Category Archives: Technology

Want Everyone to have Access to Braodband? Follow the Fins…

As of July 1st, every person in Finland will have the right to broadband access as decreed by the government. Yep…very person.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that the U.S. has officially fallen further behind the rest of the world in the realm of Internet technology but it also means something more. It means jobs for telecomminication workers who will be compelled to extend service to all households (in Finland). It also means empowering all ciitizens by providing the information that can transform lives and enrich cultures (in Finland). All fo this seems to be lost on the U.S. (…but not in Finland).

As for president Obama and his promise of broadband expansion in this country? Well, that seems like little more than a pipe dream at best. In fact, telecommunication providers in the U.S. are declining to accept government funding for just such a project. They claim accepting the funds would wrap them in government red tape and subject them to following government project rules.

Perish the thought.

One has to wonder if the real reason is simply that most corporate conservatives are just plain old anti-anything-Obama, even more than they are wildly (as a result of shear greed and ignorance) anti-regulation on any level.

Meanwhile, every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection by 2015.

Conclusion? The rest of the world gets it and we don’t.

The premise is simple. Internet services are no longer just for entertainment purposes, they are an essential part of every citizen’s life. Would any government deny their citizens of basic communication and telephone service? Probably not I’m guessing.

Why should the Internet be any different?

Read the full story on the BBC here…

A poll conducted for the BBC World Service earlier this year found that nearly four in five people around the world believed that access to the internet is a fundamental right.

I happen to agree.

Leave a comment

Filed under Economy, International, Law, Media, Politics, Technology

The “Gang of Ten” Offers Comprehensive Framework for Common Sense Energy Package

Ten members of the Senate, known as the “Gang of 10,” has proffered the framework, for consideration, of a comprehensive energy plan for America. The ten members of the bi-partisan group, five Democrats and five Republicans, have been working together for weeks to draft the plan – and it’s a good one.

First, the plan examines alternative energy as well as off shore drilling in the gulf region. Energy sources such as biofuels and nuclear energy, would combine with shorter term fixes such as drilling for oil and natural gas are part of a comprehensive approach. 

More importantly, the “Gang of Ten” is now hoping for a broad spectrum of support from entrenched Democrats and Republicans, who are juxopposed on this critical issue. To this end, letters of appeal have been sent to both the Senate majority and minority leader, with an eye on moving this bill forward before the end of the year.

The ‘gang’ claims the upcoming 2008 election did not factor in to this project – and I believe them.

In a press conference, they asked for Americans to register their collective support for the plan with their Senators.

The plan also calls for 85% of all major transportation be moved to alternative energy in the nest 20 years, at a cost of 84 billion dollars (less than one year’s spending on the Iraq War). Some of the money would come from a repeal of tax incentives that big oil companies now have, some from drilling rebates, and yet more from savings on purchased imported oil.

As for off shore drilling – the ‘gang’ believes that the gulf region would not take as long to produce crude oil as some expect.

Overall, these guys are making sense and cooperating, in a time when Obama is calling McCain “child-like,” and McCain is mocking Obama about ‘tire pressure.’

Less talk and more action is always a winner I say. If Congress and the American people had any brains at all, they would support this effort 100%. 

The “Gang of Ten”

Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)

John Thune (R-S.D.)

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)

Mary Landrieu (D-La.)

Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)

Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)

Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)

Democrats and Republicans working together of meaningful energy legislation? The end must surely be near. Seriuosly, these folks deserve a lot of credit.

Read related articles on Associated Content, The Swamp, Environmental News Network

  Like this post? Share it with others…

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

5 Comments

Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, Election 2008, Energy, Politics, Republican Party, Technology, War in Iraq

Your Morning Cereal – Where the Jobs Are

With oil topping $140 per barrel, the power industry is exploding with high tech jobs.

Want to repair wind turbines, or manage a nuclear reactor, or install solar panels? There are jobs for you and the industry is expected to grow 11% this year.

Check out this article… 

  Like this post? Share it with others…

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy, Morning Cereal, Politics, Technology

Ready, Set, Drill! The Democrats are Ready to Cave in Again

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin told the Wall Street Journal that he is open to the idea of opening up new areas for oil drilling in certain locations in the event that oil and gas companies conduct the drilling within a specific time frame . It appears Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, might also support the move.

The official reason for the position shift is high oil and gas prices, as Republicans continue to apply pressure to ease prices at the pump by expanding offshore oil exploration and in Alaska’s ANWR region.

The Democrats have largely opposed these proposals until now.

Forget more drilling. It will not work long term or short term. Several experts and reports have confirmed this.It won’t work because it simply does does not address the underlying problem, and that is that we are consuming an irreplaceable natural resource –  and too much of it to boot. 

Conservation isn’t the answer either. 

We have technology for electric cars with 200+ miles range and that are affordable to mass produce. By switching over in the next ten years, we’d cut our oil consumption by nearly 30% in that time-frame without any sacrifice at all. 

So why are the Democrats caving???

Politics as usual of course.

Voters are demanding that Congress do something to lower gas prices. So, the Democrats are running to the center and even to the right, as they always do on the drilling issue.

Recent opinion polls have indicated strong public support for more domestic exploration. A Rasmussen Reports survey in June showed 67% of Americans support deep water energy exploration. A CNN poll published last week showed 73% of Americans favor more exploration of deep ocean energy resources far off U.S. shores.

Forget about explaining to people that deep ocean drilling won’t work. Never mind that Bush refuses to release any oil from the strategic reserve as Clinton did to help ease gas prices.

What do the Democrats do? They plead with a lame duck president who has the lowest approval rating in history!!!

How about Nancy Pelosi get a spine and DEMAND that George Bush release some oil from the strategic reserve? How about the DNC mounts a PR campaign letting the American people know that their President and the Republicans are more interested in creating more drilling opportunities for their oil buddies, than easing the economic burden of $4.30 per gallon gas for the average family, immediately? It could take ten plus years for drilling to increase supply (if they find the oil). A release from the strategic reserve could ease prices within weeks.

Ask Bill Clinton, George – he can tell you all about how releasing energy from our reserves will bring prices down just like they did in 1993 (Republicans opposed this idea then too).

The Democrats won’t fight because in spite of all of the “we help the little guy” rhetoric, they are bought and owned by big oil too – to the tune of almost $5,000,000 during the last election cycle.

For a complete list of recent contributions link here

And so it goes…

In the name of getting re-elected at any cost, the Democrats are willing to burn the village by ignoring the environment, the economy, national security, and common sense – and are willing to roll over on the drilling issue.

If the Democrats had any backbone at all, they would fight the Republicans on this short-sighted, wrong-headed, band-aid fix.

But we know they won’t, because they have caved on every key issue including war funding, FISA, etc.

Reel in speculators, release oil from the reserve, subsidise electric and hydrogen fuel vehicle production and infrastructure – and we can see real change in just a few years while becoming less dependent on imported oil, or chasing pipe dreams on the ocean floor.

The Democrats are once again proving to be ineffective and disappointing.

  Like this post? Share it with others…

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Leave a comment

Filed under Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, Energy, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party, Technology

Drilling Off Shore or Anywhere Else Won’t Help Ease Gas Prices

I am the first in line for solving the current energy crunch. So, I started listening to pundits and Congressmen and such, to see what solutions they had to offer. The prevailing idea is to drill our way out of this current shortage.

To investigate this potential solution, so I read a thouroughly written, comprehensive white paper called Fool’s Gold in Alaskaby Amory B. Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. Their impressive list of collective credentials are listed in the article.

Turns out drilling in Alaska is probably the worst thing we can do, and the report is chock full of reasons why.

The government says, if you can trust them, that even under best-case scenarios, it would take 10 years to start production and the average net drop in price would be about 86 cents per barrel.

Ten years? What do we do in the mean time?

Energy independence, or something closer it I’m guessing, is the goal here.

However, the government’s most optimistic estimate is that peak ANWR (and off shore drilling according to other sources) would only yield a total of 19 to 150 billion barrels. In fact, ANWR would only produce about 750,000 barrels per day – less than 1 percent of total world oil output.

The supposed ‘supply effect’ is a myth also. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Congress, Economy, Energy, Politics, Technology

A Car That Runs on Water?

A Japanese company, Genepax Co Ltd., has introduced a car that uses water as fuel – that’s right…water. Genepax demostrated the car in Japan recently, and has solicited several manufacturers to handle production. 

The car generates power by supplying water and air to fuel and air electrodes. It works like a standard fuel cell. The main component of the new system is a membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material that breaks down the water to hydrogen and oxygen.

Genepax has not revealed any more details, and the company president said that they had “succeeded in adopting a well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA”, similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water. The twist is that the new process produces hydrogen from water for a longer time.

Here is a video of the car in operation…

The fuel cell stack has a rated output of 120W and a fuel cell system with a rated output of 300W. The 300W system is an active system, which supplies water and air with a pump. In the demonstration video, the company powered a TV and the lighting equipment with a lead-acid battery charged by using the system. In addition, the 300W system was mounted in the luggage room of a compact electric vehicle “Reva” manufactured by Takeoka Mini Car Products Co Ltd, and the vehicle was driven by the system.

This could be the answer to everything. Why isn’t Detroit doing this?

Read related article here

  Like this post? Share it with others…
Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy, Politics, Technology

Your Morning Cereal – Grandfather Builds Web Browser for Autistic Grandchild

John LeSieur is in the software business, and he noticed that computers seemed mostly useless to his 6-year-old grandson, Zackary.

The boy has autism, and reacts negatively to the screen with all of it’s color and options. LeSieur searched for online tools that were appropriate, but found none. So he had one built, named it the Zac Browser For Autistic Children in honor of his grandson, and is making it available to anyone for free.  Check out the link here

This man is a reminder that while the Web has created important communication and educational opportunities for people, those with cognitive impairments still need special tools to learn – particularly online. As a computer instructor, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. LeSieur. 

Let’s hear it for grassroots innovation. Maybe Microsoft can take notes.

  Like this post? Share it with others… 

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

1 Comment

Filed under Morning Cereal, Politics, Technology