Archive | Electronics

Man Sues Friend over Electronics Use

SANTA FE, N.M., March 29 (UPI) — A Santa Fe, N.M., man has sued his neighbor, saying her use of electronic devices is making him sick.

Arthur Firstenberg, 59, said he is sensitive to specific frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and has difficulty finding a place to live where he isn’t afflicted a host of symptoms triggered by cellphones, routers and other electronic items, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday

“It’s been difficult because of my electromagnetic sensitivities,” he said. “I had a lot of difficulty finding a house that I could be comfortable in.”

Firstenberg thought he had — until a friend rented a house adjacent to his property and the nausea, vertigo, body aches, dizziness, heart arrhythmia and insomnia returned.

All, he says, because Raphaela Monribot was using an iPhone, a laptop computer, a wireless router and dimmer switches in her home, the Times said.

He asked her to limit her use of the devices.

“I asked her to work with me,” he said. “Basically, she refused.”

In his suit, Firstenberg seeks $530,000 in damages and an injunction to force her to turn off the electronics.

“Being the target of this lawsuit has affected me very adversely,” Monribot told the Times via e-mail. “I feel as if my life and liberty are under attack for no valid reason, and it has forced me to have to defend my very basic human rights.”

Dr. Erica Elliott, who treated Firstenberg and testified at a hearing on a preliminary injunction, said she’s convinced electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a real disorder that may affect the nervous system. However, other scientists dispute that claim, the Times said.

Bob Park, a University of Maryland physics professor, said radiation can heat tissue but lacks the energy necessary to alter human DNA or otherwise cause the reported symptoms.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electronics, Other, Radiation0 Comments

Refurbished Computers Aid Kenyan Farmers with Weather Conditions

KATUMANI, Kenya, Dec. 26 (UPI) — Refurbished computers are changing the fortunes of farmers in central Kenya by accurately and instantly predicting the weather, officials said.

The digital age arrived two years ago and since then has often meant the difference between a good crop and no crop at all, The Independent reported Saturday.

“It’s helping them to decide which crops to plant, which fertilizer to use and when to plant,” Jackson Mwangangi, who runs the local weather station near Katumani, told the British newspaper.

Local farmers had no quick and accurate access to weather information until the British charity Computer Aid equipped Jackson’s station with refurbished computers and taught him how to use them.

Now forecasts are available to anyone with an Internet connection or phone, and they’re also circulated via a motorcycle rider who carries the forecasts to hundreds of small farmers in the region.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Electronics, Farming & Ranching, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

Plastic Bags Recycled into Batteries at Argonne National Laboratory

ARGONNE, Ill., Dec. 22 (UPI) — Plastic bags found in abundance at grocery stores could be recycled into carbon nanotubes, a component in lithium ion batteries, an Illinois scientist said.

Vilas Pol, of Argonne National Laboratory 25-miles southwest of Chicago, developed the process as a way to turn plastic waste into an energy resource, the Southtown Star reported Tuesday.

With cobalt acetate as a catalyst, plastic bags were heated to 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit, which caused the carbon in the plastic to grow as nanotubes on the cobalt particles, Pol said, noting the process could be used on plastic water bottles and plastic cups.

The cobalt acetate, which is relatively expensive, could be recovered when the batteries were recycled, Pol said. Performing the process without cobalt acetate yields carbon spheres that could be used in printer ink.

Yet to be determined is how to collect enough bags to make the project cost efficient, Pol said. Recycling programs find the bags difficult to collect because they often get swept up in air currents, causing a problem for curbside collectors and recycling centers.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumer Products, Consumer Waste, Electronic Waste, Electronics, House & Home, Packaging, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

California Sets Energy Efficiency Requirements for TVs

SACRAMENTO, Nov. 20 (UPI) — California has become the first U.S. state to adopt energy efficiency requirements for television.

The standards, approved this week by the California Energy Commission, require that new televisions sold in the state consume 33 percent less electricity by 2011 and 49 percent less electricity by 2013.

The standards affect only those TVs with a screen size 58 inches or smaller. TVs with screens larger than 58 inches, including home theater systems, are likely to be addressed in the next few years.

The rule does not apply to any of the approximately 35 million TV sets currently in use of for sale in California. The commission said that about three-quarters of TV sets now in stores comply with the 2011 standards and 25 percent meet the tougher 2013 rule.

California estimates that after 10 years, the regulations will save $8.1 billion in energy costs and save enough energy to power 864,000 single-family homes. Pacific Gas & Electric estimates that over a decade the standards will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.3 million tons.

“It is the real, achievable policies like the first-in-the-nation standards adopted by the Energy Commission today that have made California a world leader in the fight against climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Since the sale of flat-panel TVs started booming in the early 2000s, TV-related power usage has more than tripled to 10 billion kilowatt hours per year, said Arthur Rosenfeld, a nuclear physicist and member of the commission, the Los Angeles Times reports. This usage accounts for nearly 10 percent of residential electricity consumption.

Rosenfeld noted that the state’s energy regulations have had favorable outcomes in the past. In the 1970s, California banned energy-guzzling refrigerators and air conditioners. Before the ban, the average refrigerator in California consumed 2,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity, Rosenfeld said. Now the energy usage for a typical refrigerator has been slashed to 400 kilowatt hours per year, costs less and has more consumer-friendly features.

According to the commission, the state’s per capita electricity use has remained flat for 30 years compared to the rest of the United States, which has increased its energy consumption by 40 percent.

The Consumer Electronics Association issued a statement denouncing the regulations as “dangerous for the California economy, dangerous for technology innovation and dangerous for consumer freedom.”

“Instead of allowing customers to choose the products they want, the commission has decided to impose arbitrary standards that will hamper innovation and limit consumer choice,” the statement said, noting that in the last two years, energy efficiency of TVs has improved by 41 percent.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumption, Electricity, Electronics, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Efficiency, Nuclear, Policies & Solutions, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

Scientists Create Paper Battery to Power Electronics

UPPSALA, Sweden, Sept. 24 (UPI) — Swedish scientists say they have developed a battery made of cellulose that might become an inexpensive battery of the future.

Research scientist Albert Mihranyan and colleagues at Uppsala University noted scientists have been trying to develop light, ecofriendly inexpensive batteries consisting entirely of non-metal parts. The most promising materials include so-called conductive polymers or “plastic electronics.”

One conductive polymer, polypyrrole, known as PPy, showed promise, but was often regarded as too inefficient for commercial batteries.

But Mihranyan and his colleagues realized that by coating PPy on a large surface area substrate and carefully tailoring the thickness of the coating, both the charging capacity and discharging rates could be drastically improved.

The innovative design of the battery cell was surprisingly simple, they said, yet very elegant since both of the electrodes consist of identical pieces of the composite paper separated by an ordinary filter paper soaked with sodium chloride serving as the electrolyte.

The researchers said their battery recharges faster than conventional rechargeable batteries and appears well-suited for applications involving flexible electronics, such as clothing and packaging.

The research is described in the Oct. 14 issue of the journal Nano Letters.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Electronics, Other, Packaging0 Comments

11 Hazardous Waste Sites Added to EPA's National Priorities List of Superfund Sites

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is adding 11 hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites.

Additionally, the EPA said it is proposing adding 10 other sites to the list. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

Officials said the 11 new sites include such contaminants as arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, chloromethane, lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls.

The 11 new sites are:

– B.F. Goodrich, Rialto, Calif.

– Lane Street Ground Water Contamination, Elkhart, Ind.

– Southwest Jefferson County Mining, Jefferson County, Mo.

– Flat Creek IMM, Superior, Mont.

– Ore Knob Mine, Ashe County, N.C.

– GMH Electronics, Roxboro, N.C.

– Curtis Specialty Papers Inc., Milford, N.J.

– Little Scioto River, Marion County, Ohio

– Salford Quarry, Lower Salford Township, Pa.

– Papelera Puertorriquena Inc., Utuado, Puerto Rico.

– Amcast Industrial Corp., Cedarburg, Wis.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Electronics, Hazardous Waste, Nature & Ecosystems, Other0 Comments

Purdue University Study May Help Improve Hybrid & Electric Car Efficiency

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Sept. 22 (UPI) — Purdue University researchers say they have perfected an understanding of precisely how fluid boils in tiny “microchannels” in hybrid and electric cars.

That discovery, said the researchers, has led to formulas and models that will help engineers design systems to cool high-power electronics in electric and hybrid cars, aircraft, computers and other devices.

The new type of cooling system will be used to prevent overheating of devices called insulated gate bipolar transistors — high-power switching transistors used in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Allowing a liquid to boil in cooling systems dramatically increases how much heat can be removed, compared to simply heating a liquid to below its boiling point, said Professor Suresh Garimella, who led the research. However, boiling occurs differently in tiny channels than it does in ordinary size tubing used in conventional cooling systems.

“One big question has always been, where is the transition from macroscale boiling to microscale boiling?” doctoral student Tannaz Harirchian said. “How do you define a microchannel versus a macrochannel, and at what point do we need to apply different models to design systems? Now we have an answer.”

The findings will be detailed in a research paper by Garimella and Harirchian and a keynote address to be presented by Garimella during an October scientific conference in Leuven, Belgium.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Cars, Electronics, Other, Transportation0 Comments

Old Electronics Seen as Major Environmental Threat

BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 14 (UPI) — U.S. landfills are filling up with unwanted old electronic items and posing an increasing environmental threat, experts say.

Experts said the used televisions, music players and other electronics sitting in landfills can result in heavy metals leaking into soil and ground water, The Buffalo (N.Y.) News said Monday.

“It’s a huge problem. It’s literally poisoning communities,” said Barbara Kyle, national coordinator for the non-profit Electronics TakeBack Coalition.

Jim Simon, the University at Buffalo Green Office’s associate environmental educator, blamed the rising number of unwanted electronic items on regular advancements in technology that make such products outdated.

“In an age when there’s a new iPhone or television every other week, it seems, people are hemorrhaging their old electronics,” Simon said.

The Buffalo News said some advocates support increased recycling of electronic items by consumers while some states imposing limits on the disposal of such items.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Electronics, Landfills, Office, Other, People, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Science, Space, & Technology, Television0 Comments

Illinois County Celebrates 100 Million Pounds of Electronics Recycled

One of the more difficult types of products to recycle are electronics. With their complicated parts and various chemicals and pressurized contents within, consumers struggle to make sure they’re recycling electronics in the right place. From microwave ovens and televisions to computer parts and printers though, the need continues to grow.

Reports from Suburban Chicago News and The Planfield Sun have more on one Illinois County’s milestone ahievement with electronics recycling:

Will County officials are celebrating passing an important milestone — having collected more than 1 million pounds in electronic recycling in just a little more than two years.

“In July 2008, we opened our first four permanent recycling sites in Bolingbrook, Channahon Township, Troy Township and a joint effort between Washington Township and Beecher,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “Today we have 10 sites open and are scheduled to open an 11th at the Monee Reservoir on Friday, Sept. 4. At the last two sites, in Lockport and Mokena, residents had been bringing in electronics before we had the official opening.”

To get an idea of what 1 million pounds of electronics means, if the grand total was represented by only one type of item, it would equal 23,700 microwave ovens, 13,650 televisions or 63,350 printers, said Marta Keane, recycling program specialist for the Will County Land Use Department’s Waste Services Division.

In the first six months of permanent electronic recycling sites, there were 3,862 participants. That number grew to 7,795 in the next six months. In the first seven months of this year the number had grown to 12,468, meaning an estimated 25,125 people have used the sites.


As of July 31, the county had spent $137,000 or about 14 cents per pound to recycle its collected electronics. Keane explained the funding comes from the county’s Prairie View Landfill, managed by Waste Management. The cost of recycling has fallen in the past 25 months, as well.

Congratulations to those in Will County, Illinois! Great work!

Posted in Chemicals, Electronics, Recycling, Recycling & Waste0 Comments

Solar Panel Production to Double at Sanyo

Sanyo Electric Company, a long time manufacturer of consumer electronics said on Monday that they plan to double their current production of solar panel manufacturing because of increased demand.

Sustainable Business News noted that…

The company said demand for solar panels in Japan is on the rise, as a result of renewed government subsidies for residential solar power systems.

The new facility will have a capacity of 100,000 kilowatts (kw), raising the annual output capacity of the Shiga plant to 200,000kw.

Sanyo’s global solar panel capacity will grow about 30% to 450,000kw.

In June, Sanyo announced plans to increase annual solar cell production at its Shimane Sanyo facility to 220,000kw from 130,000kw by April 2010. In addition, the firm is constructing a new solar cell factory at its Osaka plant. Overall cell output capacity is expected to reach 600,000kw a year by the end of fiscal 2011.

In September of 2008, Japanese government officials created incentives for the use and installation of residential solar power systems. The effort was pushed forward to help boost Japan’s domestic solar business and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted in Business & Economics, Electronics, Other, Solar4 Comments

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