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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Positive, Negative, and eight out of ten

I was listening to the best and most reputable technical podcast in the
U.K., "Digital Planet," and heard something that boggled my mind.

They were interviewing a technologist and scientist on the cutting edge of
battery technology. They'd apparently come up with a technique to bind
the lithium ions on the negative end of the battery with silicon
nanowires, which will potentially provide 10 times the battery life.
Lovely stuff, all for it.

But he kept referring to the negative end as the "anode," and the positive
end, where they are hoping to also introduce nanowires, as the "cathode."

I don't work at the bleeding edge of technology, so maybe things have
changed. But it seems to me, back in the day, the Cathode was the
negative contact, and the Anode was the positive contact.

And this clever fellow on the bleeding edge of battery technology didn't
know that. And the Digital Planet folks, the best technology podcast in
the U.K., and arguably on the planet, also said nothing.

This made me crazy. I wanted to jump immediately onto the internet and do
this blog post to point out the error.

One little problem.

My laptop battery had gone dead. And I had to find somewhere to plug in
my laptop, so I could post this.

I would very much like that this technology will work, so at any given
moment I can rant incessantly about terminology errors by folks who know
more than I do. But if Anodes are now negative, and Cathodes are now
positive, I guess it wouldn't work with my laptop anyway, right?

Other than that, on a scale of one to ten for worthwhile content, I'd have
to give Digital Planet an eight.

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