When a utiltiy builds a nuclear power plant, they are not only funding the cost of the plant itself, they are also funding 100% of your fuel cost up front plus containment and future disposal costs. See http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html for the basis for some realistic cost estimates.
While it is cheaper for the consumer in the long run to run nuclear, there is a huge up front cost associated. Most banks will not accept the risks without an expensive reward. Governments can finance these types of needed infrastructure loans at a much better rate and reap the rewards (cheaper energy for the masses). If given the choice for the utilities to use an expensive bank loan or a cheap government loan, I am going to hope they choose cheap government loan. All of the costs of producing power are passed on to the customer in the rates paid by the customer. Utilities are regulated entities, and as such, are entitled to recoup the cost of providing service to the customer in the rate charged.
Anti virus companies admit their research teams were ill prepared for Stuxnet and are still coming up to speed on the functioning of Siemens industrial control systems and programmable logic controllers that Stuxnet infected. At the same time, the companies are searching high and low for technical talent with knowledge of the kinds of systems that run power plants, factories and industrial machinery — preparing for a future in which malicious hackers increasingly put critical infrastructure and an Internet of things in the cross hairs.
"We realize we need new knowledge, but not new skills," Symantec's Liam O' Murchu said. "Its not like Stuxnet changes how AV researchers work, but new fields of expertise are needed. This is an area we're not well equipped for."
EigenHombre writes: The New York Times reports on efforts underway to squeeze more bandwidth out of the fiber optic connections which form the backbone of the Internet. With traffic doubling every two years, the limits of current networks are getting close to saturating. The new technology from Lucent-Alcatel uses the polarization and phase of light (in addition to intensity) to double or quadruple current speeds. Which begs the question, What are we going to do in just a few more years when the backbone connections upgraded by this new technology saturate?
eldavojohn writes "Congress and the president haven't been exactly kind to NASA recently as far as funding goes but NASA chief Charles Bolden is ruffling some feathers with his planned trip to Beijing to investigate cooperative human space flight as well as potential Chinese involvement with the International Space Station. Such news has caused Congressman Frank Wolf to warn Bolden that 'no such planning or coordination has been approved by the Congress ... In fact, several recent NASA authorization bills have explicitly sought to place strict limitations on coordination with China.' Wolf is an outspoken critic of China in space and further warned Bolden in a letter that 'It should go without saying that NASA has no business cooperating with the Chinese regime on human spaceflight. China is taking an increasingly aggressive posture globally, and their interests rarely intersect with ours.'"
With space tourism becoming a real possibility in the near future, brewers are trying to figure out how to provide a good beer in space. To this end, a non-profit space research corporation Astronauts4Hire will begin testing an Australian brew created to be enjoyed in microgravity. From the article: "In the past, NASA has also sponsored studies on space beer, and whether or not the popular beverage can be brewed in space. Under current policies, however, alcohol remains forbidden on the International Space Station."
I work for a large utility holding company. Every new years and 4th of July we have transformers shot out across our system. They make pretty "sparks and arcs" while they die. Another stupid people trick is throwing chains across 2 live high voltage lines. Invariably, at least one person per year forgets to let go of the chain before it makes contact. Stupid people are everywhere. Darwin takes care of some...
from the 2-hours-until-delicious dept.
There is some bad news for McNugget lovers. Thanks to a store closure in northeastern California, you can now be as far 115 miles from a McDonald's in the contiguous United States. The new "McFarthest" spot is in northwest Nevada, replacing the previous in South Dakota by eight heart-pounding, artery-clogged miles.
An anonymous reader writes "Swedish researchers have devised a way to turn bioluminescent jellyfish into solar cells. It works like this: the green fluorescent protein (GFP) that makes the Aequorea victoria glow is simply dripped onto a silicon dioxide substrate between two electrodes. The protein works itself into strands between the electrodes. When ultraviolet light is shined on the circuit, voila, the GFP absorbs photons and emits electrons, generating a current. The GFP-powered cells work like dye-sensitized solar cells, but don't require expensive materials such as titanium dioxide."
An anonymous reader writes "Product placement to promote your brand just isn't enough any more. These days, apparently, some companies are resorting to anti-product placement in order to get competitors' products in the hands of 'anti-stars.' The key example being Snooki from Jersey Shore, who supposedly is being sent handbags by companies... but the bags being sent are of competitors' handbags as a way to avoid Snooki carrying their own handbag, and thus potentially damaging their brand."
An anonymous reader writes: In spite of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, his suspicious neighbors, Scott Adams builds himself a "green" house (as opposed to a greenhouse), and details his experience for those interested in following in his missteps.
from the my-mama-no-raise-no-dummies-I-dug-her-rap dept.
In addition to helping decipher their Lil Wayne albums, the Justice Department is seeking Ebonics experts to help monitor, translate and transcribe wire tapped conversations. The DEA wants to fill nine full time positions. From the article: "A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a 'DEA Sensitive' security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of 'telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media.'”