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Submission New study suggests flying is greener than driving

Desert Leap writes: The Washington Post reports a new study that suggests it is more environmentally friendly to fly rather than to drive. Analysis from the University of Michigan Transport Research Institute found that driving uses 57% more energy than flying per passenger mile. This is largely due to the number of occupied plane seats increasing while passengers per car decreased.

Of course, "results may vary" for individual trips depending on many factors, such as distance flown (long flights are more fuel efficient) and the kind of car and how many riders.

One factoid is interesting, it takes 4,211 BTUs per person mile to drive. This number will fall as we switch over to electric vehicles. For example, a Tesla Model S takes about 1,100 BTUs per vehicle mile. Will future aircraft be able to also make the switch to electric?

Submission Is the ability to distance ourselves from the here-and-now uniquely human?->

RosyGlow19 writes: Think about all the ways we talk about distances. They can describe physical spaces (a far-flung city; a nearby store), or time (distant past; near future), or social relationships (near-and-dear pals; a quarreling couple needing some space).

Researchers have long thought that these various examples of “psychological distance” are represented by some of the same circuits in the brain. A new brain-imaging study strongly bolsters the idea, finding that certain patterns of neural activity underlie all of our judgments about distance — whether in space, time, or the social realm.

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Submission Prototype developed to generate electricity from rainwater in storm drainpipes.->

jimmypop9 writes: A researcher at Lund University in Sweden has developed a prototype that generates electricity from rainwater through storm drainpipes that are attached to buildings. The prototype is a part of The Kvasir Project and the goal of the prototype is to generate roughly 100 watts of electricity from a single device. This concept is interesting because multiple devices can be implemented along a single storm drainpipe as long as the building is more than one story high. More information about the Kvasir Project and the prototype can be found at the kvasir project website.
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Submission Ukraine Police Stop Bus Full Of Pro Government Demonstrators and Beat Them->

Desert Leap writes: What did the Ukrainian masochist say to the Ukrainian policeman? 'Beats me.'

'Ukrainian riot police appear to be having trouble deciding who to beat up. BBC is reporting that police stopped a bus heading to Kiev and assumed that they were more protesters. So, they did what has become standard operating procedure for Ukrainian police: they proceeded to savagely beat the occupants.'

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Open Source

Submission Opera officially announces gradual transition from Presto to WebKit and Chromium->

jeditobe writes: ...To provide a leading browser on Android and iOS, this year Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine, as well as Chromium, for most of its upcoming versions of browsers for smartphones and computers...

Please sjgn the petition to force Oera Software commit Presto engine to opensource.

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Comment 538 model provides better analysis (Score 2) 519

Nate Silver's 538 blog ( is much more interesting. His model takes into account polls (which he adjusts based on past accuracy) as well as economic factors. Nate is currently estimating a probability of an Obama win at 77%. Probably a much more accurate assessment than an estimate of 98%. Nate Silver prediction for the 2008 presidential popular vote percentages was within 0.1% of the actual results.

Submission Another Thin-Film Photovoltaic Company Files for Bankrupcy->

Desert Leap writes: Uni-Solar's parent company joined Solyndra by filing for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 14 after being unable to come to a deal with bondholders. The company had been hurt by the elimination of European subsidies and recently idled their manufacturing plant because of excess inventory. Thin-film photovoltaic companies face stiff competition from lower-cost polycrystalline solar panels, especially those from China.
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Submission Darwinian evolution can't stop us->

Desert Leap writes: "In an interview with MIT's Technology Review, Juan Enriquez, a writer, investor, and managing director of Excel Venture Management says 'our newfound ability to write the code of life will profoundly change the world as we know it. This revolution will be more widespread because this is software that writes its own hardware. Forty percent of Dupont's earnings today come from the life sciences. It's going to change everything.'"
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Submission The End is Near (Again)->

Desert Leap writes: Harold Camping, that minister that predicted the Rapture would occur last May 21, is reminding us that the world will "probably" end on Oct 21, this Friday. Mr. Camping must believe in a cruel and vengeful god; a benevolent god would end the world on Monday and let us enjoy one last weekend.
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Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.