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Thursday, July 31, 2014

53
votes
No One’s Going to Stop Using Phones in the Car. Here’s How We Make That Safer

Wired -- My wife’s 10-year-old car has an expensive built-in navigation system, but anytime she drives out of Portland, she uses Waze on her iPhone. Besides being free, this “social driving” app (now owned by Google) is dramatically smarter and more useful than anything her Lexus offers, and proves its worth regularly, as it did when helping us route around a 30-minute traffic jam last month, on our way back from the Oregon coast. The dark screen of the car’s nav system makes a fine backrest for the phone, while Waze gleefully chimes in with accurate, crowdsourced traffic updates over the sound system via Bluetooth.

For all its utility, this is clearly not an ideal situation: It’s redundant, and the interface is far from optimal, or even entirely safe.  (read more)

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1163 Comments

53
votes
UN puts new momentum behind its radical green agenda for 'climate change'

Fox News -- EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations is putting new momentum behind the radical green effort to reduce global carbon emissions and drastically reshape the world’s economy — a campaign that is wobbling badly due to international defections and the huge cost of cutting back economic growth in the name of controlling “climate change.”

The world organization is doubling down — hoping to breathe new life into the current effort, but also to keep the juggernaut rolling toward a much more ambitious climate change treaty to be negotiated by September 2015 and take effect in 2020.

“We know that we are not on track, and time is not on our side,” declared U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this month, as he unveiled a U.N.-backed report proposing drastic — and very hypothetical — ways to carry ou  (read more)

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1220 Comments

49
votes
Ax Nearly Impales Woman in Car on Highway

abc7.com -- Topsfield, Mass. (KFSN) -- It was a scary moment on a highway north of Boston when an ax smashed through the windshield of a car.

Massachusetts State Police say the ax bounced out of a landscaper's dump truck at about 11 a.m. Wednesday on southbound Interstate 95 in Topsfield. They released a photo showing the ax with a corner of its blade stuck in the passenger side of the car's dashboard. The handle was sticking through the windshield.

Police say the car's passenger was "shaken up" but not hurt.

The truck driver, from Peabody, Massachusetts, was cited for failing to secure the ax, which carries a $200 fine.

Police say it could have been worse if the car's driver hadn't been obeying the 65 mph speed limit.

"The man whose car was struck was obeying the speed limit.  (read more)

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1136 Comments

46
votes
Crude oil slips below $100 a barrel after supply data

Market Watch -- Crude-oil futures extended overnight losses in Asian trade Thursday, on bearish U.S. inventory data that sent the U.S. oil benchmark below the $100 a barrel mark.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures CLU4 -0.95% for delivery in September traded at $99.67 a barrel, down $0.60 in the Globex electronic session. September Brent crude UK:LCOU4 -0.60% on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell $0.22 to $106.29 a barrel.

Overnight, Nymex lost 70 cents a barrel and Brent lost $1.21 a barrel.

U.S. oil stockpiles fell by 3.7 million barrels in the week ended July 25, compared with market estimates of a 1.8 million-barrel decline, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.  (read more)

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61 Comments

45
votes
Pure Lithium in Battery May Generate More Powerful Battery

Scientific American -- A team of Stanford University researchers, including former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, believes it has achieved the "holy grail" of lithium battery design: an anode of pure lithium that could boost the range of an electric car to 300 miles.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common types of rechargeable batteries on the market today. But most of the batteries—found in technologies like smartphones and electric cars—use an anode made of graphite or silicon.

The lithium in a lithium-ion battery today is found in the electrolyte. The electrons in the electrolyte flow to the anode during recharging, and if the anode were also made of lithium, the battery would be able to generate much more power and weigh much less.

Until now, however, lithium anodes have been unusable. The materia  (read more)

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48 Comments

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

54
votes
The Islamic State appears to be the globe’s newest petrostate

Merced Sun-Star -- WASHINGTON — The Islamic State, like many shady and not-so-shady groups before it, are apparently getting into the oil business. And it seems to suit them as they reportedly are making millions of dollars a day off of it.

The militants, who have conquered broad swaths of Iraq and Syria, are turning to good old-fashioned crime – oil smuggling, in this case – to underwrite its main line of work. The money it can earn from illicit oil sales further bolsters the group’s status as one of the richest self-funded terrorist outfits in the world, dependent not on foreign governments for financial support but on the money its reaped from kidnappings and bank robberies. The group has also managed to steal expensive weaponry that the United States had left for the Iraqi military, freeing it from the  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1524 Comments

49
votes
Gas prices in central Indiana drop to $3 a gallon

Fox -- Gas prices across Indiana are among some of the lowest in the nation. Several stations in Noblesville and Greenfield were selling regular unleaded gasoline for $3.00 a gallon Tuesday. One Shell station near 146th St. and State Road 37 posted $2.99 a gallon.

According to Indygasprices.com, the average price in Indianapolis Tuesday morning was $3.29 and the average price in Indiana was $3.37. The national average is $3.50. One year ago, Americans were paying $3.63 a gallon at the pump.

Triple A experts credit high refinery production for the dip in prices during a time of year when gas is usually most expensive. Prices have dropped for more than 30 days in a row.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
818 Comments

49
votes
10 Most Power Hungry States in America

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Earlier last month we profiled the ten most energy efficient states in the U.S. Well, these next ten states represent an altogether different group. These are the ten states that consume the most energy per capita, according to data and reports from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Surprisingly, many of the states on our list are rural, several boasting less than ten people per square mile according to Census Bureau data, making them among the smallest states in the nation per capita.

These rural states are often also big energy producers, as is the case with states like Texas, Alaska, and Wyoming, all of which appear on our list and all which actually produce more energy than they consume, though they remain some of the biggest energy consumers...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
695 Comments

48
votes
U.S. gas prices drop 9 cents. Miracle? Just law of supply and demand

Tech Times -- A nationwide survey called Lundberg Survey indicates that the average price for regular grade gasoline has dropped 9 cents per gallon in the U.S. Refineries are said to have processed more petroleum, which has resulted in the price decline.

Analysts suggest that the drop in fuel prices has come despite the rising tensions in the Middle East and surge in the global crude oil price. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey, suggests that U.S. refineries are believed to have abundant supplies of crude oil and now they are reducing the wholesale price to achieve higher sales.

"It's really a mid-summer gift," says Lundberg. "Refiners have been on a kick to run more crude, run at high rates and to cut price. There is an abundance of gasoline, inventories are high, ...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
84 Comments

47
votes
US to restrict exports of energy technologies to Russia for oil projects

PLATTS -- The US on Tuesday said it will impose restrictions on exports of US energy technologies to Russia for use in deepwater, Arctic offshore or shale oil projects, as part of a sanctions packaged aimed at punishing Moscow for further escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

The export restrictions dovetail with similar measures the EU is expected to impose on Russia later this week.

Under the sanctions, US companies wishing to export such technology to Russia would need to receive permission from the US Department of Commerce.

US officials said the restrictions should not impact Russia's current oil production and sales.

"But it will have a cumulative impact on the development of future fields," an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity told reporters. "The impact of these restrictions...  (read more)

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72 Comments

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

61
votes
Alternative energy failures abroad should serve as a warning

Your Houston News --
At $3.65 a gallon, gas is already expensive enough. Now imagine paying an additional "carbon tax" every time you fill up.

That's what a new report from the United Nations has recommended. To combat global climate change, the United Nations has urged governments everywhere to institute a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system to disincentive fossil fuel use.

But Germany went down a similar road almost 15 years ago. And in April, they announced a plan to scrap their green efforts. U.S. lawmakers should take note and reject the UN's push for energy policies that have already proven economically disastrous abroad.

Back in 2000, the German government implemented an "energy transformation" plan in an effort to speed up the nation's conversion to green energy. The costs hav  (read more)

Submitted Jul 29, 2014 By:
1481 Comments

55
votes
Gas Prices Don’t Reflect Record Levels Of U.S. Refinery Output

Oil Prices ,com -- The price of gasoline in the United States will remain fairly static for the immediate future, even though refineries are working at record levels because of the surge in oil production.

 (read more)

Submitted Jul 29, 2014 By:
1505 Comments

52
votes
States with texting-while-driving laws have lower traffic fatalities

Birmingham Business Journal -- A new study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health suggests texting-while-driving laws are curbing traffic fatalities.
Accidents caused by distracted drivers killed 3,331 people and injured 387,000 more across the country in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the main cause of those distractions is a phone.
The UAB study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, said 31 percent of drivers aged 18 to 64 had read or sent text or email messages while driving at least once in the 30 days prior to the study.
But the study found that states that have enacted laws completely banning texting-while-driving for all age groups are saving lives, according to head researcher Alva Ferdinand.
 (read more)

Submitted Jul 29, 2014 By:
88 Comments

50
votes
SUVs & Crossovers: Now More Popular Than Sedans

GasBuddy Blog -- Image from...fullcarsreview.comSUVs and crossover vehicles have overtaken sedans as the most popular vehicle body style in the U.S., according to a study from IHS Automotive.
SUVs and crossovers now account for 36.5 percent of the new vehicle market versus 35.4 percent for sedans, according to IHS' analysis of new vehicle retail registrations. Consumers appreciate the SUVs' higher seating position, higher ground clearance, more interior space and towing capacity, the study said.  So are we sacrificing fuel efficiency for comfort? ...  (read more)

Submitted Jul 29, 2014 By:
2120 Comments

49
votes
IEA: $80 Billion In Power Wasted By Connected 'Things'

Forbes -- Once upon a time, you used to hear a lot about the “vampire power” load that televisions, monitors, desktops and other electronics equipment consume while in standby mode.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 29, 2014 By:
1443 Comments

Monday, July 28, 2014

63
votes
Oregon Jeep Crash Caused by 3-year-old Boy

AutoEvolution -- Just in case you need more proof that you should never leave young children unattended and you should always set your parking brake, check out this story. KPTV Fox 12 reports that a 3-year-old Oregon boy was the cause of a crash this week that left a Jeep Wrangler embedded into the side of a house. And no, we’re not talking about a Power Wheels Jeep.

Left unattended by a relative who was watching him, the boy managed to get out of the house and crawl into a Jeep Wrangler owned by his aunt. A police officer had actually noticed the boy playing in the Jeep, and he was able to find the woman who was supposed to be watching him and issued her a ticket. At the time, the boy claims his babysitter was sleeping, but the relative says she had been in the bathroom.

Either way, the police were  (read more)

Submitted Jul 28, 2014 By:
1397 Comments

62
votes
There's A U.S. Energy Boom, No Thanks To Obama

Investors Business Daily -- It would be easy to look at the dramatic 35% increase in America's oil and natural gas production since President Obama took office and think the administration deserves much of the credit. But the energy boom has happened in spite of him.

Production could have been even greater if the administration embraced America's new energy superpower status instead of being so hostile to the development of our fossil fuel resources.

Since Obama took office, oil and gas production has soared on private and state land, for which he deserves little or no credit. Meanwhile, production on federal lands has dropped sharply due to a cutback in leasing of deepwater areas for energy development.

The U.S. government leases less than 2.2% of the energy-rich Outer Continental Shelf, and less than 6% of feder  (read more)

Submitted Jul 28, 2014 By:
1388 Comments

59
votes
The New Technology That Can Save You Hundreds On Gas

Money -- Over the years, one urban fuel-efficiency myth has been pervasive—that you’ll save gas by letting your car idle rather than shutting the engine off when, say, waiting at the curb for someone running into a store. Popular Mechanics, AAA, and others have busted this myth, pointing out that a vehicle gets negative miles per gallon while idle. The consensus advice now is that if you car is stopped for more than a minute, the smart move is to turn the engine off.

The arrival of auto stop-start, a technology most often seen in hybrids, does this work for you, and not only if you’re idle for minute or more. The technology has slowly been spreading beyond hybrids to a few vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines, and new research from AAA indicates that this is a good thing.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 28, 2014 By:
1503 Comments

58
votes
‘Finally,’ a Light Bulb That Exceeds Gov’t Standards, Gives Off an Incandescent Glow and Costs Less

THEBLAZE -- While you might ruefully consider LED or CFL lighting technologies, Gizmodo recently featured another option that could be a good middle ground between the government’s standards and the traditional look to which many have become accustomed.

Gizmodo described Finally as “an efficient, affordable bulb using technology Nikola Tesla once patented,” which is a form of “drastically miniaturized induction light.”

The company calls Finally the “only energy-efficient light bulb [that] shines just like the incandescent you grew up with.”

The makers of Finally explained on their website that instead of looking toward solid state lighting, it “stepped back in time to revisit induction, a lighting system that was developed at the same time as incandescent.” Induction lighting can be found in wareho  (read more)

Submitted Jul 28, 2014 By:
100 Comments

50
votes
US exports help Germany increase coal, pollution

AP -- LUENEN, Germany (AP) — One of Germany's newest coal-fired power plants rises here from the banks of a 100-year-old canal that once shipped coal mined from the Ruhr Valley to the world.

Now the coal comes the other way.

The 750-megawatt Trianel Kohlekraftwerk Luenen GmbH & Co. power plant relies completely on coal imports, about half from the U.S. Soon, all of Germany's coal-fired power plants will be dependent on imports, with the country expected to halt coal mining in 2018 when government subsidies end.

Coal mining's demise in Germany comes as the country is experiencing a resurgence in coal-fired power, one which the U.S. increasingly has helped supply. U.S. exports of power plant-grade coal to Germany have more than doubled since 2008. In 2013, Germany ranked fifth, behind the Unite  (read more)

Submitted Jul 28, 2014 By:
209 Comments

Sunday, July 27, 2014

61
votes
Florida Driver Caught Napping at Red Light [Video]

AutoEvolution -- Between texting, eating and whatever else people think they should be doing behind the wheel these days, driving can be pretty exhausting. Just ask the rider of this motorcycle who got stuck behind a sleepy driver at a traffic light, and he managed to catch the whole thing on his helmet camera.

While riding somewhere in Florida, YouTube user Jonathon Brady ends up stopped behind an orange Chevrolet HHR waiting to turn left at a red light. After the light turns green and the car doesn’t move, he does what any of us would do: honk the horn in hopes of getting the driver’s attention.

That doesn’t work however and the car remains stopped at the green light with its brake lights on, so the rider pulls up alongside the car to get a closer look. While doing so, another motorist has taken no  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:
1467 Comments

59
votes
Germany’s $412 Billion Green Energy Plan Meets Harsh Reality

The Daily Caller -- Germany has been rapidly increasing its green energy production but hasn’t gotten the results it planned.

The Switzerland-based FAA Financial Advisory AG looked at the consequences of Germany’s “Energiewende” and found that the $412 billion effort did “not provide net savings to consumers, but rather a net increase in costs to consumers and other stakeholders.”

“Over the last decade, well-intentioned policymakers in Germany and other European countries have created renewable energy policies that have slowly revealed themselves to be unsustainable, resulting in profound, unintended consequences for all industry stakeholders,” reads FAA’s report which was prepared for the Edison Electric Institute and other European groups.

“Accordingly, the United States and other countries should carefu  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:
1366 Comments

51
votes
Most beautiful American cars of all time

MSN -- We like to think our cars are good-looking, and some of them really are. However, there's a big difference between a pretty car and a timeless design that transcends mere automotive beauty to be considered a work of art. With that in mind, we combed through history to identify the 15 most beautiful American cars. You'll notice that only one late-model car makes this list. We wanted to include newer cars as well, but cars of the past few decades didn't measure up, and today's cars have yet to pass the test of time. Take a look and let us know if we missed any.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:
94 Comments

45
votes
Obama Proposes Lower Safety Standards to Haul Oil by Trains Than by Ships

Breitbart -- The White House has chosen to propose safety regulations that will be far inferior for shipping domestically produced crude oil by railroads to refineries in the U.S. than exporting the same crude oil to foreign refineries by ships.

The Administration says it wants to phase out “old tank cars,” enforce lower speed limits, require better brakes, and try rerouting trains around populated areas. Each of these steps may provide small incremental improvements, but as I reported on June 25th (“Obama Executive Order Allows U.S. Crude Oil Exports for First Time in Decades”), the White House just set mandates that require all domestically produced crude oil exported by tanker ships to first be degassed before loading.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:
1422 Comments

44
votes
Robert Rubin: How ignoring climate change could sink the U.S. economy

Washington Post -- Good economic decisions require good data. And to get good data, we must account for all relevant variables. But we’re not doing this when it comes to climate change — and that means we’re making decisions based on a flawed picture of future risks. While we can’t define future climate-change risks with precision, they should be included in economic policy, fiscal and business decisions because of their potential magnitude.

The scientific community is all but unanimous in its agreement that climate change is a serious threat. According to Gallup, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity. Still, for many people, the effects of climate change seem like a future problem — something that falls by the wayside as we tackle what seem like more immedia  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:
37 Comments