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Submission + - Texas Sets New All-Time Wind Energy Record (scientificamerican.com)

An anonymous reader writes: On December 20, a low-pressure weather system crossed through the Texas panhandle and created sustained wind speeds of 20 to 30 mph. The burst of wind propelled Texas to surpass its all-time record for wind energy production, with wind providing 45 percent of the state’s total electricity needs — or 13.9 gigawatts of electric power — at its peak.

The so-called “Competitive Renewable Energy Zones” (CREZ) wind energy transmission project is one of the key reasons Texas calls itself the national leader in wind energy today, with over double the wind generation capacity of any other state. This is a triumph of the public/private partnership.

Submission + - Your Computer can sound like a Real Human (bloomberg.com)

sycodon writes: Google’s DeepMind unit, which is working to develop super-intelligent computers, has created a system for machine-generated speech that it says outperforms existing technology by 50 percent.

"...an artificial intelligence called WaveNet that can mimic human speech by learning how to form the individual sound waves a human voice creates..."

Which brings up a question. When computers are able to create human sounding voices, and maybe even reproduce actual human voice prints, should they, by law, be forced to include a specific "flaw" so that the listener will know it is a computer generated voice?

Submission + - No Cell Phones, Wi-Fi Allowed In Small W.Va. Town (cbslocal.com)

sycodon writes: Would you believe there’s a place where no one can use a cell phone? Where Wi-Fi is not allowed? Where even finding a radio station can be a difficult task?

No, it's not a case of a bunch of loonies allergic to cell towers, radio, TV or WiFi signals.

It's the home to the largest movable radio telescope in the world, the National Radio Observatory, located in the National Radio Quiet Zone.

Submission + - South Australia intervenes in electricity market as prices hit $14,000MWh 1

sycodon writes: Turmoil in South Australia's heavily wind-reliant electricity market has forced the state government to plead with the owner of a mothballed gas-fired power station to turn it back on.

"National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000MWh maximum price."

As soon as the page loads, click cancel or it will take you to a subscription page.

Submission + - SPAM: Nanowre Battery Breakthrough

sycodon writes: Researchers at the University of California Irvine (UCI) have found a way to protect and extend the life of nanowire based batteries.

The Nerd take:
"We demonstrate reversible cycle stability for up to 200000 cycles with 94–96% average Coulombic efficiency for symmetrical -MnO2 nanowire capacitors operating across a 1.2 V voltage window in a poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) gel electrolyte."

When researchers applied a plexiglass-like gel to gold nanowires in a manganese dioxiode shell, it increased that number to over 200,000 and the battery didn’t lose any of its power or storage capacity over a period of three months.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Climate accord 'irrelevant,' and CO2 cuts could impoverish the world (cnbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In peer-reviewed research, M.J. Kelly, a University of Cambridge engineering professor, argued carbon dioxide should be considered the byproduct of the "immense benefits" of a technologically advanced society. Cutting carbon, he added, could result in a dramatic reduction in the world's quality of life that would usher in mass starvation, poverty and civil strife. Massive decarbonization is "only possible if we wish to see large parts of the population die from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society."

The International Energy Agency estimated that in order to decarbonize the power sector within the next 40 years, the world would have to invest at least $9 trillion — and an additional $6.4 trillion to make other industries more environmentally friendly.

Submission + - Green Goblin Flyer Realized

sycodon writes: It may not be green and William Defoe isn't riding it, but a functional device that mostly fulfills the depiction of the Green Goblin Flyer has been realized.

- Autonomous flight up to 10,000 feet
- Top speed of 150km/h (93,2 mph)
- 10 min autonomy

All joking aside, something like this would be incredible useful for search and rescue and in natural disaster situations.

Submission + - Google Tries to Become World Power Broker

sycodon writes: It was revealed Saturday that Google, in 2012, sought to help insurgents overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to State Department emails receiving fresh scrutiny this week.

But, in a case of What Could Possibly Go Wrong, some suggest that the effort to overthrow Assad helped spur the rise of the Islamic State, which eventually filled the vacuum resulting from Assad's loss of control over of Syria.

Submission + - Return of the Pause

An anonymous reader writes: The Pause, which was supposedly put down by NOAA recently, has come back to life through a study done by Canadian Center for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, British Columbia

"In this new paper, the authors show there is a "mismatch between what the climate models are producing and what the observations are showing," says lead author John Fyfe,"

Submission + - Australia Cuts 110 Climate Scientist Jobs

An anonymous reader writes: With an ax rather than a scalpel, Australia’s federal science agency last week chopped off its climate research arm in a decision that has stunned scientists and left employees dispirited.

Why? Because the science is settled there is no need for more basic research, the government says

No doubt many will experience a case of schadenfreude as they see those who have long claimed the Science is Settled face the inevitable and logical consequence of that stance.

Submission + - Artifical Gravity (upi.com)

sycodon writes: André Füzfa, a math professor at Namur University in Belgium, wants researchers to take a more aggressive approach toward the study of gravity.

In a new paper, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review D, Füzfa calls for scientists to use magnetic fields to make, measure, manipulate and use gravitational fields — both for scientific study and technological innovation.

Submission + - Time to Put Up or Shut Up (informath.org)

An anonymous reader writes: OK all you Slashdot Global Warming fans, here is your chance to win $100,000! "A UK-based math buff and former investment analyst named Douglas Keenan has posted an intriguing comment on the internet. He takes the view that global temperature series are dominated by randomness and contain no trend, and that existing analyses supposedly showing a significant trend are wrong. " ...the prize will be awarded to anyone who can demonstrate, via statistical analysis, that the increase in global temperatures is probably not due to random natural variation. So, Check it out and get yer One Hundred Large! It should be easy! Right??

Submission + - Yale: Fracking Safe (pnas.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Organic compounds found in drinking water aquifers above the Marcellus Shale and other shale plays could reflect natural geologic transport processes or contamination from anthropogenic activities, including enhanced natural gas production.

The data support a transport mechanism of DRO to groundwater via accidental release of fracturing fluid chemicals derived from the surface rather than subsurface flow of these fluids from the underlying shale formation.

Analyses of purgeable and extractable organic compounds from 64 groundwater samples revealed trace levels of volatile organic compounds, well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant levels, and low levels of both gasoline range (0–8 ppb) and diesel range organic compounds (DRO; 0–157 ppb).

Short Story: First, chemicals come from surface operations and are not migrating from injection zones. Second, levels are well below EPA maximum standards.

Submission + - Scientists Ask Obama To Prosecute Global Warming Skeptics Photo of Michael Basta

An anonymous reader writes: Twenty climate scientists are asking President Barack Obama to prosecute people who disagree with them on the science behind man-made global warming.

Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

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