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Lithium giants feud over competition, brine in Chile’s Atacama Desert

Enlarge / A general view of Laguna Colorada located near the border with Chile, in the Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia. The Uyuni salt flats are estimated to contain 100 million tons of lithium, making it one of the largest global reserves of this mineral, according to state officials at the Bolivian Mining Corporation. (credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images) Two of the world's biggest lithium producers, Albemarle Corporation and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (otherwise known as SQM), are tangled in two disputes: the first over water rights in Chile's Atacama desert, and the second over ownership of SQM. Both Albemarle and and SQM have significant operations in the Atacama desert, where some of the world's best lithium resources exist. As electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries become more popular, lithium resources are becoming more valuable. That has created some conflict in an industry that has long remained relatively quiet. Who's drinking whom's milkshake? This week, Reuters reported that both Albemarle and SQM have accused each other of overdrawing brine from the Atacama's underground aquifers. Both companies have operations in the Atacama's Salar, and their operations are just three miles apart from each other. The brine water that has been accumulating for millennia under the Atacama is lithium-rich, and companies pump it out and send the brine to evaporation ponds where heat extracts the water and leaves the reactive alkali metal behind. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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SimpliSafe takes on Nest with the Video Doorbell Pro – Mashable

Mashable SimpliSafe takes on Nest with the Video Doorbell Pro Mashable Thanks to the doorbell's built-in microphones, you can also have two-way communication using the iOS or Android app. The Video Doorbell Pro is compatible with a range of doorbells. This is important as some older houses have less voltage than newer ... and more »

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Gain access to millions of books, audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers for an entire year – Mashable

Mashable Gain access to millions of books, audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers for an entire year Mashable With a Scribd membership, you can access content anytime and anywhere via the web browser or the mobile app. Along with gaining access to a goldmine of books, you can discover new favorites with recommendations specially handpicked for you, ... and more »

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Urmila Mahadev, a UC Berkeley grad student, solves the fundamental problem of finding a protocol by which a classical computer can verify a quantum…

Erica Klarreich / Quanta Magazine : Urmila Mahadev, a UC Berkeley grad student, solves the fundamental problem of finding a protocol by which a classical computer can verify a quantum computation   —  Urmila Mahadev spent eight years in graduate school solving one of the most basic questions in quantum computation …

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Study analyzing 32 biggest bitcoin holders, known as "whales", suggests they may be stabilizing the market rather than destabilizing it and…

Chainalysis : Study analyzing 32 biggest bitcoin holders, known as “whales”, suggests they may be stabilizing the market rather than destabilizing it and driving volatility   —  New data shows that bitcoin's largest holders are a diverse group that may be stabilizing, rather than destabilizing, the market.

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Indian restaurant discovery and food delivery service Zomato raises $210M from Ant Financial, at an estimated ~$2B valuation (The Economic Times)

The Economic Times : Indian restaurant discovery and food delivery service Zomato raises $210M from Ant Financial, at an estimated ~$2B valuation   —  BENGALURU: Alibaba's payment affiliate Ant Financial has pumped in another $210 million in restaurant discovery and food-delivery platform Zomato …

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A look at the growth of drone journalism and the federal and local regulatory hurdles that drone journalists face (Travis Fox/Columbia Journalism…

Travis Fox / Columbia Journalism Review : A look at the growth of drone journalism and the federal and local regulatory hurdles that drone journalists face   —  Josh Haner flies a drone on the Greenland Ice Sheet.  Photo: Gavin A. Sundwall, courtesty of The New York Times.  —  The images, taken by photographer Josh Haner …

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NASA plans ‘on schedule’ Soyuz launch despite failure of Russian rocket

The high-profile failure of a normally reliable Soyuz rocket during a crewed mission to the International Space Station earlier this week spooked the space community in more ways than one, but NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said he expects to launch a new crew in December via Soyuz anyway. Speaking to reporters at the US embassy in Moscow (as reported by the AFP ), Bridenstine observed that “not every mission that fails ends up so successful.” and indeed the malfunctioning rocket very fortunately did not cause any loss of life, as the escape system built into the launch hardware functioned as designed. Astronauts land safely after Soyuz launch fails at 20 miles up Astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin landed safely some 250 miles away from the launch site after the capsule detached about 90 seconds into launch and deployed its parachute. Although it’s too early for investigators to tell what went wrong, Bridenstine is apparently confident enough in the Soyuz system and the team at Roscosmos that he indicated a new crewed capsule could go up before the end of the year. “I fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no reason to believe at this point that it will not be on schedule,” he said. That mission would be in December, meaning the current 3-person crew aboard the ISS wouldn’t have to extend their stay (as some thought they might), nor would the ISS have to fly empty for any period of time. The latter possibility made many uneasy, as the ISS is designed to be able to fly solo for a while, but it would be risky to have no one there in case of problems, and many experiments could also fail. The Soyuz launch system is the only one currently available to send humans to space. SpaceX and Boeing are working hard on changing that but their solutions are a long way from ready. If some serious flaw were to be found in the Soyuz system it would essentially maroon humanity on the Earth until a solution is found. Fortunately Soyuz has proven itself many times over and it’s more likely that it will fly again soon. Bridenstine’s confidence doesn’t launch a rocket on its own of course — the investigation of the rocket failure continues and the two space agencies will have to negotiate how to put a new crew in the station ahead of the original schedule

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A fictional Facebook Portal videochat with Mark Zuckerberg

TechCrunch: Hey Portal , dial Mark Portal: Do you mean Mark Zuckerberg? TC: Yes Portal: Dialling Mark… TC: Hi Mark! Nice choice of grey t-shirt. MZ: Uh, new phone who dis? — oh, hi, er, TechCrunch… TC: Thanks for agreeing to this entirely fictional interview, Mark! MZ: Sure — anytime. But you don’t mind if I tape over the camera do you? You see I’m a bit concerned about my privacy here at, like, home TC:  We feel you, go ahead. As you can see, we already took the precaution of wearing this large rubber face mask of, well, of yourself Mark. And covering the contents of our bedroom with these paint-splattered decorator sheets. MZ: Yeah, I saw that. It’s a bit creepy tbh TC: Go on and get all taped up. We’ll wait. sound of Mark calling Priscilla to bring the tape dispenser [Portal’s camera jumps out to assimilate Priscilla Chan into the domestic scene, showing a generous vista of the Zuckerbergs’ living room, complete with kids playing in the corner

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