Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Technology Review: Mining for Cheap Flights

Technology Review: Mining for Cheap Flights: "On a flight to his brother's wedding in 2001, Oren Etzioni discovered that the people sitting next to him had bought their tickets later than he did, yet had paid less. For some, this could have been an infuriating revelation, but Etzioni didn't get mad; as a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, in Seattle, he got inspired. 'I thought, 'Why don't I collect historical data [on airfares] and use that to anticipate ticket prices?''"

Trying to find cheap flights, read this article. Try Farecast
Also, try Kayak.

Let me know if they work!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Plasma process converts garbage into clean energy | The Green Geek

Plasma process converts garbage into clean energy | The Green Geek

I may have posted something similar in the past, but this site really lays it out. Garbage to Clean Energy...almost the holy grail of waste/energy! The site is also pretty nifty, "The Green Geek"!. Also, see the Sunday, March 25 2007 Oregonian Newspaper about the conversion of the Silicon Forest from semiconductors to solar panels in the article described below.

"New solar cell plant in Hillsboro may usher in better times
German SolarWorld's plant may help bring recovery after a high-tech slump"

Similarities in making solar chips and microchips
Friday, March 23, 2007
The Oregonian

Many Oregon chip-industry veterans possess skills that readily transfer to the solar business, piquing the excitement of state economic officials.

Five categories of production-operator positions common to both industries:

Crystal growing: The same process of growing silicon-crystal ingot is used in both industries, differing mainly in the purity of the polysilicon raw material. The steps: melting and chemically doping polysilicon, dipping seed crystal, extracting ingot from molten polysilicon. Solar usually grows ingots of smaller diameter, but three times longer (about 3 feet).

Grinding: In both industries, ingots are ground to remove surface irregularities. The major differences are grinding specifications and speeds.

Wafer slicing: Both industries use similar wire saw machines to cut ingot into wafers. Solar wafers are about as thin as a business card; chip wafers are about three times as thick. Using longer ingot, the solar business cuts about four times as many wafers at a time.

Diffusion: Both industries turn wafers into an electrical device with a positive and negative side. Typically, phosphorus is diffused into the wafers. The process forms an oxide layer, which must be removed.

Printing: Many solar businesses use a screening technique to print a grid pattern on both sides of cells. In the chip industry, photolithography is extremely complex -- much more so than in solar.

-- SolarWorld Group

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Seed: Science is Culture

Seed: Science is Culture

This is a magazine that even I can understand. I have a subscription for it. The print edition is quite dramatic.

Science and technology information from Scientific American

Science and technology information from Scientific American

This is a link to SciAm's great website. If you do podcasts, look for the links for the daily and weekly SciAm podcasts.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Strange Moon Facts

Strange Moon Facts

Strange Stuff...."The Moon is the Rosetta Stone of the Planets"