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Lawmakers Out To Kill the Corn-Based Ethanol Mandate 314

mdsolar tips this report: "Teams of lawmakers are working hard on bills to cut corn-based ethanol out of the country's biofuel mandate entirely, according to National Journal. It's the latest twist in America's fraught relationship with biofuels, which started in 2005 when Congress first mandated that a certain amount of biofuel be mixed into the country's fuel supply. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was then expanded in 2007, with separate requirements for standard biofuel on the one hand and cellulosic and advanced biofuels on the other. The latter are produced from non-food products like cornstalks, agricultural waste, and timber industry cuttings. The RFS originally called for 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, 250 million in 2011, and 500 million in 2012. Instead, the cellulosic industry failed to get off the ground. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was forced to revise the mandate down to 6.5 million in 2010, and all the way down to zero in 2012. The cellulosic mandate has started to slowly creep back up, and 2014 may be the year when domestic production of cellulosic ethanol finally takes off. But then last month EPA did something else for the first time: it cut down the 2014 mandate for standard biofuel, produced mainly from corn. And now Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have teamed up on legislation that would eliminate the standard biofuel mandate entirely."

Collision Between Water and Energy Is Underway, and Worsening 189

An anonymous reader writes "This article is an eye opening perspective on another side effect of power generation — water usage: 'More than 40 percent of fresh water used in the United States is withdrawn to cool power plants. Renewable energy generally uses far less water, but there are glaring exceptions, such as geothermal and concentrating solar.' The article also mentions that power plants have to shut down if the incoming water is too warm to cool the plant. 'Also, even though some newer plants might use far less water, they could find that there’s far less water available as water temperatures go up and water flows go down. Another study found that nearly half of 423 U.S. plants were at risk of lower power output during droughts because their intake pipes for water were less than 3 meters below the surface.'"

Chinese Couple Sells Kids To Fund Online Gaming Screenshot-sm 223

A Chinese couple who really like to game are under arrest for selling their kids and converting the money into game currency. From the article: "In 2009, Li Lin and Li Juan welcomed their second child, a baby girl, and came up with the idea to sell her for money to fund their online game obsession. They did so, receiving RMB 3,000 (less than $500), which they spent entirely shortly after. The couple then proceeded to sell their first child and got 10 times as much for him -- RMB 30,000, or about $4600. Upon having their third child -- another boy -- the parents followed in their previous footsteps and also got RMB 30,000 for him." I wonder what the "kid seller" achievement looks like?

Space Station To Be Deorbited After 2020 572

astroengine writes "Russia and its partners plan to plunge the International Space Station (ISS) into the ocean at the end of its life cycle after 2020 so as not to leave space junk, the space agency said on Wednesday. 'After it completes its existence, we will be forced to sink the ISS. It cannot be left in orbit, it's too complex, too heavy an object, it can leave behind lots of rubbish,' said deputy head of Roskosmos space agency Vitaly Davydov."

30 Creative 404 Error Pages Screenshot-sm 166

An anonymous reader writes "It's frustrating when you explore the web and encounter the famous message: 404 Error – Page Not Found. What could make it a little better is a customized 404 message. Here are some really good ones that should inspire other web designers."

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.