Daily TIPs: Blood from Stem Cells, Dems on the Internet, Bright Lights and Windmills, & More

8/20/08

Website Seeks Credibility From Readers

A new website is using a twist on popularity rankings by asking readers to score it on credibility. NewsCred, which just launched its beta version, lets users score its news stories by how credible they are, an attempt to add a new level of involvement to news sites, Reuters reports. The site is mostly in English, but plans to expand its Spanish and French content.

Google to Host Bloggers at Political Conventions

When hordes of bloggers join the swarms of delegates descending on Denver next week for the Democratic National Convention, and on Minneapolis for the Republican version the week after that, Google will be there with open arms, Internet access, and snacks. Google, which wasn’t a significant presence at the conventions four years ago, will set up a two-story, 8,000 square foot headquarters for bloggers in Denver, with something similar planned for the Republicans, the Wall Street Journal reports. Along with Internet-equipped workspaces, couches for napping, and free smoothies, the company will offer a closing-night party.

Democratic Platform Addresses Internet

The Democratic party platform, to be discussed and voted on at next week’s convention, takes special notice of the role of the Internet in modern life. The platform calls for a national broadband strategy. Wired says this is very different from the Bush administration’s stance, which has left issues of broadband access in the hands of the private sector.

Stem Cells Produce Blood in Lab

Blood drives may one day be a thing of the past, thanks to work at Advanced Cell Technology of Santa Monica, CA, the University of Illinois, and the Mayo Clinic. As the Los Angeles Times reports, researchers there say they’ve used embryonic stem cells to make blood. The team says they’re still several steps away from making blood suitable for transfusions.

Is Data Fusion a Boon or a Bust?

Data fusion, the process of linking several databases together to create a single, wide-ranging profile of a person for such purposes as preventing credit card theft or chasing down deadbeat dads, promises efficient use of personal data but seems like a nightmare to privacy advocates. But as it turns out, Scientific American reports, these databases may contain too many errors and meaningless coincidences to actually be useful.

Stolen Data For Sale Online

The Security Fix blog at the Washington Post continues its look at the tools of the trade for cyber criminals. Today, it talks about websites where thieves can purchase stolen credit-card data. The average price for such information is $1.20 per card number, along with names, addresses, and phone numbers.

LEDs May Light Up New York Streets

Long-lasting, energy-efficient LEDs have already become ubiquitous in traffic lights around the country. Now they may be poised to take over streetlights as well. According to the New York Times, New York City will conduct tests of new streets lights, complete with new pole designs, based on LEDs. If the tests are successful, the city could eventually replace all 300,000 of its streetlights with LED versions.

Bloomberg Proposes Wind Plan for New York

Windmills could top New York City skyscrapers and bridges, or supply power from the waters off Manhattan, if Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way. Speaking at the National Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Bloomberg cited studies predicting that wind energy could provide 10 percent of the city’s electricity needs within 10 years, says CNET News. Most of the installations would likely be small turbines on tops of buildings. Well, after all, old New York was once New Amsterdam.

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