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Submission + - Legal dispute clouds future of crowd-funded solar farm

An anonymous reader writes: Having exceeded their goal of $300,000 and raised over $440,000 for a crowd-funded solar farm (, CloudSolar is locked in a legal battle with crowdfunding site Indegogo. The CloudSolar page on Indegogo has been taken down (, without explanation. In dueling emails to contributors, Indegogo cites unspecified violations of its terms-of-use, while CloudSolar insists that Indegogo thoroughly reviewed and approved their project and is now changing the rules retroactively. Apparently, the two sides are still negotiating but meanwhile CloudSolar has sued Indegogo, which remains in possession of the funds. CloudSolar had garnered extensive press coverage for their innovative financing model, wherein crowd funders would retain legal ownership of individual solar panels on the farm and receive periodic payments from the sale of the power they generate Some “Apollo”-level funders put up $9000 each for a group of 15 panels, which is now in limbo.

Submission + - President of UT Austin declines chancellor's request to resign ( 2

lfp98 writes: President Bill Powers has long been in conflict with Governor Rick Perry over the direction and goals of the University of Texas' flagship Austin campus. This week, news leaked that the Chancellor requested Powers' resignation before this Thursday's meeting of the Regents (who are all Perry appointees), under threat of being fired at that meeting if he did not resign. So far Powers has refused, while expressing an openness to leaving after the end of the current academic year []. Powers is highly regarded by UT students, faculty, alumni [] and the larger academic community, but has been criticized by Perry and other conservatives for not being sufficiently focused on providing educational services at the lowest possible cost. Powers' supporters view the forced dismissal as brazen political interference with University governance, primarily for the purpose of allowing Perry to influence the choice of a new president before he leaves office in December [].

Submission + - NIH Reverses Course, Allows Resubmission of Rejected Grants

lfp98 writes: One of the most Draconian of the recent “enhancements” to peer review at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was a provision that any proposal not funded on the first try could only be revised and resubmitted once. ( Since 2010, NIH staff have been screening incoming proposals and eliminating any judged to be merely a further revision of a previous proposal. After vociferous protests from scientists, NIH appears to have relented and scrapped the rule. Henceforth, any proposal not funded on the second try can simply be resubmitted as a new proposal. ( For scientists, this is a huge deal, but whether for good or ill is hard to say. Allowing unlimited resubmissions won't increase the number of funded grants, but will surely increase the total number of applications, so that overloaded NIH grant review panels will become even more so, and already abysmal single-digit funding rates are likely to drop even lower.

Submission + - Tesla to build its own battery-swap stations (

lfp98 writes: Just a month after the collapse of independent battery-swap company Better Place, the uniquely successful maker of luxury electric cars, Tesla, has announced it will provide its own battery-swap capability for its Model S sedans. The first stations will be built adjacent to Tesla's charging stations on the SF-to-LA route, and a swap will take no longer than filling a gas tank. From the article: "A battery pack swap will cost between $60 and $80, about the same as filling up a 15-gallon gas tank", Musk said. "Drivers who choose to swap must reclaim their original battery on their return trip or pay the difference in cost for the new pack."

Submission + - Romney garners 47% of popular vote (

lfp98 writes: According to David Wasserman's vote tracker, Gov Romney's share of the certified popular vote, which continues to trickle in, has now dipped to 47.4934%, which of course rounds down to 47%, or exactly the percentage of voters Romney had claimed would never even consider voting for him because they are too dependent on government handouts.

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