Jim Lillie

Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

For the last three or so years, electrical engineering professor Shanhui Fan and some of his students have been using a roof on the Stanford University campus as a testing ground for an optical surface that could effect major changes to low-energy air conditioning and refrigeration.

The system can cool running water to a temperature lower than that of nearby air -- all without using a shred of electricity.

In a press release, research associate Aaswath Raman said, “This research builds on our previous work with radiative sky cooling but takes it to the next level. It provides for the first time a high-fidelity technology demonstration of how you can use radiative sky cooling to passively cool a fluid and, in doing so, connect it with cooling systems to save electricity."

Radiative sky cooling?

Sunday, 17 September 2017 00:00

Glass Block Building Cubes Generate Energy

Researchers from the University of Exeter in the U.K. have come up with a clean energy alternative for manufacturing structures that has the potential to turn at least parts of the construction industry on their collective ears.

The heart of the solution is a glass building block -- the kind that is often used in basement windows or, when frosted, in bathroom windows -- that contains a scaled-down solar device. Building facades that use the product, known as Solar Squared, can generate electricity while also allowing light to pass through the blocks. And the blocks are also said to provide increased thermal insulation -- one of the reasons that builders use them in the first place.

Monday, 11 September 2017 00:00

Phone Booths Return to Times Square...Kind Of

No, the vintage glass-and-metal closets with a fluorescent ceiling light illuminating the word TELEPHONE on all four sides aren't making a comeback in the age of smartphones -- the ancestors of which, those lowly brick- and dumb-phones, rendered phone booths all but obsolete.

Instead, three phone booths recently adorned Duffy Square in the heart of Mid-town Manhattan's Times Square neighborhood -- as an art installation aimed at themes of displacement and belonging as each relates to the immigrant experience.

The project, "Once Upon a Place" by Aman Mojadidi, looks at the immigrant experience by way of oral histories that are presented in the form of phone calls. Incoming ones, announced by the familiar pay phone ring.

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