Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hopeful News for Your New Week

Of course, I have to start with an alternate energy link. I've been fascinated by the idea of thermoelectric materials since my Physics classes introduced me to them. Basically, they can convert voltage differences into heat differences and vice versa, with no moving parts. Such a thing would seem to have all sorts of interesting uses, but they share an Achilles heel with photovoltaic cells: inefficiency. Ars Technica presents some news that researchers are doubling the efficiency of thermoelectric materials. Given their potential applications harvesting waste heat and converting it back into electrical power to incresase the efficiency of any manner of devices, it's a pretty cool development.

I'll admit, most of you folks probably don't have the interst in odd power technology that I do, but I bet this long hoped for development has wider appeal. Apparently, the war in Iraq is finally taken a turn for the better. This AP analysis tells tales of reduced violence, routed insurgent groups, and people visiting parks. It's certainly hopeful news from a region deeply in need of all the hope they can find.

And if that wasn't enough to lift your spirits, how about the possibility for a cure to AIDS? Well, scientists at the University of Texas think they have found a way to defeat the virus in a way that defeats its method of avoiding normal immune system attacks. If it proves successful in human trials, one of the greatest plages of our time could be defeated. God speed.

There is some hope out there amid the insanity. Y'all have a good week.

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