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Scientists have spent a lot of time trying to lengthen battery life, but safety and thickness matter, too. Just ask Boeing about that first problem -- its 787 Dreamliner was grounded for months thanks to battery fires. However, a group of University of Michigan researchers may have found a way to make lithium-ion energy packs that are safer and slimmer at the same time. The team has developed Kevlar-based, nano-sized membranes that insulate the electrodes in a battery while still allowing lithium ions to pass through and create a proper circuit. The extra-thin layers should not only reduce the chances of short circuiting, but allow for more energy in a given space. You could get away with thinner batteries in smartwatches and other devices without giving up battery life... or worrying that your device will spontaneously combust, for that matter.

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If you've been experiencing random disconnection with your Xbox One's controller, there may be relief in site, according to a Major Nelson blog post. The latest preview features a controller update that's supposed to fix "(stability) issues submitted by customers and preview participants." We're not sure if that means it specifically addresses the disconnection problem, but we've asked Microsoft for more info. Meanwhile, the controller will also connect to the Xbox in around two seconds now instead of five, a boon only to the truly impatient. Preview members can get the fix by downloading the console update, then connecting their controller to the console with a USB cable and following the instructions here.

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How much do you trust your brain? We're asking, because a new study published in Psychological Science provides scientific evidence that it's not hard to manipulate people's memories -- even to make them believe they've committed a crime. Researchers from the University of Bedfordshire and University of British Columbia chose 60 test subjects with no previous charges and any police contact from 11 to 14-years-old. They then divided them into two groups: the first group's interviewer convinced them they've committed assault or theft, while the second group's made them believe they suffered a traumatizing event, such as being attacked and injured or losing a large amount of money.

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Snowmageddon might not be all that fun those experiencing it on the East Coast, but it could well be affecting the rest of us too. Starting around 1am ET, Facebook and Instagram were both inaccessible, as well as apps that require FB credentials. Tinder, for exmaple, also went down in the process -- globally. (We saw problems accessing servers across the US, Europe and Asia.) We've also seen Hipchat and, er, AIM also knocked offline at the same time. Snow in the servers? Or maybe it was a DDoS attack? We don't know just yet. Facebook and Instagram have just come back after an hour. Interestingly, as TechCrunch noted, Facebook's other app, WhatsApp went strong through out.

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Minna Life's kGoal smart Kegel exerciser

If men can have a fitness device for their nether regions, women certainly can, too. Minna Life has released the kGoal, a $149 "smart Kegel exerciser" that helps you work your pelvic floor muscles (read: the vaginal area) in order to both improve your sexual performance and fight disorders like incontinence. It provides real-time feedback through sound, touch and visuals, and you'll know you're on the right track through a companion smartphone app that gauges your progress. If all goes well, kGoal should take the mystery out of Kegels -- you'll build strong muscles by developing a proper technique and setting achievable goals.

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You can now add "toolbox" to the growing list of mundane objects looking to up their IQ. Enter the Coolbox, a tech-laden, "smart" toolbox that launches today on Indiegogo. In addition to toting your tools, it packs a 12v rechargeable battery, two USB ports, 270-degree LED lighting, a 10-foot extension cord with three built-in plugs and an iPad stand. The box also has a Bluetooth speaker so you can blast music over the soothing sounds of your miter saw. And then there's our favorite feature: the Coolbox's built-in bottle opener, because what pairs better with power tools than beer? (Though maybe wait to crack one open until after your project is finished, huh?) Pledging $179 will get you a basic Coolbox and move the project toward its $50,000 fundraising goal. However, its creators have an even loftier target in mind: surpassing the most-successful KickStarter project of all time. So who's the reigning champ? A souped-up drink cooler, of course.

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Anita Sarkeesian

Along with game developer Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian is likely one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to online harassment. Both have been targets of intense cyber-abuse campaigns stemming from the GamerGate movement, and like Quinn, Sarkeesian is tackling the problem head on. She's going to continue giving speeches and making videos examining media (what she calls public efforts), but the digital abuse she's receiving has changed her long-term goal:

"There is also work being done behind the scenes in private meetings and consultations with major social media and gaming platforms, and by partnering with other organizations to form a task force with the goal of ending online harassment."

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Look out, Hollywood, because Oculus VR is coming for you. Earlier today, the Facebook-owned company introduced its new film division Story Studio, as it looks to broaden its horizons and experiment with narrative through virtual reality. The first short film to come out of Oculus VR's in-house movie lab is Lost, which is making its debut at Sundance. In addition to that, Story Studio has revealed that it's already working on more shorts with a VR twist to them, all expected to appeal to different audiences. Along with Lost, there's also going to be Dear Angelica, Bullfighter and Henry, plus two other films that haven't been announced yet.

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How would you like to travel the world without worrying about the tedious tasks of packing a bag or buying a plane ticket? When Next VR's live broadcast goes mainstream, doing so could be easier than you thought. We're also taking a look at the tech taking over Sundance film festival, and testing out Sling TV's beta service. Read on for details in today's roundup!

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Rumors broke over the weekend that Google might bring its gigabit internet Fiber connection to Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, NC next, but it's not stopping there. The Tennesseean reports Nashville has an announcement planned, while the Wall Street Journal lists all of those cities plus Atlanta, based on anonymous sources. Atlanta would represent the biggest metro area for Google Fiber yet, and the WSJ mentions that media in the area have been invited to a launch event tomorrow. All four cities were already on Google's "Future of Fiber" list so there's no shockers here, but still -- pretend like you're surprised (and not jealous) when the announcement is made, it's only polite.

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