Life-blood of Tesla batteries hits supply limits in Andean mine


For the past nine months, a U.S. company that is the world’s largest producer of lithium—a key ingredient in electric-car batteries—has been locked in battle with the Chilean government over pricing issues, production quotas, and environmental compliance. With no resolution in sight, the fight is sending tremors all the way up the electric vehicle supply chain that provides batteries to Tesla Inc., Nissan Motor Co., Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, and other car makers.

The drama is playing out in the northern reaches of Chile’s Andes Mountains amid the arid and austere Atacama Desert, a vast, high-altitude bowl surrounded by snow-capped volcanic peaks named after ancient gods of the indigenous people. The U.S. company, Albemarle Corp., has taken over a massive salt-flats mine, pumping scarce briny water through dried-out salt marshes and lagoons to extract the prized mineral. A dozen or so miles away, thick flocks of Andean flamingos feed peacefully in a lagoon teaming with tiny shrimp, as they have for countless millennia. But as mining activity surges, water tables are falling amid growing environmental concerns.

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Breakthrough solar panel can harvest power from raindrops — day or night

USA - Energy - Energy Conservation Initiatives for Rockefeller Center

In a truly remarkable feat of innovation, scientists have figured out how to create “hybrid” solar cells that generate power not just from sunlight but also from raindrops. This means we may soon see all-weather solar panels that work when it is cloudy and even at night, if it’s raining.

Solar has soared in recent years, as panel prices have dropped so fast that solar keeps crushing its own record for the cheapest power “ever, anywhere, by any technology” — even without a subsidy.

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Amazing Photos of the Puyehue Volcano Eruption in Chile


Puyehue Volcano

A violent eruption of a volcano in the Caulle Cordon of southern Chile occurred on June 4th.   The volcano was billowing smoke and ash high into the sky and prompting more than 3,500 people living nearby to evacuate and forcing cancellation of flights. Ash and gas continued to billow from the earth over the weekend. (Pics)


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Chile Earthquake Moves Concepcion More Than 10 Feet to the West


A destroyed building in Concepcion, Chile.

According to a recent study done by Chilean and American researchers at the Ohio State University, the magnitude-8.8 earthquake that rocked the west coast of Chile on February 27th was strong enough to move the city of Concepcion at least 10 feet/3.04m to the west and the capital, Santiago, about 11 inches/28cm to the west-southwest. The quake also shifted other parts of South America, as far apart as the Falkland Islands and Fortaleza, Brazil.


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Can Animals ‘Sense’ an Impending Natural Disaster?


Dog senses earthquake before it happens

Earthquakes, like the one that struck today in Chile–which, at the time of this writing, is believed to have claimed 147 lives–are all the more devastating for their unpredictable nature. While geologists have resources available to indicate a probability of when a quake will strike, such as measuring seismic pressures or observing changes in magnetic fields, it is still impossible to provide any short-term notice to threatened communities–a notice that would undoubtedly save countless lives. Although geologists may be incapable of putting communities on alert, however, recent disasters are strengthening theories that some animals may be able to ‘sense’ impending earthquakes.


Chile’s Desert Key Source To Growing Demand Of Lithium


Chile’s Salar de Atacama desert is a major source for the world’s lithium, key ingredient in the batteries we use in our laptops, cell phones and other gadgets every day. And, key ingredient in batteries for a growing selection of electric and electric hybrid cars. As the demand for battery-powered devices increases, so does the demand for lithium and therefore the earthly resources that provide it. Check out this video from CBS about the production and demand.


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In a Tangle of Young Lips, a New Sex Rebellion is Brewing in Chile

 In a Tangle of Young Lips, a New Sex Rebellion in Chile

Chile, long considered to have among the most traditional social mores in South America, is crashing headlong into that reputation with its precocious teenagers. Chile’s youths are living in a period of sexual exploration that, academics and government officials say, is like nothing the country has witnessed before. (Pics)

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20 Modern Engineering Marvels

20 Modern Engineering Marvels 

Technology is taking such rapid strides forward at such a blurring pace that what is considered a marvelous novelty turns into a mundane common object within no time. To classify and bunch a set of man-made marvels from a world that is being constantly altered is a pretty tough job. Finding them is easy enough in a world filled with man-made wonders but the relevance of such a compilation will be short-lived compared with a list from the ancient world. Yet we embark on a journey across the planet and beyond to try and find out the best the world has to offer—our own creations that leave us in awe. We limit ourselves to finding the biggest, tallest or the highest as otherwise we would probably never end the journey we began. It is a journey filled with variations and grand delights in a spectacular way. So, have a fun ride…

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