wcrowe writes: ""On this day in 1876, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Alexander Graham Bell a patent for his "improvement in telegraphy," or, as we now know it, the telephone (above). This anniversary seems like as good a day as any — well, perhaps even a bit better than the other 365 days this year (leap year!) — to dip into the media frenzy that surrounded its arrival, a 19th century tech event evocative of today's Apple circus. Just kidding. It was nothing like that at all — the telephone, and the reaction to it, rolled out over the course of years, not minutes.""
wcrowe writes: "The USGS has updated the magnitude of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan, to 9.0 from the previous estimate of 8.9. Independently, Japanese seismologists have also updated their estimate of the earthquake’s magnitude to 9.0. This magnitude places the earthquake as the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago."
wcrowe writes: Quantum dot solar cells are cheaper to produce than traditional silicon cells, but they haven't caught on due to their relative inefficiency. For Stacey Bent, a chemical engineering professor at Stanford, this represented something of a challenge. She knew that solar cells made of a single material have a maximum efficiency of about 31 percent, a limitation of the fixed energy level they can absorb, and that quantum dot solar cells didn't share this limitation. "Quantum dots can be tuned to absorb a certain wavelength of light just by changing their size," the Stanford report on her research says. "And they can be used to build more complex solar cells that have more than one size of quantum dot, allowing them to absorb multiple wavelengths of light."