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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

47
votes
Here's why credit and debit cards with chips are safer....

cleveland.com -- CLEVELAND, Ohio -- These three letters might be unknown to you now, but that is likely to change soon: EMV.

EMV is shorthand for the technology that will make credit and debit cards safer in the future. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, which collaborated to adopt cards with more secure technology two decades ago.

EMV cards are also known as chip cards, because they contain computer chips that are used to authenticate each transaction.

The technology has been thrust into the news in the last 10 months, ever since Target's disastrous retail breach that exposed 40 million credit and debit card numbers to hackers.  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
1315 Comments

46
votes
Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

Yahoo - AP -- Earth is on pace to tie or even break the mark for the hottest year on record, federal meteorologists say.
That's because global heat records have kept falling in 2014, with September the latest example.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.
It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.
NASA, which measures temperatures slightly differently, had already determined that September was record-warm.
The first nine months of 2014 have a global average temperature of 58.72 degrees (14.78 degrees Celsius), tying with 1998 for the warmest first nine months on record,
 (read more)

Submitted Today By:
937 Comments

33
votes
Ford cuts price of Focus Electric again

Detroit News -- For the second time in two years, Ford Motor Co. has cut the price of its Focus Electric car in the hopes of boosting sales.

The starting price for the vehicle has dropped $6,000 to $29,995, including shipping and delivery. The new price went into effect Oct. 13 for all remaining 2014 model-year Focus Electrics, as well as upcoming 2015 model-year cars, the Dearborn automaker said. Ford reduced its price by $4,000 last year.

“We hope by reducing the price we’re giving customers another reason to consider the Focus,” said spokesman Aaron Miller, adding it puts the electric car at a “very competitive price point.”

Focus Electric represents a small fraction of total Focus sales.

Through September, Ford sold a little more than 1,500 Focus Electrics and is on pace to have its best-selling  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
487 Comments

31
votes
IHS examines Islamic State's oil wealth

UPI-IS generating more than $2 million per day from oil. -- Oil is fueling the war chest for the group calling itself the Islamic State by more than $2 million per day, a study from consultant group IHS said.

A report from IHS Energy found IS, known also as the Islamic State in the Levant, is able to finance itself through a black market for oil.

"Oil fuels ISIL's war machine, notably including the military vehicles vital to its movements and fighting capabilities," analysis e-mailed Monday to UPI found. "Oil directly finances ISIL's myriad activities and encourages the activities of middlemen who sell, transport and export the oil and thus have a vested interest in ISIL."

IHS estimates the oil production controlled by IS is worth an estimated $800 million per year.

A U.S.-led air offensive against IS has targeted oil installations in Syria...  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
294 Comments

31
votes
Russia, Ukraine Edge Closer to Natural-Gas Deal

WallStreetJournal -- KIEV, Ukraine—Russia and Ukraine have reached a preliminary agreement on a price for winter gas supplies, officials from both countries said, moving closer to a deal that would ease concerns that the countries’ dispute could disrupt supplies to Europe via Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a televised interview on Saturday that Ukraine had agreed on a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas until the end of March. “Ukraine will have gas, Ukraine will have heating,” he said.

Russian and Ukrainian officials said they hadn’t reached a final agreement. A deal appeared close after a meeting in Berlin three weeks ago, but the agreement on price appears to indicate they are inching toward completing a deal.

Russia cut off supplies in June, demanding Ukraine pay a debt th  (read more)

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582 Comments

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

51
votes
Consumer Reports sheds light on 'secret warranties' that may cover costly repairs

GasBuddy Blog -- Consumer Reports found car owners can save a significant amount of money if their vehicle qualifies for what carmakers typically call service actions or customer service campaigns—effectively secret or hidden warranties that are rarely announced to the public.Two examples: Owners of 2006 to 2009 Honda Civics may qualify for a free engine block, or even a whole new engine, if their car has been leaking coolant from a crack in the block. Chrysler minivan owners may notice that the front wheel bearings on models from 2008 to 2010 are subject to premature wear, so dealers will replace them for free during a vehicle’s first five years or 90,000 miles.Consumer Reports found these “secret warranties” usually originate when automakers discover that some component or system in a given model is failing at a greater rate than expected. They learn about the problems from numerous sources, including complaints to their customer-service departments and reports from dealers. Other tip-offs are an unu  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
2118 Comments

47
votes
It Looked Like a Stabbing, but Takata Air Bag Was the Killer

The New York Times -- ORLANDO, Fla. — Hien Tran lay dying in intensive care this month after a car accident, as detectives searched for clues about the apparent stab wounds in her neck.

An unlikely breakthrough arrived in the mail a week after she died from her injuries. It was a letter from Honda urging her to get her red Accord fixed, because of faulty air bags that could explode.

“The air bag,” said Tina Tran, the victim’s twin sister. “They said it was the air bag.”

Ms. Tran became at least the third death associated with the mushrooming recalls of vehicles containing defective air bags made by Takata, a Japanese auto supplier. More than 14 million vehicles from 11 automakers that contain the air bags have been recalled worldwide.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
817 Comments

41
votes
A year later, cleanup still going for ND oil spill

AP via Yahoo Finance -- One year after a pipeline rupture flooded a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota with more than 20,000 barrels of crude, Tesoro Corp. is still working around the clock cleaning up the oil spill — one of the largest to happen onshore in U.S. history.

Cleanup costs have soared from the company's original estimate of $4 million to a forecast of more than $20 million, and it may be at least another year before work is completed, the company and state officials said. The oil-sopped parcel of land, about the size of seven football fields, is no longer usable for planting at present.

"It's a big cleanup and it's become part of our life," farmer Steve Jensen said Monday. "The ground is still saturated with oil. And they're out there seven days a week, 24 hours a day."

Jensen discovered the  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
742 Comments

38
votes
Michigan politicians attempt to keep Tesla out of state

GasBuddy Blog -- Michigan is the latest state to join several others that are interested in derailing consumers from buying electric cars directly from Tesla, the California-based automaker that has won praise for its vehicles.

HB 5606, a bill on Governor Rick Snyder's desk awaiting a possible signature or veto contains language that would bar Tesla's direct sales method and instead require franchised dealers, possibly adding thousands to the cost of each vehicle sold.

General Motors issued a statement supporting HB 5606, a bill that saw its language adjusted sneakily to target Tesla, and was passed 38-0 in Michigan's Senate on October 2, then passed by Michigan's House 106-1 with the new language.

It has several Michigan based businesses very concerned as suppliers to Tesla, such as Inteva Products, who sent a letter to the governor opposing any legislation that prevents Tesla from direct sales, said Karen Manardo, global m  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1755 Comments

33
votes
Studies: Parents set bad examples for driving teens

Cars.com via USA Today -- Parents often subscribe to a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. But studies show parents are unknowingly sabotaging their teen drivers by not practicing what they preach.

Since it's National Teen Driver Safety Week, here are four examples:

Texting and Driving. Parents figuratively beat teens over the head with the "never text and drive" message, yet many do it on a regular basis. A 2012 study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions found 91% of teens reported seeing their parents talk on cellphones while driving. Some 59% witnessed their parents sending a text while driving.

Talking on cellphones. Ninety percent of teens say they've talked on cellphones while driving, and 78% admitted to sending text messages while driving. Parents tell teens to ...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
68 Comments

Monday, October 20, 2014

50
votes
U.S. Oil Imports Reach Lowest September Level in 18 Years

Bloomberg -- U.S. imports of crude oil fell last month to the lowest level for September in 18 years as domestic production increased, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Shipments of crude averaged 7.39 million barrels a day, down 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the industry-funded group said today in a monthly report. Production rose to 8.8 million barrels a day, the highest level for the month in 29 years.

“The gap between U.S. petroleum production and demand continued to trend higher last month,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in the report.

Total petroleum imports, including crude oil and fuels, slumped 16 percent from a year earlier to 8.4 million barrels a day, the lowest level since February 1995.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:
1425 Comments

44
votes
A brave view in an uncertain world: Why Canada’s energy boom remains on course despite sliding price

Financial Post -- With oil prices skidding near 4-yr lows and Canadian energy shares feeling the pain, it’s hard to stay optimistic. But a new report by HSBC Global Research argues Canada’s oil and gas boom remains on course

The unprecedented boom in capital spending in Canada’s natural resources sector is here to stay, with major projects currently under way or planned in the next decade worth $675B

Global oil price and market gyrations lately added to many Canadian worries — whether proposed pipelines are moving ahead; whether First Nations could stand in the way; whether fiscal terms, environmental legislation, political agendas could weaken the economic case

"We expect U.S. imports of oil from Canada to continue to rise

The oil price downturn could curtail spending in the short term as producers ada  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:
809 Comments

43
votes
You won’t get a bang out of Chevron’s use of Apple Pay

SFGATE -- To the list of big retailers accepting Apple’s new mobile payment system, add America’s second-largest oil company — Chevron Corp.

Chevron and Texaco stations will soon accept Apple Pay, the new service that lets consumers pay with their mobile phones rather than credit or debit cards. Chevron, which bought Texaco in 2001, plans to roll out the service to 3,000 stations before the holiday season with another 5,000 to follow.

“Initially Apple Pay payments will be made in the store, but we are working along with Apple Pay on developing the technology out at the fuel dispensers as well” said Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall.

But wait. Haven’t we often heard that we shouldn’t use cell phones while pumping gas? Something about a fire hazard?

The idea that mobile phones sometimes ignite...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:
947 Comments

39
votes
National average falls closer to $3/gal mark

GasBuddy Blog -- Another week, another drop at pumps across the country. The national average fell another 9.3 cents a gallon in the last week, and stands at its lowest since February of 2011.The national average again saw a hefty decline over the last week, and we now stand a mere dime away from seeing prices nationally average under $3/gallon.Looking back, the national average stands now at its lowest point since January 18, 2011, and by the end of this week, it could stand at its lowest since late 2010. Every day, Americans are spending over $100 million less on their gasoline purchases than they did a year ago, some of which will be injected back into the economy in other forms, and with the economic concerns taking shape lately, it could help jolt things back in the right direction. I still do believe that the national average will break the $3/gallon mark by around Election Day- the timing is ironic, considering the drop has nothing to do with Election Day and everything to do with current o  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:
1270 Comments

35
votes
Tesla Model S -- is it a car or an iPad?

Pioneer press -- Is the Tesla a car or an iPad?

That's the question engineers at the IHS automotive research firm posed as they dissected one of the electric car company's pricey Model S sedans.

They found that the design, components and manufacturing process that went into the car's infotainment and instrumentation systems have more in common with a tablet or smartphone than they do with a conventional automobile.

"It's like looking at the components from the latest mobile device from an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy product," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director for materials and cost benchmarking at IHS.

He said the electronic architecture of the sporty electric car is dramatically different from the approach of other automakers and their parts suppliers.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:
693 Comments

Sunday, October 19, 2014

57
votes
Slumping price of oil has Iran worried about paying its bills

Los Angeles Times -- Iranian officials are expressing new worry over the global oil price slump which is threatening the country’s budget and could undermine its strategy in international nuclear negotiations.

As recently as Tuesday Iran’s oil ministry was speaking confidently despite the 20% global price decline, insisting that it wouldn’t affect the budget. Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi said the decrease would be “short lived” an oil ministry information service said.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani clearly concerned, has directed the oil ministry to seek a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel next month to discuss propping up the price, Iranian news agencies are reporting.

Crude oil has fallen from over $100 a barrel in spring to under $85 a barrel. About 75%...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:
1451 Comments

49
votes
Canadian Coast Guard tows Russian ship that was drifting in rough seas off of B.C. coast

THE TORONTO SUN -- The captain of a Russian container ship adrift off the coast of B.C. was in hospital while efforts continued Saturday to tow the vessel away.

The Simushir, carrying hydro carbon and mining materials, approximately 400 metric tonnes of bunker fuel and 50 metric tonnes of diesel, was travelling between Washington and Russia when it lost power around 11 p.m. Thursday, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said.

It was floating about 16 km off Haida Gwaii, prompting Haida Nation President Peter Lantin to express his concern that it would hit ground and cause an oil spill.

Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid reached the ship, but two tow lines came detached before crews successfully attached a third tow line around 6:30 p.m. Friday and began towing it in a westerly direction.

 (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:
1315 Comments

46
votes
Car runs for a 100 years without refueling

http://earthweareone.com/ -- If your car was powered by thorium, you would never need to refuel it. The vehicle would burn out long before the chemical did. The thorium would last so long, in fact, it would probably outlive you. That’s why a company called Laser Power Systems has created a concept for a thorium-powered car engine. The element is radioactive, and the team uses bits of it to build a laserbeam that heats water, produces steam, and powers an energy-producing turbine.Thorium is one of the most dense materials on the planet. A small sample of it packs 20 million times more energy than a similarly-sized sample of coal, making it an ideal energy source.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:
240 Comments

44
votes
If Cheap Oil Prices Are Good for the Economy, Why Is the Stock Market Down?

The Motley Fool -- Almost every American knows that cheap oil should lead to cheaper gas, and that it should also lead to cheaper goods at stores. And with many people still feeling the pinch of the recession as wage stagnation remains a problem, seeing your dollars go a little farther is a good thing.

However, since the price of oil started falling in mid-June, the stock market has also trended down.
 (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:
81 Comments

44
votes
One block in Minneapolis, 8,100 parking tickets

Star tribune -- Jim Crue figures that every day, he shoos away unwitting motorists trying to park on this permit-only street in Uptown Minneapolis. Parking enforcement will certainly get them, he warns.

“They’re ruthless,” said Crue, who moved into his apartment at 3100 Girard Av. S. a few months ago. “It’s a huge source of frustration for everybody.”

As Crue spoke last week, traffic control agents zipped past in a white vehicle. “See?” Crue pointed. “They just circle around all day long.”

What started as a concession to a neighborhood’s demands to take back its street has turned into a ticket windfall for the city, at $42 a pop.

A Star Tribune examination of nearly 400,000 parking tickets issued in Minneapolis puts a bull’s-eye on this short stretch in Uptown for generating 8,100 citations, nearly al  (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:
849 Comments

Saturday, October 18, 2014

54
votes
Battery that Charges in Two Minutes Set to Revolutionize Electric Vehicles

AutoEvolution -- Yeah, electric vehicles would have been a lot more common now if it wasn’t for the limitations current lithium-ion batteries come with. Pretty expensive and rather inefficient by comparing them to classic internal combustion cars. Scientists over the world are constantly trying to find a solution and the latest impressive result comes now from Singapore.

A team of scientists from the Nanyang Technology University (NTU) managed to put together a battery that will definitely change electric vehicles of today, as their prototype can be recharged up to 70 percent in just two minutes.

'Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,' said Associate Professor Chen  (read more)

Submitted Oct 18, 2014 By:
1426 Comments

42
votes
City's Speed Traps Backfire

Yahoo! Screen -- Drivers in Chicago have gotten wise to speed cameras, budget figures show, and now the city needs to come up with $50 million in revenue. Chicagoans are costing the city tens of millions of dollars -– through good behavior. Mayor Rahm Emanuel underestimated the intelligence of Chicago drivers, and the city paid for it big time. On a smooth, wide, well-traveled stretch of Irving Park Road, running between two cemeteries — no homes, no stores, no parking — the city of Chicago is trying to balance its budget. Each flash means a photo; each photo, a violation. Each violation: a hundred bucks, from red-light and speed cameras. CBS 2 has learned the speed cameras caught far fewer speeders than expected. How much lower? Fifty million dollars lower.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 18, 2014 By:
81 Comments

41
votes
Fracking Growth Moves Too Rapidly for Environmental Caution

Business Week -- Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a popular method for extracting natural gas, has been increasingly controversial. And the speed of its expansion is now outpacing our understanding of environmental concerns.

First, there was the June 28 explosion and fire at a fracking site in Monroe County, Ohio, which caused thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals to spill into a tributary of the Ohio River, killing over 70,000 fish . Then there was the study released in July that implicated fracking in an increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma. Namely, researchers found that four fracking wells in the Oklahoma City area were accountable for more than 100 earthquakes that reached a magnitude 3 or greater between 2008 and 2013 .
 (read more)

Submitted Oct 18, 2014 By:
104 Comments

41
votes
Despite Slumping Prices, No End in Sight for U.S. Oil Production Boom

NY Times -- Falling oil and gasoline prices have sent oil company stocks tumbling, but oil experts say the boom in American energy production shows no signs of slowing down, keeping the market flush with crude and gasoline prices low.

Even after a drop of as much as 25 percent in oil prices since early summer, several government and private reports say that it would take a drop of $10 to $20 a barrel more — to as low as $60 a barrel — to slow production even modestly.

On the downside, taxes and royalties on oil will decline, potentially cutting into the finances of oil-producing states like Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma and North Dakota. And it will continue to put pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output to support prices, as well as cause economic pain to big produ  (read more)

Submitted Oct 18, 2014 By:
1367 Comments

40
votes
Audi tests driverless vehicle at 190 mph

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..bloomberg.comFrom Frankfurt Bloomberg News reports that two Audi (NSU) RS7 performance sedans recently raced around a track in northern Germany. The car without a driver won this matchup by five seconds.In its effort to bring autonomous-driving technology to the streets, the Volkswagen AG unit is testing unmanned vehicles at speeds as fast as 305 kilometers (190 miles) per hour. In these experiments, the car decides for itself the best way to take the corners in its race against human drivers. ...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 18, 2014 By:
3542 Comments