|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Monday, October 24, 2005
FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations: "The FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some U.S. residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight, according to previously classified documents to be released today. Records turned over as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit also indicate that the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its use of secret surveillance operations, which have been stepped up dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but are largely hidden from public view. ..
Case numbers on the documents indicate that a minimum of 287 potential violations were identified by the FBI [referred to the Intelligence Oversight Board] during those three years [2002-4], but the actual number is certainly higher because the records are incomplete. .. More than 1,700 new cases were opened by the court last year, according to an administration report to Congress. ..
[Potential violations] included a violation of bank privacy statutes and an improper physical search, though the details of the transgressions are edited out. At least two others involve e-mails that were improperly collected after the authority to do so had expired." 6:06:53 PM
PV production doubling every 2 years
: A chart of global PV production by country 1988-2003. The 2004 figure, of 1195 MW, has been released by the same group in RE-focus magazine
. From very low levels up to 1996, production grew in successive 2 years periods by 74% to 1998, 85% to 2000, 95% to 2002, and 112% to 2004. Half of all production in 2004 went to grid-tied residential and commercial sites in Germany (250 MW) and Japan (240 MW). Japan produced about half of all PVs. Numerous plants are opening in 2005-2006
to continue growth. 3:40:03 PM
HSBC is carbon-free: "The Carbon Management Plan implemented by HSBC commits to buy renewable electricity where possible, and the bank implemented a system of measuring and reporting direct emissions from its consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and business travel. ..
Carbon emissions for the last three months of this year will be 170,000 tonnes and the bank will purchase that level of offsets through a competitive tender process from 100 projects from dozens of countries. It will spend US$750,000 to buy the offsets from a windfarm in New Zealand, an organic waste composting facility in Australia, an agricultural methane capture scheme in Germany, and a biomass co-generation plant in India. The value of the offset works out to US$4.43 per tonne of CO2." 3:27:48 PM
Nanocrystal Solar Cells
: October 2005 news from the lab of Paul Alivisatos at UCB. "In this paper, the researchers describe a technique whereby rod-shaped nanometer-sized crystals of two semiconductors, cadmium-selenide (CdSe) and cadmium-telluride (CdTe), were synthesized separately and then dissolved in solution and spin-cast onto a conductive glass substrate. The resulting films, which were about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, displayed efficiencies for converting sunlight to electricity of about 3 percent. This is comparable to the conversion efficiencies of the best organic solar cells, but still substantially lower than conventional silicon solar cell thin films. .. [They] offer the added advantage of being stable in air because they contain no organic materials" 3:17:32 PM
Diary of Disaster: Riding Out Katrina in the Data Center: Interesting stories of how some companies dealt with disaster recovery. Concludes with a few lessons:
- "PEOPLE FIRST. The first effort should be focused on locating your employees and ensuring their safety.
- DISTANCE MATTERS. Put your backup data center in a locale far enough away from your primary center to ensure continuity, but close enough to get employees there.
- PRIORITIZE YOUR BUSINESS. Focus on the information systems that matter most, such as customer support and manufacturing.
- EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. No matter how well documented your business Continuity plan, the disaster is likely to throw you an unexpected curveball. Account for the worst possible scenario."