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Submission + - Canada to Bypass Keystone with Oil Pipeline To the Atlantic

HughPickens.com writes: Bloomberg reports that Canadians have come up with an all-Canadian route to get crude oil sands from Alberta to a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick that will give Canada’s oil-sands crude supertanker access to the same Louisiana and Texas refineries Keystone was meant to supply. The pipeline, built by Energy East, will cost $10.7 billion and could be up and running by 2018. Its 4,600-kilometer path, taking advantage of a vast length of existing and underused natural gas pipeline, would wend through six provinces and four time zones. "It would be Keystone on steroids, more than twice as long and carrying a third more crude," writes Bloomberg. "And if you’re a fed-up Canadian, like Prime Minister Stephen Harper, there’s a bonus: Obama can’t do a single thing about it." So confident is TransCanada Corp., the chief backer of both Keystone and Energy East, of success that Alex Pourbaix, the executive in charge, spoke of the cross-Canada line as virtually a done deal. “With one project,” Energy East will give Alberta’s oil sands not only an outlet to “eastern Canadian markets but to global markets,” says Pourbaix. “And we’ve done so at scale, with a 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline, which will go a long way to removing the specter of those big differentials for many years to come.”

The pipeline will also prove a blow to environmentalists who have made central to the anti-Keystone arguments the concept that if Keystone can be stopped, most of that polluting heavy crude will stay in the ground. With 168 billion proven barrels of oil, though, Canada’s oil sands represent the third-largest oil reserves in the world, and that oil is likely to find its way to shore one way or another. “It’s always been clear that denying it or slowing Keystone wasn’t going to stop the flow of Canadian oil,” says Michael Levi. What Energy East means for the Keystone XL pipeline remains to be seen. “Maybe this will be a wake up call to President Obama and U.S. policymakers to say ‘Hmmm we’re going to get shut out of not just the energy, but all those jobs that are going to go into building that pipeline. Now they are all going to go into Canada," says Aaron Task. “This is all about ‘You snooze, you lose.’”

Submission + - GMail is down 3

vhfer writes: Gmail is allowing logins but then reports:

We’re sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes. You can view the Apps Status Dashboard for the current status of the service.

Submission + - Lockeed "Skunk Works" Announces Fusion Power Demo in Five Years (fusenet.eu)

Required Snark writes:

At the recent Google “Solve for X” conference on February 7, Lockheed Martin's long-term R&D department (“Skunk Works”) announced they are working on a compact fusion reactor. With what seems a 4th generation prototype called "T4", the aerospace giant says to have developed a high beta configuration, which allows a compact reactor design and faster development timeline.

Public reactions describe the announcement of their activities on nuclear fusion remarkable, because Lockheed Martin doesn't usually make public announcements about Skunkwork projects unless they have a high degree of confidence in their chances of success. The developement timeline indicates plans to have a prototype 100-megawatt nuclear fusion machine of Lockheed Martin tested in 2017, and that a fully operational machine should be grid-ready ten years from now.

Some of the properties reported from the presentation:

  • A self-tuning feedback mechanism whereby the magnetic field increases the farther out that the plasma goes
  • Novel magnetic field configuration that has very few open field lines compared to tokamak design
  • Very "good arch curvature" of the field lines The system has a beta of about 1
  • System is working with D-T fuel

Although the presentation is short on details, Lockheed Skunk Words has a phenomenal track record, and they are putting their reputation of the line when they make this kind of announcement at a high profile Google event. A video of the presentation is here.

Submission + - Canadian scientists protest Tory's sandbagging of evidence-based policy (theglobeandmail.com)

sandbagger writes: It's no secret that Stephen Harper is a control freak. His policy of rarely allowing anyone in his government to give press conferences or make announcements is well known. This also applies to respected peer-reviewed science. Canadian scientists have chafed at being gagged and having having evidence take a back seat when forming policy that they're grabbing their slide rules and marching in protest.

Submission + - Microsoft may have some Windows Phone 8 momentum after all (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: Now armed with a phone that isn't immediately obsolete, Windows Phone 8 is picking up a little steam. It won't displace Android or Apple anytime soon, but at least the figures are headed in the right direction.

Sales of the Nokia Lumia 920 are better than expected, according to a financial analyst, and have caused him to raise his predictions for WP8 sales drastically for 2013. Ilkka Rauvola, an analyst with Danske Bank, sent a note to clients in late November predicting 36 million Windows Phone 8 smartphones will be sold in 2013, up from an earlier estimate of 23 million devices.

At the annual shareholder meeting in Seattle last week, CEO Steve Ballmer said that WP8 was selling at four times the rate of WP7 phones during the same period last year. Numbers from Gartner don't quite back that up, but they do definitely point to an upside. In Q3 of 2011, Microsoft sold 1.7 million WP7 devices. In Q3 of 2012, it sold 4 million.

Of course, context is everything. Nokia still sold more Symbian phones (4.4 million) and RIM sold twice as many phones despite being in a death spiral. Still, it helps. Every little bit helps. Nokia went from one carrier (AT&T) to three (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile). Now what they need is positive momentum, as opposed to being the last phone standing after Android and Apple kill off the competition.


Submission + - A Blood Test That Screens for Cancer (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: People usually find out that they have cancer after developing symptoms or through a screening test such as a mammogram—signs that may appear only after the cancer has grown or spread so much that it can't be cured. But what if you could find out from a simple, highly accurate blood test that you had an incipient tumor? By sequencing the abnormal DNA that a tumor releases into a person's bloodstream, researchers are now one step closer to a universal cancer test. Although the technique is now only sensitive enough to detect advanced cancers, that may be a matter of money: As sequencing costs decrease, the developers of the method say, the test could eventually pick up early tumors as well.

Submission + - Europe Accuses Google Of Monopoly Abuse (cnet.com)

bonch writes: European antitrust regulators are set to issue a 400-page statement of objections accusing Google of 'abuse of dominance' next month, the result of an investigation launched last year after complaints from rivals that Google manipulated ad pricing and barred advertisers from running ads on rival sites. If found guilty, Google could be fined up to 10% of its annual turnover, which is about $3 billion. Microsoft avoided a similar fine when it settled its European antitrust case and included a 'browser ballot' in Windows.

Submission + - Almost 50% of US smartphones Android (canalys.com) 1

Gumbercules!! writes: Android's phenomenal rise continues, with 49% of the US market and 35% of the World phone market (200% year on year growth — meaning they're now well ahead of iPhone and growing much faster, as well). How long before developers start to put more emphases on Android than iOS?

Submission + - QR Codes Come To North America (theglobeandmail.com)

iONiUM writes: Japan is currently the undisputed leader in mobile technology, and for a long time Japan has had Quick Response (QR) Codes. Today the globe and mail is reporting that QR codes are coming to North America. QR codes allow mobile users to quickly get more information from posters or billboards, as well as read business card contact information with the snap of a picture. Since this technology relies heavily on mobile browsing to deliver more information, is this going to be a push for North America to finally start getting out of the archaic cellphone age?

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall