Daily TIPs: Blogging for Bucks, Power Waves, Core Strength, & More

9/23/08

Suniva Promises Cheap, Efficient Solar Cells

An Atlanta, Ga-based startup, Suniva, says it can make solar cells that are more efficient than existing devices and do it much more inexpensively. Technology Review says the company’s solar cells convert about 20 percent of sunlight into electricity, almost as much as the best solar cells on the market. But their manufacturing process, which resembles silk screening for T-shirts, and the fact they use less pure silicon, could bring costs down significantly once production is scaled up.

Wireless Costs Are All About Control

Yesterday we linked to a BusinessWeek story saying that costs for wireless access are going up because of bandwidth limits. A writer at GigaOm takes issue with that conclusion, and argues that the real reason is that wireless carriers want to maintain control over the services their users enjoy. If the carriers can control the distribution of services for music, photo sharing, and social networks, they could potentially make a lot more money, she writes.

Blogs Make Money, Report Finds

The average blog that runs ads is actually making money, according to a report from Technorati. The report found that mean annual revenue for blogs is $6,000, well over the mean annual cost of $1,800. As TechCrunch tells us, with a note of skepticism, blogs that draw 100,000 or more unique visitors each month are earning $75,000 and up.

Will the Volt Jolt the Car Industry

General Motors unveiled the Chevy Volt last week, and a columnist at Salon wonders if it will wind up as the new new thing or the Edsel reborn. Though he quotes one reviewer who calls the electric car “the 1984 Apple McIntosh on wheels,” he also cites skeptics who don’t like the design and worry that the price will be too high.

Multicore Chip Increases Computing Power

Instead of always striving to make processors faster, computer chip makers are also improving performance by putting more, slower processors on a single chip, creating multicore chips. While Intel and AMD are still offering four-core chips, a San Jose, CA-based startup called Tilera has just introduced a 36-core chip. CNET News reports the company already had a 64-core chip, which it updated, but wanted the less expensive, smaller device to broaden into markets such as video conferencing and network and security applications. By running programs, such as image processing software, in parallel on slower processors, the multicore chip accomplishes tasks faster than chips with fewer cores.

Support for Tidal Power Swells

The pursuit of power generated by the movement of tides has faced obstacles, such as the wave power machine that sank off the coast of Oregon last year. Despite such setbacks, the New York Times reports that ocean power companies are making a new push to develop the technology. The paper says there are roughly 100 small companies around the world that hope to turn the tide to electricity.

Candidates Agree and Disagree on Climate Change

Both candidates for U.S. president agree that climate change is important for the country to address, and both support emission cap-and-trade systems, private sector involvement, and an international approach to tackling the problem. The Wall Street Journal reports that surrogates for Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain debated the issue during a panel on climate change in New York. Where’d they disagree? The Republican wants the federal government to oversee emissions rules, whereas the Democrat likes programs that have been started by California and 10 northeastern states.

People Follow Parties on Global Warming

Where you stand on global warming can be predicted by your political affiliation, a study in Environment has found. Scientists looked at data from the Gallup poll over the past decade and found that Democrats and Republicans diverged in their beliefs about climate change, Science News reports. For instance, in 1997, 27 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of Republicans thought global warming was exaggerated. In 2008, the percentage dropped to 17 percent among Democrats, but rose to 59 percent among Republicans.

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