Researchers break efficiency record for consumer-friendly solar panels

Turning sunlight into power is a surprisingly tricky thing. Experiments in academia have created solar arrays that can capture up to 40-percent of the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity, but consumer cells are notably less efficient. At best, silicon-based technology has a theoretical 29-percent efficiency ceiling — meaning any consumer panel in the low 20s is doing pretty well. Still, we’re inching ever closer to the technology’s limit. Researchers at Kaneko corp recently announced that they’ve developed a silicon solar cell with a record-breaking 26.3 percent efficiency rating.

The score is only just barely higher than the previous record of 25.6, but that 0.7 percent gain is no easy feat. Researchers had to analyze what factors in current cell design was keeping the technology from reaching its theoretical limits. The group decided that reducing optical loss was the best path forward, and moved low-resistance electrodes to the rear of the cell to increase the amount of photons that could be captured.

That’s a lot of technical jargon, sure — but the big win here isn’t just that the cell is more efficient, it’s that the more productive silicon cell was produced using the same kind of production process used for consumer sells. In other words, this isn’t just an experiment, it’s something we might actually see on the market soon.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Nature Energy

from Engadget

Endangered Bumble Bee Gets Help From Citizen Scientists

The United States Endangered Species Act is often considered to be the most powerful piece of environmental legislation not just in the US, but in the world. As a result, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) formally lists a species as either threatened or endangered, it can be a game-changer for the species in question, protecting and even recovering a plant or animal that would otherwise be headed towards extinction. Such an action usually garners a fair amount of notice among conse

from Discover Main Feed

Google Maps Adds Real-Time Location Sharing, Including Trip Progress

google maps location sharing

Google Maps is getting a pretty awesome new feature on Android, iOS, and the web. How would you like to share your location with friends, family, or colleagues you are meeting up with? What if you could share the progress of a trip on any platform? It’s coming. Real-time location sharing via Google Maps is on the way.

Google would only announce today that location sharing is rolling out “soon,” but they did share a fun little video that shows how it will work. You can watch it above to get the basics. 

Once live, you’ll be able to open up Google Maps and choose to share your exact location with one or many people and even set how long the share lasts. If you take off for a trip with navigation, you’ll also be able to share that trip with people, so they can see your exact progress along the way. As you arrive, the sharing will stop. There are reminders or icons within the app to let you know that you are sharing, plus you’ll be able to stop sharing at any time.

We’ll let you know once it starts arriving on devices.

Play Link

Via: Google

Google Maps Adds Real-Time Location Sharing, Including Trip Progress is a post from: Droid Life

from Droid Life: A Droid Community Blog

How police unmasked suspect accused of sending seizure-inducing tweet

The man accused of sending a Newsweek writer a seizure-inducing tweet left behind a digital trail that the Dallas Police Department traced—beginning with the @jew_goldstein Twitter handle, leading to a burner mobile phone SIM card, and ending with an Apple iCloud account, according to federal court documents unsealed in the case.

Rivello with driver's license.
Enlarge /

Rivello with driver’s license.

Court documents

John Rayne Rivello was arrested Friday at his Maryland residence and is believed to be the nation’s first defendant accused of federal cyberstalking charges for allegedly victimizing an epileptic with a strobing, epileptogenic online image—in this instance a GIF sent via Twitter.

According to court documents, when Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald of Dallas, Texas opened his Twitter feed on December 15, he was met with a strobing message that read, “you deserve a seizure for your post.” Eichenwald, who has written that he has epilepsy, went into an eight-minute seizure where he lost control of his body functions and mental faculty. His wife found him, placed him on the floor, called 911, and took a picture of the offending tweet, according to court records.

Three months and several search warrants later, Rivello was arrested at his Maryland residence Friday. He is now free without bond and has not entered a plea, federal prosecutors said. No plea date has been set. An e-mail Ars sent to Rivello went unanswered, as did a phone call left for the Salisbury man and an e-mail to his attorney, Matt Hennessy.

Picture of offending tweet taken by victim's wife.
Enlarge /

Picture of offending tweet taken by victim’s wife.

Court documents

Court documents show that a search warrant to Twitter concerning the @jew_goldstein handle provided the authorities with information that the account was created on December 11 with a “PhoneDevice.” Twitter also divulged the device’s phone number and said that the carrier was AT&T. Some of the direct messages to other Twitter users on the account, according to the documents, said, “I know he has epilepsy,” “I hope this sends him into a seizure,” and “…let’s see if he dies.”

The Dallas authorities next obtained information from AT&T that the telephone number used to start the Twitter account was a burner SIM card with a Tracfone prepaid account “with no subscriber information.”

“However, a review of the AT&T toll records showed an associated Apple iPhone 6A Model 1586 (Apple iPhone),” Nathan Hopp, an FBI agent in Dallas, wrote in the criminal complaint (PDF).

The police then sent a search warrant to Apple “for the iCloud account associated to the telephone number” used to open the Twitter account. Apple provided a wealth of information that ultimately doomed Rivello. Cupertino gave the Dallas Police Department his Apple ID e-mail address, his name, home address, and registration IP address when the account was created in 2012.

from Ars Technica