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Earth

2016 Was Second Hottest Year For US In More Than 120 Years of Record Keeping (climatecentral.org) 435

Last year was the second hottest year for the United States in more than 120 years of record keeping, according to the National Climatic Data Center, marking 20 above-average years in a row. While Georgia and Alaska recorded their hottest year, every state had a temperature ranking at least in the top seven. Climate Central reports: The announcement comes a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which released the U.S. data, and NASA are expected to announce that 2016 set the record for the hottest year globally. Both the global record and the U.S. near-record are largely attributable to greenhouse gas-driven warming of the planet. In addition to the pervasive warmth over the last year, the U.S. also had to deal with 15 weather and climate disasters that each caused more than $1 billion in damage. Together, they totaled more than $46 billion in losses and included several disastrous rain-driven flooding events. These events, along with continued drought, lay bare the challenge for the country to learn how to cope with and prepare for a changing climate, said Deke Arndt, the climate monitoring chief of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. The temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average for 2016, displacing 2015 and ranking only behind 2012, when searing heat waves hit the middle of the country. More notable than the back-to-back second place years, Arndt said, was that 2016 was the 20th consecutive warmer-than-normal year for the U.S. and that the five hottest years for the country have all happened since 1998. Those streaks mirror global trends, with 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurring in the 21st century and no record cold year globally since 1911.
Power

CO2 To Ethanol In One Step With Cheap Catalyst (sciencedaily.com) 228

Reader networkBoy writes: Boffins at ORNL (Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory) have discovered a simple and cheap catalyst that can take CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) dissolved in solution with water and at room temperature convert it to ethanol with 60%+ yields. They envision it as a way to store surplus power from green energy plants and then burning it to fill in lulls in supply.From the report:The team used a catalyst made of carbon, copper and nitrogen and applied voltage to trigger a complicated chemical reaction that essentially reverses the combustion process. With the help of the nanotechnology-based catalyst which contains multiple reaction sites, the solution of carbon dioxide dissolved in water turned into ethanol with a yield of 63 percent. Typically, this type of electrochemical reaction results in a mix of several different products in small amounts. "We're taking carbon dioxide, a waste product of combustion, and we're pushing that combustion reaction backwards with very high selectivity to a useful fuel," Rondinone said. "Ethanol was a surprise -- it's extremely difficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to ethanol with a single catalyst."

Submission + - IBM Layoff Epidemic Spreads Worldwide (ieee.org)

Tekla Perry writes: Catching up on the ongoing IBM layoffs as they percolate around the world, or, at least in the higher-wage countries around the world: Watson, once thought to be immune, is seeing some disruption. IBM's Silicon Valley Lab has joined the "party". Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada--the reports have continued to come in to the Watching IBM Facebook group, as IBM remains silent.

Comment Re:Pretty cool (Score 4, Interesting) 197

When expanding highway 75, the main North/South artery that passes the downtown Dallas area around 1990, ground from an old forgotten cemetery was disturbed, and some of the construction workers were getting sick. Here is a few details of what they found. http://www.cemeteries-of-tx.co...

That this "idea" comes from Seattle should be one of your first clues that this is a bad idea.

Comment Re:fast winds (Score 1) 103

I was away from the computer when I heard about this. It is such a laughable event and yet I saw no American media coverage after minimal searching a week later. $2.8 Billion doesn't buy much anymore. I guess this seems like a good idea when you're spending someone else's money.

Comment We used cassettes for more than audio (Score 2) 169

We used cassette tapes for other purposes too... http://www.oldcomputers.net/hp... We'd save off a program to cassette for storage, and it usually worked the next time you tried to load the program. Follow the link and check out the three people in the picture, ready to get to work!

The first time I found ample access to a computer (HP 9830A desktop calculator) was at Texas A&M in '76-'77. Its hard to believe that I spent entire nights from dusk to dawn in the math building on campus, learning BASIC, including a Star Trek game. There's no telling how much thermal paper I ran through the printer.

Comment Re:FOSS and ham radio need fully open FPGAs (Score 1) 51

Dude, You need to get out more often. I want to post a stinging response, but I don't even know where to start. I work on FPGAs on a daily basis; they are powerful devices, but I have no desire to know the most subtle details. The work of 100's of engineers goes into the development of this year's best devices. Do you propose to gather and employ their combined knowledge somehow? You'd never finish a project.

Your template comparing FPGAs to the GCC compiler is flawed. There is a great economy of scale for FOSS compilers. There isn't one for FPGAs.

Nice rant, wrong topic, IMHO.

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