Daily TIPs: Hydrogen Sports Car, Broadband in Every Pot, Wi-Fi in Flight, & More

8/5/08

Hydrogen-powered Sports Car on the Way

The prototype of a sports car that burns a mixture of gasoline and hydrogen should be ready by November, according to Earth2Tech. Ronn Motors, of Austin, TX, plans to unveil its Scorpion sports hybrid, with a body made of carbon fiber, in Las Vegas. The company is also working on fuel cells and plug-in electric vehicles.

FCC Wants Broadband for Everyone

The Federal Communications Commission wants to bring high-speed Internet access to the 40 percent of American homes that lack it. BusinessWeek tells us that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants to provide government incentives for private companies to provide more broadband service. He wants to auction off wireless spectrum and have the winning bidder commit to bringing at least minimal broadband service to 95 percent of the country within 10 years.

What’s the Best Way to Manage Broadband?

There’s a lot of discussion going on in the industry about the best way for service providers to manage their bandwidth while maintaining the principle of “net neutrality,” with ideas like tiered pricing being floated. Vint Cerf, who goes by the title of Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, agrees broadband networks need some management scheme. At Google’s Policy Blog, he offers some ideas for managing the networks, but he says any restrictions should be narrowly applied so they don’t chase consumers away from useful applications.

Surfing at 20,000 Feet

Delta thinks its passengers should be able to go online while flying, and has announced plans to offer Wi-Fi service on all of its domestic flights by the middle of next year, the New York Times reports. The airline will of course charge a fee—$9.95 for flights under three hours and $12.95 for longer flights.

San Francisco to Vote on Clean Energy Act

Voters in San Francisco will see a question establishing a Clean Energy Act in the city on the November ballot, but Mayor Gavin Newsom is opposed to it. The act would require 51 percent of the city’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2017, 75 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2040. But the Environmental News Network reports that Newsom says this is an attempt to take over Pacific Gas and Electric, the region’s utility, and he opposes the act.

Insurers Rate Consumers Via Prescription Data

As the healthcare industry moves to greater use of computerized records, health insurers are looking at ways they can assess which patients they should cover. The Washington Post reports that insurance companies are using prescription drug records of more than 200 million Americans to create a sort of health credit report. The approach could cut health care costs, but privacy advocates worry that it’s happening without government oversight.

Investment in Cleantech Growing Rapidly

Concerns about the environment are helping to drive up venture investing in cleantech companies, according to a report from Ernst & Young. The report found venture investing in cleantech hit $961.7 million in the second quarter of 2008, says CNET News. A big portion of the increase is coming from large corporations, such as Shell, Chevron, and DuPont.

Does the Internet Promote the Democracy You Want?

Many people believe the Internet is an inherently democratizing force, allowing individuals to break away from the influence of oppressive governments. But a blogger at The 463 wonders what happens if the young people in places like China don’t embrace Western ideals. The blog links to interesting pieces from the New Yorker and the Economist.

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