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Monday, October 20, 2014

14
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 8 minutes ago By:
16 Comments

14
votes
SBEC hailed for solving grid interoperability issues

fiercesmartgrid.com -- The San Bernard Electric Cooperative (SBEC), a member of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), is being recognized by SGIP's Implementation Methods Committee (SGIMC) for its work in resolving interoperability issues that could majorly impact its grid.

The southeast Texas rural cooperative distribution utility irecognized the difficulty in connecting a host of independently developed systems that were not interoperable, and, to solve the problem, implemented the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association-sponsored MultiSpeak specification to transition from a power line carrier-based automated meter reading system to an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system, which would provide supplementary functionality and interoperability.
 (read more)

Submitted 11 minutes ago By:
19 Comments

14
votes
RTCC wants comprehensive energy approach focused on smart grid

fiercesmartgrid.com -- Late last week, smart grid member companies from the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC) met with U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) to discuss a comprehensive energy approach that supports domestic production of both renewable and fossil fuel resources to help the country achieve energy independence.

(snip)

One of the questions posed to Ellmers was, once the economic value of the smart grid is demonstrated, how then are funds for smart grid investments raised and how can it be used as an economic driver to attract industry, increase efficiency and better utilize energy resources.

To this end, Ellmers pledged support for the industry and said she would help educate her district constituents and colleagues in Washington about smart grid's value.  (read more)

Submitted 11 minutes ago By:
16 Comments

Sunday, October 19, 2014

54
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 Yesterday By:
1444 Comments

47
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 Yesterday By:
1308 Comments

44
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 Yesterday By:
235 Comments

40
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 Yesterday By:
841 Comments

36
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 Yesterday By:
70 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:
1423 Comments

41
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:
79 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:
98 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:
1366 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:
2571 Comments

Friday, October 17, 2014

45
votes
Shale Boom Helping American Consumers Like Never Before

Bloomberg -- Oil traders might see the 27% slide in global prices as a bear market. For U.S. consumers, it’s more like an early holiday gift.

The drop in crude has pulled retail gasoline down more than 50 cents a gallon from the year’s high in April. That means annual savings of $500 for the average U.S. household, which consumes about 1,000 gallons of fuel a year, according to data from the FHA and EIA.

“That’s like somebody putting dollars right in your pocket,” David Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates, an energy consulting firm in Irvine, California, said by phone Oct. 14. “That sounds like Christmas presents, going out to dinner, being able to do something.”

The slide in gasoline represents the biggest benefit that U.S. consumers have seen to date from a record boom in domestic oil prod  (read more)

Submitted Oct 17, 2014 By:
1006 Comments

44
votes
Venezuela Goes From Bad to Worse as Oil Prices Plummets

Bloomberg -- Since becoming Venezuela’s president 18 months ago, Nicolas Maduro has contended with chronic shortages of everything from toothpaste to medicine, the world’s fastest inflation and sinking foreign reserves.

His predicament is about to get worse. Prices for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for 95 percent of the nation’s exports, are tumbling to a four-year low and threatening to choke off the export dollars the country needs to pay its debts.

“It’s a direct hit on tax revenues,” Lars Christensen, chief emerging-markets economist at Danske Bank A/S, said by telephone from Copenhagen. “There is nothing good to say about the state of Venezuela’s economy, and this isn’t helping.”

The slump in oil prices comes as Harvard University economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff warned this week  (read more)

Submitted Oct 17, 2014 By:
757 Comments

42
votes
Lockheed Says Makes Breakthrough on Fusion Energy Project

Downstreamtoday.com -- Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready in a decade.

Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed's secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work.

Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire said.
 (read more)

Submitted Oct 17, 2014 By:
1067 Comments

41
votes
Americans rank MPG most important factor in buying new car

GasBuddy Blog -- Americans have been getting smarter when buying new cars, according to a new report. As gas prices have not fallen under $3/gal nationally in 3 years, Americans have looked at more fuel efficient cars when buying.More than three-quarters (79%) of Americans say that fuel efficiency is more important than safety, body type or price, when purchasing a car.  That's according to a new study, Driving Toward Change, which sheds light on the shifting preferences of American car buyers.  The study was performed by the American Chemistry Council and surveyed drivers around the country.  Nearly three-quarters (72%) of participants say that fuel efficiency is more important to them now than it was just five years ago.While most Americans say they would prioritize fuel efficiency over other automobile features, the study also reveals confusion over how to make a car more fuel-efficient. When asked about the relationship between vehicle weight and fuel ec  (read more)

Submitted Oct 17, 2014 By:
3180 Comments

39
votes
Russia says it has the right to hit U.S. with sanctions

UPI-Russian economy feeling squeeze from Western pressure. -- Russia's deputy foreign minister told state media Thursday the Kremlin has "every right" to counter U.S. sanctions on the energy sector with its own response.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the Kremlin likely won't issue reactive sanctions against the United States, but felt the measures targeting the Russian energy sector were reflexive.

"Strictly speaking, we now have every right amid this mass of anti-Russian US sanctions to impose sanctions against the United States non-stop and in all the areas" he told state news agency RIA Novosti.

The Russian economy is struggling to cope with sanctions imposed on its energy sector in response the Kremlin's posture on the conflict in Ukraine.

Exports of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas accounted for nearly 70 of all...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 17, 2014 By:
277 Comments

Thursday, October 16, 2014

46
votes
Panic time: As oil goes, so does Canada’s economy

The Globe and Mail -- But oil just might.

The undisputed champion of fossil fuels is falling like a skydiver with an anvil parachute; down 15 per cent in a little over two weeks, nearly 25 per cent in the past four months. The statement that makes about the spiralling gloom over the global economy is bad enough in itself.

But for Canada, whose fragile economic recovery has become so thoroughly intertwined with oil, this is potentially very bad indeed. It’s no exaggeration to say that a drop in oil prices of this magnitude, if sustained, could tip Canada’s wobbly economic applecart.

The energy sector makes up roughly 10 per cent of Canadian gross domestic product. That’s more than retail, construction, agriculture and the public sector’s contribution to the economy. Energy accounts for roughly one-quarter...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 16, 2014 By:
818 Comments

46
votes
The best winter tires for 2014

AutoGo -- Winter is fast approaching and so is December 15, the date when all Quebec drivers need to drive a car equipped with winter tires. But if you are familiar with Canadian winters, you know that we will certainly experience our first snowstorm well before mid-December.

It is therefore wise to consider purchasing winter tires in the coming weeks. You should also remember that the majority of dealerships and specialty retailers are already beginning to get behind in their appointments. So if you do not want to find yourself in a position where you have to wait several months to get your tires installed on your car, you may want to think about buying your next set of winter tires soon.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 16, 2014 By:
1508 Comments

45
votes
Volkswagen barely beats GM to hold 2nd place in global sales race after 3 quarters

Associated Press -- DETROIT - Volkswagen barely edged out General Motors for second place in the global auto sales race during the first three quarters of the year, but Toyota was expected to keep its lead to stay in first place.

GM said Wednesday that is sold 7.372 million cars and trucks worldwide from January through September. VW said that its global light vehicle sales totalled 7.40 million for the period, but a spokesman in Germany would not provide a more precise figure.

Toyota won't release its numbers for the first three quarters until late October. But it was in first place in the first half with sales of almost 5.1 million, and it expects full-year sales of 10.1 million.

Toyota Motor Corp. finished first last year with a record 9.98 million sales. General Motors Co. finished second and Volkswage  (read more)

Submitted Oct 16, 2014 By:
991 Comments

38
votes
Does your car need to be as smart as your phone?

GasBuddy Blog --
safecarnews.comWhen deciding to pour tens of thousands of dollars into a new car, more of us apparently expect vehicles to connect seamlessly and hands-free with the swirling universe of telecommunications.
After all, if their $400 electronic tablets can relay flight information, flash news alerts and display real-time weather radar in Chicago, shouldn’t a $40,000 Buick do the same?Certainly. But the challenge is making a Buick that smart for 10 or 15 years, says Rick Montgomery, of the Kansas City Star.  ...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 16, 2014 By:
1597 Comments

37
votes
WTI Extends Rout From Two-Year Low on Rising Supply; Brent Falls

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate extended its drop from the lowest price in more than two years amid speculation rising U.S. supplies are exacerbating a global glut that’s driven prices into a bear market. Brent fell in London.

Futures slid as much as 1.5 percent in New York, declining for the seventh time in eight days. Crude inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, expanded by 10.2 million barrels last week, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute in Washington reported yesterday, according to Bain Energy. Stockpiles are projected to have gained by 2.45 million, a Bloomberg News survey shows before government data today.

Oil futures have collapsed into bear markets as shale supplies boost U.S. output to the highest level in almost 30 years amid signs of weakening glob  (read more)

Submitted Oct 16, 2014 By:
33 Comments