Links from Wednesday's episode of Loaded:
Apple gets ready to announce the iPad 2
Verizon's unlimited data plan will end this summer
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize
Facebook purchases a group messaging system
Lenovo shows off an eyeball-controlled laptop
Amazon threatens to shut down California affiliates based on a proposed tax law
Angry Birds St. Patrick's Day will launch March 22
Amazon.com has threatened to cut off more than 10,000 affiliates in California if state lawmakers pass legislation requiring the Internet retailer to collect sales tax from state residents.
Seattle-based Amazon said four bills introduced in the state legislature are unconstitutional because they would require sellers with no physical presence in California to collect sales tax from its residents, Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president for global public policy, wrote in a letter (PDF) to the California Board of Equalization, the state agency responsible for collecting property and sales taxes.
"If any of these new tax collection schemes … Read more
Could prefab structures be a quick and cost-saving way to get U.S. students out of dilapidated and energy-sucking schools?
A recent award to a Gen7 school building, made by American Modular Systems, seems to signal that modular classrooms have moved beyond being ad hoc building solutions for developing nations.
For the first time in California, a prefab building has been awarded national Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) certification for new school construction. CHPS certification is awarded to those schools that meet specific health, comfort, maintenance, and environmental sustainability standards.
"The Gen7 classroom proves that a prefab structure … Read more
Southern California Edison announced yesterday it has added seven new community solar plants to its energy repertoire that together generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 8,125 households.
SCE now has a total of 10 community-size solar stations, a network of small neighborhood solar stations, which consist of mainly rooftop solar installations on local buildings, connecting to its grid.
Four community solar stations in Ontario, Calif., for example, consist of 32,950 photovoltaic panels installed on the rooftops of warehouses owned by ProLogis. SCE leased what amounts to about 1.8 million square feet of roof space from … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--If you were walking down Second Street here yesterday morning, and thought you might be losing your mind, let me reassure you: Those really were life-size Lego Chewbacca and R2-D2 models and the world's-largest Lego Millennium Falcon.
On March 31, Legoland California will pull back the wraps on its brand-new "Star Wars" Miniland, an all-new interactive area at the amusement park that will feature more than 2,000 individual models from the George Lucas-created universe.
And yesterday, as part of a small tour to promote the new attraction, several Legoland personnel swung through CNET's headquarters … Read more
The newly elected governor of California wants to cut state spending and has starting by calling for the shut-off of half of the state-issued cell phones, some 48,000 devices, by June 1.
Gov. Jerry Brown, who will also be returning his own state-issued phone, said that the move will save the financially strapped state $20 million. In a statement, Brown said:
It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with tax-payer-funded cell phones. The current number of phones out there is astounding.
Of course, the push to cut the number … Read more
After record solar-plant approval in 2010, the California Energy Commission believes its "big push" in solar-thermal projects is over.
This past year represented a "sea change" as regulators ended a 20-year dry spell and fast-tracked solar-thermal plant approval, spokesman Adam Gottlieb told Reuters yesterday, helping drive the state's and nation's broader renewable-energy goals.
But because so many developers were rushing to meet a December 31 deadline for federal incentives, CEC staff are expecting a slower year in 2011. In hindsight, the rush was overdone, given that Congress has now extended that deadline for federal … Read more
SANTA CRUZ, Calif.--When I lived in this beach town on the central California coast in the early 1990s, I loved visiting a stunning local state park where each winter you could find more than 120,000 monarch butterflies swarming, clustering, and flying everywhere you looked.
It was an awesome sight.
Today, a visit to the monarch grove at Natural Bridges State Beach reveals a much grimmer situation--just 2,000 monarchs during the peak of their "overwintering" season, the period from late October through early March when the colorful butterflies rest in the trees here, protected from the … Read more
NRG Solar and SunPower said today they expect to begin construction on a large 250-megawatt solar installation next year in California's central coastal region.
The project would be one of the largest solar plants in the U.S., the companies said. NRG Solar, a subsidiary of utility NRG Energy, is purchasing the project from SunPower for about $450 million over four years.
The California Valley Solar Ranch plant will use SunPower's solar photovoltaic panels, which are mounted on trackers that position the panels to follow the sun to optimize power output. SunPower will build and operate the plant. … Read more