The Download: the oldest corner of the metaverse, and how EV batteries work

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Today’s headlines treat the metaverse as a hazy dream yet to be built. But if it’s defined as a network of virtual worlds we can inhabit, its oldest corner has been already running for 25 years.

It’s a medieval fantasy kingdom created for the online role-playing game Ultima Online. 

It was the first to simulate an entire world: a vast, dynamic realm where players could interact with almost anything, from fruit on trees to books on shelves.

Ultima Online has already endured a quarter-century of market competition, economic turmoil, and political strife. So what can this game and its players tell us about creating the virtual worlds of the future? Read the full story.

—John-Clark Levin

How does an EV battery actually work?

The batteries propelling electric vehicles have quickly become the most crucial component, and expense, for a new generation of cars and trucks.

The vast majority of electric vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are also found in smartphones. They can hold high voltage and exceptional charge, making them an efficient, dense form of energy storage.

But while they’re expected to remain dominant in EVs for the foreseeable future, battery developers are working towards lighter, cheaper and more efficient alternatives. Read the full story.

—Patrick Sisson

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