Economic impact of solar power is reportedly much worse than other renewable sources

wind, energy, european union, power, solar, nuclear

Solar power solutions have generally been considered to be a reliable source of renewable energy, with a seemingly continuous string of technological advancements being made. While harnessing the sun’s natural power certainly seems like a good idea, a new report suggests it may not be as economical as it seems.

The European Union has published a report stating the economic impact of solar related technologies outweighs the benefits in many cases. Not only is it extremely costly in terms of operation, but also in terms of its economic effect on the climate, resources and pollution among other things.

The report factors in all of these conditions in order to derive an economic cost per megawatt-hour for each of the major power sources. While the study is from 2012, many believe the data is still relevant today despite advancements being made in manufacturing processes and materials.

Based on the analysis, commercial solar power facilities cost far more than other options at $127 per megawatt-hour. Coal and natural gas plants ran just over $64, wind systems were $102 and nuclear power plants cost $115 per megawatt-hour, according to the report.

The reason the cost is so high on solar power options seems to do with the way the materials needed for the process are sourced and manufactured. Not only are the materials used quite expensive, reports suggest much of the solar cell manufacturing is done in China where electricity is extremely carbon-intensive.

Source: Techspot

Internet trolls in Britain could face up to two years jail under proposed legislation

prison, legislation, uk, jail, trolling, trolls, britain, internet trolls

In the wake of a number of high-profile cases of abusive and threatening behavior on online social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and others, the British government has proposed a new legislation, which if enacted, would see Internet trolls facing some serious jail time.

“These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life”, said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. “No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media”.

The move comes just days after model Chloe Madeley was subjected to rape threats on Twitter following her mother Judy Finnigan’s controversial remarks about the footballer and convicted rapist Ched Evans, saying that his crime was non-violent as he did not cause any physical harm to the teenager he attacked. Madeley, who defended her mother’s remarks, described the threats as “extremely chilling and cowardly”.

Under the current law, Internet trolls who subject victims to sexually offensive, verbally abusive, or threatening material, can only be prosecuted in magistrates’ courts under the Malicious Communications Act, which carries a maximum jail penalty of six months. The new legislation (dubbed Chloe’s Law) would allow magistrates to refer serious cases to the crown courts, where offenders could face a jail penalty of up to 24 months.

“The current law obviously needs to be reviewed”, said Madeley, adding that physical threats shouldn’t fall under freedom of speech, and rather be seen as online terrorism. Aside from her, the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann are also among the most recent victims of Internet trolls.

The law change will be introduced as amendments to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, and is scheduled to be debated in the House of Lords in the coming week.

Source: Techspot

Razer is reportedly a billion dollar company now

Razer, known for its gaming peripherals and devices, has joined the elite club of billion-dollar companies. According to a TechCrunch report, the San Diego-based company recently attained a valuation of over $1 billion, thanks to new funding from Intel Capital, the chip giant’s venture-capital arm.

“We’re already one of the billion dollar unicorns in the tech start-up world and now, we’ve got more resources than ever to allow us to focus on designing and developing the best experiences for gamers worldwide”, noted a leaked internal memo which was handed over to TechCrunch by an anonymous source.

The memo also says the company now counts over 10 million people using its software, with over 2 million logged on daily, and details the appointment of three new board members, with one identified as an investor in the company.

Neither Razer nor Intel responded to requests for comment, but TechCrunch says its sources have indirectly confirmed the memo is legitimate.

Following its mantra “For Gamers. By Gamers”, Razer has seen success with its high-end gaming mice and keyboards as well as its Blade gaming laptops and Edge tablets. The company claims to have shipped 11 million connected devices, with 7 million gamers using its products, and is also set to enter the wearables market with its Nabu smartband, due in the coming weeks.

The last round of funding for Razer was in 2011, when the company raised $50 million from IDG and Accel. Just how much money Intel has invested in this latest round is not yet known.

Source: Techspot

Facebook’s new Safety Check feature tells friends you’re safe during natural disasters

Facebook has launched a new feature that aims to help you connect with your family, friends, and loved ones during or after natural disasters. Dubbed Safety Check, the feature is rolling out globally on Android, iOS, basic feature phones, as well as desktops.

Back in 2011, when Japan was hit by one of the most powerful earthquakes, triggering a massive tsunami, people relied heavily on technology and social networks like Facebook to stay connected with those they cared about. Facebook says the new tool is an extension of the Disaster Message Board, which was created at that time by the company’s engineers in Japan with an aim to make it easier to communicate with others in trying times.

Safety Check will get activated after a natural disaster, and if you’re in the affected area, you’ll receive a Facebook notification asking if you’re safe. If you really are, you can select “I’m Safe” and a notification and News Feed story will be generated with your update. But there is no option to say NO.

Source: Techspot

South Korean ISP set to unveil 10Gbps fiber connection, 1GB download in less than a second

One gigabit per second (1Gbps) fiber connections like those offered by Google Fiber is considered the Holy Grail of broadband in the US. The truth of the matter, however, is that Americans lag (no pun intended) far behind other countries in terms of Internet speeds.

Take South Korea, for example. The nation’s current average broadband speed is 100Mbps which enables users to download a 1GB file in around 80 seconds. That’s certainly nothing to scoff at although it pales in comparison to what’s just around the corner.

One of the nation’s largest broadband service providers, SK Broadband, will be introducing its new 10Gbps fiber service on October 20 at the Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union at the Busan convention center.

If you’re keeping up, that’s 100 times faster than the already fast 100Mbps average that South Koreans enjoy. With it, customers will be able to download the aforementioned 1GB file in just 0.8 seconds.

The latest advancements in broadband technology typically come out of countries like Japan and South Korea, a fact that citizens are very proud of.

Natsuki Kumagai told Stop the Cap that the world watched NASA send men to the moon in the 1960s and many grew up amazed at the constant advancements of the Americans. Now, however, the Americans are the ones doing the watching. Pyon Seo-Ju echoed those sentiments, highlighting how slow and expensive Internet access was during travels to the US.

Source: techspot

Security professionals build automated safe cracking machine using $150 in parts

safe, arduino, safe cracker, combination safe

Cracking a safe protected by a combination lock is typically reserved for skilled professionals or custom machines worth tens of thousands of dollars that are only sold to the military. A pair of Australian security professionals, however, have come up with a brute-force method that relies on technology instead of skill to open such a safe.

Jay Davis and Luke Janke demonstrated their automated safe cracker at the Ruxcon security conference in Melbourne earlier this week. The unnamed device was built largely of 3D printed parts, some step motors from an old stage lighting array and the heart of the gadget, an Arduino microcontroller.

Once attached to a combination lock on a safe, the device works its way through every possible combination using custom software. That certainly sounds like a lot of work – and it is (hey, nobody said it was fast). The team claims the device can crack a safe in less than four days.

That’s not much of a problem if it’s your safe and you happen to forget the combination but don’t expect to break into someone’s house and brute-force their safe… unless they’re on vacation or something (kidding, of course).

Because the device relies on software, it can be optimized for the job much like a brute-force password cracking program can on computers. For example, some combination locks come pre-loaded with several default combinations. By trying these first, the gadget can often crack a safe in just a few minutes versus a few days.

The components to build the device cost around $150 which, if you desperately needing to get into a safe without destroying it, could be a bargain.

Source: Techspot