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New Species Of Snake Discovered In Western Australia

A new species of viper-like snake discovered in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia is highly venomous and expertly camouflaged. Called Acanthophis cryptamydros, the Kimberley death adder is a sit-and-wait predator – ambushing frogs, lizards, and small mammals passing by. 

A team led by Simon Maddock from London’s Natural History Museum discovered the new species after analyzing mitochondrial and nuclear DNA of Australian death adders in the genus Acanthophis. Previously, populations from the Kimberley region of Western Australia were thought to be the same species as those occupying the Northern Territory. 

The new species name comes from the Greek words “kryptos” for cryptic or hidden and “amydros” for indistinct or dim. 

The back of this 65-centimeter (26-inch) long snake is a pale orange-brown with 33 dark bands. Like others in its genus, the new snake has a diamond-shaped head and a stout body. But in addition to its unique mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences, the new death adder can also be distinguished by the slightly higher number of cream-colored scales on its underbelly. These scales are unpigmented except for one to three rows of spots.

Its range within Western Australia extends from the grassy, shrubby woodlands of Wotjulum in the west and Kununurra in the east, and it also occurs on some offshore islands including Koolan, Bigge, Boongaree, Wulalam, and an unnamed island in Talbot Bay. “Surprisingly, the snakes it most closely resembles aren’t its closest genetic relatives,” Maddock said in a statement. The team’s mitochondrial DNA analysis indicates that it’s closely related to the desert death adder, A. pyrrhus, and not the Northern Territory death adders, A. rugosus. Similarities between the Kimberley death adder and others in the area may have come about through evolutionary convergence: They ended up with the same traits because of their similar environments.

It’s unclear how many Kimberley death adders there are in the wild, but according to Maddock, they’re probably quite rare. “It looks like populations of death adders in general are declining in the area,” Maddock added, “and there are records of them eating these poisonous cane toads. It’s potentially a big threat.” The highly invasive and troublesome toads are making their way westward across Kimberley. 

 

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5 Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Solar Panels

1. Keep 'em Clean solar panels—they work so well that you hardly notice that they're there. And there is the problem. While the system is quiet and runs without a sound its easy to forget that the panels can get dirty, causing the power output to drop. The cleaner the glass is on the panel, the more unobstructed surface the sun has to "work with." How often should you clean your solar panels? That depends on where you are—if there is a lot of dust when you are travelling then your Solar Panels will gather lots of particulates and you will probably need to clean more often. A damp cloth will do the trick.

 

 

2. How to clean your solar panels? First, never use an abrasive soap or cleaning sponge - the goal is to get the glass clean and clear as possible so you don't want to scratch it. A quick wipe down with some water and a soft sponge will get the glass clean. This will give your Solar Panel the chance to produce its maximum output and help keep your batteries charged.

3. Keep them out of the shade. All iTechworld Solar Panels are monocrystalline, meaning they will still produce some sort of power in the shade, however if you want to get the full power from your Solar Panel then it is important to keep them in full sunlight. Different parts of Australia get longer sunlight hours. Check the map below to see how many hours of sunlight you will receive.

4. Monitor the panels. Monitoring your solar panel performance is key in understanding the power you are producing. There are two ways you can monitor your solar panel performance. Firstly you can buy an inline Amp Meter, this device goes inline between your solar panel and your battery. It will accurately tell you how many Amps your Solar Panel  is producing.

The other way to monitor your solar panel performance is to upgrade your regulator to an Intelligent Regulator. Using the iTechworld Intelligent Regulator gives you access to a full Battery management system with a digital screen which gives you a read out on Volts being produced, Volts being used, temperature and how many Volts are left in the battery.

5. Keep a record of your panels' performance day-to-day. If you want to take it one step further, write down what your system has produced for the day (at roughly the same time each day). Make a note or asterisk for days that are particularly overcast because those will throw off your results and don't necessarily mean that there is a problem with your system. Keeping daily accounting will help you determine if your system is still coping with your load. If your current system is not coping with your load, it could be time to update.

 

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Worlds first Solar Powered Sports Car

 

Can a road-legal car be powered by the Sun alone? One Australian company believe so and they’re planning to unveil a scaled-down version of their proposal later this year.

Called “The Immortus,” the two-person vehicle is the work of EVX Ventures an electric vehicle technology startup based in Melbourne, Australia. The car is decked out in solar panels, covering up to eight square meters (86 square feet), and also has a battery to store energy, between five and 10 kilowatt-hours. So light is the car though, 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) when empty and 700 kilograms (1,550 pounds) when fully laden, it is able to run on just solar power alone. 

This is all possible thanks to the low mass-to-power ratio of the car. It is also extremely aerodynamic while still looking “compelling and stylish,” EVX co-founder and CEO Barry Nguyen said to IFLScience. The car also doesn’t use normal road tires, but rather tires specially designed for so-called solar races – cars that are powered by the Sun. 

Using a combination of battery and solar power, the car will apparently be capable of reaching up to 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour. On solar power alone, it can reach up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour.

And perhaps most interestingly, Nguyen said that the car would be able to run perpetually on just solar power, giving it an infinite range, in theory, so long as it didn’t exceed 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour and the Sun was continuously shining. Still, that's pretty impressive. However, Nguyen stressed that the idea of the technology was to use solar cells in tandem with existing vehicles.

“We see the solar cells as a range extender technology in everyday driving, rather than the solar cells capturing more energy than it consumes for practical use,” he said. “However, uniquely, the range is infinite when there is consistent sunshine cruising at 60 km/h.”

EVX plans to unveil a one-quarter scaled version of their car at the SEMA show 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in November. A leading electric vehicle research and development group at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne is also involved in the project.

When it is eventually released, Nguyen said the car is expected to retail for about $370,000 (£240,000), and sales of more than 100 are not expected. The car will be road legal “under individually constructed vehicle regulations” in Australia and the U.S., according to Nguyen. 

The team plans to test a full-scale version of the car by the end of 2016, providing they can raise enough money for a working prototype.

 

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Article author

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