Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Geek Shit Wednesday Vol. IV


Rep. Boehner Vows To Defund Net Neutrality

In a move that has some scratching their heads, Speaker Boehner of Clan Wingnut today blasted the FCC's net neutrality rules, threatening to defund them all in the name of protecting internet freedoms. 

"'There is no compromise or middle ground when it comes to protecting our most basic freedoms,' Rep. Boehner said, adding that the Republican majority in the House was committed to fighting the new regulations.

"'We’re also going to do what we can to see that no taxpayer dollars are used to fund these net neutrality rules,' he said."

Whose freedoms is he protecting, exactly?  Fox News' freedom to have their content prioritized over YouTube's?  This just grosses me out-- he's totally trying to make a dime for himself and his friend by playing on the fears of the uneducated about Freedom of Speech.  I myself had to ask a friend exactly what was going on in this complicated issue-- can you imagine what Joe Blow thinks when Boehner runs around telling people the government is going to run the Internet?


Miscanthus:  This Isn't The "Grass" Your Mom Used To Use As "Biofuel"

Biofuels are all the rage, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, where friends of mine routinely flip off Hummers just to show that FOSSIL FUELS SUCK!!!11!!

The recent biofuel alternatives, however, have been less than stellar-- corn, for instance, drives up the already growing price of food, while having an awful environmental impact during its production.  Well, stand back, guys, cuz it's SCIENCE to the rescue!

In a recently published study, a grass called miscanthus has been vetted as an alternative fuel source-- with some startling results.

"Biofuel crops have the potential to offset the world's reliance on fossil fuels, increasing energy security and decreasing the risk of climate change. However, the choice of crops and target fuel can radically change their impact, as issues like fertilization and ease of processing come into play. But, as a paper released by PNAS points out, these aren't the only things that change when you shift the crop. The paper suggests that switching from corn to a perennial grass can alter the water cycle and sunlight absorption so dramatically that it will have a larger impact than the carbon emissions that biofuels avoid."

While the study makes some unrealistic assumptions-- for instance, replanting all arable land in the US with miscanthus-- it indicates that the benefits of switching our biofuel industry could be multiple, ranging from (of course) being an alternative to oil to actually increasing the albedo of our planet-- thus reducing the overall temperature.

Click the article on Ars Technica, it's pretty fascinating.

[Ars Technica]

Watch Out, Ebay:  Used Electronics Can Now Be Hawked For Immediate Gratification

ecoATM, a new start-up based out of beautiful San Diego, has begun distributing futuristic kiosks that allow you to drop off your used electronics and receive cash-- instantly.

"It claims to offer highly competitive return rates, but its biggest value proposition may be the immediate gratification. From a consumer perspective, there’s very little reason not to use ecoATM over trying to hawk an old gadget online. The startup promises to wipe your device and spits out cash or store credit, no human contact required.

"The system isn’t perfect. ecoATM eats the cost on the returned devices it can’t resell, and the process can take a few a minutes (see below) — but it is working. In one year of testing, ecoATM has recycled more than 50,000 devices, according to CMO and co-founder Mark Bowles. Bowles and team are mum on what that translates to in financial terms, nor are they willing to share how much it costs to produce each kiosk or the exact margin they make on recycled devices."

Yowza!  Need beer money?  Drop off your Razor here!  Neat!



  1. I will save my RAZR 'til the death!

  2. I knew it had some kind of stupid spelling, but didn't give a shit.