In an e-mail from Jennifer Wasmer, Director, Services PR, Xerox Corporation, we have received a more detailed explanation of the events that shut down EBT card services in 17 states on Saturday. The unprecedented collapse of the Electronic Benefit Transaction card system affected low income Americans with SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or other, related benefits. The events of Saturday resulted in some violence and theft, as we reported yesterday.
Low income Americans in the former Food Stamp program and other, similar, assistance programs use the Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT) to purchase groceries. It works just like a debit card, or it is supposed to. On Saturday, users in 17 states found that their cards would not work from late morning through late afternoon. Xerox, through a division called Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc., provides the services necessary to operate the program in those states and a system failure turned Saturday into a confusing and concerning day for many.
Now, putting together shredded documents takes brute force, thousands of man hours with little chance of success. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is wondering if there is a better way. It created the DARPA Shredder Challenge, with a first prize of $50,000, to see if the general public can create an effective method of piecing back together shredded documents.
One solution that allows solar and wind sources to continue to produce electricity is to store the energy until it is needed. Storage also would allow these energy producers to provide electricity to the grid at night or when the wind is not blowing. The concept of storage and the reality of storage are far apart, however, as battery design and engineering continues to lag the rest of the technology.
In September 2008, TransCanada began the process of obtaining all the various clearances and permits to build an oil pipeline from northeastern Alberta Canada to the oil refinery region of eastern Texas in the area of Houston or Port Arthur. The Province of Alberta claims that the oil sands contain the third largest proven crude oil reserve in the world. The Athabasca deposit in Alberta is the largest developed oil sand production site on the planet.