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The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt 374

Lucas123 writes: Distributed rooftop solar is a threat not only to fossil fuel power generation, but also to the profits of monopolistic model of utilities. While the overall amount of electrical capacity represented by distributed solar power remains miniscule for now, it's quickly becoming one of leading sources of new energy deployment. As adoption grows, fossil fuel interests and utilities are succeeding in pushing anti-net metering legislation, which places surcharges on customers who deploy rooftop solar power and sell unused power back to their utility through the power grid. Other state legislation is aimed at reducing tax credits for households or businesses installing solar or allows utilities to buy back unused power at a reduced rate, while reselling it at the full retail price.

Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science 786

Lasrick writes: Michael Mann writes about the ad hominem attacks on scientists, especially climate scientists, that have become much more frequent over the last few decades. Mann should know: his work as a postdoc on the famed "hockey stick" graph led him to be vilified by Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal. Wealthy interests such as the Scaife Foundation and Koch Industries pressured Penn State University to fire him (they didn't). Right-wing elected officials attempted to have Mann's personal records and emails (and those of other climate scientists) subpoenaed and tried to have the "hockey stick" discredited in the media, despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences reaffirmed the work, and that subsequent reports of the IPCC and the most recent peerreviewed research corroborates it.

Even worse, Mann and his family were targets of death threats. Despite (or perhaps because of) the well-funded and ubiquitous attacks, Mann believes that flat-out climate change denialism is losing favor with the public, and he lays out how and why scientists should engage and not retreat to their labs to conduct research far from the public eye. "We scientists must hold ourselves to a higher standard than the deniers-for-hire. We must be honest as we convey the threat posed by climate change to the public. But we must also be effective. The stakes are simply too great for us to fail to communicate the risks of inaction. The good news is that scientists have truth on their side, and truth will ultimately win out."

Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places? 516

An anonymous reader writes: I live in a relatively large college town that's within easy driving distance of several major metropolitan centers. In many ways, the infrastructure around here is top-notch. The major exception is the electrical grid. Lightning storm? Power outage. Heavy winds? Power outage. Lots of rain? Power outage. Some areas around town are immune to this — like around the hospital, for obvious reasons. But others seem to lose power at the drop of hat. Why is this? If it were a tiny village or in the middle of nowhere, it would make sense to me. What problems do the utility companies face that they can't keep service steady? Do you deal with a lot of outages where you live? I'm not sure if it's just an investment issue or a technological one. It hasn't gotten better in the decade I've lived here, and I can imagine it will only get worse as the infrastructure ages.

Microsoft's Windows 8 App Store Is Full of Scamware 188

Deathspawner writes Windows 8 brought a lot to the table, with one of its most major features being its app store. However, it's not a feature that Microsoft seems too intent on keeping clean. As it is today, the store is completely littered with misleading apps and outright scamware. The unfortunate thing is that to find any of it, all you have to do is simply open the store and peruse the main sections. Not so surprisingly, no Microsoft software seems to be affected by this, but many open-source apps can be found at the store from unofficial sources that have a cost, or will lead the user to download a third-party installer. It's only a matter of time before malware sneaks its way in, if it's not there already.

Least-Cost Routing Threatens Rural Phone Call Completion 205

New submitter kybred writes "Rural landline users are increasingly having problems with incoming calls not completing or being dropped. The culprit may be the bargain long distance carriers penchant for 'least cost routing' combined with the conversion of the Universal Service Fund to the Connect America Fund. From the Fine Article: 'Rural phone companies are the victim here," Steve Head says. "They charge a higher rate to terminate calls as it costs more for them. Shoreham Tel gets beat up because everyone calls them and says something is wrong with your system, but it's not. We've been through all of their lines and equipment and there is nothing wrong with it; it's the least-cost routing carriers.'"

iPad Mini Costs $24 More To Make Than Kindle Fire HD 260

sweetpea86 writes "... but retails for $130 more. Teardowns of the Apple iPad Mini and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD have revealed that the two devices cost almost the same amount to manufacture, despite the retail prices being significantly different. Andrew Rassweiler, senior principal analyst of teardown services for IHS iSuppli, explains that Apple is sticking to the premium brand strategy it has always used for its media tablet and smartphone products, whereas Amazon is banking on content."

Teardown Finds iPhone 5 Costs Apple About the Same As Did 4S 143

Nerval's Lobster writes "A physical teardown of the iPhone 5 by IHS iSuppli reveals that Apple has managed to keep its materials and manufacturing costs roughly in line with that of the iPhone 4S. The firm estimated the Bill of Materials for the iPhone 5's low-end variant at $199.00, rising to $207.00 once manufacturing costs are entered into the equation. It tallied the BOM for the 32GB version at $209.00 (or $217 with manufacturing) and the 64GB one at $230.00 (rising slightly to $238 with those manufacturing costs). Compare that to the BOM for the iPhone 4S, which IHS iSuppli estimated at $188 for the 16GB version (rising to $196 with manufacturing costs added in), $207 for the 32GB version ($215 with manufacturing) and $245 for the 64GB version ($254 with manufacturing)." Reader redkemper writes with another kind of comparison of the newest iPhone to its predecessor: "Apple didn't spend too much time talking about the iSight camera at the iPhone 5s unveil event because it's mostly the same as the one found in the iPhone 4S. Thankfully, iMore grabbed an iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S and did a fantastic shoot-out between the two device's rear cameras. [The new camera] just barely edges out the iPhone 4S's year-old camera."
Social Networks

MySpace To Sell User Data 199

OnlyJedi writes "Hot on the news of Netflix canceling its latest contest over privacy concerns, news has spread that MySpace is going in the opposite direction. Apparently, the one-time leading social network is now selling user data to third party collection firms. From the article, the data that InfoChimps has listed includes 'user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes.' InfoChimps is a reseller that deals with individuals and groups, from academic researchers to marketers and industry analysts. So if you're worried about your data on MySpace being sold off to anybody with a few hundred dollars, now's the time to delete that little-used account."

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes