On a summer afternoon, central Los Angeles registers temperatures typically 5°F higher than the surrounding suburban and rural areas. Hot roofs and pavements, baked by the sun, warm the air blowing over them. The resulting urban “heat island” causes discomfort, hikes air-conditioning bills, and accelerates the formation of smog. Heat islands are found in many large cities, including Chicago, Washington, and (as the Olympic athletes and fans can attest) Atlanta. The effect is particularly well recognized in cities that quote two airport temperatures on the weather report. Thus Chicago-Midway airport is typically a few degrees hotter than suburban O’Hare, and the same difference applies between Washington National airport and Dulles. Contrary to popular opinion, heat islands do not arise mainly from heat leaking out of cars, buildings, and factories. In summertime, such anthropogenic heat gain accounts for a mere 1 percent of the heat island’s excess … [Read more...] about Paint the Town White–and Green
Million dollar listing los angeles
While you sipped on spiked egg nogs and avoided the in-laws this holiday season, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson bought himself the ultimate Christmas gift: A $70 million Beverly Hills mansion. Yes, you read that correctly. Seventy. Million. Dollars.He supposedly paid in cash, too.Not only did Persson emerge the top bidder for this dream house listing, but it’s reported he beat out the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce for the new digs. While the pictures don’t come close to doing this place justice, they do offer a small glimpse into what’s available to purchase for a mere $70 million.Chock full of the typical flair you might expect out of a house sporting the iconic 90210 zip code, the gigantic 23,000 square foot pad features some unique tricks up its sleeve. For starters, the house’s staggering price tag included all the furniture, electronics, and other contents used during the … [Read more...] about Minecraft creator Markus Persson’s $70 million Beverly Hills mansion is a builder’s dream
Read our full Destiny review.During the Milken conference in Los Angeles last week, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick revealed that he intends to spend $500 million developing and promoting the post-apocalyptic multiplayer shooter Destiny, Reuters reports. A company spokesperson later confirmed the number, reiterating that, in addition to development costs for the game itself, the figure includes marketing, packaging, infrastructure support, royalties, and other costs.The game’s budget surpasses Avatar’s reported production and marketing bill of $425 million, making Destiny a contender for one of the most expensively-produced works of art in any medium.That is a monumental amount of money to spend on a game, particularly for a brand new intellectual property. That places it squarely atop the list of most expensive video games to develop, definitively knocking down the previous record of $265 million by Grand Theft Auto V. … [Read more...] about Activision spending $500 million on Destiny (That’s more than Avatar)
Succumbing to the primal pull of gameplay, millions of new consumers are joining the nearly ubiquitous adventure of exploring the pixelated worlds presented in video games, seeking personal recreation, relaxation, amusement, even escape -- and the industry is feeling the profound effects of that stampede.Ginormous metamorphoses continue to roil the busy, merciless landscape of today's US$28 billion U.S. video game business, challenging traditional concepts of how leading PC and console titles operate and altering the very definition of the term "interactive entertainment." Innovations are transforming a variety of devices from PCs to TVs, consoles, smartphones and tablet computers, while trends like casual gaming, social network games, smartphone apps, digital distribution, cloud computing, advergaming and motion controls are changing the very nature of gameplay itself.And nowhere are the impacts of the forces at work more pronounced than in California and its three hubs of video game … [Read more...] about Fast Times in Gaming, Part 1: Turbulent Transitions
E-commerce robots, also known as "bots," made waves a couple of years ago by promising to find bargain-basement prices for online shoppers. So far, though, bots have not proved to be a panacea.Price comparison sites like BizRate.com, DealTime.com andPrice.com can indeedsave shoppers time and money, especially in certainproduct categories. But as long as price is theprimary metric for bots' comparisons, their value willbe limited, analysts agreed."For consumers who buy on the Internet, the biggestpoverty is of time, not of money," Gartner research director David Schehr told the E-Commerce Times.Shopping bot providers like New York City-basedDealTime.com use Internet spiders to comb onlinemerchant inventories, so shoppers can benchmark pricesfrom a single location."Our mission is to help shoppers zero in on theproduct they want to buy and determine which merchantthey want to buy it from, based on price, reputation,product availability and service," DealTime.comspokesperson Deborah Sack … [Read more...] about Whatever Happened To E-Commerce Robots?
The Android mobile operating system is graduating soon to 2.0 status, and Google gave it a pretty nice present to celebrate: a free turn-by-turn navigation app called "Google Maps Navigation." It'll run on Android 2.0 phones with GPS, and it'll use the phone's cellular Internet connection to get live map information.There's a wide range of quality out there when it comes to smartphone nav apps, but the features Google mentions make its program sound like one of the better ones. There's speech-activated location search, live traffic data with alternate routing, and integration with Street View so you can get an actual photo of what your destination looks like from the ground level.It'll take some testing and comparison work, but Google Maps Navigation could be on par with the kind of nav apps that sell for as much as US$100 on the iPhone. In fact, the day Google made its announcement, TomTom's and Garmin's stocks tanked, perhaps on fears that smartphone navigation apps are going to … [Read more...] about THIS WEEK IN TECH The Audacity of Droid
Some of the biggest names in shopping, including New York City flagships Bloomingdale's and Macy's, are putting their names behind WeddingChannel.com's new online/offline bridal registry service. The site will combine WeddingChannel.com's own online registry with two online registries and a half dozen in-store registries Federated Department Stores, Inc. operates.Federated (NYSE: FD), which owns Bloomingdale's, Macy's and six other U.S. department store chains, sells hundreds of millions of dollars in wedding gifts through its bridal registries, which enable customers to choose from a continuously updated list of gifts designated by the bride and groom.The deal seems like a natural for Federated, which already operates online registry services through its Bloomingdale's online store and a separate site, weddingonline.com, which serves the rest of its 403 department stores around the country. Market Ripe for Investing, Expanding Federated also agreed to invest an undisclosed … [Read more...] about Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s Engage WeddingChannel.com
In the world of e-commerce and the ongoing battle between online ticket sellers, Ticketmaster upped the ante this week with launch of my.ticketmaster.com. The new service features a personalized desktop event ticker, plus virtual reality seating charts that let visitors see where they can sit at the next show or sporting event.These new features are significant because they demonstrate how new technology can make e-commerce more convenient for buyers, and more profitable for sellers.Ticketmaster worked with Intel and numerous technology, virtual reality and interactive design firms to develop the new functionality. Customizable Profiles & Event Tickers Ticketmaster's new system lets you create a personal profile, and then download an "Event Ticker" that displays on your PC when tickets go on sale for the type of events you want to see.Terry Barnes, president and CEO of Ticketmaster Group, Inc. explains that My Ticketmaster will enable entertainment fans to keep tabs on … [Read more...] about TicketMaster Launches Next Generation Online Service
Following one of the hottest trends in e-commerce, Internet grocer Webvan.com announced Monday it has joined forces with another e-tail site, in this case Petsmart.com, to open a pet store on the Webvan site.However, while other online partnerships have generated mutual benefits, there is some doubt about how much either of the companies involved with this deal stand to gain."I think Webvan would be better served by deals that add value to the netincome part of their financial statement, rather than the just the revenueside," Yankee Group online retail analyst Paul Ritter told the E-Commerce Times. "A million dollars in additional sales won't mean a lot if it onlyadds a hundred bucks to net income."The store, scheduled to open Friday, will offer pet food, supplies and accessories through select regional Webvan sites,including those in Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois, as well as Sacramento and San Francisco, California. Over the next few months, additional regions, including … [Read more...] about Webvan, Petsmart Hope Deal Is Not for the Dogs
They may not be the most thoughtful presents in the world, but they sure are convenient. Gift cards relieve shoppers of having to find the perfect size, style, and color of any item on a shopping list. They also avoid scenarios where what the buyer views as desirable is antithetical to the receiver's outlook.Consequently, consumers spend billions on these small plastic "gifts" each year. The Purdue Retail Institute estimated that U.S. consumers purchased approximately US$40 billion worth of gift cards just during the 2008 holiday season.However, the ongoing economic downturn has tarnished these shopping aids' name. Consumers have been saddled with millions of dollars in worthless gift cards as retailers large and small have filed for bankruptcy. With gloomy economic news on the horizon, the question becomes: What does the future hold for these convenient items?Consumers like the gift card option because it makes gift-giving simpler and more convenient. "Gift cards are often bought as … [Read more...] about Gift Cards in a Gloomy Economy: A Losing Bet?