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Solar cell breakthrough taps previously unused energy source

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A scientific breakthrough by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has produced a new type solar cell capable of absorbing energy from the infrared spectrum, where about 40 percent of the energy in sunlight exists.

All prior solar cells ignored the infrared spectrum for energy stored in visible light, but the new cell uses purified carbon fibers converted into microscopic tube-like structures called nanotubes to capture the hidden power. Details of the new cell were published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Advanced Materials.

A bonus: Researchers said that because the cells are transparent, they could one day be laid on top of currently existing solar arrays, turning the less-efficient and more common photovoltaic cells into hybrids capable of much greater energy output.

Although the new cells’ energy conversion efficiency ratio is currently very low, the team believes they can scale it up as the product becomes more refined with later iterations. If widely adopted, the new technology could give the U.S. a significant leg up on its renewable energy goals.

Carbon nanotubes have been at the forefront of renewable energy research for several years now. Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) announced in 2007 that they had developed solar cells that can be folded like paper thanks to the pliability of the microscopic structures. The breakthrough led researchers to predict that people will one day be able to create their own solar cells with inkjet printers, or simply paint a solar-absorbtion layer onto vehicles.

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That very prediction became a reality just earlier this year, when researchers at the University of Southern California announced in April that they have developed a solar cell made out of nanocrystals that exist inside a liquid which can be painted or printed onto surfaces. While nanocrystal solar cells are still highly inefficient, researchers said it is only a matter of time before they unlock their true potential.
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Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

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2020 Election

Do politicians actually care about your opinions? This researcher says no

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Earlier this month, a New York Times op-ed written by two political science professors, Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Joshua Kalla of Yale, discussed their troubling research findings: State legislators, the two claim, don't much care about the opinions of their constituents, even if they're given detailed data regarding their views.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump mocked for tweeting he’ll ‘personally vouch’ for rapper A$AP Rocky’s bail: ‘Now name three of his songs’

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Twitter users were both baffled and amused on Saturday morning after Donald Trump tweeted that he would "personally vouch" for the bail needed to release American rapper A$AP Rocky from a Swedish jail.

After receiving a phone call from celebrity Kim Kardashian about the plight of the hip-hop star overseas, the president -- in the middle of a racism scandal himself -- appears to have taken up the cause in an effort to calm racism charges.

Not everyone on Twitter was buying it.

See below:

Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly. Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative....

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