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Posts Tagged ‘US’

Petition For Metric In US Halfway To Requiring Response From the White House

January 6th, 2013 01:02 admin View Comments

United States

fsterman writes “Without any prompting from the US Metric Association, a We The People petition to standardize the US on the metric system has received 13,000 signatures in six days. That’s half the number needed for an official response from the White House. It looks like ending the US’s anti-metric alliance with Liberia and Burma (the only other countries NOT on the US metric system) might rank up there with building a death star.”

Source: Petition For Metric In US Halfway To Requiring Response From the White House

Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

January 5th, 2013 01:59 admin View Comments

The Media

Hugh Pickens writes “The NY Times reports that Al Jazeera plans to start an English-language channel available in more than 40 million U.S. homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar. They announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore seven years ago. But the challenge will be persuading Americans to watch the award winning network with 71 bureaus around the world — an extremely tough proposition given the crowded television marketplace and the stereotypes about the channel that persist to this day. ‘There are still people who will not watch it, who will say that it’s a “terrorist network,”‘ says Philip Seib. ‘Al Jazeera has to override that by providing quality news.’ With a handful of exceptions, American cable and satellite distributors have mostly refused to carry Al Jazeera English since its inception in 2006. While the television sets of White House officials and lawmakers were tuned to the channel during the Arab Spring in 2011, ordinary Americans who wanted to watch had to find a live stream on the Internet. Al Jazeera’s Robert Wheelock said, We offer an alternative. It’s a broader coverage of news. It’s a broader spectrum into countries that aren’t traditionally covered.’”

Source: Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

US Military Signs Modernization Deal With Microsoft

January 4th, 2013 01:20 admin View Comments

Microsoft

Dupple writes with news that Microsoft has signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and the Defense Information Systems Agency to modernize the software those organizations use. According to Microsoft, the deal will cover 75% of all Department of Defense personnel, and bring to them the latest versions of SharePoint, Office, and Windows. The deal awards Microsoft $617 million, which is after discounts to the software totaling in the tens of millions. Interestingly, DISA’s senior procurement executive said, “[The agreement] recognizes the shift to mobility. Microsoft is committed to making sure that the technology within the agreement has a mobile-first focus, and we expect to begin to take advantage of Microsoft’s mobile offerings as part of our enterprise mobility ecosystem.”

Source: US Military Signs Modernization Deal With Microsoft

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

What Could Have Been In the Public Domain Today, But Isn’t

January 1st, 2013 01:09 admin View Comments

Media

An anonymous reader writes with an article from Duke Law on what would have entered the public domain today were it not for the copyright extensions enacted in 1978. From the article: “What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2013? Under the law that existed until 1978, works from 1956. The films Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, The Best Things in Life Are Free, Forbidden Planet, The Ten Commandments, and Around the World in 80 Days; the stories 101 Dalmations and Phillip K. Dick’s The Minority Report; the songs ‘Que Sera, Sera’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, and more. What is entering the public domain this year? Nothing. And Rick Falkvinge shares his predictions for what the copyright monopoly will try this year. As a bit of a music fan, excessive copyright hits home often: the entire discographies of many artists I like have been out of print for at least a decade. Should copyright even be as long as in the pre-1978 law? Is the Berne Convention obsolete and in need of breaking to actually preserve cultural history?

Source: What Could Have Been In the Public Domain Today, But Isn’t

US Firms Race Fiscal Cliff To Install Wind Turbines

December 31st, 2012 12:50 admin View Comments

Government

Hugh Pickens writes writes “BBC reports that US energy companies are racing to install wind turbines before a federal tax credit expires at the end of this year which could be lost as congress struggles with new legislation to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff.’ ‘There’s a lot of rushing right now to get projects completed by the end of the year,’ says Rob Gramlich, senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association. ‘There’s a good chance we could get this extension, it is very hard to predict, but the industry is not making bets on the Congress getting it done,’ Even if there is an extension there is likely to be a significant curtailment of wind installations in 2013. From 1999 to 2004, Congress allowed the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) to expire three times, each time retroactively extending it several months after the expiration deadline had passed but wind energy companies say they need longer time frames to negotiate deals to sell the power they generate. ‘Even if the tax credit is extended, our new construction plans likely will be ramped back substantially in 2013 compared with the last few years,’ says Paul Copleman. ‘So much time has passed without certainty that a normal one-year extension would not be a game-changer for our 2013 build plans.’”

Source: US Firms Race Fiscal Cliff To Install Wind Turbines

Autonomy Chief Says Whitman Is Watering Down HP Fraud Claims

December 30th, 2012 12:20 admin View Comments

Businesses

McGruber writes “Possibly the wierdest tax-writeoff of the year happened when Meg Whitman claimed that her US-based multinational corporation HP had been defrauded by British-software firm Autonomy; Ms. Whitman and HP claimed an 8.8 billion dollar write-down. As the Los Angeles Times explains, ‘HP acquired Autonomy in 2011 for $11 billion, a move it hoped would turn it away from its dependence on sales of computer hardware with its low profit margins, and into the more profitable business of software. However, the price HP paid was widely criticized for being too high, and in part led to the subsequent ouster of Chief Executive Leo Apotheker.’ The wierdness continues — in its annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, HP claims that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into HP’s allegations that HP has uncovered widespread accounting fraud at Autonomy. However, The Guardian points out that former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch claims that HP ‘is watering down the accusations it had levelled against him over the accounts filed by his old software company.’ Mr. Lynch also says that he has not been contacted by the U.S. Department of Justice, which HP claims is investigating the alleged fraud. Perhaps Slashdot’s users can help make sense of this mess and help explain it to me?”

Source: Autonomy Chief Says Whitman Is Watering Down HP Fraud Claims

China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

December 24th, 2012 12:04 admin View Comments

China

dcblogs writes “China is on track to overtake the U.S. in spending on research and development in about 10 years, as federal R&D spending either declines or remains flat. The U.S. today maintains a large lead in spending over China, with federal and private sector investment expected to reach $424 billion next year, a 1.2% increase. By contrast, China’s overall R&D spending is $220 billion next year, an increase of 11.6% over 2012, a rate similar to previous years. This finding is shared by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. ‘China’s investment as a percentage of its GDP shows continuing, deliberate growth that, if it continues, should surpass the roughly flat United States investment within a decade,’ it said in a report last month.”

Source: China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

US Congress May Not Have Stomach For Another SOPA

December 24th, 2012 12:08 admin View Comments

Privacy

alphadogg writes “As a new session of Congress convenes in early 2013, don’t expect lawmakers to rush out a new version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or the Protect IP Act (PIPA). While some groups representing copyright holders still want to see stronger online enforcement, U.S. lawmakers don’t seem to have the collective will to reintroduce similar bills and potentially face another massive online protest. In January 2012, more than 10 million Web users signed petitions, 8 million attempted calls to Congress and 4 million sent email messages, and more than 100,000 websites went dark in protest as the Senate scheduled a vote on PIPA. Lawmakers supporting the two bills baled out in droves, Senate leaders cancelled the PIPA vote, and SOPA’s sponsor in the House of Representatives withdrew his legislation. ‘That was an avalanche they’ve never seen,’ said Ed Black, head of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. ‘They’re going to tiptoe in this area very carefully.’”

Source: US Congress May Not Have Stomach For Another SOPA

Mini-Tornadoes For Generating Electricity

December 21st, 2012 12:32 admin View Comments

Power

cylonlover writes “Tornadoes generally evoke the destructive force of nature at its most awesome. However, what if all that power could be harnessed to produce cheaper and more efficient electricity? This is just what Canadian engineer Louis Michaud proposes to achieve, with an invention dubbed the ‘Atmospheric Vortex Engine‘ (or AVE). It works by introducing warm air into a circular station, whereupon the difference in temperature between this heated air and the atmosphere above creates a vortex – or controlled tornado, which in turn drives multiple wind turbines in order to create electricity. The vortex could be shut down by simply turning off the source of warm air. Michaud’s company, AVEtec Energy Corporation, reports that the system produces no carbon emissions, nor requires energy storage to function, and that further to this, the cost of energy generated could potentially be as low as US$0.03 per kilowatt hour.”

Source: Mini-Tornadoes For Generating Electricity

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