MIT Technology Review: Why Insurance Companies Want to Subsidize Your Smart Home

Insurers such USAA and American Family have lately begun offering to strike a high-tech bargain: wire your home with internet-connected devices such as a new thermostat, and get a discount on your home insurance policy in return.

Offers like that could speed up the adoption of smart gadgets, revamp the insurance business, and transform how we manage our homes. In the future, your insurer might call a plumber before a pipe bursts, for example. But the data needed to help prevent leaks or burglaries will also introduce new risks, such as vulnerabilities to data loss or ransomware.

Guardian: Elon Musk Hits Back at Coal Baron Who Called Him a 'Fraud' Over Green Subsidies

Tesla founder Elon Musk has hit back against the CEO of a coal power company who accused him of fraud.

Robert Murray, an outspoken Donald Trump supporter and the CEO of the Murray Energy Corporation -- America’s largest coal mining company -- went after Musk on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday and called Tesla “a fraud."

“[Musk]’s gotten $2B from the taxpayer, has not made a penny yet in cash flow,” Murray continued. “Here again, it’s subsidies.”

In response, Musk tweeted that the real fraud going on was “denial of climate science."

Chicago Tribune: 'Your Vote Really, Really Matters,' Says Gore at Climate Rally

Al Gore laid out the environmental stakes of the presidential race in stark terms during a campaign stop for Hillary Clinton Tuesday, arguing that electing her opponent would lead to "climate catastrophe."

Vice president during Clinton's husband's eight years in the White House and a longtime environmental activist, Gore served as a closer for Clinton on climate change as the Democratic candidate seeks to appeal to activists and to young people, who consider this a key issue.

"The choice in this election is extremely clear. Hillary Clinton will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority," Gore said, before issuing a strong warning about Republican Donald Trump. "Her opponent, based on the ideas that he has presented, would take us toward a climate catastrophe."

IEEE Spectrum: Quantum-Dot Coating Could Pull Solar Energy From Your Windows

In big cities, sometimes buildings that don’t have a lot of roof space forsolarcells still have large windows that could harness light for electricity. Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico, reported yesterday in Nature Energy that a thin film of quantum dots on everyday glass could be the key to achieving acceptable efficiency in window photovoltaic systems at low cost.

Mostly, engineers have tried using modules of connected solar cells to capture sunlight falling on windows. Some wondered if it would be possible to do it with fewer cells. Taking advantage of a mechanism for capturing the light falling on a window and then directing it to a single solar cell “simplifies the device; it makes it less expensive,” says Victor Klimov, a nanotechnology engineer at Los Alamos.

MIT: New Kind of Supercapacitor Made Without Carbon

The team’s findings are being reported in the journal Nature Materials, in a paper by Mircea Dincă, an MIT associate professor of chemistry; Yang Shao-Horn, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy; and four others.

“We’ve found an entirely new class of materials for supercapacitors,” Dincă says.

Dincă and his team have been exploring for years a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, which are extremely porous, sponge-like structures. These materials have an extraordinarily large surface area for their size, much greater than carbon materials do. That is an essential characteristic for supercapacitors, whose performance depends on their surface area. But MOFs have a major drawback for such applications: They are not very electrically conductive, which is also an essential property for a material used in a capacitor.