SarahPAC takes in $733,000 – donates $10,000 to candidates

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who’s leaving public office in two weeks, raised nearly $733,000 since starting a federal political action committee.

Documents filed Monday with the Federal Elections Commission show Palin, who pledged to keep her hand in politics even though she’s stepping down as governor, has donated $10,000 to federal candidates through SarahPAC, USA Today reported. Her political action committee was established in January.

Palin gave $5,000 each to Arizona Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who tapped her to be his running mate during the 2008 presidential election, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

SarahPAC ended June with nearly $457,000 cash on hand, USA Today reported.

Maybe Levi knows exactly what he’s talking about, eh?

Six in 10 companies plan to skip Microsoft Windows 7

Six in 10 companies in a survey plan to skip the purchase of Microsoft Corp’s Windows 7 computer operating system, many of them to pinch pennies and others over concern about compatibility with their existing applications.

Windows 7 will be released October 22, but has already garnered good reviews, in contrast to its disappointing current version, Windows Vista.

Many of the more than 1,000 companies that responded to a survey by ScriptLogic Corp say they have economized by cutting back on software updates and lack the resources to deploy Microsoft’s latest offering.

I think the active definition is that they’re “unwilling” to deploy those resources. And that’s something that Microsoft has had to face increasingly since XP. Simply planking the next-gen Windows OS on retail PC’s and waiting for corporate IT depts to begin support – is over and done with.

ScriptLogic Corp, which provides help to companies in managing their Microsoft Windows-based networks, sent out 20,000 surveys to information technology administrators to learn the state of the market…

The survey found about 60 percent of those surveyed have no plans to deploy Windows 7, 34 percent will deploy it by the end of 2010 and only 5.4 percent will deploy by year’s end…

But there were reasons other than money for staying away from Windows 7. Another 39 percent of those surveyed said they had concern about the compatibility of Windows 7 with existing applications.

IT departments want to wait for the deployment of the 1st Service Pack – to back away from stability worries.

There are many industries where the XP-based software they’re running – or even older – does everything they need just fine. Why spend the money for bells and whistles that aren’t required to kee their systems happy?

Coal Countries betting tech can clean up energy production

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission


In the high-stakes game of climate change, the United States and other countries are betting on the idea that technology can make dirty coal cleaner.

For years if not decades, U.S. efforts to develop big coal-fired power plants that push CO2 emissions into the ground instead of spewing them into the atmosphere have stalled. The situation has gotten so bad that green-tech experts refer to this period of technological development as the “valley of death” for carbon capture and storage technology, or CCS…

“If we’re going to be able to add carbon capture and storage to our toolbox of ways to address climate change, the time to demonstrate it is right now — or yesterday, maybe,” said Sarah Forbes, a senior associate at the World Resources Institute. “CO2 emissions are continuing to rise, and we’re seeing impacts of climate change…”

And President Obama last month announced a $1 billion revamp of the country’s flagship CCS research project, a near-zero-emissions coal-fired power plant in Illinois called FutureGen. It’s urgent that both efforts succeed, Forbes said…

About half of U.S. power comes from coal, and the process of burning coal for electricity accounts for about 80 percent of the country’s CO2 emissions from electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar — which, together, account for less than 2 percent of U.S. electricity production — won’t be able to ramp up fast enough to replace coal, said Scott Anderson, a senior policy adviser at the Environmental Defense Fund.

“We’re not champions of coal at EDF, but we’re realists,” he said. “Although we see room for a huge expansion of renewable energy and efficiency, in the near term, we don’t think that coal is going away. … We still have a huge existing base of coal plants that will be around, at a minimum, for a number of decades.”

In the United States, many are pinning hopes on FutureGen…The project took a blow in late June, however, when two of its private-sector backers, American Electric Power Co. and Southern Co., withdrew. Because of delays and cost overruns, the project has earned the nickname “NeverGen.”

Meanwhile, other nations are moving ahead. In China, the similarly named GreenGen plant is expected to be completed before FutureGen. Australia has a project called ZeroGen, and several European countries are working on similar technologies.

Some have described the situation as an arms race. The country first to prove that CCS works may be able to export the technology elsewhere.

Obama probably has the best quote on the question: “If we managed to put a man on the moon in 10 years I think we can do the same with coal-based production of electricity.” Or something like that.

Point being – as an ecology activist for decades I think it would be foolish to pass on the energy potential of our great coal deposits because some don’t like the idea of using it – at all. That’s not science. It’s not even ideology. It’s religion.

Cranky retiree bricks cars to defend pedestrian walkway

A retired teacher, who sparked nationwide controversy by throwing bricks at cars that ran red lights defended his actions saying he was protecting pedestrians.

Yan Zhengping, 74, became an Internet sensation after he lobbed bricks at 14 cars at an intersection over more than three hours Thursday evening, witnessed by many people in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu Province.

“I know it is illegal, but I had to do it to raise awareness on the safety of pedestrians,” said Yan.

Yan acted after a young man was killed on a crosswalk by a speeding motorist in an illegal drag race in the downtown area of the eastern Hangzhou City. The driver has been charged with vehicular manslaughter…

Hundreds of local residents applauded him and two elderly men joined him in throwing bricks, while others found them more bricks and brought them water.

All 14 drivers fled the scene with their damaged cars after seeing the angry crowd.

Police stopped Yan more than three hours after he started. He was interviewed and later released without charge.

Internet polls don’t mean much – depending as they do upon whoever feels like responding to the topic. Still, at China’s major websites, a majority of netizens supported Yan. In one poll, 260,000 of 330,000 respondents supported him.

Drunks with guns in Tennessee

Following a recent series of high-profile shooting incidents in the United States, the southern state of Tennessee is changing its gun laws this week.

It is relaxing them.

Soon, Tennessee’s bars and restaurants will no longer be off-limits for registered weapons. State legislators – a quarter of whom own firearms – have passed a law allowing guns into bars and restaurants, but preventing their owners from buying alcohol.

The basic wingnut defense.

For the bill’s Democratic sponsor – State Senator Doug Jackson – it is a case of preserving the rights of individuals and those of individual states.

“People are fearful about tomorrow. They feel insecure. And the Second Amendment right is something that they cherish and it’s a means of protecting themselves and their family and defending what they have. It provides security in troubled times.”

Nashville’s police chief, Ronal Serpas does not believe that people who walk into bars with guns will steer clear of the shot glasses.

“If you think about how alchohol influences the choices people make… I don’t believe people are not going to drink and have guns, because I know they drink and drive,” he says.

Continue reading

How about a website that turns your Big Mac into a gourmet dinner?

BK Quiche

Want a junk food fix, but fear losing your sophisticated edge? Erik Trinidad’s blog has the answer. With the honest tag line, “Yeah, it’s still bad for you – but see how good it can look!”, Trinidad transforms convenience food into gourmet creations.

Inspired by childhood games with his brother, when the pair competed to restyle dishes at Chinese buffets, the blog showcases his makeovers with Domino’s pizza turned into Dao Mi Noh Chow Mein (with soy sauce produced by reducing cola), a sushi platter constructed from chicken shop purchases, and a Big Mac given a new life as steak and chips.

Trinidad says it’s a protest against “foodie” culture and self-important diners at swanky restaurants. Cheaper chains should take note: there may be a fast buck in downturn dining.

A fun site.

My favorite example? Turning a Burger King Croissan’wich and a Biscuit Meal into a BK Quiche. Har!

Facebook – the book. Facebook – the movie. Facebook – the bullshit.

Founding a successful website is normally a story that would interest only a handful of computer obsessives. It would certainly not be the subject of a million-dollar publishing deal and a Hollywood movie brimming with A-list talent. But then Facebook is no ordinary website.

A book about the beginnings of the globally popular social networking site, which now has more than 200 million users, is set to hit American bookshelves on 14 July. And far from being a story of bespectacled nerds, it promises to be a tale of sex with Victoria’s Secret models, hard-partying champagne bashes and the dark deeds of the rich and powerful.

The cover of the book, The Accidental Billionaires, sets the raunchy tone. It features an overturned cocktail glass and a discarded bra next to the blurb: “A tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal.” The exposé is written by the Boston-based author Ben Mezrich, who has previously, and controversially, chronicled the deeds of Las Vegas gamblers, high-powered financiers and Japanese gangsters.

Purporting to tell the story of Facebook’s founding by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and his friends, it charts the site’s rise from a private project aimed at judging the attractiveness of his fellow students to a way for classmates to keep in touch, and eventually to a global phenomenon valued at billions of dollars.

Along the way Mezrich paints a story of backstabbing, wild sex, hard drinking and, at one stage, feasting on roasted koala on a yacht owned by a Silicon Valley millionaire. “No one has really succeeded in making Silicon Valley sexy. But this book might,” said Caroline McCarthy, a journalist for the technology website CNET, who has reviewed a rare advance copy.

Perhaps no wonder, then, that The Accidental Billionaires is the subject of a major movie deal after actor Kevin Spacey signed on to produce it. Spacey even wrote a review of the book on its Amazon page, calling it “a captivating story of betrayal, vast amounts of cash, and two friends who revolutionised the way humans connect to one another – only to have an enormous falling out and never speak again”.

That’s about as much of the pre-release crappola I can stand. RTFA if you want more.

Like – is this what Social Networking is all about?