The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
Tesla Powerwall Battery Economics: Almost There - "Elon Musk announced Tesla's home / business battery today. [video] tl;dr: It'll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market... That said, for large scale grid deployment (outside of the home), it still looks like flow batteries and advanced compressed air are likely to be far cheaper in the long run." [more inside]
There are a number of grid energy storage methods, including flow batteries, which have the potential to be scaled up with increased tank sizes, but that would be expensive due to the cost of metals involved in the process. Enter a research team from Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who have developed an organic mega-flow battery that utilize quinones, similar to those found in rhubarbs. The quinones serve as charge-carriers in chlorophyll during photosynthesis, with minimal degradation during the process, which is ideal for batteries used in large-scale energy storage and distribution. Some day, energy may be stored in "rhubarb batteries." (Abstract on Nature, paywalled article).
The First World Problems Rap (SLYT)
Man, they said we better accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative... latch on to the affirmative....
Microsoft introduces "an amazingly obvious tweak to battery tech that should save us some headaches, as well as several trillion hours of head-scratching and peering into dark holes." The innovation, called "Instaload" is a simple, low-tech battery contact design that allows cylindrical batteries (disposable and rechargeable) to be inserted in either direction, so users don't have to worry about which end is positive or negative. How? It puts a set of positive and negative contacts at both ends of a battery compartment. (From Microsoft: Press Release / Overview / Technology Brochure (pdf)) [more inside]
I'm not sure what the exact definition of geek is, but I think "enjoys recharging batteries" has to be very high on that list.