Longer Battery Life for Smartphones?

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Morning Money Memo…

Research at Stanford University could lead to an answer for the biggest complaint from consumers about their smartphones: short battery life.

In a paper published in the Nature Nanotechnology, researchers said they've designed a lithium-metal anode that boosts the energy storage capacity by as much as 400 percent.

"Some call it the Holy Grail. It is very lightweight and it has the highest energy density," Yi Cui, an associate professor in Stanford's Department of Chemistry, told Forbes. "You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power."

The Stanford team includes former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. More research is needed but the advance could lead to much longer battery life for many products, including electric cars.

Ruling Pleases Labor Rights Crowd

"HUGE victory for labor & fast food workers!" said a tweet from the Service Employees International Union.

Labor rights proponents are delighted with a legal ruling by the National Labor Relations Board. The decision said McDonald's can be treated as a joint employer with its franchise-owned restaurants, potentially exposing the fast food giant to hundreds lawsuits over how companies deal with their workers.

McDonald's said it will fight the decision, which could set a precedent for the industry.

The vast majority of McDonald's more than 14,000 restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees. The same is true for many other fast food companies, including Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

Labor organizers have said McDonald's should be held accountable as a joint employer at its franchise locations because the company has so much control in setting operational terms. Unions and workers have protested in cities around the country in a push for higher wages and the right to unionize.

Gas Company Accused

Pacific Gas & Electric is accused of lying to regulators in connection with a fatal pipeline explosion that leveled a suburban Northern California neighborhood in 2010. The U.S. attorney in San Francisco announced the obstruction of justice charge and 27 related counts. The explosion destroyed 38 homes, killed eight people and injured dozens.

Something to Tweet About

Twitter's stock soared 30 percent after strong financial results in its second quarter report. The short messaging site said revenues more than doubled in the 2nd quarter.

However, Twitter posted a loss of $144 million, which was much larger than the year before, when it was a private company.

Amgen Retrenchment

Bio-drug maker Amgen plans to lay off as much as 15 percent of its worldwide workforce.

That includes closing plants in Colorado and Washington state.

Amgen said it is streamlining the company's structure and plans to launch more drugs in the future.