Socguy writes: Woodland, North Carolina has rejected a rezoning application, effectively blocking a solar farm, after a town hall meeting where residents expressed fear that solar farms suck up all the energy from the sun and block photosynthesis. Other residents were afraid that solar farms cause cancer, while still others felt that solar farms drive away jobs and young people.
Socguy writes: Bloomburg reports wind has now crossed the threshold to become the cheapest source of energy in both the UK and Germany. Notable because this is the first time it has occurred in a G7 country. In the US, wind and Solar have started biting into the capacity factor of fossil fuel driven plants as generators opt to idle plants more often in favor of nearly free renewable energy. This is leading to changes in the lifetime profitability of those plants.
Socguy writes: Development of new engine technology could enable a plane to fly anywhere on earth in about 4 hours. This even includes space. The key development? A massive precooling system with a staggering 400 MW of cooling power enabling speeds of mach 5 "pretty easily".
Socguy writes: Apparently the claims that digital downloading is killing music and movies is overblown according to the London school of economics. In fact, there is some evidence to indicate that it actually generates more income in certain cases.
Socguy writes: New research indicates that the use of nano particles suspended in a fluid can absorb sunlight and release it into the surrounding fluid creating steam without wastefully heating the surrounding liquid.
Broad potential applications include: desalinization, distillation, sterilization and sanitation.
Socguy writes: Has Digg been compromised? Alternet is reporting massive censorship of sites like Digg, twitter, Stumbleupon and others by a group going by the name of Digg patriots. The process is simple: When a story is submitted that the group likes, they place it on a mailing list and thousands of members 'Digg' it. This means that it gains popularity and often rises to the main page where most of the viewers reside. When a story comes up that doesn't like, they, place it on a 'bury' mailing list and the membership down votes the story often to such an extent that it is removed from the upcoming section and can never make it to the main page. This group is reasonably well organized as they have gone so far as to develop their own tools to expedite this process.
Socguy writes: The Associated press is reporting that 'Apple has surpassed Microsoft as the largest technology company in the world by market capitalization.' There is only one company in the world with a higher market value: Exxon Mobil.
Socguy writes: With the announcement that a team of researchers has created the first artificial life, the Economist has been pondering the implications of what this brave new frontier means when the power to build living organisms filters through to anyone with a laptop. Traditional methods of restricting and regulating dangerous technology has more or less worked so far, but the Economist thinks that this time may be different. They are calling for an open system where the 'good guys' can see and counter any dangerous organisms that are released accidentally or otherwise.
Socguy writes: Slate Magazine discusses the studies surrounding the issue of why so many of the terrorists have engineering degrees and comes to the conclusion that engineers and engineering students are much more likely to hold strong conservative and religious views than a general cross section of the public. Further, engineers tend to hold a particular mind-set that disdains ambiguity and compromise.
Terrorist organizations have long recognized that engineering departments are fertile ground for recruitment and have concentrated there efforts there. A 2005 report from British intelligence noted that Islamic extremists were frequenting college campuses, looking for "inquisitive" students who might be susceptible to their message. In particular, the report noted, they targeted engineers.
Socguy writes: "Google plans to fix older versions of IE by swaping it's outdated rendering engine with one from their own browser. Google feels it has to do this in order to ensure the best possible user experience for the forthcoming Google Wave. When users of an older version of IE try to access Wave, they will be presented with a notice asking them to install 'Chrome Frame'. If users agree, the swap is carried out!"
Socguy writes: "Unimaginable quantities of gas are stored in the Arctic. Some of it is leaking out.
The consequence of all that seeping methane has become one of the biggest questions in climate science.
Some say there's enough carbon in underground methane — including large deposits under tundra lakes in the Mackenzie Delta and along Canada's Beaufort Sea coast — to equal the carbon from all the Earth's remaining deposits of oil, coal and natural gas combined. Last week, a World Wildlife Fund report called methane the globe's single biggest climate threat. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/bubbling-cauldrons-of-gas/article1277849/"
Socguy writes: "More than 40,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked into the open when a 15ft crack appeared in a pipe leading to a cooling pond in the Sizewell A reactor in January 2007.
This was only noticed by chance as a worker was sorting laundry in the area when it happened. Supposedly, a leak of this type should have set off alarms, however, the alarm in question appeared to be defective. Should this leak have gone unnoticed, there was a real likelihood of a full-scale meltdown.
Socguy writes: "Privately-held i4i Inc. said that several years ago it approached the world's largest software company with a breakthrough product in data processing, only to be spurned and to see its technology show up later in versions of Microsoft Word.
Douglas Cawley, a lawyer for i4i, said Wednesday that e-mails presented during the six-day trial showed that Microsoft was aware of the firm's technology and sought to make it obsolete by including it in its own word processing software.