Daily TIPs: Sunlight for Everyone, Happy Birthday Google, Facebook for Spies, & More

Solar Power Provides Enough Energy for Everything, Expert Argues

Solar power has the potential to provide for all the world’s energy needs, the research director of a Paris-based institute told a European energy conference, according to Agence France Presse. Daniel Lincot, research director for the Institute for Research and Development of Photovoltaic Energy, says solar energy is so far providing only a negligible contribution to the global energy supply, but there’s enough sunlight striking the Earth to cover all the planet’s needs. Scientists at the conference called on governments around the world to speed up the deployment of solar power.

Obama, McCain Compete on Who’s Greener

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees for president have made energy security and environmental issues part of their campaign, leading Reuters to ask who is best equipped to turn the White House green. Barack Obama, who wants higher fuel efficiency standards for automobiles and calls offshore drilling a stop-gap measure, has the endorsement of most environmental groups. John McCain wants to develop technologies that reduce American dependence on foreign oil, and told his party’s convention last week, “We will drill new oil wells off-shore, and we’ll drill them now.”

Google Grows into an Enormous 10-Year-Old

Google turned 10 on Sunday, and in the past decade it has grown enormously, from performing 10,000 searches a day in 1998 to an estimated 235 million daily searches now. It’s also grown into a company with $16.5 billion in annual revenues, allowing it to buy a number of other businesses. Forbes takes a look at how a tiny company grew into an Internet king.

TI Introduces Energy-Efficient Chip

Energy efficiency is widely seen as a cost-effective step for combating the pollution that leads to global warming. Texas Instruments is introducing a line of microcontrollers that it says will provide more sophisticated control of power usage in a wide variety of electronics, from battery-driven cars and solar panels to LED lighting and home appliances, CNET News reports. For instance, TI says an air-conditioner with a variable fan speed controlled by its microchips could be 30 percent more efficient than current models.

Spooks Sign On to “Facebook for Spies”

Social networking could be a useful tool for intelligence agents to share information and opinions in a way they never have before, say bosses at the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency. According to CNN, the agencies are encouraging their analysts to use A-Space, a new site being launched for the intelligence community this month. The hope is that crucial data will be shared more widely by the people who need to see it, but no one will be able to use it without the proper security clearance.

Companies Twitter to Reach Out to Customers

People who use Twitter to comment about Kodak or General Motors might be surprised when the companies Twitter back at them. BusinessWeek reports that those businesses, as well as others such as JetBlue, Dell, Comcast, and Whole Foods, have started to monitor the microblogging service for mentions of their companies. When they see a mention, their customer service departments respond to the sender, asking if there’s anything they can do to help.

How Much for R&D in Clean Energy?

How much should the government spend on research and development for clean energy technologies, asks Earth2Tech. Dan Kammen, director of the Renewable Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and an advisor to Barack Obama, is calling for $150 billion over 10 years. A group backed by the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council argues that committing to $100 billion would create 2 million jobs in just two years.