Integrity
Write
Loading...
DANIEL CLERY

DANIEL CLERY

1 year ago

Can space-based solar power solve Earth's energy problems?

More on Science

Will Lockett

Will Lockett

1 year ago

Thanks to a recent development, solar energy may prove to be the best energy source.

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

Perovskite solar cells will revolutionize everything.

Humanity is in a climatic Armageddon. Our widespread ecological crimes of the previous century are catching up with us, and planet-scale karma threatens everyone. We must adjust to new technologies and lifestyles to avoid this fate. Even solar power, a renewable energy source, has climate problems. A recent discovery could boost solar power's eco-friendliness and affordability. Perovskite solar cells are amazing.

Perovskite is a silicon-like semiconductor. Semiconductors are used to make computer chips, LEDs, camera sensors, and solar cells. Silicon makes sturdy and long-lasting solar cells, thus it's used in most modern solar panels.

Perovskite solar cells are far better. First, they're easy to make at room temperature, unlike silicon cells, which require long, intricate baking processes. This makes perovskite cells cheaper to make and reduces their carbon footprint. Perovskite cells are efficient. Most silicon panel solar farms are 18% efficient, meaning 18% of solar radiation energy is transformed into electricity. Perovskite cells are 25% efficient, making them 38% more efficient than silicon.

However, perovskite cells are nowhere near as durable. A normal silicon panel will lose efficiency after 20 years. The first perovskite cells were ineffective since they lasted barely minutes.

Recent research from Princeton shows that perovskite cells can endure 30 years. The cells kept their efficiency, therefore no sacrifices were made.

No electrical or chemical engineer here, thus I can't explain how they did it. But strangely, the team said longevity isn't the big deal. In the next years, perovskite panels will become longer-lasting. How do you test a panel if you only have a month or two? This breakthrough technique needs a uniform method to estimate perovskite life expectancy fast. The study's key milestone was establishing a standard procedure.

Lab-based advanced aging tests are their solution. Perovskite cells decay faster at higher temperatures, so scientists can extrapolate from that. The test heated the panel to 110 degrees and waited for its output to reduce by 20%. Their panel lasted 2,100 hours (87.5 days) before a 20% decline.

They did some math to extrapolate this data and figure out how long the panel would have lasted in different climates, and were shocked to find it would last 30 years in Princeton. This made perovskite panels as durable as silicon panels. This panel could theoretically be sold today.

This technology will soon allow these brilliant panels to be released into the wild. This technology could be commercially viable in ten, maybe five years.

Solar power will be the best once it does. Solar power is cheap and low-carbon. Perovskite is the cheapest renewable energy source if we switch to it. Solar panel manufacturing's carbon footprint will also drop.

Perovskites' impact goes beyond cost and carbon. Silicon panels require harmful mining and contain toxic elements (cadmium). Perovskite panels don't require intense mining or horrible materials, making their production and expiration more eco-friendly.

Solar power destroys habitat. Massive solar farms could reduce biodiversity and disrupt local ecology by destroying vital habitats. Perovskite cells are more efficient, so they can shrink a solar farm while maintaining energy output. This reduces land requirements, making perovskite solar power cheaper, and could reduce solar's environmental impact.

Perovskite solar power is scalable and environmentally friendly. Princeton scientists will speed up the development and rollout of this energy.

Why bother with fusion, fast reactors, SMRs, or traditional nuclear power? We're close to developing a nearly perfect environmentally friendly power source, and we have the tools and systems to do so quickly. It's also affordable, so we can adopt it quickly and let the developing world use it to grow. Even I struggle to justify spending billions on fusion when a great, cheap technology outperforms it. Perovskite's eco-credentials and cost advantages could save the world and power humanity's future.

Michael Hunter, MD

Michael Hunter, MD

1 year ago

5 Drugs That May Increase Your Risk of Dementia

Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

While our genes can't be changed easily, you can avoid some dementia risk factors. Today we discuss dementia and five drugs that may increase risk.

Memory loss appears to come with age, but we're not talking about forgetfulness. Sometimes losing your car keys isn't an indication of dementia. Dementia impairs the capacity to think, remember, or make judgments. Dementia hinders daily tasks.

Alzheimers is the most common dementia. Dementia is not normal aging, unlike forgetfulness. Aging increases the risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias. A family history of the illness increases your risk, according to the Mayo Clinic (USA).

Given that our genes are difficult to change (I won't get into epigenetics), what are some avoidable dementia risk factors? Certain drugs may cause cognitive deterioration.

Today we look at four drugs that may cause cognitive decline.

Dementia and benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine sedatives increase brain GABA levels. Example benzodiazepines:

  • Diazepam (Valium) (Valium)

  • Alprazolam (Xanax) (Xanax)

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin) (Klonopin)

Addiction and overdose are benzodiazepine risks. Yes! These medications don't raise dementia risk.

USC study: Benzodiazepines don't increase dementia risk in older adults.

Benzodiazepines can produce short- and long-term amnesia. This memory loss hinders memory formation. Extreme cases can permanently impair learning and memory. Anterograde amnesia is uncommon.

2. Statins and dementia

Statins reduce cholesterol. They prevent a cholesterol-making chemical. Examples:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor) (Lipitor)

  • Fluvastatin (Lescol XL) (Lescol XL)

  • Lovastatin (Altoprev) (Altoprev)

  • Pitavastatin (Livalo, Zypitamag) (Livalo, Zypitamag)

  • Pravastatin (Pravachol) (Pravachol)

  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor, Ezallor) (Crestor, Ezallor)

  • Simvastatin (Zocor) (Zocor)

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

This finding is contentious. Harvard's Brigham and Womens Hospital's Dr. Joann Manson says:

“I think that the relationship between statins and cognitive function remains controversial. There’s still not a clear conclusion whether they help to prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, have neutral effects, or increase risk.”

This one's off the dementia list.

3. Dementia and anticholinergic drugs

Anticholinergic drugs treat many conditions, including urine incontinence. Drugs inhibit acetylcholine (a brain chemical that helps send messages between cells). Acetylcholine blockers cause drowsiness, disorientation, and memory loss.

First-generation antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and overactive bladder antimuscarinics are common anticholinergics among the elderly.

Anticholinergic drugs may cause dementia. One study found that taking anticholinergics for three years or more increased the risk of dementia by 1.54 times compared to three months or less. After stopping the medicine, the danger may continue.

4. Drugs for Parkinson's disease and dementia

Cleveland Clinic (USA) on Parkinson's:

Parkinson's disease causes age-related brain degeneration. It causes delayed movements, tremors, and balance issues. Some are inherited, but most are unknown. There are various treatment options, but no cure.

Parkinson's medications can cause memory loss, confusion, delusions, and obsessive behaviors. The drug's effects on dopamine cause these issues.

A 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study found powerful anticholinergic medications enhance dementia risk.

Those who took anticholinergics had a 1.5 times higher chance of dementia. Individuals taking antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, overactive bladder drugs, and anti-epileptic drugs had the greatest risk of dementia.

Anticholinergic medicines can lessen Parkinson's-related tremors, but they slow cognitive ability. Anticholinergics can cause disorientation and hallucinations in those over 70.

Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

5. Antiepileptic drugs and dementia

The risk of dementia from anti-seizure drugs varies with drugs. Levetiracetam (Keppra) improves Alzheimer's cognition.

One study linked different anti-seizure medications to dementia. Anti-epileptic medicines increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 1.15 times in the Finnish sample and 1.3 times in the German population. Depakote, Topamax are drugs.

Sara_Mednick

Sara_Mednick

1 year ago

Since I'm a scientist, I oppose biohacking

Understanding your own energy depletion and restoration is how to truly optimize

Photo: Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Hack has meant many bad things for centuries. In the 1800s, a hack was a meager horse used to transport goods.

Modern usage describes a butcher or ax murderer's cleaver chop. The 1980s programming boom distinguished elegant code from "hacks". Both got you to your goal, but the latter made any programmer cringe and mutter about changing the code. From this emerged the hacker trope, the friendless anti-villain living in a murky hovel lit by the computer monitor, eating junk food and breaking into databases to highlight security system failures or steal hotdog money.

Remember the 1995 movie, Hackers, in which a bunch of super cool programmers (said no one ever) get caught up in a plot to destroy the world and only teenybopper Angelina Jolie and her punk rock gang of nerd-bots can use their lightening quick typing skills to save the world? Remember public phones?

Now, start-a-billion-dollar-business-from-your-garage types have shifted their sights from app development to DIY biology, coining the term "bio-hack". This is a required keyword and meta tag for every fitness-related podcast, book, conference, app, or device.

Bio-hacking involves bypassing your body and mind's security systems to achieve a goal. Many biohackers' initial goals were reasonable, like lowering blood pressure and weight. Encouraged by their own progress, self-determination, and seemingly exquisite control of their biology, they aimed to outsmart aging and death to live 180 to 1000 years (summarized well in this vox.com article).

With this grandiose north star, the hunt for novel supplements and genetic engineering began.

Companies selling do-it-yourself biological manipulations cite lab studies in mice as proof of their safety and success in reversing age-related diseases or promoting longevity in humans (the goal changes depending on whether a company is talking to the federal government or private donors).

The FDA is slower than science, they say. Why not alter your biochemistry by buying pills online, editing your DNA with a CRISPR kit, or using a sauna delivered to your home? How about a microchip or electrical stimulator?

What could go wrong?


I'm not the neo-police, making citizen's arrests every time someone introduces a new plumbing gadget or extrapolates from animal research on resveratrol or catechins that we should drink more red wine or eat more chocolate. As a scientist who's spent her career asking, "Can we get better?" I've come to view bio-hacking as misguided, profit-driven, and counterproductive to its followers' goals.

We're creatures of nature. Despite all the new gadgets and bio-hacks, we still use Roman plumbing technology, and the best way to stay fit, sharp, and happy is to follow a recipe passed down since the beginning of time. Bacteria, plants, and all natural beings are rhythmic, with alternating periods of high activity and dormancy, whether measured in seconds, hours, days, or seasons. Nature repeats successful patterns.

During the Upstate, every cell in your body is naturally primed and pumped full of glycogen and ATP (your cells' energy currencies), as well as cortisol, which supports your muscles, heart, metabolism, cognitive prowess, emotional regulation, and general "get 'er done" attitude. This big energy release depletes your batteries and requires the Downstate, when your subsystems recharge at the cellular level.

Downstates are when you give your heart a break from pumping nutrient-rich blood through your body; when you give your metabolism a break from inflammation, oxidative stress, and sympathetic arousal caused by eating fast food — or just eating too fast; or when you give your mind a chance to wander, think bigger thoughts, and come up with new creative solutions. When you're responding to notifications, emails, and fires, you can't relax.

Every biological plant and animal is regulated by rhythms of energy-depleting Upstate and energy-restoring Downstates.

Downstates aren't just for consistently recharging your battery. By spending time in the Downstate, your body and brain get extra energy and nutrients, allowing you to grow smarter, faster, stronger, and more self-regulated. This state supports half-marathon training, exam prep, and mediation. As we age, spending more time in the Downstate is key to mental and physical health, well-being, and longevity.

When you prioritize energy-demanding activities during Upstate periods and energy-replenishing activities during Downstate periods, all your subsystems, including cardiovascular, metabolic, muscular, cognitive, and emotional, hum along at their optimal settings. When you synchronize the Upstates and Downstates of these individual rhythms, their functioning improves. A hard workout causes autonomic stress, which triggers Downstate recovery.

This zig-zag trajectory of performance improvement illustrates that getting better at anything in life isn’t a straight shot. The close-up box shows how prioritizing Downstate recovery after an Upstate exertion (e.g., hard workout) leads to RECOVERYPLUS. Image from The Power of the Downstate by Sara C. Mednick PhD.

By choosing the right timing and type of exercise during the day, you can ensure a deeper recovery and greater readiness for the next workout by working with your natural rhythms and strengthening your autonomic and sleep Downstates.

Morning cardio workouts increase deep sleep compared to afternoon workouts. Timing and type of meals determine when your sleep hormone melatonin is released, ushering in sleep.

Rhythm isn't a hack. It's not a way to cheat the system or the boss. Nature has honed its optimization wisdom over trillions of days and nights. Stop looking for quick fixes. You're a whole system made of smaller subsystems that must work together to function well. No one pill or subsystem will make it all work. Understanding and coordinating your rhythms is free, easy, and only benefits you.

Dr. Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Irvine and author of The Power of the Downstate (HachetteGO)

You might also like

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

1 year ago

Trading Volume on OpenSea Drops by 99% as the NFT Boom Comes to an End

Wasn't that a get-rich-quick scheme?

Bored Ape, edited by author

OpenSea processed $2.7 billion in NFT transactions in May 2021.

Fueled by a crypto bull run, rumors of unfathomable riches, and FOMO, Bored Apes, Crypto Punks, and other JPEG-format trash projects flew off the virtual shelves, snatched up by retail investors and celebrities alike.

Over a year later, those shelves are overflowing and warehouses are backlogged. Since March, I've been writing less. In May and June, the bubble was close to bursting.

Apparently, the boom has finally peaked.

This bubble has punctured, and deflation has begun. On Aug. 28, OpenSea processed $9.34 million.

From that euphoric high of $2.7 billion, $9.34 million represents a spectacular decline of 99%.

OpenSea contradicts the data. A trading platform spokeswoman stated the comparison is unfair because it compares the site's highest and lowest trading days. They're the perfect two data points to assess the drop. OpenSea chooses to use ETH volume measures, which ignore crypto's shifting price. Since January 2022, monthly ETH volume has dropped 140%, according to Dune.

Unconvincing counterargument.

Further OpenSea indicators point to declining NFT demand:

  • Since January 2022, daily user visits have decreased by 50%.

  • Daily transactions have decreased by 50% since the beginning of the year in the same manner.

Off-platform, the floor price of Bored Apes has dropped from 145 ETH to 77 ETH. (At $4,800, a reduction from $700,000 to $370,000). Google search data shows waning popular interest.

Data: Google Trends

It is a trend that will soon vanish, just like laser eyes.

NFTs haven't moved since the new year. Eminem and Snoop Dogg can utilize their apes in music videos or as 3D visuals to perform at the VMAs, but the reality is that NFTs have lost their public appeal and the market is trying to regain its footing.

They've lost popularity because?

Breaking records. The technology still lacks genuine use cases a year and a half after being popular.

They're pricey prestige symbols that have made a few people rich through cunning timing or less-than-savory scams or rug pulling. Over $10.5 billion has been taken through frauds, most of which are NFT enterprises promising to be the next Bored Apes, according to Web3 is going wonderfully. As the market falls, many ordinary investors realize they purchased into a self-fulfilling ecosystem that's halted. Many NFTs are sold between owner-held accounts to boost their price, data suggests. Most projects rely on social media excitement to debut with a high price before the first owners sell and chuckle to the bank. When they don't, the initiative fails, leaving investors high and dry.

NFTs are fading like laser eyes. Most people pushing the technology don't believe in it or the future it may bring. No, they just need a Kool-Aid-drunk buyer.

Everybody wins. When your JPEGs are worth 99% less than when you bought them, you've lost.

When demand reaches zero, many will lose.

Jay Peters

Jay Peters

2 years ago

Apple AR/VR heaset

Apple is said to have opted for a standalone AR/VR headset over a more powerful tethered model.
It has had a tumultuous history.

Apple's alleged mixed reality headset appears to be the worst-kept secret in tech, and a fresh story from The Information is jam-packed with details regarding the device's rocky development.

Apple's decision to use a separate headgear is one of the most notable aspects of the story. Apple had yet to determine whether to pursue a more powerful VR headset that would be linked with a base station or a standalone headset. According to The Information, Apple officials chose the standalone product over the version with the base station, which had a processor that later arrived as the M1 Ultra. In 2020, Bloomberg published similar information.

That decision appears to have had a long-term impact on the headset's development. "The device's many processors had already been in development for several years by the time the choice was taken, making it impossible to go back to the drawing board and construct, say, a single chip to handle all the headset's responsibilities," The Information stated. "Other difficulties, such as putting 14 cameras on the headset, have given hardware and algorithm engineers stress."

Jony Ive remained to consult on the project's design even after his official departure from Apple, according to the story. Ive "prefers" a wearable battery, such as that offered by Magic Leap. Other prototypes, according to The Information, placed the battery in the headset's headband, and it's unknown which will be used in the final design.

The headset was purportedly shown to Apple's board of directors last week, indicating that a public unveiling is imminent. However, it is possible that it will not be introduced until later this year, and it may not hit shop shelves until 2023, so we may have to wait a bit to try it.
For further down the line, Apple is working on a pair of AR spectacles that appear like Ray-Ban wayfarer sunglasses, but according to The Information, they're "still several years away from release." (I'm interested to see how they compare to Meta and Ray-Bans' true wayfarer-style glasses.)

Sea Launch

Sea Launch

2 years ago

A guide to NFT pre-sales and whitelists

Before we dig through NFT whitelists and pre-sales, if you know absolutely nothing about NFTs, check our NFT Glossary.

What are pre-sales and whitelists on NFTs?

An NFT pre-sale, as the name implies, allows community members or early supporters of an NFT project to mint before the public, usually via a whitelist or mint pass.

Coin collectors can use mint passes to claim NFTs during the public sale. Because the mint pass is executed by “burning” an NFT into a specific crypto wallet, the collector is not concerned about gas price spikes.

A whitelist is used to approve a crypto wallet address for an NFT pre-sale. In a similar way to an early access list, it guarantees a certain number of crypto wallets can mint one (or more) NFT.

New NFT projects can do a pre-sale without a whitelist, but whitelists are good practice to avoid gas wars and a fair shot at minting an NFT before launching in competitive NFT marketplaces like Opensea, Magic Eden, or CNFT.

Should NFT projects do pre-sales or whitelists? 👇

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelist for NFT creators:

Time the market and gain traction.

Pre-sale or whitelists can help NFT projects gauge interest early on.

Whitelist spots filling up quickly is usually a sign of a successful launch, though it does not guarantee NFT longevity (more on that later). Also, full whitelists create FOMO and momentum for the public sale among non-whitelisted NFT collectors.

If whitelist signups are low or slow, projects may need to work on their vision, community, or product. Or the market is in a bear cycle. In either case, it aids NFT projects in market timing.

Reward the early NFT Community members.

Pre-sale and whitelists can help NFT creators reward early supporters.

First, by splitting the minting process into two phases, early adopters get a chance to mint one or more NFTs from their collection at a discounted or even free price.

Did you know that BAYC started at 0.08 eth each? A serum that allowed you to mint a Mutant Ape has become as valuable as the original BAYC.

(2) Whitelists encourage early supporters to help build a project's community in exchange for a slot or status. If you invite 10 people to the NFT Discord community, you get a better ranking or even a whitelist spot.

Pre-sale and whitelisting have become popular ways for new projects to grow their communities and secure future buyers.

Prevent gas wars.

Most new NFTs are created on the Ethereum blockchain, which has the highest transaction fees (also known as gas) (Solana, Cardano, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, etc).

An NFT public sale is a gas war when a large number of NFT collectors (or bots) try to mint an NFT at the same time.

Competing collectors are willing to pay higher gas fees to prioritize their transaction and out-price others when upcoming NFT projects are hyped and very popular.

Pre-sales and whitelisting prevent gas wars by breaking the minting process into smaller batches of members or season launches.

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelists for NFT collectors:

How do I get on an NFT whitelist?

  1. Popular NFT collections act as a launchpad for other new or hyped NFT collections.

Example: Interfaces NFTs gives out 100 whitelist spots to Deadfellaz NFTs holders. Both NFT projects win. Interfaces benefit from Deadfellaz's success and brand equity.

In this case, to get whitelisted NFT collectors need to hold that specific NFT that is acting like a launchpad.

  1. A NFT studio or collection that launches a new NFT project and rewards previous NFT holders with whitelist spots or pre-sale access.

The whitelist requires previous NFT holders or community members.

NFT Alpha Groups are closed, small, tight-knit Discord servers where members share whitelist spots or giveaways from upcoming NFTs.

The benefit of being in an alpha group is getting information about new NFTs first and getting in on pre-sale/whitelist before everyone else.

There are some entry barriers to alpha groups, but if you're active in the NFT community, you'll eventually bump into, be invited to, or form one.

  1. A whitelist spot is awarded to members of an NFT community who are the most active and engaged.

This participation reward is the most democratic. To get a chance, collectors must work hard and play to their strengths.

Whitelisting participation examples:

  • Raffle, games and contest: NFT Community raffles, games, and contests. To get a whitelist spot, invite 10 people to X NFT Discord community.
  • Fan art: To reward those who add value and grow the community by whitelisting the best fan art and/or artists is only natural.
  • Giveaways: Lucky number crypto wallet giveaways promoted by an NFT community. To grow their communities and for lucky collectors, NFT projects often offer free NFT.
  • Activate your voice in the NFT Discord Community. Use voice channels to get NFT teams' attention and possibly get whitelisted.

The advantage of whitelists or NFT pre-sales.

Chainalysis's NFT stats quote is the best answer:

“Whitelisting isn’t just some nominal reward — it translates to dramatically better investing results. OpenSea data shows that users who make the whitelist and later sell their newly-minted NFT gain a profit 75.7% of the time, versus just 20.8% for users who do so without being whitelisted. Not only that, but the data suggests it’s nearly impossible to achieve outsized returns on minting purchases without being whitelisted.” Full report here.

Sure, it's not all about cash. However, any NFT collector should feel secure in their investment by owning a piece of a valuable and thriving NFT project. These stats help collectors understand that getting in early on an NFT project (via whitelist or pre-sale) will yield a better and larger return.

The downsides of pre-sales & whitelists for NFT creators.

Pre-sales and whitelist can cause issues for NFT creators and collectors.

NFT flippers

NFT collectors who only want to profit from early minting (pre-sale) or low mint cost (via whitelist). To sell the NFT in a secondary market like Opensea or Solanart, flippers go after the discounted price.

For example, a 1000 Solana NFT collection allows 100 people to mint 1 Solana NFT at 0.25 SOL. The public sale price for the remaining 900 NFTs is 1 SOL. If an NFT collector sells their discounted NFT for 0.5 SOL, the secondary market floor price is below the public mint.

This may deter potential NFT collectors. Furthermore, without a cap in the pre-sale minting phase, flippers can get as many NFTs as possible to sell for a profit, dumping them in secondary markets and driving down the floor price.

Hijacking NFT sites, communities, and pre-sales phase

People try to scam the NFT team and their community by creating oddly similar but fake websites, whitelist links, or NFT's Discord channel.

Established and new NFT projects must be vigilant to always make sure their communities know which are the official links, how a whitelist or pre-sale rules and how the team will contact (or not) community members.

Another way to avoid the scams around the pre-sale phase, NFT projects opt to create a separate mint contract for the whitelisted crypto wallets and then another for the public sale phase.

Scam NFT projects

We've seen a lot of mid-mint or post-launch rug pulls, indicating that some bad NFT projects are trying to scam NFT communities and marketplaces for quick profit. What happened to Magic Eden's launchpad recently will help you understand the scam.

We discussed the benefits and drawbacks of NFT pre-sales and whitelists for both projects and collectors. 

Finally, some practical tools and tips for finding new NFTs 👇

Tools & resources to find new NFT on pre-sale or to get on a whitelist:

In order to never miss an update, important pre-sale dates, or a giveaway, create a Tweetdeck or Tweeten Twitter dashboard with hyped NFT project pages, hashtags ( #NFTGiveaways , #NFTCommunity), or big NFT influencers.

Search for upcoming NFT launches that have been vetted by the marketplace and try to get whitelisted before the public launch.

Save-timing discovery platforms like sealaunch.xyz for NFT pre-sales and upcoming launches. How can we help 100x NFT collectors get projects? A project's official social media links, description, pre-sale or public sale dates, price and supply. We're also working with Dune on NFT data analysis to help NFT collectors make better decisions.

Don't invest what you can't afford to lose because a) the project may fail or become rugged. Find NFTs projects that you want to be a part of and support.

Read original post here