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The Pentagon is developing cyber warfare tools to fight ISIS

US Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael S. Rogers has created a dedicated unit tasked with developing a suite of malware and digital weapons that can be used to wage (a digital) war against ISIS. The Pentagon originally gave Cyber Command the daunting task of launching online attacks against the Islamic State earlier this year. Unfortunately, according to The Washington Post, Cybercom was ill-prepared for the role — besides lacking the tools to get the job done, it didn’t have the right people to pull it off. WP says the new team is called “Joint Task Force Ares,” and some of their possible missions include disrupting the terrorist group’s payment system and knocking their current chat app of choice offline.

The Pentagon could also use the task force if it will reduce the risk of civilian casualties — for instance, cutting off communications to a hideout instead of bombing it. However, while it will be in charge of offensive operations, it won’t be responsible for finding the military’s airstrike targets. At this point in time, Joint Task Force Ares will only deploying cyberattacks against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. A Pentagon official told the WP, though, that the unit will go global in the future.

Source: The Washington Post

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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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