Daily TIPs: Electric Sports Cars, Parking By Cell Phone, Throttling Throttlers, & More

Should Hybrid Cars Have Solar Roofs?

Japanese news reports last week said Toyota is designing a plug-in version of its hybrid Prius that would have solar cells mounted on the body to charge the batteries. Technology Review says engineers are testing car-mounted solar arrays as electricity sources for vehicles. Unfortunately, the systems may be too expensive and produce too little power to be practical.

Gene Testing Cost May Be Higher Than its Value

As the California Department of Public Health wrestles with questions of how to regulate companies that offer the public genetic testing services, the Los Angeles Times asks whether such tests are worth the expense. In some cases, the gene associations with disease are so weak that the tests produce both false positives and false negatives. In others, say critics, even an accurate result isn’t very helpful because the tests identify diseases for which no treatment exists.

A Look at Tesla’s Long, Winding Road

Tesla Motors, which is about to open a sales office in California, is building the world’s first high-performance electric sports car. A long feature in Fortune looks at the twists and turns the company has taken in trying to get its zero-emissions muscle car on the road.

The Right Way to Patch Internet Flaws

Last week several companies, such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems, simultaneously released a set of patches designed to correct a security flaw in the Domain Name Server system, which controls Internet addresses. CNET News talks to Dan Kaminsky, the security researcher who found the flaw and kept it secret from the public while steps were taken to correct it. The writer argues that the decisions Kaminsky made are a model for dealing with such potentially high-risk security problems.

Use Your Cell Phone to Find Parking

The City of San Francisco plans a test this fall of a system that monitors parking spaces and allows drivers with smart phones to find empty spots, and even use their phone to pay the meter. The New York Times reports that the system will be tested in a quarter of the city’s 24,000 metered spaces. The hope is that the system will cut down on traffic congestion and air pollution while making it easier for people to get to local businesses.

FCC to Challenge Comcast on Throttling

Comcast ought not to be slowing down the Internet access of users sharing large files, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin says. According to the Washington Post, Martin wants the FCC to prevent the practice, but does not plan to levy any fines against Comcast.

New Technologies Drive Medical Costs Up

High-tech health care devices, such as the da Vinci robot that allows surgeons to operate in tight spaces with minimal incisions, can add a lot to hospital costs. But, as Business Week reports, healthcare experts are beginning to question whether the benefits of such devices are worth the added costs.

U.S. Offers Prize for Greener Jet Fuel

The federal government is giving money to the X Prize Foundation in an effort to kick start the development of renewable sources of jet fuel. The Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration  gave the foundation $500,000, Daily Tech reports. The hope is that private sponsors will raise that amount to $10 million.

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