Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels

November 26th, 2014

Disclosure: I sell solar power systems in New Zealand.

Via: New York Times:

For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

That day appears to be dawning.

The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.

Utility executives say the trend has accelerated this year, with several companies signing contracts, known as power purchase agreements, for solar or wind at prices below that of natural gas, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest, where wind and sunlight are abundant.

Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire, but recent analyses show that even without those subsidies, alternative energies can often compete with traditional sources.

Related: Energy Storage Is Today Where Solar Was in 2010-Set for Exponential Growth


Microsoft Now Has Robot Security Guards

November 26th, 2014

Via: The Daily Dot:

Robots are increasingly replacing humans in a variety of mundane tasks, like bolting a car together or making lollipops, but now they are moving into the security business.

Microsoft recently installed a fleet of 5-feet-tall, 300-pound robots to protect its Silicon Valley campus. The robots are packed with HD security cameras and sensors to take in their organic, protein-based surroundings. There’s also an artificial intelligence on board that can sound alarms when the robot notices something awry. It can also read license plates and cross-reference them to see if they’re stolen.

The K5 robots come from a California company called Knightscope, which calls the robots “autonomous data machines” that provide a “commanding but friendly presence.” Sounds like something a robot manufacturer would say.


Allegations That British Politicians Murdered and Raped Young Boys “Only the Tip of the Iceberg”

November 26th, 2014

Via: Telegraph:

Revelations that politicians allegedly murdered and raped young boys is “only the tip of the iceberg” in the Westminster historic child abuse scandal, Theresa May has warned.

The Home Secretary expressed dismay that institutions designed to protect children failed in the past and said she was determined to bring those guilty to justice, whatever their position.

More: Paedophile Orgies in Luxury Flats


This Is What’s Happening In Mexico Right Now

November 26th, 2014

Via: YouTube:

Direct From Mexico City: November 20, 2014. Protesters clash with police outside the airport and at the Zocalo. Protesters are demanding the government account for the kidnapping of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School. From AJ+ Video Journalist Jorge Villalpando

Background: Dozens of Students Missing in Mexico After Police Fire on Protest


God’s Lonely Programmer

November 26th, 2014

Via: Vice:

He kept the rest of the programming simple. God told him to stick to 640×480 and 16 colors, with only a single audio voice. Like Noah, he built as he was commanded. “It’s really obvious what to do next,” he says, “and it can keep you busy for the first ten years.” But now he’s finished.


Gallery: Reaction to the Ferguson Decision

November 26th, 2014

Season’s Greetings. Wow.

Boston Globe – Big Picture


Top Obama Bundler Accused of Child Rape

November 26th, 2014

Via: USA Today:

Conservatives complain that President Obama gets a free pass from the media, which acts as a de-facto public-relations shop for the Democrat in the White House. Never has that charge seemed truer than now as an ugly rape scandal unfolds on the West Coast.

On Wednesday, Portland, Ore. police arrested Terrence Patrick Bean, who has been charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year. This man is not just any old guy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old – he’s a big-money Democratic donor and liberal political activist with connections inside the Obama White House. Bean raised more than a half-million dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

“Bean has been one of the state’s biggest Democratic donors and an influential figure in gay rights circles in the state,” reports oregonlive.com. “He helped found two major national political groups, the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and has been a major contributor for several Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama.”

Related: The Franklin Scandal


More Troops Ordered to Ferguson After Night of Chaos

November 25th, 2014

Via: New York Times:

After a chaotic night of demonstrations that erupted in many fires, frequent bursts of gunshots, looting and waves of tear gas, Gov. Jay Nixon said early Tuesday that he would send additional National Guard troops to help quell the worst violence this battered St. Louis suburb has seen since a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in August.

The hours of unrest followed the announcement on Monday evening that a grand jury had chosen not to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, for the death of Michael Brown. St. Louis County reported that 61 people had been arrested.


Secret Malware in European Union Attack Linked to U.S. and British Intelligence

November 25th, 2014

Via: First Look:

Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.

Regin was found on infected internal computer systems and email servers at Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider, following reports last year that the company was targeted in a top-secret surveillance operation carried out by British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, industry sources told The Intercept.

The malware, which steals data from infected systems and disguises itself as legitimate Microsoft software, has also been identified on the same European Union computer systems that were targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency.

The hacking operations against Belgacom and the European Union were first revealed last year through documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The specific malware used in the attacks has never been disclosed, however.

The Regin malware, whose existence was first reported by the security firm Symantec on Sunday, is among the most sophisticated ever discovered by researchers. Symantec compared Regin to Stuxnet, a state-sponsored malware program developed by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage computers at an Iranian nuclear facility. Sources familiar with internal investigations at Belgacom and the European Union have confirmed to The Intercept that the Regin malware was found on their systems after they were compromised, linking the spy tool to the secret GCHQ and NSA operations.


No Indictment for Ferguson Officer

November 25th, 2014

Via: USA Today:

A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.

Crowds of protesters filled streets near the Ferguson police station following the announcement. A police car and stores were set on fire, other stores were looted, gunfire was heard and bricks were hurled. Police said they had been fired on and responded with smoke bombs and pepper spray before using tear gas.

Police later said they came under heavy automatic weapon fire, and some buildings were left to burn because of the danger. County police said an officer suffered a gunshot wound, but it was unclear if it was because of the protest violence.

Protests sprang up in cities from New York to Los Angeles and remained mostly peaceful. At least half a dozen commercial airline flights into St. Louis were diverted out of concerns about the unrest.


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