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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

48
votes
The Way This City Is Tackling Gas Prices Has Some People Crying ‘Socialism’

TheBlaze/AP -- The town of Somerset, Kentucky, opened a city-run filling station on Saturday, the Associated Press reported, offering gas to the public at below-market rates.

From the Associated Press:

The Somerset Fuel Center opened to the public selling regular unleaded gas for $3.36 a gallon, a bit lower than some nearby competitors. In the first three hours, about 75 customers fueled up at the no-frills stations, where there are no snacks, no repairs and only regular unleaded gas.

Some criticized the move, with one convenience store owner saying, ”They’ve used the taxpayer money that I have paid them over these years to do this, to be against us. I do not see how they can’t see that as socialism.”

 (read more)

Submitted Today By:
573 Comments

44
votes
Oil prices rise above $104; natural gas sinks

AP -- Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $2.89 a gallon.
The price of oil rose more than a $1 for the third time in the last four trading days, and closed above $104 for the first time since July 3.
Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose $1.46 to $104.59 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the Nymex contract fell 6 cents to $103.13. Oil has gained 4.6 percent over the past four trading sessions.
Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, gained 44 cents to $107.68 on the ICE exchange in London.
Meanwhile, natural gas prices sank further below $4 on forecasts for cooler temperatures in parts of the U.S. Natural gas supplies haven’t been dropping as quickly this summer, as milder temperatures compared with last year reduce the need for homeowners to  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
1080 Comments

44
votes
In 20 Years, Most New Cars Won’t Have Steering Wheels or Pedals

Wired -- By 2030, most new cars will be made without rearview mirrors, horns, or emergency brakes. By 2035, they won’t have steering wheels or acceleration and brake pedals. They won’t need any of these things because they will be driving themselves.

That’s the takeaway from a new study by the Institute of Electronics and Engineers (IEEE). It’s based on a survey of more than 200 experts who work in the various industries that are slowly pushing us toward a future where humans are so much worse than robots are at driving, it’s not worth letting us even touch a steering wheel.

Automakers have made huge strides toward producing conventional cars that can drive themselves in select situations. A few of those will likely be on the market by the end of the decade or soon after.  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
1241 Comments

42
votes
Tesla Model S hack reportedly controls locks, horn, headlights while in motion

Ars Technica -- Tesla Motors officials vowed to investigate reports that its Model S sedan is susceptible to hacks that can remotely control the car’s locks, horn, headlights, and skylight while the car is in motion, according to a published report.
Further ReadingHow mobile app weakness could let hackers track and unlock a Tesla Model S

Lack of limits on wrong passwords, threats from third-party apps increase risks.
The hacks were carried out at the Syscan 360 security conference in Beijing, an article published by Bloomberg News reported. The report cited a brief post on Chinese social media site Weibo from a representative of China-based Qihoo 360 Technology Co., which said the experiment was carried out by members of the company's information technology department.

The news comes a week after  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
725 Comments

36
votes
China's President Xi Jinping signs Venezuela oil deal

BBC-Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed a series of oil and mineral deals with Venezuela. -- They include a $4bn (£2.34bn) credit line in return for Venezuelan crude and other products.

The agreements came on the latest stop of a four-country visit to Latin America.

Mr Xi has already signed key deals in Argentina and Brazil. He has now departed from Venezuela and will visit Cuba next.

In Argentina the Chinese leader agreed to an $11bn currency swap providing much needed money for the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Argentina has been locked out of the international capital markets since a default in 2001.

Mr Xi also helped launch a new development bank alongside the other emerging powers of the Brics group - Brazil Russia India and South Africa - at a summit in Brazil.

The new bank is intended to create an alternative to the Western-dominated World...  (read more)

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40 Comments

Monday, July 21, 2014

58
votes
A Redesigned Parking Sign So Simple That You’ll Never Get Towed

Wired -- Your car gets towed, and who do you blame? Yourself? God no, you blame that impossibly confusing parking sign. It’s a fair accusation, really. Of all the questionable communication tools our cities use, parking signs are easily among the worst offenders. There are arrows pointing every which way, ambiguous meter instructions and permit requirements. A sign will tell you that you can park until 8 am, then right below it another reading you’ll be towed. It’s easy to imagine that beyond basic tests for legibility, most of these signs have never been vetted by actual drivers.

Like most urban drivers, Nikki Sylianteng was sick of getting tickets. During her time in Los Angeles, the now Brooklyn-based designer paid the city far more than she would’ve liked to. So she began thinking about how...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1374 Comments

57
votes
Watch Hyundai Demonstrate the 2015 Genesis’s Safety Features Unsafely in a Wild Commercial

Car and Driver -- The two-minute video, which was put on YouTube by TestDriven, is called the “The Empty Car Convoy” and demonstrates the 2015 Genesis sedan’s lane-keeping assist, radar cruise control, and emergency auto braking features in a rather clever way.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
22 Comments

56
votes
Cylinder Deactivation Heading to Three-Cylinder Engines

AutoEvolution -- Cylinder deactivation has been a great tool in recent years to help big, fuel-thirsty V-8s operate a little more efficiently at times, but one supplier could be developing a new system that could bring this technology to some of the littlest modern engines on the market. Engine technology supplier Schaeffler thinks that as automakers strive for maximum vehicle efficiency, the idea of a three-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation is a distinct possibility.

Vehicles like the Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper and Mitsubishi Mirage already offer an I-3 engine in the U.S., and as these engines continue to grow in popularity, Schaeffler is looking for ways to keep these diminutive engines at their peak efficiency. Why the need to improve the efficiency of an already-efficient engine? Bob Zito, Sc  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1405 Comments

51
votes
Speculators Cutting Bullish Oil Bets Miss Ukraine Rally

Bloomberg News -- The downed jetliner in Ukraine and Israel’s Gaza offensive blindsided speculators who had cut bullish crude bets on the assumption that risks to supply were diminishing.

Crude futures rose after money managers slashed net-long positions in West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark grade, by 15 percent in the seven days ended July 15, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. It was the biggest drop in bullish wagers since March 2013.

“A lot of people were clearly caught off guard by events,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst for London-based Energy Aspects Ltd., a researcher, said by phone July 18.

Prices dropped below $100 on July 15 for the first time in two months as the conflict in Iraq spared the country’s main oil-producing region and rebels in Libya said they would reopen expo  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
424 Comments

50
votes
Brent Swings as Supply Seen Safe Amid Russia Standoff; WTI Holds

Bloomberg News -- Brent swung between gains and losses amid speculation that the downing of a Malaysian Air jet will have no impact on supplies from Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter. West Texas Intermediate was steady in New York.

Futures were little changed in London after falling 0.6 percent on July 18. President Vladimir Putin faces pressure to respond after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there’s “extraordinary circumstantial evidence” that Russia provided the missile that Ukrainian rebels used to bring down Flight 17.

“We don’t expect really that the European Union or the international community to go so far that we’re going to see a disruption in energy supply,” Dominic Schnider, the Singapore-based head of commodities research at UBS AG’s wealth management unit, said in an interv  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
69 Comments

Sunday, July 20, 2014

54
votes
Pipeline industry creating windfall for Texas

The Houston Chronicle -- The pipeline industry created a windfall for Texas’ economy in 2013, fueled by an oil and gas boom that’s driving demand for more infrastructure, according to a report for a trade group.

The industry provided $18.7 billion in gross state revenue and sustained more than 165,000 jobs, according to a study commissioned by the Texas Pipeline Association conducted at Texas Tech University.

Technological advances in drilling and well completion have unlocked more hydrocarbons from dense rock formations, causing a surge in Texas production and driving a need for additional infrastructure to transport the hydrocarbons from wells to refineries.

“Without pipelines, our energy production will decline … that production would go somewhere else,” Thure Cannon, president of the Texas Pipeline Associat  (read more)

Submitted Jul 20, 2014 By:
1380 Comments

51
votes
Gasoline prices driving Canadian inflation

CTV NEWS -- OTTAWA -- Inflation in Canada continues to defy the experts' expectations, exhibiting stubborn staying power in the face of a weak economy and even softer employment conditions.
Provincially, inflation rose the most in Ontario to three per cent as natural gas prices shot up 38.4 per cent from a year ago and gasoline rose 9.4 per cent. Quebec recorded the lowest inflation reading in the country at 1.7 per cent.
June's gains showed more broad-based pressure on prices. Energy, particularly gasoline and natural gas, continued to be main drivers with year-over-year gains of 5.4 per cent and 19.4 per cent over last June. Both, however, were higher in May and so represented a moderating, if still significant, influence on inflation.
For the second month in a row, the annual rate hit a new two-yea  (read more)

Submitted Jul 20, 2014 By:
104 Comments

50
votes
70 MPH Speed Limits Coming for Part of Pa. Turnpike

Planck LLC -- For almost 100 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the speed limit is going up.

Starting July 23, the speed limit between Exit 201 and Exit 298 will be raised to 70 mph, the Turnpike Commission said Friday.

"Our studies have shown that the design of our system in this area can safely accommodate the higher speed limit,” said Pa. Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “But motorists must remember that it is their responsibly to drive safely and sensibly according to the traffic and weather conditions -– especially when the pavement is slick from precipitation or when visibility is limited."

Until the signage is changed, the speed limits remain as posted.
 (read more)

Submitted Jul 20, 2014 By:
938 Comments

46
votes
Improving driver safety: How to prevent streetlight glare in the new world of LED lighting

Science Daily -- Long hours of nighttime driving can cause eyestrain because while our vision adapts to the surrounding darkness, the sudden stabs of brightness from streetlamps can be irritating, distracting and even painful. Even as LED technology has transformed the lighting industry, bringing the promise of more energy-efficient road illumination, some fear that the new lights could cause even more troublesome, unsafe glare.
A team of researchers from China and the Netherlands has developed a way to evaluate the human impact of uncomfortable glare caused by LED road lights. They created a model that can predict the level of discomfort experienced by drivers under various lighting conditions. The team today reported their findings, which could guide streetlight placement and design, in The Optical Socie  (read more)

Submitted Jul 20, 2014 By:
53 Comments

46
votes
Vehicle Safety Recalls Explained

AutoEvolution -- You may have heard on the news or read on our website that the recall tally in the United States is breaking records this year, with 37.5 million cars called back in the first six months of 2014 over various non-compliance or safety defects. Naturally, this sort of situation shouldn't be taken lightly.

General Motors' ignition switch fiasco has been officially linked to 13 deaths and dozens of injured in vehicle crashes, while German manufacturer BMW has issued a recall involving almost the entire E46 3 Series production run due to a trigger malfunction with Takata-sourced airbags. Given the situation, we deem necessary to explain to our readers and fellow drivers how a glitch transmutes into a safety recall.

In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the agency  (read more)

Submitted Jul 20, 2014 By:
1183 Comments

Saturday, July 19, 2014

52
votes
Get Ready for the New England Power Shortage

The American Spectator -- n 1980, under the first administration of Governor Jerry Brown, California decided it wasn’t going to build any more power plants but would follow Amory Lovins’ “soft path,” opting instead for conservation and renewable energy. By 2000, with the new digital economy sucking up electricity, a drought in the Pacific Northwest cut hydropower output and the state found itself facing the Great California Electrical Shortage.

You know what happened next. For weeks the Golden State struggled to find enough electricity to power its traffic lights. Brownouts and blackouts cascaded across the state while businesses fired up smoke-belching diesel generators to keep the lights on. Governor Gray Davis finally got booted out of office but the state didn’t rescue itself until it threw up 12,000 megawatts  (read more)

Submitted Jul 19, 2014 By:
1419 Comments

48
votes
Upset Customer Caught On Camera Using Truck To Break Gas Station Vacuum

CBS4 Miami FL -- A man, after losing four quarters in a vacuum cleaner machine at a gas station, became upset last week and decided to do something about it.

The customer is captured on surveillance tape at a Westar Gas Station in Kendall, wrapping some sort of rope or chain around the machine that reportedly took his money and then using his truck to pull the vacuum down.

The owner of the vacuum cleaner, that has since been replaced, wants the customer who destroyed his machine to be held accountable.

The customer went inside the gas station asking the clerk who owned the vacuum. Vilches says that the clerk told the customer she didn’t know, and the customer went back outside upset.

Then, captured on surveillance, the customer walked out and decided to take matters into his own hands.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 19, 2014 By:
297 Comments

47
votes
Oil stays over $103 on global turmoil

AP -- Wholesale gasoline fell 2.2 cents to close at $2.860 a gallon

EW YORK — The price of oil retreated slightly Friday but remained elevated because of political turmoil around the world.
Concern that conflicts and rising tensions in the Ukraine and the Middle East could disrupt supplies sent oil prices higher this week, though the world appears to have an ample supply of crude and supplies have not been affected.

The industry calls this higher price, based only on fear, a “risk premium.”

“Developments during the past couple of days have added to a long list of geopolitical hot spots,” wrote energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch in a note to clients, which he says “will force the oil complex to maintain significant amount of risk premium.”

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery fell 6 cents to  (read more)

Submitted Jul 19, 2014 By:
1311 Comments

45
votes
Study says Drivers With Allergies Similar to Drunk Driving

GasBuddy Blog -- There’s new evidence that suggests drivers with allergies can actually be impaired, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  A new study from the Netherlands shows that drivers with allergy symptoms are comparable to drivers with a .03 percent blood-alcohol level.The study focused on people with tree and grass pollen allergies. Participants drove 60 minutes with a camera recording them to see how often they veered to the center lane.This technique, called standard deviation of lateral position, is used to assess drunken driving. ...  (read more)

Submitted Jul 19, 2014 By:
3492 Comments

42
votes
Are you guilty of these bad driving habits?

USA Today -- Driving would be awesome — if it weren't for all the other drivers, am I right?

For example: Traffic on a major thoroughfare is heavy and moving slowly; only a handful of cars creep through the intersection during each light cycle. Impatience grows and more and more motorists try to sneak through on yellow. Eventually, they get so desperate they start stacking up mid-intersection and remain there after the light turns red.

Now the cars trying to turn left into that lane can't, and they start stacking up, blocking traffic in the other direction, too. Pedestrians can't cross in the crosswalk. Order breaks down. And I become Bill Bixby, angered beyond control (despite my polite admonition that you wouldn't like me if this happened), complete with tortured expression and preternaturally ...  (read more)

Submitted Jul 19, 2014 By:
68 Comments

Friday, July 18, 2014

53
votes
$2 billion wasted by state government, say opponents of gas tax increase

Springfield MA Republican -- BOSTON — Marking the one-year anniversary of the most recently enacted Beacon Hill tax increase, ballot activists hoping to repeal the indexing of the gas tax to inflation on Thursday released a “State House Tab” delineating areas where they say state government has “wasted” $2 billion.

The mock tab, printed up to appear like a retail receipt and signed by “Hardworking Taxpayers,” places a $332 million cost on the state’s crime lab evidence tampering scandal, a $500 million cost on the state’s failed health exchange website and related insurance coverage problems, and says welfare fraud has cost $200 million.

The tab also lists $175 million in health costs associated with “ineligible” residents, and describes as waste the $9 million makeover of Gov. Deval Patrick’s office and $2.6 millio  (read more)

Submitted Jul 18, 2014 By:
970 Comments

47
votes
New Hampshire Power Plant Turns to Russia for Coal Shipment

Climate Change News -- When New Hampshire’s largest utility needed to rebuild coal supplies after the past frigid winter, it turned to Russia rather than Appalachia in the U.S. Northeast or Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

The Doric Victory, a bulk carrier the length of two football fields, transported the fuel almost 4,000 miles (6,436 kilometers) from Riga, Latvia, last month to Public Service of New Hampshire’s Schiller power plant in Portsmouth, a 150-megawatt facility that’s produced electricity since 1952.

Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26 percent this year, as railroad bottlenecks slow deliveries and electricity demand climbs with an improving economy. Russia, the world’s third-largest exporter of the fuel, will boost shipments 3.9 percent to 106 million metric  (read more)

Submitted Jul 18, 2014 By:
1490 Comments

46
votes
Algenol - Fuel From the Sun

The Island -- The last time we visited Algenol at their ribbon cutting ceremony in October of 2010, the facility consisted of three buildings containing their labs and research and development center. Today, the company's location off of Alico Road boasts six buildings with more than 90,000 square feet housing 127 employees, and stands poised to move into commercial development of its revolutionary biofuel - meaning that Floridians may be able to fill up their vehicles with algae-based gasoline by early 2016. This represents the fulfillment of a dream by visionary CEO Paul Woods, who plans to announce the location of Algenol's 452-job manufacturing plant by the end of 2014...  (read more)

Submitted Jul 18, 2014 By:
1385 Comments

43
votes
Nissan Launches 'No Charge to Charge' Program

GasBuddy Blog -- The economics are simple: Buy an all-electric Nissan LEAF, and you save money by avoiding the gas pump. With Nissan's "No Charge to Charge" promotion, new LEAF buyers in certain markets get an even better deal with two years of free public charging.New Nissan LEAF drivers are now enjoying free charging at eligible public stations, thanks to the new "No Charge to Charge" program, which is now live in 10 markets across the United States. With free access to charging at more than 2,600 public stations available in the initial program markets, including more than 200 quick chargers, LEAF drivers are also experiencing the "range confidence" that public charging can provide.  Is that what you'd need to consider buying one? ...  (read more)

Submitted Jul 18, 2014 By:
4361 Comments

42
votes
Dead Air: End of Tax Credit Deflates Wind Power

US News & World Report -- It’s in the doldrums.

If there was any question about whether and how the wind industry would be affected by the absence of a federal tax credit, the evidence is here.

While more than 12,000 megawatts' worth of new wind power was installed in 2012, fewer than 2,000 new megawatts were just a year later. The reason: Investors rightly predicted the production tax credit would not be renewed by Congress before it expired after last year, according to data from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Wind Energy Association.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 18, 2014 By:
49 Comments