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Mercedes Hybrid Concept car – The Cutting Edge of Energy-saving Technology

One of Mercedes Benz's hybrid cars.

The E300 is one of Mercedes Benz’s models available with a hybrid engine.

Concept cars often resemble an engineer’s most incredible daydreams – the end results are mind-blowing, dazzling, and completely unrealistic for everyday use. Although these cars seldom make it to the market for ordinary shoppers, they can still spark the development of innovative technology that can be used in more practical vehicles. New technology is crucial for the development of hybrid cars. More consumers are purchasing hybrid vehicles now that such a wide range of models are available. Options are no longer limited to tiny “clown cars” – consumers can now choose a hybrid option in nearly any size they please, including an SUV. Developing new ways to power these vehicles is essential, and Mercedes is leading the way. Their latest concept vehicle, the Vision G-Code, is an innovative masterpiece.

An article in ExtremeTech outlines the Vision G-Code’s revolutionary design. The car is blanketed in multi-voltaic paint that actually generates fuel from the wind and sun. Although it may seem unbelievable, hydrogen fuel is created by combining thin-film solar technology with wind power. The super-charged hydrogen combustion engine powers the front wheels of the vehicle, burning an energy-efficient fuel that produces only water as an emission. A conventional electric motor powers the vehicle’s back wheels.

The traditional method of generating power from wind resistance wouldn’t work well for vehicles. After all, you wouldn’t want anything on your vehicle creating resistance to wind – that would kill your gas mileage and make for a choppy ride. The engineering geniuses at Mercedes thought outside the box and found a way to apply this kind of energy generation to the vehicle without actual resistance while driving. The movement of the wind over the stationary vehicle creates a charge used for hydrogen production – a process referred to as “electrostatic wind generation.” In theory, when the Vision G-Code is stopped at a red light, the wind creates hydrogen to assist the rear-wheel batteries while the paint job absorbs solar energy for further power generation.

The necessity of the electric engine makes it clear that harnessing enough hydrogen to power the entire vehicle is still not possible. However, the electric and hydrogen engines work in harmony to create a more energy-efficient product. There are still no figures to show exactly how much fuel is produced by the multi-voltaic paint, and research needs to be done regarding its cost and durability. Even if the paint could cut electricity use by 10% per month, it would offer a reasonable ROI. As the article points out, it’s unlikely that the Vision G-Code will lead to extensive green energy-generation technology – but it could at least pave the way toward innovative energy-saving technology.

Online Shopping – 10 Things to Keep in Mind

An image of 3D man thinking about domain name.

Shopping online is more popular than ever before. Choose wisely when selecting where you buy from, and only shop on approved websites.

Online shopping has changed the retail industry by providing customers with 24/7 access to everything they could ever think of purchasing. There’s really very little need any more to go to physical stores. But just how great is that? Here are five pros and five cons of online shopping to consider before you make another purchase:

Pros

  1. Convenience: This is, of course, the main reason people shop online. They don’t need to leave their homes to go to a store (or several stores). They can even buy groceries online. Online shopping means that consumers can buy what they want when they feel like it or when they have time for it.

 

  1. Instant Price-Matching: Instead of going to several stores to find the best deal, consumers can simply open up several tabs and click through the stores’ online sites to see what the best bargain is. Online coupon sites even reward consumers for shopping online with cash back or points incentives.

 

  1. No Crowds: Those of us who are not fond of standing in line or being shoved around by strangers at the mall can appreciate the luxury of shopping in complete solitude without pushy customers or salespeople interfering.

 

  1. Discretion: Shopping online allows consumers to purchase all their more intimate or sensitive items without embarrassment or uncomfortable conversations with the sales staff.

 

  1. Saves Money: That little shopping cart in the corner of the screen lets consumers know exactly how much they are going to be paying. Seeing the total at the end allows customers the chance to review their purchases and put something back. Consumers are far less likely to put an item in a real shopping cart back once the cashier tells them their total.

 

Cons

  1. Identity theft: While most sites are relatively secure, security breaches do occur, which can result in headaches and potentially lost money for the consumer. If you want to avoid this possibility altogether, shopping in stores with cash is your best option.

 

  1. No Fitting Rooms: Buying clothes online is risky, unless you are completely familiar with the particular article of clothing you are purchasing. Without a chance to try something on, you have no guarantee that it will fit you or even look good on you until you receive it in the mail.

 

  1. Returns: If you do decide to return something, you often have to send it back through the mail instead of taking it to a store. While this isn’t an altogether impossible task, it can be time-consuming and aggravating.

 

  1. Quality: Just like size, quality is something you cannot necessarily see based solely on a two-dimensional screen. You cannot see every feature of something like a dishwasher online, and may miss details you would notice in the store.

 

  1. Customer Service: The main thing missing from the online shopping experience is a helpful sales staff who can answer your questions and offer you guidance. Online consumers shop alone and don’t have someone to talk to about a product the way that in-store shoppers do.

So what’s better, online or in-store shopping? Probably neither – it all depends on your personal preferences and what you’re buying. If you haven’t yet ventured into the world of online shopping, it can be a satisfying and easy experience. Yet there are always going to be some items like clothes or appliances that you’ll want to see in person before purchasing.

UK’s Internet Troll Policy: A threat to Freedom of Speech or a Better Protection for Individuals?

An image of a man's mouth sealed with 'freedom' note

Freedom of Speech is a serious matter. United Kingdom however are trying to, via new online laws, protect individuals who has felt threatened through social media. Will it violate Freedom of Speech?

The United Kingdom recently introduced new sentencing measures for Internet trolls found guilty of sending threatening or abusive messages online. However, many worry the new legislation may infringe on the civil liberties and freedom of speech of those simply expressing their opinions in an emphatic manner. The new legislation will allow serious offenses to be decided by the Crown Courts with a maximum sentence of 24 months, four times the previous standard sentence. Currently, these offenses are handled by local magistrates.

Why the Harsher Sentences?

The increase in penalties for internet trolls is directed at those who threaten to rape or kill through online communication. The threatening of celebrities and other high-profile figures has brought the issue to the forefront. For example, Chloe Madeley, the daughter of UK talk show host Judy Finnegan, recently received threatening tweets after she defended her mother’s comments about a rape case involving a footballer. Lawmakers feel the stiffer sentencing is warranted because “we would not permit such venom in person,” stated Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

Concerns over Freedom of Speech

Although no one is defending online rape and death threats, experts warn that the new law could punish those that are simply expressing criticism. The legislation lacks balance in differentiating between abusers and those expressing their opinion. These concerns are not far-fetched. Even without the new maximum sentences, there have been cases where authorities have prosecuted people under the Public Order Act for questionable reasons.

For example, the 2012 case of Paul Chambers hinged on what he thought was a joke. After realizing the Robin Hood Airport was closed due to weather, he tweeted, “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your [expletive] together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” He was convicted by a district judge and two judges upheld the conviction on appeal. A high court ultimately reversed his conviction, but not before he lost two jobs and spent the better part of two years engaged in his legal battle.

Many civil-liberties experts assert that true threats to an individual’s safety should be pursued through harassment laws, not communication legislation that can potentially infringe on the rights of those vehemently expressing their opinion or making what they think is a joke. Advocates for freedom of speech are concerned about comments from legislators like former Conservative MP Edwina Currie who stated that “people should learn to show restraint when making online comments.” While “showing restraint” may be an admirable goal, and direct threats should be taken seriously, who knows how slippery this slope is?

OrangeWebsite’s professionals closely monitor freedom of speech laws and cases around the world. We’ll closely watch the results of this legislation as it makes its way through Parliament. Contact us to learn more about our services.

How Safe are your Personal Data in Modern Online Society?

An image of hand writing 'online privacy' with black marker on transparent wipe board.

There is nothing wrong in being cautious when submitting your Personal Data on the Internet.

Facebook and Google are two of the biggest names on the internet today. What lots of people don’t know is how these websites who don’t sell anything can possibly make so much money.

The answer is advertising. But it goes a little bit deeper than that.

How Deep Does It Go?

The commodity that both Facebook and Google have in common is you, the users. These websites pay attention to the things that you like and dislike, which allows them to tailor ads to fit your taste and then to put those ads in bold colours right on your screen. That’s how these companies earn billions of dollars revenue annually: by working with companies to make sure you see the right ads that persuade you to go and buy their products.

Shouldn’t I Get Some Privacy on The Internet?

Lots of people wonder whether tracking their internet activity isn’t a violation of their privacy. The issue is that by using these services you’ve already given your consent for the sites to log and use most of your information.

You know those long, complicated user agreements that most of us just pass right over so we can finish setting up our accounts? If you read Facebook’s a little more carefully you find all sorts of things. For instance, if you don’t opt out of their advertising program then your name and profile image can be used to promote ads for pages you’ve liked. Additionally, information about your online activity can be sold, provided Facebook doesn’t give your name or other, more personal information out. What you like and the events that get your attention is all fair game.

While Facebook is a huge source of information, Google might be called the king of data mining. The search engine analyses what’s sent over Gmail and searched for on Google in order to determine what is trending at the moment. This information is then used to target ads and to try and get client products in front of a buying audience.

So What’s The Big Deal?

Data mining is primarily used for sales and advertising, but it can be used for more than that. Data mining can create a digital profile that makes it possible to assess job candidates, whether someone should be awarded custody of his or her children, or even (if some apps are to be believed) if someone is cheating on their spouse.

That’s the big deal regarding data mining, and Google and Facebook are at the forefront of the practice. It’s why many people who have realized how exposed social networking makes them have opted to share less and less of their information with the online community as well as the corporations who run it. It’s hard to maintain their privacy, but one of the chief methods they use is by giving away as little as they possibly can.

Learn more about information on online privacy, and how you can make changes to take extra caution, contact us today!