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California Fights Drought With Data and Psychology, Yielding 5% Usage Reduction 362

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we-see-you-drink-too-much-water dept.
dcblogs writes with an article about hackers using technology to mitigate the effects of drought. From the article: "California is facing its worst drought in more than 100 years, and one with no end in sight. But it is offering Silicon Valley opportunities. In one project, the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland used customized usage reports .... that [compare] a customer's water use against average use for similar sized households. It uses a form of peer pressure to change behavior. A ... year-long pilot showed a 5% reduction in water usage. The utility said the reporting system could 'go a long way' toward helping the state meet its goal of a reducing water usage by 20% per capita statewide. In other tech related activities, the organizer of a water-tech focused hackathon, Hack the Drought is hoping this effort leads to new water conserving approaches. Overall, water tech supporters are working to bring more investor attention to this market. Imagine H2O, a non-profit, holds annual water tech contests and then helps with access to venture funding. The effort is focused on 'trying to address the market failure in the water sector,' Scott Bryan, the chief operating officer of Imagine H2O."

E-Sports Gender Gap: 90+% Male 320

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-competitions-always-have-that-smell dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An e-sports production company has published the results of a survey into the demographics of the gamers who attend competition events. Even though nearly half of the gaming population is composed of women, they account for less than 10% of the players in competitions. The e-sports company, WellPlayed, said, '[A] whopping 90-94% of the viewers were male, and interestingly enough, only about half of the remaining survey takers felt comfortable being identified as female.' The results were taken from survey responses over the past year at competitions for StarCraft 2 and League of Legends. DailyDot makes the point that competitive gaming communities also tend not to be racially diverse. Quoting: 'Although no studies have been done about race in esports, it only takes one trip to a Major League Gaming event to confirm what Cannon says. With the notably racially diverse exception of the fighting-game community, Asians and white Americans make up an enormous portion of esports players and fans. Black and Middle Eastern esports fans are conspicuously missing.'"
The Almighty Buck

Oil Companies Secretly Got Paid Twice For Cleaning Up Toxic Fuel Leaks 113

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you-mean-double-profiting-from-pollution dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Mica Rosenberg reports at Reuters that major oil companies including Chevron, Exxon, ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, and Sunoco were paid twice for dealing with leaks from underground fuel storage tanks — once from government funds and again, secretly, from insurance companies. Court documents show many of the cases and settlement agreements follow a similar pattern, accusing the oil companies of 'double-dipping' by collecting both special state funds and insurance money for the same tank cleanups. Some states say any insurance payouts should have gone to them since they covered the cost of the work. 'It appears this was a really common practice and it's very disconcerting,' says Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. 'Basically the companies were defrauding the state.' Approximately 40 states and the District of Columbia have special funds to cover the costs of removing and replacing the old tanks, excavating tainted dirt and pumping out dirty groundwater. Since 1988, there have been more than half a million leaky tanks reported across the country. Nearly 80,000 spills still are waiting to be cleaned up. The lawsuits against the oil companies allege fraud or other civil, not criminal, claims, which have a lower burden of proof and do not lead to jail time. Companies are largely cooperating to forge settlement deals and were interested in partnering with the states to clean up the legacy of petroleum leaks. For example Phillips 66 paid Utah $2 million to resolve allegations that the oil company defrauded a state fund to the tune of $25 million for cleanups associated with leaking underground tanks. Phillips sued myriad insurers over coverage for contamination arising from leaking tanks around the country and Phillips 66 wound up collecting $286 million from its insurers to resolve these disputes, but it never divulged any of this to Utah officials, the suit alleged. 'When I first saw these cases, I thought this is kind of incredible,' says New Mexico assistant attorney general Seth Cohen, who handled the lawsuit for the state. 'The oil companies have, in effect, profited off polluting.'"

Should Nuclear and Renewable Energy Supporters Stop Fighting? 551

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the pixie-dust-saves-the-day dept.
Lasrick writes "A debate is happening in the pages of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that started with their publication of 'Nuclear vs. Renewables: Divided They Fall,' an article by Dawn Stover that chides nuclear energy advocates and advocates of renewable energy for bickering over the deck chairs while climate change sinks the ship, and while the fossil fuel industry reaps the rewards of the clean energy camp's refusal to work together. Many of the clean energy folks took umbrage at the description of nuclear power as 'clean energy,' so the Civil Society Institute has responded with a detailed look at exactly why they believe nuclear power will not be needed as the world transitions to clean energy."

Comment: This Isn't Difficult To Understand (Score 1) 71

The NSA doesn't need to target an advertising network; they just need to run advertisements. For more control, they could buy up or create an advertising network. At that point, you've got little recourse because you agreed to all of this at installation or during use.

The person who's taking you to lunch has no intention of paying.