Archive for May, 2011
A couple weeks back, Greenpeace released a report that draws attention to energy consumption patterns and choices in the IT industry. From the executive summary:
A quick glance at the letter grades on our Cloud Energy Report Card (found on page 7 of this report) indicates that many IT brands at the vanguard of this 21st century technological shift are perpetuating our addiction to dirty energy technologies of the last two centuries. We analyzed the data centre investments of 10 top global cloud companies and our findings show a trend across the industry towards extolling the external effects of IT products and services, while failing to take seriously the need to power this widespread aggregation of the world’s information with clean, renewable electricity.
While the report has drawn criticism, it actually does have some kind things to say about the IT sector’s energy efficiency efforts, and rightly so (the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign is a great resource for more on these efforts). But the real thrust of the report is to criticize the industry’s energy choices, while also calling for more “transparency.” On this issue, the report loses some … Read the rest
While there are an array of great things going on currently in e-government in the U.S. government, including a shift to cloud computing, more efforts at using mobile platforms and social media, and efforts to streamline and consolidate the hundreds if not thousands of legacy systems, at the end of the day the way the public still mostly interacts with government digitally is through government agency web sites.
And yet, too many of them remain user-unfriendly and poorly maintained. A case in point is the Transportation Security Administration. I suppose it’s to be expected that the first thing a visitor to www.tsa.gov sees is a picture of a two people holding a puppy. I am sure that has something to do with airport security, but don’t really know or care.
So, as a traveler, I see the “For Travelers” tab and click on it. I don’t know about you, but the main thing I want to know is what are the average security checkpoint wait times at the airports I am traveling through at various times of the day. But there is no link to anything like this. If one … Read the rest
All About the Fundamentals: Three Misconceptions of the Heritage Foundation’s Deficit/Energy Proposal
Last week ITIF, along with the Breakthrough Institute and Americans for Energy Leadership released Counterpoint: Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, a fact sheet listing the numerous errors and misunderstandings found in Heritage’s recent proposal to dismantle the Department of Energy. The proposal was not only stunning in that if implemented it would nearly cripple the United States energy innovation system, but also because of the overwhelming use of failed logic to justify program budget reductions or program elimination. In a new briefing by ITIF, BTI, and AEL, three fundamental misconceptions in Heritage’s thinking are discussed, including:
1. The Proposal fails to meanigfully reduce the budget deficit now or in the future.
In advocating that the government cuts nearly half of the FY2012 budget request for DOE energy programs, Heritage’s stated goal is to alleviate, “the huge debt burden that the government is placing on future generations, and thus [reign] in federal spending.” Their proposal fails to meet this goal for two reasons.
First, the DOE represents a tiny portion of the federal budget and contributes little to the budget deficit and national debt. Even the proportionately large cuts to DOE … Read the rest
Pharmaceutical companies routinely use prescriber-identifiable data to target advertising to doctors. For example, a drug company may provide information to an allergist about the benefits of a new allergy medication for patients that have fewer side effects. The previously-mentioned states passed legislation to prevent this, ostensibly to protect doctor privacy, but also with the clear intent of controlling health care costs. As Chief Justice Roberts succinctly put it when addressing Vermont’s Assistant Attorney General, “You … Read the rest