A colleague of mine caught my curiosity when she told me of an article she read about a material that has been created which is blacker than black. So I went digging for it. Now before you judge this as just some tech-geek sciencey stuff you’d rather pass on reading, give me a moment to get to my point. It’s actually quite political. In a way.
Scientists at Rice University and RPI have created a thin, nanotube-laden coating that they say is the darkest material ever made by man. Radiation essentially gets lost in a miniature wilderness of carbon nanotubes that lets light in, then traps it. The coating absorbs 99.9 percent of incoming light; the previous best measured around 99.84 percent.
While they have applied to the Guinness organization for recognition, the work isn’t just about records. A material that efficiently absorbs so much radiation could improve solar power technology and other devices. The work is detailed in a paper in the journal Nano Letters. [source]
Now here’s where it gets interesting…
We told you about a new ultra-black material back in January and guess who was the first group to come knocking on the researchers’ door? The military. It seems military officials are interested in the super-black stuff to help make radar-shedding B-2 stealth bombers even more difficult to spot.
…However, project leader Shawn Yu-Lin is quick to point out that the new black has plenty of potential applications. It could boost the efficiency of today’s solar panels, which are coated with conventional black paint that reflects more than five percent of incoming light. Or a telescope barrel lined with the material could absorb specks of scattered light to provide a darker background against which to spot faint, distant stars. And let’s not forget about 007’s tux. [source]
It always seems that whenever human beings create or invent something, our darkest natures always interfere to utilize it for bad. It’s kind of like Star Wars where “the force” can be used for good or for bad (the dark side). We split the atom; we created the deadliest weapon on Earth. Now we’ve invented something that can actually harness the power of the Sun on a much larger scale than ever before, perhaps making solar energy all the more credible as a viable and sustainable alternative source of energy, and our first instinct is to use this same technology, this same science, to create better weapons of mass destruction.
I use “we” and “us” in the collective sense of the word. The human race “us”; the human race “we”. Because politics aside we are all held accountable in this world for what it is we do; what it is we create, whether in this life or the next one; whether you believe there is one or not.
It seems as the human race advances into the information age our desire to succumb to our darkest and blackest of instincts to do harm, rather than do good, will continue to lead us down that path of self-destruction.
There may be nothing “you”, or “I”, or “we” can do to really stop it.
But it is interesting to watch nonetheless.
Renewable sources pose as sole answer to cut power bill – Jordan Times
As for solar energy and Jordan. It continues to baffle me why an energy-starving country like ours is not moving forward with solar energy. It has been around in some shape or form for several years, mostly on the rooftops of homes and buildings, just never on a big enough scale.
Jordan is at a critical point right now, both when it comes to expensive and scarce energy as well as this phase of large-scale developments. Saving energy in the present may be difficult to do, but the least that can be done is to ensure that the large-scale future developments, that range from the Master Plan to the skyscrapers to the new residential suburbs being built all over the country, abide to new regulations and building codes stipulating the use of solar panels and energy-friendly buildings. At the very least these new developments can sustain some of their energy and lessen the burden on the rest of the country as a whole.
But that’s not going to happen for a variety of reasons to which you can add your own:
A) There is no forward thinking/planning when it comes to Jordan
B) Money in the short run is better, so the government is willing to cut costs for developers at the cost of the tax payer (which only means the government loses in the long run what money it gains right now)
C) The country is politically shackled, meaning we are a country that is dependent on oil imports from neighboring countries and that’s the way the powers that be have decided to go.
D) Nuclear is sexier
etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.