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How Will Amazon, Barnes & Noble Survive the iPad Mini? 354

redletterdave writes "For about a year, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble were almost completely alone in the 7-inch tablet market. It was nice while it lasted. The past few months have seen Google and Microsoft unveil their 7-inch tablet offerings — the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, respectively — and it looks like Apple is about ready to get into the mini tablet game, too. If Apple releases its first 'iPad Mini' next month, what can Amazon and Barnes & Noble do to keep the Cupertino colossus at bay, as well as the other new competitors in the 7-inch tablet game?"

Robocars As the Best Way Geeks Can Save the Planet 394

Brad Templeton writes "I (whom you may know as EFF Chairman, founder of early dot-com Clari.Net and rec.humor.funny) have just released a new series of futurist essays on the amazing future of robot cars, coming to us thanks to the DARPA Grand Challenges. The computer driver is just the beginning — the essays detail how robocars can enable the cheap electric car, save millions of lives and trillions of dollars, and are the most compelling thing computer geeks can work on to save the planet. Because robocars can refuel, park and deliver themselves, and not simply be chauffeurs, they end up changing not just cars but cities, industries, energy, and — by removing dependence on foreign oil — even wars. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords." (More below.)

Tech That Will Save Our Species - Solar Thermal Power 648

NoMoreCoal writes "Salon has up a story by Joe Romm, former undersecretary of energy during the Clinton administration, discussing a lesser-known alternative energy solution. It's a technology that (he claims) is ready to provide zero-carbon electric power big, fast, cheap and (most importantly) right now: solar thermal power. 'Improvements in manufacturing and design, along with the possibility of higher temperature operation, could easily bring the price down to 6 to 8 cents per kilowatt hour. CSP makes use of the most abundant and free fuel there is, sunlight, and key countries have a vast resource. Solar thermal plants covering the equivalent of a 92-by-92-mile square grid in the Southwest could generate electricity for the entire United States. Mexico has an equally enormous solar resource. China, India, southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Australia also have huge resources.'" Interesting stuff, even if he does mention the Archimedes Death Ray.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe