Extending a battery’s lifetime with heat

Don’t go sticking your electronic devices in a toaster oven just yet, but for a longer-lasting battery, you might someday heat them up when not in use. Over time, the electrodes inside a rechargeable battery cell can grow tiny, branch-like filaments called dendrites, causing short circuits that kill the battery or even ignite it in flames. But thanks to new experiments and computer simulations, researchers from the California Institute of Technology have explored in detail how higher temperatures can break down these dendrites — and possibly extend battery lifetimes.

A battery cell consists of a positive and negative electrode, called the cathode and anode. As the battery produces electrical current, electrons flow from the anode through a circuit outside the battery and back into the cathode. Having lost the electrons that are generating the current, some of the atoms in the anode — an electrically conductive metal like lithium — become ions that then travel to the cathode, moving through a conductive liquid medium called an electrolyte.

Recharging the battery reverses the process, and the ions travel back and stick onto the anode. But when they

More flexible machine learning

Machine learning, which is the basis for most commercial artificial-intelligence systems, is intrinsically probabilistic. An object-recognition algorithm asked to classify a particular image, for instance, might conclude that it has a 60 percent chance of depicting a dog, but a 30 percent chance of depicting a cat.

At the Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems in December, MIT researchers will present a new way of doing machine learning that enables semantically related concepts to reinforce each other. So, for instance, an object-recognition algorithm would learn to weigh the co-occurrence of the classifications “dog” and “Chihuahua” more heavily than it would the co-occurrence of “dog” and “cat.”

In experiments, the researchers found that a machine-learning algorithm that used their training strategy did a better job of predicting the tags that human users applied to images on the Flickr website than it did when it used a conventional training strategy.

“When you have a lot of possible categories, the conventional way of dealing with it is that, when you want to learn a model for each one of those categories, you use only data associated with that category,”

Liquid cooling moves onto the chip for denser electronics

Using microfluidic passages cut directly into the backsides of production field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are putting liquid cooling right where it’s needed the most — a few hundred microns away from where the transistors are operating.

Combined with connection technology that operates through structures in the cooling passages, the new technologies could allow development of denser and more powerful integrated electronic systems that would no longer require heat sinks or cooling fans on top of the integrated circuits. Working with popular 28-nanometer FPGA devices made by Altera Corp., the researchers have demonstrated a monolithically-cooled chip that can operate at temperatures more than 60 percent below those of similar air-cooled chips.

In addition to more processing power, the lower temperatures can mean longer device life and less current leakage. The cooling comes from simple de-ionized water flowing through microfluidic passages that replace the massive air-cooled heat sinks normally placed on the backs of chips.

“We believe we have eliminated one of the major barriers to building high-performance systems that are more compact and energy efficient,” said Muhannad Bakir, an associate professor and

Recipe for Trouble The Internet

We all know the power of the internet. If you are starting a new business, the internet can be your best friend. It can also be your worse enemy. There are two quotes about the internet that you should keep in mind. The first is “You can’t take something off the Internet—it’s like taking pee out of a pool” (Author Unknown).

We all know the power of the internet. If you are starting a new business, the internet can be your best friend. It can also be your worst enemy. There are two quotes about the internet that you should keep in mind. The first is “You can’t take something off the Internet—it’s like taking pee out of a pool” (Author Unknown). The second is “Information on the Internet is subject to the same rules and regulations as conversation at a bar” (George Lundberg).

It has been discussed in other articles, it is very important to have consistent communication with the people that are involved in your business (employees, investors, etc.). It is just as important, however, to pay attention to what EVERYONE is saying about your business. This includes customers, vendors, and anyone that comes into contact with you business. If

Cyber Aware? Know the Top Internet Scams

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and no doubt you’re fully aware of what happened to Target, Home Depot and scores of other companies that were victims of cyber attacks. Those big-brand data breaches certainly make news.

But what really hits home? The cyber scams that don’t generate headlines yet result in the most reports and complaints to the National Consumers League and other watchdog groups. So along with the often-preached mantras that warrant repeating this month — use strong and unique passwords, regularly update protection software, don’t click on links from unknown sources — be aware (and beware) of these most frequent cyber scams.

1. Fake Check Scams

They pretend to be buyers on Craigslist and eBay. Or vacationers interested in your beachfront rental. Or employers hiring babysitters, mystery shoppers or other workers. Even deposed Nigerian kings promising you millions to help move their fortune. Whatever the role, the ruse is the same: After initial contact on the Internet, they mail you a check with instructions to deposit it into your account and then forward a portion to a third party (read accomplice).

Simple ways to save a buck, expert investment advice, scam alerts and much more! » AARP Money Newsletter

What to know:

Internet campaigns motivate users to respond to humanitarian crises

Online campaigns about humanitarian crises need to be more surprising if they are to successfully engage the public, according to an academic from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Research by Dr Martin Scott, published in the journal International Communication Gazette, aimed to explore why UK citizens respond to some online campaigns and communications concerning overseas crises and not others.

It is often suggested that the internet promotes greater understanding of humanitarian crises and encourages people to become more involved through forums and social media and by signing online petitions, making ethical purchases and donating money.

However, this new research identified a number of key reasons people give for not responding to campaigns or actively seeking out more information.

These include the time needed to find and search through material online and a lack of trust in sources such as governments and charities. Information from most non-news sources — including blogs and social media — was frequently rejected by many in the study for being inaccurate or biased.

“My findings suggest that the internet is not a magic bullet for getting people engaged with or caring about humanitarian issues or crises,” said Dr Scott, lecturer in Media and International Development at UEA’s

Heavy internet use may put teens at risk for high blood pressure

Teens who spend hours on the Internet may be at risk for high blood pressure, say researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

In a study published in the Journal of School Nursing, researchers found that teens who spent at least 14 hours a week on the Internet had elevated blood pressure. Of 134 teens described by researchers as heavy Internet users, 26 had elevated blood pressure.

This is believed to be the first study to show a link between time spent on the Internet and high blood pressure. The findings add to growing research that has shown an association between heavy Internet use and other health risks like addiction, anxiety, depression, obesity and social isolation.

Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, Ph.D., MPH, a researcher at Henry Ford’s Department of Public Health Sciences and the study’s lead author, says the take-home message for teens and parents is moderation.

“Using the Internet is part of our daily life but it shouldn’t consume us,” she says. “In our study, teens considered heavy Internet users were on the Internet an average of 25 hours a week.

“It’s important that young people take regular breaks from their computer or smartphone, and engage in some form of physical activity. I

FedEx Forecasts Record Shipments Over Holiday Season

CHICAGO – Package delivery company FedEx Corp. said on Monday that it expects to see a record number of shipments during this year’s busy holiday season, driven by rising retail sales and a jump in ecommerce.

The Memphis-based company said it expects to handle 317 million shipments between Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally the busiest U.S. shopping day of the year, and Christmas Eve, an increase of 12.4 percent over the previous year.

Delivery Dilemma: The Package Pile-Up Happening Across the U.S.2:14

“Each year we face a challenge that’s greater and that’s driven by ecommerce,” Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx senior vice president for integrated marketing and communications, told Reuters. “We’ve learned that planning and preparation is key.”

The National Retail Federation has predicted retail sales in November and December – excluding automobiles, fuel and restaurant sales – will increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion after a 4.1 percent increase last year. The NRF said online retail sales could increase up to 8 percent, to as much as $105 billion.

Retailers in Warehouse-Building Frenzy as Delivery Wars Heat Up

FedEx said that it expects to see three spikes in package volumes during peak