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Showing posts from March 31, 2014

Graphene contact lens that could let you see in the dark

- Researchers at the University of Michigan unveiled plans for a Graphene contact lens that could let you see in the dark, providing its wearer infrared ‘night vision’.

Graphene is capable of detecting the entire infrared spectrum, the visible and ultraviolet light.

But graphene because is only one-atom thick, it can absorb only 2.3 percent of the light that hits it, which is not enough to generate an electrical signal. Without a signal, it can’t operate as an infrared sensor.

Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, in a press release, said:

“The challenge for the current generation of graphene-based detectors is that their sensitivity is typically very poor. It’s a hundred to a thousand times lower than what a commercial device would require.”

The Michigan researchers find out a new method for generating the electrical signal. Published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology (“Graphene photodetectors with ultra-broadband and high responsivity at room temperature“…

Uighur Refugees in Southeast Asia

In the aftermath of the March 1 Kunming rail station attacks, allegedly perpetrated by ethnic Uighur militants, China is asking its Southeast Asian neighbors to round up Uighur immigrants living within their borders. Since March 13, Thailand has detained two groups of 218 and 78 Muslim refugees, with many claiming to be "Turkish" although they are thought to be ethnic Uighurs from China (Uighurs are a Turkic people). The refugees were hiding in different locations in Sadao District, Songkhla province, in the deep south bordering Malaysia. Thai authorities have linked these groups with 112 Muslim refugees discovered last year, and a group of 15 discovered earlier this week, in the southeast province of Sa Kaeo, bordering Cambodia. Thai media and Chinese diplomats in Thailand claim these are also ethnic Uighurs from Xinjiang, the Uighur homeland in northwest China.

Many details remain unclear about these detainees, though Thai authorities say they were not linked to terrorism a…

China Steps Up Regional Security Efforts

Chinese police inspect the Kunming railway station after the March 2 attacks. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


In the aftermath of the Kunming rail station attacks, allegedly perpetrated by ethnic Uighur militants, China is asking its Southeast Asian neighbors to round up Uighur immigrants living within their borders. This highlights a broader foreign policy issue for China. With the Chinese public increasingly more concerned about terrorism, the government has a liability on its hands that it cannot afford to neglect, but that may require a more coercive diplomacy to prevent its neighbors from leveraging this issue against Beijing. China may not be ready to make such a shift, but if it does it will face greater regional resistance.

Analysis


Since March 13, Thailand has detained two groups of 218 and 78 Muslim refugees, many of whom claimed to be "Turkish" although they are thought to be ethnic Uighurs from China (Uighurs are a Turkic people). The refugees were hiding in differen…

Ukraine: Russia Has Options if It Chooses to Invade

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspect Russian military exercises in the Pacific Ocean on July 16, 2013. (ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Tensions between Ukraine and Russia show no signs of diminishing soon. Following the popular uprising that ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and installed a Western-leaning government in Kiev, Moscow's annexation of Crimea has strained already-tense relations with Europe and the United States. Russia will be considering its next move following the initial rounds of sanctions from the West.

The least probable option for the Kremlin also carries the greatest significance for Kiev and the West: an invasion of mainland Ukraine. The enormous military, economic and political cost of such an action makes it unlikely. Ukraine is in a very different position from Georgia, the last country Russia invaded. Despite Russia's determination to harden its western border with NATO, the United…

Moldova and Belarus: Landmarks of Contradiction

Analysis


Editor's Note: Occasionally, circumstances demand that Stratfor break from its usual format and examine geopolitical issues in new ways. This essay, reflecting on history and geopolitics through personal experiences in two Eurasian borderland capitals, reveals the distinctions and uniformity that can occupy the same space in defiance of seeming logic. It is drawn from the notes of Eurasian analyst Eugene Chausovsky, who just returned from a trip through the region he describes.

As the standoff between Russia and the West continues over the fate of Ukraine, a similar but subtler competition is taking place in two of Ukraine's smaller neighbors in the Eurasian borderlands. Like Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus have long been coveted by Russia and Europe, and the competition over them has never been limited to politics. Russian and European influence touches virtually all aspects of life in each country. As much as today's incarnation of the age-old East-West rivalry is vi…