Daily Archives: December 16, 2011

Lawmakers trade barbs in hearing on Stop Online Piracy Act


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GoogleBy Cecilia Kang – In a raucous House debate on Thursday over a bill to stop piracy on the Internet, lawmakers representing the interests of old media and new media drew their swords in passionate attacks and counterattacks over the controversial proposal.

The circus atmosphere of the hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act, introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), reflected the high-stakes, emotional nature of the debate over how to protect copyrighted movies, songs or books online without trampling on the free speech of individuals and companies.

“Once the government has the taste of power, the temptation to exert ever greater control over the Internet . . . will be even greater,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). more> http://twurl.nl/nj53go

China’s cyberwar


DHS Network Topology

Image @Wikipedia

Editorial – What exactly is happening?

“The computer networks of a broad array of U.S. government agencies, private companies, universities and other institutions — all holding large volumes of sensitive economic information — were targeted by cyber espionage,” said a report issued in October by the Office of the National Counterintellingence Executive. “Much of this activity appears to have originated in China.”

The Pentagon has set up a cyber command, but it has the authority to protect only military networks; the Department of Homeland Security jealously guards its prerogative to guard domestic civilian targets. Government agencies often don’t share sensitive intelligence with companies, while many companies are reluctant to report on penetrations of their networks; Google has been a rare exception. more> http://twurl.nl/zlzun7

Discovery of ‘dark state’ could brighten future for solar


Photovoltaic cells produce electricity directl...

Image @Wikipedia

R&D Mag – Chemist Xiaoyang Zhu (the University of Texas, Austin) and his team have discovered it’s possible to double the number of electrons harvested from one photon of sunlight using an organic plastic semiconductor material.

The maximum theoretical efficiency of the silicon solar cell in use today is approximately 31%, because much of the sun’s energy hitting the cell is too high to be turned into usable electricity. That energy, in the form of “hot electrons,” is instead lost as heat. Capturing hot electrons could potentially increase the efficiency of solar-to-electric power conversion to as high as 66%. more> http://twurl.nl/bw3dh4

Hypocrisy Proves Bipartisan in Payroll Tax Debate


By Caroline Baum – Let’s start with the Democrats. The White House has installed a clock on the top of its homepage, informing us how many days, hours, minutes and seconds remain until the 2 percentage point cut in the employee portion of the payroll tax expires on Dec. 31. There’s even a handy-dandy calculator to see how the cut affects you.

Republicans who signed a pledge to never- raise-taxes-on-anyone-ever-no-matter-what aren’t so sure about this one. That’s why House Speaker John Boehner had to lard the bill extending the payroll tax cut (and unemployment benefits) with a provision to accelerate the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. Last month, Obama put that project on hold either (take your pick) for environmental review or to appease his base.

Now, to square the circle, House Republicans have passed a measure that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said was dead on arrival and Obama threatened to veto because of spending cuts and the oil pipeline add-on. more> http://twurl.nl/ecnpyj

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CONGRESS WATCH A Bipartisan Way Forward on Medicare, Ron Wyden and Paul Ryan, Wall Street Journal/US Congress

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CONGRESS WATCH Issa in USA Today: Must Be Accountability for Fast and Furious, US Congress Brian Terry: Semper Fidelis & Honor First, YouTube [VIDEO 2:13] Related articles Updates from Congressman Darrell Issa (theneteconomy.wordpress.com)

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CONGRESS WATCH Cost Estimate for H.R. 3117, Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2011 Cost estimate for the bill as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on November 17, 2011 Cost Estimate for H.R. 2060, Central Oregon … Continue reading