PhysOrg.com reports that using specialized cubic zirconia, scientists from Nanjing Normal University in China and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory designed a membrane that could allow solid oxide fuel cells to operate at lower temperatures and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. This new membrane, created by adding scandium to cubic zirconia, passes oxygen faster and at temperatures far lower than the more common yttria-stabilized zirconia.
Affordable fuel cells could reduce the need for imported oil. However, solid oxide fuel cells currently don’t fit the budget of most homeowners. The cost is tied to the internal temperature of the cell, around 1000 degrees Celsius. This temperature means the cell must be built using very durable, very expensive ceramics. Lower temperatures mean the cells could be built from stainless steel and other less expensive materials. The trick to dropping the temperature, and thus the cost, is the membrane or solid electrolyte that quickly passes oxygen from one side of the cell to the other.
In this study, the scientists investigated why some materials are better than others at passing oxygen along.
Using oxygen-plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy, the researchers grew scandia-stabilized zirconia films on sapphire substrates. The films were examined using x-ray diffraction, electron spectroscopy, and microscopy.
Theoretical calculations and models were applied to the experimental data. Results showed that the nanoscale, nanosecond interactions occurring in the scandia-doped cubic zirconia film conducted oxygen faster than the yttrium doping in current electrolytes.
Cubic Zirconia? WOW!!!
This ring was dropped off to Goodwill Industries in Harrisburg, PA.
Appraised at $17,600, a 2.6-carat diamond ring with a platinum band was found last week among donations at Goodwillâ€™s distribution center at 627 N. Cameron St. in Harrisburg is the most expensive item ever given to Goodwill Industries Keystone Area.
This diamond ring blended in with the no-longer-wanted gaudy gold, rhinestones, and cubic zirconia that flow through Goodwillâ€™s thrift stores.
Barry Landis, a retired jeweler from Camp Hill, who has sorted through Goodwillâ€™s jewelry for the last two years, said he trembled while palming the slightly tarnished and dirty yet elegant 2-carat European diamond surrounded by 14 smaller diamonds. The filigree swirls on the band caught his eye.
Landis said 90 percent of the donated jewelry he sorts through is costume jewelry.
â€œIt could have ended up with a price tag of $5.99,â€ he said. â€œIt makes me think about what treasures might be out there in some of the Goodwill stores.â€
Was it an accidental donation? A relic of an ended marriage? A discarded family heirloom? No one called missing a ring, Landis said.
The Economic Times of London reports that De Beers said it will reduce its production to extend the life of its mines as the supply of diamonds in the world is dwindling.
Des Kilalea, a diamond analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said that taking into account the moderated output diamond prices could rise by at least 5 percent a year for the next five years.
The diamond industry, in the past 20 years, has not found new diamond deposits to match the two biggest mines in Africa, which are owned by De Beers, or the Russian mines of Alrosa.
De Beers accounts for 40 percent of global rough diamond sales.
Guys, your engagement ring purchase is going to get more expensive.
In addition to diamonds being the prized gem for engagement rings and known to be the hardest cutting element available, research now being carried out at Macquarie University in the UK is showing it also to be a super efficient laser material.
Associate Professor Richard Mildren and his colleagues at the Macquarie University Photonics Research Center discovered it was possible to generate a coherent laser beam from man-made diamond in late 2008. They have now demonstrated diamond lasers with efficiency higher than almost all other materials.
The speed at which heat travels through diamond is the highest of all known materials, and it is hoped that this property will enable us to simultaneously miniaturize the device and increase the laser beam power to unprecedented levels.
The diamonds used in the laser research are colorless, approximately eight millimeters long, and weigh a bit less than a carat. They are grown to the researcher’s specifications using a process called chemical vapor deposition that essentially creates the crystal lattice carbon by carbon atom and layer by layer on top of a large flat diamond crystal substrate. The synthetic diamond forms the core component of what is called a Raman laser, a type of laser that is optically stimulated rather than electrically powered.
Diamond is also the most transparent material known to man, in terms of the range of light wavelengths (or colors) that can pass through the material. Mildren said this would enable researchers to select from a huge range of laser wavelengths, such as in the far infrared, and hence potentially tap into a broad range of applications.
The Wall Street Journal today reports that Patricia Kluge, the socialite who made a fortune from her divorce from billionaire media tycoon John Kluge, and is now in the wine business is selling off her diamonds and jewelery through Sothebys.
More than 200 pieces of jewelry from her collection, including a pair of platinum and diamond pendant-ear clips set with almost 64 carats of pear-shaped diamonds and estimated between $600,000 and $800,000.
Also included are some â€œfancy-intenseâ€ yellow diamonds, suites of sapphires and rubies, and a sapphire and diamond PanthÃ¨re wristwatch from Cartier circa 1985. The watch is estimated between $100,000 and $150,000.
Her Virginia winery, Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, is doing well and sheâ€™s planning to build a new home on the vineyard, which she says will more reflective of her â€œchanging taste and more streamlined lifestyle,â€ according to Sothebyâ€™s.
She also plans to travel more â€œso that she can enjoy her other homes.
C’est la Vie.
A Staten Island, New York man has filed a lawsuit in court to get his engagement ring back after the wedding was called off by his fiance.
Christopher Reinhold, 25 alleges that his ex, Colette DiPierro refused to return the $17,500 diamond engagement ring he gave her after she allegedly broke off the wedding.
As a result, he has filed a lawsuit to get the diamond engagement ring back.
What did you say?
Yes, I said it and believe it. This is not a Rod Serling Twilight Zone imagination run amuck, but truly there will come a time in the not too distant future when we will be able to touch and feel diamonds and jewelry from our computer.
Indeed,The Sun this week reported that Hong Kong scientists have developed a robotic hand that allows people talking over the web to experience the sensation of touching each other â€” even feeling the strength of a handshake.
The cyber hand can grip and shake as well as make the signs for OK and ‘V’ for victory.
Professor Liu Yunhui, who led researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said: “At this moment the function is not perfect and it can’t copy exactly, partly because the robot hand is different from the human hand in terms of the degree of freedom of movement it has.
“There are also a few errors such as delays in processing and mechanical problems. But in the future it will be possible to produce more sophisticated and more dextrous movements.”
Users wear a wrist band which picks up electrical impulses generated by muscles as they contract.
It was originally designed to help the elderly keep in contact with their loved ones in a more personal way.
Prof Liu added: “Although they can show their care through phone calls, physical touch is still a better way to express love.
“The main obstacle we have at the moment is the cost. Our project target was to produce a toy.
It was intended to be low cost and so there were constraints because of the money we could spend. If you want high dexterity it is possible, but you need more motors and you have to spend more money.”
The team intends to make progress with future models looking like the human hand â€” and one day hope to make an entire person which could copy every one of your movements.
Beware of SquarePeg Web Design – Square Peg Web Design Are Crooks!
Recently, it was brought to our attention that a web development firm called www.squarepegweb.com – which seems to be a subsidiary of www.e4mediagroup.com was showcasing our company www.exceldiamonds.com, in their portfolio section, promoting us as “one of their clients”.
We are not clients of theirs and actually never even heard of them until this screenshot below was sent to our attention:
Naturally, we immediately contacted Square Peg Web Design and were told that they outsource to an Indian company who actually creates much of their work and who they claimed was responsible for fraudulently claiming that they had created our website.
We talked to Square Peg and they immediately took the site off their portfolio. They further apologized for not doing their due diligence in order to ascertain and validate whether our website (and perhaps others?) was actually designed by this “Indian Designer”.
Was this an honest mistake on the part of www.squarepegdesign.com?
We’d like to think so.
Sadly, it seems that Square Peg Web already has a reputation for shady practices.
In fact, upon further review of their website, they make a big to do over here about the importance of hiring a web designer who will actually do the work in-house and not outsource it…yet…..Square Peg Web Design is not only guilty of outsourcing themselves…what’s even worse is that they didn’t even design their own website!
Instead, they purchased a boiler plate solution from another company!! Click here.
…Just boggles the mind….
Read more, here.
A rare 5.16-carat blue diamond sold at auction for $6.4 million in Hong Kong on Wednesday, confirming Asia’s fast-growing taste for the precious stone.
London’s famed Moussaieff Jewellers paid more than the $5.9 million expected price tag for the pear-shaped stone, the first blue diamond from the celebrated De Beers Millennium Jewels Collection to appear at auction.
But the world per-carat record for a blue diamond remains the $10.5 million paid by a Hong Kong property tycoon for a seven-carat blue diamond in Geneva in May last year.
In December, a five-carat chickpea-sized vivid pink gem set a per-carat world record price for a diamond when it fetched $10.8 million at an auction in Hong Kong.
Yes, say Brick and Mortar Retail jewelers who maintain that they are at distinct disadvantage versus their Internet competition and thus not operating on a level playing field. They are lobbying State legislatures as well as the Federal Government to enact law that will require Internet Jewelers and all Internet vendors to collect sales taxes.
What has operated in favor of Internet vendors is the strict definition of what constitutes an actual place of business, thanks to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision. In Quill v. North Dakota, the court ruled that a company must have a “physical presence” for a state to require that company to collect sales taxes.
The Quill decision underscores an irony: While retailers and their affiliates may benefit from not charging online sales tax, the states those businesses are located in stand to lose big money every year. States are losing between $10 billion and $25 billion a year in online tax revenue, according to the Multistate Tax Commission in Washington, D.C. That’s money that would find its way into state treasuries if those sales took place in physical stores within their borders.
Case in point is Amazon.com. Amazon’s report to the Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledges that the price advantage with which the company starts out vis-Ã -vis local stores and other competitors that are obligated to charge sales taxes is a key strategic asset. By claiming sales tax immunity in the vast majority of states, Amazon has enjoyed a 5 percent to 10 percent price advantage over local retailers, while also depriving states and localities of hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year.
As the Internet grows and consumers make more purchases online; State legislators will face increasing pressure weighing the issue’s political implications vs. the need to raise needed revenue to pay off increasing deficits. Tax scholars will continue to debate exactly what defines a business’ “physical presence” in the context of 21st century Internet-based commerce, and the patchwork of different sales tax laws and relationships with the online business model will likely stay a muddled mess.
Our view is that with the current deficit ridden state of the US economy, the explosion of Federal entitlement programs, erosion of the tax bases due to rising unemployment, the pressure to enact Internet tax collection across State lines may very well become a reality sooner than you think.