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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

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March 5, 2008 at 12:37 PM

GAO Report on Energy: Back to the future, circa 1973

Oil has hit $104 a barrel – finally breaking the inflation-adjusted historical record set by the oil shock that began in the late 70s. And like in that difficult decade, the twin specters of inflation and recession, rarely seen in the same room, are rising together to haunt the U.S. economy. Now the Government Accountability Office…

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February 21, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Seattle City Light to test plug-in cars’ appetite

Seattle City Light is getting on the smart-charging bandwagon. The public utility said it will monitor the performance of 13 plug-in hybrid vehicles using technology developed by V2Green, a local start-up founded by a former Microsoftie. V2Green develops software and hardware to help utilities handle charging loads for electric vehicles — a business that’s…

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February 21, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Could cellulosic ethanol and biotech crops improve biofuels’ greenhouse rep?

Biofuels have taken flak in recent studies that claim running cars on Midwestern grain and Malaysian palm oil creates more greenhouse gases than created by the reviled fossil fuels. But what about fuels made out of agricultural waste, combined with high-yielding biotech-enhanced crops exclusively dedicated to energy? “The next generation of dedicated energy crops shows…

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February 7, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Energy challenge becomes election fodder

Blame rising gas prices, Hugo Chavez’s strident antics or Al Gore’s Powerpoint slides — energy and climate change issues have earned a prominent place in the race for the White House. The main Democratic contenders — Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — boast detailed agendas in their campaign websites on how they would deal with…

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February 5, 2008 at 4:44 PM

Canola biodiesel weathers winter spell

Harsh northern climes can turn biodiesel — a fuel made out of vegetable or animal oil — into a mayonnaise-like goo. To avoid cloudy fuel tanks and clogged fuel filters, many biodiesel makers and distributors recommend blending biodiesel and petroleum diesel in winter. But the most recent Northwest cold snap didn’t seem to have much gelling…

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January 9, 2008 at 5:37 PM

Defense against bio threats could be boon for biotech industry

The U.S. biotech industry could help shore up the country’s defenses against bioterrorism and other biological threats, while at the same time obtaining lucrative government contracts, U.S. officials said at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Wednesday. The White House established task forces to deal with bio-hazards in the wake of anthrax attacks that occurred in October…

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January 9, 2008 at 3:37 PM

ZymoGenetics bullish about rThrombin

Despite a recent regulatory setback, ZymoGenetics executives were optimistic Tuesday about prospects that their bleeding-control product will receive approval next week from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will be ready to hit the market. “Nobody has seen anything coming out of the FDA causing us any concern,” Chief Executive Bruce Carter told a…

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December 20, 2007 at 4:49 PM

Ocean energy gets federal nod

On Thursday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the first license for an ocean wave energy project — off the coast of Washington state. The license, given out to B.C.-based Finavera Renewables, is for a pilot project in Makah Bay. “Hydrokinetic projects have tremendous potential,” FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher said in a statement. “The issuance of…

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December 11, 2007 at 12:21 PM

Royal Dutch Shell will test algae

For oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, the answer to the world’s energy troubles may lurk in the depths of a Hawaiian pond. The Anglo-Dutch energy company said Tuesday it is building a pilot plant in Hawaii to grow marine algae for their vegetable oil — a prime potential source of biodiesel. Construction of the plant…

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