Posts filed under “Science”

Solar Freaking Roadways!

We at Washington’s Blog are big proponents of decentralized energy production and storage, because it is key to protecting against terrorism, fascism and destruction of our health, environment and economy.

We noted in 2011 that a Dutch team figured out a way to make roads into solar generators.

The concept is interesting:

And a pilot project was actually launched in the Netherlands:

American engineer Scott Brusaw has taken the concept much further.

Brusaw is not a spaced-out granola-eating hippie.  He has numerous hardware and software patents, is a former Marine Corps sergeant and Sunday school teacher, and he worked in the oil exploration business in Nevada, Louisiana, Texas, and Illinois.

After winning a U.S. Federal Highway Administration grant to develop a prototype, they’ve built prototypes, and have recently raised $1.7 million in Indiegogo donations to get the project off the ground.

His concept has won awards and nominations from General Electric, the World Technology Award, Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology).

Brusaw claims that solar roads can turn a profit, generate electricity for electric cars, keep roads snow and ice-free, warn of upcoming road hazards, reduce water pollution from surface runoff, improve wireless access, and create a lot of jobs:

Yup … solar freaking roadways:

On the other hand, critics say that the concept is cost prohibitive. For example, Huffington Post notes: said the concept is “verging on utopian.”

“On paper, it really does sound like one of the greatest inventions ever. In reality, though, where, you know, real-world factors come into play, it will probably never make the jump from drawing board to large-scale deployment.”

The site points out that asphalt costs between US$3 and $15 per square foot, whereas the cost per solar panel could amount to about $70 per square foot based on 2010 calculations by the company.

One estimate pegs the total cost to repave every road in the U.S. with panels at $56 trillion, or about four times the country’s national debt. That’s according to Aaron Saenz,writing for the site Singularity hub.

Who’s right … proponents or critics of solar roadways? We believe that a credible cost-benefit analysis by neutral, third-party experts with the right expertise needs to be carried out before we know the answer.

For another inspirational alternative energy idea, watch this:

Source: Washington’s Blog

Category: Energy, Science

Source: Abstruse Goose

Category: Science

Carl Sagan’s Bullshit Detection Kit

As per our earlier discussion, here is Carl Sagan. He argues having a finely honed bullshit detector isn’t merely a tool of science — rather, it contains invaluable tools of healthy skepticism that apply just as elegantly, and just as necessarily, to everyday life. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless…Read More

Category: Science, UnGuru

Behavioral Test: What Are the World’s Deadliest Animals?

Source: Gates Notes   Continues here  

Category: Digital Media, Psychology, Science

A Brief Timeline of EVERYTHING

A short video that puts things into perspective. Please note that the phenomena depicted here are extremely condensed. That should come as no surprise, of course, as 13.8 billion years of the universe’s history into just under four minutes.     Reuploaded with permission of King Crocoduck. Check out his channel for more excellent videos!…Read More

Category: Science, Weekend

Before My Time: Terrifyingly Beautiful

Mashup, Chasing Ice, Before My Time, Scarlett Johansson & Joshua Bell, – 800,000 Yrs of CO2, Climate Change This animation of historical carbon dioxide levels is terrifyingly beautiful Song: Before My Time Scarlett Johansson & Joshua Bell 800,000 Yrs of CO2

Category: Science, Weekend

MIT Model Recreates “A Virtual Universe”

Scientists at MIT have traced 13 billion years of galaxy evolution, from shortly after the Big Bang to the present day. Their simulation, named Illustris, captures both the massive scale of the Universe and the intriguing variety of galaxies — something previous modelers have struggled to do. It produces a Universe that looks remarkably similar to what we see through our telescopes, giving us greater confidence in our understanding of the Universe, from the laws of physics to our theories about galaxy formation.



Source paper: Properties of galaxies reproduced by a hydrodynamic simulation

Related article: Model Universe recreates evolution of the cosmos

Hat tip Guardian

Category: Science, Video, Weekend

xkcd: Randall Munroe asks “what if?”

Web cartoonist Randall Munroe answers simple what-if questions (“what if you hit a baseball moving at the speed of light?”) using math, physics, logic and deadpan humor. In this charming talk, a reader’s question about Google’s data warehouse leads Munroe down a circuitous path to a hilariously over-detailed answer — in which, shhh, you might…Read More

Category: Humor, Science, Weekend

The Rise of Carbon Dioxide

Time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years before until Jan 20140   Source: NOAA, Universe Today

Category: Science, Weekend

Guide to Spotting Bad Science

Great list:   Source: Compound Chem

Category: Digital Media, Science, UnScience