Steel Production in Great Lakes Rises by 6,000 Tons

Jul 17, 15 Steel Production in Great Lakes Rises by 6,000 Tons

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Last week, according to the Northwest Indiana Times, raw steel production in the Great Lakes rose to an output level of 628,000 tons. This will be the second week in a row that it’s made a steady increase, despite overall U.S. steel production dropping 2.82% in the same time span. Domestic raw steel production, in total, was around 1.747 million tons, an increase from the previous week’s 1.722 million tons. In the Great Lakes area, with most of the output centered around Chicago and Northwest Indiana, steel production saw a 0.9% increase, totaling an additional 6,000 tons of output. The American Iron and Steel Institute reports a year-to-date output of 45.2 million net tons, with a capacity utilization rate of 72.4%. In comparison, the total domestic production of raw steel saw an output of about 1.684 million tons, down from the 1.733 million tons produced just a week earlier. Micah Pollak, Assistant Professor of Economics at Indiana University Northwest, offered, “The forecast is fairly optimistic. The decline was temporary, and we bounced back from that. We’re very optimistic with the Dow-Jones and after the U.S. didn’t come out and raise rates. It’s encouraging for the near future.” He also commented “The Dow-Jones Transportation Index also was positive, which means positive growth in the region, too. Steel has been a troublesome part of the economy. Production has been going down. Otherwise it’s healthy. I think we’re back to where we were before the recession.” This could be positive news for consumers, as well. The increase in regional steel will most likely lower the market price on home furnishings, like steel windows and doors. With unlocked windows and doors accounting for 30% of all home robberies, this could be mean a profitable season for local steel furnishing...

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OPM Denies Liability in Government Data Breach Despite Obvious Neglect

Jul 01, 15 OPM Denies Liability in Government Data Breach Despite Obvious Neglect

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In early June, U.S. government officials admitted that there had been a data breach into federal computers, whereby employees’ personal information was possibly leaked — but officials conveniently neglected to admit that security-clearance information had been stolen as well, making it one of the largest thefts of government records. It was clear right from the start that this wouldn’t be an easy story to untangle — and in the past month, it has only become more complicated. The problem began back in April, when agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discovered a breach in the computer system at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM); agents suspected that China was behind the breach, wherein everything from personal records to security-clearance forms were stolen. (The Chinese government has since denied any involvement in the scandal.) News broke early in June that there had been a breach of personnel files, the Wall Street Journal reported. After responding in the only reasonable way following a digital security problem — i.e., sending out an email to everyone that was likely affected by the breach — the government waited a week before admitting that sensitive documents regarding national security matters had been stolen as well. Authorities have since admitted that as many as 18 million Social Security numbers were stolen, making this incident very much unlike the data breaches faced by about 43% of U.S. businesses each year. But now that security-level information is involved, many Americans are asking who should be held liable for this grave mistake. The answer? According to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, it certainly isn’t anyone at her agency. USA Today reports that House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, along with other lawmakers, have called on Archuleta to resign, and the Washington Post states that multiple members of Congress have criticized OPM for “failing to respond to prior reports from the inspector general warning of vulnerabilities in its computer systems.” Authorities are likely experiencing a bit of déjà vu at the moment: Archuleta “repeatedly...

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Venezuela, No Longer an Oil Industry Leader, Agreed To Sell Its 50% Share in the Chalmette Refinery

Jun 25, 15 Venezuela, No Longer an Oil Industry Leader, Agreed To Sell Its 50% Share in the Chalmette Refinery

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The state of Venezuela’s oil industry — like the rest of the country, really — continued to decay after a recent announcement that ExxonMobil Corp. would be ending its partnership with Venezuela’s national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA). The two corporations currently have a joint ownership on one particular refinery in Louisiana, but after it is sold to PBF Energy Inc. for $322 million, the two companies will be parting ways. PBF Energy is a New Jersey-based oil corporation, which owns and run three refineries on the East Coast and in Ohio. The Louisiana Chalmette refinery isn’t exactly a big refinery by American standards, although it’s in an ideal location — just a few miles from New Orleans — to take advantage of crude oil resources. The largest refineries in the U.S. can produce about 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and Chalmette produces about 189,000 barrels per day; nevertheless, the acquisition will allow PBF to increase its oil production by about 35%, according to the Wall Street Journal, bringing the company’s total daily oil production to around 725,000 barrels per day. For ExxonMobil, losing its 50% in Chalmette isn’t necessarily a big loss. The company still owns and operates six major oil refineries in the U.S., reports the WSJ, producing over 1.8 million barrels daily. But for PdVSA, losing a 50% in the refinery will certainly have negative impacts on the Venezuelan economy. Venezuela is the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil to the U.S., writes the Latin American Herald Tribune, and the Venezuelan oil industry has been one of the few industries, in the past few years especially, keeping the country away from a complete economic breakdown. Most recently, however, Venezuela’s oil industry hasn’t been helping its economy at all. As the Times-Picayune explains, oil prices have been decreasing — in the past few months especially — making this industry less profitable for the country as it struggles to repay its debts amid its own crippling...

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Adblock Browser for iOS and Android to Keep Away Ads

Jun 22, 15 Adblock Browser for iOS and Android to Keep Away Ads

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Even people who aren’t tech-savvy can rejoice at the latest development in phones. Eyeo, a company based in Georgia, has now integrated the Adblock add-on and made it a full-on browser. The company hopes this will be more helpful than traditional blocking add-ons, and that it will attract more users. Over half of people who own phones use it as their primary internet resource. You can already download a beta version of the Android browser from the Google Play store. There are three reasons why many people choose to block ads during their internet browsing sessions — other than the fact that they’re generally annoying. On mobile devices, ads shorten battery life, cause pages to load slower than normal, and eat up all of your data. They can also contain malware that will harm your device. The browser comes from the idea of Firefox and Adblock Plus, and is virtually the same experience. By integrating the browser and the blocking software, it is much easier for users to just download and immediately use. The experience with the browser can also be unique to each user. You can set it so that it blocks all ads, or allow it to show ones for companies you generally like. An important thing to note about the browser, however, is that it does not provide users with protection against malware, so you should still be careful about questionable sites. The final version of the browser will be released in the summer, and Android users are encouraged to give feedback. The company is still tweaking the software for...

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Researchers in London Discover Dinosaur Blood in Fossils; Internet Reacts With ‘#DinoBlood’

Jun 13, 15 Researchers in London Discover Dinosaur Blood in Fossils; Internet Reacts With ‘#DinoBlood’

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Summer 2015 is the Summer of the Dinosaurs, apparently: just days before the newest Jurassic Park movie was released, scientists at Imperial College London made an astonishing discovery while examining a pile of “poorly preserved” 75 million-year-old dinosaur bones. #TigerBlood is so 2011. This summer, it’s all about #DinoBlood. The Washington Post and NBC News report that the bones contained traces of blood cells and soft tissue on the fossils, and this could provide scientists with a wealth of biological information about dinosaurs and could prove (or disprove) theories about how these animals lived and interacted. It’s common for businesses and organizations to ignore large amounts of data that they already possess; in fact, over 99% of data in the world is never actually used. The archaeologists in London even noted that this recent discovery came from a source that was, quite literally, hidden in plain sight. The eight bones had been dug up in Canada over 100 years ago and transported to the Natural History Museum in London, where they were held without proper preservation methods. Archaeologists have dated the bones back to the Cretaceous period, which lasted around 80 million years and ended 66 million years ago when dinosaurs went extinct. The researchers published their discovery in Nature Communications on June 9, and Twitter users immediately began commenting on the news using the hashtag #DinoBlood. According to the Post, the researchers initially inspected the bones because a discolored spot appeared on one and it was believed to be a result of contamination, possibly from a human. The team was astounded to find that the blood spot contained cells completely unlike human blood cells. When they began inspecting other samples from the same collection, they discovered remnants of collagen fibers that are typically found in bird bones. The Post has stated that there was no DNA found on the fossils, so unfortunately a real-life Jurassic Park scenario is still not likely to happen. However, just because scientists may not be able to find...

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British Inventor Rolls Out “Smart-Floor” Technology

May 27, 15 British Inventor Rolls Out “Smart-Floor” Technology

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A British entrepreneur wants to turn your footsteps into electricity, and he claims the technology already works. The U.K. startup Pavegen is raising money for the high-tech flooring on a website called Crowdcube, a British crowdfunding service similar to KickStarter. “Pavegen’s technology converts footsteps into electricity to power services in high-footfall locations and provide real-time data for analytics,” writes founder and CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook on Crowdcube. “Founded in 2009, the company has delivered over 100 projects, including Heathrow Airport and Harrods, across 30 countries generating a cumulative revenue of over £2.5 million. With a global distribution network in place and internationally granted patents, the next step is scale.” But do consumers really want “smartfloors”? Kemball-Cook is betting yes, and imagines a world run by the kinetic energy produced by human footsteps. Pavegen hopes to raise £750,000 to scale the business. The green energy smartfloor uses an electromagnetic induction process to generate electricity, and the company claims it can power lights and even entire buildings. Kemball-Cook says the product will work best in high-traffic areas like transit stations and stadiums. Pavegen even installed its kinetic flooring in a soccer field in a Rio de Janiro neighborhood, generating enough electricity to help power the field’s lights. “We’ve got operations set up in nine different regions in the world,” Kemball-Cook told TechCrunch. “And we’ve deployed [the product] in 30 countries so we’ve got a bit of scale already.” The company’s ultimate plan is to mass produce the flooring until it costs the same as “normal flooring.” In the United States, the flooring industry has already grown by 1.1% annually over the past five years. And with Silicon Valley constantly on the lookout for the next high-tech, hot-ticket item, American investors might want to get in on the ground floor of this emerging technology. The flooring produces seven watts of power for every pedestrian that walks across its surface. However, Kemball-Cook warns customers interested in carpeting a house with the product (since 70% of flooring in the U.S....

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