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Scientists Built a Genius Device That Generates Electricity ‘Out of Thin Air’

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hey found it buried in the muddy shores of the Potomac River more than three decades ago: a strange “sediment organism” that could do things nobody had ever seen before in bacteria.

This unusual microbe, belonging to the Geobacter genus, was first noted for its ability to produce magnetite in the absence of oxygen, but with time scientists found it could make other things too, like bacterial nanowires that conduct electricity.

For years, researchers have been trying to figure out ways to usefully exploit that natural gift, and they might have just hit pay-dirt with a device they’re calling the Air-gen. According to the team, their device can create electricity out of… well, almost nothing.

“We are literally making electricity out of thin air,” says electrical engineer Jun Yao from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7.”

The claim may sound like an overstatement, but a new study by Yao and his team describes how the air-powered generator can indeed create electricity with nothing but the presence of air around it. It’s all thanks to the electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by Geobacter (G. sulfurreducens, in this instance).

The Air-gen consists of a thin film of the protein nanowires measuring just 7 micrometres thick, positioned between two electrodes, but also exposed to the air.

Because of that exposure, the nanowire film is able to adsorb water vapour that exists in the atmosphere, enabling the device to generate a continuous electrical current conducted between the two electrodes.

The team says the charge is likely created by a moisture gradient that creates a diffusion of protons in the nanowire material.

“This charge diffusion is expected to induce a counterbalancing electrical field or potential analogous to the resting membrane potential in biological systems,” the authors explain in their study.

“A maintained moisture gradient, which is fundamentally different to anything seen in previous systems, explains the continuous voltage output from our nanowire device.”

The discovery was made almost by accident, when Yao noticed devices he was experimenting with were conducting electricity seemingly all by themselves.

“I saw that when the nanowires were contacted with electrodes in a specific way the devices generated a current,” Yao says.

“I found that exposure to atmospheric humidity was essential and that protein nanowires adsorbed water, producing a voltage gradient across the device.”

Previous research has demonstrated hydrovoltaic power generation using other kinds of nanomaterials – such as graphene – but those attempts have largely produced only short bursts of electricity, lasting perhaps only seconds.

By contrast, the Air-gen produces a sustained voltage of around 0.5 volts, with a current density of about 17 microamperes per square centimetre. That’s not much energy, but the team says that connecting multiple devices could generate enough power to charge small devices like smartphones and other personal electronics – all with no waste, and using nothing but ambient humidity (even in regions as dry as the Sahara Desert).

“The ultimate goal is to make large-scale systems,” Yao says, explaining that future efforts could use the technology to power homes via nanowire incorporated into wall paint.

“Once we get to an industrial scale for wire production, I fully expect that we can make large systems that will make a major contribution to sustainable energy production.”

If there is a hold-up to realising this seemingly incredible potential, it’s the limited amount of nanowire G. sulfurreducens produces.

Related research by one of the team – microbiologist Derek Lovley, who first identified Geobacter microbes back in the 1980s – could have a fix for that: genetically engineering other bugs, like E. coli, to perform the same trick in massive supplies.

“We turned E. coli into a protein nanowire factory,” Lovley says.

“With this new scalable process, protein nanowire supply will no longer be a bottleneck to developing these applications.”

The findings are reported in Nature.

Source: https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-generate-electricity-out-of-thin-air-with-device-that-runs-on-humidity

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The Motivator

3 Things To Do Stay Safe On Houseparty App

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Following the novel coronavirus pandemic that has forced many countries across the globe to announce a lockdown, people have been exploring different ways to keep in touch with friends and family.

One of the apps that have come to the rescue for many is the Houseparty app. Houseparty is owned by Epic Games, the company behind popular battle royale game Fortnite.

Houseparty is a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat. On average, users spend approximately 51 minutes a day on the app in a group or one-on-one chats.

Recently, accusations surfaced on social media that the platform has led to other online accounts being hacked. Many uses alleged that their other online accounts including NetflixeBayInstagram and Spotify were being hacked thanks to the Houseparty app.

When signing up to Houseparty, users are able identify friends using phone contacts, as well as connect to Facebook and Snapchat to find and invite people on the platform.

The thing that really sets Houseparty apart from other apps is hinted at by its name. Anyone who’s friends with someone else in a chat can join – meaning that you’re likely to run into strangers – and it is not necessarily easy to lurk without being noticed.

Reacting to the hacking allegations, Houseparty put out a tweet to users saying all accounts are safe and that it does not collect passwords for other sites.

In a statement, the service said it has found “no evidence” of such a breach.

“We’ve found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts,” a spokeswoman said.

“As a general rule, we suggest all users choose strong passwords when creating online accounts on any platform.

“Use a unique password for each account, and use a password generator or password manager to keep track of passwords, rather than using passwords that are short and simple.”

In case you are one of those using Houseparty to stay social during this period of the coronavirus lockdown.

Lock sensitive chats
You are instantly on and live the moment you open your Houseparty app. With the way the app is structured, it means that anyone can join your for a conversation. The idea is like wandering into a houseparty and trying to see who is willing to have a chat. This same structure applies to everyone you are chatting with too so you could be in a serious conversation and without changes, another friend opts into that chat too.

To avoid this, the first thing you should note is to be careful of who you add on the app. Secondly, it is important to lock any conversation that you don’t want unexpected people jumping into. You can do this by clicking the little lock icon at the bottom of the chat once everyone you want to be online is available, but you need to remember to do that every time.

Turn off your notifications
As stated earlier, the minute you log on the app, Houseparty sends out a notification that you are online. As a user of Houseparty, you will both be sent plenty of notifications and have plenty of notifications sent about you and both can be very annoying. You can control your notifications by opening the app and clicking the smiley face in the corner of the screen – there, you’ll see the option to “Manage Notificatications”, and clicking that gives you the ability to stop them being sent when you open the app or being sent to you when somebody else does the same.

Another option to explore is to turn off notifications completely. You do this on both Android and iOS, but that will mean that you won’t even receive a notification if someone calls you, and you’ll still be sending out notifications to other people, too.

You can also change these settings on a per-person basis. If you scroll down a little on the notifications screen, you’ll see the option to “mute” or “ghost” any given person. Ghosting them means that they won’t see when you come online while muting somebody means you won’t get notifications when they come online.

Sneak in
Many people are unaware of this feature but one of the most useful features on Houseparty is that you can choose to sneak in. If you hold down the app icon, you’ll get the option to “sneak in” to Houseparty, meaning that you’ll open it up and be on the app without sending a notification to everyone.

Source: https://guardian.ng/life/life-features/3-settings-to-stay-safe-on-houseparty-app-during-coronavirus-lockdown/

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Minecraft just unlocked free education content as a COVID-19 distraction

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With the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of things have ground to a halt, including education in some places. Schools in many regions of the world are closed until the worst of the outbreak is over, with some universities and high schools switching to online instruction. In order to help keep the wheels of education turning, Mojang and Microsoft have launched a free collection of educational content for Minecraft on the Minecraft Marketplace.

“Educators around the world are doing everything they can to provide digital lessons for the half a billion students who are out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mojang’s Sofia Dankis wrote on the Minecraft blog today. “This is not an easy task and we want to do our part to help keep young minds sharp and stimulated.”

Mojang has uploaded some lessons from Minecraft: Education Edition to the Minecraft Marketplace, which are free to download for everyone who owns the Bedrock Edition of the game (sorry, Java players). The lessons from the Minecraft team include the International Space Station and The Human Eye, but those Mojang-crafted missions make up only a small part of what’s on offer.

That’s because Mojang has also made 10 lessons from Marketplace community creators free as part of this promotion. The lessons give players the chance to explore Greek history, marine biology, bees, and even fractals, so this collection of 12 lessons covers a pretty wide range of topics.

All of them are free to download from the Marketplace until June 30th, 2020, giving you a little over three months to claim them. The full list of lessons can be viewed over on the Marketplace, and they’re compatible with any device that runs the Bedrock Edition of the game.

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/minecraft-just-unlocked-free-education-content-as-a-covid-19-distraction-24614232/

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FIFA 20 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2020: Which one should I get?

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The two biggest football games have plenty of unique features and modes. What are the differences between them?

Football fans love debating between two things, whether it is Messi vs Ronaldo or pro-VAR vs anti-VAR, there will always be people who come down on one side or the other.

The FIFA vs Pro Evolution Soccer debate has lasted decades and despite FIFA’s dominance in the number of sales category, many hardcore PES fans believe that their game is the superior one.

Both FIFA 20 and PES 2020 are excellent games in their own right, but what are the differences between the two?

Contents

  1. FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Licenses
  2. FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Career Mode and Master League
  3. FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Ultimate Team and My Club
  4. FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Best players
  5. FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Icons and Legends
  6. FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Graphics
  7. FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Gameplay

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Licenses

The main criticism FIFA fans have for any version of Pro Evolution Soccer is the lack of licensed teams in the game.

EA Sports has long had the rights to use the real names of the vast majority of teams, but Konami recently acquired exclusive rights to Juventus, meaning that Italy’s most successful team are called Piemonte Calcio in FIFA 20. From over 700 teams in 37 leagues in the game, only Juventus are unlicensed. Every other team has their correct name, kits and club crest.

In PES 2020, 19 of the 24 leagues are fully licensed, including Ligue 1 and Serie A, but only Arsenal and Manchester United from the Premier League use their real names. Manchester City are called Manchester Blue in PES 2020 and while Barcelona are licensed, Real Madrid are not. Los Blancos are named Madrid Chamartin B, with the rest of La Liga all having fake names.

PES 2020 allows you to edit club names, badges and kits. These edits can also be saved as options files which can be exported and imported. Fan sites such as PES World have made these available for download, meaning you can download these and transfer them to your console via a USB device.

FIFA 20 also has exclusive rights to the Champions League and Europa League, and recently added both CONMEBOL club competitions, the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, complete with logos, stadiums and broadcast packages.

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Career Mode and Master League

For most players, Career Mode and Master League are very similar game modes as you take control of a club, managing key aspects such as transfers, contracts, scouting and playing the games themselves. In PES 2020, Master League added new cutscenes like those in FIFA 20 for signing players and negotiating contracts.

Master League offers the option of playing as a legendary manager such as Diego Maradona or Johan Cruyff rather than using your own custom avatar. As well as taking charge as a manager, Career Mode also lets you start as a specific player, seeing your career progress by playing matches, improving your rating and earning moves to better clubs. 

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Ultimate Team and My Club

The most popular modes in both games are Ultimate Team and My Club.

These game modes allow you to build your dream squads, with FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) focused on opening packs and trading on the transfer market and My Club giving you easier access to super players, but the challenge lies in making sure you can earn enough GP to keep them active in your squad.

My Club is much more straightforward than FUT, as it does not have mechanics you need to learn like chemistry and players are not set to just one assigned position. As a result, it is much easier to build a team with both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in PES 2020 than it is in FIFA 20.  

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Best players

With both Barcelona and Juventus licensed in PES 2020, the game’s best players are both Messi and Ronaldo, with the pair each receiving an overall score of 94.

FIFA 20 places Barcelona’s Messi as the best player in the game with a 94 rating and Piemonte Calcio’s Ronaldo in second with a score of 93.

These are the 10 best players in the world using the combined ratings from both games:

PlayerFIFA 20 RatingPES 2020 Rating
Lionel Messi9494
Cristiano Ronaldo9394
Neymar9292
Eden Hazard9191
Kevin De Bruyne9190
Jan Oblak9190
Virgil van Dijk9091
Mohamed Salah9090
Sergio Aguero8991
Luis Suarez8991

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Icons and Legends

Both FIFA 20 and PES 2020 contain notable former players, known as ICONs in FIFA 20 and Legends in PES 2020.

Some of these players are specific to one game or the other, but a few such as Diego Maradona, Paolo Maldini and Lothar Matthaus are included in both games.

Brazilian duo Pele and Ronaldo are FIFA 20 ICONs only, while Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and England‘s David Beckham are exclusive to PES 2020.

Here is the complete list of every Icon and Legend in FIFA 20 and PES 2020.

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Graphics

One of the biggest draws in PES 2020 has been their attention to detail regarding graphics. The players look realistic and the animations are smooth, which adds to the real-life feel of the game.

FIFA 20’s extensive licensing means they have broadcast packages for all of Europe’s top leagues and competitions, which means playing a match between two Premier League teams looks and feels like a real Premier League game.

Both games use 3D scanning to add real faces, with each adding new player scans throughout the season to update their database and make their games look more realistic.

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Gameplay

Gameplay is a big difference between FIFA 20 and PES 2020.

Some players like the more arcade-like feel of FIFA, which is easier to pick up and play for newcomers to the game. Matches are fast and exciting but can sometimes end as high-scoring encounters, unlike PES’s more patient approach.

PES 2020 aims to reflect real-life football with its gameplay, meaning you will experience a lot more scoreless draws while playing it than you would in FIFA 20.

Both games have their critics, who prefer one style to the other, so it is best to give both a try to see which game’s play style suits best.

Source: https://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/fifa-20-vs-pro-evolution-soccer-2020-which-one-should-i-get/1d81v9c1n7b5h15s3i1uhtwu5f

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