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Submission + - A new EIA Report on Energy can help us determine our energy future. (

An anonymous reader writes: The Institute for Energy Research compares the cost of electricity from existing generation sources with the cost from new generation sources that might be constructed to replace today's older, retiring power fleet.

The first conclusion of the report is obvious – all existing power plants have lower costs compared to their most likely replacements. New plants start their life cycle with a full burden of construction debt and equity investment that they have to pay off in their first ten years or so, while existing plants have already paid most of those debts. Once power plants pay off their original debts, they have far lower fixed operating costs and are capable of supplying electricity at lower costs, often at significantly lower costs. This is especially true for hydro, where the large dams were constructed decades ago when labor and materials were much less expensive.

An article describing the report can be found here;

Submission + - Astronomers spot star on the brink of supernova (

sciencehabit writes: The first we usually know about a supernova is when a seemingly innocuous star flares up without warning to become as bright as a whole galaxy. Now, astronomers have found a star that appears to be on the brink of such a cataclysmic explosion. They spotted the star, known as M31N 2008-12a, in the nearby Andromeda galaxy in 2008 when it underwent a smaller explosion called a nova. Astronomers think the white dwarf must be on the brink of reaching a critical mass—1.4 times that of our sun—beyond which a much more powerful fusion reaction involving carbon deep in the heart of the star will be sparked. When this happens, the white dwarf will be blown apart in a matter of seconds in a flash brighter than many billions of suns.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Measuring (and Constraining) Modern Mobiles' Data Use?

An anonymous reader writes: I've carried a smart phone for several years, but for much of that time it's been (and I suspect this is true for anyone for whom money is an object) kept pretty dumb — at least for anything more data-intensive than Twitter and the occasional map checking. I've been using more of the smart features lately (Google Drive and Keep are seductive.) Since the data package can be expensive, though, and even though data is cheaper than it used to be, that means I don't check Facebook often, or upload pictures to friends by email, unless I'm in Wi-Fi zone (like home, or a coffee shop, etc). Even so, it seems I'm using more data than I realized, and I'd like to keep it under the 2GB allotment I'm paying for. I used to think half a gig was generous, but now I'm getting close to that 2GB I've paid for, most months. This makes me a little paranoid, which leads to my first question: How accurate are carriers' own internal tools for measuring use, and do you recommend any third-party apps for keeping track of data use? Ideally, I'd like a detailed breakdown by app, over time: I don't think I'm at risk for data-stealing malware on my phone (the apps I use are either built-in, or plain-vanilla ones from Google's store, like Instagram, Twitter's official client, etc.), but of course really well-crafted malware would be tough to guard against or to spot. And even if they can be defeated, more and more sites (Facebook, for one) now play video just because I've rolled over a thumbnail. Second, what tools or tips can you offer for doling out my data more carefully? Can you name some apps that actually do a good job of minimizing data transfer, or managing apps' data use to at least to look harder for a Wi-Fi connection? I know Opera Mobile uses compression to minimize data transfer, and I'm sure it's possible to turn off many of the annoying sound-bearing ads of the world. In short, what are some ways to get the most use from my limited data allotment, and be mindful about the ways I *do* spend it? This will be even more important if, as I hope, my next laptop has built-in data service. Web sites are I suspect only going to want to use more of my bandwidth in the future, even if it does get slightly cheaper. Nowadays, browsers have made it a chore even to do things like turn off images, never mind dancing, animated ads. Turning off images used to save my 56k dialup bandwidth, and the concept here is the same. (Google doesn't exactly make turning off images in Chrome friendly enough for my mom.) (I'm using an Android phone, but I'm sure there are iPhone users who'd like to know the answers to parallel question for Apple gear. I can't be the only one who finds cavalier bandwidth sucking by web pages to be a blood-pressure-raising offense, when I'm paying for each expensive byte. There are lots of places where even wired connections are expensive, but at least with a wired network connection things like Squid can be deployed.)

Comment Re:Make it DARKER dammit. (Score 1) 233

Lot of good points there, but I do have a question, because the fan that I was of TNG and TOS doesn't remember a ban on warp 9. I remember Picard and the Enterprise D travelling at greater than warp 9 on occasion (though only a few times under their own power) I know there was a 'theoritcal limit' that warp 10 was "Impossible" but then, VOY had to go and break that too....

Comment Re:Not Censorship (Score 1) 285

That's where content filters on the smartphone/smartphone browser come in. Hell, Google has a 'safesearch' feature that was designed to prevent accidentally finding porn. there's a difference between the client being protected (your crossing guard and school zone speed limit analogy) and protecting all clients who aren't invited. To stay with the car analogy, we're talking about a private racetrack in the middle of nowhere with no way to get the word out to people who might be interested but don't know it exists.

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz