Monthly Archives: November 2015

Austria’s Largest State Gets 100% of Its Electricity from Renewables

As countries around the world look for eco-friendly and clean energy solutions, one country is leading the way on getting its energy from renewable sources: Austria. Austria is part of the European Union (EU). In recent years, the EU has tasked member nations to reduce their reliance upon fossil fuels and develop alternative, eco-friendly, and renewable energy solutions.

Currently the entire country is receiving 70% of its electricity from such sources, like hydropower, wind power, biomass power, and solar power, with Lower Austria generating 100% of its electricity from all renewable and eco-friendly sources. Lower Austria produces 63% of its electricity from hydropower, 26% from wind power, 9% from biomass power, and 2% from solar power.

One of the reasons Austria is able to produce a large portion of their electricity needs from eco-friendly solutions is, in part, largely due to the Danube River. This river flows through Lower Austria and 9 other countries. The water flowing through the river moves at a fast rate and makes it an ideal electricity generator. In addition, Austria has mountainous areas where the river flows down through several very steep slopes, further increasing the speed of the water flow and increasing electricity production output.

Engineering Notebook

Lower Austria is home to the county’s capital city Vienna and, along with the city’s population, the state currently has a population of 1.6 million people. All 1.6 million people are getting the electricity to charge their portable devices and power their lights, electronics, and other electronic products all from renewable and clean energy sources. Lower Austria no longer relies upon fossil fuels to generate electricity.

Austria currently leads other EU nations in the ability to generate the county’s electricity needs using renewable sources. It is ahead of such countries as Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, and Latvia, which all have ambitious goals of developing environmentally friendly and renewable energy sources. For instance, Sweden has the goal to become the first country in the world to be completely fossil fuel free, and Denmark recently started sharing excess electricity created through its extensive wind power network.

The EU is encouraging member nations to reach an ambitious goal of producing at least 20% of their total energy, not just electricity production, by 2020. In terms of Austria’s total energy production, it is already producing about a third of its total energy needs from renewable sources. Austria is not the only nation already exceeding the EU’s goal. In Norway, the country is already producing two-thirds of its total energy from renewable sources, and has been since 2013. Other EU nations are already well above the 20% goal, including Sweden (over 50%), Denmark (over 27%), Finland (almost 37%), and Latvia (over 37%).

It is hopeful that the efforts being put forth by the EU nations will be implemented in other countries, as new advances in science and technology allow us to improve upon current clean energy solutions, by documenting and sharing those advances in research notebooks, like those available from Scientific Notebook Company. Call us today at 800-537-3028.

Scientific Notebook

Archaeologists Speculate over Possible Secret Hidden in King Tut’s Tomb

A team of archaeologists and scientists have discovered a possible secret that has been hidden in King Tut’s tomb. The secret was accidently discovered when the team was making high resolution scans using infrared thermography to take pictures of the tomb. Originally, the purpose of taking the infrared scans was to use them to build a faux version of the tomb for tourists to experience as part of their visit to the Egyptian Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings.

The scans were later reviewed by British archaeologist Nicolas Reeves in February. What the scans revealed was a change in wall temperatures, with two distinct areas being different from the others along the western and northern walls in the tomb. The scans also revealed fissures on the walls in the same locations as the temperature changes. According to archaeologist Nicholas Reeves, the fissures indicate two hidden doorways that were plastered over, and then painted to hide them.

Laboratory Notebook

Reeves published a paper earlier this year about his findings, and his belief that King Tut’s tomb was originally built for Queen Nefertiti. The scans indicate two differently sized chambers. The smaller chamber is most likely a storeroom within the tomb, while the larger chamber is the perfect size for a queen. Reeves theorizes that, originally, Queen Nefertiti was interred before King Tut. After her interment, the doorway was sealed, plastered, and painted over to make a burial location for the boy king, since there would not have been time to build a pyramid or tomb for Tut.

In addition, some of the painted scenes within King Tut’s chamber are those typically associated with the same physical features of known portrayals of Queen Nefertiti. Further, there were only four rooms initially discovered within the tomb of King Tut. Compared to the tombs of other pharaohs, Tut’s is much smaller by comparison. This leads to speculation that these four rooms are part of a much larger structure with hidden doorways.

If this is, in fact, the hidden burial chamber of Queen Nefertiti, it could well have been saved from tomb robbers. It could potentially contain all of the royal treasures and artifacts originally buried with the queen almost 4,500 years ago. However, the Egyptian minister of antiquities, Mamdouh el-Damaty, does not agree with Reeves’ theory that the hidden chamber is the resting place of Nefertiti, but does agree there are more than likely hidden rooms within King Tut’s tomb.

Currently, the hidden chambers are only theories and speculation. A much more detailed infrared scan of the tomb is required in order to obtain more conclusive data. Additionally, several other experiments will need to be conducted to determine the cause for the temperature differences in the locations on the two walls within the tomb.

In the meantime, archaeologists and scientists will continue to record their findings in research notebooks and continue to perform further tests. For all of your research and scientific notebook needs, contact Scientific Notebook Company at 800-537-3028 to speak to a representative.

Scientific Notebook

NASA Observes Something Coming Out of a Black Hole

You do not need to be a science geek to know that a black hole is supposed to draw in everything around it and suck it into the center. Black holes are interesting, regardless of your interest in the science behind them. They have been featured in science fiction novels and Hollywood movies. However, the way we think about black holes is about to change, as NASA recently observed a supermassive black hole spew something out.

The event was captured through two different space telescopes, including the NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) telescope in Pasadena, Calif. at the California Institute of Technology. The Markarian 335 black hole, a black hole that is 324 million light years away from earth, recently ejected its corona and launched it away, followed by a large pulse of x-ray energy. So what exactly does this mean? Scientists are not entirely sure and are continuing to study the event.

What scientists do know is black holes are black due to the gravitational pull they emit. If something gets close enough to the gravitational pull, nothing can escape from the black hole—not even light. Supermassive black holes, like the Markarian 335, have the strongest gravitational pulls, so it is extremely rare for them to spew objects out.

In addition, scientists know that black holes themselves do not emit any light, yet are surrounded by incandescent disks of glowing light materials. As the disks are pulled on by the gravitational force of the black hole, they emit different kinds of light. Further, scientists know black holes have a corona. The corona is another form of energy, one which gives off radiation and is capable of generating x-rays.

Some scientists say the recently ejected material helps support what they call the lamppost hypothesis model. This model theorizes there are small sources of light, much like lightbulbs in a lamp, which are located above and below the rotation axis of the black hole. As the light materials change from influences on them by the gravitational forces of the black hole, it affects the brightness levels and stability. For instance, in 2007, scientists observed Markarian 335’s brightness level had been reduced by a factor of 30, and it has yet to return to its prior brightness level.

Also interesting is that Markarian 335 has ejected flares in the past. The last one was in 2014. What makes this current ejection even more exciting is that scientists now know what the flares are, from being able to observe the black hole’s corona being ejected. Their next step is to try to determine why it is happening. In addition, with the new data, scientists will be able to conduct further research into Markarian 335’s size, structure, and how black holes function, as well as how they help power some of the brighter objects in our universe.

You can rest assured, scientists will be recording their findings in scientific and research notebooks to have written documentation of their findings. If you require notebooks for science, engineering, laboratory projects, or research projects, feel free to contact Scientific Notebook Company today at 800-537-3028.

Five Halloween Costume Ideas for Science Lovers

Dressing up as a famous scientist, like Albert Einstein, or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, might seem like a great costume idea. Unfortunately, your other science-loving friends may have the same idea. Who really wants to be at a Halloween party where there are numerous clones of the same person? If you want to really stand out and put some “Bazinga!” into your costume this year, then consider the following Halloween costume ideas to get your thought processes flowing.

  1. Schrodinger’s Cat: It is easy to recreate the popular thought experiment by thinking outside the box. All you need is a cardboard box, some face makeup, and an empty bottle. Cut holes at top and bottom of box to slide box over your body. Fashion cat ears from the cut out cardboard of the box. Apply the face makeup to make yourself look like a cat. Last, apply a label to the bottle and write “XXX” on it, or a skull and crossbones to signify poison.
  2. Dark Matter: No one really knows what dark matter looks like. This costume idea gives you the flexibility to dress up pretty much any way you want. You could wear different colored socks, shorts with a dress shirt, and a straw hat. If you want to take the easy way out, simply write “Dark Matter” on a “Hello My Name Is …” name tag and stick it on your shirt.
  3. Phytoplankton: Get some blow-up pool toys and slide these around your body. Decorate the toys using permanent markers or paint in the desired colors, and you are pretty much set. Just remember to dress in the same color as the toys.
  4. Black Hole: Dress in all black and use black face makeup to paint your face. If you want to put a little something more into the costume, use a blow up inner tube and paint in varying shades of oranges, reds, and yellows to create an acceleration disk you can wear around your waist.
  5. Marie Curie: For female science lovers, dress as one of the most famous women scientists of the early 20th Century. All you need is a basic dress that reflects the style worn during this time period, a white lab coat, a scientific notebook, glow sticks, and glow-in-the-dark nail polish and face markup. Put the glow sticks in your pockets and on other areas of the costume to simulate glowing radiation. The glow-in-the-dark nail polish and makeup add the perfect finishing touches. You can even use the nail polish to paint splotches of radioactive isotopes on the outside of the notebook.

Hopefully these Halloween costume ideas have sparked your creative and theoretical thought processes. Feel free to modify these ideas or come up with your own fun and exciting science-inspired costume. If you need a scientific or laboratory notebook to put the finishing touches on your costume, contact Scientific Notebook Company today at 800-537-3028.

Halloween Pumpkin (Clip Path)