Daily TIPs: Spam Survives, Where’s Windy, Reduced Voltage, & More

7/10/08

Little Headway Gained Against Spam and Malware

A report from Commtouch, a maker of antimalware, says the amount of spam on the Internet remains fairly constant, despite the efforts of companies to counter it. Botnets, in which viruses infect computers and allow them to be used to dispatch spam, continue unabated, says Ars Technica, with Turkey, Brazil, and Russia leading the pack of “zombified” machines in the second quarter of 2008.

Supreme Court Judge Illustrates How File Sharers Risk Personal Data

One source of data breaches that Internet users should be aware of are peer-to-peer software programs such as Limewire. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer found that out the hard way, when a file sharing program exposed his social security number. The Washington Post‘s Security Fix blog expands on the newspaper’s story.

Everyone’s Talking the Global Warming Talk, Few Walking

Despite statements from world leaders that talks on global warming by the G8 industrialized nations were productive, the agreement actually has very few concrete goals to curb carbon emissions, says the New York Times. One climatologist, Michael Schlesinger at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, characterized the results as “talking the talk” rather than “walking the walk.”

Offshore Wind Energy Mapped by NASA

Companies looking for sites to place offshore wind turbines can thank NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for identifying the best spots. CNET News reports that 10 years of satellite data led to a map showing the sites where wind is steady and strong for most of the year.

California Startup Seeks to Reuse Carbon Emissions

Carbon Sciences, a startup in Santa Barbara, CA, says it has developed a relatively simple method to take the carbon dioxide emitted during mining operations and turn it into precipitated calcium carbonate, or PCC. The Environmental News Network reports that the company hopes to keep the carbon out of the atmosphere by turning it into useful products, at the same time earning money from what used to be waste. PCC is a component of many everyday products, including paper, wallboard, and fertilizer.

Earthquake Prediction May be Coming

Imagine if state and city governments could get 10 hours’ notice that an earthquake was expected, giving them time to evacuate their citizens and start an emergency response. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC, have discovered subtle geological changes that occur hours before a quake and might lead to such an early warning system, reports MSNBC. It will take more study, and possibly another decade or two, to develop such a system, the researchers say.

Volt’s Gas Tank to Be Smaller, Says GM

General Motors has been hyping its Chevy Volt, a car that would run 40 miles on a battery before having to burn gasoline to keep going. While the original plan was to have a 12-gallon tank that would allow the Volt to travel 600 miles after the battery ran out, using the gas engine to recharge the battery, the KickingTires blog reports that’s changing. GM won’t say how many gallons the redesigned tank will hold, but the range has been reduced to 360 miles.

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