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Submission + - Second Life for Old Electric-Car Batteries: Guardians of the Electric Grid (

SternisheFan writes: Imagine a future in which old electric-car batteries are deployed in neighborhoods as energy-storage systems that guard against power outages, while paving the way for wind and solar power—and more electric cars. The idea has moved one step closer with the demonstration of a boxy unit of used Chevy Volt batteries capable of providing enough electricity to power three to five average American homes for up to two hours. Developed by General Motors and ABB, one of the world's largest electric-technology companies, the device features five lithium-ion battery packs from plug-in hybrid Volts, strung together in a new arrangement and cooled by air instead of the liquid used in their former lives on the road. The batteries are degraded below acceptable performance levels for cars, but the companies say the batteries have enough life to serve the grid for at least ten years in this device, a community energy storage unit.
    "In a car, you want immediate power, and you want a lot of it," said Alexandra Goodson, business development manager for energy storage modules at ABB. Many grid storage applications, on the other hand, involve slow, steady delivery of energy. "We're discharging for two hours instead of immediately accelerating," she said. "It's not nearly as demanding on the system."

Social Networks

Facebook and the Merging of Games and Social Networks 40

Gamasutra has an in-depth interview with Gareth Davis, Facebook's platform manager, about how social networks and online gaming are intersecting more and more as each industry matures. He says, "There's a cultural shift towards people being willing, excited, and preferring to use their real world identities online. We all know that 10 years ago, you were as anonymous as possible online, right? And today, we spend a lot of our time putting our real world identities out there and sharing them ... And we've seen this occur on, where as more and more people join Facebook and your social graph is more complete, you have the ability to have these social experiences with people you've never had before, and you're playing games with people whom you didn't play games with before, with your family members, with your parents, with friends in remote locations. There's this new gaming activity happening that we believe will translate to the consoles as well."

Submission + - Russia and Cuba Unite Against Microsoft (

Glyn Moody writes: "Recently, Slashdot reported on Russia's move to make free software the standard for all its schools. Now the Russian government is going even further. Concerned over loss of sovereignty, it's signed an agreement with Cuba to write free software jointly that can be used by governments to replace Microsoft's products. What's next? A Russian alternative to Microsoft's cloud computing offering, Azure? Which authoritarian regime would *you* choose?"

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