Around the web: Solar panels, the future of checks, advice from burglars

A roundup of stuff that wouldn’t necessarily make it on the blog, but is worth noting:

• Oncor, the company that delivers electricity to homes in North Texas, will pay homeowners to install solar panels. Oncor will offer $2.46 per watt of solar power installed; an average home’s solar electricity installation costs about $26,000, which means it would get more than $7,000 from the program. The subsidy is part of the deal that allowed Oncor’s parent, Energy Future Holdings, to get state permission to buy the former TXU. For information on the program, go here. Is this a good deal? Depends on how long you stay in your home, since it could take 10 years for the panels to pay for themselves.

• Great Britain, reports the Financial Times, wants to do away with paper checks. This has not, apparently, been especially controversial. Cheques (as they’re known over there) are much less popular, having fallen to only one in 25 payments.  Their use peaked at 4 billion payments by cheque in 1990. Personally, if for no other reason than the two- or three-day float that checks give me, I plan on being the last person in the world still using them when checks are eliminated.

• Want to stop a burglar from breaking into your home or business? Then don’t count on steel doors, guard dogs or signs warning of security systems. That’s the advice from a trio of Chicago villains. "The only deterrent is time," said Roland Williams, 38, who is serving a 4-year sentence for burglary. "If you have a set amount of time, it’s a deterrent. If you’ve scoped around and you know you have all day, that’s not a deterrent."



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