Technology

With The Cloud Ever More Energy Hungry, Tech Giants Want To Tap Straight Into Renewables

Jun 9, 2016
Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Media

The cloud, where you upload photos and stream video, is actually real, physical infrastructure housed in data centers across the country, like Green House Data's server farm in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

"This is the cloud," said Art Salazar, the company's director of operations, waving at rows and rows of glass and metal cabinets. "You're standing right in front of the cloud."

Feeding those hungry computers are big, black power lines, snaking along the ceiling. Like most data centers, electricity is the company's biggest expense, which is why Green House Data is obsessed with energy efficiency – and why companies want to get green power right at the source.

This week marks a year since the government first revealed that hackers had stolen personnel files of some 4 million current and former federal employees.

On the corner of the busiest intersection in Omaha, Neb., there's a square cement building, wrapped on two sides with a flashing LED billboard promoting the high-tech equipment and classes inside.

"I thought it was a 3-D printer sales place," says Frank Fu, a high school student.

Earlier this year, Fu stumbled upon Do Space, a technology library providing free access to powerful PCs loaded with software used by businesses and artists. There are 3-D printers and laser cutters.

The sun has just set over a swamp east of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Gary Kittleson is putting on a headlamp and waders. The environmental consultant is searching for red-legged frogs. Some years, he says, he would be ecstatic to find just one or two.

It has been five years since NASA retired the space shuttle, ending a federal program that employed some 10,000 people around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The loss of those jobs was a blow to Florida's Space Coast, an area closely identified with NASA and the nation's space program. But the region's economy is bouncing back and attracting companies that are in a new space race.

It's been one of those rumors, that some Silicon Valley third party was powering Hulk Hogan's invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media and its owner, Nick Denton, over a publication in 2012 of a sex tape.

All sorts of health information is now a few taps away on your smartphone, from how many steps you take — to how well you sleep at night. But what if you could use your phone and a computer to test your vision? A company is doing just that — and eye care professionals are upset. Some states have even banned it.

For most of us, eye tracking technology sounds interesting. But it's not life changing. Eye tracking allows users to move a cursor around a computer or mobile device simply by moving your eyes and head.

Oded Ben Dov initially used eye tracking technology to develop a video game that he showed off on Israeli TV. The next day, he says, he got a phone call from a man who told him: "I can't move my hands or legs. Can you make me a smartphone I could use?"

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