Saturday, March 6, 2010

The self-charging cellphone

YOUR cellphone need never again run out of juice while you're on the go. So says Nokia of Finland, which filed a US patent last week for a handset that recharges itself by harvesting energy from the owner's motion.

Nokia envisages a phone in which the heavier components, such as the radio transmitter circuit and battery, are supported on a sturdy frame. This frame can move along two sets of rails, one allows it travel up and down, the other side to side.

Strips of piezoelectric crystals sit at the end of each rail and generate a current when compressed by the frame. So as the user walks, or otherwise moves the phone, the motion generates electricity. This charges a capacitor which in turn trickles charge into the battery, keeping it topped up.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Who wants ultra-fast broadband ?

Google recently announced it will attempt to provide a select group of US communities with internet access at an unprecedentedly high rate of 1 gigabit per second – between 100 and 1000 times greater than what's available in most countries. It's 10 times faster than homes receive in the online gaming haven of South Korea – where they plan to have gigabit delivery in 2012.

A quiet sun won't save us from global warming..

EVEN if the sun were to quieten down appreciably for the rest of this century, it would still be business as usual for global warming.

The sun goes through an 11-year solar cycle during which its luminosity varies according to the number of sunspots appearing on its face. The normal cycle has a small effect on Earth's weather. But sometimes lulls in sunspot activity can last several decades, driving down the sun's luminosity to a "grand minimum". The Maunder minimum lasted from 1645 to 1715 and may have contributed to the little ice age.

Stefan Rahmstorf and Georg Feulner of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany modelled what would happen to temperatures on Earth if a grand minimum started now and lasted until 2100. They found that while temperatures would go down by as much as 0.3 °C, global warming would push up temperatures by 3.7 to 4.5 °C - more than negating any effect of a global minimum (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2010gl042710, in press).

Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, agrees. "Even if the sun does something really weird, it would still be dwarfed by what we're doing," he says.

source - Newscientist.