Thought for the month

“Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.” Soren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher (1813-55).

Monday, 24 October 2016

Going dotty?

Now you see them, now you don’t - Here's why you can't see all twelve black dots in this optical illusion.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Staying small

≤200mm semiconductor manufacturing is here to stay

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Sweat test

A flexible wearable sensor that can accurately measure a person’s blood alcohol level from sweat

Monday, 17 October 2016

Expensive (old) apple

'First Apple computer' sells for $815,000

Friday, 14 October 2016

Chargers to get bigger in consumer electronics

Gallium nitride power ICs may find a niche in charging technologies with a recent report suggesting that consumer electronics chargers could comprise 30% of the GaN market in 2022.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The World’s largest database of crystal surfaces and shapes

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego, have created the world’s largest database of elemental crystal surfaces and shapes. The open source database called Crysatlium can be accessed online.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Single crystal measures radioactivity

A research team at Empa and ETH Zurich has developed single crystals made of lead halide perovskites, which are able to detect gamma radiation offering a new route to low cost radiation detectors. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

Don’t call me, I won’t call you

I assume that social and behavioural scientists will write volumes in the years to come about the effects of smartphones on society and relationships. The recent Deloitte's sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey looked at the mobile phone habits of more than 4,000 UK consumers. Amongst its highlights being that one in three adults argue with their partner about using their mobile phone too much; about a tenth use their handsets ‘always’ or ‘very often’ while eating at home or in restaurants and a third while with friends or watching television. Interestingly, 31% of smartphone users make no traditional voice calls in a given week. This figure was just 4% in 2012. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

You cannot be serious

The 26th Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded last month and remind us that humour, satire and science do (occasionally) rub shoulders. A well deserved $10tn Zimbabwean note went to those honoured. Worthy of special mention in this year’s crop of winners include:  a study on the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex life of rats, and for conducting similar tests with human males; and work assessing the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective.

Monday, 3 October 2016

There is nothing new under the sun

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) sounds like a serious new field of study but what if one attaches the more colloquial title of cold fusion? Whatever did happened to Pons and Fleischmann? However with the lure of cheap energy and as potential funding issues surface LENR is attracting debate and major questions relating to fact or fraud being posed.

I believe that one Isaac Newton contributed a few things to science but managed to spend years working on alchemy and the occult, including the Philosopher's Stone. Were his grant applications peer reviewed?

Friday, 30 September 2016

1898 drone

Excerpts of the patent granted to Tesla on Nov. 8, 1898 were posted online last month by technologist Matthew Schroyer.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Fringe fun

Donor card joke named funniest at Edinburgh Fringe

Friday, 23 September 2016

Packaged food

Edible food packaging made from milk proteins (video)

Shrinking proton

Proton radius mystery deepens as deuterium measurement comes up short

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Less droop?

New method for making green LEDs enhances their efficiency and brightness

Monday, 19 September 2016

Lunar permission

Private company wins US clearance to fly to the moon

Friday, 16 September 2016

Green turns blue

Two Become One: How to Turn Green Light Blue

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Dense electron pairs

Using MBE to grown copper oxide cuprates, with lanthanum and strontium, analysis by a BNL team has shown that the high temperature superconductivity behaviour of these materials is determined by the density of electron pairs.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Top 100 awards

The finalists for the annual R&D 100 Awards have been announced. The Awards aim to identify and celebrate the top technology products of the year.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Optically-switchable, all-dielectric metamaterials

Researchers have harnessed non-volatile, amorphous-crystalline transitions in the chalcogenide phase-change medium germanium antimony telluride to realize optically-switchable, all-dielectric metamaterials.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Reel alert

Worrying news last month for the bagpipe fraternity. A lack of hygiene and poor cleaning of an instrument probably led to a fatal case of bagpipe lung or hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Mould and fungi accumulated within the instrument were considered to be the cause. For those few readers who do not regularly play bagpipe reels please enjoy this link.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Will the force be with us?

Is there a fifth force to go along with gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces? Experimental work in Hungary in 2015 looking for dark photons has recently been revisited by theorists at UC Irvine. Their analysis favours an interpretation based not on particles or dark photons but on the presence of a fifth fundamental force. I trust that alternative conclusions based on the lawnmower conjecture have been considered and eliminated.

Friday, 2 September 2016

New names

The proposed names for elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 are nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson respectively, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Iupac) has announced. ‘It’s an exciting day for the world,’ says Lynn Soby, Iupac’s executive director.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Thought for the month

“Success comprises in itself the seeds of its own decline and sport is not spared by this law.” Pierre, baron de Coubertin (1863 – 1937).

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Chicken fun

The chicken is basically the hipster kid of the animal world: mostly harmless to others, it’s primarily concerned with its own narrow interests, and it’s generally looked down upon by other, supposedly more evolved species.