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Math Model to Help Design New Materials for Storing Electricity

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Image Source: Discover Magazine

Researchers have devised a mathematical model for designing new materials for storing electricity, an approach different from chemists and materials scientists who traditionally rely on trial and error to create materials for batteries and capacitors.

“The potential here is that you could build batteries that last much longer and make them much smaller,” said Daniel Tartakovsky, a professor in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences at Stanford University and co-author of a study published this week in Applied Physics Letters. “If you could engineer a material with a far superior storage capacity than what we have today, then you could dramatically improve the performance of batteries.”

Advancing new materials for energy storage is an important step toward reducing carbon emissions in the transportation and electricity sectors. One of the primary obstacles to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables is the ability to store energy for later use, such as during hours when the sun is not shining in the case of solar power.

The study, “Optimal design of nanoporous materials for electrochemical devices,” is expected to help improve supercapacitors, a type of next-generation energy storage that could replace rechargeable batteries in high-tech devices like cellphones and electric vehicles.

Supercapacitors combine the best of what is currently available for energy storage — batteries, which hold a lot of energy but charge slowly, and capacitors, which charge quickly but hold little energy.

The materials must be able to withstand both high power and high energy to avoid breaking, exploding or catching fire.

“Current batteries and other storage devices are a major bottleneck for transition to clean energy,” Tartakovsky was quoted as saying in a news release from Stanford. “There are many people working on this, but this is a new approach to looking at the problem.”

The types of materials used to develop energy storage, known as nanoporous materials, look solid to the human eye but contain microscopic holes that give them unique properties. To develop possibly better nanoporous materials, the current method, involving arranging minuscule grains of silica of different sizes in a mold, filling the mold with a solid substance and then dissolving the grains to create a material containing many small holes, requires extensive planning, labor, experimentation and modifications, without guaranteeing the end result will be the best possible option.

“We developed a model that would allow materials chemists to know what to expect in terms of performance if the grains are arranged in a certain way, without going through these experiments,” said Tartakovsky, whose mathematical modeling research spans neuroscience, urban development, medicine and more. “This framework also shows that if you arrange your grains like the model suggests, then you will get the maximum performance.”

As an Earth scientist and professor of energy resources engineering, Tartakovsky is an expert in the flow and transport of porous media. Notifying that energy is just one industry that makes use of nanoporous materials, Tartakovsky hopes his model will be applicable in other areas. (PNA/Xinhua)

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Don’t Forget the Digital Prenup: Relationship Break-Ups Put Personal Privacy at Risk

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Image source: Kaspersky PR

With online accounts and connected devices playing an ever-growing role in our daily lives, it has become harder than ever for people in relationships to define the boundaries of personal privacy. But what happens if they break up? According to global research from Kaspersky Lab and Toluna, 21% of people have spied on their ex-partner via an online account that they had access to but, with revenge also a key motivator for scorned lovers, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the privacy risks that accompany modern-day partners after a break-up.

Privacy is becoming an increasingly fluid concept in a world of digital borders, and relationships are no exception.

For example, 70% of couples share passwords, PINs or fingerprints to access their personal devices, and 26% store some type of intimate data on their partner’s device: such as intimate messages from/to the partner (14%), intimate photos of themselves (12%) and intimate videos of them and their partner (11%). In addition, people keep sensitive data in accounts and devices they share with their partner – for example, financial information (11%) or work-related data (11%).

This is all well and good when the relationship is healthy and the data is in trusted hands, but some clear issues emerge in the event of a break-up. If things start to collapse, sharing intimate memories on devices or online accounts goes from being a perfectly natural part of a loving relationship, to a potential privacy nightmare.

Of those who have experienced a break-up, 12% have shared or wanted to share their ex-partner’s private information publicly as an act of revenge, 12% have damaged or wanted to damage their ex’s device and 21% have spied on their former partner via accounts they had access to. There’s also a potential financial impact, with one in ten (10%) people admitting to having spent their ex-partner’s money online.

Interestingly, there are some noticeable differences between the sexes, as men are much more likely than women to share their ex-partner’s private information publicly as a form of revenge (17% vs. 7%) and use their ex’s information for their own benefit (17% vs. 8%). In comparison, women are much more willing than men to take the high road by deleting all their ex-partner’s information from their device (55% vs. 49%) and deleting all partner photos or videos following a break-up (56% vs. 48%).

Women, however, are also prone to some sneaky tactics, with 33% admitting to spying on their ex-partner via social networks compared to 28% of men.

“The digital world offers a great way for couples to connect, but also presents significant privacy risks if partners decide to go their separate ways,” said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab. “With a sizeable proportion of individuals seemingly willing to abuse the intimate data they have on their ex-partners, individuals should always make sure they are careful when sharing anything intimate and know exactly where it is being stored. Moreover, there’s always the option of a digital prenuptial agreement to determine the ‘custody’ of data before it becomes a privacy problem.”

But a break-up doesn’t have to put your privacy at risk. People should always be sure to change passwords to accounts that their ex-partner has access to, using the Kaspersky Password Manager to help generate strong passwords and store them securely. Furthermore, Kaspersky Total Security features a File Shredder feature which permanently deletes files that you don’t want anyone else to see, while intimate messages on your Android device can be hidden using the Privacy Protection feature.

For more information about how Kaspersky Lab products can help keep your relationship on track, visit: https://www.kaspersky.com/home-security.

 

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Duterte Highlights Responsible Use of Digital Platforms

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Image Source: http://northboundasia.com

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday highlighted the responsible use of the digital platform in communicating truth as he urged communications and information officers to write and tell stories of the people.

This was the gist of the President’s speech read by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar during the second day of the National Information Convention at SMX Convention Center in Davao City.

Though recognizing the different modes of communicating and advocating government programs and policies based on speed and sophistication, Duterte raised questions about the outcomes of using digital media.

“What do we get out of the contents on the Internet? Are they fact-based on good reasoning? Do they have the capacity to affect our thinking correctly? Is there some relevance to the way we can, individually and collectively, improve our lives, restore a sense of compassion and concern, do justice where it is rightfully due, and, most importantly, safeguard the future?” the President’s message read.

Duterte said the questions can be answered during the convention.

The President also underscored the importance of sharing the truth through various platforms.

He also highlighted the power of words of change as a radical transformation in eradicating destructive elements such as his war on drugs, criminality, corruption, and terrorism.

“The battle zones surround all of us; and, as the communication and information officers of the government, you are bound to fight these wars as a matter of duty and for the honor of being the public servants of our people,” he said.

He stressed that words are most effective instruments one can use in confronting a fractured world.

“There are truths and certainties we must speak of in order to elicit respect for the law, the honor for authority, a sense of discipline, decency and pride in being a Filipino who is capable of defending our community when it is under siege,” he added.

“As information officers, therefore, your words should approximate these truths,” he said.

He further urged communications and information officers to leave ugly stories of those who scatter hatred, anger, divisiveness, with the cruelty of their lies and the wounds they cause with their poisoned pens.

“We must gather the goodness that is inherent in our hearts, and turn this into the advancement of understanding, harmony, unity and peace,” he said.

He said the essence of communication is truth-telling in their reports.

“The bonds that unite us together, are the stories we must tell our people; and, in the re-telling of our stories, in the re-creation of our communication, our world is re-created,” Duterte stressed.

Duterte expressed hope that NIC would strengthen government communications and information officers to be the perfect professionals.

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Business News

South Star Drug Now Accepts GCash in Metro Manila Outlets

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Image source: Globe PR

South Star Drug, one of the biggest drugstore chains in the Philippines, becomes the first drugstore in Metro Manila that allows customers to purchase medicines and other items using GCash scan to pay mode of payment.

The medicine retailer has over 450 stores nationwide and still growing.  The use of GCash in South Star Drug’s Metro Manila outlets is being piloted in six branches – two in Pasig (C. Raymundo cor. F. Legaspi, Dr. Sixto Ave.), two in Makati (Herrera, Guadalupe Unimec), one in Pasay (Balabag Merville), and one in Las Pinas (Philamlife).  By end of the year, all South Star Drug outlets are expected to accept GCash scan to pay.

GCash is being operated by Mynt which is owned by Globe Telecom, Ant Financial and Ayala Corp. “Mynt’s partnership with South Star Drug is part of our company’s efforts to make payments more convenient, safer and easier.  This brings us another step closer to our goal of making the Philippines a cashless country,” says Anthony Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Mynt.

Christine Tueres, General Manager of South Star Drug said:  “South Star is always working to improve customer experience and find ways of doing things better – that includes giving our customers more payment options. With GCash QR code feature, even without cash or credit card, our customers can make a purchase in any of our stores with just a few taps on their smart phones”.

Using GCash is easy.  A customer with an iPhone or an Android smartphone only needs to download or update to the latest version of the GCash App, register for an account, and fund  their GCash wallet at any of over 12,000 GCash Partner Outlets nationwide. This includes Robinsons Business Centers. Once done, the customer just has to tap on Scan QR, point a phone’s camera at the partner’s QR code, and key in the amount to be paid.

 

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Happy Lunar New Year! Wag Hello to the Year of the Dog

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Image source: www.blog.google

Today marks Lunar New Year. Across the world, people are celebrating the end of the year of the Rooster and the start of the Year of the Dog.

Whether you’re enjoying tteokguk with family or handing out red envelopes for good luck, there are many ways to celebrate the holiday. According to Google Trends, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries searching the most for “red envelopes.” Meanwhile, top searched foods are nian gao, dumplings, pineapple tart, rice cake and peanut cookies.

Since we’re dog people here at Google, we sniffed out a few non-traditional ways to celebrate. Howl you be spending the Lunar New Year?

Try your paw at drawing
In the last year, people have drawn more than 3 million doodles of dogs in Quick, Draw!—a fun game that uses neural networks to try to recognize your drawings. In honor of Lunar New Year, our team snuck in a special version of Quick, Draw! with Dog Face on Google -related items. Put your doodling skills to the test.

If you’re more of a data breed, you can check out the pawsome dog doodles from around the world in a special Lunar New Year version of Facets Dive, a tool that visualizes large sets of data (in this case ruff-ly 140,000 dogs that people have drawn in Quick, Draw!).

The dogs of Street View
Lunar Year of the Dog means dogs are everywhere–including on Google Street View! We’ve had a lot of fun finding furry friends all around, from this one strolling through New York’s Central Park to this Dog Face on Google hanging out in a small alley in San Sebastian, to our friend here enjoying the Coastal Walk in Sydney. Scroll through our favorites below, or find dogs on Street View in your own neighborhood.

Photos of your pup
In Google Photos, you can create a movie of the dog in your life—select “Doggie Movie” among the movie themes and Google Photos will stitch together photos of the dog. Photos also lets you search for your dog using a dog emoji.

All dogs go to the Games
We couldn’t let the moment pass without a Doodle (or two!). This cheerful pup on our homepage in many countries around the world isn’t just welcoming the New Year—it’s also celebrating the Doodle Snow Games!

In places not tuning into the Doodle Snow Games, you might see a different Doodle—also featured at the top of this post.

No matter how you celebrate or what language you say it in, happy Lunar New Year!

www.blog.google

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