from the petroleum-human-engineering dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that gas prices are already at record highs for the winter months — averaging $4.32 in California and $3.73 a gallon nationally. As summer approaches, demand for gasoline rises, typically pushing prices up around 20 cents a gallon. But gas prices could rise another 50 cents a gallon or more, analysts say, if the diplomatic and economic standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions escalates into military conflict or there is some other major supply disruption. 'If we get some kind of explosion — like an Israeli attack or some local Iranian revolutionary guard decides to take matters in his own hands and attacks a tanker — than we'd see oil prices push up 20 to 25 percent higher and another 50 cents a gallon at the pump,' says Michael C. Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research. A sharp rise in the prices of oil and gas would crimp the nation's budding economic recovery would cause big political problems at home for President Obama, who is already being attacked by Republican presidential candidates over gas prices and his overall energy policies. On the other hand, environmentalists see high gas prices as a helpful step toward the development of alternative energy. Secretary Treasury Steven Chu notably said in 2008 'we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe' to make Americans trade in their 'love affair with the automobile' for a marriage to mass transit. In the meantime President Obama is in a bind because any success in tightening sanctions on Iran could squeeze global oil supplies, pushing up prices and causing serious economic repercussions at home and abroad."
MrSeb writes: "Japanese researchers have created a hand-held gun that can jam the words of speakers who are more than 30 meters (100ft) away. The gun has two purposes, according to the researchers: At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking — but its second application is a lot more chilling. The researchers were looking for a way to stop 'louder, stronger' voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation. The paper reads: 'We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately interrupt other people when it is their turn in order to establish their presence rather than achieve more fruitful discussions. Furthermore, some people tend to jeer at speakers to invalidate their speech.' In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce 'proper' conversations. Can you imagine the effect of such a device if you used it at a political rally, when pointed at Santorum, Romney, Paul, or Obama? Or what if it was used on the audience by a totalitarian state?"
alphadogg writes: The little cameras in your home are multiplying. There are the ones you bought, perhaps your SLR or digital camera, but also those that just kind of show up in your current phone, your old phone, your laptop, your game console, and soon your TV and set-top box. Varun Arora, founder of startup GotoCamera in Singapore, wants you to turn them all on and let his company's algorithms analyze what they show, then sell the results as marketing data, in a sort of visual version of what Google and other firms do with search results and free email services.
This is actually very insightful, female dating behavior was based to a large part on having an abundance of potential mates to choose from, they were essentially buyers, whereas men traditionally acted as sellers trying to impress women ( I know I'm oversimplifying). Now with online dating, the market has basically evened out somewhat for men as women are openly competing for mates, thus they have become more like sellers, allowing men to start behaving somewhat more like buyers.
from the for-safe-delivery-of-your-gluteus-maximus dept.
sighted writes "This week's huge solar storm will benefit future astronauts, thanks to the rover Curiosity, now on its way to Mars. The rover is equipped with an instrument that measures the radiation exposure that could affect a human astronaut en route to the Red Planet. Scientists are just starting to pore over the data from the blast of particles. Don't worry about the poor robotic geologist, though: 'No harmful effects to the Mars Science Laboratory have been detected from this solar event,' says NASA."
derekmead writes: News broke today that January 20, 1992 was Ice Cube's Good Day. Since then, there's been talk of National Good Day Day, which all assumes that 1/20 is free. Here's a history of January 20, along with a petition to make it a national holiday.
from the sssssstrike-three! dept.
slew writes "This is a followup to this earlier story about 2 of 3 of Rambus's 'critical' patents being invalidated. Apparently now it's a hat-trick."
There's something that seems unsavory and wasteful about a business environment in which a company's stock value "fluctuates sharply on its successes and failures in patent litigation and licensing." The linked article offers a brief but decent summary of the way Rambus has profited over the years from these now-invalidated patents.
JonathansCorner.com writes: "Just posted: a 197 displayed character tweet. The tweet in question? "http://I-think-I-have-found-a-way.com to-say-more-than-140-chars.com in-a-single-tweet-SO-I-invite.com you-to-visit-my-free-online.com library-with-things-galore.com — online at JonathansCorner.com""