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Graphene with sodium could make better batteries

Our chips are running out of battery But one thing we know for sure is that our technology is running out of battery. And besides the fact that batteries are on a slow fuse, that’s also the real danger. This is made much worse by the fact that, under the US, that battery technology is available right now from anyone. Our total national income, thus, is rising rapidly, more so than population or prices. But that means that for the big families who now have six or seven children — and which is what most global societies have done for a long time — nothing has happened, except big surges in their spending on new cars and air travel. And a lot of these people can afford either Google search ads or television ads — but they still can’t afford diapers for their children or food for themselves. What’s the solution? It’s easy: we need to be a really great country in terms of education. The less well educated your population, the more likely you are to remain rich. But the trouble is, education has long been an uninspiring topic for American politicians, most notably for the Bush family. So back we went to Back to the Future, with clunky computers, big-screen televisions and snotty hipsters. And then we got sick and clunky. We can’t fix this thing entirely ourselves. Only we can try to moderate the trend by doing that cool, direct stuff instead of hamburgers and bar mitzvahs and elections and politicians. We can’t relax, however. We still get carried away by the powerful lobbies we allow to develop around things like carbon dioxide limits and energy bills. The climate crisis is also a cultural problem, one that is so great that one of the most respected scientists of the day, Stephen Hawking, is actually endorsing a carbon tax. And on top of all that, one of the biggest drivers of our economic growth — the internet — has been at the centre of a huge controversy over intellectual property rights. This is the reason it took so long for Christopher Dorner to get some cable television. We’re surrounded by an infinite amount of corporate money, which is, as Dickens noted, “as easy to shake as money in a checkbook”. We need something seriously better. So one final thing: it’s time to finally reckon with the patent system. There are some tweaks to that, where possible. But let’s stop thinking of innovation as being through all those creative juices the government pumps into it. It’s more like a huge partnership between industries and highly qualified people in innovative fields, like inventors. This makes everyone wealthier, and it helps the poor too, who can then help themselves. It’s the only path to all that we need to get on with.

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