Saturday, December 31, 2011

Italy fines Apple

Italy's anti-trust body has fined units of U.S. technology group Apple Inc a total of 900,000 euros for failing to adequately inform customers about their rights to product guarantees and assistance.
The authority said Apple Sales International, Apple Italia and Apple Retail Italia did not properly inform customers that they were entitled to two years of free assistance under Italian law. Three Apple spokesmen contacted by Reuters weren't immediately available for comment.

Information provided about an extra guarantee scheme, the "AppleCare Protection Plan," encouraged customers to buy the service without clearly explaining that it overlapped with the free assistance required by law, the competition authority said.
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Steps for going green in 2012

12 Simple Steps for Going Green in 2012

As we ring in the new year, here are twelve steps that we can all take to reduce our impact on the environment

Washington, D.C.----As we head into 2012, many of us will be resolving to lose those few extra pounds, save more money, or spend a few more hours with our families and friends. But there are also some resolutions we can make to make our lives a little greener. Each of us, especially in the United States, can make a commitment to reducing our environmental impacts.

"The global community, and particularly people living in industrialized societies, have put unsustainable demands on our planet's limited resources," says Robert Engelman, President of the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental research organization based on Washington, D.C. "If we expect to be able to feed, shelter, and provide even basic living conditions to our growing population in years to come, we must act now to change."

The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Broadening access to sustainable energy is essential to solving many of the world's challenges, including food production, security, and poverty. "With so many hungry and poor in the world, addressing these issues is critical," says Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch's Nourishing the Planet project. "Fortunately, the solutions to these problems can come from simple innovations and practices."

The Nourishing the Planet team recently traveled to 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and will be soon traveling to Latin America, to research and highlight such solutions. The project shines a spotlight on innovations in agriculture that can help alleviate hunger and poverty while also protecting the environment. These innovations are elaborated in Worldwatch's flagship annual report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet.

Hunger, poverty, and climate change are issues that we can all help address. Here are 12 simple steps to go green in 2012:

(1) Recycle

Recycling programs exist in cities and towns across the United States, helping to save energy and protect the environment. In 2009, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require all homes and businesses to use recycling and composting collection programs. As a result, more than 75 percent of all material collected is being recycled, diverting 1.6 million tons from the landfills annually----double the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for each pound of aluminum recovered, Americans save the energy resources necessary to generate roughly 7.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity----enough to power a city the size of Pittsburgh for six years!

What you can do:
  • Put a separate container next to your trash can or printer, making it easier to recycle your bottles, cans, and paper.
(2) Turn off the lights

On the last Saturday in March----March 31 in 2012----hundreds of people, businesses, and governments around the world turn off their lights for an hour as part of Earth Hour, a movement to address climate change.

What you can do: 
  • Earth Hour happens only once a year, but you can make an impact every day by turning off lights during bright daylight, or whenever you will be away for an extended period of time.
(3) Make the switch

In 2007, Australia became the first country to "ban the bulb," drastically reducing domestic usage of incandescent light bulbs. By late 2010, incandescent bulbs had been totally phased out, and, according to the country's environment minister, this simple move has made a big difference, cutting an estimated 4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. China also recently pledged to replace the 1 billion incandescent bulbs used in its government offices with more energy efficient models within five years.

What you can do:
  • A bill in Congress to eliminate incandescent in the United States failed in 2011, but you can still make the switch at home. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use only 20-30 percent of the energy required by incandescents to create the same amount of light, and LEDs use only 10 percent, helping reduce both electric bills and carbon emissions.
(4) Turn on the tap

The bottled water industry sold 8.8 billion gallons of water in 2010, generating nearly $11 billion in profits. Yet plastic water bottles create huge environmental problems. The energy required to produce and transport these bottles could fuel an estimated 1.5 million cars for a year, yet approximately 75 percent of water bottles are not recycled----they end up in landfills, litter roadsides, and pollute waterways and oceans. And while public tap water is subject to strict safety regulations, the bottled water industry is not required to report testing results for its products. According to a study, 10 of the most popular brands of bottled water contain a wide range of pollutants, including pharmaceuticals, fertilizer residue, and arsenic.  

What you can do:
  • Fill up your glasses and reusable water bottles with water from the sink. The United States has more than 160,000 public water systems, and by eliminating bottled water you can help to keep nearly 1 million tons of bottles out of the landfill, as well as save money on water costs.
(5) Turn down the heat

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that consumers can save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills just by adjusting their thermostats. Turning down the heat by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours can result in savings of 5-15 percent on your home heating bill.

What you can do:
  • Turn down your thermostat when you leave for work, or use a programmable thermostat to control your heating settings.
(6) Support food recovery programs

Each year, roughly a third of all food produced for human consumption----approximately 1.3 billion tons----gets lost or wasted, including 34 million tons in the United States, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Grocery stores, bakeries, and other food providers throw away tons of food daily that is perfectly edible but is cosmetically imperfect or has passed its expiration date. In response, food recovery programs run by homeless shelters or food banks collect this food and use it to provide meals for the hungry, helping to divert food away from landfills and into the bellies of people who need it most.

What you can do:
  • Encourage your local restaurants and grocery stores to partner with food rescue organizations, like City Harvest in New York City or Second Harvest Heartland in Minnesota.
  • Go through your cabinets and shelves and donate any non-perishable canned and dried foods that you won't be using to your nearest food bank or shelter.
(7) Buy local

"Small Business Saturday," falling between "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday," was established in 2010 as a way to support small businesses during the busiest shopping time of the year. Author and consumer advocate Michael Shuman argues that local small businesses are more sustainable because they are often more accountable for their actions, have smaller environmental footprints, and innovate to meet local conditions----providing models for others to learn from.

What you can do:
  • Instead of relying exclusively on large supermarkets, consider farmers markets and local farms for your produce, eggs, dairy, and meat. Food from these sources is usually fresher and more flavorful, and your money will be going directly to these food producers.
(8) Get out and ride

We all know that carpooling and using public transportation helps cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as our gas bills. Now, cities across the country are investing in new mobility options that provide exercise and offer an alternative to being cramped in subways or buses. Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. have major bike sharing programs that allow people to rent bikes for short-term use. Similar programs exist in other cities, and more are planned for places from Miami, Florida, to Madison, Wisconsin.

What you can do:
  • If available, use your city's bike share program to run short errands or commute to work. Memberships are generally inexpensive (only $75 for the year in Washington, D.C.), and by eliminating transportation costs, as well as a gym membership, you can save quite a bit of money!
  • Even if without bike share programs, many cities and towns are incorporating bike lanes and trails, making it easier and safer to use your bike for transportation and recreation.
(9) Share a car

Car sharing programs spread from Europe to the United States nearly 13 years ago and are increasingly popular, with U.S. membership jumping 117 percent between 2007 and 2009. According to the University of California Transportation Center, each shared car replaces 15 personally owned vehicles, and roughly 80 percent of more than 6,000 car-sharing households surveyed across North America got rid of their cars after joining a sharing service. In 2009, car-sharing was credited with reducing U.S. carbon emissions by more than 482,000 tons. Innovative programs such as Chicago's I-GO are even introducing solar-powered cars to their fleets, making the impact of these programs even more eco-friendly.

What you can do:
  • Join a car share program! As of July 2011, there were 26 such programs in the U.S., with more than 560,000 people sharing over 10,000 vehicles. Even if you don't want to get rid of your own car, using a shared car when traveling in a city can greatly reduce the challenges of finding parking (car share programs have their own designated spots), as well as your environmental impact as you run errands or commute to work.
(10) Plant a garden

Whether you live in a studio loft or a suburban McMansion, growing your own vegetables is a simple way to bring fresh and nutritious food literally to your doorstep. Researchers at the FAO and the United Nations Development Programme estimate that 200 million city dwellers around the world are already growing and selling their own food, feeding some 800 million of their neighbors. Growing a garden doesn't have to take up a lot of space, and in light of high food prices and recent food safety scares, even a small plot can make a big impact on your diet and wallet.

What you can do:
  • Plant some lettuce in a window box. Lettuce seeds are cheap and easy to find, and when planted in full sun, one window box can provide enough to make several salads worth throughout a season.
(11) Compost

And what better way to fertilize your garden than using your own composted organic waste. You will not only reduce costs by buying less fertilizer, but you will also help to cut down on food and other organic waste.

What you can do:
  • If you are unsure about the right ways to compost, websites such as and organizations such as the U.S. Composting Council, provide easy steps to reuse your organic waste.
(12) Reduce your meat consumption

Livestock production accounts for about 18 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for about 23 percent of all global water used in agriculture. Yet global meat production has experienced a 20 percent growth rate since 2000 to meet the per capita increase of meat consumption of about 42 kilograms.

What you can do:
  • You don't have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but by simply cutting down on the amount of meat you consume can go a long way. Consider substituting one meal day with a vegetarian option. And if you are unable to think of how to substitute your meat-heavy diet, websites such as Meatless Monday and Eating Well offer numerous vegetarian recipes that are healthy for you and the environment.
The most successful and lasting New Year's resolutions are those that are practiced regularly and have an important goal. Watching the ball drop in Times Square happens only once a year, but for more and more people across the world, the impacts of hunger, poverty, and climate change are felt every day. Thankfully, simple practices, such as recycling or riding a bike, can have great impact. As we prepare to ring in the new year, let's all resolve to make 2012 a healthier, happier, and greener year for all.


Notes to Journalists: For more information, please contact Supriya Kumar at

About the Worldwatch Institute:
Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute's State of the World report is published annually in more than 20 languages. For more information, visit

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Internet Poker coming back

The Obama administration cleared the way for U.S. states to legalize Internet poker and certain other online betting in a switch that may help them reap billions in tax revenue and spur web-based gambling.
A Justice Department opinion dated September and made public on Friday reversed decades of previous policy that included civil and criminal charges against operators of some of the most popular online poker sites.
Until now, the department held that online gambling in all forms was illegal under the Wire Act of 1961, which bars wagers via telecommunications that cross state lines or international borders.
The new interpretation, by the department's Office of Legal Counsel, said the Wire Act applies only to bets on a "sporting event or contest," not to a state's use of the Internet to sell lottery tickets to adults within its borders or abroad.
"The United States Department of Justice has given the online gaming community a big, big present," said I. Nelson Rose, a gaming law expert at Whittier Law School who consults for governments and the industry.
The question at issue was whether proposals by Illinois and New York to use the Internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state adults violated the Wire Act.
But the department's conclusion would eliminate "almost every federal anti-gambling law that could apply to gaming that is legal under state laws," Rose wrote on his blog at
If a state legalized intra-state games such as poker, as Nevada and the District of Columbia have done, "there is simply no federal law that could apply" against their operators, he said.
The department's opinion, written by Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz, said the law's legislative history showed that Congress's overriding goal had been to halt wire communications for sports gambling, notably off-track betting on horse races.
Congress also had been concerned about rapid transmission of betting information on baseball, basketball, football and boxing among other sports-related events or contests, she summarized the legislative history as showing.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Internet expanded by 2.3 percent

English: Typographical representation of the ....
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The Internet expanded by 2.3 percent in the third quarter over the second quarter, VeriSign reported in its latest report on domain registrations. There were 4.9 million more domains at the end of September than there had been in June, the report found.
Almost 220 million domain names were registered across all top-level domains at the end of the third quarter, VeriSign found in its quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief released Dec. 22. Registrations have grown by more than 18 million, or 8.9 percent, since the third quarter of 2010, and by 4.9 million, or 2.3 percent, since the second quarter, VeriSign found. The increase was driven primarily by growth in country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), the company said.
The ccTLD market grew 2.7 percent over the prior quarter and 9.8 percent from last year, according to VeriSign. There were 86.9 million ccTLDs by the end of September. The top 10 top-level domains, in order of size, were .com, .de, .net, .uk, .org, .info, .tk, .nl, .ru and .eu. While there are more than 240 ccTLDs available worldwide, the top 10 codes accounted for 60 percent of all registrations, VeriSign found.
The Tokelau domain, .tk, appeared in the top 10 in the third quarter largely because those domains are available for free and are popular with spammers and other cyber-criminals, according to the report. China's .cn TLD has been in decline for some time and finally dropped off the top 10 list, driven by the strict rules the Chinese government implemented two years ago on who can register domain names.
Top-level domains for Brazil, Australia, Tokelau and the Russian Federation saw the biggest gains during the quarter.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One billion holiday wishes

One Billion Holiday Wishes

Washington, D.C.----The holidays are a time for putting others before ourselves. And with the recent news that the world's population has surpassed 7 billion, there are a lot more "others" to consider this year. Nearly 1 billion people in the world are hungry, for example, while almost the same number are illiterate, making it hard for them to earn a living or move out of poverty. And 1 billion people----many of them children----have micronutrient deficiencies, decreasing their ability to learn and to live productive lives.

"As our global community continues to grow, so does the need to consider----and act on----the challenges we all face," says Robert Engelman, President of the Worldwatch Institute. "Far too many women, children and men are living with less than they need and deserve."

Fortunately, there are thousands of organizations working tirelessly in communities at home and abroad to fix these problems.

One Billion Hungry

"Although the number of undernourished people worldwide has decreased since 2009, nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry each night, a number that is unacceptably high," according to Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch's Nourishing the Planet project ( Malnutrition contributes to the death of 500 million children under the age of five every year, and in Africa, a child dies every six seconds from hunger.

But more and more organizations, such as the United Nations' World Food Programme, are using homegrown school feeding (HGSF) initiatives to alleviate hunger and poverty. HGSF programs in Brazil, India, Thailand, Kenya, and elsewhere work to connect local producers with schools, helping to provide children with nutritious and fresh food while providing farmers with a stable source of income.

One Billion Tons of Food Wasted

Roughly 1.3 billion tons of food----a third of the total food produced for human consumption----is lost or wasted each year. Within the United States, food retailers, food services, and households waste approximately 40 million tons of food each year----about the same amount needed to feed the estimated 1 billion hungry people worldwide.

Organizations around the world are working to educate people on the importance of conserving food. In New York City, City Harvest collects surplus food from food providers and distributes it to more than 600 shelters and other agencies. And in West Africa, farmers are using the power of the sun to dehydrate fruits such as mangos and bananas. Experts estimate that, with nearly all of their moisture removed, the fruits' nutrients are retained for up to six months, allowing farmers to save the 100,000 tons of mangos that go to waste each year.

One Billion Micronutrient Deficient

Nearly 1 billion people worldwide suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, including a lack of vitamin A, iron, and iodine. Each year, between 250 million and 500 million children with vitamin A deficiencies become blind, and half of these children die within 12 months of losing their sight.

These problems could be alleviated by improving access to nutritious foods. In sub-Saharan Africa, AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center works to expand vegetable farming across the region, boosting access to nutrient-rich crops. And Uganda's Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (Project DISC) educates youth about the importance of agriculture and nutritious diets. Students learn about vegetables and fruits indigenous to their communities, as well as how to process and prepare these foods for consumption. "If a person doesn't know how to cook or prepare food, they don't know how to eat," says Project DISC co-founder Edward Mukiibi.

One Billion Overweight

Lack of access to healthy food doesn't result only in hunger. More than 1 billion people around the world are overweight, and nearly half of this population is obese. Nearly 43 million children under the age of five were considered overweight in 2010. Surging international rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis are being attributed to unhealthy diets, and 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of overweight or obesity.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, has urged countries around the world to make firm commitments to improving their food systems. In Mexico, where 19 million people are food insecure yet 70 percent of the country is overweight or obese, De Schutter has called for a "state of emergency" to tackle the problem. He attributes the hunger-obesity combination to the country's focus on individual crops and export-led agriculture, and argues that a change to agricultural policies could tackle these two problems simultaneously.

Nearly One Billion Illiterate

Over three-quarters of a billion people worldwide----793 million adults----are illiterate. Although the number of people unable to read has decreased from 1 billion in 1990, illiteracy continues to prevent millions of people from moving out of poverty. For farmers in particular, being illiterate can limit access to information such as market prices, weather predictions, and trainings to improve their production.

New communications technologies are providing part of the solution. A team of researchers known as Scientific Animations Without Borders is helping illiterate farmers around the world learn how to create natural pesticides or prevent crop damage using solar treatments, by producing short animated videos accessible on mobile phones. In India, farmers can receive daily updates via text or voicemail on weather and crop prices through subscription services set up by major telephone companies. Kheti, a system operated by the U.K.'s Sheffield Hallam University, even allows farmers to take pictures of problems they are having with their crops and to send them in for advice. With more than 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions globally, projects such as these have the potential to reach and improve the lives of many around the world.

As we gather together this holiday season to reflect on the things most important to us, let us also take the time to remember the billions of others who share our planet. Too many of the world's neediest people will start the new year without sufficient food, nutrition, or education. But by acknowledging and supporting those organizations around the world that are finding ways to nourish both people and the planet, we can all make a difference.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

LightSquared demands FCC ruling

When LightSquared, the company that promises to create a national satellite network for Long-Term Evolution data traffic, suddenly sprang into action at the end of December to demand that the Federal Communications Commission confirm its right to use frequencies that interfere with GPS, it was more than just the company’s usual aggressive behavior.

It is, in fact, an effort to get the FCC to act on the company’s license application in advance of the signing of the Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012. This bill, which has been approved with strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, contains a provision that prohibits the FCC from approving LightSquared’s operation if it interferes in any way with the use of GPS by the military.

“Such approval, in view of the recent test results of the LightSquared network’s effect on GPS receivers, would be prohibited by our legislation,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. “The FCC should take no actions inconsistent with the bipartisan and bicameral position of the Congress that our first goal must be to protect DOD GPS systems.”

The LightSquared petition makes a big deal of contrasting GPS receivers as “unlicensed” while pointing out that its service is licensed. The fact is that this is really a smoke screen being raised by LightSquared, which is trying to bolster its position as being the rightful user of its planned frequencies adjacent to the frequencies used by GPS services. First of all, the FCC doesn’t normally license radio receivers of any kind, GPS or otherwise. This is why you don’t need to get an FCC license for your car radio.

Second, the GPS system is the property of the U.S. government. It was designed and implemented by the U.S. Air Force, and is currently operated by the Air Force and the Department of Commerce. While the service is in use by millions of civilians around the world, its primary purpose is to provide precise location information for the U.S. military and for public safety and law enforcement organizations.

The fact that the government allows civilian use of the system is a boon almost beyond measure that has eased the lives of millions. But ultimately it’s a military system.

But in addition to the military purposes, GPS has also been adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation as an approved means of aircraft navigation. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration is already in the process of allowing aircraft, including commercial airliners, to fly directly to their destinations, instead of following a complex system of airways developed decades ago when airliners navigated using radio signals from ground stations.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Go Daddy fighting privacy legislations

"Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation - but we can clearly do better," said Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman. "It's very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it."
In addition, the company has also taken down blog posts where it outlined its support for portions of the bill.

Introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, SOPA quickly became a source of controversy. It would allow the Justice Department to seek an order making allegedly piratical Web sites virtually vanish from the Internet.

The legislation has created a divide amongst several major technology companies with support from businesses like Adobe, Comcast, Dell and Sony, with opposition from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn.
Go Daddy's place in the debate became of particular significance given its place as an Internet domain registrar. Just yesterday, the creator of, among other sites, to move 1,000 domains held by parent company Cheezburger, Inc. to another registrar if Go Daddy did not change its stance on the matter.
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will take three or four decades

Decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will take three or four decades, Japan's government said on Wednesday as it unveiled plans for the next phase of a huge and costly cleanup of the tsunami-wrecked complex.
The plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was destroyed on March 11 by a huge earthquake and a towering tsunami which knocked out its cooling systems, triggering meltdowns, radiation leaks and mass evacuations.
After months of efforts the government said last week that the reactors, in operation since the 1970s, were in a state of cold shutdown, signaling it was ready to move to a longer-term phase to eventually decommission the plant.
In the next cleanup "road map" revealed on Wednesday, removal of spent fuel from the facility will begin within the next two years, the government said, with removal of melted fuel debris from the damaged reactors starting within 10 years.
It said all kinds of technologies must still be developed before the plant can be scrapped in 30 to 40 years.
"The period of time it would take to decommission the plant should not have a direct bearing on when the evacuees will be allowed to return home," Trade Minister Yukio Edano, who oversees energy policy, told reporters.
About 80,000 people were evacuated from within a 20 km (12 mile) radius of the plant soon after the March disaster but some of them may be allowed to return as early as next spring now the cold shutdown has been declared.
Edano said the total cost of the cleanup was unclear.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twitter stake, bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Co

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire and an investor in some of the world's top companies, has bought a stake in microblogging site Twitter for $300 million, gaining another foothold in the global media industry.
Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's king who was estimated by Forbes magazine this year to have a fortune of over $19 billion, already owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp and plans to start a cable news channel.
Twitter was a key means of communication for protesters in the Arab Spring revolts this year, violence that threatened Saudi Arabia until the kingdom unveiled a populist $130 billion social spending package.
The Twitter stake, bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Co investment firm, resulted from "months of negotiations," Ki
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
dom said.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

higher oil output level

For the first time in three years, OPEC nations agreed Wednesday to a higher oil output level despite continuing uncertainty in the global economy.
But analysts said the new output level of 30 million barrels a day would have little impact on world oil prices. Thanks to overproduction by some members, the cartel is already producing that much oil.
"OPEC's decision today to raise the official target for the cartel's oil output to close to the current level of production will make no real difference on the ground," Julian Jessop, chief global economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note Wednesday. "The bigger picture is that the latest demand forecasts from both OPEC and the International Energy Agency still look too high and that oil prices have further to fall."
OPEC's last official production target was just under 25 million barrels per day set in 2008. The world currently produces just under 88 million barrels of oil per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Oil prices in the U.S. have been hovering around $100 a barrel for the last several weeks.
U.S. oil prices have risen a bit in recent months as a supply glut in the United States began to resolve itself, but they are lower than the $112 a barrel seen at the start of the year following the Middle East protests and a loss of oil from Libya.
The Libyan loss was largely made up for by Saudi Arabia, which went against its fellow OPEC members and raised production.
Wednesday's agreement announced at the conclusion of the annual OPEC conference held in Vienna allows for Saudi Arabia to continue producing oil at current levels even though oil from Libya is returning to market and output from Iraq is increasing.
It represents a bit of a victory for Saudi Arabia, which has argued for higher oil production against some other OPEC countries like Iran and Venezuela, which wanted to limit output.
But OPEC left the door open to future production cuts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

SandForce is targeting one of the most important SSD markets

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Data center hardware continues to become more specialized for cloud deployments.

SandForce, which makes solid-state chips that interact with volume flash memory to deploy both primary and I/O-intensive data storage applications, on Dec. 12 released a new multi-level cell (MLC) flash SSD that it claims is the first such processor optimized specifically for use in cloud systems.

What difference does it make to a processor if the system it runs happens to be either a cloud or a standard on-site deployment?

The answer is that different workloads have different processing performance requirements, and cloud-related workloads most often require higher performance and endurance because more data tends to be moved from one place to another in geographically dispersed systems.

"As the SSD market matures, architectures are being developed to satisfy the specific needs of various market segments," said Jim Handy, SSD analyst for Objective Analysis.

"SandForce is targeting one of the most important SSD markets by tuning a variant of its high-performance SSD processor to the needs of the Internet data center. This should be a good deal both for SandForce and for the company's cloud computingcustomers."
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fluids used to drill for natural gas likely polluted an aquifer in Wyoming, U.S.

Fluids used to drill for natural gas likely polluted an aquifer in Wyoming, U.S.
regulators said on Thursday, offering the first evidence since 1987 that
chemicals used in fracking have contaminated drinking water
The draft report of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's investigation
into the polluted aquifer could have wide implications on a booming industry
that has promoted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as way to boost U.S. gas
and oil production and slash imports. It contradicts industry claims that
fracking fluids have never contaminated drinking water.
The agency said "the best explanation" for the pollution was that fluids from
underground hydraulic fracturing migrated up from fracking operations and
contaminated the aquifer. "The presence of these compounds is consistent with
migration from areas of gas production," it said.
EnCana Corp of Canada, which owns the natural gas field in Pavillion,
Wyoming, slammed the report. "The synthetic chemicals could just as easily have
come from contamination when the EPA did their sampling, or from how they
constructed their monitoring wells," said Doug Hock, a company
The EPA said Wyoming was much more vulnerable than other areas to water
contamination from fracking chemicals because drilling there often takes place
much closer to the surface than in other states. Wyoming produced more than 10
percent of U.S. natural gas last year.
In Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale, which is also experiencing a natural gas
drilling boom, fracking occurs much farther below water sources, which could
make pollution from fluids harder to migrate into aquifers, it said.
An energy expert and Republicans in Congress said it was too early to
conclude the report would prompt stricter federal regulation of the industry,
currently carried out mostly by the states where drilling goes on.
The EPA's authority over fracking is limited by a 2005 energy law that mostly
exempted the practice from federal oversight under the Safe Drinking Water
In recent months, though, the EPA has moved ahead with regulations of shale
gas production that involve waste water and air emissions. The EPA said the
pollution in Wyoming, which it detected after drilling monitoring wells,
included benzene, which can cause cancer. It also found alcohols and
Some residents near Pavillion have been receiving bottled water paid for by
EnCana since August 2010 after they complained their water tasted and smelled

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

nuclear power plant said today it was considering dumping water it treated for radiation contamination into the ocean

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant said today it was considering dumping water it treated for radiation contamination into the ocean as early as March, prompting protests from fishing groups.
Tokyo Electric Power, (Tepco) the utility operating Fukushima's Daiichi plant hit by a powerful tsunami in March in the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years, said it was running out of space to store some of the water it treated at the plant due to an inflow of groundwater.
"We would like to increase the number of tanks to accommodate the water but it will be difficult to do so indefinitely," Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto told reporters, adding the plant was likely to reach its storage capacity around March.
The admission is a setback for the utility which appeared to be making progress in its cleanup after building a cooling system that no longer required pumping in vast amounts of water. It also built a system, drawing on French, US and Japanese technology, that decontaminates the vast pool of tainted runoff to supply the cooling system with water.
The company said representatives of a nationwide federation of fishing cooperatives today visited its Tokyo headquarters to protest.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Certifications can still lead to higher salaries

Certifications can still lead to higher salaries, but for IT professionals, business skills are becoming just as
valuable, according to the third-quarter IT Skills and Certification Pay Index
report from Foote Partners.
In the report, released Nov. 29, Foote
Partners found that only 5 percent of the certified skills in its index saw a
pay increase from last year, compared with 13 percent of noncertified skills.
The third-quarter study showed that
salaries of professionals with IT certifications and those with specific
business skills were flattening, similar to the trend observed in the second-quarter skills and certification report.
Foote Partners monitor approximately 2,200 employers and more than 120,000 jobs
to compile the report each quarter.
Overall, pay for noncertified skills
declined slightly in the third quarter, continuing the slide first observed last
quarter after more than a year of steady gains, according to Foote Partners. Pay
for IT certifications continued declining, hitting a 12-year low this quarter.
However, a handful of specific skills and specialized certifications continued
to see salary gains.
"The average market value for 274
noncertified skills dipped slightly from July to October for the second
consecutive quarter," the report found, also noting that "pay premiums for 240
IT certifications continued their downward trend for a fifth straight
The application development/programming
category and the systems administration and engineering category both grew in
overall market value, thanks to salary increases for IT professionals with
specialist certifications from Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Red Hat
and Microsoft, the report found.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials

There is a beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials available that promises to perform better than the current version.
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is the company’s free anti-virus and anti-malware application, and it works really well. I use it for all my personal computers, and I have been recommending it to all my family and friends for the past couple of years. I like it better than other free anti-virus applications because it does a much better job of operating in the background without disrupting what is going on in the foreground.

Beta released

The Security Essentials home website has a new link where you can download a beta versionof the application. MSE has not changed much since its initial release, so a face-lift along with some functional enhancements is long
Microsoft Security Essentials
Image via Wikipedia

Phoenix Brochure by R.G.Richardson – Books on Google Play

Phoenix Brochure by R.G.Richardson – Books on Google Play