Sun Tsunami

December 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Astronomy, Lifescape | Leave a comment
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clipped from news.nationalgeographic.com

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Blue ''Crab,'' Sun Tsunami, More

November 19, 2009–Solar tsunamis are real, say astronomers who caught the first three-dimensional pictures of a giant wave rippling across the sun. Solar physicists first saw evidence for such waves in satellite pictures of the sun taken in 1996 (pictured), but many doubted that anything of the suggested scale could really exist.
Now the twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft have captured an unprecedented view of a solar tsunami triggered by a sunspot explosion in February. The massive wave rose more than 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) high, raced outward at 560,000 miles (901,000 kilometers) an hour, and packed as much energy as 2,400 megatons of TNT.
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Keep Romance Alive With Feng Shui

October 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Posted in Lifescape | 7 Comments
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A feng shui spiral at LA Chinatown's Metro sta...
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Everyone loves falling in love and getting carried away with the initial excitement. But a couple of years into marriage, you’ll probably find your relationship growing a little stagnant, may be even stale. It’s like your married life has hit a road block. Most often this phase can be really trying because you don’t really know what the reason for the problem. But don’t panic.With these Feng Shui tips you will be able to jazz up your living space and get your love life back on track in no time. And the best thing is you’ll be able to avoid all meaningless arguments, ego clashes and hurt feelings.

The area of the house that represents marriage, love and romance in our life is the southwest corner of the home in basic school of Feng Shui. Specific sectors in a home, especially the bedroom, living room and the toilet position determine the prospects of love, marriage and romance.

  • After a stressful day, try placing aroma candles on the dining table or on a side table next to your bed. It will help transform your inner energy and the Feng Shui of the bedroom too while strengthening your relationship and bringing in closeness.
  • A dark, untidy bedroom contributes to an atmosphere of fatigue and depression. So keep your bedroom clean, clutter free and fresh.
  • Avoid exposed overhead beams in the bedroom cutting across the bed as it could create disharmony between you and your partner.
  • If you have an en-suite bedroom, make sure to keep the bathroom door closed at all times to ensure that negative chi (energy) of the toilet does not permeate into the bedroom and in turn create imbalance.
  • The facets of crystal and cut glass are especially potent when combined with light. Go ahead and use raw amethyst, quartz or other natural crystals in the southwest sector to strengthen marital harmony and romance luck.
  • Hearts made of rose quartz or amethyst are said to be powerful enhancers to bring together couples when placed at the southwest close to the bedside.
  • Use soft lampshades so that the light in the bedroom is not harsh and powerful but subdued and calming to create an atmosphere of togetherness and a cozy feel.
  • Figurines of magpie birds or Mandarin ducks enhance love and marriage prospects and if they are made of Rose quartz and placed in the southwest of the bedroom, all the better.
  • Place fresh flowers in the living room to purify the air with the right fragrance and usher in the right Feng Shui for enhancing luck in your marriage.
  • The peony is called the “flower of riches and honor” in Chinese. It is the symbol of love and affection as well as feminine beauty. Place a picture of peony flowers in bedroom to strengthen your romance.

Although these simple steps are just a few of the many ways you can use Feng Shui to improve your relationship luck, they will do a lot to change the energy of your home. As your environment becomes more welcoming to romance, your own energy will shift too.

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Incredible Solar Airplanes

October 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Lifescape | 2 Comments
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8 Incredible Solar Airplanes

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1. Solar Impulse
On June 26, worlds first practical solar airplane Solar Impulse is unveiled. The airplane is planned to have 36 hours of non-stop flight. Its a revolutionary airplane. The HB-SIA is the first prototype of the Solar Impulse project. Its mission is to demonstrate the feasibility of a complete day-night-day cycle propelled solely by solar energy. After fine-tuning on the ground, the aircraft should make its first test flights between now and the end of 2009, first of all at Dendorf airport (canton of Zurich) and then from Payerne air base (canton of Vaud). A first complete night flight is programmed for 2010 and will take place over Switzerland.

We have summed up 8 incredible solar airplanes (pro types, concept) in this post. These airplanes someday are going to revolutionize aviation industry.

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2. Helios
The Helios is a solar airplane by NASA, used for scientific research. Helios is a solar UAV with top speed of 27 mph and wingspan of 247 feet. Its wingspan is wider then Jumbo 747 jet. It has 62,000 solar cells and 14 brushless direct-current electric motors.
Prior to its loss in an in-flight mishap in June 2003, the Helios Prototype set a world altitude record for propeller-driven aircraft of almost 97,000 feet.

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3. Centurion
The Centurion is a lightweight, solar-powered, remotely piloted flying wing aircraft that is demonstrating the technology of applying solar power for long-duration, high-altitude flight. It is considered to be a prototype technology demonstrator for a future fleet of solar-powered aircraft that could stay airborne for weeks or months on scientific sampling and imaging missions or while serving as telecommunications relay platforms. Although it shares many of the design concepts of the Pathfinder, the Centurion has a wingspan of 206 feet, more than twice the 98-foot span of the original Pathfinder and 70-percent longer than the Pathfinder-Plus 121-foot span. At the same time, Centurion maintains the 8-foot chord (front to rear distance) of the Pathfinder wing, giving the wing an aspect ratio (length-to-chord) of 26 to 1.

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4. ZEPHYR
Zephyr, along with solar power, uses low drag aerodynamics to fly for months at an altitude of 132,000 feet. Its yet another high altitude communication platform with a 12-meter solar cells equipped wingspan churning out 1 kW of power to five motors that drag it to 70 metres per second (155 mph).

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5. Pathfinder Plus
The Pathfinder is a lightweight, solar-powered, remotely piloted flying wing aircraft that is demonstrating the technology of applying solar power for long-duration, high-altitude flight. It is literally the pathfinder for a future fleet of solar-powered aircraft that could stay airborne for weeks or months on scientific sampling and imaging missions.

Solar arrays covering most of the upper wing surface provide power for the aircrafts electric motors, avionics, communications and other electronic systems. Pathfinder also has a backup battery system that can provide power for between two and five hours to allow limited-duration flight after dark.

Pathfinder flies at an airspeed of only 15 to 25 mph. Although pitch control is maintained by the use of tiny elevons on the trailing edge of the wing, turns and yaw control are accomplished by slowing down or speeding up the motors on the outboard sections of the wing.

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6. The Chellanger
Solar Challenger is an improved version of “Gossamer Penguin”, designed to fly from Paris to England. The aircraft can reach an altitude of 12,000 feet equipped with 16,128 photovoltaic cells giving a tremendous output power of 2,600 watts. Its success gave way to High Altitude Solar (HALSOL) drone project.

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7. Sky Sailor
The goal of this project is to design and build a solar powered micro airplane for autonomous exploration. This system, named Sky-Sailor, is fully autonomous in navigation and power generation. Equipped with solar cells covering its wing, it retrieves energy from the sun in order to supply power to the propulsion system and the control electronics, and charge the battery with the surplus of energy. During the night, the only energy available comes from the battery, which discharges slowly until the next morning when a new cycle starts.
This project started in 2004 under a contract with European Space Agency to study the feasibility of a Martian Solair Airplane. The first prototype weighs 2.6 kg for a wingspan of 3.2 meters. The 216 silicone solar cells are able to deliver up to 90 W at noon during summer whereas the power consumption of the airplane is 16 W at level flight.

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8. Sunseeker
Eric gave shape to Sunseeker after years of hard work, changes and innovations on wings of Larry Mauros SOLAR RISER, Paul MacCreadys SOLAR CHALLENGER, and Gunther Rochelts MUSCULAIR II. The project kicked off in 1986 and was given the final shape in 1989-90 with help of Sanyo and other corporations.

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The Future Is Of Electric Cars

March 16, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Posted in Lifescape | 2 Comments
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uc davis plug-in hybrid electric vehicle resea...
Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Automakers envision electric cars as a solution to gas price jumps. Environmentalists see bluer skies. And electric utilities? They could be the biggest winners of all.

After years of foot-dragging, major car companies are at last accelerating into a market for electric-powered vehicles of all kinds, analysts say.

At least nine car companies worldwide say that by 2013 they will offer plug-in vehicles that use electric motors as their primary means of propulsion, according to Plug-in America, an activist group. Some will be all-electric drive vehicles (EV). Most will be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that use small gasoline engines as a backup.

GM and Chrysler both say they will sell a plug-in car in 2010. Ford will sell a battery-powered commercial van next year, a small battery-powered EV car the year after, and a PHEV competitor to GM’s Volt by 2012. Toyota says it will sell a plug-in-hybrid Prius to companies late this year, but hasn’t said when ordinary consumers will be able to buy one. So far, despite its financial woes, GM seems to hold the plug-in lead.

But electric cars and plug-in hybrids, which are expected to start hitting the streets next year, could pose a challenge for utilities that aren’t ready for them. Power companies need to make sure that a concentration of cars in a relatively small area won’t overwhelm the grid. Charging has to be safe. Public charging stations need to be considered.

While the electric car revolution could provide a way to make better use of renewable energy sources, it also presents some big challenges. If lots of electric cars are being charged at the same time in a small community, they could overwhelm the system. For instance, more powerful transformers might be needed.

Plugging in an electric car can be a big energy drain. The key appears to be the strategy of adjusting rates to encourage charging at off-peak times.

The U.S. battery industry is several years behind leading manufacturers in Japan and Korea in the development of affordable, light-weight lithium-ion batteries. Despite a $25 billion dollar federal grant and loan program announced in 2008, the most costly component of the new electric vehicles proposed by U.S. automakers, the battery, is likely to be procured from foreign suppliers.

From an environmental perspective, the adoption of electric cars without sufficient renewable or nuclear electrical generating capacity may actually result in more fossil fuel usage, not less.

As the Obama Administration deals with the bankruptcy crisis of the U.S. auto industry, it is clear that the very nature of U.S. manufacturing must change.
The current discussion about Detroit’s future seems to focus almost exclusively on electric cars. Unfortunately, the electric car is not an ultimate solution, either for the auto industry or for global warming.
Of course, sustained demand for electric cars, ,more fuel-efficient vehicles or mass transit will depend ultimately on predictably increased costs for motor fuels. This is unlikely without taking measures to price petroleum fuels to reflect their real costs, effects on air quality and global climate


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Radiation To Be Directly Converted Into Electricity By Nanomaterials

November 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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More and more from less and less seems to be the watchword of the energy hunters among scientists. They literally try to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Discarding voluminous steam and turbines US and Russian researchers adopted  thermoelectric materials that convert heat into electricity through nuclear fission to power spacecrafts. But thermoelectric materials have very low efficiency. Now US researchers say they have developed highly efficient materials that can convert the radiation, not heat, from nuclear materials and reactions directly into electricity.

Liviu Popa-Simil, former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear engineer and founder of private research and development company LAVM and Claudiu Muntele, of Alabama A&M University, US, say transforming the energy of radioactive particles into electricity is more effective.The materials they are testing would extract up to 20 times more power from radioactive decay than thermoelectric materials, they calculate. Layered tiles of carbon nanotubes packed with gold and surrounded by lithium hydride are the materials they test which suggest such promise. Devices based on these materials could be small enough to power anything from interplanetary probes to aircraft and land vehicles

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Hyperion mini nuclear reactors to supply enough cheap power for a small town

November 13, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Hyperion (comics)

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clipped from dvice.com

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We’ve been hearing talk of mini-sized nuclear reactors for a year or longer, but now it looks like Hyperion is actually starting to build them. The hot tub-sized fission nukes, each capable of cranking out 25 megawatts of clean power (enough to run 20,000 homes), will use what’s called “low-enriched” uranium fuel.
The $25 million mini-nukes, also called “nuclear batteries,” will have no moving parts, and will be sealed up in a cask that’s buried deep underground, operating without the need for human intervention for five years at a time. They’re going to be cost-effective, too — in a 10,000-home community it would cost about $2,500 per home served. Many homeowners spend that much on energy in a year. If this happens, that’ll be some cheap power.
The company says it’s already begun construction of the first 4,000 units in three factories, with the initial 100 destined for industrial use in remote locations.
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