what's the buzz .

what's the buzz .

Mayans burried relatives under homes

Illiterate Maya people had a novel way of recording their histories — they buried family items and even relatives under their homes.

Excavations of Maya homes in central Belize have thrown up objects and human remains from the classic period (250-900 AD) revealing that farmers and servants stored objects and buried relatives within their residences.

“Commoners may not have had the written word, but they had the means to record their own history under their feet, within walls and under their roof,” said Lisa Lucero, University of Illinois. She analysed the arrangement, colour and condition of several Maya artefacts excavated at two commoners’ homes in a small Maya centre called Saturday Creek, in central Belize.

Occupied from about 450 to 1150 AD, the two homes had nearly a dozen human remains of men, women and children with artefacts arranged around and on top of the bodies.
Lisa believes those who were buried in the homes were family members who died closest to calendrical rites every 40 or 52 years or at the time, every 20-30 years, in which houses needed to be re-roofed.

Thin-film solar cells could reduce cost, material waste

Taking a big leap in the use of continuous flow microreactors, researchers have produced thin film absorbers for solar cells — an innovative technology that could significantly reduce the cost of solar energy devices and reduce material waste.

The advance is one of the first demonstrations that this type of technology, which is safer, faster and more economical than previous chemical solution approaches, could be used to continuously and rapidly deposit thin film absorbers for solar cells from such compounds as copper indium diselenide.

Previous approaches to use this compound — which is one of the leading photovoltaic alternatives to silicon-based solar energy devices — have depended on methods such as sputtering, evaporation, and electrodeposition.

The processes can be time-consuming, or require expensive vacuum systems or exotic chemicals that raise production costs.

Chemical bath deposition is a low-cost deposition technique that was developed more than a century ago.

It is normally performed as a batch process, but changes in the growth solution over time make it difficult to control thickness. The depletion of reactants also limits the achievable thickness.

Dancing improves seniors’ gait, balance

Participation in dance-based therapy can improve balance and gait in older adults, researchers have found. And improved functionality among seniors can decrease their risk of falling and reduce costly injuries.

“Creative interventions such as dance-based therapy have the potential to significantly reduce falls in older persons,” said Jean Krampe, Sinclair School of Nursing. “In the studies, we found improved levels of balance, gait and overall functionality among seniors who participated in regular dance-therapy sessions. Nursing and eldercare professionals can help move these programs into practice to reduce the detrimental burden caused by falls.”

To come with the finding, researchers used a dance-therapy programme called The Lebed Method (TLM), which includes a combination of low-impact dance steps choreographed to music.