Future batteries, coming soon: charge in seconds, last months and power over the air

While smartphones, smarthomes and even smart wearables are growing ever more advanced, they’re still limited by power. The battery hasn’t advanced in decades. But we’re on the verge of a power revolution.

Big technology companies, and now car companies that are making electric vehicles, are all too aware of the limitations of current lithium-ion batteries. While chips and operating systems are becoming more efficient to save power we’re still only look at a day or two of use on a smartphone before having to recharge. That’s why universities are getting involved.

We’ve seen a plethora of battery discoveries coming out of universities all over the world. Tech companies and car manufacturers are pumping money into battery development. And with races like Formula E starting the pressure to improve that technology is only going to get greater.

But while we’ve been writing about these developments for years there’s still nothing in our phones. This is because everyone is waiting for the perfect replacement before making the jump. That and commitments to current batteries thanks to manufacturing technique that cost a lot to change and existing deals for minerals being hard to break.

Next year is starting to shape up as the year batteries change. We’ve collected all the best battery discoveries that could be with us soon. From over the air charging to superfast 30-second re-charging, you could be seeing this tech in your gadgets sooner than you think.

Alfa battery lasts 14 days and runs on water

A breakthrough in aluminium-air batteries means that in 2015 we will see the release of the Alfa battery that has 40 times the capacity of lithium-ion.

This battery will be able to recharge by simply being topped up with water, be it salty or normal. It should last a hefty 14 days, according to its creators Fuji Pigment and will be out later this year.

We’d expect to see these batteries appear in cars first – imagine a fuelling station being anywhere with a water tap. Hopefully mobiles will be next in line. 

While the aluminium-air battery has a whopping 8,100W/kg capacity and lithium-ion has 120-200Wh/kg it’s still lithium-air that comes out on top with 11,400Wh/kg – although when this will be available isn’t clear.

Skin power

Using the power of friction a device has been created that can harness electricity from a person’s skin. The result is enough power, from a finger tap on skin, to power 12 LED bulbs. The future could mean there are no need for batteries in wearables or smart clothes.




So how does it work? An electrode is used to harvest the current, so a 50nm-thick gold film is used. The gold film sits below a silicone rubber layer composed of thousands of tiny pillars that help create more surface area for skin contact, which creates more friction. Since the skin is a one of the triboelectric layers it means the device can be small.

Scientists have already shown off a wearable powered by the device. Next gadgets to use it? Hopefully everything.


Foldable battery is paper-like but tough

The Jenax J.Flex battery has been developed to make bendable gadgets possible. The paper-like battery can fold and is waterproof meaning it can be made in clothing or wearables.




Imagine a battery built into the strap of a smartwatch, finally battery life on wearables won’t be such an issue while allowing the size of the devices to be shrunk down.

Another possible development from this advancement would be foldable tablets that you could fit into your pocket just like a phone. Then when you want a big screen view simply unfold the tablet and you’re all set for viewing.

The battery has already been created and has even been safety tested, including being folded over 200,000 times without losing performance.

uBeam over the air charging

uBeam uses ultrasound to transmit electricity. Power is turned into these sound waves to be transmitted and then converted back to power on reaching the device.




The uBeam concept was stumbled upon by 25-year-old astrobiology graduate Meredith Perry. She started the company that will make it possible to charge gadgets over the air using a 5mm thick plate. These transmitters can be attached to walls, or made into decorative art, to beam power to smartphones and laptops for example. The gadgets just need a thin receiver to be added in order to receive the charge.

Expect to see uBeam as a viable upgrade to your gadgets this year or early next.

Water dew powered batteries

This one is still in the early stages but MIT scientists have found a way to harvest power from water dew.




The device uses interleaved flat metal plates to produce power from the water dew in the air. Initial tests have produced small amounts of power, at 15 picowatts, or trillionths of a watt. But this can be tuned easily, says postdoc Nenad Milijkovic heading the project, to produce at least 1 microwatt.

While this small amount of power isn’t going to replace your charger, or keep it powered all day, it will be useful in more remote locations where no other power source is available and time isn’t too much of an issue. A charger the size of a coolbox lid should be able to fully charge a phone in 12 hours.

StoreDot charges mobiles in 30 seconds

The StoreDot charger, which works with current smartphones, was developed by StoreDot, a start-up born from the nanotechnology department at Tel Aviv University. The demo was made using a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a standard battery.




The superfast charging time was achieved using technology StoreDot has been developing. This includes biological semiconductors made from naturally occurring organic compounds known as peptides – short chains of amino acids – which are the building blocks of proteins. Similar to those used by body builders to grow bigger faster.

StoreDot also plans to release a charger capable of replenishing an electric car to full in just three minutes.

StoreDot will cost about £20 to make and should arrive in 2017.

Transparent solar charger

Alcatel has demoed a mobile phone with a transparent solar panel over the screen that would let users charge their phone by simply placing it in the sun.




Although it’s not likely to be commercially available until 2015, the company hopes that it will go some way to solving the daily issues of never having enough battery power.The phone will work with direct sunlight as well as standard lights, in the same way regular solar panels.

Energous WattUp

Revealed at CES 2015 the Energous WattUp is a router-like device that also uses radio waves to transmit but rather than data it dishes out power. A small adapter chip on the receiver device will allow it to harvest the energy from over the air at up to 20-feet away. 




The catch? This won’t be available until 2016. But that could be a good thing as it gives gadget manufacturers time to include the charging chips in phones and the like so you don’t need to add that on.

Shawn West’s 26-second charge batteries 

Normal batteries use chemicals alone to hold charge in a battery, but Shawn West’s battery uses lithium-ion capacitors to store electrical energy. Previously these didn’t work so well as they dissipated too quickly. He’s managed to overcome that issue.





The battery is able to stay charged and continue holding that charge over long periods of time. So if you were to dig it out of a drawer it would be good as new and ready to go. And then to recharge it you only need plug it in for 26-seconds and it’s full again.

The project has broken its Kickstarter goal and should get made meaning you can own these very soon. Finger crossed it makes it to mobiles soon after.

Aluminium-air battery gives 1,100 mile drive on a charge

A car has been tested that managed to drive 1,100 miles on a charge. The secret to this super range is a type of battery technology called aluminium-air. This uses oxygen naturally occurring in the air to fill its cathode. This makes it far lighter than liquid filled lithium-ion batteries to give car a far greater range.




Aluminium-air batteries drain turning the metal into aluminium hydroxide which can then be recycled to make new batteries. That will mean swapping out batteries every few months. But since it’s so much lighter and cheaper than current efforts it should offer huge mileage and be affordable.

With the car industry throwing money at battery developments it might not be long before we see this tech under our bonnets.

Urine powered batteries

The Bill Gates Foundation is funding further research by Bristol Robotic Laboratory who discovered batteries that can be powered by urine. It’s efficient enough to charge a smartphone which the scientists have already shown off. But how does it work?




Using a Microbial Fuel Cell micro-organisms take the urine, break it down and output electricity – to put it simply. On a scale large enough to charge a smartphone there are several cells into which the urine is passed via tubes. The unit creates electricity and also expels a broken down version of the waste making it safer to dispose of.

With Bill Gates working on re-inventing the toilet we’re expecting the porcelain throne to become a source of power in the home soon.

Sound powered

Researchers in the UK have built a phone that is able to charge using ambient sound in the atmosphere around it.




The smartphone was built using a principle called the piezoelectric effect. Nanogenerators were created that harvest ambient noise and turn that into electric current. Effectively the phone can be powered from waste noise found around us all the time.

Impressively the nanorods respond to the human voice meaning that those chatty mobile users out there could actually be powering the phone as they talk. Maybe this will cause a resurgence in phone calls over messaging.

Tag Heuer Meridiist Infinite solar charged phone

Tag Heuer has announced a new version of its Meridiist luxury phone that uses solar to power the device.




Wysips Crystal is a transparent photovoltaic component placed between the screen’s and the LCD screen. It is invisible to the naked eye but the thin layer of cells charge automatically when exposed to light from the sun or artificial. They then power the battery.

Tag Heuer is yet to reveal the price of the self-charging device, but considering that the current Meridiist costs 3,900 euros (£3,221) you can expect to pay a fair bit more than that for one.

Twenty times faster charge, Ryden dual carbon battery

Power Japan Plus has already announced this new battery technology called Ryden dual carbon. Not only will it last longer and charge faster than lithium but it can be made using the same factories where lithium batteries are built.




The batteries use carbon materials which mean they are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than current alternatives. It also means the batteries will charge twenty times faster than lithium ion. They will also be hardier with the ability to last 3,000 charge cycles, plus they are safer with lower chance of fire or explosion.

Power Japan Plus has said it will begin producing 18,650 Ryden cells later this year. Hopefully we’ll start seeing these appear in mobile devices soon.

Organic battery, 97 per cent cheaper to make

One possible future of power could be in organic batteries if a recent MIT discovery makes it to production. Scientists have created an organic flow battery that costs only $27 per kilowatt-hour compared to metal batteries at $700 per killowatt-hour – nearly a 97 per cent saving.




Using quinone molecules, that are almost identical to those found in rhubarb, a battery was made that is not only as efficient as metal but that could also be made on a huge scale.

Sand battery gives three times more battery life

This alternative type of lithium-ion battery that uses sand to achieve three times better performance than current efforts.

The battery is still lithium-ion like that found in your smartphone, but it uses sand instead of graphite in the anodes. This means it’s not only three times better performing but it’s also low cost, non toxic and environmentally friendly.




Now for the science part. Scientists, at the University of California Riverside, have been focused on nano silicon for a while but it’s been degrading too quickly and is tough to produce in large quantities. By using sand it can be purified, powdered then ground with salt and magnesium before being heated to remove oxygen resulting in pure silicon. This is porous and three-dimensional which helps in performance and, potentially, the life-span of the batteries.

Sodium-ion batteries

Scientists in Japan are working on new types of batteries that don’t need lithium like your smartphone battery. These new batteries will use sodium, one of the most common materials on the planet rather than rare lithium – and they’ll be up to seven times more efficient than conventional batteries.




Research into sodium-ion batteries has been going on since the eighties in an attempt to find a cheaper alternative to lithium. By using salt, the sixth most common element on the planet, batteries can be made for cheaper and we won’t need to worry about lithium running out. With battery-powered cars on the increase it’s only a matter of time before lithium becomes too rare and expensive.

Commercialising the batteries is expected to begin for smartphones, cars and more in the next five to 10 years.

Upp hydrogen fuel cell charger

The Upp hydrogen fuel cell portable charger will be on sale in the coming months. It uses hydrogen to power your phone keeping you off the gird and remaining environmentally friendly.




One hydrogen cell will provide five full charges of a mobile phone (25Wh capacity per cell). And the only by-product produced is water vapour. A USB type A socket means it will charge most USB devices with a 5V, 5W, 1000mA output.

NTU fast charging battery

Scientists at Nanyang Technology University have created a battery that fast charges to 70 per cent in 2 minutes and has a life 10 times longer than current lithium-ion batteries.




The NTU battery should last for 10,000 charges according to its creators. 

The technology is currently being licenced by an unnamed company for production. While we’d love to see this in our phones soon the lead professor refers to electric cars when talking about the battery. “Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” said Professsor Chen. The longer battery life makes sense for those buying an electric car.

The 10,000-cycle battery should cut down battery replacement in cars and equate to a 15-minute charge for the entire car.


Nanobatteries are 80,000 times smaller than a human hair and can offer three times the capacity of current efforts while charging in just 12 minutes and working for thousands of cycles.




The nanobattery breakthrough was made by creating tiny “nanopores” that act like lots of little batteries which, in a honeycomb structure, make a full battery. 

The research was published by scientists at the university of Maryland who said: “We were blown away by the performance.” They attributed the enhanced performance to the short distances the electricity needs to travel, making the batteries far more efficient.

അധികൃതരുടെ പീഡനങ്ങള്‍ക്കെതിരെ ഫേസ്ബുക്കിലൂടെ പൊരുതിയ ‘പാവങ്ങളുടെ ഡോക്ടര്‍’ ഡോ. ഷാനവാസ് ഇനിയില്ല

അധികൃതരുടെ പീഡനങ്ങള്‍ക്കെതിരെ ഫേസ്ബുക്കിലൂടെ പൊരുതിയ ‘പാവങ്ങളുടെ ഡോക്ടര്‍’ ഡോ. ഷാനവാസ് ഇനിയില്ല

 Asianet News  1 day ago  Kerala
 അധികൃതരുടെ പീഡനങ്ങള്‍ക്കെതിരെ ഫേസ്ബുക്കിലൂടെ പൊരുതിയ 'പാവങ്ങളുടെ ഡോക്ടര്‍' ഡോ. ഷാനവാസ് ഇനിയില്ല
14 Feb


തിരുവനന്തപുരം: ‘ഹേ അധികാരികളെ,നിങ്ങളുടെ നിരന്തരമായ മാനസിക പീഡനം മൂലം എനിക്കെന്തെങ്കിലും സംഭവിച്ചാല്‍ അതിന്റെ പരിപൂര്‍ണ്ണ ഉത്തരവാദിത്വം നിങ്ങള്‍ക്കായിരിക്കും. ആദിത്യന്‍ പിന്‍വാങ്ങുന്നു’.

രണ്ട് ദിവസം മുമ്പ്, ഫെബ്രുവരി 12ന് ഫേസ്ബുക്കില്‍ ഇങ്ങനെ കുറിച്ചു, ദരിദ്രര്‍ക്കും നിസ്വര്‍ക്കുമായി ജീവിച്ച നിലമ്പൂര്‍ വടപ്പുറം സ്വദേശി ഡോക്ടര്‍ പി സി ഷാനവാസ്. അതിനു പിറ്റേന്ന്, ഇന്നലെ, ഡോക്ടര്‍ കാര്‍ യാത്രക്കിടെ മരിച്ചു. 36 വയസ്സു മാത്രമുണ്ടായിരുന്ന ഡോ. ഷാനവാസ് യാത്രക്കിടെ ഹൃദയാഘാതത്തെ തുടര്‍ന്നാണ് മരിച്ചതെന്നാണ് പ്രാഥമിക നിഗമനം. നിക്ഷിപ്ത താല്‍പ്പര്യക്കാരുടെ ഇടപെടലിനെ തുടര്‍ന്നുണ്ടായ അന്യായമായ സ്ഥലം മാറ്റത്തിനെതിരെ ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ സുഹൃത്തുക്കളുടെ സഹായത്തോടെ നടത്തിയ പോരാട്ടത്തിനൊടുവില്‍, അധികാര കേന്ദ്രങ്ങളില്‍നിന്ന് തിരിച്ചടി നേരിട്ട്, കടുത്ത മാനസിക സംഘര്‍ഷങ്ങളിലായിരുന്നു ഷാനവാസ്. 



ഇന്നലെ രാവിലെ പത്ത് മണിയോടെയായിരുന്നു അന്ത്യമെന്നാണ് അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ സുഹൃത്തുക്കള്‍ അറിയിച്ചത്. കോഴിക്കോട് നിന്ന് നിലമ്പൂരിലേക്ക് വരുമ്പോള്‍ കാറില്‍ വെച്ചായിരുന്നു മരണം.  ഇന്നലെ വീട്ടില്‍ നിന്ന് സുഹൃത്തുക്കളായ അനീഷിന്റെയും ജംഷിയുടെയും മറ്റു കൂട്ടുകാരുടെയും കൂടെ കാറില്‍ കോഴിക്കോട്ടേക്ക് പോയി തിരിച്ചു വരുന്നതിനിടെയായിരുന്നു മരണം. കാറിന്റെ പുറകില്‍ ഇരിക്കുകയായിരുന്ന ഷാനവാസ് സമയത്തിന് ഭക്ഷണവും ഉറക്കവും ഇല്ലാതിരിക്കുക എന്ന സ്വഭാവമുള്ള ഷാനവാസ് ആ ക്ഷീണത്തില്‍ ഉറങ്ങുകയാണെന്ന് സുഹൃത്തുക്കള്‍ കരുതി. വിളിച്ചിട്ടും ഉണരാതായപ്പോഴാണ്  പേടിച്ചുപോയ  കൂട്ടുകാര്‍ എടവണ്ണ ആശുപത്രിയില്‍ എത്തിച്ചത്. അവിടെ നിന്നും മെഡിക്കല്‍ കോളേജിലേക്ക് കൊണ്ടുപോകാന്‍ നിര്‍ദ്ദേശിച്ചെങ്കിലും ഇതിനിടെ മരണം സംഭവിച്ചതായാണ്, അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ സുഹൃത്തുക്കള്‍ അറിയിച്ചത്.



കോഴിക്കോട് യാത്രക്കിടെ എടുത്ത ചിത്രം. ഇതാണ്, അവസാനമായി ഷാനവാസ് ഫേസ്ബുക്കില്‍ പോസ്റ്റ് ചെയ്തത്.


നിലമ്പൂരിനടുത്ത വടപുറം പുള്ളിച്ചോല വീട്ടില്‍ പി മുഹമ്മദ് ഹാജിയുടെയും പി കെ ജമീല ഹജ്ജുമ്മയുടെയും മകനാണ് ഡോക്ടര്‍ ഷാനവാസ്. അവിവാഹിതനായിരുന്നു. സഹോദരങ്ങളായ ശിനാസ് ബാബു, ഷമീല എന്നിവര്‍ ഡോക്ടര്‍മാരാണ്. സഹോദരങ്ങള്‍  വിദേശത്താണ് . അവര്‍ നാളെ രാവിലെയോടു കൂടിയേ നാട്ടിലെത്തൂ. മൃതദേഹം ഇപ്പോള്‍ കോഴിക്കോടെ മെഡിക്കല്‍കോളേജ്  മോര്‍ച്ചറിയിലാണ് . നാളെ രാവിലെ ആയിരിക്കും സംസ്കാരം. 



ആറ് വര്‍ഷത്തിനിടെ മലപ്പുറത്തും കോഴിക്കോട്ടുമായി വിവിധ സ്വകാര്യ ആശുപത്രികളില്‍ ജോലിചെയ്ത ശേഷമാണ്, സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ സര്‍വീസില്‍ എത്തിയത്.ചുങ്കത്തറ കമ്മ്യൂണിറ്റി ഹെല്‍ത്ത് സെന്ററില്‍ അസിസ്റന്റ് സര്‍ജനായി പ്രവര്‍ത്തിച്ച് വരുന്നതിനിടെയാണ്, ആദിവാസികളുടെയും ക്ഷേമ പ്രവര്‍ത്തനങ്ങളുടെയും ലോകത്തേക്ക് ഡോ. ഷാനവാസ് എത്തിപ്പെട്ടത്. ഫേസ്ബുക്കില്‍ സജീവമായിരുന്ന ഡോക്ടര്‍ ഷാനവാസ്, സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയയിലെ സുഹൃത്തുക്കളില്‍നിന്നും ധനസമാഹരണം നടത്തി ആദിവാസി ഊരുകളില്‍ ഊരുകളില്‍ ഭക്ഷണവും വസ്ത്രങ്ങളും ഒക്കെ എത്തിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. ഇതിനു പുറമേ, ദരിദ്ര രോഗികളുടെ ചികില്‍സക്കായി, സമാനമനസ്കരില്‍നിന്നും സഹായം സ്വീകരിക്കുകയും ഇതിന്റെ എല്ലാ വിവരങ്ങളും ഫേസ്ബുക്ക് വഴി അറിയിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തിരുന്നു. പാവങ്ങളുടെ ഡോക്ടറായി അറിയപ്പെട്ടതോടെ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ ആശുപത്രിയിലേക്ക് രോഗികളുടെ ഒഴുക്ക് തുടങ്ങിയിരുന്നു. സ്വകാര്യ ആശുപത്രികളെ ഇത് സാരമായി ബാധിച്ചതായി പറയുന്നു. ഇതിനിടെ, ചിലരുടെ കണ്ണിലെ കരടായി മാറിയ ഡോക്ടര്‍ക്കെതിരെ സ്ഥലം മാറ്റം ഉണ്ടായി. നിലമ്പൂരിലെ ആദിവാസികള്‍ക്കിടയില്‍ ഇഴുകി ചേര്‍ന്നിരുന്ന ഡോക്ടറെ പാലക്കാട്ടേക്കായിരുന്നു സ്ഥലം മാറ്റിയത്. ഇതിനെതിരെ ഡോക്ടര്‍ ഫേസ്ബുക്ക് വഴി പോരാട്ടത്തിലായിരുന്നു. അധികാര കേന്ദ്രങ്ങളെ സമീപിച്ചിട്ടും അവര്‍ മോശമായാണ് പെരുമാറിയിരുന്നത്. ഇതിനെതിരെ കഴിഞ്ഞ ദിവസങ്ങളില്‍ ഡോ. ഷാനവാസ് ഫേസ്ബുക്കില്‍ എഴുീതിയ മൂന്ന് പോസ്റ്റുകള്‍ കാണുക.






കഴിഞ്ഞ വര്‍ഷവും ഡോക്ടര്‍ക്കെതിരെ സ്ഥലം മാറ്റ ഭീഷണി ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. അന്ന്, സോഷ്യല്‍ മീഡിയയുടെ സഹായത്തോടെ അതിനെതിരെ ഒപ്പു ശേഷഖരണം നടത്തിയിരുന്നു, ഡോ. ഷാനവാസ്. നിരന്തര പോരാട്ടങ്ങള്‍ക്കൊടുവില്‍ ഡോക്ടര്‍ക്ക് അനുകൂലമായി അന്ന് ഹൈക്കോടതി വിധി വന്നിരുന്നു. കോടതി വിധിയെ തുടര്‍ന്ന് സ്ഥലം മാറ്റം റദ്ദാക്കിയെങ്കിലും പിന്നീടും ഡോക്ടര്‍ക്കെതിരെ ശക്തമായ കരുനീക്കങ്ങള്‍ നടന്നിരുന്നു. അതിന്റെ ഭാഗമായാണ് പുതിയ പ്രശ്നങ്ങള്‍ ഉണ്ടായത്. ഇതിനൊടുവില്‍ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ സര്‍വീസില്‍ നിന്ന് രാജി വെക്കുന്നതായി കഴിഞ്ഞ ദിവസം അദ്ദേഹം ഫേസ് ബുക്കില്‍ എഴുതിയിരുന്നു.





– See more at: http://www.asianetnews.tv/news/article/23318_Dr.shanavas-no-more#sthash.xg0iYIpe.dpuf


Angry, armed and white: The typical profile of America’s most violent extremists

Angry, armed and white: The typical profile of America’s most violent extremists

Angry man screaming (Shutterstock)

Police in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, say they’re investigating the role racial hatred played in the killing of three Muslim students by suspect Craig Stephen Hicks. They’re saying the 46-year-old white man had a history of fights over a parking space with the victims, suggesting the killings could be reduced to road rage.

Meanwhile, Hicks’ social media posts show that he was an ardent atheist who equally mocked Muslims and Christians, an avid defender of the Constitution’s separation of church and state, and a gun nut who posted pictures of his revolver. The Associated Press quoted neighbors who say “he always seemed angry and frequently confronted his neighbors” and “his ex-wife said he was obsessed with the shooting rampage movie Falling Down” and showed “no compassion at all.”

The Wall Street Journal further reported that the father of two victims, who were sisters, “said this man was hateful. He was picking fights, knocking on their door.” The Journal also said Hicks obsessively called tow truck companies to have his neighbors’ cars towed, and once even met tow truck drivers in the street waving a gun.

We can safely say that Craig Stephen Hicks fits the profile of the most common type of domestic violent extremist—a white man with grievances and guns. Whether he was provoked by road rage, rage against neighbors who wore traditional Muslim clothing, or other simmering grudges and pathologies, his alleged killing of three young Muslims underscores a trend that mainstream U.S. media avoids: that the face of violent extremism in America since 9/11 is predominantly white. Muslims in America, while not exempt from crime, simply do not compare.

There’s no shortage of crime statistics confirming this. A 2001-2015 “Homegrown Extremism” analysis by the New America Foundation parsed the “ethnicity, age, gender and citizenship” of people who killed or violently attacked others, whether they were motivated by jihadist philosophies or other “right wing, left wing or idiosyncratic beliefs.” Of 448 extremists counted, white men who were U.S. citizens outnumbered every other demographic by wide margins.

“Quite a few reports agree, that more Americans have been killed by the radical right since 9/11 than by jihadists,” said Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes and focuses on the radical right. “Obviously, if you go back one day to 9/11 (2001), nearly 3,000 people were killed.”

Potok said some hate crimes can be simple and spontaneous, while others are more complex to unravel.

“When you look at Chapel Hill, it seems to be a classic case of a very tangled-up motive,” he said. “Who’s to say how much a parking dispute played, or how much this man’s antipathy toward religious people, or Muslims in particular, played a part. The women [who were killed] told their father he didn’t like the way they dressed.”

Chapel Hill police may never determine the precise role racial or religious hatred played, he said, if they can find enough other evidence to try and convict Hicks of murder. That’s because it may be easier to prove he stalked and shot them, no matter what the motives, than to prove what was going on inside his head. “The criminal penalty is often about the same,” Potok said.

The FBI lists nearly 6,000 hate crime incidents in 2013, its latest statistics. Only a fraction of these make the national news, like the Chapel Hill murders. But the big picture, as CNN’s national security reporter, Peter Bergen, reported last April on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, is that “since 9/11, extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists, and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.”

Right-wing media, such as Breitbart.com, doesn’t want to hear that analysis. It attacked Bergen—who also works with New America Foundation—for “gimmick” statistics, such as counting “Andrew Joseph Stack, who flew a plane into an IRS office in Austin, Texas, in 2010.” It wrote, “This is surprising given that Stack’s manifesto/suicide note included attacks on the ‘monsters of organized religion,’ GM executives, health insurance companies, wealthy bankers, [and] ‘presidential puppet GW Bush.’”

On Thursday, GOPUSA.com sought to replay that script and portrayed Hicks as a liberal, by reporting his Facebook likes included Rachel Maddow, gay marriage groups, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others. That relabeling is absurd on many levels, because Hicks appears to fit the pyschological profile of violent extremists—regardless of their ideological stripes—and that includes many white Americans.

As the Violence Policy Center noted Thursday, Hicks had a state-issued concealed handgun permit and was a “champion of Second Amendment rights.” Moreover, on Thursday, SPLC issued a report, “Age of the Wolf,” which focuses on how unstable individuals—not organized groups—have become the predominant domestic threat.

The report examines extreme violence in America between April 2009 and February 2015 and found “that domestic terrorism and related radical violence—as opposed to terrorist attacks emanating from overseas” is what plagues the nation. The report comes as the White House will host a summit on violent extremism next week.

“There’s no question the jihadist threat is a tremendous one,” SPLC wrote. “But that is not the only terrorist threat facing Americans today. A large number of independent studies have agreed that since the 9/11 mass murder, more people have been killed in America by non-Islamic domestic terrorists than jihadists.”

SPLC found that “almost half of the attacks during the period apparently were motivated by the ideology of the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement, including ‘sovereign citizens,’ whose movement has been described by the FBI as ‘domestic terrorist.’” The other half were from people with “ideologies of hate, ranging from white supremacy to misogyny to radical Islamism.”

Most assailants were not young like the Boston Marathon bombers, but “were clustered most heavily between 30 and 49 years of age, although a surprising number were older than that,” it said. “This suggests that perpetrators spend many years on the radical right, absorbing extremist ideology, before finally acting out violently.”

That summation strongly resembles Craig Stephen Hicks.

“The one thing we know is that the psychology has always been the same,” Joe Navarro, a former FBI agent and co-founder of the agency’s Behavioral Analysis Program, said in a Q&A in the SPLC report. “By that, I mean you have individuals who are collecting wounds, they’re looking for social ills, or things that have gone wrong, and they are nourishing these things that they’re ideating, that they’re thinking about. The solution for them is violence.”

“What they have in common is that once they begin to ideate this philosophy, whatever their passion is, whatever their hatred is, whatever their ideology is, they certainly all begin to communicate this to people around them,” Navarro said. “And when we go back and do the post-event analysis, we find that they were talking about this, they were telling people about this, and the people either ignored it, didn’t pay attention or didn’t think it would go any further.”

Potok, the SPLC spokesman, said that domestic law enforcement did not want to believe that white people could be terrorists—or even violent extremists—until Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma federal building in 1995. Then they shifted gears and focused on many domestic anti-government and ideological groups. But that focus changed, he said, after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, as law enforcement again saw radical Islam as the primary threat.

Just as the Violence Policy Center hopes the Chapel Hill killings will push politicans to reconsider concealed handgun permit laws, SPLC hope the threat of lone-wolf violent extremists—especially white right-wingers—will prompt police and mainsteam media to stop demonizing Muslims.

“But no,” David Neiwert wrote in a recent AlterNet piece, “Why Doesn’t American Media Freak Out When the Terrorists Have White Skin?” “Instead, we are having conversations in Europe and America about how to deal with Muslims.”


Why Obama invoked the Crusades

Why Obama invoked the Crusades — and what it says about how he views terrorism


President Obama is drawing some heat — mostly from the usual quarters — for invoking the Crusades while talking about Islam and terrorism on Thursday.

At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Obama noted there was a time when people mass-murdered in the name of Christianity, too:

And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

As many were quick to point out, the Catholic church’s Crusades began more than 900 years ago, and the Inquisition began in the 13th century.

In the context of Obama’s long-standing remarks on Islam and terrorism, though, invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition are wholly unsurprising. What is more surprising is that he hasn’t done this sooner.

Obama, for the duration of his presidency, has forcefully tried to separate Islam from what terrorists who claim that faith do, in the name of it. The most striking example was in September, amid the growing threat of the Islamic State, when Obama declared not only that the terrorists were perverting their religion — as he has often said — but that they were actually “not Islamic” at all.

“No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of [the Islamic State’s] victims have been Muslim,” Obama said.

In recent weeks, Obama’s critics — and even some Democrats, such as Iraq war veteran Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) — have cried foul that Obama will not refer to “radical Islam” or to terrorists as “Islamic radicals.”

Obama, though, is not budging. And his comments on the Crusades and the Inquisition represent the latest ratcheting up in his quest to change how people talk about terrorism. He views Islamist terrorists as exploiting their religion; his opponents believe there is something about Islam that creates fanatics who are willing to carry out terrorist attacks.

For what it’s worth, Americans used to sympathize more with Obama. But the rise of the Islamic State appears to be pushing things in the opposite direction. A Pew poll in September showed, for the first time, that 50 percent of Americans viewed Islam as more likely to encourage violence than other religions. Another 39 percent said it was not more likely to encourage violence.


This could be part of the reason Obama is upping the rhetoric. Words matter, and the way this issue is framed is going to go a long way toward determining how the “war on terror” will be waged. Moreover, the rise of the Islamic State — along with the lesser-publicized Boko Haram — has ramped up the debate over terrorism and its roots to the highest point since perhaps after Sept. 11, 2001. This is a key moment in defining the terms of the debate. Both Republicans and Obama recognize that.

Obama’s critics believe he’s being Pollyannaish about the nature of the threat and how it is inherently tied to Islam. Without recognizing the seeds of terrorism, they reason, how can you combat it?

Obama disagrees wholeheartedly with that characterization and thinks attributing violence to Islam is unfair and damaging to relations between Christians and the broader Muslim population.

It’s perhaps the defining semantics debate of his presidency.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

Prominent clerics lash out in unison against Islamic State group

Prominent clerics lash out in unison against Islamic State group



The Associated Press

Jordanians attend the Muslim Friday prayers, surrounding posters of slain Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh taped on a light pole, ahead of an anti-IS group rally in Amman, Jordan, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. Several thousand people marched after Muslim Friday prayers in support of King Abdullah II’s pledge of a tough military response to the killing of the pilot. Arabic on the posters reads, “Muath is the martyr of the right, Jordan’s eagle, to heaven, the country’s martyr.” (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) 

Associated PressFeb. 6, 2015 | 1:12 p.m. EST+ More

By VIVIAN SALAMA, Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — The immolation of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State group has brought a unified outcry Friday from top religious clerics across the Muslim world — including a prominent jihadi preacher — who insisted the militants have gone too far.

Abu Mohammed al-Maqdesi, considered a spiritual mentor for many al-Qaida militants, said the killing of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh is “not acceptable in any religion.” He spoke in an interview with Jordan’s Roya TV a day after being released from more than three months in detention.

At Friday prayers in neighboring Iraq, where the militant group has seized territory in a third of the country, top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared in a sermon that the “savage” act demonstrates the extremists know no boundaries and violate “Islamic values and humanity.”


Religious groups, often at odds with one another over ideologies or politics, are increasingly speaking out in unison against the militants, who continue to enforce their rule in Iraq and Syria through massacres, kidnapping, forced marriages, stonings and other acts of brutality.

Iranian Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani claimed in his sermon that militant groups like the Islamic State are created by Western nations as a means for promoting “an ugly picture of Islam.”

Earlier this week, Islamic State militants released a video of al-Kaseasbeh, a Muslim, being burned to death in a cage. While the beheading of hostages from the U.S., Britain and Japan brought condemnation from most religious sects within Islam, the gruesome images of the airman’s slaying served as a unifying battle-cry for Muslims across the world.

Jordan joined a U.S.-led military coalition against the militants in September, but said it would intensify its airstrikes in response to the killing of its air force pilot. On Thursday, dozens of fighter jets struck Islamic State weapons depots and training sites, Jordan’s military said.

Outrage escalated in the capital of Amman following Friday prayers, with demonstrators unfurling a large Jordanian flag and holding up banners supporting King Abdullah II’s pledge for a tough military response to avenge al-Kaseasbeh’s death.

“We all stand united with the Hashemite leadership in facing terrorism,” one banner read.

It is unusual to see such a unified response from religious institutions, because moderate camps often represent drastically different views to those of hard-line minority groups. The recent attacks on journalists at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, for instance, brought a range of responses in the Muslim world, with many condemning the death of innocent people but disagreeing on whether the publication crossed the line in its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Sept. 11 attacks in the United States spurred a hint of celebration and praise from anti-American radical groups, including al-Qaida, the group behind the hijackings, but condemnation from moderate Islamic factions. Now, even al-Qaida has grown more outspoken against the Islamic State group, which originally was an al-Qaida offshoot in Iraq. That criticism has left the IS extremists in an increasingly isolated position.

Even clerics aligned with the Islamic State group are said to be speaking out against the pilot’s killing. Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said extremists dismissed one of its religious officials in Aleppo province after he objected to how the Jordanian pilot was put to death.

The religious official, a Saudi cleric known as Abu Musab al-Jazrawi, said during a meeting that such killings contradict the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Abdurrahman said. Other clerics in the meeting in the northern town of Bab began a verbal attack against the Saudi cleric, who was later sacked and referred to a religious court, he said. The incident could not be confirmed independently.



Anger Boils Over in Jordan After ISIS Burns Pilot to Death


There’s No Such Thing as ‘Radical Islam.’ There Are Only Terrorists Who Are Muslim

Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters



There’s No Such Thing as ‘Radical Islam.’ There Are Only Terrorists Who Are Muslim

ISIS is about as Islamic as the KKK is Christian. They just use religion. Their real agenda is political. Get with it.

How many Muslims does ISIS have to slaughter before people will stop calling the group “Islamic” anything? Seriously, can someone please tell me the number of innocent Muslim men, women, and children who have to die at the hands of ISIS before people will realize that ISIS is truly unIslamic and arguably anti-Islamic?

On Tuesday, we saw more of ISIS’s barbaric brutality on display with the release of the video depicting its killing of Jordanian Muslim fighter pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh. He was flying sorties as part of the U.S.-organized coalition to destroy ISIS.

The way he was killed sets a new low in depravity. ISIS militants first chained Kasasbeh in a cage and then poured flammable fluids into his cell. With Kasasbeh watching, an ISIS militant lit the fluid on fire. Then while Kasasbeh was burning to death, they dropped debris on him, like brick masonry. Finally they drove a bulldozer over him several times.

What makes the killing of this man so noteworthy is not just the viciousness of his execution, but that it actually received national U.S. media coverage. We rarely see our media cover the Muslims killed by ISIS or al Qaeda. I often wonder, is it because some in the media feel that Muslims lives don’t matter? Or is it because they sense that collectively, most (though not all) Americans could care less about it when non-Americans are killed, so that translates into low ratings for these types of stories?

To be honest, how many have heard about the details of ISIS slaughtering of Muslims? In 2014 in Iraq alone, can you guess how many Muslims civilians—not fighters, civilians—ISIS killed? At least 4,325. ISIS is murdering an average 12 Muslim civilian men, women, and children every single day.

And these killings are not “collateral damage” deaths. Per a United Nations report released last September, ISIS targeted Muslims, both Sunnis and Shias, who refused to submit to it. We are talking a Sunni leader from the Salah ad Din province of Iraq beheaded (PDF) in August for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS. Do you recall U.S. media wall-to-wall coverage of that beheading, like when Westerners were beheaded?

Three Sunni nurses were executed in Mosul for refusing to treat ISIS fighters. A Sunni imam in eastern Baquba was killed for simply denouncing ISIS.

And in neighboring Syria, per the London-based Syrian Human Rights Committee, in December 2014 alone, ISIS killed at least 49 civilians, executing almost all in front of their families.

Look, there’s no such thing as “radical Islam.” There is only one Islam. But there are radical Muslims. And there are Muslims who engage in terrorist acts. They are called terrorists.

Why do these facts matter? Because I think it makes it clear to any reasonable person that ISIS is not about the tenets of Islam. Their religion is power.

Those aren’t just my words. In September, more than 120 Islamic scholars and clerics wrote a letter to ISIS in both English and Arabic denouncing ISIS and its invoking of Islam to justify its horrific actions. They even explained in great detail how ISIS is violating the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, concluding that ISIS is truly unIslamic.

Yet these words don’t move many on the right in America, who continue to argue in essence: If a Muslim yells “Allahu Akbar” after committing any action, that absolutely means that their conduct is based on the faith. That is beyond simplistic—it’s idiotic.

And nearly as ludicrous is the claim by people like Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who stated on Fox News on Sunday that we need to call it “radical Islam” because we “have to define our enemy.

Look, there’s no such thing as “radical Islam.” There is only one Islam. But there are radical Muslims.  And there are Muslims who engage in terrorist acts. They are called terrorists. That is the proper way to describe them.

That is exactly what White House Press secretary Josh Earnest stated a few weeks ago when refusing to use the term “radical Islam” to describe al Qaeda or ISIS.  As Earnest noted, it’s about “accuracy,” noting correctly that “these terrorists are individuals who would like to cloak themselves in the veil of a particular religion.

Just read the ISIS magazine and you will see how they desperately seek to frame its battle with the United States as an “American crusade against Islam.” (PDF) That is why when Sen. Lindsey Graham recently called the fight with al Qaeda a “religious war,” I can only imagine these terrorists were high-fiving each other because he was parroting their words.

Using the word Islam in any way to describe ISIS or al Qaeda, or framing our fight as a religious war, is exactly what they want. It helps them recruit and raise funds. Let’s call ISIS—as well as al Qaeda—what they are. They are terrorists with a political agenda who are using the Islamic faith, not acting in accordance with it. That is our enemy. Now let’s defeat them.


China builds world’s first 3D printed villa and tallest 3D printed apartment building

Jan 18, 2015 | By Kira

On March 29, 2014, ten 3D printed houses, each measuring 200 square meters, appeared in Shanghai, China. The buildings were created entirely out of concrete using a gigantic 3D printer, and each costs only 30,000 RMB ($4,800).

Today, just ten months after the initial project, the company behind these 3D printed buildings, ShanghaiWinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, made a new announcement that will take 3D printed buildings to a whole new level: they have built the highest 3D printed building, a 5-storey residential house and the world’s first 3D printed villa. The villa measures 1,100 square meters and even comes complete with internal and external decorations.

Now in their 12th year of business, WinSun holds 98 national patents for construction materials. Their experiences in construction have allowed them to truly innovate in the area of 3D printing technology. For example in the 2004 and 2005, the company developed a 3D printing spray nozzle and automatic material feeding system. Then, in 2008, WinSun printed the wall of an actual building.

Today’s press conference attracted more than 300 building industry experts, investment bankers as well as media reporters. Ma Yi He, CEO of WinSun explained: the company’s success is due to their unique and leading techniques. First is their exclusive 3D printing ‘ink,’ which is a mixture of recycled construction waste, glass fiber, steel, cement and special additives. According to Ma, waste from recycling construction and mine rest produces a lot of carbon emissions, but with 3D printing, the company has turned that waste into brand new building materials. This process also means that construction workers are at less risk of coming into contact with hazardous materials or work environments.

The company told us that the 3D printing villa was specially designed for Tomson Group, one of the most well-known Taiwanese-owned real estate company. The total costs attached to printing this villa amount to more than 1 million yuan ((161k USD), though 10 sets have already been pre-ordered.

The second trick up their sleeve is the printer used to build the houses, which is 6.6 meters tall 10 meters wide, and 150 meters long. “This is the world’s first continuous printing 3D printer, and the largest 3D house printer in the world.” said Ma. The sheer size of the printer allows for a 10x increase in production efficiency. WinSun estimates that 3D printing technology can save between 30 and 60 percent of building materials and shortens production times by 50 to even 70 percent, while decreasing labor costs by 50 up to even 80 percent. Future applications include 3D printed bridges or tall office buildings that can be built right on site.

WinSun also uses architectural design software to integrate different designs and to meet the needs of various building structures, so they are not limited to just printing cookie-cutter houses.

Ma hopes that with their 3D printing technology, they can subvert the commonly held image of a construction site: an extremely noisy, dusty area and an eyesore in almost any neighborhood. The dry construction method used by WinSun is clean, compact, and much more time efficient—without compromising quality.

“These two houses are in full compliance with the relevant national standards,” Ma Rongquan, the Chief engineer of China Construction No.8 Engineering Bureau, explained. “It is safe, reliable, and features a good integration of architecture and decoration. But as there is no specific national standard for 3D printing architecture, we need to revise and improve such a standard for the future.”

Construction standards for 3D printing building below 100 meters

Construction standards for 3D printing building above 100 meters

Today’s display site featured also a single-story house pre-ordered by the Egyptian government, which will soon be shipped to Egypt. As Ma explained, “This house was printed within a single day, and is part of a total order of 20,000 units.”

And if the 3D printed villa and 6-storey residential house weren’t enough, WinSun made three additional announcements today. The first is that they will collaborate with Nile Sand Material Technology Co. LTD. Within two years, both companies plan to establish 12 Dream Factories in desert using a sand 3D printer developed by WinSun. They are currently looking for new materials to be combined with the sand. Ma said that its energy and material saving abilities, as well as the environmental protection it offers, are the greatest advantages of 3D printed architecture. They have found that desert sand is an excellent building material, which can be used to create sand fixation walls and vertical green walls for the desertification control of the sand.

WinSun also signed contracts with Winsun Global, is a joint venture consisting of Winsun and an American company. Over the next three years, they will set up factories in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Qatar, Morocco, Tunisia and the United States and more than other 20 countries, in order to popularize 3D printing building. They also aim to – especially for the Middle East and Africa – to provide cheap and efficient homes for low-income families. The first series of 3D printing equipment are already set to be shipped abroad.

Finally, WinSun has announced a joint venture with the China Railway 24th Bureau Group. WinSun will become China Railway’s engineering and technology DIY center to develop technologies for its ‘Dream Factories’ worldwide. They will cooperate with the China Railway to build 5 factories in Shanghai Zhangjiang high-tech Park, in Hebei and the Heilongjiang provinces, as well as in Mexico and Russia.

WinSun also signed contracts with Korea KDC Corporation, KIP Pavilion at Milan Expo and will collaborate with designers from around the world to continue building 3D printed houses.

By improving efficiency, reducing waste, and making construction sites less dangerous and also less of an eyesore, WinSun could change the very way that we think about construction. Their 3D printed houses could create family homes in areas where building was previously too difficult or expensive, and eventually business and even schools. Once they get the ball rolling, it’s not hard to imagine going from a 3D printed villa, to a 3D printed village.

Check out below more photos of world’s first 3D printed villa and tallest 3D printed apartment building in China, photographed by 3ders’ reporter Li. 

3D printed bricks


Images credit: Li / 3ders.org


Posted in 3D Printer Applications



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