Good and Evil at Rensselaer

I’ve come across two stories this week with a connection to dear old Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. That’s approximately two more than I come across in a typical week (not including appearances in crossword puzzles–thanks Tyler Hinman!), so surely these stories must be important enough for a blog post.

First up is some work by RPI professor Selmer Bringsjord. According to a Scientific American article, Professor Bringsjord has been working on “a sort of checklist for determining whether someone is demonic.” He’s also working with his grad students to develop a pure-evil avatar, named “E.” Hmm. All I can say is that when I took a Symbolic Logic class with Professor Bringjord, I certainly thought the class was evil. Or maybe it was just the textbook. I still can’t look at a yellow Springer Verlag book without a little shudder of pain. Evil.

The second story is all good. Via gedblog, I learned that some researchers at RPI have developed a new anti-reflective coating for solar cells. This magical nanoengineered coating increases light absorption from 67.4% for untreated solar cells to an astounding 96.2%. Oh, and it does so no matter the angle between sun and cell. Excellent. I wonder how much the coating costs?