The Electric Commentary

Friday, March 02, 2007


First we have some soccer science:

The researchers studied 200 video clips of penalty kicks from real matches. In 174 of those cases, the goalkeeper stood an average of 10 centimetres to one side or another, and in 103 of those the kick went to the wide side. The fact that the goalkeeper was no more likely to dive to the wide side suggests that his initial positioning was accidental, and not a conscious strategy, says John van der Kamp, one of the Dutch research team.

To test the idea further, the researchers projected an image of a goal and German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn onto a screen. Then they asked volunteers to kick a football at the screen. Volunteers were unable to consciously detect displacements of up to about 10 centimetres. Nevertheless, they were more likely to kick to the wide side of the goal.

The difference was not great – kickers were only 10% more likely to kick to the wide side. But considering the long odds facing a goalkeeper, this is a definite improvement, van der Kamp says.

Next we have some nano-news:

Like aerogels, the nanorod layer is full of voids. This reduces the refractive index of materials to just 5% above that of air and opens the door to novel materials with useful optical properties, the researchers say.

As well as boosting the efficiency of silicon solar cells, allowing them to absorb more light energy, the coating could reduce reflective losses in devices like LEDs. The new materials could also improve photographic lenses and mirrors that selectively reflect specific wavelengths.

And finally, we have new pictures of Saturn.


  • Great, whatever. You haven't explained how Radioshack stays in business smart guy. That's something everybody has wondered for about a decade. My guess, last minute Christmas sales and loyal old people.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 7:41 PM  

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