Daily Digest: Energy scavengers, hunting injuries, Conan O’Brien

by Taryn Wobbema

Bill Robbins and Rusen Yang, both professors at the U, were featured in the Star Tribune for their research as “energy scavengers.” They each have an interest in green technology outside the realm of windmills and solar panels, instead looking at devices Yang calls “nano-generators.” The researchers work separately but both want to store and use naturally generated electricity to operate small devices like cell phones. Yang attaches wires thinner than a human hair to anything that moves in order to produce electricity. Robbins has developed a shoe insert that would produce power when a person’s heel presses down on a electrically conductive plastic. “Any place you think of a battery being used right now is a place for an energy-harvesting scheme,” Robbins said.


Firearms hunting season opened Saturday. The Associated Press reported four separate incidents, three involving accidental gun discharges. A) 16-year-old boy rests rifle on his foot, hears a deer, grabs the gun and shoots his left foot. B) Wooden floor of a 24-year-old woman’s deer stand collapses, she falls about 5 feet, injures legs. C) A dad loads gun outside his vehicle, gun goes off, bullet hits his 16-year-old son who was sitting in the cab of the pick-up. D) Man trips, falls, shoots own wrist.


In case you noticed all the online ads and couldn’t figure out what was up, Conan O’Brien’s new spot on TBS begins tonight (“… back where I truly belong – indoors, under artificial light,” he tweeted on Sunday). Washington Post’s celebrity news bloggers have some thoughts on what he shouldn’t do tonight (forget to show up? On Twitter today, Conan joked: “I feel like I have something to do tonight that I keep forgetting”). The New York Times has people speculating how many viewers O’Brien will draw during his cable debut. His first night on “The Tonight Show” attracted more than 6 million viewers. It’s been 17 months since his last late-night show (yesterday’s tweet: “Just tried on my suit for tomorrow’s premiere. I have twelve hours to lose 35 pounds.”) A former late-night producer thinks Conan will get the same kind of opening audience this time around. One media researcher predicted an average 2 million to 2.2 million for O’Brien’s first week. He’ll compete with a few hosts than he had to on “The Tonight Show.” Besides NBC’s Jay Leno and CBS’s David Letterman, the switch to cable has added Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.