top Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph
The summary specifies average speed, presumably over short haul, including wait time on the ground. On this basis, high speed trains are competitive.
top Obama Reveals Climate Change Plan
> Why is any harm allowed free of cost? Publicly fund research to put a dollar figure
> on the current marginal damage done by carbon dioxide emissions as well as on
> the cost to cleanup. Take the minimum of those two values and just tax the
> emissions at that rate, plus maybe a small percentage markup, right from the start.
The research has been done: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/research/working_papers/2011/wp1109.pdf
It says the US should pay $250/tonne of CO2. I'm sure this would be high enough to change behaviour, but imagine the political system capable of putting this in place. I think subsidising renewables and CCS directly to try to make them cheaper than (unabated) fossil fuels, with a lower carbon tax, is more likely to work.
about a year and a half ago
top Free Wi-Fi: the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity
If I decided to do this, I would need to operate my LAN like every node was bare on the internet. I've got fileservers with guest access (for, you know... houseguests), web services, my invoicing system, and a whole slew of other personal services. The thought of open wifi on the LAN kinda scares me from a security perspective.
Um. My router has a 'guest network' with a separate SSID. Many free-from-your-ISP routers now do. For a tech news website, there are an astonishing lack of tech solutions in the comments here.
top Nokia N9: the World's Most Underrated Smartphone?
I've got an n9 and it's hands down the best phone I've ever owned. The swipe interface is awesome, and the hardware is beautiful - it won the Red Dot award after all. My only gripe is that it doesn't automatically disconnect an idle 3g connection, but the clever people at
http://talk.maemo.org/ have got a decent enough workaround with profilematic. I only wish I'd be able to buy a new version in 9 months' time. I'll probably buy a Jolla / Ubuntu phone if the hardware is good enough.
Given how much of a failure WP8 has been, I still think it's not too late for Nokia to change course. Bring on Meltemi.
top Global Warming On Pace For 4 Degrees: World Bank Worried
Let's get real - the summary says that Canada and Russia will benefit, but the reality is that the very large numbers of people living near the coast will want to move to Canada and Russia, perhaps violently so. Large migrations driven by environmental disaster in the past have rarely been friendly. I doubt future migrations will be easy and painless.
top Sweden Imports European Garbage To Power the Nation
Well, maybe not coal because of the amount of CO2 coal emits, but you have to factor in the conversion efficiency - 25% for badly designed mass burn vs 56% for CCGT; the amount of water that has to be evaporated before the rubbish will burn; and the amount of energy/carbon that went into plastic production (if you're comparing against recycling or reuse). A recent ENDS report (respected UK environmental trade journal) reported that if the amount of biomass in waste is below 65%, you get less CO2 from just burning gas - this calculation excludes embedded CO2 in plastics.
The other problem with burning waste is that it's not a very good way of getting value out of waste. Put simply, a tonne of recycled plastic is worth more than the amount of electricity you get when you burn that tonne of plastic. The trouble is that Europe (Sweden in this case) has overinvested in burning infrastructure, so has to feed the incineration plants.
top Can Nokia Save Itself?
Mod parent up! The decision to EOL Symbian sort of makes sense, though it was totally stupid to say so. The decision to axe Meego was stupidity in the extreme.
The N9 swipe user interface is so transparently superior to WP7/8, Android, and iOS that this alone should have told Nokia to keep Meego alive. It also does all that normal back-end stuff (bluetooth OBEX push, actual multitasking, etc) that WP still doesn't do. And the N9 won loads of awards and tech blog / reviewer love.
I'm not a developer, so don't understand if Qt makes it as easy to port things as Nokia implied, but if apps are the measure of the ecosystem, it's hardly better than WP.
top The Three Pillars of Nokia Strategy Have All Failed
I'm writing this from a n9. It's not perfect, but is only a little behind Apple in usability and much less confusing to normal users than Android. More importantly, it's miles ahead of WP7 in almost every way. With Qt and symbian app portability, Nokia would be better off than with WP7 and Elop.
top Prices Drive Australians To Grey Market For Hardware and Software
Surely there doesn't need to be a markup if you're buying your stuff from a much more geographically spread planet. If shipping costs + import duties are so low, it just sounds like price gouging.
top Japan Battles Partial Nuclear Meltdown
Your metaphor lacks one detail: all the bridges are toll bridges, and the Gen I bridges are still making money for their owners. As a result, they're reasonably happy to keep charging people to cross while they pay PR companies to promote newer, more exciting bridges which they aren't choosing to build (but could be persuaded to do so if Government helped them to pay for these spanky new bridges).
top How Many Solar Powered Devices Do You Own?
Unless your energy comes from tidal generation, which is lunar powered.
top Egypt's Net Ruled By Phone, Not Kill Switch
Gah. My company's IT security policy is exactly like this: if you can't use your computer, you can't get viruses, right?
top London Stock Exchange Was 'Under Major Cyberattack' During Linux Switch
You don't have to look too far - the EU carbon trading market was recently hacked, with 30 million euros stolen. Two weeks later it's still down.
top Slashdot Launches Re-Design
Sadface. Still no mobile optimisation means opera mobile takes forever to load
top Annual power consumption at your residence?
Yep. Average UK household electricity consumption is around 4000kWh per annum; around 16000kWh for gas, so whether this is electricity or total energy makes a huge difference.
Also, 99% of people have no idea because kWh are a bit of an alien unit to most people, and because energy bills make it difficult to figure out how much you actually use. Bring on smart meters, I say.
top Genetically Altering Trees To Sequester More Carbon
Um. The free market killed nuclear. Consider how long environmentalists have been battling mountaintop removal coal, and how comparatively ineffective they've been. Nuclear doesn't power the world because it's more expensive than fossil fuels when you don't count the costs of CO2 and other pollutants, and because the established coal/oil/gas industries have been very effective in protecting their market.
top After a Decade, Digital Radio Still an Also-Ran In UK
The real problem with DAB isn't price or features. It's battery life. My FM/LW radio lasts over a month of regular use. A similarly sized portable DAB unit manages about 6-8 hours. Why would I 'upgrade'?
top MIT Says Natural Gas Best To Lower Carbon Emissions
This is such a bunch of FUD.
Several UK studies show that very substantial carbon savings can arise from wind power even at 30% of total electricity provision. The point about backup is that we have it already for existing plants; adding quite a bit of wind will have minimal impacts on this requirement, both in carbon and cost terms. Having substantial amounts of wind just means more intelligent load balancing from the grid operator, more flexible generation from existing fossil fuel/nuclear plant, and more demand management of consumption. Again in the UK context, the Centre for Alternative Technology's recent Zero Carbon Britain report shows how the UK could fully decarbonise without gas by 2030 (though it would take quite radical action).
top MIT Designs Aircraft That Uses 70% Less Fuel Than Conventional Planes
Yeah - 2035? Emissions from aircraft are the fastest rising source of emissions in UK, and I'd be surprised if that wasn't the case in the rest of the EU and the US as well. If we can design this now - assuming we don't need to invent anything new to build it - why not build it by 2020 (allowing for a generous 10 year design, testing and roll-out?)
Maybe because Boeing/Airbus have just spent huge amounts of money on their current generation of plane and want to recoup R&D costs over the next 25 years the way they have with the ridiculously old airframes (eg. 747 - designed in the 60s) that we are now flying. These are precisely the sort of technological changes that we need to be building if we're going to be able to keep flying and keep the climate somewhat liveable.
top ELF Knocks Down AM Towers To Save Earth, Intercoms
Um. ELF doesn't have offices - which is sort of the point.
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