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Reinvent the wheel and make it Elon Musk...

Solarcity aims to lower the cost of solar panels in order to make them more attractive to customers in the US. In the end, it is a matter of make it more appealing to individuals; better colors, lower (maybe) prices and financing: use now, pay later. One of the main concerns regarding solar panels is their efficiency. Efficiency means how much power you can get from surface area. Wikipedia provided this amazing plot on the efficiency of different technologies over time. It is interesting to realize what are the companies involved in the developments of each technology....
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Colors optimized for color-blind people

Colors optimized for color-blind people

Color blindness is a vision disorder in which individuals lack one or more color receptors. It affects approximately 8% of males of European descent and 0.5% women. It means that in an audience of 16 people, half men half women, chances of having at least one color-blind person are of 50%. Of course when you consider the audience of a written piece of work this number may grow quite substantially. Therefore it is important to have a color palette that is suitable for color-blind people. The image below was made based on the recommendations that appeared in Nature Methods...
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Why saving data in binary format saves s...

Recently we had a short group discussion regarding saving and storing data. For some experiments it may become a real bottleneck since they may be generating billions of data points per second. However saving the data in the proper format may not only prevent you from running out of space in the hard drive, it will make opening and handling files much faster, without even mentioning the time you’ll save if you send them from one computer to another. I think it is wise to explain a bit what does it mean to save in plain “ascii” and why the binary format...
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How to simulate the plasmon resonance using discrete dipole approximation

How to simulate the plasmon resonance us...

For those of us working with nanoparticles, it became a common task to simulate the plasmon peak position as a function of geometry. Even if most papers claim it is an easy task, we all know that it is easy once you know how to do it; this article therefore aims to help those who are starting with simulations using the excellent ADDA (Amsterdam-Discrete Dipole Approximation) package, aiming to have spectra of gold nanoparticles. I will focus on gold nanorods, but the examples provided below should be easily extendable to other geometries. Installing the ADDA package has...