Can Batteries Power The World?

Though good for the planet, easy to park, and increasingly affordable, electric cars, at least those that rely on no supplementary fuel, can have one fatal flaw: they boast all the horsepower of a push lawnmower.

Enter a professor from MIT with an understanding of electrodes.

The battery technology behind electric cars' plodding pace inspired Professor Gerbrand Ceder to tinker with lithium ion technology. His research team made some adjustment to the original model, reprocessing the lithium ion material inside a basic battery to speed up electrode transfer. The result was a substantially reduced recharge time, down to mere seconds from several minutes. The impact of a 10-second charge time for digital devices like mobile phones could be enormous.

Robert Bryce, author of Gusher of Lies, had some thoughts on batteries when he visited Big Think. He explained that their use could eventually apply to electricity providers. In conventional power plants, technology can only respond to usage demands in real time, i.e., as homeowners turn on their air-conditioners, more power is generated. At surge periods when demand spikes, this can put immense strain on the grid and result in brown or blackouts. But, according to Bryce, "if you had a battery that could feed power back into the grid, you could level out that demand curve and that would allow huge energy savings."

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
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Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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What would happen if America defaulted on its debt?

Sure we know it would be bad, but what do all of these scary numbers really mean?

Politics & Current Affairs
  • At the press time, the value was $21.7 trillion dollars.
  • Lots of people know that a default would be bad, but not everybody seems to get how horrible it would be.
  • While the risk is low, knowing what would happen if a default did occur is important information for all voters.
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