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Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

2012 Set Record For Most Expensive Gas In US

January 1st, 2013 01:50 admin View Comments

Transportation

An anonymous reader writes “According to data from the American Automobile Association, the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. was higher in 2012 than in any year before it. Nationwide, gas averaged $3.60/gallon, up from $3.51/gallon in 2011. ‘The states with the most expensive annual averages for 2012 included Hawaii ($4.31), Alaska ($4.09), California ($4.03), New York ($3.90) and Connecticut ($3.90). The states with the least-expensive annual averages included South Carolina ($3.35), Missouri ($3.38), Mississippi ($3.39), Tennessee ($3.40) and Oklahoma ($3.41). The highest daily statewide average of the year was $4.67 in Calif. on Oct. 9, while the lowest daily statewide average was $2.91 a gallon in South Carolina on July 3.’ Bloomberg reports that fuel consumption is down 3.6% compared to last year, while U.S. oil production reached almost 7 million barrels a day recently, a level that hasn’t been reached since 1993. AAA predicts gas prices will be cheaper in 2013.”

Source: 2012 Set Record For Most Expensive Gas In US

Training Under Way For New Nuclear Plant Operators In S. Carolina

December 20th, 2012 12:48 admin View Comments

Power

“Start thinking about getting your tinfoil hat radiation hardened,” writes an anonymous reader, and excerpts thus from ABC News: “Southern Co. in Georgia and SCANA Corp. in South Carolina are the first to prepare new workers to run a recently approved reactor design never before built in the United States. Training like it will be repeated over the decades-long lifetime of those plants and at other new ones that may share the technology in years to come. Both power companies are building pairs of Westinghouse Electric Corp. AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta and SCANA Corp.’s Summer Nuclear Station northwest of Columbia, S.C. While the nuclear industry had earlier proposed a larger building campaign, low natural gas prices coupled with uncertainty after last year’s disaster at a Japanese nuclear plant have scaled back those ambitions.” Getting a new nuclear plant approved is a long haul.

Source: Training Under Way For New Nuclear Plant Operators In S. Carolina

South Carolina Shows How Not To Do Security

December 15th, 2012 12:16 admin View Comments

Security

CowboyRobot writes “Earlier this year, the state’s Department of Revenue was storing 3.3 million bank account numbers, as well as 3.8 million tax returns containing Social Security numbers for 1.9 million children and other dependents, in an unencrypted format. After a state employee clicked on a malicious email link, an attacker was able to obtain copies of those records. It’s easy to blame the breach on ‘Russian hackers’ but who is really to blame? ‘The state’s leadership, from the governor on down, failed to take information security seriously or to correctly gauge the financial risk involved. As a result, taxpayers will pay extra to clean up the mess. Beyond the $800,000 that the state will spend — and should have already spent — to improve its information security systems, $500,000 will go to the data breach investigation, $740,000 to notify consumers and businesses, $250,000 for legal and PR help, and $12 million for identity theft monitoring services.’”

Source: South Carolina Shows How Not To Do Security

Catfish Strands Itself To Kill Pigeons

December 9th, 2012 12:48 admin View Comments

Science

SternisheFan writes “In Southwestern France, a group of fish have learned how to kill birds. As the River Tarn winds through the city of Albi, it contains a small gravel island where pigeons gather to clean and bathe. And patrolling the island are European catfish—1 to 1.5 meters long, and the largest freshwater fish on the continent. These particular catfish have taken to lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey. In the process, they temporarily strand themselves on land for a few seconds. Other aquatic hunters strand themselves in a similar way, including bottlenose dolphins from South Carolina, which drive small fish onto beaches, and Argentinian killer whales, which swim onto beaches to snag resting sealions. The behavior of the Tarn catfishes is so similar that Julien Cucherousset from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse describes them as ‘freshwater killer whales.’”

Source: Catfish Strands Itself To Kill Pigeons

At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks

October 21st, 2012 10:40 admin View Comments

Chrome

Google’s new ARM-powered Chromebook isn’t a lot of things: it isn’t a full-fledged laptop, it’s not a tablet (doesn’t even have a touch screen); and by design it’s not very good as a stand-alone device. Eric Lai at ZDNet, though, thinks Chromebooks are (with the price drop that accompanies the newest version) a good fit for business customers, at least “for white-collar employees and other workers who rarely stray away from their corporate campus and its Wi-Fi network.” Lai lists some interesting large-scale rollouts with Chromebooks, including 19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district. Schools probably especially like the control that ChromeOS means for the laptops they administer. For those who’d like to have a more conventional but still lightweight ARM laptop, I wonder how quickly the ARM variant of Ubuntu will land on the new version. (Looks like I’m not the only one to leap to that thought.)

Source: At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks

Location Selected For $1 Billion Ghost Town

May 13th, 2012 05:16 admin View Comments

Science

Hugh Pickens writes “Although a fully operation city with no people sounds like the setup for a dystopian sci-fi novel, the Boston Globe reports that the Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation will develop a $1 billion scientific ghost town near Hobbs, New Mexico to help researchers test everything from intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, says the town will be modeled after the real city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, old and new. Unlike traditional cities, City Labs will start with its underground ‘backbone’ infrastructure that will allow the lab to monitor activity throughout the 17-mile site. Since nobody lives in the Center’s buildings, computerized systems will mimic human behavior such as turning thermostats up and down, switching lights off and on, or flushing toilets. The Center’s test facilities and supporting infrastructure may require as much as 20 square miles of open, unimproved land where the controlled environment will permit evaluation of the positive and negative impacts of smart grid applications and integration of renewable energies for residential, commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. ‘It’s an amusement park for the scientists,’ adds Brumley.”

Source: Location Selected For $1 Billion Ghost Town

Teacher Suspended For Reading Ender’s Game To Students

March 20th, 2012 03:29 admin View Comments

Books

An anonymous reader writes “Forbes reports that a middle school teacher in South Carolina has been placed on administrative leave for reading sci-fi classic Ender’s Game to his students. According to blogger Tod Kelly, ‘[A parent] reported him to the school district complained that the book was pornographic; that same parent also asked the local police to file criminal charges against the teacher. As of today, the police have not yet decided whether or not to file charges (which is probably a good sign that they won’t). The school district, however, appears to agree with the parent, is considering firing the teacher and will be eliminating the book from the school.’”

Source: Teacher Suspended For Reading Ender’s Game To Students

Don’t Bet On Social Media Picking Super Tuesday Winners

March 5th, 2012 03:29 admin View Comments

shutterstock_voting.jpgWe’ve been skeptical of social media’s ability to predict election results, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of social media experts spending the eve of Super Tuesday from rolling out predictions for Republican presidential primaries in nine states tomorrow.

The reason we’re skeptical is simple: social media is often echoing poll results, and in some cases amplifying those poll results. When social media has “predicted” the results of a primary with some accuracy, it has almost always been in line with what more scientific polls were predicting. In other words, social media hasn’t predicted any major upsets the polls hadn’t already seen and, in most of the primaries so far, the polls have been more accurate that the analysis of social media sentiment.

The best visualization of this comes from TweetReach, which has put together a Republican primary tracker. Using a slider, you can follow the number of Twitter mentions on a day-by-day basis from the start of the year through Sunday.

What you start to notice is that Ron Paul supporters tweet about the candidate a lot and allow him to stay prominent on social media while becomeing an also-ran in the race. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has held steady while building on his status as front runner. Rick Santorum and New Gingrich, meanwhile have seen Twitter mentions spike after key victories, but they have yet to sustain any momentum on social media.

And what we need to take away from that is Twitter mentions do not make a president.

Screen Shot 2012-03-05 at 5.09.33 PM.png

Above: TweetReach’s Republican candidate tracker showing Twitter mentions of candidates on January 16, when the Republican candidates debate in South Carolina.

Fizziology, meanwhile, released a report trying to dig a little deeper than social media mentions. The company uses social media sentiment analysis and also empliys some real people to check samples of tweets to look for misspellings and sarcasm that computers may not pick up.

That’s great, but so far, Fizziology has struggled. In Florida, according to Mashable, the company said its social media sentiment analysis was showing “a much closer battle between Romeny and Gingrich” than polls were suggesting heading into the contest.

Romney, as we now know, trounced Gingrich by nearly 15 percentage points: hardly the squeaker social media experts had predicted.

That does not, of course, allow us to simply dismiss social media sentiment. All of the reports we read today, for example, show the number of candidate mentions going down as Romney comes closer to securing a nomination. And, as it does with picking stocks, social media helps us better understand polls and should be part of any predictive model this election year. Not to mention social media — and all the studies of what it is and isn’t telling us — is full of great information.

It’s also fun, in a wonky sort of way.

For example, we loved this infographic from socialbakers, not because it gave us any real insight into what will happen Tuesday in Alaska, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont and Virginia, but because of the words clouds about halfway down.

They are quite telling about what the candidates are thinking about when they post status updates on Facebook:

  • Romney is fixated on the words President, America and, to a lesser extent, Obama.
  • Santorum is fixated on Romney.
  • Paul seems to do a lot of posting in the present tense: the most common word in his posts is “today.”
  • Like Romney, Gingrich is most likely to use “President” and “Obama” in his posts, but his favorite verb is “get. ” He also likes the word “like.”

Screen Shot 2012-03-05 at 5.12.00 PM.png Above: Word clouds by socialbakers showing most frequently used words by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in Facebook status updates.

Source: Don’t Bet On Social Media Picking Super Tuesday Winners

Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group

February 21st, 2012 02:10 admin View Comments

Idle

Required Snark writes “A remote control drone operated by an animal rights group was shot down in South Carolina by a group of thwarted hunters. Steve Hindi, the group president said ‘his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying.’ After the shoot was halted, the drone was launched anyway, and at this point it was shot down. ‘Seconds after it hit the air, numerous shots rang out,’ Hindi said in the release. ‘As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon slaughter, they had shot down our copter.’ ‘It is important to note how dangerous this was, as they were shooting toward and into a well-travelled highway,’ Hindi stated in the release.”

Source: Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group

Eye of Tiger Composer Sues Gingrich To Stop Campaign From Using Song

January 31st, 2012 01:20 admin View Comments

Music

First time accepted submitter Joe_Dragon writes “The composer of the Survivor hit Eye of the Tiger has sued Newt Gingrich to stop the Republican presidential candidate from using the Rocky III anthem at campaign events. The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Chicago by Rude Music Inc., the Palatine-based music publishing company owned by Frank Sullivan, who, with Jim Peterik, composed the song and copyrighted it in 1982. The lawsuit states that as early as 2009, Gingrich has entered rallies and public events to the pulsing guitar riffs of the song. In a lengthy section of the five-page complaint, Rude’s attorneys point out that Gingrich is well aware of copyright laws, noting he is listed as author or co-author of more than 40 published works and has earned between $500,000 to $1 million from Gingrich Productions, a company that sells his written work, documentaries and audio books. It also notes Gingrich’s criticism of the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ during a recent debate in South Carolina, where Gingrich suggested the law was unnecessary because ‘We have a patent office, we have copyright law. If a company finds it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue.’ The suit asks for an injunction to prevent Gingrich from using the song, as well as damages and attorneys’ fees to be determined by the court.”

Source: Eye of Tiger Composer Sues Gingrich To Stop Campaign From Using Song

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