Has Lithium-Battery Genius John Goodenough Done it Again? Colleagues Are Skeptical

March 21st, 2017

Via: Quartz:

Researchers have struggled for decades to safely use powerful—but flammable—lithium metal in a battery. Now John Goodenough, the 94-year-old father of the lithium-ion battery, is claiming a novel solution as a blockbuster advance.

If it proves out, the invention could allow electric cars to compete with conventional vehicles on sticker price. The improbable solution, described in a new paper from Goodenough and three co-authors, has drawn intense interest from leading science and technology publications. He estimates that the solution could store five to ten times as much energy as current standard lithium-ion batteries. That’s enough to have Google’s Eric Schmidt tweeting about it.

John Goodenough, inventor of the lithium battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells. Promising! https://t.co/fhhjWEQF8N

— Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) March 14, 2017

However, other leading battery researchers are skeptical, even mystified, by Goodenough’s claim. For his invention to work as described, they say, it would probably have to abandon the laws of thermodynamics, which say perpetual motion is not possible. The law has been a fundamental of batteries for more than a century and a half.

Goodenough’s long career has defined the modern battery industry. Researchers assume that his measurements are exact. But no one outside of Goodenough’s own group appears to understand his new concept. The battery community is loath to openly challenge the paper, but some come close. “If anyone but Goodenough published this, I would be, well, it’s hard to find a polite word,” Daniel Steingart, a professor at Princeton, told Quartz.

Goodenough did not respond to emails. But in a statement released by the University of Texas, where he holds an engineering chair, he said, “We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries. Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted.” In addition, Helena Braga, the paper’s lead author, in an exchange of emails, insisted that the team’s claims are valid.

David Rockefeller Dies at 101

March 20th, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

David Rockefeller, the U.S. banker, philanthropist, presidential adviser and heir to one of history’s most fabled fortunes, has died. At 101, he was the world’s oldest billionaire.

He died Monday at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York, according to an emailed statement from Fraser P. Seitel, a family spokesman. The cause was congestive heart failure.

Rockefeller was the youngest and last-surviving grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, the nation’s first billionaire.

People Dropping Out of Reality to Spend Their Time in Video Games

March 20th, 2017

I’ve seen this over on Twitch.tv. I watch a guy who streams a game I play. He’s 25. The only job he ever had was applying window tint to cars at his aunt’s business. Now, he and his brother live in a flop house in Long Beach and stream video games on Twitch at all hours of the day and night. If he earns a grand a month, I’d be surprised. I think that there are actually a bunch of them living there.

It’s pretty grim, but he has said that he would be homeless if he wasn’t streaming.

The guy is young, obviously intelligent, but he’s drinking beer and fragging fools at 7am on a Monday morning…

Might just be California dreamin’, I guess.

In any event, lots of young men without jobs or wives are a prime characteristic of failed states. Maybe the gaming is a way to redirect and diffuse that energy?

Via: 1843 Magazine:

Over the last 15 years there has been a steady and disconcerting leak of young people away from the labour force in America. Between 2000 and 2015, the employment rate for men in their 20s without a college education dropped ten percentage points, from 82% to 72%. In 2015, remarkably, 22% of men in this group – a cohort of people in the most consequential years of their working lives – reported to surveyors that they had not worked at all in the prior 12 months. That was in 2015: when the unemployment rate nationwide fell to 5%, and the American economy added 2.7m new jobs. Back in 2000, less than 10% of such men were in similar circumstances.

What these individuals are not doing is clear enough, says Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago, who has been studying the phenomenon. They are not leaving home; in 2015 more than 50% lived with a parent or close relative. Neither are they getting married. What they are doing, Hurst reckons, is playing video games. As the hours young men spent in work dropped in the 2000s, hours spent in leisure activities rose nearly one-for-one. Of the rise in leisure time, 75% was accounted for by video games. It looks as though some small but meaningful share of the young-adult population is delaying employment or cutting back hours in order to spend more time with their video game of choice.

Britain: Full Time Police Drones

March 20th, 2017

Via: Daily Mail:

The first 24-hour police drone unit is to be launched, amid fears that forces may have to rely on them because of falling officer numbers.

The ‘flying squad’ will pursue suspects, find missing people and help solve murders. Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, national spokesman on drones, predicted forces across Britain would soon be using them as they are cheaper than helicopters and can perform some duties of bobbies on the beat.

But the move has prompted privacy concerns and warnings that the technology should ‘never be an excuse to cut officers’.

Devon and Cornwall Police has advertised for a drone manager to lead its new dedicated unit, which will be launched in the summer and shared with Dorset.

Windows 10 Is Bringing Shitty Ads to File Explorer, Here’s How to Turn Them Off

March 18th, 2017


It’s just incredible how grim Windows is getting. Linux is still terrible on the desktop, and Apple has abandoned macOS to embrace their primary role as a mobile phone company. Even people who stuck with Apple through the near collapse in the 1990s (that’s when I ditched Apple) are now throwing in the towel. And now, with Windows 10, you get ads in the file system and you can’t use the latest chips with older versions of Windows if you want to receive updates!

Sure, you can turn the file system ads off for now. But if you want to see where this is going, try killing the Cortana process in the task manager as a so-called “Administrator” and watch what happens. Hint: It just respawns after a couple of seconds. haha Yes, there are ways to actually kill it, or, more accurately, make it appear to be killed, but is this how I want to spend my day? No.

I don’t believe the task manager. I know I’m not root on Windows machines. I just got over it and moved on.

So, never mind the surveillance on Windows 10. Just bake that in from the start. Trying to fix these issues is an exercise in futility, regardless of platform, anyway.

On the usability side, I’ve lost track of how long I’ve spent hacking Windows 10 to resemble and behave like Windows 7. Windows 10 search is often broken with language packs other than U.S. English (Void Tools Everything makes even properly working Windows 10 search seem broken.) I have to use a 3rd party windows manager to get my most used application windows (Firefox and Thunderbird) to retain their exact sizes and positions on the desktop. I recently tried a system image backup from Windows 10 pro to a network location, and it was failing. I’d never seen this before (in close to two decades), although Windows backups to network locations failing represents a huge genre of content in the Windows-Is-Shit universe. I screwed around for 20 minutes and eventually noticed that the Windows Backup service was set to disabled for some damn reason on my machine…

Windows 10 is a big downgrade from Windows 7 (which was a downgrade from Windows 2000, if you ask me). I refused to use Vista or Windows 8 personally, although those were good for PC support business. That said, I see insane issues on Windows 10 client machines that remind me of dealing with Linux desktop environments now.

It’s a shit sandwich all around in the general purpose computing world. It’s a very serious worry, because I see the least capable computer users (most computer users, in other words) fully embracing swipetard devices and operating systems, which are mainly intended to serve as tamper proof vending machines and surveillance platforms. While someone always figures out how to jailbreak phones and tablets, the whole situation is exhausting.

Ok, that’s enough.


Via: The Next Web:

At this point in time, it’s safe to say that most copies of Windows 10 are legit, which means Microsoft has already made money off of it. Unfortunately, it looks like the company is thirsting for more, and wants to inject ads into its File Explorer tool.

According to the folks at Thurrott, the ads (starting with promotions for Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service) are easing their way into the upcoming Creators Update, which some people are currently testing in beta. There are also similar notifications in the previously released Anniversary Update. Nobody asked for this, and yet, here we are.

They might just be small pop-ups, but that’s how it starts, folks. Microsoft has many other products it might want to start slinging, including Office 365 subscriptions and Skype credits – and who knows whether the company will eventually want to expand to serving up ads from other businesses?

Thankfully, you can turn them off by following these steps:

Launch File Explorer and the click View > Options > Change folder and search options.

In the Folder Options dialog that pops up, select the View tab.

In the Advanced Settings box, scroll down and uncheck the option labeled “Show sync provider notifications.” Hit OK.

Five Pound Mini-Nukes

March 18th, 2017

Via: CNBC:

As for the mini-nukes, Del Monte expects they represent “the most horrific near-term nanoweapons.”

Nanotechnology opens up the possibility to manufacture mini-nuke components so small that they are difficult to screen and detect. Furthermore, the weapon (capable of an explosion equivalent to about 100 tons of TNT) could be compact enough to fit into a pocket or purse and weigh about 5 pounds and destroy large buildings or be combined to do greater damage to an area.

“When we talk about making conventional nuclear weapons, they are difficult to make,” he said. “Making a mini-nuke would be difficult but in some respects not as difficult as a full-blown nuclear weapon.”

Del Monte explained that the mini-nuke weapon is activated when the nanoscale laser triggers a small thermonuclear fusion bomb using a tritium-deuterium fuel. Their size makes them difficult to screen, detect and also there’s “essentially no fallout” associated with them.

Still, while the mini-nukes are powerful in and of themselves, he expects they are unlikely to wipe out humanity. He said a larger concern is the threat of the nanoscale robots, or nanobots because they are “the technological equivalent of biological weapons.”

The author said controlling these “smart nanobots” could become an issue since if lost, there could be potentially millions of these deadly nanobots on the loose killing people indiscriminately.

BMW Says Self-Driving Car to Be Level 5 Capable by 2021

March 17th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

German carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) is on track to deliver a self-driving car by 2021, the company’s senior vice president for Autonomous Driving, Elmar Frickenstein, said on Thursday.

“We are on the way to deliver a car in 2021 with level 3, 4 and 5,” Frickenstein told a panel discussion in Berlin, explaining the vehicle will have different levels of autonomy, depending on how and where it is used.

A level 5 vehicle is capable of navigating roads without any driver input, while a level 3 car still needs a steering wheel and a driver who can take over if the car encounters a problem.

Rex Tillerson: Military Action Against North Korea Is ‘On the Table’

March 17th, 2017

Via: NBC:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Friday that military action against North Korea was “on the table” if the country continued to develop its weapons program.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action then that option is on the table,” he told a press conference in South Korea.

“Certainly we do not want for things to get to a military conflict,” he added. “But obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces then that would be met with an appropriate response.”

The Entrepreneur with the $100 Million Plan to Link Brains to Computers

March 17th, 2017

Via: MIT Technology Review:

Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson says he wanted to become very rich in order to do something great for humankind.

Last year Johnson, founder of the online payments company Braintree, starting making news when he threw $100 million behind Kernel, a startup he founded to enhance human intelligence by developing brain implants capable of linking people’s thoughts to computers.

Johnson isn’t alone in believing that “neurotechnology” could be the next big thing. To many in Silicon Valley, the brain looks like an unconquered frontier whose importance dwarfs any achievement made in computing or the Web.

According to neuroscientists, several figures from the tech sector are currently scouring labs across the U.S. for technology that might fuse human and artificial intelligence. In addition to Johnson, Elon Musk has been teasing a project called “neural lace,” which he said at a 2016 conference will lead to “symbiosis with machines.” And Mark Zuckerberg declared in a 2015 Q&A that people will one day be able to share “full sensory and emotional experiences,” not just photos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at Building 8, its secretive hardware division.

Facing Bread Shortage, Venezuela Arrests Bakers

March 17th, 2017

Via: Miami Herald:

Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

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