Researchers Build Aluminum Battery that Can Be Charged in One Minute→
If there’s one major issue plaguing smartphones, smartwatches and other gadgets we use every day, it’s battery life. Now, a team of researchers at Stanford University has built an aluminum-ion battery prototype which offers several improvements over today’s ubiquitous lithium-ion batteries, including super-fast charging times.
The team’s aluminum-ion battery sounds like a dream come true for gadget manufacturers — a perfect battery with few flaws.
Until now, aluminum-ion batteries weren’t able to produce a high enough voltage, especially after many recharge cycles. But the prototype created by the Stanford researchers consists of an aluminum anode and a cathode made of graphite — a combination of materials that allows for producing sufficient voltage (about two volts), even after thousands of recharge cycles.
The battery can recharge in one minute, it’s flexible (meaning it can be bent to fit more snugly into various gadgets), and it’s potentially inexpensive, since aluminum is cheaper than lithium. Furthermore, the materials are safer than the ones in lithium-ion batteries, which can catch fire in certain situations. In contrast, the aluminum-ion battery won’t catch fire even if you drill a hole through it while it’s working.
Does Apple Watch Have a Big Pricing Problem?→
Maybe, but I’ll place my bets on the dolks in Cupertino knowing what they’re doing.
Third, the price range is extremely wide — in fact, it’s too wide, and that’s a big mistake. It’s rare for one brand to serve such a wide spectrum of customers – in the Watch’s case, $349 (somewhat accessible) to $17,000 (garishly expensive). Timex, for instance, targets the lower price range in the watch market while Rolex serves the high end.
The downside of this wide price range, from a brand perspective, is further complicated by the technology component of the Watch. When consumers see prices ranging up to $17,000, they tend to psychologically believe they’ll have to spend somewhere around the midpoint (say, $8,000) to get a “good one” (from a technology standpoint). The reality is the Watch’s technical performance is the same no matter what the price — the price differential is based on the various metals and adornments – -but this truth is obfuscated by the wide price range.
The French Laundry Gets a New Kitchen→
While Snøhetta actually had no previous experience designing Michelin-rated kitchens, Thomas Keller tapped the firm for the job because of its urban design work in Times Square, where pedestrians, bikers, and drivers intersect in one surprisingly lovely space. “He wondered if we could bring that [crowd control] into kitchen,” explains Snøhetta Partner Craig Dykers. “Kitchens are crowded and can be intense, but they need to stay crowded, because the intimacy is important to the work. It’s counterintuitive, but the more space you create, the less positive and creative a kitchen is.”
So the firm’s designers embedded themselves in French Laundry’s kitchen, studying cooking workflows and diagramming what Dykers calls “the choreography of the kitchen.” From this observational study, they generated a few small but important interventions…
A Reminder About Iran and Appeasement→
Never forget. Worth pondering.
Shute’s novel reminds us that the consequences of a nuclear war would not be confined to the participating parties. The book tells us that events can overwhelm expectations and that hope based on a misreading of human behavior can lead to disaster. Mr. Shute wrote: “No one knows how the war started or how it escalated.” In his desire for a deal, at seemingly any price, with a rogue nation known for exporting terrorism and for lying about their assets and capabilities, Mr. Obama may have put the world at great risk.
War with Germany, as Winston Churchill knew during the mid 1930s, was not the only alternative. He knew that bullies had to be confronted and, when done so early and firmly, tended to back down. Giving into their demands makes them bolder. Mr. Obama has always presented his proposal with Iran as a Hobson’s choice, or, as the Wall Street Journal put it on Friday, with “his usual false dilemma gambit” – that the only other option is war. That is not true. Current sanctions are hurting. They could be further tightened. Given our recent increases in oil production, we and the Saudis can continue to put downward pressure on crude prices, a major source of revenues for the regime. Iranian demographics are the mirror image of much of the west. More than 70% of its population is under 30. How long, as K.T. McFarland recently asked, will the youth of Iran tolerate 80-year-old mullahs who restrict their liberties.
The Price of Water→
Using price to encourage conservation:
Economists argue that without real prices and measurements that would determine cost, there’s no incentive to conserve consumption. But these prices and systems were set in a time when water shortage wasn’t a huge issue. Robert Carson, an economics professor who specializes in natural resources at University of California San Diego, says that caps on water prices were set in part so municipalities could not abuse the utility for profit.
“California law requires that a water utility can only collect money to cover its costs,” says Carson. “While preventing cities from using water utilities to extract lots of extra revenue, it prevents a water district from using a higher price to reduce demand.”
Shaken Baby Syndrome Shaky→
But what prosecutors called a clear-cut case of child abuse is now mired in doubt. Two doctors working on Dobson’s appeal last year argued that the scientific testimony used against her was fundamentally flawed. A judge overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial, finding that a jury hearing that argument could have had “a reasonable doubt” about her guilt.
Doctors for the prosecution said Trevor had been a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome, a 40-year-old medical diagnosis long defined by three internal conditions: swelling of the brain, bleeding on the surface of the brain and bleeding in the back of the eyes. The diagnosis gave a generation of doctors a way to account for unexplained head injuries in babies and prosecutors a stronger case for criminal intent when police had no witnesses, no confessions and only circumstantial evidence.
What Really Happened to Harry Reid?→
When a guy shows up at a Las Vegas emergency room on New Year’s Day with severe facial injuries and broken ribs, and gives as an explanation the functional equivalent of “I walked into a doorknob,” it isn’t hard to guess that he ran afoul of mobsters. Yet the national press has studiously averted its eyes from Reid’s condition, and has refused to investigate the cause of his injuries. To my knowledge, every Washington reporter has at least pretended to believe Reid’s story, and none, as far as I can tell, has inquired further.