Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

The Amaz!ng Meeting

For those who do not know, The Amaz!ng Meeting, or TAM, is an annual skeptical meeting held by the James Randi Educational Foundation, or JREF. Also commonly referred to as “nerdvana”, it is a 4-day event with tons of lectures and skeptical festivities. Last years TAM included lectures from Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, PZ Myers, Matthew Chapman, Sharon Begley, Phil Plait, Penn & Teller, Richard Saunders, Dr. Richard Wiseman, Dr. Michael Shermer, Adam Savage and Steven Novella. Next years TAM (TAM 7) will take place in Las Vegas at the South Point Hotel and Casino from July 9 – July 12 2009. It will most likely be a hoot. I know I would be going if I lived in the states…sigh… Anyways, more information about TAM, and also the Amaz!ng Adventures, can be found here

The amazing James Randi


November 5, 2008 Posted by | General Skepticism, Other | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Solar Breakthrough

A major problem with solar cells has been the fact that a lot of the sun light shone upon the surface of the cells is reflected and thus cannot be absorbed. Silicon cells for example only absorbs about 67.4% of the total sun light it receives, which means that 32.6% is just reflected. Well, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanoengineered coating material that boosts the absorptiveness of silicon cells up to 96.2%, and this increase was consistent through the entire light spectrum. Another advantage is that the coating makes the cells absorb light equally good at all angles. Normally, solar cells have to be aligned so that light hits them perpendicularly, often achieved by using mechanised rigs that moves over the course of the day. This new coating would thus allow for stationary solar cells, which would cut the costs significantly. This, in addition to higher absorption, is an important step in the right direction for achieving cost-effective solar cells. 

November 5, 2008 Posted by | General Science, Physics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment