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Solar cells are seen at the Ukishima SolArmy researchers at the Redstone Arsenal have announced a significant breakthrough in solar energy production. They've created a photovoltaic solar panel that is smaller, more robust and less expensive to build and operate than any other panel currently available. Virtually every solar panel currently in existence relies on a pure silicon construction, however the band gap (the wavelength of light that it can actually be absorbed and converted into electricity) of single crystal silicon is exceedingly narrow compared to the full spectrum shining down from the Sun. Not only does this mean that conventional panels are missing out on potential power, the ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths actively damage the panels by causing them to heat, warp and crack.

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Camp Google 2015

If you want your kids to learn something while they're out of school but would rather not ship them to some distant summer camp, Google is about to come to your rescue. It's kicking off the latest edition of its annual Camp Google on July 13th, and this year's virtual educational event promises themed weeks that might just sate your young ones' curiosity on big scientific subjects. They'll learn what the ocean is like through underwater panoramas, for example, and watch live video chats with astronauts. The whole shebang is free, so it won't hurt to tune in if you want your children to go back to school knowing more than they did when they left.

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Best of 2014 from Latin America and Caribbean Photo Gallery

The Brazilian city of Piracicaba has a potent new weapon in the ongoing fight against Dengue Fever, which infects more than a million people annually: genetically modified mosquito lotharios Created by Oxitec of Abingdon, UK and bred locally within Brazil, these GM mosquitoes (all of which are male) are designed to crash the local population before they can spread the tropical disease. More than six million have been released throughout Piracicaba since April. When a GM male mates with a wild female, his sapper genetics cause the resulting larvae to die before they can reach adulthood. What's more, the larvae also carry a genetic mutation that causes them to glow red under UV light, giving researchers an easy way to identify them on sight. "It gives an instant readout of how successfully you're driving down the native population," Hadyn Parry, chief executive of Oxitec, told New Scientist.

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Pluto seen from 7.8 million miles away

At last, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is sending back images of Pluto that look (slightly) better than brown blobs or pixel art. The probe has delivered a new batch of images from between 7.8 million to 9.2 million miles away, or close enough that the dwarf planet is starting to reveal some meaningful detail. There's still no explanation for those giant spots, but it's evident that there's a "continuous swath" of dark ground near the equator. And if you'd like pictures that are better than fuzzy, you might not have to hold out for too much longer. New Horizons should be considerably closer when it recovers from its recent glitch, and the expected July 14th flyby should produce a ton of extra detail.

[Image credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI]

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Shark Week is in full swing on Discovery, as the network tries to find even more shark-related programming it somehow hasn't covered yet. (The answer, apparently, is to just make stuff up -- we won't be fooled again by Alien Sharks and Ninja Sharks.) Still, Sunday night is packed, with the return of Ray Donavan, Masters of Sex and The Strain. On streaming Netflix is bringing a new Chris Tucker comedy special, and will also post Monsters: Dark Continent this week. Comedy Central has more Key & Peele, plus the debut of Hannibal Burress' new show Why? It's a sequel to the movie Monsters, which if you saw it, you probably also saw on Netflix streaming. In gaming, Rocket League is coming to PC, and on PS4 as a PlayStation Plus game. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

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The Shenmue series represents a milestone in the gaming industry for many fans, a point where console experiences truly took off. The first Shenmue, released in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast, was an immersive, emotional, cinematic role-playing game that expanded the definition of an action experience and pushed existing technology to its limits. A new documentary from filmmaker Adam Sipione and Fauxpop Media, A Gamer's Journey: The Definitive History of Shenmue, dives into the franchise's history and explores the recent announcement of Shenmue 3. Series creator Yu Suzuki revealed Shenmue 3 and its $2 million Kickstarter on-stage during Sony's E3 2015 press conference, and nine hours later, the project had cleanly smashed that goal. Check out the teaser for A Gamer's Journey, including footage direct from Sony's E3 showcase and accompanying fan reactions, below.

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Microsoft wowed me a few weeks ago with its internal HoloLens programs, but like we've seen with Kinect, the coolest uses aren't always the ones Redmond devised. To help make more applications a reality, the tech giant has opened up what it's calling the Academic Research Request for Proposals. Five awards -- each including $100,000 and two HoloLens development kits -- will go to accredited universities and be announced this October 6th. The official reasoning here is that Microsoft wants to "better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society." So, to see what people outside of the Redmond campus think augmented reality is capable of. Got it. Other objectives include spurring research for mixed reality and generally getting more people to make holograms. A few examples the company lays out are data visualizations (similar to Epic Games) and creating 3D models for medical training.

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A bright green horse was projected across the sky over Nottingham late last month. It wasn't a Bat-Signal-style projection that was made from a searchlight on the ground. Instead, the silhouette of a rider on a horse was projected directly onto the clouds from a Cessna 172 aircraft that flew over the city in the UK. Artist Dave Lynch created the first of its kind mobile projection with a zoopraxiscope, a movie projector that made its debut back in 1879. He repurposed the historical device and swapped its original light source with a laser for precision and efficiency. The display wasn't clear from the ground, but viewed from the plane it looked like a horse galloping through the dark clouds.

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Apple's third-party packaging

Apple is well-known for being very particular about its packaging... and it apparently cares about other companies' packaging, too. According to 9to5Mac, the tech giant is telling retail staff that it will soon sell third-party accessories in boxes co-designed by Apple... and possibly only in those boxes. Yes, that familiar minimalist look would soon spread to just about everything in the store. The move would ostensibly help you find what you're looking for and make sure that it works with your devices. Many of the familiar brands in Apple stores are reportedly on board with the idea, including Incase, Mophie and Logitech.

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Last year around this time, word got out that Felix Kjellberg, a 24-year-old Swedish bro known online as PewDiePie, made $4 million a year by playing video games, recording his reactions and uploading the resulting videos to YouTube. At the time, he had 27 million YouTube subscribers. Today, Kjellberg has 37.7 million subscribers on YouTube and his company, PewDiePie Productions, pulled in roughly $7.4 million in revenue in 2014, according to Swedish newspaper Expressen. It looks like this whole "watch people play video games on the internet" craze is here to stay.

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A Helio Ocean

Remember Helio, the virtual carrier that tried to cater to the tech-savvy young crowd (not so successfully) with data-centric plans and rebranded basic phones? It's baaaack. Ubi Telecom, a mobile company focused on Korean-speaking Americans, has quietly revived the brand as a mostly bring-your-own-device service on Sprint's network, with Verizon* as a roaming partner. However, it's definitely not the provider you remember from a decade ago. Service is much cheaper at $29 (tax included!) for unlimited data, text and voice, but that data is capped at a paltry 128Kbps -- you won't be checking out Netflix. The ready-to-go phone catalog is old, too, with the Galaxy S4 being as good as it gets. The resurrected Helio makes sense if you think that even Virgin Mobile's $35 plans are too rich for your blood, but it won't trigger those warm, fuzzy nostalgic feelings.

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