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Submission + - New Fabrication Process May Realize Potential Of Solar Nanoantenna Arrays? (

CCarrot writes: From the article:

A novel fabrication technique developed by UConn engineering professor Brian Willis could provide the breakthrough technology scientists have been looking for to vastly improve today’s solar energy systems.

For years, scientists have studied the potential benefits of a new branch of solar energy technology that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70% of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power.

The technology would be a vast improvement over the silicon solar panels in widespread use today. Even the best silicon panels collect only about 20% of available solar radiation, and separate mechanisms are needed to convert the stored energy to usable electricity for the commercial power grid. The panels’ limited efficiency and expensive development costs have been two of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of solar power as a practical replacement for traditional fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, the stumbling block for nanoantenna solar arrays has always been the inability to produce a rectifier small or fast enough to convert electron flows to usable energy at the speeds of visible (and infrared) light. Researchers at the University of Connecticut have now developed a way to use atomic deposition technology (widely used in the production of microelectronics) to create small, fast rectifiers (or 'rectennas') that should, in theory, convert the high frequency electron flows generated by the nanoantennae into usable electricity.

Could this really be the breakthrough moment that at last allows an alternative-energy source to truly compete with non-renewable sources on all fronts: convenience, availability, efficiency and cost?

Submission + - Facebook considering technology to allow children under 13? ( 1

CCarrot writes: It's not clear where exactly these rumours are coming from, but apparently Facebook is trialing some methods to allow parental control for children's accounts. From the article:

Facebook is reportedly developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 to use the social network, potentially leading to increased concerns over privacy and safety online. The Wall Street Journal claims that various systems are being tested by the newly-listed Facebook, including connecting children's accounts to their parents, or controls that would enable parents to decide who their children can "friend".

Is this a good thing, considering we all probably know of at least one child under 13 who has an account (many having been set up with the help of their parents)? Or is this just another money grab in response to their reportedly declining revenues from widespread migration of users to mobile platforms?


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: No comprehensive app for Slashdot yet? ( 4

CCarrot writes: While looking for a comprehensive Slashdot app for Android, I was somewhat shocked to find that there isn't one out there (yet). There are plenty of apps that allow you to read stories and comments, including this one that lets you download and read stories and comments offline, however there are none (that I could find) that allow you to a) log in, or even b) post comments, not to mention check on friends' posts, monitor your comment history and replies, moderate posts, etc., etc.

To be fair, the mobile version of the site is very usable on cellphones and such, although html markup is rather a pain on a phone. It just surprises me that nobody has developed a dedicated app for it yet, especially considering that /. is 'news for nerds'. Any thoughts? Is one of the regular readers currently developing one in their oh-so-abundant 'spare' time? Or would anyone even use such an app if it were available? (besides me, of course...)


Submission + - Intl. Scrabble dictionary updates with new slang (

CCarrot writes: FTA:

THAT'S definitely a word, innit?" could soon be the cry of many a Scrabble player battling their way to victory. New slang terms, including "innit", "thang" and "grrl", have been added to the official list of words that can be used in the popular board game.

One can't help but wonder what's next. Perhaps they'll add number tiles, so we can score 3x7r4 points for l33t?

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