re: When I get phone calls...

Some years ago, when my company forced me to switch from a Mac to Windows, I had no idea how to shut the computer down. It never occurred to me to click on something that said "Start" to shut down the computer. So I never logged out or shut down. The computer periodically crashed all on its own, so that was when it got rebooted. Eventually, someone showed me where to find the shut down command, but I found the computer took so long to start up the next morning that I continued to just leave it running.

It also never occurred to me that the right mouse button would do anything different than the left button. I just always clicked with my index finger and that happened to be on top of the left button.

Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring


Re: Prices - Need the exact model for a comparision, but...

That included taxes and $2000 of options.

But it was probably below list price. No one pays list price for a normal car.



Why are cars so expensive in the UK?

I bought a new BMW X1 here in the US for the equivalent of 20,000 pounds.

White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?


It's a PHYSICS award

There is, indeed, some interesting physics associated with GaN (blue) LEDs. That's why the award, not for economics. What bothers me is that they never gave (or included this year) an award to the people who invented LEDs in the first place. (One of them, NIck Holonyak, had a lab just down the hall from mine at the University of Illinois).

There is also some interesting physics going on in a two dimensional sheet of graphene, where the conduction and valence bands have no curvature to them, as well as carbon nanotubes, which are just graphene rolled up into a tube.

However, you must remember, the Nobel prize for physics is only for EXPERIMENTAL physics. They can't give it solely for things like theoretical electron band calculations (for either LEDs or graphene). That's why Einstein's Nobel prize was for the Photoelectric Effect and not for Relativity.

X-Men boffins demo nanomagnets to replace transistors


This is just a proof of concept.

This is not like Core, which is a memory bit set and reset with current in the wires passing through the magnetic donut. Also what you see has no good way to link to a second device, i.e. it is not "integrated."

The three inputs can be used to make this work like either a NOR gate or a NAND gate where I1 & I2 are the inputs and O is the output.

Right now the input/output states of the device are measured by taking a picture revealing the polarization of the thin magnetic metal films (it makes them look either bright or dark).

This demo is a large scale device and not really "nano" in size. The "60 nm below" and the "60 nm" measurement bar you see in the photo is simply the thickness of the underlying metal film designated "I3" (which stands for "input #3"). It is not a gap and not the actual size of a magnetic bit.

They are "programming" magnetic settings with a Focused Ion Beam (FIB, as noted in the upper right picture). A FIB is like a scanning electron microscope only it uses ionized atoms (usually Gallium) instead of electrons. The atoms are massive enough they can drill holes into the wafer, but that isn't being done here as part of device operation. (They may have used the FIB to cut into the device in order to see the cross section shown in the lower right. Most semiconductor fabs have a FIB just for this purpose. It is, however, a destructive operation.) A FIB is roughly the size of a billiard table, so that's not how a final magnetic circuit would be run.

Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'


Pretty Good

I found the article interesting and the points well thought out. Certainly better reasoned than most of the comments.

NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days



I hope this is not redundant. The first time I tried to post it seems to have evaporated.

Before anyone calculates trip time with an "assumed" acceleration, some simple calculations should be done (and shame on the headline writer for not doing them).

The key number is specific power (W/kg).

F=ma (Force equals Mass times Acceleration so....

a = F/m

From a slightly old source, the "long term goal" for specific power of solar panels on spacecraft was 300 W/kg, and this was at Earth orbit, It will decrease on the way out. If we use the optimistic 300 and the optimistic Chinese data with .72 Newtons/2500 Watts we get:

a = (0.72 kg-meter)/(2500 Watt-second^2) * 300 Watt/kg

a = 0.086 m/s^2

1 g is 9.8 m/s^2 so we have less than 0.01 g (without any spacecraft body or payload).

There is a rule of thumb that the power source is 25-35% of a satellite's dry mass, which means we get (assuming the optimistic-for-payload smaller number) less than 0.0025 g acceleration.

Based on previous calculations by Pet Peeve, this gives us a 14 month straight line to Mars time and (if I read it correctly) that is straight acceleration without slowing down. This is an impressive number, but no big improvement over what we can do now.

It may be possible to better this if the craft takes a slingshot journey near the sun, since it will be able to greatly increase the acceleration while it's in close.

Don't look towards nuclear power to improve on this. The now cancelled ASRG was supposed to improve on present RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) technology and it would still have had a specific power of only 7 W/kg. This is useful out around Jupiter, where sunlight is dim, but not for the topic under discussion.

British Lords: Euro 'right to be forgotten' ruling 'unreasonable and unworkable'


Go directly to the source

Newspapers have historically issued corrections or apologies for errors. They've had to do it days later and usually in small print somewhere. That may have been technically correct, but still didn't do much to overcome a front page headline which most people who read will never find out was inaccurate.

However, it is not uncommon these days to see corrections to a story on the web, which works because it will be either edited and noted in the original or inserted as a parenthetical remark.

Instead of complaining to a search engine (as in the cases posited above, where someone was arrested for murder but never charged or found guilty, or where the writer was found guilty of slander) why not make it a complaint to the news organization or other owner of the page to correct or parenthetically clarify their story? This does not involve censorship or removal of important information. It simply corrects the record in a way newspapers historically could not.

For example, "John Doe was arrested as a suspect in the murder of Jane Doe." could, upon complaint, be changed to "John Doe was arrested (and released uncharged) as a suspect in the murder of Jane Doe." It would not give anyone the right to be forgotten for doing something stupid (but factually reported) but it would give them the right to have the record corrected. News organizations might even take it upon themselves to keep their stories updated and corrected, even without receiving an official legal complaint, as a way to achieve more credibility as a source.

The Register ALREADY DOES THIS with their "Tips and corrections" link on each story.

However this works out, the next battle after Google search results will be Wikipedia articles, which can often be edited to include false or dubious information.

DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss


Pretty high risk

This sounds much more worthy of preparing for than Global Warming.

When PR backfires: Google 'forgets' BBC TV man's banker blog post



How long until governments who want news censored start requesting Google to remove links to anything derogatory about them or their practices? What if Russia asks for removal of all search results about sending troops to the Ukraine?

Microsoft's naughty Cortana NOT ALLOWED NEAR CHILDREN


How do they know who you are?

My sister has an iPhone which I can use with Siri and I have no account. Siri has no idea who I am.

San Francisco says yes to GIANT Apple flagship store, public plaza


Take A Look

I'm surprised no image was included. You can see what it will look like here:


It appears the link was truncated. Maybe I posted it incorrectly. Please add this to the end:


Uh oh, where it truncates depends on screen magnification. It is usually cut in the middle of the word "simply" I guess you'll have to figure it out or Google it yourself.

Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov


A new way

If you seriously believe most of what's being said in the comments, the solution is for Companies to bypass the Universities AND the Government:

For example, a group of companies get together to set up their own Training Center. (Can't call it a University because then the government can regulate what must be taught, etc.) Students may apply to a company and, if accepted, will be sent to the Training Center tuition free. In return for that, the student must sign a contract to work at the company for some minimum length of time after they "graduate." If they are not good enough to graduate, they are dismissed with no job and no debt. During the training, part of their work may be as interns at the sponsoring company to get practical experience. If they do a poor job as interns, they are dismissed with no job and no debt. To avoid people gaming the system, part of the contract is a non-compete clause so the students can't take a free education and use it to work for a competing company. The classes at the training center may be taught by existing workers from the "owning" companies, not professors with tenure and the simple goal of publishing papers.

This solves the problems listed above such as: Universities spend too much time teaching things not relevant to the job. Graduates have no experience so are not usable right out of school. Graduates don't earn enough to pay off loans, Companies can't get enough new employees. Tuition costs too much. Professors earn too much. This takes the place of an Apprenticeship.

The only downside is the "graduate" does not have an actual diploma. However, I think most other tech workers will agree that, if you know enough to do a good job, the degree is not relevant.

SpaceX set to try HOVER LANDING for re-usable rockets on March ISS mission


Re: Remember the DC-X?

I remember seeing a video of the initial test where the McDonnell Douglas rep announced that for the first time we'd see a rocket "take off and land on its tail as God and Robert Heinlein intended."

Boffins build electronic tongue that can distinguish between BEERS


Re: Not Japan?

I was at a conference (IEDM) back in the 90's where some Japanese researchers had a machine that could not only identify what BRAND of beer, but which of that company's breweries it was from. The results were pretty much limited to Japanese beers, because that's were they developed it, but still superior to the machine in this article.

That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it



Isn't Apple's newest chip already 64 bit low power ARM?

What if Google came out with a new version of Android for phones and tablets that ran only on the Google 64 bit ARM? It would let Android compete with iOS at 64 bit, and guarantee their software would work properly. It would also earn Google some income in parallel with giving Android away free.

Brit boffins trap light in Lego-like lumps


Some Background

These features are much smaller than the wavelength of light. Therefore they do not reflect it so much as scatter it. When they do their job correctly, they scatter the light forward into the solar cell beneath them. The Earth's atmosphere scatters light, some wavelengths more than others; that's why the sky looks blue. Nanoparticles from something like smoke can scatter more red light and make spectacular sunsets

A normal silicon solar cell will look shiny. If you look at something like this it will not be shiny. For years high performance infrared sensors/detectors have been coated with nanomaterials such as "gold black" that reflect so little they look black to the naked eye. In that case the coating can absorb the IR and it is detected as heat. In the case of solar cells, they do not want the layer to absorb, simply to reduce reflections.

Gold and silver were probably used initially because they are relatively inert to many chemical processes, making process development less restrictive and more flexible. Once proof of concept has been demonstrated, one can try to use a cheaper material.

ATOM SMASHER ON A CHIP technology demonstrated


There is already an X-Ray source the size of a grain of rice. I worked on it about 10 years ago. Check out a company called Xoft to see what it can do.

IPCC: Yes, humans are definitely behind all this global warming we aren't having


It was all explained here

I wish I could find it, but probably 5 or 6 years ago The Register had a story where a graph of temperature data was shown and the authors broke it up into a slow gradual increase on top of which was a sin wave.

The gradual increase was attributed to the CO2 increase, though it was not fast enough to result in "we must act now" horror stories.

The cyclical wave was due to some major ocean current cycle. It properly showed the decrease in temperature back when Newsweek ran the historic "Global Cooling" cover story. It showed the increase in the '90's which was (ignorantly) extrapolated into the "hockey stick" predictions of the global warming cult. It showed the level period we are now experiencing, where the downward part of the cycle is balancing the long term upward trend. It also predicted temperatures would start to rise again around 2020 when the sin wave turns back up.

If anyone can locate that story, it should be reprinted.



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