It’s a good day for renewable resources.

According to a jointly written report of solar photovoltaic systems (PV) pricing trends from the Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), prices have dropped by 12 to 19 percent nationwide in 2013.

The report goes on to state that prices are expected to drop an additional 3 to 12 percent in 2014. The variation in percentage is dependent on the system location and market segment.

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Michael Gordin discuses the universal language of science and the issue of pressure put on scientists to publish new discoveries in English.Credit: Frank Wojciechowski

Michael Gordin discusses the universal language of science and the demand for scientists to publish new discoveries in English.
Credit: Frank Wojciechowski

The words “permafrost,” “oxygen,” and “hydrogen” may look like the language of science, but these words really have Russian, Greek and French origins. So how is it that English has become the universal language of science? That is the question Michael Gordin, professor the history of science at Princeton, sets out to answer in his interview with PRI.

“If you look around the world in 1900, and someone told you, ‘Guess what the universal language of science will be in the year 2000?’ You would first of all laugh at them because it was obvious that no one language would be the language of science, but a mixture of French, German and English would be the right answer,” Gordin said in his interview.

Gordin goes on to describe how German – the dominant language of science – collapsed during WWI when a boycott was organized against scientists in Germany and Austria, prohibiting them from attending conferences or publishing in Western European journals. Pair this with the anti-German hysteria taking place in the United States and the rise of American scientific establishments, and you being to see how English started to take over as the universal language of science.

“And you have a set of people who don’t speak foreign languages,” said Gordin, “They’re comfortable in English, they read English, they can get by in English because the most exciting stuff in their mind is happening in English. So you end up with a very American-centric, and therefore very English-centric community of science after World War II.”

Here at ECS, due to our vast number of international members, we know science doesn’t conform to a specific mold or language. Through open access (OA) publication, we hope to break this rigidity and focus on the more important issue – the free dissemination of scientific research for the benefit of all. Find out more about ECS’ bold move toward open access publication and publish your paper as OA today.

Listen to Gordin’s full interview below.

The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.
Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

A paint-on, see-through bandage – fully equipped with oxygenation sensors – has been developed with the purpose of better aiding wounded soldiers and improving the success of surgeries to restore limbs and physical functions.

Not only does it protect wounds and burns as any bandage should, but it also enables direct measurement and mapping of tissue oxygen.

The “smart” bandage was developed by an international, multidisciplinary team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Conor L. Evans at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine of Massachusetts Generall Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). The group’s findings have been recently published in The Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

This from The Optical Society:

Now, the “smart” bandage developed by the team provides direct, noninvasive measurement of tissue oxygenation by combining three simple, compact and inexpensive components: a bright sensor molecule with a long phosphorescence lifetime and appropriate dynamic range; a bandage material compatible with the sensor molecule that conforms to the skin’s surface to form an airtight seal; and an imaging device capable of capturing the oxygen-dependent signals from the bandage with high signal-to-noise ratio.

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“Stella” is the name on every climate-cautious, pollution-loathing environmentalist’s lips.

Who is Stella? Well, she’s a car.

She may not be “pretty” by conventional standards, but Stella is the first family car powered by solar energy. The car – driven by a team of students from Eindhoven University of Technology – has just finished its road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, fueled solely by the California sunshine.

While the car is capable of traveling 500 miles (800km) on a single charge and can clock up to 80 miles per hour, there is still one pressing question on everyone’s mind – who will drive it?

“Do you want it in your daily life? Would you want to take it to get groceries?” asked one of Stella’s drivers, Jordy de Renet, in an interview with Popular Science.

The car’s strange shape stems from a compromise for aerodynamics and allowing comfort for at least two people. Also, the wedge-shaped vehicle’s flat surface allows for more solar cell coverage.

This from Popular Science:

Stella is CO2-neutral and the first energy-positive car in the world. The solar array charges while the car is in motion as well as when it is parked. “We get more energy out of the car than is needed to drive it,” said de Renet. That power, as much as twice what the car uses, can be returned to the grid.

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A Revolution in Renewable Energy

Towering like a beacon of hope in Germany’s North Sea stand wind turbines. Stretching as high as 60-story buildings and standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, the turbines are part of Germany’s push to find a solution to global warming.

Some call it change. Some call it transformation. We call it a revolution.

According to an article in the The New York Times, it is expected that by the end of the year, scores of new turbines will be set in place – thus allowing low-emission electricity to be sent to German cities hundreds of miles south.

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The Protest for Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

On September 10th, sites across the web will display an alert with a symbolic “loading” symbol and promote a call to action for users to push comments to the FCC, Congress, and the White House.

Today a group of popular websites that rely on speedy Internet have launched an online protest against proposed changes to “net neutrality.” They call themselves Team Internet and are comprised of popular websites, such as Netflix, Vimeo, Reddit, and WordPress – just to name a few.

The protest aims to fight policy changes via the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that would overturn a 2010 ruling that required Internet service providers to treat all web traffic the same.

This from TIME:

Since May, the FCC has been weighing changes to its regulations on “net neutrality” — the 2010 rules requiring Internet service providers to treat all web traffic the same. The changes would allow cable companies to grant paying customers faster service, but ban them from slowing down, or throttling, the access of nonpaying companies. The FCC has already lost two court cases brought by cable companies who have challenged the legality of its existing net-neutrality rules.

Read the full article here.

ECS fights a similar battle in the realm of publication. In order to avoid the dissemination of science and research that creates a world of haves and have-nots, ECS fully supports open access publishing.

Find out more about open access and check out our Digital Library to find the latest published OA pieces.

Google Science?

Google scholar logo

“Google Science” would launch a number of journals, be “self-organising” and yet have a team of “qualified reviewers.”

There is a Google Scholar, but what if there was a Google Science? The UK edition of Wired magazine is tracking the mystery of whether it is or is not in the mix in How ‘Google Science’ could transform academic publishing.

“Google Science” would launch a number of journals, be “self-organising” and yet have a team of “qualified reviewers”.

“99.9 percent of the work, including peer review would be done by the scientific community,”

This is, of course, about open access an issue we at ECS are committed to. There’s a great discussion on this. The article says:

“Most [academics] don’t particularly care about open access, in part because they are not incentivised to do so. This is changing, but only slowly, and right now most still care more about publishing in established, high-profile journals and in gaining a lot of citations.”

Google could change the game, if they really were going to get involved. Spoiler alert: Wired found no evidence a Google Science was in the works.

Find out more about ECS open access.

Patents, Open Source and Open Access

TeslaOn June 12, Tesla announced that it would no longer initiate patent lawsuits against anyone using their technology in good faith. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, wrote this about the removal of patents from a wall in their Palo Alto lobby, “they have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”

Musk went on to state,

We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform. Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.

Bravo to Tesla! ECS shares similar values and launched author choice open access earlier this year. Some of our reasons for committing to open access closely parallel Mr. Musk’s remarks: the need to accelerate research, technology and innovation. A recent evaluation suggested that close to 65% of ECS technical content involves the sustainability of our planet. By opening access to the latest findings, ECS believes we can better support innovative research, reach new audiences, and enable faster scientific breakthroughs.

For more than 110 years the ECS mission has been to disseminate scientific information to the widest possible audience. Our vision for the future remains true to this goal, and expands upon it by creating uninhibited availability of ECS content through open access – an initiative that democratizes the science and hopefully, accelerates scientific progress.

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