The Morning After: Breakthrough fusion energy experiment sets new world record

Engadget, Mat Smith and Richard Lawler
·3 min read

Fusion energy could, possibly, meet all our energy demands. It’s just a not-so-simple matter of getting the process to work in a sustained way. We’re still talking seconds of output at the moment, but the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) device recently set a world record by maintaining its plasma at a super-hot 180 million degrees Fahrenheit for 20 seconds — almost double the time of the second-best effort so far.

KSTAR’s ultimate goal is to run nonstop for five minutes at this temperature by 2025, which will be another crucial step towards making fusion reactors science fact, not science-fiction. Today we also have Tesla updates, iCloud woes and more scientific breakthroughs.

-Mat Smith

Scientists turn CO2 into jet fuel

It could lead to net zero emissions for air travel.

A Rolls-Royce engine is seen on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner owned by ANA Holdings Inc. in Everett, Washington, U.S. August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Alwyn Scott/File Photo - S1BEUDVRNOAB
A Rolls-Royce engine is seen on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner owned by ANA Holdings Inc. in Everett, Washington, U.S. August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Alwyn Scott/File Photo - S1BEUDVRNOAB

Nominee for most unlikely science headline this year, Oxford University scientists have successfully turned CO2 into jet fuel. The technique effectively reverses the process of burning fuel. The team heated a mix of citric acid, hydrogen and an iron-manganese-potassium catalyst to turn CO2 into a liquid fuel capable of powering jet aircraft.

The approach is inexpensive, uncomplicated and uses commonplace materials. In fact, it’s cheaper than processes used to turn hydrogen and water into fuel. The researches are talking with industrial partners, though, and don’t see any major scientific hurdles. This conversion process would let airlines keep their existing aircraft and go carbon neutral until they’re ready for eco-friendly propulsion. It’s like a hybrid energy aircraft, but, well, not.
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Bumble won't let you share bikini and bra photos if you took them indoors

Outside is perfectly valid, however.

The Bumble app is seen on an iPhone on 16 March, 2017. The app is resembles Tindr in that it let's heterosexuals find each other however Bumble only lets female users start a conversation after interested parties have made a match. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto)
The Bumble app is seen on an iPhone on 16 March, 2017. The app is resembles Tindr in that it let's heterosexuals find each other however Bumble only lets female users start a conversation after interested parties have made a match. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto)

BuzzFeed News reports that Bumble took down photos of artist Cali Rockowitz wearing a bralette due to a policy banning swimsuit and underwear photos when indoors. Apparently, a bikini top or shirtless look is fine as long as the shots were “taken outside.” And no, you can’t edit the photos to fake an outdoor shot, apparently.


A spokesperson told BuzzFeed the policy took effect in 2016 after both complaints from users as well as research. Shirtless bathroom selfies were the “most swiped left on.” Users have pointed out the inconsistency — men post indoor selfies, so why can’t women with bras and swimsuits? Bumble has yet to fully clarify its policy.
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Apple had iCloud activation problems at the worst possible time

That pesky holiday activation surge.

You’re not alone if you had issues, over the weekend, getting your newly gifted iPad or Apple Watch up and running — or were drafted in to help a relative. On Christmas Day, Apple warned of iCloud account and sign-in issues. The company didn’t say much in the alert, but it told one Twitter user that “high capacity” was creating problems.

Apple managed to get a handle on the issue at 4:35PM Eastern on December 26th, or just under 36 hours after it began.
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Tesla's latest update turns your EV into a boombox, of sorts

So long as you have a car with the right speaker.

SHANGHAI, Oct. 26, 2020 -- Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows the Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles at its gigafactory in Shanghai, east China. (Photo by Ding Ting/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Ding Ting via Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, Oct. 26, 2020 -- Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2020 shows the Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles at its gigafactory in Shanghai, east China. (Photo by Ding Ting/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Ding Ting via Getty Images)

Tesla has released its promised holiday update, and the centerpiece appears to be a Boombox mode that pumps media outside as long as you have a recent-enough EV with a pedestrian speaker system, like later Model 3 production runs. You probably won’t be using this for parties during the pandemic and should check local laws, but it’s more efficient (not to mention safer) than cranking up the normal volume and leaving a window open. The update also adds the customizable horn honk. Crucial!
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