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Monday, September 01, 2014

38
votes
Texting while driving, woman impaled through buttocks

USA Today -- ELIZABETH, Colo. — A woman says she was texting and driving when she hit a pole that went through her car, piercing her thigh and buttocks.

Elizabeth firefighters had to saw off the front and back end of the pole to get the woman out.

Christina Jahnz says she was in the parking lot of Elizabeth Middle School on Wednesday morning to deliver her daughter's saxophone, which had been left at home. As she was driving away from the school, Jahnz started texting her friend.

"I was running late for a business meeting, so I did a voice text. I looked down to make sure it was all right. The next thing I knew, I was looking up, there was white powder from the air bags deployed," Jahnz said.  (read more)

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34
votes
Thank Fracking For Falling Gas Prices This Labor Day Weekend

The Daily Caller -- Good news for families trying to get in one last road trip before school starts: Gas prices are falling ahead of Labor Day weekend, thanks to booming U.S. oil production from shale formations.

The current average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.44, according to AAA. A good sign for the 34.7 million Americans who will be traveling this Labor Day weekend — 29.7 million of which will be travelling by car, notes AAA.

“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” said AAA COO Marshall Doney in a statement. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

This is more t  (read more)

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338 Comments

31
votes
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles poised to get rolling

Earthtechling -- A convergence of factors is propelling a market rollout of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, according to a new study from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. A key to hydrogen’s potential success is a new smart solution that clusters hydrogen fuel infrastructure in urban or regional networks, limiting initial costs and enabling an early market for the technology before committing to a full national deployment, suggests the study.
The researchers behind the study, “The Hydrogen Transition,” probe the variety of factors combining to increase the likelihood of successful hydrogen-powered car commercialization. These include new thinking by government and industry on strategies for developing fuel station infrastructure,  (read more)

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31
votes
Wind Power Can Improve Resiliency of Electrical Grids

Earthtechling -- Today, at the CIGRE Session 45 in Paris, GE’s Energy Consulting business (NYSE: GE) presented the findings of its frequency response study on wind power and grid resiliency. The study, which was sponsored by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, modeled the country’s Eastern Interconnection—one of the largest electrical systems in the world—and determined that when equipped with the appropriate modern plant controls, wind applications can substantially enhance grid resiliency.
Increased Wind Integration Positions Electrical Grids to Better Respond to Major Disturbances
Finding Based on Model of Eastern Interconnection of U.S. with Aggressive 25-Percent Wind Power Integration
 (read more)

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21 Comments

31
votes
Apple avoids CarPlay potholes with plan to help drivers find their cars

New,com -- APPLE’S efforts to overtake Google in the war for the car dashboard have reportedly avoided a pothole, but a new patent shows it has a cunning plan to use the iPhone to help drivers bond with their car.
ABI Research predicts that by 2019 more than 24 million new cars will be shipped fitted with CarPlay, the software platform that lets your iPhone control your car’s infotainment system.
But ABI Research Filomena Berardi says the June launch of Android Auto, Google’s alternative to Apple’s CarPlay, is likely to confuse concerned consumers worried that their next new car might not be compatabile with their next new smartphone.
Computerworld reports that concern is already being reflected in the slower-than-expected uptake of CarPlay, with Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Honda all reportedly delaying  (read more)

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187 Comments

Sunday, August 31, 2014

67
votes
When Does a $5 Toll Cost $30? When You're Driving a Rental Car

Bloomberg Businessweek -- With the rise of “cashless” turnpikes, where tolls are collected via a device such as EZ-Pass rather than at tollbooths, rental car companies have found two ways to pass those costs on to their customers, both unpopular: Customers can choose to rent a pass for as much as $20 a day, which they’ll pay whether or not they pass through a toll plaza, or they can pay the fines for going through the lanes without a pass, plus a hefty processing fee tacked on by the rental company.

Customers are ticked at what seems like yet another charge, like fees for checked baggage. After a Florida Dollar Rent a Car added $30 in administrative fees to a bill for $2.74 in tolls, Roxanna Usher of Redwood Valley, Calif., vented her spleen on the entire state. “I’m angry beyond belief ..."  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
563 Comments

67
votes
The power of salt: Power generation from where river water and seawater meet

Science Daily -- Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy. In principle, a PRO system would take in river water and seawater on either side of a semi-permeable membrane. Through osmosis, water from the less-salty stream would cross the membrane to a pre-pressurized saltier side, creating a flow that can be sent through a turbine to recover power.

 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1117 Comments

67
votes
Kurdish tanker carrying $100 million in oil disappears from radar off Texas coast

Daily News -- A Kurdish tanker loaded with $100 million worth of oil vanished off Texas' coast Thursday.

Radar systems showed no signs of the United Kalavrvta cargo ship, which has been at the center of a long legal battle between Iraq's government and the country's Kurdish region.

The ship, which was 95% full and carrying 1 million barrels of disputed crude, was on its way to Galveston when it mysteriously went dark Thursday night. Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan each claim the oil onboard as its own.

Baghdad — which claims to have the exclusive right to export crude oil from Iraq — filed a lawsuit in American courts demanding U.S. Marshals seize the oil when it reaches Galveston.

The Kurdish Regional Government, Iraq claimed, has no right to control crude. The Kurds say exporting oil is crucial to the r  (read more)

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1221 Comments

64
votes
Secretive Company Claims Battery Breakthrough

Scientific American -- Two of the most sacred numbers in the electric-vehicle industry are 300 miles and $100. The first is generally considered to be the distance electric cars need to travel on a single charge for Americans to take them seriously. The second is the cost, per kilowatt-hour, to which batteries need to drop before EVs can compete with gas-powered cars on sticker price.

Sakti3, a Michigan startup that auto-industry insiders have been whispering about for years, says it might soon hit those two sacred targets. The company has long been in semi-stealth mode, talking to the press but offering few particulars about its technology. Now, Ann Marie Sastry, co-founder and CEO of the company, tells me that the company’s prototype solid-state lithium battery cells have reached a record energy density ...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
151 Comments

60
votes
California drivers brace for costly new gas tax

Fox News -- Californians already pay the nation's second highest gas tax at 68 cents a gallon -- and now it will go up again in January to pay for a first-in-the-nation climate change law.

"I didn't know that," said Los Angeles motorist Tyler Rich. "It's ridiculous."

"I think it’s terrible," added Lupe Sanchez, pumping $4.09-a-gallon gas at a Chevron near Santa Monica. "The economy, the way it is right now with jobs and everything, it's just crazy."

When gas prices go up, motorists typically blame oil companies, Arab sheiks and Wall Street speculators. This time they can blame Sacramento and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for passing a bill requiring California to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The tax on carbon already raised about $1 billion in revenue by requiring m  (read more)

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338 Comments

Saturday, August 30, 2014

74
votes
As Obama drags heels, Canada turns to China

WND --
NEW YORK – With the increasing importance of oil sales to the Canadian economy and the Obama administration’s continued blocking of plans to build the Keystone Pipeline, Canada is moving ahead with the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, a pipeline to expedite the shipping of land-locked oil reserves in Alberta to China.

Calgary-based energy giant Enbridge received the approval of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government June 17 to proceed with the construction of the $7.3 billion Northern Gateway Project connecting Canada’s rich oil sands in Alberta to a British Columbia port, despite the strong objections of aboriginal “first nation” tribes and environmental activists.

The Harper government in recent months has become increasingly frustrated with the refusal of the Obama admini  (read more)

Submitted Aug 30, 2014 By:
1478 Comments

61
votes
Progress on a Powerful New Way to Generate Electricity

MIT Technology Review -- A powerful new way to generate electricity could eventually make electric cars and electronic gadgets run longer.

About four years ago, researchers in Michael Strano’s chemical engineering lab at MIT coated a short piece of yarn made of carbon nanotubes with TNT and lit one end with a laser. It sparkled and burned like a fuse, demonstrating a new way to generate electricity that produces phenomenal amounts of power.

At the time, no one understood how it worked, and it was so inefficient that it was little more than a “laboratory curiosity,” Strano says.

Now, Strano has figured out the underlying physics, which has helped his team improve efficiencies dramatically—by 10,000 times—and charted a path for continued rapid improvements.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 30, 2014 By:
895 Comments

61
votes
Natural gas drives up revenue, alternative vehicles

Bakken -- Clay Clemmer filled up his company’s Chevrolet truck with compressed natural gas on Wednesday at Tyler’s new fueling station — First Alt Fuel.

Clemmer, 50, co-owner of the Granite Division Inc. in Tyler, bought the company’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) truck in December in anticipation of the fueling station opening in Tyler.

“We’re trying it out to see how it works,” Clemmer said. “It’s been good so far.”

The Granite Division is one of several businesses converting to vehicles that run on natural gas for efficiency and to save money.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 30, 2014 By:
1253 Comments

59
votes
Labor Day outlook in the Valley: Cheaper gas, plentiful campsites

The Fresno Bee -- Valley residents looking for a final summer getaway this Labor Day weekend have some good news: Gas prices are down a bit, and campsites in Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon national parks are still available.

Gas prices dropped slightly in the lead up to the Labor Day weekend. Thursday, the average gas price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.87 in Fresno and $3.83 in the Visalia-Tulare-Porterville area, according to AAA of Northern California.

AAA's Labor Day travel survey found that more than 3.9 million Californians will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend, a 1.6% increase compared to last year.

"Californians are more optimistic about their financial situation, and consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income," Cynthia Harris said.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 30, 2014 By:
453 Comments

59
votes
Waldo, FL Police Admit to Required 'Quota' for Aggressive Ticketing

GasBuddy Blog -- Anyone who has received a speeding ticket in Waldo has probably suspected that officers were acting under a quota.  A remote stretch of highway 301 has nearly half a dozen speed changes in less than two miles; and Waldo police have pounced on unsuspecting tourists and out-of-towners for decades. Put simply, Waldo is a Florida embarrassment.  As it turns out, finally, there's proof that a quota has been standard operating procedure for years and the illegal actions there warrant investigation and prosecution. The Gainesville Sun is reporting that five of the seven officers with the Waldo Police Department have told city leaders that police Chief Mike Szabo required officers to write a speeding ticket during every hour of their shifts. Quotas are illegal. ...  (read more)

Submitted Aug 30, 2014 By:
2933 Comments

Friday, August 29, 2014

68
votes
Europe will be Russia's hostage over gas supplies for at least another decade

The Telegraph -- Europe will remain heavily reliant on Russian gas for at least another decade, according to a leading rating agency.

Fitch said a lack of alternative sources meant policymakers would have no choice but to continue buying gas from Russia until at least the mid-2020s and "potentially much longer".

Europe already buys a quarter of its gas from Russia, and analysts expect consumption to increase by a third by 2030 as economies recover from the debt crisis and gas-fired electricity generation replaces old coal and nuclear power.

Major natural gas pipelines

Many of the main gas pipelines into Western Europe run through Ukraine (Source: Fitch)

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Submitted Aug 29, 2014 By:
1398 Comments

65
votes
Domestic crude begins to cut into Saudi U.S. sales volumes

Houston Chronical -- HOUSTON — Since about 2009 and until just recently, Saudi Arabia shipped discounted crude to the U.S. in growing volumes even as total U.S. waterborne imports fell. But while Saudi Arabia isn’t about to exit the U.S. market, cheaper domestic crude oils are beginning to displace Saudi imports.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 29, 2014 By:
954 Comments

60
votes
Researchers recommend eco-friendly solutions to recycle frack water

WaterWorld -- Scientists at Rice University have produced a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at three gas reservoirs in the states of Texas, Pennsylvania and New Mexico and have suggested that environmentally friendly remedies are needed to treat and reuse it. Rice chemist Andrew Barron, who led the study, suggested that more advanced recycling rather than disposal of produced water pumped back out of wells could calm fears of accidental spillage and save millions of gallons of fresh water a year.

The amount of water used by Texas drillers for fracking may only be 1.5 percent of that used by farming and municipalities, but it still amounts to as much as 5.6 million gallons per year for the Texas portion of the Haynesville formation and 2.8 million gallons for...  (read more)

Submitted Aug 29, 2014 By:
708 Comments

59
votes
Roadway safety a major concern over final summer holiday weekend

Deseret News -- While Labor Day weekend is considered the unofficial end of the summer vacation season, it also has the more notorious distinction of being the close of the period known as the “100 deadliest days” on Utah highways.

Last year, 85 people died on state roadways during the nearly four-month period from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This year, that number has already reached 91 fatalities, according to Utah Highway Patrol trooper Lawrence Hopper, with Labor Day still to come.

“It’s been a deadly summer,” Hopper lamented.

Data from the Utah Department of Public Safety shows at least 217 deaths occurred annually on state roadways from 2004 to 2013, including a high of 299 in 2007. Last year marked the second-lowest total — 220 deaths — in Utah since 1959.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 29, 2014 By:
57 Comments

53
votes
Mid-Sized Pickup Trucks: Does GM Have the Price You Like?

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..gmauthority.comGM has a challenge and it's found an opportunity.  According to Nathan Bomey of the Detroit Free Press, the company GM is under pressure to differentiate its midsize trucks from its full-size duo, the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
And they plan to do just that using a wide range of prices to make those distinctions. Consequently, General Motors prices for 2015 mid-size trucks start as low as $20,995 — as the auto industry’s pickup tug-of-war intensifies....  (read more)

Submitted Aug 29, 2014 By:
1478 Comments

Thursday, August 28, 2014

68
votes
Beating Our Enemies By Energy Independence

Forbes -- The largest obstacle remains the existing infrastructure. It simply cannot support the current level output in terms of transporting, distributing and storing more oil and natural gas, and as such, it must be upgraded.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 28, 2014 By:
1245 Comments

61
votes
Fuel tanks pulled out of downtown Fresno property so restaurant can go in

The Fresno Bee -- A downtown property got one step closer to redevelopment Wednesday with the removal of giant underground fuel tanks.

The property at 603 Broadway St., at the corner of Ventura Street, has been a service station for decades, and is currently the American & Foreign auto repair shop. But owner George Guzelian hopes to develop the property as something else, including possibly a fast-food restaurant.

The tanks -- three 3,000- to 4,000-gallon gasoline or diesel tanks and a 280-gallon oil tank -- were pulled out with excavators, paid for by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiative to clean up sites with abandoned gas tanks.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 28, 2014 By:
1177 Comments

58
votes
US green energy share hits record levels as solar power doubles

Business Green -- Renewables made up 14.3 per cent of US electricity generation in the first half of 2014, spurred by solar power more than doubling its output year on year.

The US Energy Information Administration's most recent Electric Power Monthly publication shows hydropower output was just outpaced by other renewables, as the sectors accounted for seven and 7.3 per cent of electricity generation, respectively.

Overall, total electricity from all renewables increased by 2.73 per cent year on year, despite small declines in geothermal power and hydropower, beating the 2.59 per cent net growth across all energy sources, the EIA figures show.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 28, 2014 By:
1125 Comments

55
votes
Are the world’s cars on the cusp of going solar?

CNBC -- Within a decade, declining prices of solar systems and batteries combined with the rise of electric vehicles may start sending internal combustion engines to the junk yard, analysts say.

"By 2020, shrinking battery and solar cost will make EVs (electric vehicles) in the mass segments the cheaper alternative over a car life cycle in most European markets," UBS analysts said in a note last week.

It expects Europe, particularly Germany, Italy and Spain, to lead the shift due to their high fuel and retail electricity costs, with a "conservative" estimate for around 10 percent of Europe's new car registrations to be electric vehicles by 2025.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 28, 2014 By:
82 Comments

46
votes
Fracking Taxes Help States Now, But What About The Future?

Forbes -- As bad as the federal budget picture looked during the Great Recession, the fiscal climate in the states was worse. The federal government used stimulus spending to prevent many states from having to make sharp cuts in services because of steep declines in sales, income, and corporate tax revenues. However, the state fiscal picture is looking much better.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 28, 2014 By:
20 Comments