Showing posts with label Goodwill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Goodwill. Show all posts

Sunday, August 16, 2009

'Clunkers' program is costly way to cut carbon

University of California, Davis
August 14, 2009


New UC Davis estimates say the federal government's Cash for Clunkers
program is paying at least 10 times the "sticker price" to reduce
emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

While carbon credits are projected to sell in the U.S. for about $28
per ton (today's price in Europe was $20), even the best-case
calculation of the cost of the clunkers rebate is $237 per ton, said
UC Davis transportation economist Christopher Knittel.

"When burned, a gallon of gasoline creates roughly 20 pounds of
carbon dioxide. I combined that known value with an average rebate of
$4,200 and a range of assumptions about the fuel economy of the new
vehicles purchased and how long the clunkers would have been on the
road if not for the program," Knittel said. "I even assumed drivers
didn't change their habits, although some ......

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dolphins are capable sea chefs, scientists say

Dolphins are the chefs of the seas, having been seen going through precise and elaborate preparations to rid cuttlefish of ink and bone to produce a soft meal of calamari, Australian scientists say.

A wild female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin was observed going through the same series of complicated steps to prepare cuttlefish prey for eating in the Spencer Gulf, in South Australia state.

"It's a sign of how well their brains are developed. It's a pretty clever way to get pure calamari without all the horrible bits," Mark Norman, the curator of mollusks at Museum Victoria and a research team member, told the Canberra Times newspaper.

The research team, writing in the science journal PLoS One, said they repeatedly observed a female dolphin herding cuttlefish out of algal weed and onto a clear, sandy patch of seafloor.

The dolphin, identified using circular body scars, then pinned the cuttlefish with its snout while standing on its head, before killing it instantly with a rapid downward thrust and "loud click" audible to divers as the hard cuttlebone broke.

The dolphin then lifted the body up and beat it with her nose to drain the toxic black ink that cuttlefish squirt into the water to defend themselves when attacked.

Next the prey was taken back to the seafloor, where the dolphin scraped it along the sand to strip out the cuttlebone, making the cuttlefish soft for eating.

Norman and study co-author Tom Tregenza, from the University of Exeter, said the behavior exhibited between 2003 and 2007 was unlikely to be a rarity.

"In addition to our observations, individual bottlenose dolphins feeding at these cuttlefish spawning grounds have been observed by divers in the area to perform the same behavioral sequence," they said in the study.

"The feeding behavior reported here is specifically adapted to a single prey type and represents impressive behavioral flexibility for a non-primate animal."

A separate 2005 study provided the first sign dolphins may be capable of group learning and using tools, with a mother seen teaching her daughters to break off sea sponges and wear them as protection while scouring the seafloor in Western Australia.

The mammals used the sponges "as a kind of glove" while searching for food, University of Zurich researcher Michael Krutzen told New Scientist magazine.

Other researchers have observed dolphins removing the spines from flathead fish prey and breaking meter-long Golden Trevally fish into smaller pieces for eating.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Locking It Down
Cyberthieves are watching. Here's how to keep your data safe and sound
By Eve Tamincioglu

Every six to eight months, a zombie attacks the e-mail server at Guy Brown, a Brentwood (Tenn.) company that refurbishes and sells office products. It's not a Dawn of the Dead zombie, but a virus that invades computer systems to send bogus junk mail. The intruder has even caused one of the $150 million company's biggest customers to stop accepting its e-mails. "A small business is about the relationships you have," says Philip Markuson, senior vice-president for operations at the 70-employee company. But cyber compromises can make clients start wondering whether "you have trouble running your business properly and diminish the trust you've built up," he says. That's why Guy Brown is upgrading security for its technology infrastructure, including spending about $5,000 to create a virtual padlock to keep out Internet hackers.

Smart move, and one that is not as common as it should be. More small businesses now have Web sites and e-commerce capabilities—potentially exposing company and customer data to thieves—but lack the safeguards many big companies have in place. About 57% of small companies don't think they need a formal plan to secure their data, and 61% say they never sought information on properly protecting their files, according to a March, 2007, survey by the National Federation of Independent Business and Visa USA. "Criminals look for the weakest link in the chain," says Gurpreet Dhillon, a professor of information systems at Virginia Commonwealth University. "Where's the weakest link? Small businesses."

Hackers are increasingly sophisticated, too. In the past, viruses with names such as Mydoom and iloveyou were spread by people craving media attention. These days, says Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, a trade association devoted to Internet information security, "the criminals are more like Tony Soprano than Ferris Bueller. Organized criminals are now doing it—not to show off, but to make money."

Protecting your network means taking a series of steps, including installing security hardware and software, putting an employee in charge of security, and educating all your workers.

Hackers' tactics, and the products to combat them, are always changing. Having an employee dedicated to security will help you stay on top of things, says Ron Teixeira, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, a public-private partnership that includes the Homeland Security Dept. and the Federal Trade Commission. Typically, the head of your IT department should fill that role. Companies that don't have IT staff should think about hiring a consulting firm. The best way to find one: referrals. Scott Testa, an adjunct professor at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia who specializes in small company technology, advises entrepreneurs to ask firms if they have experience with small companies and with their industry. They should also ask about whether their staff will be available at any time in case of a security breach.

"Independent, third-party firms that don't sell products are more objective," says Testa.
At a minimum, says Rob Fitzgerald, a computer forensics expert and president of Lorenzi Group, a consulting company in Danvers, Mass., "small businesses should have in place a firewall and have antispam/spyware and antivirus software installed on all computers." A firewall, which can include hardware or software or both, prevents unauthorized access to your network. All messages coming in or leaving your company pass through the firewall, which blocks those that do not meet your security criteria. Fitzgerald recommends that all small companies use firewall hardware. Sonicwall's (SNWL) TZ, Fortinet's Fortigate Unified Threat Management, and Cisco's (CSCO) Pix are all boxes you can plug into your modem. Buying the providers' annual service agreements, which run about $100 a year, gets you updates and access to tech support staff.
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Take Action List

Used electronic devices, known as e-waste, are increasingly becoming a larger part of our waste. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to those who want to recycle their old electronic items.

To address the increasing amount of e-waste, many state and local governments, electronics manufacturers, and non-profit organizations have created comprehensive recycling programs. Several states, including California, Maine, Maryland, Texas and Washington, have even enacted laws requiring the collection of certain electronics.

E-waste recycling options vary across the country. So, the first step to determine what options are available in your area is to review information about your local recycling program. This information is available on Earth 911 (using the recycling locator database at the top of this page), some local government websites and the following websites:

E.P.A. Product Stewartship
National Recycling Coalition
E Recycling Central (includes a list of questions to ask recyclers)
Basel Action Network
Computer Take Back Campaign

In addition to “traditional” recycling programs, some electronics manufacturers and retailers also offer e-waste recycling. Many manufacturer-sponsored programs will accept and process their brand for free. Some accept other brands for a small fee.

After determining what options are available, it is important to determine whether a recycler is operating under strict environmental controls and high worker safety protections. A few general questions to ask include:

Is the recycler certified (such as an ISO 14001 environmental management certification) and does it follow a set of industry recognized guidelines?

Does the recycler actually recycle most of the e-waste materials collected (It is best if the company can recycle 90 percent or more of the materials)?

Does the recycler have written procedures for removing and disposing of mercury lamps in electronic products? Many manufacturer and government sponsored programs have extensive online information detailing the way in which recycling is handled.

In addition to choosing a recycler, it is also important to prepare your e-waste for recycling. For computer recycling, one important concern is to erase all data from the computer before sending it off for recycling.

However, this should be a factor regardless of what one does with an old computer because electronic data can be retrieved from hard drives. There are many options (such as software) to ensure that the data is permanently erased.

In fact, many recycling firms will scrub the hard drive and certify that all data has been erased. Before sending your computer to a recycler, check to verify that this option is available.
Manufacturer Specific Programs

Toshiba Trade-In and Recycling Program
Lenovo/IBM (will also accept other e-waste of other computer manufacturers)

Retailer Programs

Circuit City (Easy-trade in program)
Best Buy
Staples (accepts computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, faxes and all-in-ones)
EPA Plug-In Partners (lists manufacturers, retailers and service providers that offer recycling of e-waste)


EPA–lists options for donating or recycling e-waste
Techsoup–lists non-profit organizations and recyclers of e-waste
Goodwill (some locations accept computers)–website includes tips on how to donate computers

Cell Phone Recycling/Donation

Motorola (accepts all brands for free)
Nokia (accepts all brands for free)
Call to Recycle
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (donation of cell phones)
Call to Protect
Verizon Wireless (accepts phones at Verizon stores)
AT&T Wireless (accepts phones at AT&T stores)
T-Mobile Wireless (accepts phones in stores and by mail)
Sprint Wireless (accepts phones in stores and by mail; recycling proceeds go to charity)

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles