The simple cactus may have the answer the clean tech industry needs



In the world of engineering, you can usually trust nature to have done it first, and better.

A newly-developed fuel cell technology looks to the cactus to solve a problem involving this promising but complex form of clean energy, which generates power without emitting planet-warming greenhouse gases. 

The technology, which is a thin plastic membrane, could help improve the performance of fuel cells to make them more useful for everything from electric cars to desalination plants. 

The result of a collaboration between the CSIRO, Australia’s peak science body, and Korea’s Hanyang University, the research was published Thursday in the journal Nature.
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Ford to compete with Chevy and Tesla with its own long-range EV



Look out, Tesla and Chevy: Ford is working on a 200-mile EV, too.

Ford CEO Mark Fields confirmed on Thursday during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call that the carmaker is indeed working on a long-range mass-market EV.

Specifically, when asked if Ford would create a car to challenge the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, Fields said, “Clearly that’s something we’re developing for.” Adding that Ford aims to be “among the leaders or in a leadership position” in the electrified car market.

Here’s where this story goes from “yeah, and?” to “what the what?” Read more…

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Huawei's P9 is a very capable phone that's just shy of greatness



The smartphone landscape is changing so fast that what worked a year ago would be a disaster today.

Every manufacturer deals with it in its own way: Apple is moving at its own pace, careful to add one marquee feature in each new iPhone. Samsung seems to love tossing in a dozen odd features in the hopes something will stick (although the company’s toned down the gimmicks this year). The up and coming Chinese manufacturers just try to make a good looking, powerful phone and sell it cheap. 

With its latest flagship P9 (and P9 Plus), Chinese smartphone maker Huawei — the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world according to IDC — is trying to out-Apple Apple. The P9 is an exceptionally well-built phone that sort of apes the iPhone aesthetic, but it’s not cheap. And it has one very distinctive feature: dual cameras on the back.  Read more…

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Twitter founder Biz Stone launches Jelly (again) as a search engine



Remember Jelly, the question and answer app founded by Twitter cofounder Biz Stone? It’s back. 

After announcing a closed beta earlier this year, Stone has officially relaunched Jelly, which has been given a total redesign. 

Once again, Stone is positioning Jelly as a human-powered search engine, though he readily admits there is “a bit of AI” involved as well. 

“But all this science is in service of getting you the right responses from the right folks. People who can help because they’ve been there, they have the experience, they have the opinion, and most importantly, they have the answers you need — and you can follow up with them too,” Stone writes in a blog post on Medium.  Read more…

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Your house plant could soon charge your phone



When Mother Nature came up with photosynthesis, she likely wasn’t expecting any USB cords to be involved. Alas, there’s no stopping progress.

A European startup company is currently developing an intriguing gizmo that will let you charge your phone with your potted plant. The system, called Bioo Lite, harnesses the power of photosynthesis and generates electricity using only water, soil and any common house plant. (We might have suggested the name Power Plant, but hey — nobody asked us.)

Power output from the Bioo Lite system is equivalent to a USB charge from a laptop or desktop computer, designers say, and can deliver up to three complete recharges in 24 hours to most smart phones or tablets. Read more…

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Fiat Chrysler said to be in talks with Google for technical partnership



Now, is it Google car helping Fiat Chrysler or the other way around?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Alphabet’s Google car are reportedly in late-stage talks on a technical partnership, according to a CNBC tweet.

At first blush, it might seem that Google is seeking car production help from FCA, as Google doesn’t have much experience in the car-making realm, aside from its prototype cars.

Likely, however, it’s FCA that is keen to partner with Google and glean the tech giant’s massive experience with self-driving cars. That’s because FCA, unlike hometown rivals Ford and GM, hasn’t done much in autonomous tech development. Read more…

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