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What does Nigel Farage really want?

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Why is a man who has failed to get elected to Parliament seven times causing panic in Tory ranks?
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JimB
1 day ago
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Explained: Nissan's solid-state battery that could double EV range

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Nissan solid state batteries
Adoption of smaller solid-state batteries will benefit packaging
Japanese brand's tech took 17 years to develop; battery units are half the size but can provide twice the energy

The manufacturer that brought us the first mainstream electric cars could also be about to become the first to bring us the next big thing in EVs: a car with double the range for less money.

The secret lies in the much-talked-about solid-state battery technology, which, if it lives up to the hype, should yield batteries that are around half the size and weight yet deliver the same range as their conventional counterparts or, on the other hand, provide double the range for the same size of battery.

Nissan, which unveiled its game-changing Leaf in Yokohama back in 2009, this month showed off its new all-solid-state battery (ASSB) pilot production line, which is under construction at the Yokohama plant. The firm has also announced plans to have ASSB-equipped production EVs in a wide range of vehicle segments on the market by 2028.

The EV pioneer claims its ASSB technology will be a game-changer with the “potential” for around twice the energy density of today’s liquid-electrolyte batteries – in other words, as mentioned, half the size and weight for the same capacity of today’s equivalent.

History has shown that a manufacturer’s past achievements can offer some perspective on what we can expect them to be capable of in the future.

When Nissan revealed its new Leaf to the world’s press back in the day, including a small group of us from the UK, we were treated to a brief drive at the Zama plant test track in a domestic-model Nissan Tiida mule, underpinned by a Leaf powertrain, and given a detailed technical briefing that included cutaway models of the battery pack. 

Engineers explained that they had been working on the battery technology in-house for 17 years prior to that. The pack we saw comprised 48 modules made up of cells roughly the size of an A4 envelope.

The name ‘solid state’ could just as well be ‘solid electrolyte’ because the main difference between a conventional lithium ion battery cell and a solid-state lithium ion cell is that the electrolyte is solid rather than a liquid.

Battery cells are simple enough in their construction, even if the chemistry isn’t. Each one contains a positive anode and negative cathode, which lithium ions move between via the electrolyte during charge and discharge. There’s also a separator to prevent the anode and cathode from touching.

In a solid-state battery, the solid electrolyte also serves as a separator, doing two jobs. The advantage is that the solid-state battery has a higher energy density but is also intrinsically safer, needing fewer add-on safety components.

The pilot line will produce prototype batteries and the manufacturing processes can be studied and refined. Nissan is already predicting that the battery cost can be reduced to £60 per kWh in 2028 and a little over £50 thereafter, putting the cost of manufacturing an EV roughly on a par with a petrol or diesel car.

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JimB
4 days ago
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Suspended-License Case: More Complicated, Not Less Dumb

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Major developments recently in the case of the guy with the suspended license who took a court call on Zoom while driving. See Guy With Suspended License Takes Court Call on Zoom While Driving (May 31, 2024). For example, his license wasn’t suspended.

Sort of.

Corey Harris did get a suspension, way back in 2010, for failure to pay child support. But it turns out that a judge rescinded that in 2022. So Harris didn’t understand, he told WXYZ News, “how he even ended up being charged with driving while license suspended” after an October 2023 traffic stop. That charge was the subject of the Zoom hearing shown in the viral clip. Reports said the 2022 order should have been sent to the Secretary of State by the “Friend of the Court,” a county office that helps with family-law matters like child support. Or is supposed to help, at least. Problems like these are apparently common enough in Michigan that the state has created a special program to help people get their driving privileges back, because more bureaucracy always helps.

So the story, if any, should have been about the unfairness of the system, not Harris’s allegedly poor decisions, shouted a columnist for Reason magazine after this came to light. He definitely had a point about the system. Michigan, like many other states, has a long list of crimes for which one can lose a license, and some of them have nothing to do with driving. As this similar op-ed points out, revoking or suspending a license for unpaid debt (like child support) can be “draconian and counterproductive,” especially for people who don’t earn much. If somebody can’t pay child support, making it harder to get and keep a job isn’t likely to help (though it’s less draconian than jailing them). So the policy is bad, and even worse if the bureaucracy makes it hard to get suspensions cleared.

Harris was a victim, in other words, not someone to be mocked, according to the Reason columnist, who was quite miffed about the whole thing. “[T]his never should have been a national story to begin with,” he griped. “A man in Michigan driving allegedly when he wasn’t supposed to is not newsworthy enough to deserve coverage…. Good for a social media laugh? Sure. Justifying its own news cycle? No.” Harris “didn’t deserve to have his license suspended in the first place,” the other op-ed writer similarly argued, and he “didn’t deserve to be mocked.”

Well, let me be the judge of that.

True, but for the suspension, Harris wouldn’t have been cited in October 2023 and wouldn’t have faced the hearing or the resulting mockery. That is all true. But the fact remains: Harris knew he’d been charged with driving without a license, and he appeared for a hearing on that charge via a Zoom video call he made while driving a car. Even if the charge itself was unfair, my friends, that does not change the mockable nature of that particular choice.

Unless he had to drive at that exact time for an unavoidable and possibly even heroic reason, as some reports suggested. WXYZ noted, for example, that “Harris said he was driving his wife to the doctor because her medical condition was worsening.” Harris may have said that to WXYZ, but he didn‘t say it to the court during the Zoom call. What he told the court was “I’m pulling in to my doctor’s office right now.” Maybe he meant “our doctor,” but if it was really an emergency, it’s strange he didn’t mention that immediately or at least when he realized the court was revoking his bond. So absent some evidence to support the “dying wife” excuse, I’m sticking with my belief that Harris did deserve to be mocked.

But it is true, in a sense, that he did not “deserve to have his license suspended in the first place.” This is not so much because the policy is unfair, but because he never had a license to begin with.

In what the Detroit News called “a startling turn of events,” the judge said last week that after reviewing more records, he found that Harris “has never had a Michigan license—ever. And [he] has never had a license in the other 49 states and commonwealths that form up this great union.” The state couldn’t have suspended my client’s license, Your Honor, because he’s never had one! The defense rests.

Except, again, for the driving part.

According to this report, in Michigan someone without a driver’s license may still have a driving record. The point is apparently to keep track of bad deeds so that if you ever did try to get a license, you wouldn’t be able to. So Harris had a “suspension” in his record, even though he’s never had a license the state could suspend. To get this pseudo-suspension removed, he would have had to pay a fine and file a release form with the Secretary of State. Only then would the state drop its threat to suspend any license Harris might one day get. But Harris never did those things.

So, again, the level of bureaucracy here is ridiculous and it’s easy to see how it could be very unfair. It’s just that it wasn’t unfair here, because Harris not only knew he was driving without a license during the Zoom call about his driving without a license, he knew he has never had a driver’s license at all. He has had a state ID, which he renewed every year as required, and in Michigan that is a substitute for a driver’s license (you can’t have both). In fact, he renewed the ID most recently on December 28, after he was cited for driving without a license.

Asked why he didn’t get a license during that time, Harris told the judge he couldn’t get to the Secretary of State’s office because he was “bedridden due to an accident.” It apparently didn’t occur to him that the judge might have records showing Harris had in fact been to that very office on December 28 to renew his state ID. But he did.

Given that Harris lied to the judge about that, I’m even less inclined to believe the “dying wife” excuse for the Zoom call. On the other hand, Harris did wear a T-shirt that read “Trust Me” to court on Wednesday, so maybe I shouldn’t rush to judgment.

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JimB
6 days ago
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7,000 LockBit decryption keys now in the hands of the FBI, offering victims hope

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A ransom note is plastered across a laptop monitor.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

The FBI is urging victims of one of the most prolific ransomware groups to come forward after agents recovered thousands of decryption keys that may allow the recovery of data that has remained inaccessible for months or years.

The revelation, made Wednesday by a top FBI official, comes three months after an international roster of law enforcement agencies seized servers and other infrastructure used by LockBit, a ransomware syndicate that authorities say has extorted more than $1 billion from 7,000 victims around the world. Authorities said at the time that they took control of 1,000 decryption keys, 4,000 accounts, and 34 servers and froze 200 cryptocurrency accounts associated with the operation.

At a speech before a cybersecurity conference in Boston, FBI Cyber Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran said Wednesday that agents have also recovered an asset that will be of intense interest to thousands of LockBit victims—the decryption keys that could allow them to unlock data that’s been held for ransom by LockBit associates.

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JimB
10 days ago
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Cue email scams from "FBI-RECOVER" asking for your details to match their database.
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Trump fans brave blazing Arizona heat to attend event

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Multiple people were taken to hospital for heat-related illness, as Phoenix saw its hottest day in 2024.
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JimB
10 days ago
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Ironic that trump doesn't believe in climate change and supports oil and gas...
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Can 'energy hog' hot tubs be greener?

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Hot tubs are becoming a standard feature at holiday parks, but can they be made more energy efficient?
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JimB
13 days ago
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Why are we so intent on climate destroying gadgets? The easiest way to make them. More efficient is to not install them.
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