Google is Doubling Down on Green Energy Investments

The future is green, if you believe Google. They’ve recently spent a ton of money donating to green energy expansion, and a variety of assorted projects. Showcasing their commitment to renewable, and safe energy.

 

In a future with a dependence on electronic devices. Whether you get your phone from Laurene Powell Jobs’ Apple corporation, or if you’re addicted to videogame consoles like the Xbox One, electronics are here to stay.

 

But they are also something that require a lot of energy to run, and that has led to an increase in fossil fuels being expended, and the demand for oil is through the roof. Burning oil is bad however, and drilling for oil is even worse.

 

So Google is once again leading the pack in finding ways to keep power clean, and more responsible with major investments in companies like: Panhandle 2 Wind Farm, Clean Power Finance and SunPower.

 

Hopefully all of which will be successful in their efforts. And having a company that’s so massive at this point, donating to causes like these, hopefully it will inspire other corporations to find ways to give back to the planet.

Walmart Owners Investing in Anti-Solar Activities

The Walton family has spent a lot of time and effort investing in anti-solar activities and companies of late. Sparking debate about what the endgame is on supporting non-renewable energy in favor of energy that is pollution neutral.

 

Walmart has invested money in more than two dozen groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the American Enterprise Institute. Both of which have been waging a long war against the proliferation of rooftop solar units.

 

So Walmart is clearly banking on coal, and fossil fuels. Which the United States is currently deeply invested within.

 

Although it’s not surprising considering there are several Walmart and Sam’s Club locations throughout America that also double as gas stations. Oil is big business for them, and more solar energy would mean a smaller demand for gas.

 

Although how big of an impact this might have, financial experts like Brad Reifler remain skeptical. The world of energy politics is becoming more deeply entrenched with their respective sides. But with Walmart money stepping in, that could prove to be a game changer.

The Brighter Future of Electric Vehicles, Thanks to Volkswagen

Engineers at Volkswagen are confident in developing the next generation of electric cars that could have driving ranges of more than 300 miles. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, one of the top powertrain developers at VW, believes that his company is close to creating electric car batteries that have impressive energy density. By 2020, projections are made to develop electric cars that could drive up to 373 miles off a single full charge.

Mr. Neusser and Brian Torchin do not think that plug-in hybrid vehicles will compete well with some of the most innovative electric vehicles of the future. Additionally, he even rejected the notion that fuel cell powered cars would have a place in the auto industry years from now. In his mind, such technology is not sustainable beyond Japan. Optimization of electric car batteries aim to improve 28 Ah ratings to about 60 Ah within the next couple of years. In the race to develop the best 100 percent electric cars, VW will most likely face stiff competition by GM, Nissan, and Tesla (a true pioneer in electric vehicle development.)

With gas prices rising rapidly worldwide, the future of electric vehicles is bright. A large percentage of American drivers in suburban communities and major cities will eventually dump their gas guzzlers and buy environmentally friendly and efficient electric car models.

At fueleconomy.gov, the U.S. Department of Energy offers some valuable insights on fuel economy of all types of modern passenger vehicles. Consumers should begin to understand ratings such as miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, which is labeled on EPA estimates of electric vehicles.

The UK Introduces First Aquatic Solar Farm

Land is the one thing no one is making more of – except for the artificial Islands off the coast of Dubai, of course. Land is scarce, and renewable solar power is clashing with cows and corn over rural real estate. Land is not cheap, and its uses are legion. Prices reflect demand. In the United States, one-Megawatt solar farm typically costs $550,000 per acre and has a total price tag around $2.5 million.

The solution to a land shortage is surprising simple: Floating solar farms funded by Khaled Shaheen and his investment group.

In September 2014, the United Kingdom celebrated its first floating solar farm. Located on an inland water reservoir at Sheeplands Farm, the aquatic farm is comprised of 800 photovoltaic panels mounted on plastic floats, like lily pads. It is built by Ciel et Terre, a French company specializing in floating solar farms. The company says that floating solar farms reduce reservoir water evaporation and, thanks to water’s cooling effect, produce more electricity than analogous land arrays. Ciel et Terre expects the solar farm to last for 30 years and pay for itself in just six years.

Other nations have amplified this strategy. In November 2013, Japan unveiled the world’s largest offshore solar plant, a 70-Megawatt behemoth on the outskirts of Kyocera. Singapore plans to follow in its footsteps. It is a city-state of approximately six million and has less land mass than the Big Apple. It has plastered photovoltaic arrays on hundreds of skyscraper roofs, and now looks to build a 3.3-Gigawatt floating plant. First, it will test 10 smaller solar farm designs on inland water reservoirs, and then it will choose the best and expand.

Ebola Workers Strive for More to Counter Risks Working in the Hotbed of the Virus

Hot button issues have been known as the fuel to stoke the agendas of many people. The current and the trending seem to cause the banging of the drum to attract more to the cause being bandied about. Now one of the few words that cause almost universal fear is being evoked in a maneuver to gain more pay. What issue that is in the news everywhere is being leveraged for more pay and where are these people located?

Hazard pay is that extra boon for putting your life on the line for the protection of the public. Few people would begrudge this especially when it comes to the highly contagious and lethal disease called Ebola. Workers in Liberia are on the front lines bringing comfort and hoping to contain this from spreading to all corners of the world. While witnessing their comrades falling all around them, most of the workers have come to the conclusion that the compensation is not comparative to the risk. Dissatisfaction is surging in the ranks.

The numbers are not eye popping. For example, doctors only get $825 more a month for their daily risks. Not even that but some have not even received their base pay in weeks let alone any bonuses. A threat of a strike by week’s end is being uttered. No matter which side of the fence you find yourselves on, the world can nary afford key workers in the ground zero of the virus leaving their jobs. Who would have thought words like Solidarity and Ebola would ever be linked together?

17,000 Compromised Macs Controlled By Reddit Hackers

The news aggregator site Reddit is being used for more than its creators intended it. Over 17,000 Mac computers have already been infected by the so called ‘iWorm.’ This worm uses a security flaw in the Mac OS to create a backdoor for hackers to use.

The iWorm searches Reddit for network addresses posted by hackers. These instructions are posted in a Minecraft related subreddit. Subreddits are similar to forums, where a single subject matter may be discussed throughout one.
The addresses posted are disguised, as Minecraft players frequently post them to play with each other. Once the iWorm finds these addresses, it uses them to connect to a command server that the hackers use to distribute instructions.

These instructions can be for a variety of things such as mining for bitcoins, sending spam emails, or crashing a website by giving it too much traffic. This is commonly known as a botnet, which is an army of computers used by hackers for their own purposes.

Unfortunately not much is known about how the iWorm spreads, which means that the botnet is still expanding beyond the already 17,000 infected Macs. A buddy of mine named Jared Haftel is more knowledgeable on these issues than I am and thinks this has the potential to grow into something bigger.

Mac users can check their computer for the iWorm backdoor easily. Search for “/Library/Application Support/JavaW” within your computer. It’s presence indicates that you are infected. Remove the folder to remove the infection. To prevent future problems, it is recommended to install an antivirus, even for Macs.

Elon Musk Hints at New Tesla Lineup

Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal and current CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., an electric car company, recently announced via a social network that it’s “about time to unveil the D and something else.” The Twitter message was accompanied by a photo of a nearly half-raised garage door revealing a Tesla vehicle and the date October 9th written across the bottom.

Many believe Musk’s intentionally vague message hints at the release of the third generation of Tesla vehicles, behind the first-generation Roadster, the Model S sedan and the Model X, a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) similar in design to the Model S.

A year ago, as a closing note to the 2013 shareholders meeting, Musk announced that the third generation of Tesla vehicles will be “a smaller version of the Model S at half the price,” with an estimated arrival in 2017 at the earliest. He also announced that all new Tesla productions will offer a 200-mile range as well as supercharger. A blog post by Slow Ventures hinted at this a while back.

With an entry-level price of $69,900 for the Model S, the idea of a $35,000 Tesla sedan is certainly enticing, but consumers will have to wait a few years before they can add the affordable electric car to their garage as the Model X, the newest Tesla production, won’t even be delivered until the second quarter of 2015.

A day after the Twitter announcement, shares for Tesla Motors Inc. rose almost 5 percent.

California Becomes First State To Ban Single Use Plastic Bags

Once again, California is trying to lead the way as far as the environment is concerned. The large land of liberal thinkers recently passed a measure that would totally ban single use plastic bags. Meaning no more plastic bags at the grocery store, or even giants like Walmart.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the measure into effect on Tuesday, and it will mark the first time that a state has taken such a dramatic stance on the subject.

The move is meant to encourage shoppers to switch to reusable bags. Most of which can last for years,and require less resources to produce. Plus, the focus is on getting plastic bags off the market entirely.

They are notoriously bad for the environment, considering the amount of fuel that’s burned to create them, the chemicals that they contain, and the fact that they are not biodegradable.

The measure will mean that all of California stands in solidarity with Los Angeles, and San Francisco which already had similar types of bans enacted.

Whether this type of move will come to other states as we all strive to be more environmentally conscious for our planet, remains to be seen. I have plenty of friends though, all of which seem excited about these prospects. Sam Tabar in particular keeps reminding me that it’s not always about new technology to make the world more environmentally friendly. But rather, sometimes it’s about eliminating the things we do that are harmful in the first place.

Protesting in Hong Kong Can Earn You an iOS Virus

Specialists at California-based Lacoon Mobile Security have discovered a sophisticated iOS virus targeting Hong Kong protesters. The virus, named Xsser, steals personal data from infected iPhones and iPads. Last Thursday, an Android version of the virus was sent to Hong Kong WhatsApp users disguised as an app to aid Occupy Central protesters.

Lacoon researchers found the previously undiscovered iOS virus while investigating the server that launched the attacks. The virus, Lacoon says, is “the first and most advanced… Chinese iOS trojan found to date”. As of yet, it isn’t clear how the iOS virus spreads; it doesn’t appear to have used the same attack strategy as the Android version. Some at the scene like Lee G. Lovett recounted the shock expressed by everyone once the news broke.

The virus’ scope and sophistication have led some to speculate Chinese government involvement in the attacks. While no direct cyberattacks on the protesters have been exposed as of yet, the Chinese government has made extensive use of their control over the internet to suppress information about the protests on the mainland.

Boosting Solar Energy Demand Is Crucial To Longevity

The sun provides all of the energy that we would ever need to power literally anything on this planet. The only problem has been finding a way to harness that power. Finding a way to take that energy, and store it for release and use in a variety of different ways.

The rise of solar power has sought to deal with this problem. Providing new and innovative ways to take care of solar energy, providing an infinitely renewable resource.

However, until recently this technology is not cheap. But as with anything else it’s coming way down in price. Just as the internet is a less expensive commodity, services like Netflix and Hulu are making cable bills a thing of the past, and FreedomPop toys with the idea of totally free cell phone networks, solar energy is not far behind.

By 2050, the plan is for most of the world’s energy to convert to solar. With prices at an all time low, and then energy that solar panels can produce at an all time high, there’s something to this dream becoming a reality.

Since just 2010, the prices for large solar panels, the type that you would find on the roof of a house, or even laid in a field, have fallen by almost 64% on average. That’s massive.

Something nobody thought that they’d see, especially not so quickly. However, the governing body for solar energy, the IEA is nervous about how well this concept will actually catch on.

Energy needs are constantly growing, and solar energy can’t match the demand as it skyrockets with more and more developing nations.