Home / Software & Service News / Former Xbox Live policy VP Stephen ‘StepTo’ Toulouse passed away

Former Xbox Live policy VP Stephen ‘StepTo’ Toulouse passed away

Stephen “StepTo” Toulouse, a tech vet, humorist and author well known for his role in managing Xbox Live over the years has passed away. His brother Jeff Toulouse tweeted that “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the loss of our brother, Stephen Toulouse, @Stepto, this morning.” A Microsoft employee for nearly 18 years, Stephen served as director of Xbox Live policy and enforcement until early 2012 and helped shape the company’s response to issues online communities are still struggling to deal with.

Reddit adjusted its policies to deal with material that “encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence” while dumping the /Nazi board earlier this week, and Twitter has only lately decided to strengthen similar policies. In 2010 Toulouse explained to an Xbox Live gamer why a swastika was already a bannable offense there, saying “If you think the swastika symbol should be re-evaluated by societies all over the Earth, I think that’s great. Your Xbox Live profile or in game logo, which doesn’t have the context to explain your goal, is not the right place to do that.”

He also created StepTo’s Law” of ban protests which read as follows:

“The more convoluted, overwrought and lengthy the protest of innocence, the probability of it being bullshit approaches one.”

Software engineer Brianna Wu tweeted about Toulouse that “I can think of no better way to honor @stepto than for him to be remembered as one of the first, hardest fighting activists on harassment.”

Source: Stepto.com

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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