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Power

US House May Pass "Cap & Trade" Bill 874

jamie found this roundup on the status of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, which is about to be voted on by the US House of Representatives. (The article notes that if the majority Democrats can't see the 218 votes needed for passage, they will probably put off the vote.) The AP has put together a FAQ that says, "[The bill, if passed,] fundamentally will change how we use, produce and consume energy, ending the country's love affair with big gas-guzzling cars and its insatiable appetite for cheap electricity. This bill will put smaller, more efficient cars on the road, swap smokestacks for windmills and solar panels, and transform the appliances you can buy for your home." The odds-makers are giving the bill a marginal chance of passing in the House, with tougher going expected in the Senate.
Transportation

US To Require That New Cars Get 42 MPG By 2016 1186

Hugh Pickens writes "New cars and trucks will have to get 30 percent better mileage starting in 2016 under an Obama administration move to curb emissions tied to smog and global warming. While the 30 percent increase would be an average for both cars and light trucks, the percentage increase in cars would be much greater, rising from the current 27.5 mpg standard to 42 mpg. Environmentalists praised the move. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, called it 'one of the most significant efforts undertaken by any president, ever, to end our addiction to oil and seriously slash our global warming emissions.' Obama's plan also would effectively end litigation between states and automakers that had opposed state-specific rules, arguing that having to meet several state standards would be much more expensive for them than just one federal rule. The Detroit News reported that automakers were on board with the new rule and had worked with the administration on creating a timeline for the transition." There's a case to be made that raising the CAFE won't save oil or reduce greenhouse gases.
Patents

Copyright and Patent Laws Hurt the Economy 597

Norsefire writes "Two economists at Washington University in St. Louis are claiming that copyright and patent laws are 'killing innovation' and 'hurting [the] economy.' Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine state they would like to see copyright law abolished completely as there are other protections available to the creators of 'intellectual property' (a term they describe as 'propaganda,' and of recent origin). They are calling on Congress to grant patents only where an invention has social value, where the patent would not stifle innovation, and where the absence of a patent would damage cost-effectiveness."
Privacy

Should Job Seekers Tell Employers To Quit Snooping? 681

onehitwonder writes in with a CIO opinion piece arguing that potential employees need to stand up to employers who snoop the Web for insights into their after-work activities, often disqualifying them as a result. "Employers are increasingly trolling the web for information about prospective employees that they can use in their hiring decisions. Consequently, career experts advise job seekers to not post any photos, opinions or information on blogs and social networking websites (like Slashdot) that a potential employer might find remotely off-putting. Instead of cautioning job seekers to censor their activity online, we job seekers and defenders of our civil liberties should tell employers to stop snooping and to stop judging our behavior outside of work, writes CIO.com Senior Online Editor Meridith Levinson. By basing professional hiring decisions on candidates' personal lives and beliefs, employers are effectively legislating people's behavior, and they're creating an online environment where people can't express their true beliefs, state their unvarnished opinions, be themselves, and that runs contrary to the free, communal ethos of the Web. Employers that exploit the Web to snoop into and judge people's personal lives infringe on everyone's privacy, and their actions verge on discrimination."
The Internet

We're In Danger of Losing Our Memories 398

Hugh Pickens writes "The chief executive of the British Library, Lynne Brindley, says that our cultural heritage is at risk as the Internet evolves and technologies become obsolete, and that historians and citizens face a 'black hole' in the knowledge base of the 21st century unless urgent action is taken to preserve websites and other digital records. For example, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as US president last week, all traces of George W. Bush disappeared from the White House website. There were more than 150 websites relating to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney that vanished instantly at the end of the games and are now stored only by the National Library of Australia. 'If websites continue to disappear in the same way as those on President Bush and the Sydney Olympics... the memory of the nation disappears too,' says Brindley. The library plans to create a comprehensive archive of material from the 8M .uk domain websites, and also is organizing a collecting and archiving project for the London 2012 Olympics. 'The task of capturing our online intellectual heritage and preserving it for the long term falls, quite rightly, to the same libraries and archives that have over centuries systematically collected books, periodicals, newspapers, and recordings...'" Over the years we've discussed various aspects of this archiving problem.
IBM

Campaign to Open Source IBM's Notes/Domino 255

Ian Tree, an IT consultant from the Netherlands, has started a campaign to convince IBM to open source the code for Notes/Domino. Hoping for results similar to the push for Sun to open source Solaris, which finally saw success in 2005, Tree makes the simple point that it won't happen until someone asks. "By being an open source product, Tree is also hoping that Domino becomes something schools use to teach groupware and application development concepts, which is the holy grail for future market adoption. This is how various Unixes, relational databases, Linux, and a raft of other products eventually became commercialized. While the idea of open sourcing any proprietary program is appealing, in as much as it sets a program free to live beyond the commitment (or lack thereof) of its originator, it is hard to see why open Notes/Domino would have any more impact than OpenSolaris."
Games

Breaking Into Games Writing? 254

An anonymous reader writes "One of the biggest complaints I hear from 'discerning' gamers is how few and far between well-written games are. Titles like Mass Effect and the Black Isle series just appear far too rarely. Writing and storyboarding are aspects of the industry that have always appealed to me — I'm an enthusiastic hobby gamer with a real passion for well-developed games. But there's very little guidance out there on getting exposure as a writer in this world. I'm interested in working in the field, freelance/part time initially as I break in, then with an eye to professional employ after a time. My questions to you are: How can I get involved in writing for the game industry? Are there any game startups out there with good design but weak story that could use writing help from a college graduate? How do the big guys get people to write for them — am I just going to the wrong booths at the job fairs? What kind of degrees or relevant experience in the field are they looking for? Should I just put on my Planescape t-shirt and stand outside in the rain?"

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