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Recycling old batteries into solar cells

A system proposed by researchers at MIT would recycle materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

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Sweat-powered battery could charge your phone

A sweaty gym workout is not only good for your health - it could also energise your phone.

A tattoo that produces power from perspiration has been unveiled at the American Chemical Society meeting.

The biobattery is fuelled by lactate - which is naturally present in sweat after vigorous exercise.

It could soon power heart monitors, digital watches and eventually even smartphones, say scientists in California.”

Read more from bbcnews.


Researchers at Stanford University, led by Professor Hongjie Dai, have developed a cheap, emission free device to split water molecules into their constituents: hydrogen and oxygen, using only a 1.5 volt AAA battery.

The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas through electrolysis. This isn’t the first water splitter to be developed, however, this edition stays away from precious metal catalysts that have previously been employed. Instead, the acting electrolytes are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron. 

This cost effective and efficient discovery was made by Stanford graduate student Ming Gong who discovered a nickel-metal/nickel-oxide structure that favours hydrogen electrocatalysis. As of yet, they are unsure of the science behind it, so more research is ahead. Also an area of further investigation, is the stability of the electrodes which will also be analysed with the aim of increasing the shelf life of the electrodes. They are also looking into running the splitter off solar energy. 

Should all go to plan, this novel discovery could eventually save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs paving the way to carbon free energy- exciting stuff.


A video describing the experiment is available at:

Journal Reference:
Ming Gong, et al. Nanoscale nickel oxide/nickel heterostructures for active hydrogen evolution electrocatalysis. Nature Communications, 2014; 5: 4695 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5695

Marching Band Stereotypes

So I really enjoy looking up marching band section personality types/stereotypes and I haven’t found one all that accurate so I’m making one myself. 

Flutes/Piccolo: predominantly female section; can be a good section but only when they stop talking shit about each other behind their backs. Most of them are girly but won’t like to admit that they are. Very non confrontational group of people. Don’t generally like to be the center of attention but usually won’t complain if they are.

Clarinets: These are some strange people. Again, a predominately female section but not as much as the flutes. The clarinets are usually very shy people but man once you crack their shell there is no stopping them. The clarinet section generally tries to play out but is over played or washed out by the brass. From what I’ve seen this section likes to keep to themselves. If they have any internal conflict they do a good job of hiding it from the rest of the band.

Bass Clarinets: Basically a soprano clarinet without the shy part

Saxophones: LOUD. LOUD. LOUD. And aside from being loud these kids are just plain crazy. They are the ones who will call a command out the wrong way, make the rest of the band laugh and they haven’t smiled a single ounce. They know how to be the class clowns without drawing attention to themselves. They seem to somehow be extremely focused at the same time all of their madness spills out…?

Trumpets: Can I start off by a show of hands, how many people in your current marching band started band playing on trumpet but have since switched instruments or switched to color guard? Oh, half of the band? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I have a long list to say about the trumpets considering I’m an ex trumpet but I feel like we don’t need an explanation. It’s the trumpet section. They are a very harsh section and almost 99% of the time considered the most sarcastic section (when in reality they aren’t being sarcastic at all. Everything that you can find on the trumpet stereotypes is 99.9999% true. After finding several lists like this one, the trumpet stereotype seems to be the only one that doesn’t change. Oh, and they also seem to take everything as a complement.

Mellophones/French Horns: Probably the closest section of the entire band. I can’t think of one mello that is not aloof. Marching band is really the only time they are ever focused on one thing and even then the attention span is quite small. It’s a good thing that people of this section tend to be fast learners and good musicians because the section is so close that sectionals turn into weekly party time yet somehow they pull everything off. To other bandsmen mellos may seem chill and a bit quirky but when you shove all of them in a room and say “practice for an hour together” you’ll hear more giggling than mellophone. 

Trombones: Pretty much if you took the girls out of a trumpet section and turned down the volume on the ego and such. Trombones don’t tend to have the narcissistic qualities of a trumpet player but besides that the sections are similar. Trombones also seem to be a bit more down to earth than the trumpets but are highly regarded as the trouble makers of the band. 

Baritones/Euphoniums: Probably the most chill out of all the brass players. They pretty much always do what they are told and usually don’t have to be told twice. They are the glue of the band and are very fluid when it comes to friends. They have friends in every section. Most of them are in a sport along with band which may be the reason why they are chill. (Most likely not “chill” just exhausted lol) Anyway, baritone players are very trustworthy and likable people. :)

Tubas- They are the saxophones of the brass section. They are hilarious and are loud. This section is comprised of a lot of happy-go-lucky kind of people but in the best way possible. I can’t say I’ve ever met a tuba player that wasn’t funny, out going and optimistic about life. 

Front Ensemble- I don’t know what to say about this section except for 1) Damn, when they really try, they are some excellent players and 2) it is some secret, magical thing to be in front ensemble. these kids are rarely seen except for games and competitions. I feel like front ensemble is some exclusive club that i’ll never be in…

Battery: Please put you shirt on. Yes, most of you are physically attractive but being naked in rehearsal isn’t pleasing for the rest of us. I can assure you, there are some guys in the rest of the band that would love to take his shirt off but isn’t. (Not to mention, there are guys in the rest of the band us girls would rather see shirtless than the battery) Anyway, the boys of this section are loud! To outsiders they can appear douchebag-ish but if you get to know them you’ll find out that most of them aren’t. Also, the girls that stumble across the battery are also a part of some exclusive club.

Color Guard/Flags: You either love them or you hate them. Generally split evenly between genders. Where’d the trumpet section go? Guard. It can be a general misconception for non band members to believe that people in guard don’t know how to play an instrument. Most of them do. The guard are nice people with big personalities and big attitudes. They like everything to be done correctly and can be very competitive. When you find the right guard member you will be life long friends with them.

I hope this amuses some of you band kids! Happy marching season and I hope all of you do well this competitive season! 

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Old Batteries Could Be Recycled into Solar Cells

A system proposed by researchers at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

The system is described in a paper in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, co-authored by Profs. Angela Belcher and Paula Hammond, graduate student Po-Yen Chen and three others. It is based on a recent development in solar cells that makes use of a compound called perovskite — specifically, organolead halide perovskite — a technology that has rapidly progressed from initial experiments to a point where its efficiency is nearly competitive with that of other types of solar cells.

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Do you have an iPhone 5?

Has your battery life been wonky as all get out lately? (e.g., dropping from 57% charge down to *nothing* and shutting down, essentially needing to be charged *all* the time, etc.)

Check and see if it qualifies for Apple Replacement program.

Mine did and I am *really* looking forward to it working properly again.

Salt Bolsters Lithium Battery Life

Cornell Univ. chemical engineers have achieved a breakthrough in the race for safer, longer-lasting batteries to power the world’s automobiles, cell phones, computers and autonomous robots.

Adding certain halide salts to liquid electrolytes spontaneously creates nanostructured surface coatings on a lithium battery anode that hinder the development of detrimental dendritic structures that grow within the battery cell. The discovery opens the way potentially to extend the daily cycle life of a rechargeable lithium battery by up to a factor of 10.

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