Yesterday I spent 30 minutes trying to use cuil.com (I won't put in a hyperlink to save you the waste of time).
To call this overhyped is an understatement. Magic words were said about the capabilities of the founders and how much better search would be, but the experience was painful and unproductive. This is probably the biggest mismatch in promised to delivered user experience of anything I've seen on the net since the dot com bust.
It would take glowing reviews from people I trust to get me to visit the site again. A quick check of other blogs, emails and IMs indicates everyone had the same bad experience.
A fantastic example of how a hype machine whipped up millions in free advertising, but since it was only hype, the word quickly grew and the promotion turned into a huge negative campaign they couldn't control.
Even if they have some deep tech that works (and there are indications they don't), their investors should think about cutting their losses and bailing. The cost of attracting users back is going to be incredibly high.
"Our research is motivated by the fact that microscopes have been around since the 16th century, and yet their basic design has undergone very little change and has proven prohibitively expensive to miniaturize. Our new design operates on a different principle and allows us to do away with lenses and bulky optical elements," says Yang.
The fabrication of the microscopic chip is disarmingly simple. A layer of metal is coated onto a grid of charge-coupled device (CCD) sensor (the same sensors that are used in digital cameras). Then, a line of tiny holes, less than one-millionth of a meter in diameter, is punched into the metal, spaced five micrometers apart. Each hole corresponds to one pixel on the sensor array. A microfluidic channel, through which the liquid containing the sample to be analyzed will flow, is added on top of the metal and sensor array. The entire chip is illuminated from above; sunlight is sufficient.
When the sample is added, it flows--either by the simple force of gravity or drawn by an electric charge--horizontally across the line of holes in the metal. As cells or small organisms cross over the holes, one hole after another, the objects block the passage of light from above onto the sensor below. This produces a series of images, consisting of light and shadow, akin to the output of a pinhole camera
Roughly 20 percent of carbon emissions are from deforestation. Many have been suggesting ending it as a way to lock up huge amounts of carbon. It is even one of the Princeton "wedges". The problem is how do you guarantee that lands are kept virgin? How much does it cost to do this for long periods of time?
Science News notes an analysis that claims you can prevent the emission of half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year for about a billion dollars a year. Probably very cheap.
There are some bright spots - the state of California and a few bright companies, but the amount of waste s huge and perhaps it is time to think about attacking it. Stockholders should be asking questions. Perhaps yearly reports should include serous third party energy audits.
In the late 90s I worked at the R&D arm of a large telco. We had moved into a new building and it was clear that the energy management was terrible. Two of us with physics backgrounds spent some time poking around and produced a memo that showed it would be possible to cut energy costs by at least 20% for very little money. We were laughed at and told it was a waste of our time - after all, some of the proposals would take two or three years to pay for themselves. I can't fault them as this was peanuts to their revenue stream, but it just struck us as wasteful.
I wonder how many white collar companies know the energy use and costs of their competitors and can make projections?