MrSeb writes: "If it wasn’t for one, niggling, deal-breaking factor — reliability — alternative, renewable energy sources would probably overtake fossil fuels in terms of commercial viability and desirability. Wind and solar power plants are awesome, cost-effective, infinite-until-the-Sun-burns-out solutions — but when the sun goes in, or the wind dies down, you need a backup power source. Today, that’s fossil and nuclear power — but thanks to a discovery made by Stanford University researchers, we might soon be able to use batteries. Stanford has developed a new, mega-rugged, high-voltage battery cathode, made from copper nanoparticles, that can survive 40,000 charge/discharge cycles — enough for 30 years of use on the grid. If that wasn't enough, the cathode works with an electrolyte that is water-based and "basically free." To make an actual battery, however, the Stanford researchers now need to find a matching low-voltage anode — but they already have some "promising candidates," so here's hoping."
The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when
exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.