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Apple and Tesla focus on building solar paneled car roofs

(TECH NEWS) Tesla has been innovating alternative powers for quite a while, solar paneled car roofs are the next step in their plan to help consumers love their cars and the environment.



Solar power is highly efficient

Solar power is in everything from phone chargers to large corporations. Alternative power is increasing in popularity for both person and professional use. While solar power is often thought to be more energy efficient, solar panels have a hard time capturing and converting sunlight into electricity.

According to researcher Sean Everett, the best efficiency rating we’ve been able to attain in regards to solar panels is around 22%; which means we’re only capturing about a quarter of the sun’s energy that hits a solar panel. So why continue to pursue solar technology? Everything improves with time.

He observes the concept of the “edge,” especially where solar technology is concerned. Once the technology is advanced to a point where it is on the “edge” and easily accessible, rather than restricted to private consumers or federal utility companies, the technology will come into its own. It will be a true contender to the oil and gas industry and become more efficient than the 22% I mentioned above.

What does the “edge” really mean?

A bare-bones definition of the “edge,” to borrow a technology reference,  is storing the same files in multiple locations, to ensure it can be quickly and easily accessed. By storing the same file in many different locations, it will load from the nearest location to your current position and allow you faster access to the information you need. So how does this translate to solar technology? Remember those slightly inefficient solar panels? Tesla plans to change how they work.

Tesla wants to “edge” solar power for their electric cars

Tesla believes fervently in solar power. You can use sunlight to store power into batteries; those batteries can then be used to power cars, technology, and homes. Instead of using the solar power immediately, Tesla believes in storing it, so the power can be used over time. This allows consumers to use it when it’s convenient.  Tesla wants to install solar panel on the roofs of their cars, why?

As Tesla continues to innovate the electric car, the cars will need power. To store the power they need batteries and since all batteries eventually run out of power, the next logical step is charging stations. What if these stations could be solar powered? Better yet, what if you could install an extra battery that connects to the solar panels on your roof to be used when your battery runs down? This is Tesla’s strategy: use the sun to power what you need when you need it by innovating effective solar panels and batteries to get the job done.

Where the “edge” for solar technology is in how it’s stored (to make it more easily accessible and useful), the “edge” for Tesla is humans. We must install the necessary solar panels, then buy the a car, but Tesla is giving their consumers the “edge” by giving them a way to create their own power, without the need for fossil fuel.

Apple’s on the “edge” too?

Apple has a similar approach to what they consider the “edge.” They also consider humans to be at the center of the Apple experience, however, they differ from Tesla in that they want every single human to have an optimized, engaged experience with Apple’s products. Humans generate power for the device, the device keeps the human engaged, and Apple uses the information collected from the device to power the human’s continued engagement with said device (and the circle continues).

So what does this have to do with solar power? Apple devices take power to work. If you’re on the “edge” of solar technology, you’re producing your own power and lowering your costs. Freeing up more money that can be (in theory) spent elsewhere; if you’re using the sun to power your transportation, you’re free from paying for gas (again freeing up money). More money freed up is more money that can be spent elsewhere.

While the realist in me realizes it’s highly unlikely, the Romantic in me would like to think that if solar technology advances the way in which Tesla and Apple would like it to, to the point where we can “edge” power, people will use it because it’s better for the environment and easier to access. While we still have a way to go before we get to that point, continued innovation is the key to making solar power sustainable, accessible, and economical. Tesla and Apple seem to be headed in the right direction. What do you think?


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech News

Not just for gaming: How virtual reality can save PTSD patients

(TECH NEWS) Thanks to its ability to simulate situations safely, virtual reality technologies are proving effective in therapy for PTSD patients.



Woman wearing a VR headset in warm sunny lighting, PTSD patients treatment

Over the last year, a great many people have developed a new and sometimes dangerous relationship with a new emotional state, anxiety. I know that personally I’d never had a panic attack in my life until the middle of the pandemic. For many these emotions have taken the form of actual disorders. Actual mental influences which affect everyday life on a large scale. One of the most common forms of which is PTSD.

This disorder has many different aspects and can affect people in a number of different and debilitating ways. Finding treatments for PTSD patients and other anxiety disorders – especially treatments that don’t involve drugging people into oblivion has been difficult.

A lot of these disorders require exposure therapy. Putting people back into similar situations which caused the original trauma so that their brains can adjust to the situation and not get stuck in pain or panic loops. But how do you do that for things like battlefield trauma. You can’t just create situations with gunfire and dead bodies! Or can you?

This is where VR starts coming in. Thanks to the falling cost of VR headsets, noted by The Economist, psychologists are more capable of creating these real world situations that can actually help people adjust to their individual trauma.

One therapist went so far as to compare it to easy access opioids for therapy. This tool is so powerful that of the 20 veterans that they started with, 16 of them no longer qualify for the categories of PTSD. That’s a 75% success rate with an over-the-counter medicine. I can think of antihistamines and painkillers that aren’t that good.

I’ve grown up around PTSD patients. The majority of my family have been in the military. I was even looking at a career before I was denied service. I have enough friends that deal with PTSD issues that I have a list of things I remember not to invite certain people to so as not to trigger it. Any and every tool available that could help people adapt to their trauma is worthwhile.

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Tech News

Tired of email spam? This silly, petty solution might provide vindication

(TECH NEWS) If you struggle to keep your inbox clean thanks to a multitude of emails, the widget “You’ve Got Spam” could provide some petty catharsis.



Email icon with 20 possible spam emails on phone screen.

We’re all spending a lot of time behind our computers and inside of our inboxes these days, so it makes sense that some people—not naming names—might be sick of seeing several unsolicited emails a day from marketers and other unsavory businesses.

While we can’t recommend a mature, adult solution that hasn’t already been beaten to death (looking at you, “inbox zero” crowd), we can recommend a childish one: Signing solicitors up for spam.

If you do decide to go the petty route, “You’ve Got Spam”—a free email widget from MSCHF—has you covered. Upon installing the widget, you can configure it to respond automatically to incoming cold-marketing emails with tons of subscriptions to spam sources, thus resulting in overwhelming the sender with a crowded inbox and cultivating a potentially misplaced sense of catharsis for yourself.

The widget itself is fairly simple: You only need to install it to Gmail from the MSCHF website. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. When you receive an email from a person from whom you can safely assume you’ll never be receiving favors ever again, you can open it and click the “You’ve Got Spam” icon to sign the sender up for spam lists galore.

See? Petty, but effective.

The developer page does fail to make the distinction between the promised “100” subscriptions and the “hundreds of spam subscriptions” discussed on Product Hunt. But one can assume that anyone who dares trespass on the sacred grounds of your squeaky-clean inbox will rue the day they did so regardless of the exact number of cat litter magazine subscriptions they receive.

Of course, actually using something like “You’ve Got Spam” is, realistically, a poor choice. It takes exactly as much effort to type, “We’ll pass – thanks!” as a response to anyone cold-emailing you, and you’re substantially less likely to piss off the actual human being on the other side by doing so. Services like this are heavy on the comedic shock value, but the empathy side tends to lack a discernible presence.

That said, if you absolutely must wreck someone’s day—and inbox—MSCHF’s “You’ve Got Spam” is a pretty ingenious way to do it.

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Tech News

Clubhouse finally made it to Android, but has its time passed?

(TECH NEWS) Social media felt the impact of Clubhouse, but the internet moves fast, and even though it is finally on Android, it’s time may be waning.



Woman holding book and a phone, with headphones, participating in Clubhouse.

Clubhouse finally got an Android release, and while many people clamored for such a thing months ago, others argue that it’s too little, too late.

If you aren’t familiar with Clubhouse, it’s an audio-only “social platform” that encourages discussions through live chat rooms. Users can drop into various rooms and listen to people talk, request the option to chime in, and follow a variety of rooms (or “topics”) to stay engaged over time. Users can even create their own rooms that feature them as speakers.

Clubhouse also has a certain allure to it in that the app requires new users to put their names on a waitlist that creates an “invite-only” culture of exclusivity.

But while iPhone users have had access to Clubhouse since its inception, Android users have been not-so-patiently waiting for their own release—and, now that Clubhouse for Android is available, it may have outstayed its welcome.

Part of the problem is the launch itself. The Android Clubhouse app launched with limited functionality; Android users weren’t able to follow the topics they like, change their account information, and so on. This made the release feel underwhelming, further highlighting Clubhouse’s affinity for Apple users.

A more complicated problem is the prevalence of audio options in other social media services. Slack, for example, recently released their audio-only rooms, and services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have placed a spotlight on voice-only mediums of expression.

Initially, Clubhouse was the only app to incorporate audio as a strong central focus, but the ubiquitous fascination with voice-posting has expanded to comprise most major communication platforms. As such, Clubhouse’s sought-after exclusivity is no more—something that was also arguably damaged by expanding to Android.

It should be noted that interest in the app itself is decreasing, and not just on Android. Social Media Today reported that, in March of 2021, Clubhouse downloads were down 72 percent from February’s 9.6 million downloads. The publication also pointed out that difficulty finding rooms was a substantial issue that is unlikely to do anything but worsen with a surge of Android users, necessitating some back-end fixes from the owners.

As it sits, Clubhouse is still very much in use, and Android users are poised to reignite interest as iOS users stagnate. Whether or not that interest will persevere in the current social media ecosystem remains to be seen.

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