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Rooftop panels could bring more light to shady alleyways

Everyone knows that downtown alleyways are dark at night, but even in the daytime, shadows cast by the tall buildings on either side can make them quite gloomy. While that might not matter much for little-used alleys, it's certainly a factor in cities where people live and work in them. That's why researchers from Egypt's Ain Shams University are developing a new type of panel that diverts sunlight from buildings' roofs down into the alleyways beside them. Read More

Space

JPL develops space flowers to help find Earth-like planets

Apparently NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, thinks that what space exploration in the 21st century needs is spacecraft that are a bit more botanical. The center has released a video showing off its starshade spacecraft that opens up like a blossom. Bearing a resemblance to a cosmic sunflower, it’s designed to help astronomers to directly study exoplanets, including taking the first actual pictures of planets beyond our Solar System.Read More

Science

Solar cell material that can absorb light during the day and emit light at night

When looking for the best materials with which to construct a solar cell, the obvious preference is for one that absorbs light, not emits it. But researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a material that does both. Amongst a variety of potential applications, the researchers say the material, Perovskite, opens up the possibility of mobile devices with displays that double as solar cells.Read More

Architecture

Cool, modern and flood-proof: New house on the Thames for a family of 10

A new house on the Thames in London not only accommodates a family of 10, but offers special flood-prevention measures and a clever scheme for taking in natural light while maintaining privacy. It’s called the Garden House, as it sits in a sunken garden courtyard surrounded by open terrace and greenery. But its real achievements are harder to guess. The sculptural volumes contain a five-bedroom house; the glamorous-looking courtyard is actually a high-sided watertight concrete container, and the blank upper walls conceal light wells that cleverly let in sunlight without overlooking the neighbors. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Discovery of body clock reset mechanism could help shift workers and jetsetters

The human body clock is the curse of any shift worker or traveler arriving in a new time zone. Although one's body clock can be adjusted by external cues, such as light – a factor that devices such as the Re-Timer and Litebook are designed take advantage of – the adjustment period can vary significantly for different people. Now researchers have discovered the mechanism that controls how easily such adjustments can be made.Read More

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