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This article in IEEE Spectrum highlights some interesting research into making cloud computing more efficient by balancing the carbon footprints of global data centers and the latency of serving requests from those data centers. It’s an admittedly incomplete study, and one that’s probably more important to large web companies (e.g., Facebook) and cloud providers than to normal businesses just consuming cloud resources. Smarter load balancing could help providers cut operational costs and pass the savings onto users. Of course, large cloud users such as Netflix might want to research and develop their own systems, as well.