'Cloud based' means you can access the data and interact with your energy from any location. Many energy monitoring solutions available today are accessible from the local premises only. With a cloud-based system you can access it on your phone, TV, computer, etc. at any location. The most useful time for me to turn off my power is when I'm away from home and forgot to turn something off, which is a good case for the mobile phone.
stevegee58 writes "Slashdot readers may recall the case of a Maryland motorcyclist (Anthony Graber) arrested and charged with wiretapping violations (a felony) when he recorded his interaction with a Maryland State Trooper. Today, Judge Emory A. Pitt threw out the wiretapping charges against Graber, leaving only his traffic violations to be decided on his October 12 trial date. 'The judge ruled that Maryland's wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected. He ruled that a police officer on a traffic stop has no expectation of privacy.' A happy day for freedom-loving Marylanders and Americans in general."
Socguy writes "With the announcement earlier this week 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 have 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."
Hugh Pickens writes "The Raw Story reports that terrorists who want to overthrow the United States government must now register with South Carolina's Secretary of State and declare their intentions — or face a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. The 'Subversive Activities Registration Act' passed last year in South Carolina and now officially on the books states that 'every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States ... shall register with the Secretary of State.'"
lee317 writes "The FBI recently used a photograph of Spanish politician Gaspar Llamazares as an example of what Osama Bin Laden might look like today. According to Reuters, Special Agent Jason Pack said a forensic artist had been unable to find suitable features from the FBI's database of photographs and used a picture from the Internet instead. That photo turned out to be one of Llamazares, who apparently looks strikingly similar to what the FBI thinks Bin Laden would look like with a few extra years on him. 'I am stupefied the FBI has used my photo — but it could have been anyone's — to compose a picture of a terrorist. It affects my honor, my own image and also the security of all us,' Llamazares said."
megamerican writes "President Barack Obama's appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated in a recent paper the 'cognitive infiltration' of groups that advocate 'conspiracy theories' like the ones surrounding 9/11 via 'chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine' those groups. Sunstein admits that 'some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true' Sunstein has also recently advocated banning websites which post 'right-wing rumors' and bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. You can find a PDF of his paper here. For decades (1956-1971), the FBI under COINTELPRO focused on disrupting, marginalizing and neutralizing political dissidents, most notably the Black Panthers. More recently CENTCOM announced it would be engaging bloggers 'who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information.' In January 2009 the USAF released a flow-chart for 'counter-bloggers' to 'counter the people out there in the blogosphere who have negative opinions about the US government and the Air Force.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Thanks to a computer glitch and bad diagnosis coding, the VA sent a letter to thousands of veterans telling them they have Lou Gehrig's Disease. Some were right, but many were mistakes. From the article, 'Recently, the VA determined ALS to be a service-connected disability and generated automatic letters to all veterans whose records included the code for the disease. However, since the coding contained both ALS and undiagnosed neurological disorders, some of those letters were erroneous.'"
Mr_Blank writes to mention that the United States' largest business lobby is pushing for a public trial to examine the evidence of global warming and have a judge make a ruling on whether human beings are warming the planet to dangerous effect. "The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court. The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a 'waste of time' and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be 'frivolous.' [...] Environmentalists say the chamber's strategy is an attempt to sow political discord by challenging settled science — and note that in the famed 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a courtroom battle over a Tennessee science teacher accused of teaching evolution illegally, the scientists won in the end."
With all of the recent focus on technology and the promises to continue "getting stuff done" by the US government, Techdirt's Masnick suggests that they might just be the most interesting tech startup to watch this year. "But, of course, talk is cheap (especially in politics). And, while Chopra (and Vivek Kundra, the government's CIO) both actually have a nice track record of accomplishing these sorts of goals in their past jobs, the proof is in what's actually getting done. We'd already mentioned at least one success story with the IT dashboard at USASpending.gov, but can it continue? I have to admit, a second thing that impressed me about Chopra was that, even with such a success, he didn't focus on it. The fact that he got together such a site in such a short period of time is impressive enough, and while he mentioned it in his talks, most of them were much more focused not on what he'd already done, but on what he was going to do — and the plans all seemed quite achievable.
mmmscience writes "Scientists have found that up to 90% of US paper money has some cocaine contamination, up from the 67% mark measured two years ago. Looking at bills from 17 cities, it's no surprise that the city with the highest level was Washington DC, where up to 95% of bills gathered there tested positive. From a global standpoint, both Canada and Brazil tested rather high (85% and 80%, respectively), but China and Japan were well behind the curve at 20% and 12%. The researchers hope that studies such as these will be of help to law enforcement agencies that are attempting to understand the growth and flow of drug use in communities."
Reservoir Hill writes "The NY Times has an article investigating why, unlike the articles on Wikipedia which in theory are improved, fact checked, footnoted, and generally enhanced over time, the photos that go with Wikipedia articles are so bad and in many cases there is no photo at all for even well known public figures. Few high-quality photographs, particularly of celebrities, make it onto on Wikipedia because Wikipedia runs only pictures with the most permissive Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use an image, for commercial purposes or not, as long as the photographer is credited. 'Representatives or publicists will contact us' horrified at the photographs on the site, says Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation. 'They will say: "I have this image. I want you to use this image." But it is not as simple as uploading a picture that is e-mailed to us.' Recent photographs on Wikipedia are almost exclusively the work of amateurs who don't mind giving away their work. 'Amateur may be too kind a word; their photos tend to be the work of fans who happen to have a camera,' opines the Times's author. Ultimately the issue for professional photographers who might want to donate their work is copyright. 'To me the problem is the Wikipedia rule of public use,' says Jerry Avenaim, a celebrity photographer. 'If they truly wanted to elevate the image on the site, they should allow photographers to maintain the copyright.'"
angry tapir writes "A botnet composed of about 50,000 infected computers has been waging a war against US government Web sites and causing headaches for businesses in the US and South Korea. The attack started Saturday, and security experts have credited it with knocking the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) web site offline for parts of Monday and Tuesday. Several other government Web sites have also been targeted, including the Department of Transportation."
lee1 writes "A law in the US that is due to take effect in 2012 mandates such tough efficiency standards for lightbulbs that it has been assumed, until recently, that it would kill off the incandescent bulb. Instead, the law has become a case study of the way government regulation can inspire technical innovation. For example, new incandescent technology from Philips that seals the traditional filament inside a small capsule (which itself is contained within the familiar bulb). The capsule has a coating that reflects heat back to the filament, where it is partially converted to light. The sophisticated ($5.00) bulbs are about 30% more efficient than the old-fashioned ($0.25) kind, and should last about three times as long. So they are less economical than compact fluorescents, but should emit a more pleasing spectrum, not contain mercury, and, one supposes, present the utility company with a more desirable power factor."
motherpusbucket writes "The Telegraph reports that Japanese scientists hope to be breeding a so-called 'Super Tuna' within the next decade or so. They have about 60% of the genome mapped and expect to finish it in the next couple months. The new breed will grow faster, taste good, have resistance to disease and will totally kick your ass if you cross them."
destinyland writes "Christine Peterson coined the term 'open source.' Now she's proposing the same collaborative sharing approach to sensing technology 'to improve both security and the environment, while preserving — even strengthening — privacy, freedom, and civil liberties...' The Open Source Sensing initiative welcomes individuals and organizations, and warns that 'We have a short window of opportunity for guiding this technology to protect both our security *and* our privacy.' Peterson says that in the long term, 'open source defensive technologies will likely be the only ones capable of keeping up with rapidly-advancing offensive technologies, just as open source software is faster at addressing computer viruses today.' And the EFF's Brad Templeton warns that 'Cheap, ubiquitous sensing has the potential to turn the worlds of privacy and civil rights upside-down... It's not enough for governments to watch people; people have to watch governments.' His solution? 'Learning from the bottom-up approaches of the open source community.'