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Bright Idea? French Scientists Turn To Bacteria To Power Batteries

A laboratory in Rennes is developing ‘bio-batteries,’ fuel cells that use bacteria rather than expensive metals to generate electricity.

Batteries get their juice from different sources (shatt0r)
Batteries get their juice from different sources (shatt0r)
Cyrille Vanlerberghe

RENNES -- In the corner of his lab at the University of Rennes 1, Frederic Barrière demonstrates a battery powered by the symbiosis of small plants and bacteria. A small light-emitting diode connecting to the two poles of the device illuminates, proving that the system produces an electric current.

Barrière, a chemistry researcher with France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), explains that the battery functions very simply, producing a modest amount of electricity by utilizing living microorganisms. The technique isn't powerful enough to run something like an electric car, but it still has exciting potential. The system is currently undergoing trials, for example, in sewage treatment plants to not only clean the water but also produce electricity.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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