Daily TIPs: Space Mirrors, Gassy Microbes, 120 in the Shade, & More

Crashes a Big Deal for Web Businesses

A few years ago, if a site like eBay went down for a couple of hours, it wasn’t such a big deal, because the number of users was relatively small. But as the New York Times points out, retailers are becoming more dependent on Web traffic, so a crash, such as when Yahoo’s Merchant Solutions site went down for 14 hours in the middle of the Christmas rush, is a much bigger concern.

Space Mirrors Don’t Solve Global Warming, Study Finds

Among the more ambitious proposals for combating global warming is the suggestion of unfurling giant mirrors in space, to reflect away some sunlight and compensate for the amount of heat trapped by the atmosphere. But the Discovery Channel reports on a recent study that questions the effectiveness of such an attempt. In a simulation, researchers were able to reduce the average global temperature, but they still saw warming at the poles and cooling at the equator, throwing the climate off balance.

Heat Waves Could Reach 120°, Study Warns

If something isn’t done to slow global warming, the planet could see heat waves of 120 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100, according to a study reported in Daily Tech. Dutch researchers developed a computer model to predict temperatures in cities during a heat wave. The results: 117° in Los Angeles and 110° in Atlanta, 5 degrees hotter than their record highs.

GOP Opposes Anti-Porn Rules for Wireless Network

You might suppose that Republicans would like a rule restricting indecent content on a proposed nationwide broadband wireless network. But Ars Technica reports that two GOP Congressmen are asking the Federal Communications Commission to drop the restriction. They worry that the rule will discourage bidding for the proposed network’s radio frequencies.

Ancient Bug May Hold Key to Hydrogen Economy

A microorganism from a billion-year-old branch of the tree of life can digest cellulose and exhale hydrogen, pointing the way toward easy production of an alternative fuel. The Joint Genome Institute of the Department of Energy plans to sequence the genome of Desulfurococcus fermentans, which was found by Russian scientists in an old volcano, says the Environmental News Network. Researchers aim to find the biological pathways that allow the bug to convert plant matter into hydrogen, so they can harness its power.

Cancer Nanotech a Good Example of Government Research Spending

The development of nanotechnology as a tool to fight cancer is leading to promising treatments, showing that government spending in a focused area of research can be good for business and for the public, argues a writer at Wired. Looking at the field of nanotechnology developed to treat cancer, the author says funding from the National Cancer Institute has led to promising developments in the field. So far, there are at least 48 clinical trials going on, many of them in Phase II.

New York to Spend Billions Fighting Greenhouse Effect

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced his intention to spend $2.3 billion to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 30 percent over the next 30 years. Reuters reports that the city wants to make its buildings and operations more efficient. Bloomberg predicts that by using less energy, the city should break even on its spending by 2013.

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