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The Next Generation of Batteries Could Be Built by Viruses

In 2009, MIT bioengineering professor Angela Belcher traveled to the White House to demo a small battery for President Barack Obama, who was just two months into his first term in office. There aren’t many batteries that can get an audience with the leader of the free world, but this wasn’t your everyday power pouch. Belcher had used viruses to assemble a lithium-ion battery’s positive and negative electrodes, an engineering breakthrough that promised to reduce the toxicity of the battery manufacturing process and boost their performance. Obama was preparing to…

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The Potential Pitfalls of Electric Cars, in 5 Charts

If we're going to put the brakes on climate change, electric cars will be crucial. At least, that's the general consensus: Get the heck out of that Hummer, and into something without an exhaust pipe. At least seven countries plan to ban the sale of cars with internal combustion engines sometime in the next few decades, and the specter of losing out on markets like the UK, France, and most of all China (the world's biggest car buyer) has pushed the auto industry to mobilize. This week, Ford announced plans…

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Slow iPhone? You won’t like the reason why

Image: courtesy ifixit Conspiracy theorists, rejoice: For once, you were right. Apple confessed this week that, yes, it slows down old iPhones to mitigate battery concerns, practically confirming a long-running suspicion: that a tech giant has messed with an old device to encourage people to buy a new device. SEE ALSO: Yes, Apple sometimes slows down old iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns And yet: Apple’s justification is reasonable, if a bit convoluted. Apple says it developed the update for the iPhone 6, 6S, and SE to prevent them from “unexpectedly…

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