News

Is there another "Earth" out there, fit for life as we know it?

This week's question looks at an announcement from scientists operating NASA's Kepler satellite, who reported this week that they had identified 1,235 possible planets orbiting other stars, potentially three times the previously recorded number. Although no Earth-like planet has been determined yet, fifty-four of the possible exoplanets are in habitable zones of stars where temperatures should be moderate enough for liquid water. What do you think? Is there another "Earth" out there, fit for life as we know it? Yes or no?
Posted in: Question of the Week
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Technique Boosts High-Power Potential For Gallium Nitride Electronics

Gallium nitride (GaN) material holds promise for emerging high-power devices that are more energy efficient than existing technologies – but these GaN devices traditionally break down when exposed to high voltages. Now researchers at North Carolina State University have solved the problem, introducing a buffer that allows the GaN devices to handle 10 times greater power.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Smart Grid
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Flexible Ceramic Thin Film Nanogenerator

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, South Korea

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

Keon Jae Lee, a professor in KAIST's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Zhong Lin Wang, a professor in the same department at Georgia Institute of Technology, have developed new forms of highly efficient, flexible nanogenerator technology using freely bendable piezoelectric ceramic thin film nano-materials that can convert tiny movements of the human body (such as heart beats and blood flow) into electrical energy.

Posted in: News, Lighting
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Do social networks make us less social?

This week's Question of the Week focuses on Web 2.0 interaction. A recent report from the University of Texas, Austin, says that networking sites like Facebook make users more sociable and "afford opportunities for new expressions of friendship, intimacy and community." A recent book by Sherry Turkle, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other," conversely, makes the case that social media interactions isolate, and even dehumanize, its members.

What do you think? Do social networks make us less social? Yes or no?

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Looking to Cow Rumen for Better Biofuels Enzymes

A cow's digestive system allows it to eat more than 150 pounds of plant matter every day. Now researchers report that they have found dozens of previously unknown microbial enzymes in the bovine rumen – the cow's primary grass-digestion chamber – that contribute to the breakdown of switchgrass, a renewable biofuel energy source.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Biomass, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases
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Will an optional phone-disabling service make the roads safer?

This week's Question focuses on a new service from T-Mobile that, for just 4.99 a month, automatically disables rings and messages, and sends calls to voicemail when the phone is in a moving car. The services being tested and deployed are voluntary and can be overridden if a driver needs to use the phone for an emergency. The technology is aimed at curbing distractions and keeping people from texting or using the phone while driving.

What do you think? Will an optional phone-disabling service make the roads safer? Yes or no?

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Fuel Cell Research and Development Funding Opportunity

Fuel cells use the chemical energy of hydrogen or other fuels to efficiently produce electricity or heat with minimal byproducts, primarily water. The DOE is accepting applications for a total of up to $74 million to support the research and development of clean, reliable fuel cells for stationary and transportation applications.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Government, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation
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Solar Reactor Converts Carbon Dioxide and Water Into Fuel

Cerium oxide — or ceria — is a common metal most famously used in self-cleaning ovens, and it is the centerpiece of a new technology from California Institute of Technology that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels.

Posted in: GDM, News, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases
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Will the Apple/Verizon partnership lead to widespread iPhone use in the enterprise?

This week's question addresses last week's news that Verizon will soon sell the iPhone 4. Although some analysts say the move may double Apple's market share, many enterprises and financial institutions have held back on the mobile device due to concerns of its cost, security capabilities, and its compatibility with in-house systems like Microsoft Outlook.

Will the Apple/Verizon partnership lead to widespread iPhone use in the enterprise? Yes or no?

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Speeding Cleanup of Contaminated Sites

An engineering team at Oregon State University has invented a new type of radiation detection and measurement device that will be useful for cleanup of sites with radioactive contamination - making the process faster, more accurate, and less expensive.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies
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