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  • Why Solar Is Much More Costly Than Wind or Hydro

    A new report from the E.U. estimates the true economic cost of different forms of energy production.

    It?s no surprise that if environmental costs are considered, renewables?particularly wind power?are a far better bargain than coal power. But it might surprise many that according to a new such analysis, solar power lags far behind wind and even hydroelectric power in its economic impact, at least in the European Union.

  • The Quest to Put More Reality in Virtual Reality

    The inventor of Second Life has spent 15 years chasing the dream of living in virtual space. Can his new company finally give virtual worlds mass-market appeal?

    Philip Rosedale is telling me about his new company, but I can?t stop myself from looking down at my hands. With palms up, I watch with fascination as I slowly wiggle my fingers and form the ?OK? sign. I curl my hands into fists as I reach my arms out in front. They look pinker than normal but work as usual. When I look back up at Rosedale, he?s wearing a smile, and his eyebrows rise slightly. ?Isn?t it cool?? he says. In my right ear, I hear a quiet chuckle from one of his colleagues, Ryan Karpf, standing just outside my vision.

  • A Physical Key to Your Google Account

    Google says using a small USB stick to vouch for your identity is more secure than either a password or conventional two-factor authentication.

    Opting in to Google?s latest security upgrade requires a spot on your keychain for a device known as a security key.

  • China?s Growing Bets on GMOs

    New technology and large government research initiatives in ≠genetically modified crops are giving China a storehouse for a more populous future.

    How will China get enough to eat? More than 1.3 billion people live in the world?s most populous nation, and another 100 million will join them by 2030. China is already a net food importer, and people are eating more meat, putting further demands on land used to grow food. Meanwhile, climate change could cut yields of crucial crops?rice, wheat, and corn?by 13 percent over the next 35 years. Mindful of these trends, China?s government spends more than any other on research into genetically modified crops. It?s searching for varieties with higher yields and resistance to pests, disease, drought, and heat. The results are showing up in the nation?s hundreds of plant biotech labs.

  • The Extremes of Inequality

    Development is lifting people out of poverty, but there?s still far to go.

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