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Innovation

A student accidentally created a rechargeable battery that could last 400 years

"This thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it’s still going." ⚡️⚡️

A student accidentally created a rechargeable battery that could last 400 years

There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.


A team of researchers at UCI had been experimenting with nanowires for potential use in batteries, but found that over time the thin, fragile wires would break down and crack after too many charging cycles. A charge cycle is when a battery goes from completely full to completely empty and back to full again.

But one day, on a whim, Thai coated a set of gold nanowires in manganese dioxide and a Plexiglas-like electrolyte gel.

"She started to cycle these gel capacitors, and that's when we got the surprise," said Reginald Penner, chair of the university's chemistry department. "She said, 'this thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it's still going.' She came back a few days later and said 'it's been cycling for 30,000 cycles.' That kept going on for a month."

This discovery is mind-blowing because the average laptop battery lasts 300 to 500 charge cycles. The nanobattery developed at UCI made it though 200,000 cycles in three months. That would extend the life of the average laptop battery by about 400 years. The rest of the device would have probably gone kaput decades before the battery, but the implications for a battery that that lasts hundreds of years are pretty startling.

Batteries being recycled at WRWA, London. Nov ‘21Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

"The big picture is that there may be a very simple way to stabilize nanowires of the type that we studied," Penner said. "If this turns out to be generally true, it would be a great advance for the community." Not bad for just fooling around in the laboratory.


This article originally appeared 12.22.22

A pitbull stares at the window, looking for the mailman.


Dogs are naturally driven by a sense of purpose and a need for belonging, which are all part of their instinctual pack behavior. When a dog has a job to do, it taps into its needs for structure, purpose, and the feeling of contributing to its pack, which in a domestic setting translates to its human family.

But let’s be honest: In a traditional domestic setting, dogs have fewer chores they can do as they would on a farm or as part of a rescue unit. A doggy mom in Vancouver Island, Canada had fun with her dog’s purposeful uselessness by sharing the 5 “chores” her pitbull-Lab mix does around the house.

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Joy

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Cameron House/Naughty Sheep

Cameron House's Woolly Wellness retreat includes a unique sheep encounter.

Remember when "goat yoga" was all the rage? And then "cow cuddling" and "turkey cuddling" made everyone's bucket lists?

Now we can add "nuzzling with naughty sheep" to the mix, but with a fancy Scottish twist.

Less than an hour from Glasgow, Scotland, the Cameron House resort sits on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, looking as if it were plucked straight out of a fairy tale. Sprawling green grounds, gorgeous lake views and a four-story castled mansion greet guests as their "home away from home" (only better), and a perusal of the reviews show guests raving about the 5-star resort's elegance, beauty and exceptional service.

I mean, just look at this place:

drone view of cameron house grounds and lakeCameron House sit on Lake Lochmond in Scotland.Cameron House


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@caitlin.the.realtor/TikTok, used with permission

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A Eurasian crow.

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Russell, the free-spirited crow, ventures away from the family's home from time to time, but never for too long. He always comes back and announces his return by tapping on the door, swooping in to lounge on the sofa, or awaiting Otto's return from school atop their roof.

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The family’s relationship with Russell didn’t come out of nowhere. When Russell was a young bird, he had health problems so the family took him and nursed the bird back to health. Eventually, they witnessed his first attempts to fly.

Recently, Russell became friends with another family member, their second child, Hedwig. Although he does get a little annoyed with the bird’s frequent attempts to nab his pacifier.

Even though it’s rare for humans to strike up such a close bond with a crow, according to research, it’s not that surprising. Audubon says that crows are “some of the smartest animals in the world” with an intelligence “on par with chimpanzees.” They are also very social and family-oriented, so no wonder Russell loves Otto and his family.

Crow Named Russell Waits For His Favorite Kid To Get Home From School | The Dodo


Learning

Why you shouldn't throw your dishwasher pod into the bottom of your dishwasher

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Photos by cottonbro studio and PhotoMIX Ltd. via Canva

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Pateras actually breaks down exactly how dishwashers work to clean your dishes while explaining why putting the detergent on the bottom is ineffective.

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