Daily TIPs: Googling the Candidates, Power from Dirt, Greener PCs, & More
Comcast Sues FCC Over Bandwidth Cap
Comcast is suing to overturn a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission, Ars Technica reports. The FCC ruled in July that Comcast could not slow down the Internet access of users who share files over peer-to-peer networks. The dispute is part of a growing controversy over whether the Internet faces a data traffic jam and what service providers can do about it.
Is Geoengineering a Good Idea?
A number of ideas that go far beyond cutting down greenhouse gas emissions have been floated to combat the effects of global warming, such as seeding the atmosphere with reflective particles or placing giant mirrors in space to divert sunlight from the planet. The International Herald Tribune reports that some scientists say such plans could have unintended negative effects, while the Royal Society, a British scientific body, says they might become necessary regardless of how risky they are.
PCs Rapidly Infested with Bot Software
The number of PCs infected with software that can turn them into “bots,” remotely controlled by criminals to send out spam or denial-of-service attacks, has jumped from about 100,000 to 400,000 over the past three months, says the Washington Post. The estimate comes from a group of volunteers, called Shadowserver, who monitor such activity. The Post says the real number of infected PCs is probably much higher.
McCain Being Googled More Often, Data Show
As the presidential campaign heads into its final two months, the number of people doing Google searches on Republican nominee John McCain is gaining on the number searching Democratic candidate Barack Obama. TechCrunch charts the data coming from Google Trends and finds that McCain spiked in searches when he announced Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. There’s no knowing, of course, whether this increased online attention translates into votes.
Candidates Differ on Plug-in Cars
It’s probably the first presidential campaign this has come up in, but both Barack Obama and John McCain have staked out positions on plug-in electric vehicles. CalCars takes a look at where the two stand. Obama would support more tax credits for plug-ins and switch the White House fleet to all plug-in vehicles. McCain wants to offer $300 million for developing more advanced batteries and has specifically supported Chevrolet’s electric Volt.
Startup Promises Power from Dirt
A company in Cambridge, MA, is working on fuel cells that use the metabolic processes of bacteria to generate power. Technology Review says the company, Lebone Solutions, realizes the process only produces small amounts of electricity, but thinks it will be enough to meet some needs in developing countries with populations living off the grid. The developers recently completed a pilot study of the technology in Tanzania.
Computer Makers Try to Get Greener
Computer manufacturers are looking for ways to make PCs more environmentally friendly, the Wall Street Journal reports. Dell, for instance, has introduced a machine built with recycled parts. Other companies are developing software to make computers use less energy, or building chips that are more energy efficient.