My husband sent me this video, a truly inspired entry in Environment Minnesota's solar power video contest. The contest is meant to promote solar energy in Minnesota—a goal that makes a bit more sense than you might think. Minnesota can't really rely on solar, and solar alone, to meet its energy needs, but it does have the potential to replace some of the dirty coal the state currently uses. And here's the cool thing you'll learn in the video: This is partly possible because solar panels actually convert sun to electricity more efficiently here than they do in the really hot climates we usually associate with solar power. It's an interesting lesson, and a clever video, made by a team of more than 50, led by husband and wife Steve and Lisa Fait.
Of course, there's a flip side to this, once you get past the pro-Minnesota message. This video also serves as a handy reminder that solar panels do not convert all the energy they absorb into electricity. The most efficient solar cells available to buy today can only harness about 21% of the energy they absorb. And that's in the lab, as individual cells. When you gang cells together into panels and expose them to real-world conditions, like high temperatures, you lose some more of that efficiency. In fact, part of the reason solar power is so expensive today (in general, it's the most expensive form of energy available, although that does vary a lot by location) is because of that low conversion efficiency. In order to produce a set amount of electricity, you're forced to buy more solar panels than you otherwise would have to if the panels could convert sun to electricity more efficiently.
A judge in Canada today granted $10 million bail for Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China electronics giant Huawei. She has to remain in the Vancouver area, where she has a home. The United States has requested her extradition. China is not happy. Huawai’s response follows. .
Tumblr will ban ‘female-presenting nipples’ and other content beginning December 17, 2018. Photographer and writer Nate ‘Igor’ Smith is a longtime Tumblr user whose work straddles the boundaries of art, editorial, and adult. Here, Nate explains why Tumblr’s decision to censor is devastating for the Tumblr’s longtime users, and the rest of us. — XJ […]
Businesses of any size continue to use PDFs despite – and perhaps because of – their stubborn resistance to simple editing. But for those who need a little flexibility on their documentation, the search is over for alternative software. PDF Expert for Mac is the catch-all solution for wrangling those PDFs, and it’s available at […]
When it comes to tech, smaller is better, and these items fit the bill both in terms of size and price. We’ve rounded up our favorite stocking-ready gadgets, most of which are already on sale – and you can take an additional 15% off any of them with the special code MERRY15. iPM 3-in-1 Fast […]
So you’ve got a good eye for pictures? We’ve got a good eye for deals. And this holiday, there are some solid deals out there for photographers. Check out some of our favorite recent discounts on gear, software, and e-learning for photogs of any experience. Gadgets RevolCam: The Multi-Lens Photo Revolution for Smartphones This […]