RABarnes writes "Scientific American has posted an article about the political efforts of natural gas and electric utilities to limit the growth of wind-generated electricity. Although several of the points raised by the utilities and carbon-based generators are valid, the basic driver behind their efforts is that wind-generation has now successfully penetrated the wholesale electricity market. Wind was okay until it became a meaningful competitor to the carbon dioxide-producing entities. Among the valid points raised by the carbon-based generators are concerns about how the cost of electricity transmission are allocated and how power quality can be improved (wind generation — from individual sites — is hopelessly variable). But there are fixes for all of the concerns raised by the carbon-based entities and in almost all cases they have been on the other side of the question in the past."
Kijori writes "Lord Lucas, a member of the UK House of Lords, has accused record companies of blackmailing internet users by accusing people of copyright infringement who have no way to defend themselves. 'You can get away with asking for £500 or £1,000 and be paid on most occasions without any effort having to be made to really establish guilt. It is straightforward legal blackmail.' The issue is that there is no way for people to prove their innocence, since the record company's data is held to be conclusive proof, and home networking equipment does not log who is downloading what. Hopefully, at the very least, the fact that parliament has realised this fact will mean that copyright laws will get a little more sane."
An anonymous reader writes "Interesting video interview on silicon.com with Sheffield University's Noel Sharkey, professor of AI & robotics. The white-haired prof talks state-of-the-robot-nation — discussing the most impressive robots currently clanking about on two-legs (hello Asimo) and who's doing the most interesting things in UK robotics research (something involving crickets apparently). He also voices concerns about military use of robots — suggesting it won't be long before armies are sending out fully autonomous killing machines."
itwbennett writes "The 3D porn experience is coming (eventually) to a home theater near you. Most adult filmmakers are moving slowly toward 3D video because of higher production cost, the small number of 3D TVs in the home, and, of course, the glasses. Rob Smith, director of operations at Hustler Video Group says he hopes that market penetration of 3D TVs in the home is high enough that 'by the fourth quarter of this year it will be at the point where we can justify doing a 3D product.' The average adult movie costs around $25,000 to $40,000 to make, and 3D movies cost about 30% more, says Ali Joone, founder of Digital Playground. But Joone thinks the biggest hurdle for 3D isn't so much the cost as the glasses: people don't want to be encumbered by eyewear when viewing a film, says Joone."
An anonymous reader writes "During several months of 2009, Moscow police looked at fake pictures displayed on their monitors instead of what was supposed to be video from the city surveillance cams. The subcontractor providing the cams was paid on the basis of 'the number of working cams,' so he delivered pre-cooked pictures stored on his servers. The camera company CEO has been arrested."
D H NG writes "Following a sophisticated attack on Google infrastructure originating from China late last year, Google has decided to take 'a new approach' to China. In their investigation, Google found that more than 20 large companies had been infiltrated and dozens of Chinese human rights activists' Gmail accounts had been compromised. Google has decided to 'review the feasibility of [its] business operations in China,' no longer censoring results in Google.cn, and if necessary, to 'shut down Google.cn, and potentially [Google's] offices in China.'"
necro81 writes "Google consumes massive amounts of electrical energy to power its data centers across the country and world. Now it has created a subsidiary, Google Energy LLC, and applied (pdf) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to become a utility-scale energy trader. Google's stated aim is to be able to purchase renewable energy directly from producers at bulk rates, pursuing its goal of becoming carbon neutral. It is likely that Google Energy would also permit Google's own renewable energy projects to sell their energy at more favorable rates. Google reportedly does not have plans to actively become an energy broker, a la Enron."
An anonymous reader writes "Those intrigued by the 'GodMode' in Windows 7 may be interested to know that there are many other similar shortcuts hidden within the operating system — some going back to Vista or before. Steven Sinofsky, Windows division president, said several similar undocumented features provide direct access to all kinds of settings, from choosing a location to managing power settings to identifying biometric sensors." Update: 01/07 23:46 GMT by CT : Link updated to source.
RevWaldo writes "According to the Wall Street Journal, the estate of Philip K. Dick says the name of Google's new smartphone infringes on the famous character name from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Isa Dick Hackett, a daughter of Mr. Dick, states Google has its 'Android system, and now they are naming a phone "Nexus One." It's not lost on the people who are somewhat familiar with this novel... Our legal team is dealing head-on with this.'"
cweditor writes "IT job satisfaction has plummeted to a 10-year low, according to a recent survey. Another on general job satisfaction rated IT a paltry 45%. From the article: 'The CEB's latest survey found that the willingness of IT employees to "exert high levels of discretionary effort" — put in extra hours to solve a problem, make suggestions for improving processes, and generally seek to play a key role in an organization — has plummeted to its lowest levels since the survey was launched 10 years ago.'"
Barence follows up to the ongoing Black Screen of Death Saga by saying "Microsoft says reports of 'Black Screen of Death' errors aren't caused by Windows Updates, as claimed by a British security firm. The software giant claims November's Windows Updates didn't alter registry keys in the way described by Prevx, which said that the Microsoft Patches caused PCs to boot with just a black screen and a Windows Explorer window. Microsoft is now blaming the problem on malware. Prevx has issued a grovelling apology on its own blog."
An anonymous reader noted a bit from Ars saying Microsoft will be switching internal focus from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in fiscal year 2010. Microsoft's fiscal year starts in July, which is only eight months away. According to Microsoft's roadmaps, the release of Windows 8 is scheduled for 2012."
reginaldo writes to clue us that pirates in Somalia have opened up a cooperative in Haradheere, where investors can pay money or guns to help their favorite pirate crew for a share of the piracy profits. "'Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 "maritime companies" and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking,' Mohammed [a wealthy former pirate who took a Reuters reporter to the facility] said. ... Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel. 'I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation,' she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony. 'I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the "company."'"
mouthbeef writes "A source very close to the UK Labour government just called me to leak the fact that Secretary of State Lord Mandelson is trying to sneak a revision into the Digital Economy Bill that would give him and his successors the power to create future copyright law without debate. Mandelson goes on to explain that he wants this so he can create private copyright militias with investigatory and enforcement powers, and so he can create new copyright punishments as he sees fit (e.g., jail time, three strikes)."