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Showing posts from April, 2010

raising the prospect of an environmental disaster on the scale of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill

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Image via Wikipedia There is little hope that near-term efforts by London-based BP Plc to choke off a leaking underwater oil well will succeed, experts said on Friday, raising the prospect of an environmental disaster on the scale of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

BP, the majority owner of an undersea well leaking 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons or 955,000 liters) a day of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, is hoping two relatively quick fixes bear fruit before a pair of relief wells that could take up to three months to drill allow the company to plug the leak.
In the interim, the coastal states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida could take a battering as oil flows unhindered.
"At 5,000 barrels a day, in two months' time it's going to be a bigger spill than the Exxon Valdez," said Tyler Priest, director of global studies at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business. "You're looking at a huge disaster."
At that rate, it will take a…

Offshore credit card processing

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World wide multi-currency credit card processing
Related articles by ZemantaHigh Risk Credit Card Processing at Ecomtechnology (robbiz1978.blogspot.com)

Gulf of Mexico could force the White House to rethink plans

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Image via Wikipedia The spreading oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico could force the White House to rethink plans to increase offshore oil drilling, an essential component of a climate change bill it is working to push through Congress. President Barack Obama could change his support for the plan, administration officials said on Thursday, depending on what was found to have caused the rig blast last week off Louisiana that left 11 workers missing, presumed dead, and led to the huge slick. "Could that possibly change his viewpoint? Well, of course," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "I think our focus right now is: one, the area, the spill; and two, also to ultimately determine the cause of it and see the impact that that ultimately may or may not have." The White House sharply stepped up its response to the slick, which cast a shadow on the plan Obama proposed a month ago to encourage more offshore drilling in hopes of wooing Republicans to support a bill to ta…

Despite a trend toward going "green," most U.S. offices get low or average grades

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Image via Wikipedia Despite a trend toward going "green," most U.S. offices get low or average grades for being environmentally friendly and few use renewable energy sources, according to workers in a poll released on Thursday.

Fewer than a third of office workers said their buildings are environmentally friendly, according to the poll of 6,486 office workers conducted for IBM Corp.
Slightly more than a third cited their buildings as average in terms of being environmentally friendly, and a third gave their buildings high scores, it found.
Fourteen percent said their buildings use renewable energy sources, while 60 percent said they do not, and 26 percent did not know or were unsure, it said.
"While we're beginning to see some very good examples of green or energy efficient buildings around the world, around the country, there's still plenty of room for improvement," said Rich Lechner, IBM vice president, energy and environment.
Typically, half of the elect…

The Obama administration approved what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm

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Image via Wikipedia The Obama administration approved what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm, delivering a major symbolic victory for a fledgling industry after years of litigation and lobbying over the project.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision on Cape Wind at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. The closely held firm developing the wind farm, Cape Wind LLC, will build 130 windmills across 25 square miles of federal waters off Cape Cod.
"With this decision, we are beginning a new direction in our nation's energy future," Mr. Salazar said.
Interior Department approval of Cape Wind marks the latest—and supporters hope, the last—major political hurdle needed for the project's developers to clear before proceeding with the project.
Supporters have said the wind farm will deliver annual reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to taking 175,000 cars off the road. Opponents—including members of the Kennedy family—warn it …

Gulf of Mexico spill may hit coast this weekend

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Image via Wikipedia Gulf of Mexico spill may hit coast this weekend


Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana, in this handout photograph taken on April 21, 2010 and obtained on April 22.

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A giant oil slick from a deadly offshore drilling rig explosion could hit the fragile U.S.Gulf Coast shoreline this weekend as the White House and Congress launched separate probes into the worst offshore incident in nearly a decade.
The leaking well, 5,000 feet under the ocean surface off Louisiana's coast, has created an oil sheen and emulsified crude slick with a circumference of about 600 miles, covering about 28,600 square miles (74,070 sq. km), the Coast Guard said on Tuesday. That's slightly bigger than the U.S. state of West Virginia.
Swiss-based Transocean Ltd's Deepwater Horizon sank on April 22, two days after it exploded and caught fire while finishing a well for BP Plc about 40 miles south…

Microsoft has re-issued a patch for a vulnerability affecting Windows 2000 Server

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Image via Wikipedia Microsoft has re-issued a patch for a vulnerability affecting Windows 2000 Server after it was discovered the original fix was ineffective.


Microsoft has re-released a security update targeting a vulnerability on Windows 2000 Server.

The company pulled support for MS10-025 last week. According to Microsoft, the Windows security bulletin failed to properly fix a remote code execution issue tied to the way Windows Media Unicast Service handles specially-crafted transport information packets.


Related articles by ZemantaWindows Media Services flaw left unfixed by recent patch (arstechnica.com)MS withdraws ineffective security update (go.theregister.com)

Wal-Mart faces gender class-action case

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Image via Wikipedia Wal-Mart faces gender class-action case

Wal-Mart will face a class action claim by U.S. female workers, a U.S. court ruled. The women allege the retailer discriminated against them.
A sharply divided U.S. federal appeals court on Monday exposed Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to billions of dollars in legal damages when it ruled a massive class-action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination over pay for female workers can go to trial.
In its 6-5 ruling, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said the world's largest private employer will have to face charges that it pays women less than men for the same jobs and that female employees receive fewer promotions and have to wait longer for those promotions than male counterparts.
The retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., has fiercely fought the lawsuit since it was first filed by six women in federal court in San Francisco in 2001, losing two previous rulings in the trial court and again in the appeals court in 2007.
Wal-Mart…

Quebec school sex abuse settlement threatened

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Quebec school sex abuse settlement threatened

Bishop's College School deal would be rejected if 3 or more victims opt out
The future of the settlement between Bishop's College School and alleged sex abuse victims hinges on the number of claimants who opt out. (CBC)A compensation deal for the alleged victims of a sexual abuse scandal at Bishop's College School in Quebec's Eastern Townships is at risk of collapsing, CBC News has learned.
At least 30 former students have joined a $58-million class action lawsuit against the school, alleging they were molested by an Anglican minister who was a teacher and housemaster at the school in Lennoxville, Que., in the 1950s and 1960s.
An out of court settlement between the school and the lawyer representing some claimants is to be presented to a Quebec Superior Court judge on April 30.
But, under the terms of the settlement, the deal becomes null and void if three or more of the alleged victims opt out of the agreement.
CBC News has…

California law banning the sale and rental of violent video games to minors violated constitutional free-speech rights

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Image via Wikipedia The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it would decide whether a California law banning the sale and rental of violent video games to minors violated constitutional free-speech rights, the first time it will rule on a video game case.
The justices agreed to hear the state's appeal after a U.S. appeals court in California struck down the law, which also imposes strict video-game labeling requirements, as unconstitutional.
The high court is expected to hear arguments in the case and then issue a ruling during its upcoming term, which begins in October. It will be one of the most important cases the court has thus far decided to hear in the upcoming term.
The law has been challenged by video game publishers, distributors and sellers, including the Entertainment Software Association. Its members include Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Corp and Sony Computer Entertainment America.
In appealing to the Supreme Court, the state argued the free-spee…

Louisiana disaster is leaking 1000 barrels a day into the Gulf

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Image via Wikipedia U.S. agencies on Sunday approved a plan to use remote-controlled underwater vehicles to seal a leaking oil well beneath a drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last week. The well, 5,000 feet under the ocean surface off Louisiana's coast, is leaking about 1,000 barrels of oil a day. The spill, which the U.S. Coast Guard has called "very serious," could threaten the Gulf Coast's fragile ecosystem if not contained. Four underwater vehicles have been deployed under the plan outlined by the Coast Guard and U.S. Minerals Management Service. They will dive unmanned to the ocean floor to activate a blowout preventer, a giant series of pipes and valves that could staunch the leak. Swiss-based Transocean Ltd's Deepwater Horizon sank on Thursday, two days after it exploded and caught fire while finishing a well for BP Plc 42 miles off the Louisiana coast. Eleven workers from the rig are missing and presumed dead in what is the worst o…

Opponents of nuclear power formed a 120-km (75-mile) human chain

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Opponents of nuclear power formed a 120-km (75-mile) human chain between reactor sites in Germany Saturday to protest against government plans to extend the power plants' operation.

Around 120,000 peaceful demonstrators, according to police and organizers, linked arms in a chain running between the northern towns of Brunsbuettel and Kruemmel that passed through the city of Hamburg.
"Today will spark a countrywide chain reaction of protests and resistance if the government does not reverse its atomic policy," organizers said in a statement.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right government has said it wants to extend the lives of nuclear plants, although politicians differ over how many years to add to the plants' lives beyond 32 years. Between eight and 20 years are suggested.
The government is aiming to agree in October on a wider national energy plan, which will assign nuclear a role alongside other fuels and favored renewables.
Protesters hope to draw attent…

Well beneath sunken US rig has serious oil leak

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Image via Wikipedia Well beneath sunken US rig has serious oil leak

An oil well on the ocean floor beneath a drilling rig that exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico began spewing oil on Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The well, 5,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, was leaking about 1,000 barrels per day of oil, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said, in what the agency called a "very serious spill." Remote underwater vehicles detected oil leaking from the riser and drill pipe, the spokeswoman said.
"We are classifying this as a very serious spill and we are using all our resources to help contain it," Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Terrell said.
Transocean Ltd's Deepwater Horizon sank on Thursday after burning since Tuesday following an explosion while finishing a well for BP Plc 42 miles off the Louisiana coast. The Coast Guard on Friday suspended a search for 11 missing workers from the rig, who are presumed dead.
BP has deployed an armada of ships and air…

Syncrude spending millions to reduce toxic waste

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Image via Wikipedia Syncrude Canada Ltd, the country's largest oil sands producer, will spend hundreds of millions of dollars Building two plants to reduce toxic waste under recently tightened regulations, it said on Friday.

The plants, which will employ new technology to process tailings from oil sands production, are conditions of approvals by the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, the first under a directive issued in February 2009.
Syncrude and the ERCB said the new rules are tough, but at least one environmental group said the approvals impose weaker targets than what were spelled out in the directive.
The board approved tailings ponds -- expansive man-made lakes that hold water, leftover bitumen, clay and heavy metals from the oil sands production process -- for both Syncrude and the yet-to-be-built Fort Hills project. The nods came with several conditions.
"This is the first time we've laid down specific criteria that the companies had to meet with respect…

iPhone hacked by Android

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Image via CrunchBase Programmer David Wong posted an April 21 video on the "Linux on the iPhone" blog demonstrating how Google Android can be booted onto a first-generation iPhone. Wong suggested that Android could be ported onto all versions of Apple’s popular smartphone, a move that was greeted positively by many of the blog’s commenters. At some point this summer, Apple will release the iPhone OS 4, which will include features such as multitasking and an "iAd" mobile-application advertising platform. Lack of multitasking has been one of the traditional complaints lodged against the iPhone, and used as a selling point for smartphones running the multitasking-capable Google Android.

One enterprising programmer has accomplished something likely capable of sending a certain Cupertino, Calif.,-based CEO’s teeth on edge: run Google Android on a first-generation iPhone.
David Wong, who also operates as “planetbeing,” even posted an April 21 video on the “Linux on the iP…

launch a broad antitrust action against Google

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Consumer Watchdog April 21 asked the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a broad antitrust action against Google and suggested the government agency could break up Google into several companies as a remedy to alleged monopolistic practices. The problem with the monopoly argument is that Google doesn’t force what is roughly 65 percent of the U.S. search market to use its search service. If a court could not see fit to break up Microsoft a decade ago, how can a court break up Google, which has not been formally accused of anticompetitive practices?

News Analysis: In its most aggressive position against Google yet, Consumer Watchdog April 21 asked the U.S. Department of Justice to sue the search engine and suggested the government agency could break up Google into several companies.
Consumer Watchdog advocate John M. Simpson argued that the government must go beyond opposing Google’s attempts to grow its search and advertising businesses with services such as Google Book Search and by s…

U.S. Muslim group has issued a dire Internet "warning" to creators

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A U.S. Muslim group has issued a dire Internet "warning" to creators of the satirical animated TV show "South Park" over a depiction of the Prophet Mohammad in a bear outfit.

"We have to warn Matt (Stone) and Trey (Parker) that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show," said a posting on websiteRevolutionMuslim.com.
The website posted a graphic photo of slain Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who was killed in 2004 by an Islamic militant over a movie he made that accused Islam of condoning violence against women.
It also posted link to a news article with details of a mansion in Colorado that Parker and Stone apparently own, suggesting the Web posters know where to find the South Park creators.
The episode in question aired last week on cable channel Comedy Central of the 200th episode of "South Park", in which the Prophet Mohammad was depicted in a bear outfit.
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High Risk Credit Card Processing at Ecomtechnology

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McAfee Update Shutting Down Windows XP Computers

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Image via CrunchBase McAfee Update Shutting Down Windows XP Computers

Confirmed: a bad McAfee update for Windows XP has shut down thousands, possibly millions, of computers around the world. That's big trouble. UPDATED:
Twitter has been buzzing with the news this afternoon that McAfee updates were shutting down XP PCs, and we've heard that California sent out an email to state workers a little while ago warning them of the problem. Also apparently affected: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, over 100,000 computers serviced by a UK IT firm, and presumably countless others based on the reports that keep coming in.


Related articles by ZemantaBotched McAfee update shutting down corporate XP machines worldwide (engadget.com)McAfee Kills SVCHost.exe, Sets Off Reboot Loops For Win XP, Win 2000 (tech.slashdot.org)

Microsoft's survey reports IT spending up

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Image via CrunchBase Microsoft examining the IT spending trends of cost-conscious businesses finds virtualization and IT consolidation high on the list of priorities.

Microsoft released the results of its 2010 SMB/Partner Insight Report, which focuses on small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) and their IT spending plans for the year. In the study, based on a survey of Microsoft Small Business Specialist partners, 63 percent of respondents predicted their SMB customers will spend more on IT in 2010, up from just 25 percent in 2009, with overall SMB IT spending anticipated to rise by an average of 16 percent over 2009 levels. Results from more than 500 partners in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Brazil and India indicated SMBs view virtualization, IT consolidation, software as a service, customer relationship management (CRM) and support of remote workers as their most important technology investments.
The study indicated although SMBs remain concerned about the business climate, most will incr…