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LEDs should be lighting the way to a greener future: They use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs, and they do so at a cooler temperature. But right now, we mostly use LEDs in electronics, because they have a bit of a drooping problem: at higher currents, the amount of light they produce takes a nose-dive.

The efficiency droop has baffled scientists for years, but researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara and France’s École Polytechnique say they’ve finally solved the mystery.

Their work, published in a forthcoming issue of the Physical Review Letters, identifies the source of the droop as a process called Auger recombination, a non-radiative process that produces heat. Previous research at UCSB theorized that Auger recombination might be the culprit, but this is the first study to measure the effect conclusively.

LED-based lights contain a microchip with a positive-type and a negative-type semiconductor made of gallium nitride. Between the two, in a quantum well, the negative electrons from one semiconductor and the electron holes from the other combine, producing a photon of light. When you apply more electricity, it produces more photons–to a point.

Droop City

As the current increases, the efficiency of this blue LED starts to droop.

In low power situations, like in your cell phone, the process works great. But when you raise the current up to the level it takes to light a room, nitride-based LEDs stop producing photons at the same rate. According to the research from UCSB’s Center for Energy Efficient Materials, it’s because the electrons collide with each other and lose their energy through heat instead of light.

If we could make LEDs that circumvent that issue, they could replace compact fluorescent lights as the energy-efficient bulb of the future. Theoretically, LEDs should produce about 300 lumens per watt, making them three times more efficient than CFLs, as well as easier to dispose of since they don’t contain mercury. Widely adopting LED lighting could save the country $265 billion and reduce our electricity demand by one third in the next 20 years, according to a 2010 estimate from the U.S. Department of Energy.

But it does cost more upfront, so until LED technology can live up to their theoretical efficiency at higher currents, it’s a tough sell. While the U.S. is already phasing out energy-sucking incandescent light bulbs, LEDs have yet to take over the commercial and residential lighting market.

So far, we don’t have a solution to the droop, but now that they’ve identified the source of the problem, the researchers hope to design LEDs that will minimize the effect and produce more light, making the technology a more attractive choice for home and office lighting.

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Why Are Nfts Valuable, And What Makes Some Cost So Much?

If you’re wondering how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — essentially tokenized JPEGs — have sold for millions of dollars in the past few years, here’s the short answer that most people would give you: It’s because they’re art, and art is inherently valuable.

Really. Many people think it’s as simple as that.

But it’s not that simple. We’ve also seen digital collectibles like NBA Top Shot and PFP NFT projects like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club fetch eye-watering prices on the open market. Neither of the aforementioned can be accurately characterized as art and art alone. So the question remains: What exactly makes an NFT valuable?

The scarcity equation

Whether it’s art or a digital collectible, one thing will definitely drive up the price of an NFT: Scarcity. What does NFT scarcity have to do with monkey JPEGs?

To answer this question, let’s do a quick round of Economics 101. Stay with me — we’ll keep it simple.

One of the core problems the field of economics hopes to break down and understand is how to efficiently deal with the virtually unlimited wants and desires of humans in a world with finite resources. In simple terms, balancing the forces of supply and demand.

Generally speaking — heavy emphasis on “generally” — the way these forces interact influences a metric that’s ultimately felt by the consumer: price. If the demand is high in a certain market for a specific good in abundant supply, that will result in that good bearing a relatively low price in that particular market.

However, the opposite also holds true. When demand for a specific good far outweighs its supply, it becomes a scarce good, which tends to fetch far higher prices in its respective market.

For a real-world illustration of this concept, let’s look at why fruits are widely regarded as a luxury in Japan. The island nation’s mountainous topography leaves little room for larger-scale agricultural operations. As such, most fruit farms in there are either “family run or operated by small scale businesses,” as mentioned by Paku in a Wa-Shoku report. However, what the Japanese fruit industry may lack in scale, it makes up for in quality. Often, the picture-perfect strawberries, grapes, and watermelon you’d see lining a typical Japanese supermarket aisle are given as gifts “to relatives, business partners and clients, to thank those who took care of you,” Paku said.

Okay. So, what makes NFTs so valuable?

NFTs and scarcity

NFTs can be very expensive (or valuable, depending on who you ask) because they somehow managed to do the impossible: introduce scarcity into the global digital market. An NFT isn’t just an overly-expensive way to buy an image — it’s a way to own it.

When you’re buying an NFT, you’re not just buying the image itself. You’re buying a permanent token etched on a blockchain pointing to that specific image, or digital asset. Anything goes, really. Aside from NFT art, NFT music, in-game assets, virtual land, and all sorts of other digital goods are commonly bought and sold on NFT marketplaces.

So how does turning something into an NFT potentially influence its price? Whenever you mint a digital good as an NFT, it effectively allows you to limit its supply, thus “inflating” its price. Although this might sound like an easy way to artificially inflate the price of a digital good, that’s not what NFTs are entirely about.

So, what other things about NFTs make them valuable?

A note on art

For starters, there’s art. In the fine art world, works by master artists have fetched millions of dollars on the open market. The sheer value of fine art is also similarly hard to grasp to the average Joe or Jane. Take the many works of Mark Rothko that have sold for tens of millions of dollars on the art market. At face value, it might be a bit hard to process why a canvas painted orange, red, and yellow is worth nearly $87 million.

In simple terms, the price is high because it’s the only painting of its kind in existence, and because one of the 20th century’s most brilliant artists created it.

This is why a large majority of the most expensive NFT sales we’ve seen thus far are one-of-one works. Like Rothko’s Orange, red, and yellow, these particular NFTs are the only ones of their kind. In the case of Beeple’s Everydays, which sold for nearly $70 million in 2023, these works are truly unique. Everydays featured 5,000 unique works by Beeple, created over 14 years, wherein the digital artist strived to create a new piece every day.

And then there’s the utility

Sometimes, NFTs fetch high prices due to causes far larger in scope than art or belonging to a collection. NFTs have also been widely used as a means to raise funds, thanks to the built-in security found in blockchain-based transactions.

This can be observed in one of the most expensive NFT sales we’ve seen thus far. In early 2023, AssangeDAO successfully arranged the multi-million dollar purchase of Pak’s Clock NFT, which stands (as of writing) as the second-most expensive NFT sale of all time.

The NFT sold for 16,593 ETH to be exact, which at the time was valued at roughly $52.7 million. Proceeds from the sale hoped to go towards funding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal defense. In this particular case, the utility of the NFT — what is was being used for — is what made is so valuable and expensive.

An eternal life

Traditionally, digital goods were virtually unlimited in supply. Digital copies of games, books, music, and movies can theoretically be purchased an infinite number of times. You’ll never see digital goods go out of stock — but they will, at one point, cease to be sold. When digital marketplaces get shut down, it becomes impossible to acquire certain digital-only items.

Case in point, let’s look at Nintendo.

The company has held a notoriously negative stance towards piracy and emulation, and it aims to erase every single site that hosts games the Japanese gaming giant doesn’t sell any more from existence. Unfortunately, this has made it exceedingly difficult to preserve the company’s myriad games and prevent them from getting lost in time.

With NFTs, so long as a blockchain exists, so too will all the assets stored on it. As blockchain technology continues to grow and evolve, so will the types of NFTs we’ll see moving forward. Maybe one day, you’ll be able to own the digital masters of your favorite film — not on the cheap, of course.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated. A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Clock’s selling price as 16,953 ETH.

Find Out What Google Knows About You

Google search engine has been the most sought-after tool in the world, in fact for many; the Internet is synonymous with Google. That being said, lately, there have been concerns about the privacy and the way personal data is used by Google, and how Google tracks its users.  If you have the question What does Google know about me, then this post will tell you what it knows about your Location, History, Preferences, etc., & show you the ‘how to opt out’ settings.

What Google knows about you

You will get all or most of this information in your Google Dashboard.

1. Google Search History

Thankfully it also comes with an option to turn it off. Want to check it out? Head over to this link. The search history will also give you glimpses of which is your favorite thing on the Internet and how productive you are at work! If you are someone worried about privacy you can also toggle off the options so that your history will no more be stored on the Google servers.

You can also hide your address and phone number.

Read: How to remove your name and information from Search Engines.

2. Google Data usage by Third-Party Apps

The Account Activity page lets you in, on the third-party apps, and also other usual apps that are making use of your Google Data. Additionally, you can also see the degree of permissions granted to the apps, and you can also revoke/modify the same. Go here. I was personally surprised to see the number of applications, I had granted permission to access my data, and some of them looked shady, the first thing to do is revoke access to apps that you don’t use.

3. Exporting your Google Exclusive data

4. Your Location History

If you have an Android phone, then it is evident that Google keeps a record of your location history. The Location History feature also includes the location from where you log in to your Gmail account from a PC. The best part is that you can check out the locations you have visited over a year. So next time you forgot the name of the Coffee shop you had been to just check it out in the Google Location history. Visit Your Timeline and Google will show you all the places you visited.

5. Security and Privacy report from Google

Now, this is one of the most powerful features around, if you are worried that the account might be compromised at some point in time or even if you just wanted to take some precautionary measures. The report can be downloaded from this link. Furthermore, the report is also expected to improve your knowledge of how you can enhance your security.

6. YouTube Videos you search and watch

Google also keeps a history of your YouTube searches and video views. Check it out here.

7. This is what Google thinks about you 8. Voice searches are saved

Google will also store a history of your Voice searches including the recording of voice and audio activity if you opted in to use the feature.

You may want to delete your Google Voice Activity History.

To harden your settings further, use the Google Privacy Settings Wizard. Also, read this post on how to opt out and maintain your privacy when using Google Services. It gives you additional tips which you will find useful.

Ever wondered – What information is available about you on the internet when online?

Shark Attacks Are So Unlikely, But So Fascinating

– An undated photo – of a Great White shark which can now be repelled by a electronic shark shield…

Chomp.

Sharks are incredibly unlikely to bite you. They’re even less likely to kill you. However, we remain fascinated with their ability–and occasional proclivity–to do just that. With so many things more likely to harm us, why do we pay such rapt attention when sharks make headlines?

As a shark researcher and curator of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), it’s a question I think about each spring when I prepare my annual report of shark-attack statistics. This year we had some good news: In 2014 fatalities were down worldwide, as were attacks. In the US, attacks were up only slightly from 47 last year to 52, with most of those being minor incidents that are more like dog bites than something out of Jaws.

There wasn’t a single fatality in the entire country last year and only three worldwide. In the past decade, the US has averaged less than one per year. To put that into perspective, more people die from drowning every day in this country than were killed by sharks in ten years. In 2013, more people in the U.S. died from encounters with nonvenomous insects, and a lot more–62–were killed by hornets, wasps and bees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Underlying Cause of Death database.

When you enter the ocean, you’re on their turf. Alex Proimos, CC BY-NC

We’re in their aquatic territory more now

When you think of how much time we spend in the water, it’s amazing how innocuous shark and human interaction is. When the ISAF began in the 1950s, scientists were concerned primarily with shark attacks after ships and aircraft went down at sea.

A lot has changed since then. There are a lot more of us on earth today than there were back then and there will be even more tomorrow. Aquatic recreation has never been more popular. More people are kayaking, surfing, diving and paddleboarding.

More time in the water means more time to interface with sharks. Stefan Schmitz, CC BY-ND

Numbers may go up, but we’re learning

That’s why, even though fatalities are rare, we can expect to see an increase in the number–but not rate–of attacks. There aren’t a lot of things in science that I am willing to predict with certainty, but I am confident that in the second decade of this century we will see more attacks than in the first. That said, attacks are not rising as fast as we might suppose they would because we’re doing a better job of heeding beach safety and people are more shark-savvy than they were a decade ago. We’re starting to understand how to avoid sharks.

At the ISAF, we investigate every reported shark attack. Some are reported by hospitals, some by volunteers and scientists around the world. Others we find out about through traditional or social media.

In each case, through investigation we confirm that the guilty party was actually a shark. (You’d be surprised how many people who say they were bitten by a shark were bitten by something else, or not bitten at all.) We analyze the bite, which tells us the size of the shark, and sometimes the species. The ecological and behavioral circumstances surrounding the incident–from both the human and shark perspectives–give clues as to why the interaction occurred.

A little knowledge goes a long way. Andreas, CC BY-NC-ND

Tracking helps with prevention

A great white shark leaps from South African waters

Despite its fearsome reputation and sharp teeth, the Great White is not usually one to attack humans.

People need to understand more fully that when we enter the sea, it’s a wilderness experience. We’re eco-tourists and are not owed the right to be 100% safe. That’s what fascinates us about sharks: There’s an innate concern in our psyches about not wanting to get eaten. Almost every other animal on earth has to worry about getting eaten night and day. As humans, we rarely have that concern. People hold sharks in awe as one of the rare species that reminds us we’re still potentially part of a food chain.

You’re much more likely to be injured or die during your evening run than in a shark attack, but don’t expect to turn on the Discovery Channel and see Sneaker Week. For better or worse, we’re hard-wired to pay attention to creatures that can eat us–even if they rarely do.

George Burgess is the director of the University of Florida Program for Shark Research and curator of the International Shark Attack File.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Karma Review: Finally, A Wi

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The Karma is a very small revolution in tech: it’s a gadget with a data plan that makes sense, is transparent, and doesn’t try to screw you. This should not be a crazy great thing. And yet it is.

Portable Wi-Fi hotspots are, for the most part, great to use and awful to pay for. They’re tiny little devices that gives you fast internet access no matter where you are, by tapping into the same fast networks used by Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Until all our laptops have little SIM-card slots in them, this is the best way to get online in places without a Wi-Fi connection. Great! Except it costs an arm and a leg, and requires a contract, and forces you to ration yourself every tiny little megabyte. So, yeah, Wi-Fi hotspots are trying to screw you.

Karma isn’t the most high-tech hotspot out there, but unless somebody else is footing the bill, it’s the one I’d recommend, because not only is it not trying to screw you, it actually rewards you for un-screwing (AKA helping) other people. That help? Free data, both for you (for being nice enough to share your connection with someone) and for the lucky person who’s found your generous connection. Hence, “karma,” kind of.

The Hardware

The Karma is probably the best-looking Wi-Fi hotspot on the market–since it’s independent of all of the carriers, it doesn’t have to have violent branding from Verizon or AT&T or whoever, and the three Dutch founders were all formerly designers. It’s very small and light, a rounded-off square like a reverse Oreo, with a white top and bottom sandwiching black plastic. On the back is a standard microUSB port for charging–that’s the same cable that your Android phone, Windows phone, Kindle, and about a billion other devices use.

Karma says the battery lasts between 6 and 8 hours. Compare that to the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE MiFi 4620L, one of the best hotspots on the market, which, with its standard battery, only gets 3 hours of battery life. And, of course, since the Karma charges over USB, you can plug it into your laptop and keep it going that way.

Speed: The Karma uses Clearwire’s 4G network, just like Sprint. It’s not an LTE network, like Verizon’s or AT&T’s, but it was fast enough for my uses, averaging about 8.35Mbps download speeds in Manhattan and around 3.0Mbps in Brooklyn. My home internet, for the record, gets between 12Mbps and 15Mbps, so this isn’t quite as fast, but in practice, I didn’t find the speed to be a problem at all. That said, an LTE network can easily hit speeds of 15Mbps.

Free of Contracts

Verizon’s Jetpack 4G LTE MiFi 4620L (lord, what a name) is faster than the Karma, yes. But it’ll cost you a lot; it’s designed specifically for people who will be using it all the time, and even then, it’s expensive as all hell. You’ll sign up for a two-year contract, then pay $50 for the hotspot, then you’ll pay a minimum of $50 per month for 4GB of service. If you use 1GB of that in March, you still pay $50. If you use 6GB in April, Verizon will charge you $70, since you went over your limit–even though those two months average out to less than your limit.

See? Verizon’s trying to screw you.

Here’s how Karma works. You pay $80 up front. It comes with 1GB free, just for buying it. Then it’s pay-as-you go. No contracts at all. No minimum to buy. Your service rolls over; if you buy 5GB in February and only use 1GB? You’ll have 4GB left to use in March. Or April. Or whenever. It’s a flat fee; since it never expires, it doesn’t really make sense for Karma to offer it in bulk. But it’s reasonably priced, at $14 per GB. That means 4GB of service costs $56, compared to $50 at Verizon, but you’ll save money in the long run, since you’ll only pay for the data you use and none will go to waste on less data-heavy months.

Karma is not trying to screw you. Robert Gaal, one of the founders of the company, told me that the goal was to create a “simple and honest mobile provider.” As anyone who’s dealt extensively with Verizon and AT&T can tell you, that’s a totally different approach than most carriers. The idea of just paying for what you use–it’s refreshing and crystal-clear, and, even better, will almost certainly work out to cheaper in the long run for almost every user.

Karma Hotspot Site

That “Karma” Thing

So the reason it’s called “Karma” is due to some built-in sharing features. Your Karma network is unprotected, always. Other people are encouraged to use it: they sign in using Facebook, and they’ll get 100MB of free data. Even better, you’ll get 100MB of free data whenever someone new signs in this way. It’s a Silicon Valley startup’s idea of karma, I guess. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how much free data you can get, so walking into a Starbucks and shouting “Hey everyone, sign into my Wi-Fi network!” would seem to be a way to get out of ever paying for internet again. (Though you can only host eight connections simultaneously.)

I was concerned about security; this is by default an open network. Gaal noted that most major sites–all Google, Facebook, any modern email sites, media sites like Netflix and Rdio–all use HTTPS, a secure communications protocol. Sharing is completely disabled, so you you don’t have to worry about anyone swiping your files. Basically, it’s about as secure as your local coffee shop’s unprotected Wi-Fi network–which is to say, moderately secure, assuming nobody really wants to hack you.

How Does It Work?

Really well. Super seamless and easy to set up, the billing system couldn’t be more simple, the hardware is tiny and attractive and easy to use, and the speeds were reliably solid. The “YourKarma” site that tracks your data use is very pretty and clear; it lets me know whenever anyone logged into my hotspot and gifted me with some data (though it doesn’t let you see any Facebook info you couldn’t already see) and how much data I have left. You’ll also get an email when you’re nearly out of data, which is nice.

Karma Hotspot Back

But overall, the Karma is easily my favorite Wi-Fi hotspot. It’s reasonably priced, good-looking, and doesn’t seem like it’s trying to pull a fast one on me, which is more than I can say for any of the hotspots you might find at your Verizon or AT&T shop. The “karma” element is kind of gimmicky and silly, but it’s not hurting anyone. Matter of fact, all it does is give free stuff away, so I find it hard to have too much of a problem with it.

I think contract-free is always the way to go with something you won’t necessarily use every day. The Karma is a great thing to pick up just in case; you can drop $70 on 5GB of data for a rainy day, and then the next time you’re stuck without Wi-Fi–even if it’s months later–you’ve got some data in the tank. It’s great.

Finally A Good Tv Guide Application

I’ve been waiting for this since June 29, 2007; a good, useful, TV application for iPhone! It seems that chúng tôi [iTunes Link] made my wish come true, and even more…

Before chúng tôi (pronounce “i dot tv”), I used the mobile version of chúng tôi and although it served its purpose, it was a very unpractical web app. Then came What’s On, for which I had big hopes. My hopes just remained hopes as What’s On wouldn’t have some basic features such as setting channels as “Favorites”.

All my past frustrations are now long gone thanks to chúng tôi I downloaded this FREE app this morning from the App Store and instantly fell in love with it. According to the company’s website:

i.TV is a TV and movie guide for the iPhone and iPod touch.

i.TV helps users discover entertainment options by providing up-to-date information on television shows and movies. Users also benefit from feedback and information provided by other chúng tôi users who utilize i.TV’s community-focused features. These features enable customers to write reviews and give star ratings to visual media. In addition to this, chúng tôi allows users to directly access entertainment such as television previews and movie trailers through their iPhone or iPod Touch.

Let’s see how it works…

When launching chúng tôi it will ask you if you want to create an account. You don’t have to create an account but doing so will give you access to more features. After giving some basic information about you, it will automatically detect your location, and provide you a list of TV programs available in your area. The Zip Code detected by chúng tôi was not correct for me (it gave 92116 instead of 92106) and it wouldn’t show my Cable provider. So I manually edited my Zip Code and chúng tôi automatically refreshed the list of providers. Cox Communications was now showing up! Sweet! I chose my provider and it then loaded the TV listings of programs that were playing now.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of channels listings available so I went directly to the “settings” to create my list of favorite channels. I have about 100 channels but I only watch maybe 10 of them… I used the “hide channel” feature to hide the channels I didn’t want (goodbye MTV and other VH1 crap) and went back to the TV listing screen and here were my favorites.

I have to say that’s all I expect from a good TV listing application. I don’t need more than being able to set up my favorite channels but chúng tôi does much more than that. I’ve explored the app for a few minutes and found out about other cool features. You can rate and recommend shows and channels, write reviews, create email alerts and more.

As if that wasn’t enough, chúng tôi also allows you to browse through movies that are currently playing in theaters around you. You can search by movie title or by theater and even watch movie trailers

Although this first version offers more than I could expect, future developments in the work will bring even more with remote DVR programming, DVD rentals, movie ticket purchases and even the ability to watch full TV shows streamed directly from the source.

Alright, why are you still reading this? Go the App Store and download chúng tôi for free!

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