The first is some new software that can make anyone a Rush Limbaugh on the cheap. The second is a new kind of solar cell with five times the conversion efficiency of current cells that can be, literally, painted on any surface.
More below the fold.
What is important about this software is that it reduces the amount of bandwidth required for streamcasting. Streamcasting is just a fancy word for continuous broadcasting, like a radio station or television broadcast. In other words, with this software ANYONE can become a radio personality with a HUGE audience at minimal cost.
The problem with current methods of internet radio broadcasting (Shoutcast, etc.) is that all connections are at a central server, whose owner must pay the full costs of the bandwidth used (it's all about bandwidth). Peercast has developed software that uses the Gnutella p2p networking technology to spread the bandwidth costs out among all listeners. Anyone with kids who listen to internet radio knows that bandwidth costs can mount up in a hurry. Or just ask kos how much his bandwidth costs every month.
So, if you think you've got the right stuff, you can now go online, live, and bloviate to your heart's content. You can now cheaply produce your own 24/7 radio broadcast or low-bandwidth television broadcast. You can stream music or videos LIVE. This is politically disruptive technology at it's very best. Talk about power to the people. This may be the death knell for right-wing dominance of talk radio. I wouldn't rush out and write a bunch of naked calls on Clearchannel Communications just yet, but the handwriting may be on the wall.
The second item of interest is this development out of Canada:
Here are the money quotes:
"Researchers at the University of Toronto have invented an infrared-sensitive material that's five times more efficient at turning the sun's power into electrical energy than current methods.
The discovery could lead to shirts and sweaters capable of recharging our cellphones and other wireless devices, said Ted Sargent, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university."
The big question will be economic feasibility, as usual, but if it works out to anywhere near $0.50/kwh, it's a winner. Sell your oil stocks if this one works out.
Of course, the big political benefit of this technology would be to sever US dependence on supplies of crude oil located in politically unstable locations and reduce the massive influence energy companies have on foreign policy.