Peak Geek

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Cape Town Is 90 Days Away From Running Out of Water

After three years of unprecedented drought, the South African city of Cape Town has less than 90 days worth of water in its reservoirs, putting it on …

Mad Max

'Serious gap' in cosmic expansion rate hints at new physics

<b>A mathematical discrepancy in the expansion rate of the Universe is now "pretty serious", and could point the way to a major discovery in physics, says a Nobel laureate.</b><p>The most recent results suggest the inconsistency is not going away.<p>Prof Adam Riess told BBC News that an unknown phenomenon, such …

Space Science

'Battery' that bottles sunshine could bring a new solar revolution

A plastic-like material may do for solar power what high-performance electrical batteries have done for iPhones and Tesla cars.<p>Solar energy is clean, abundant, and irritatingly inconvenient: It doesn’t work at night or on cloudy days. You can convert sunshine into electricity and store it in a …

Clean Energy

Wind blowing and sun shining in Colorado – brand new wind or solar plus batteries cheaper than running an old coal plant

Xcel Energy, electricity utility of Colorado, received a batch of bids that averaged 2.1¢/kWh and 3.6¢/kWh for wind and solar power plus energy storage, respectively. The pricing was released in the public version of the ‘2017 All Source Solicitation.’<p>The world’s previous low for solar plus storage …

Renewable Energy

Energy agency rejects Trump plan to prop up coal and nuclear power plants

The unexpected decision by the Republican-controlled body is a blow to the president’s high-profile mission to revive the struggling US coal industry<p>An independent energy agency on Monday rejected a Trump administration plan to bolster coal-fired and nuclear power plants with subsidies, dealing a …

Energy

Kohler's new smart fixtures make Alexa your bathroom buddy

While Kohler is mostly known for simple bathroom fixtures, it's been releasing a few high-end smart products, like toilets, for years. But now the company is expanding to the whole bathroom. The brand introduced a new platform at CES, Kohler Konnect, that runs on a new line of products users can …

Bathrooms

Trump administration plans to allow drilling off all U.S. waters

The Trump administration unveiled a controversial proposal Thursday to permit drilling in most U.S. continental-shelf waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors from New Jersey to Florida, nearly a dozen attorneys general, …

Environment

The Year Climate Change Began to Spin Out of Control - MIT Technology Review

For decades, scientists have warned that climate change would make extreme events like droughts, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires more frequent, …

Climate Change

Elon Musk Tweets An Excellent Example Of Tech Ethics

As I track examples of Silicon Valley’s unique political ideology, I’m always delighted to find ones that are short and sweet. Elon Musk recently gifted us with a great example.<p>In an exchange on Twitter, Musk shot off an innocent science-friendly argument,<p>“It is high time that humanity went beyond …

Elon Musk

“ISIS 3.0”: How Silicon Valley Gave Rise to the Next Generation of Terror

The digital battlefield is the least understood component of our ever-changing, 16-year war on terror—and, perhaps, the most dangerous.<p>In a video that has now been deleted from YouTube, a camera pans across a desert skyline before alighting upon a young man in the familiar regalia of the modern …

Islamic State (ISIS)

Internal FCC Report Shows Republican Net Neutrality Narrative Is False

The story of net neutrality as an Obama-led takeover of the internet was refuted by an Inspector General investigation whose findings were not made public prior to Thursday’s vote.<p>A core Republican talking point during the net neutrality battle was that, in 2015, President Obama led a government …

High Seas Hybrid: World’s Most Eco-friendly Cruise Ship Will Sail in 2018

From an environmental perspective, it’s easy to see how cruise ships have long been one of the harshest modes of travel. They’re big, slow, …

Falkland Islands

The FCC just voted to repeal its net neutrality rules, in a sweeping act of deregulation

Federal regulators voted Thursday to allow Internet providers to speed up service for some apps and websites — and block or slow down others — in a decision repealing landmark, Obama-era regulations for broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.<p>The move to deregulate the telecom and cable …

Net Neutrality

Trump cedes green energy jobs and leadership to China

Recently, Syria announced it would be joining the Paris climate accord. In the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord, the United States is now the only nation on Earth that is not part of the effort to combat climate change. Beyond the enormous environmental …

Energy hog Google just bought enough renewables to power its operations for the year

The company uses as much electricity as San Francisco.<p>Recently, Google announced that it has purchased a whopping 3 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity — equal to what all of its offices and data centers around the world use on an annual basis.<p>The tech giant was able to hit this target of …

Renewable Energy

Bill Gates has read nearly all 37 books by this Canadian scientist — here are 7 of his favorites

On Monday, Bill Gates released his annual list of favorite books that he read in 2017. One of his recommendations was "Energy and Civilization: A History" by Vaclav Smil.<p>This pick should come as no surprise — Gates has not been shy about his admiration of Smil's work. On his Gates Notes blog, he …

Patagonia, REI and Other Outdoor Retailers Protest Trump’s Decision to Shrink Utah Monuments

Patagonia, REI and other outdoor clothing and equipment retailers are speaking out against President Trump’s plan to slash the size of two national monuments in Utah by some two million acres.<p>Mr. Trump on Monday announced that his administration would shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a region …

Patagonia to sue Trump: 'The president stole your land'

Outdoor gear company Patagonia says it will take legal action over President Trump's move to dramatically shrink two national monuments in Utah.<p>"We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts," CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement Monday, …

Conservation

Trump shrinks two huge national monuments in Utah, drawing praise and protests

SALT LAKE CITY — President Trump on Monday drastically scaled back two national monuments established in Utah by his Democratic predecessors, the largest reduction of public-lands protection in U.S. history.<p>Trump’s move to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by …

Conservation

'Zero tolerance' plan eyed for plastic pollution

<b>A plan for zero tolerance of plastic pollution of the oceans may be agreed by nations at a UN environment summit.</b><p>Governments are being asked to move towards a legal treaty banning plastic waste from entering the sea.<p>At the moment ships are prohibited from dumping plastic overboard but there's no …

How Zero Mass is using solar panels to pull drinkable water directly from the air

Zero Mass’ ambitious plan to change water<p>At some point while standing on the roof of an old car dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona, I noted that it was hot outside. Almost as if on cue, our cameras began to overheat and shut down.<p>The founder of Zero Mass Water told me that this kind of early …

Clean Energy

How Renewable Energy Will Destroy Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels may be in a lot of trouble over the long term.<p>There's an energy revolution taking place before our eyes, but it doesn't seem to be …

EFF provides tool to allow you to instantly lobby Congress to protect net neutrality

Although the Trump administration is pressing ahead with plans to remove net neutrality, there’s still time for you to play your part in preventing it.<p>The proposal still needs to pass a vote in Congress, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has provided a webpage allowing you to instantly lobby …

Tesla finishes installing mega-battery in Australia

<b>Tesla has finished installing the world's biggest lithium-ion battery and will switch it on over the coming days.</b><p>The 100-megawatt battery in South Australia is designed to provide security to the state's electricity grid.<p>It will store enough energy to power 30,000 homes for about an hour.<p>Tesla's …

Jay Weatherill

The backlash is building over the plan to gut net neutrality

The Republican-helmed Federal Communications Commission is expected to pull the plug on net neutrality rules in three weeks — but tech companies, entrepreneurs and other concerned users are vowing to not go down without a fight.<p>On one side are internet service providers, who believe rolling back …

The end is near for Obama-era net neutrality rules

Everything from the way you use banking apps to the speed of your Netflix stream could soon be changing, if all goes to plan for the Federal Communications Commission.<p>The FCC's mission — essentially gutting the internet as we know it — would allow service providers to create so-called fast and slow …

Sea Levels Are Already Rising. What's Next?

Climate change is battering coasts with storms and floods, but we still haven’t grappled with the risks of what’s to come.<p>President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax. But scientists project that, within the next 100 years, rising sea levels caused by climate change will submerge much of …

Tesla reveals semi-truck and new sports car

You'll often hear automakers brag of a sports car's zero-to-60 performance but less often for a big-rig truck. On Thursday night, Tesla boasted of both.<p>Tesla revealed an all-new version of its Roadster sports car that can go from a stop to 60 miles an hour in 1.9 seconds, a figure that would make …

Trucks
Energy