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This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

This startup wants to pack more energy into electric vehicle batteries

Fully charged: Electric vehicles are becoming more popular, but they’re still constrained by how far they’re able to travel on a single charge—a Tesla Model 3 can go for about 350 miles before it needs to be recharged. In a quest to build batteries that can take us farther safely, startup Solid Power is working to make solid-state batteries that could pack more energy into a smaller space.

Battery powered: The company makes battery cells that replace the liquid used as the electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries with ceramic layers. This could unlock new options for battery chemistry, potentially allowing solid batteries to be swapped in. It has taken a step toward testing the technology in vehicles, starting up a large-scale pilot manufacturing line.

A note of caution: Questions remain about whether companies making solid electrolytes will be able to produce them on a large scale. Inorganic materials can be brittle and may be difficult to move during manufacturing. Another concern about solid batteries is how well they can withstand degradation over time. Read the full story.

—Casey Crownhart

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Big Tech is spooked by Congress’ proposed crackdown
Tech giants are pulling out all the stops to try to avert efforts to curb their market power.(FT $)
Advocates are racing to get it over the line before the midterm elections. (CNBC)
What does breaking up Big Tech really mean? (MIT Technology Review)

2 The biggest NFT marketplace is facing a reckoning
OpenSea is having to pay out vast sums of money to settle claims of theft and plagiarism. (NYT $) 
The voice of the crypto naysayers is getting louder. (WP $)
Why this crypto crash feels different to those before it. (The Guardian)
Japan has become one of the first countries to introduce a legal framework around stablecoins. (Bloomberg $)
The obsession with web3 is not without casualties. (Motherboard)

3 One of America’s biggest baby formula plants has restarted production
Good news for parents and caregivers grappling with widespread shortages. (BBC)
The FDA is facing an investigation into its handling of the shortage. (NPR)
The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Migrants are documenting dangerous journeys to Europe on TikTok
Social media platforms and EU lawmakers are at loggerheads over illegal migration content. (Rest of World)

5 You can expect to to get reinfected with covid
It’s likely we’ll need more, and better, vaccines. (Wired $)

6 The quest to end the menopause is complicated
Mainly because research into women’s health is so underfunded. (Neo.Life)
Fatherless sons have higher levels of testosterone. (Economist $)
Trans men’s eggs have been matured in the lab—and could help them have children. (MIT Technology Review)

7 We are remarkably ignorant about social media’s true impact
Particularly when it comes to our perceptions of trustworthiness. (New Yorker $)

8 Charging electric cars is easier said than done

Which is far from ideal on a time-pressed road trip. (WSJ $)

9 Vision-enhancing glasses are helping color-blind wearers see the world in a new light
By increasing their perceivable range of colors and hue difference. (The Guardian)

10 The secret life of killer cats

Loving our pets doesn’t mean loving their murderous instincts. (Hakai Magazine)

Quote of the day

“Lots of luck on his trip to the moon, I guess.” 

—President Joe Biden reacts to the news that Elon Musk is planning on cutting Tesla’s workforce by 10% on account of his “super bad feeling about the economy”, reports the BBC.

The big story

Why do you feel lonely? Neuroscience is starting to find answers.
September 2020

Long before the world had ever heard of covid-19, Kay Tye set out to answer a question that has taken on new resonance in the age of social distancing: When people feel lonely, do they crave social interactions in the same way a hungry person craves food? And could she and her colleagues detect and measure this “hunger” in the neural circuits of the brain?

“Loneliness is a universal thing. If I were to ask people on the street, ‘Do you know what it means to be lonely?’ probably 99 or 100% of people

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Longer-lasting electric car batteries, and Big Tech’s fightback
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Published Date: Mon, 06 Jun 2022 12:15:48 +0000


LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys



Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
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Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth



EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
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Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens



The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From:
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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