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Electricity

  1. New Technique Hijacks Photosynthesis to Create Electricity From Plants

    Plants use energy from the Sun through photosynthesis, and humans use energy from the Sun through things like solar panels. A new technique created by researchers at the University of Georgia allows humans to get electricity from plants by hijacking the photosynthesis process. This research could someday lead to some very literal power plants.

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  2. SOCCKET Power-Generating Soccer Ball Gets a Kickstarter to Expand Distribution

    SOCCKET is one of the neater ideas in green energy I've been following lately. A durable soccer ball that houses a small generator, SOCCKET gets charged up when kids play with it -- just 30 minutes of getting kicked around provides enough juice to power the included LED lamp for up to three hours. The project has been tested, revamped and improved in communities around the developing world, and as of this week, they're trying to boost their ability to produce the power-generating playthings with a Kickstarter that's worth at least your attention -- and probably a little bit of your money, too.

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  3. Electrocute Slime Mold Long Enough and It’ll Apparently Make Music

    With enough time and patience, research has proven that you can get slime mold -- specifically Physarum polycephalum -- to do pretty much anything you want it to, such as finding its way out of simple mazes and other talents that make you forget the little critter doesn't even have a brain to begin with. Recently, man's obsession with slime mold has led them to once again test the capabilities of Physarum polycephalum, namely whether or not it's able to produce sound. And as it so happens to turn out, you pump enough electricity into the slime mold and they'll, in a fashion, start to produce "music." That is, of course, if you find its tiny, anguished screams of pain melodious.

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  4. Newly Discovered Seafloor Bacteria Are Living Electrical Cables

    Anyone who has made it through an 8th grade science class can tell you that electricity and water don't mix very well, which is why Spider-Man always whoops Electro's butt with a water gun. It's also why researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark were baffled three years ago when they discovered areas of the seafloor conduct an electric current. Today, the same research team announced that they've discovered the cause behind the current: A never before seen species of multicellular bacteria that lives in the mud of the seafloor and acts like living electrical cables.

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  5. Poop Power: Wastewater Put To Use Generating Electricity

    Sick of watching raw sewage and wastewater just laze about all day getting a free ride and harboring vile diseases, a team at Oregon State University has made strides in putting the gnarliest substance on planet Earth to work. Their new technique rethinks the way wastewater is treated, and has the potential to produce 50 times more electricity than conventional approaches to generating power from poo water. Yes, there are conventional approaches to that. They may soon take a backseat to the seemingly more efficient OSU method, which could turn sewage treatment facilities into miniature power plants.

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  6. Firmware Updates Could Cut Game Console Energy Usage By More Than Half

    Game consoles use electricity; that's just a fact of life. If I had to choose between playing lots of video games or saving on my electric bill, I think I'd choose the video games. It may not come down to that, however. As it turns out, in 2010 the lion's share of energy used by consoles was when the consoles were in idle states, a whopping 68% of it. That being the case, saving energy and playing video games might not be mutually exclusive. In fact, something as simple as a firmware update could cut these energy costs right down to size.

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  7. Researchers Create The First Living Nanowire From Bacteria

    Researchers have created what they call a "living nanowire" using an usual type of bacteria that has long filaments outside its body and conducts electrons better than some metals. This could be an important first step in merging biological systems with electronics for small organic batteries or biological superconductors that are much cheaper to produce than silicon-chip based technologies. The research was conducted by a team from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Lead author on the paper, Mark Tuominen, explains that humans and animals typically get rid of electrons through breathing, but the bacteria get rid of electrons through their pili, the long filaments that are used as the nanowire. In the bacteria these electrons are created as a byproduct of the digestive process, because bacteria living in anaerobic zones don't have oxygen molecules to carry any electrons like humans and animals do.

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  8. Happy 155th Birthday, Nikola Tesla!

    On July 10, 1856, Nikola Tesla was born in what is now modern day Croatia. He would go on to study electrical engineering and lay the groundwork for much of the technology that we take for granted in modern society. Alternating current, electric motors, radio, radar, and wireless energy transmission are just a few of the high water marks in his career. He was also best buddies with Mark Twain. Celebrated in his time, Tesla fell into relative obscurity after some failed grandiose projects and patent battles. He died in 1943 with little money to his name in a New York hotel room. After falling out of popular history for a time, his prestige has increased in modern times. Tesla's status as a wronged genius, with a dash of mad scientist thrown in, has grown his legacy substantially. His likeness has appeared in film, comics, and his name was adopted by the makers of the first electric roadster. So raise a glass today to Nikola Tesla, the eccentric genius of the age! (via Neatorama)

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  9. CD Erased with 150,000 Volts of Electricity [Video]

    Unnecessary when a pass through the microwave will do the trick? Sure. But short of dissolving the CD in acid, this is one of the most secure ways to destroy data on a CD, provided it's done for long enough. The CD becomes clear in the process because the metal on the CD's surface is either being evaporated [Slashdot's word] or flung to the nearby table surface in tiny flakes. (via Slashdot)

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  10. 34kV Switch Fails Spectacularly

    When a 34.5kV switchgear doesn't do what it's supposed to do, the results are devastating. Whoever filmed this is lucky to have made it home in one piece after what happens at about the 24-second mark in the video above. Top YouTube comment: "This spell must have cost you all your mana." (via /r/videos)

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