Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

The Science of Roadkill

December 4th, 2012 12:03 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes “Sarah Harris writes that roadkill may not be glamorous, but wildlife ecologist Danielle Garneau says dead critters carry lots of valuable information providing an opportunity to learn about wildlife and pinpoint migratory patterns, invasive species, and predatory patterns. ‘We’re looking at a fine scale at patterns of animal movement — maybe we can pick up migratory patterns, maybe we can see a phenology change,’ says Garneau. ‘And also, in the long term, if many of these animals are threatened or they’re in a decline, the hope would be that we could share this information with people who could make changes.’ Garneau turns students out into the world to find dead animals, document them and collect the data using a smartphone app RoadkillGarneau and she has already received data from across New York, as well as Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Florida and Colorado. Participants take photos of the road kill, and the app uploads them through EpiCollect, which pinpoints the find on the map. Participants can then update the data to include any descriptors of the animal such as its species; sex; how long the dead animal had been there; if and when it was removed; the weather conditions; and any predators around it. ‘People talk a lot about technology cutting us off from nature,’ says Garneau. ‘But I found that with the road kill project, it’s the opposite. You really engage with the world around you — even if it is a smelly skunk decaying on the side of the road.’”

Source: The Science of Roadkill

Roaming Robot May Explore Mysterious Moon Caverns

November 19th, 2012 11:11 admin View Comments


ananyo writes “William ‘Red’ Whittaker often spends his Sundays lowering a robot into a recently blown up coal mine pit near his cattle ranch in Pennsylvania. By 2015, he hopes that his robot, or something like it, will be rappelling down a much deeper hole, on the Moon. The hole was discovered three years ago when Japanese researchers published images from the satellite SELENE1, but spacecraft orbiting the Moon have been unable to see into its shadowy recesses. A robot might be able to ‘go where the Sun doesn’t shine’, and send back the first-ever look beneath the Moon’s skin, Whittaker told attendees at a meeting of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program in Hampton, Virginia, last week. And Whittaker is worth taking seriously-his robots have descended into an Alaskan volcano and helped to clean up the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.”

Source: Roaming Robot May Explore Mysterious Moon Caverns

How Data Center Operator IPR Survived Sandy

November 19th, 2012 11:23 admin View Comments

Data Storage

Nerval’s Lobster writes “At the end of October, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States, leaving massive amounts of property damage in its wake. Data center operators in Sandy’s path were forced to take extreme measures to keep their systems up and running. While flooding and winds knocked some of them out of commission, others managed to keep their infrastructure online until the crisis passed. In our previous interview, we spoke with CoreSite, a Manhattan-based data center that endured even as much of New York City went without power. For this installment, Slashdot Datacenter sat down with executives from IPR, which operates two data centers—in Wilmington, Delaware and Reading, Pennsylvania—close to Sandy’s track as it made landfall over New Jersey and pushed northwest.”

Source: How Data Center Operator IPR Survived Sandy

Pennsylvania Fracking Law Opens Up Drilling On College Campuses

October 14th, 2012 10:17 admin View Comments


PolygamousRanchKid writes with this news from MotherJones: “Last year, when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett suggested offsetting college tuition fees by leasing parts of state-owned college campuses to natural gas drillers, more than a few Pennsylvanians were left blinking and rubbing their eyes. But it was no idle threat: After quietly moving through the state Senate and House, this week the governor signed into law a bill that opens up 14 of the state’s public universities to fracking, oil drilling, and coal mining on campus. Environmentalists and educators are concerned that fracking and other resource exploitation on campus could leave students directly exposed to harms like explosions, water contamination, and air pollution.”

Source: Pennsylvania Fracking Law Opens Up Drilling On College Campuses

Three Mile Island Shuts Down After Pump Failure

September 20th, 2012 09:33 admin View Comments


SchrodingerZ writes “The nuclear power station on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania shut down abruptly this afternoon. Its shutdown was caused when one of four coolant pumps for a reactor failed to work. ‘The Unit 1 reactor shut off automatically about 2:20 p.m., the plant’s owner, Exelon Corporation, reported. There is no danger to the public, but the release of steam in the process created “a loud noise heard by nearby residents,” the company said.’ If radiation was released into the environment, it is so low that it thus far has not been detected. The plant is a 825-megawatt pressurized water reactor, supplying power to around 800,000 homes, thought there has been no loss of electrical service. Three Mile Island was the site of a partial nuclear meltdown in 1979. The Unit 2 reactor has not been reactivated since.”

Source: Three Mile Island Shuts Down After Pump Failure

Man Pays For Cross-Country Trip Using Bacon As Currency

September 19th, 2012 09:13 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the power of bacon.“Travel can be expensive. One man is using a unique way to pay for a trip as a challenge. Pennsylvania comedian Josh Sankey is on a mission to make a cross-country road trip from New York to Los Angeles with no other currency but baconSankey isn’t carrying any cash or credit cards as he makes his cross country trip. He is paying for everything from gas to lodging by using uncooked bacon as currency. He set off on his trip with 3,000 pounds of the popular meat and he seems to be getting good deals with it so far.”

Source: Man Pays For Cross-Country Trip Using Bacon As Currency

Ale To the Chief: White House Releases Beer Recipe

September 1st, 2012 09:18 admin View Comments


wiredmikey writes “Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, after much buzz, today released the recipe for White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter, two brews made right on site at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. According to Kass, the White House Honey Brown Ale is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds, as far as they know. “George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine but there’s no evidence that any beer has been brewed in the White House. (Although we do know there was some drinking during prohibition),” Kass wrote in a blog post. The recipe can be found here along with a short video ‘Inside The White House Beer Brewing’ which shows the brewing in process. Your tax dollars hard at work yet again!”

Source: Ale To the Chief: White House Releases Beer Recipe

Finding Fault With Anti-Fracking Science Claims

July 22nd, 2012 07:50 admin View Comments


A widely carried Associated Press article (here, as run by the Wall Street Journal) reports that some of the convincingly scientific-sounding claims of opponents of fracking don’t seem to hold up to scrutiny. That’s not to say that all is peaches: the article notes, for instance, that much of the naturally radioactive deep water called flowback forced up along with fracking-extracted gas “was once being discharged into municipal sewage treatment plants and then rivers in Pennsylvania,” leading to concern about pollution of public water supplies. Public scrutiny and regulation mean that’s no longer true. But specific claims about cancer rates, and broader ones about air pollution or other ills are not as objective as they might appear to be, according to Duke professor Avner Vengosh and others. An excerpt: “One expert said there’s an actual psychological process at work that sometimes blinds people to science, on the fracking debate and many others. ‘You can literally put facts in front of people, and they will just ignore them,’ said Mark Lubell, the director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at the University of California, Davis. Lubell said the situation, which happens on both sides of a debate, is called ‘motivated reasoning.’ Rational people insist on believing things that aren’t true, in part because of feedback from other people who share their views, he said.”

Source: Finding Fault With Anti-Fracking Science Claims

To B or Not to B Corp

June 8th, 2012 06:00 admin View Comments

Most entrepreneurs know that it’s a good idea to incorporate a startup as soon as possible. But as you consider whether to be a C Corp, an LLC, or a Subchapter S, there’s a lesser-known business entity that might be perfect for your startup – the B Corporation (Benefit Corporation). Several high-profile companies – such as Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Etsy – are certified B Corporations.

Of course, before you make a final decision, you should consult with an accountant and attorney to find the business structure that’s best for you. But to find out more about B Corps, we talked to Deborah Sweeney, the CEO of

ReadWriteWeb: What is a B Corporation?

Sweeney: Benefit corporations, or B Corps, are a sort of hybrid of a standard corporation and a nonprofit. Basically, a B Corp is an entity that exists for the public benefit or common good, but can still earn a profit (unlike a nonprofit). A B Corp has a fiduciary responsibility with regard to the interests of its employees, the community and the environment, as well as its shareholders.

RWW: How do B Corps differ from other kinds of corporations?

Sweeney: Unlike traditional corporations, B Corporations have an underlying purpose of meeting social and environmental standards. Most strive to have a higher accountability, and seek to build growth [yet] support sustainability. The goal of most B Corps is to be a positive instrument for change.

There are also established reporting requirements B Corporations are required to meet relative to their social and environmental performance.

RWW: How long have B Corps been around? Are they available everywhere?

Sweeney: B Corps are not yet available in every state. They are evolving – much like the LLC evolved – gradually across the U.S. Maryland was the first state to pass benefit corporation legislation in April 2010, followed by Hawaii, Virginia, California, Vermont, New Jersey and New York. [Today,] Washington is set to become the eighth state [to allow] B Corps. Some states have introduced or partially passed B Corp-related legislation, including Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

RWW: Are there tax advantages to being a B Corp?

Sweeney: B Corporations do not yet have a special tax status. They are taxed like a C Corp or S Corp depending on the tax election by the owners. However, a few jurisdictions have provided a tax break to B Corporations that are certified. In Philadelphia, a $4,000 tax break was awarded to up to 25 companies.

RWW: So what, then, are the advantages of being a B-Corp?

Sweeney: The B Corporation creates a legal framework for businesses to remain true to their social goals. By doing so, customers [may be more] likely to gravitate toward the business, especially those customers who believe in similar social goals. This is an opportunity to [earn] support from customers, to differentiate the business from its competitors, and to make a difference in the process.

RWW: What is the difference between a B Corp and a nonprofit?

Sweeney: A corporation has a single focus, namely, to maximize profits for its shareholders. In fact, a corporation is legally bound to make the profit-maximization of shareholders its single focus. Therefore, businesses with “public purpose” goals (in addition to making a profit) were, in essence, acting against their duty to maximize profits. Under a benefit corporation, this singular focus can be expanded into a dual focus where the owners/managers of the business can make a profit, but offset the singular focus on profit maximization with the goal of providing a benefit to society (social good, positive environmental impact, etc.).

RWW: What types of businesses typically file for B Corporation status?

Sweeney: There are currently 533 B Corporations across 60 industries, most in the U.S. There’s one in Canada, and one in the European Union.

RWW: Is being a B Corporation the same as being a Certified B Corporation?

Sweeney: There is a difference between filing Articles of Incorporation with the B Corporation language contained in them (also known as “chartering as a benefit corporation”) and being “Certified” as a B Corporation.

There is a private organization called B Lab (much like the BBB) that provides third-party review and validation as a “certified” B Corporation. This requires that the business, which is chartered at the state level as a B Corp, pay a private third party a fee to review and certify the entity. The state, upon filing the paperwork, looks only to the language specified in the Articles of Incorporation, but does not attest to the sufficiency of the company to meet the standards required of a B corporation.

As explained on the B Labs site: “To be certified by B Labs, a company must achieve a minimum score of 80 points to show positive impact, pass a phone review, submit supporting documentation on a portion of their application and be available for a possible on-site review, for which it will receive advance notice.” It’s important to note that B Labs is a [nonprofit] business, not a governmental agency.

Source: To B or Not to B Corp

Federal Court Allows Class-Action Suit Against Apple Over In-App Purchases

April 18th, 2012 04:53 admin View Comments


suraj.sun writes “An iPhone-owner whose daughter downloaded $200 worth of ‘Zombie Toxin’ and ‘Gems’ through in-app purchases on his iPhone has been allowed to pursue a class action suit against Apple for compensation of up to $5m. Garen Meguerian of Pennsylvania launched the class-action case against Apple in April 2011 after he discovered that his nine-year-old daughter had been draining his credit card account through in-app purchases on ‘free’ games including Zombie Cafe and Treasure Story. This month, Judge Edward J Davila in San Jose District Federal Court has allowed the case to go to trial, rejecting Apple’s claim that the case should be dismissed. Meguerian claimed that Apple was unfairly targeting children by allowing games geared at kids to push them to make purchases. He describes games that are free to play but require purchases of virtual goods to progress as ‘bait apps’ and says they should not be aimed at children.”

Source: Federal Court Allows Class-Action Suit Against Apple Over In-App Purchases