Thanks to the modern electric grid, you have access to electricity whenever you want. But the grid only works when electricity is generated in the same amounts as it is consumed. That said, it’s impossible to get the balance right all the time. So operators make grids more flexible by adding ways to store excess electricity for when production drops or consumption rises.
About 96% of the world’s energy-storage capacity comes in the form of one technology: pumped hydro. Whenever generation exceeds demand, the excess electricity is used to pump water up a dam. When demand exceeds generation, that water is allowed to fall—thanks to gravity—and the potential energy turns turbines to produce electricity.
But pumped-hydro storage requires particular geographies, with access to water and to reservoirs at different altitudes. It’s the reason that about three-quarters of all pumped hydro storage has been built in only 10 countries. The trouble is the world needs to add a lot more energy storage, if we are to continue to add the intermittent solar and wind power necessary to cut our dependence on fossil fuels.
A startup called Energy Vault thinks it has a viable alternative to pumped-hydro: Instead of using water and dams, the startup uses concrete blocks and cranes. It has been operating in stealth mode until today (Aug. 18), when its existence will be announced at Kent Presents, an ideas festival in Connecticut.
Save the dates folks!
On Saturday 22nd September and Sunday 23rd September we will be having the first ever Oxford IndieWebCamp!
It is a free event, but I would ask that you register on Eventbrite, so I can get an idea of numbers.
IndieWebCamp is a weekend gathering of web creators building & sharing their own websites to advance the independent web and empower ourselves and others to take control of our online identities and data.
It is open to all skill levels, from people who want to get started with a web site, through to experienced developers wanting to tackle a specific personal project.
I gave a little presentation about the Indieweb at JS Oxford earlier this year if you want to know more.
I couldn’t be more excited about this! I really hope that I’m able to attend!
Many online accounts allow you to supplement your password with a second form of identification, which can prevent some prevalent attacks. The second factors you can use to identify yourself include authenticator apps on your phone, which generate codes that change every 30 seconds, and security keys, small pieces of hardware similar in size and shape to USB drives. Since innovations that can actually improve the security of your online accounts are rare, there has been a great deal of well-deserved enthusiasm for two-factor authentication (as well as for password managers, which make it easy to use a different random password for every one of your online accounts.) These are technologies more people should be using.
However, in trying to persuade users to adopt second factors, advocates sometimes forget to disclose that all security measures have trade-offs . As second factors reduce the risk of some attacks, they also introduce new risks. One risk is that you could be locked out of your account when you lose your second factor, which may be when you need it the most. Another is that if you expect second factors to protect you from those attacks that they can not prevent, you may become more vulnerable to the those attacks.
Before you require a second factor to login to your accounts, you should understand the risks, have a recovery plan for when you lose your second factor(s), and know the tricks attackers may use to defeat two-factor authentication.
A well-examined exploration of some of the risks of employing two-factor authentication in your everyday life. I maintain that it’s still highly-worthwhile and everybody should do so, but it’s important that you know what you need to do in the event that you can’t access your two-factor device (and, ideally, have a backup solution in place): personally, I prefer TOTP (i.e. app-based) 2FA and I share my generation keys between my mobile device, my password safe (I’ll write a blog post about why this is controversial but why I think it’s a good idea anyway!), and in a console application I wrote (because selfdogfooding etc.).
There’s a YouTube video from 2014 simply titled “Batman Suit-up Compilation.” As that description suggests, the 106-second clip, which has received approximately 1.86 million views, is a highlight reel of different times in Batman movies in which the Caped Crusader dons his Batsuit.
It’s a fairly innocuous video, but it’s generated more than 550 comments. And the first responder basically sums up the discussion that continues down the rest of the page: “Was there any point of showing Batman’s ass? Furthermore, why were Bats and Robin wearing codpieces? ”