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by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:07:58 PM EST
Caspian Oil Access Curtailed: Georgia -- A Blow to US Energy - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The plans of the US and Western oil companies for expanded pipelines in the Caspian region may well be a casualty of Russia's attack.

 If Russia clamps down on pipelines, oil from these platforms in Azerbaijan may not make it to the West. Long-term U.S. efforts to access Caspian oil free of Russian influence may come to naught. The sudden war in the Caucasus brought Georgia to heel, reasserted Russia's claim as the dominant force in the region, and dealt a blow to U.S. prestige. But in this part of the world, diplomacy and war are about oil and gas as much as they are about hegemony and the tragic loss of human life. Victory in Georgia now gives Russia the edge in the struggle over access to the Caspian's 35 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas. The probable losers: the U.S. and those Western oil companies that have bet heavily on the Caspian as one of the few regions where they could still operate with relative freedom.

At the core of the struggle is a vast network of actual and planned pipelines for shipping Caspian Sea oil to the world market from countries that were once part of the Soviet empire. American policymakers working with a BP-led consortium had already helped build oil and natural gas pipelines across Georgia to the Turkish coast. Next on the drawing board: another pipeline through Georgia to carry natural gas from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to Austria -- offering an alternate supply to Western Europe, which now depends on Russia for a third of its energy.

But after the mauling Georgia got, "any chance of a new non-Russian pipeline out of Central Asia and into Europe is pretty much dead," says Chris Ruppel, an energy analyst at Execution, a brokerage in Greenwich, Conn. The risk of building a pipeline through countries vulnerable to the wrath of Russia is just too high.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:11:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All the pipelines we'll ever need from the Caspian are already in place. The BTC (oil) is large enough to take all the oil that will ever be produced in the Azeri side of the Caspian, and, later, the oil from Kashagan on the Kazakh side, once a way is found (i) to produce it and (ii) to bring it across the Caspian Sea. The South Caucasus Gas Pipeline already exists (it shares the route of the BTC) and brings azeri gas to Turkey. Nabucco is about bring gas from Turkey to Austria; the question of what gas is used to fill it in Turkey is the big one: azeri gas is not enough, Turkmen gas is highly unlikely, Iranian gas is (so far) unreliable, and is presumably not what the Americans want, so all you have left to fill it (ie to finance it and justify its construction) is Russian gas.

The ignorance in these articles about Caspian oil is stunning, as usual.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Genetic modification gets royal warning - International Herald Tribune

LONDON: Prince Charles of Britain said Wednesday that the widespread use of genetically modified crops would be the biggest environmental disaster of all time.

The 59-year-old heir to the British throne is well known for supporting organic farming, but his comments published in an interview with The Daily Telegraph were his most outspoken yet on GMO foods.

His views will strike a chord in Britain where biotech crops - widely grown in North and South America - have faced significant opposition with concerns centered on food safety and possible environmental impacts.

Charles said multinational food companies were conducting a "gigantic experiment with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong."

If large companies took over the mass production of food, it would hurt small farmers and the environment, while "excessive approaches to modern forms of agriculture" had damaged water supplies in India's Punjab and in Western Australia, he said.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, but just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, just cos a dopey genetically-inbred twerp like Prince charles is against genetic modification (I wonder why) doesn't mean he's a useful ally. After all he conflated it with global warming, a connection lost on me.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:38:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
London's Electric Avenues: New Playground for Alternative Cars - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Since the introduction of stringent congestion fees, London traffic has loosened up and cleaned up. Britons are now increasingly cruising their capital in cars running on alternative energy to avoid the charge.

Formerly a traffic nightmare, London city center has become a playground for drivers of alternative energy cars. Since the British capital introduced a congestion charge of 8 pounds sterling for each conventional car between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Londoners have begun trying out new models that discharge less CO2, freeing drivers from the fee.

"The congestion charge is a great success," says John Mason, head of enforcement at Transport for London's Congestion Charge. "Every day there are 100,000 fewer cars in the city than before the introduction of the fee." That's a 25-percent reduction, and the vehicles that do venture into the city center have become cleaner. "In February 2003 there were only 90 electric cars in London, in June 2008 it was more than 1600," says Mason. Tallies of other eco-friendly cars, including gas and hybrid models, also rose sharply, from 1,000 vehicles in 2003 to more than 20,000 by the last count. "The British buy about twice as many hybrid cars as Germans, and most of those who do drive in London," explains Debbie Fox of market monitor Jato Dynamics.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:15:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm, i read that if one buys a hybrid here in italy, there's a gov rebate of €2000, (taking the price of a honda hybrid from €22000 down to €20000, and best of all, you can go into any city here and not pay parking rates, or have to obey the 'alternate numberplate' rules, by which i mean those schemes to lower city traffic by allowing odd numbers in one day, even the next.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:23:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Technology | Legal milestone for open source
Advocates of open source software have hailed a court ruling protecting its use even though it is given away free.

"Copyright holders who engage in open source licensing have the right to control the modification and distribution of copyrighted materials," Judge Jeffrey White wrote in his 15-page decision.

"Open source licensing has become a widely used method of creative collaboration that serves to advance the arts and sciences in a manner and at a pace few could have imagined just a few decades ago," Judge White said.

The ruling has implications for the Creative Commons licence which offers ways for work to go into the public domain and still be protected. These licenses are widely used by academic organisations like MIT for distributing coursework, scientific groups, artists, movie makers and Wikipedia among others.

"This opinion demonstrates a strong understanding of a basic economic principle of the internet; that even though money doesn't change hands, attribution is a valuable economic right in the information economy."


We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:50:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It should be seen as this: "...attribution is a valuable common economic right. It is a right that belongs to society.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 07:46:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.  Still, it is a legal milestone to recognize that not everything of value can be measured in dollars or pounds or euros.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 08:56:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's either unworkable or irrelevant. You can't make something 'open' and then demand attribution credits for every component.

This will more or less work when you're dealing with a small project with fixed boundaries. But if I put together a giant mash-up of all kinds of everything - let's say I put together a three minute mix of hundreds of loops supplied under a Creative Commons licence from different sources - the attributions on their own will take a week or two to sort out.

This is not quite the incentive to collaboration that it's perhaps supposed to be. Especially if those attributions are supposed to be propagated indefinitely for every subsequent derivative work.

GPL has already been described as a legal virus attached to every piece of software it touches, and this isn't helping any.

I think if the Open Source community wants to define the legal status of derivative work it should decide whether work is pro bono and public domain, for profit, or make it explicit that the commodity being traded is the reputation of the creator, and not the functionality of the software.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 09:18:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, much better to keep it closed and not let anyone use it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 09:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The principle is that that which has been generated for non-commercial sharing, shall not be appropriated by others for commercial use. You are free to do your mash-up imo, as long as YOU share what what you have created under the same terms as its components were created.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 10:33:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference between this and conventional copyright is close to being medieval sophistry. In theory I suppose it's meant to encourage collaborative work, but in practice it's encouraging collaborative work which no one can profit from.

The problem remains - if I create a mash-up and want to sell it legally, I have to contact every originator and get clearance.

In practice, this isn't any different to conventional commercial copyright clearance. It's nice that people can dilettante around with other people's contributions legally without worrying about the copyright cops. But - with the inevitable list of Slashdotted poster-geek exceptions - that's not going to interest most professional artists either way.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 10:56:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you don't want to share, then you are protected by copyright if you mark the work so.

Non-profit collaboration is not always about the works themselves. It can be seen as educative, connecting, liberating, inspiring etc: i.e. values other than financial.

Like ET, the aim is not profitability but enablement.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:19:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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