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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

Albanach Re:How are we covering the shortfall/defecit? (322 comments)

According to this EU Report from 1997, there was at that point in time a 1,250,000 tonne reserve of cocoa (50% of production), and the estimated consumption deficit for 1996-7 was 225,000 tonnes.

It looks to me like cocoa deficits are not new, and that the industry already uses large reserves to ensure continued supply until such time as higher prices increase production. Unless they are suggesting some other change, such as climate, will prevent new supply I can't see a long-term issue other than price fluctuations that the market has routinely encountered in the past.

about a week ago
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ISPs Removing Their Customers' Email Encryption

Albanach Re:Okay, so (245 comments)

It's well known that email is not secure for the purposes of attorney/client privilege.

Do you have citation for this? A single court that has found there's no privilege simply because a communication was sent between attorney and client by email?

After all, you say it's well known, yet all the lawyers I know use email pervasively to discuss client information.

about two weeks ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Albanach Re:No thanks. (558 comments)

You're asking the wrong question. You should be asking why anyone who wants to carry a phone should be required to also carry a wallet. There's no reason the phone can't serve as driver's license and payment mechanism, so what's the purpose of the wallet?

about a month ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Albanach Re:Good for them (558 comments)

Or, more exactly, why do you think it's at more risk than a magnetic stripe.

If you're in the US, do you let the waiter take your credit card, or do you always pay with cash?

about a month ago
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2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States

Albanach Re:Simple fix. (269 comments)

It's a Corvette. You think a Corvette owner wants a label like that on the dashboard?

Perhaps a better solution would be a 'valet key' that when used limits access to the boot, reduces acceleration (like the Eco mode you get on lots of modern cars and limits speed to say 60mph), When the valet key is placed in the ignition the stereo could announce that video and audio recording will be enabled when the car is started.

With a key like that, some folk might even let their kids drive the Corvette!

about 2 months ago
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WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Albanach Re:Obama administration (200 comments)

Boeing makes things for fighting wars. Republicans are always starting conflicts. Boeing is going to get favorable treatment from a administration led by a Republican.

about 2 months ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

Albanach Re:Great news (269 comments)

A significant portion of the book is based on statistical correlation. The book makes multiple references to Mankind Quarterly.

The issue is not whether science can or should study this. It is the dangers of doing so using bad science then packaging up unsupported results and presenting them in a way that justifies harmful division in society on a foundation built of sand.

If it were serious science, it would surely have looked beyond Caucasian Americans and investigated the intelligence of Asian Americans too.

about 2 months ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

Albanach Re:Wait: Genes do not strongly determine height??? (269 comments)

This is from the New Yorker, not a scientific paper certainly, but it's interesting and relevant nonetheless. It may explain some of the comments regarding genetic and environmental factors.

Height variations within a population are largely genetic, but height variations between populations are mostly environmental, anthropometric history suggests. If Joe is taller than Jack, it’s probably because his parents are taller. But if the average Norwegian is taller than the average Nigerian it’s because Norwegians live healthier lives.

about 2 months ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

Albanach Re:Great news (269 comments)

GATTACA becomes a little less plausible!

I care less about a SciFi movie. Much better is one more nail in the coffin of the insidious book, The Bell Curve

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

Albanach Or, Apple could be fearful of comoditization (405 comments)

The last thing Apple wants is for any tablet to be identified as and referred to as an iPad. For their laptops, you get the huge light up apple logo to make sure everyone looking at you knows just what you're using.

The last thing Apple's marketing office will want is for anyone who sees a tablet to refer to it as an iPad. I don't see the name become generic at any point soon, but it's a big fear of many companies. With Apple so reliant on branding and recognition I'd expect them to be more concerned than most.

about 2 months ago
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New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W

Albanach Re:Waaah. (338 comments)

Electric kettles are becoming more common - I know many in the US who have them now. When I moved here a decade ago, it was an online only purchase, whereas today you can pick one up in Wal-Mart etc.

But yes, kettles here take an age to boil. Some are more efficient at doing the job, but compared to a 240 volt UK kettle it's slow. I just start the kettle for my next cup when I've added milk to the current one.

about 3 months ago
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Student Bookstores Beware, Amazon Comes To Purdue Campus

Albanach Re:Well (95 comments)

I believe I linked to both copies that included the MasteringBiology. The only difference seemed to be that US one might have a copy of the text as an e-book. I doubt making an encrypted PDF or equivalent merits the huge price difference.

Still your comment about the probability book is interesting. I wonder if this is particular to mathematics?

Here' s another example from Chemistry: Organic Chemistry by Bruice. In the US it's hardcover, in the UK paperback.

Amazon UK price $99.96
Amazon US price $240.60

it's possible that the difference is the publisher. Coincidentally, the two books I list are published by Pearson who are headquartered in the UK. It may be they price their books for the independent markets, whereas US publishers are more likely to stick to one price? That's pure speculation though and we'd need quite a few more data points to figure that one out.

about 3 months ago
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Student Bookstores Beware, Amazon Comes To Purdue Campus

Albanach Re:Well (95 comments)

The US textbook market is crazy.

An easy example is Campbell's Biology Plus MasteringBiology - a pretty standard 1st year Biology textbook. Amazon UK price $87.56. Price for the US equivalent is $190.40.

about 3 months ago
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Experimental Drug Compound Found To Reverse Effects of Alzheimer's In Mice

Albanach As has been said before (105 comments)

All we need now is a drug to turn humans into mice.

about 3 months ago
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Grad Student Rigs Cheap Alternative To $1,000 Air Purifiers In Smoggy China

Albanach Re:Very original (182 comments)

More like people were overpaying by thousands of dollars because until now none of them had the simple idea to duct tape a filter over a fan.

As you say, none of them had the idea. In a country of 1.4 billion people.

A great many things seem obvious with 20/20 hindsight.

about 4 months ago
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New SSL Server Rules Go Into Effect Nov. 1

Albanach Re: Why? (92 comments)

The parent is spot on. If you need to self-sign, then you need the client to trust your signing authority, not simply to trust your self-signed certificates.

Asking them to trust your certificates means teaching them to ignore and click through an important security warning. It not only poses a danger to your users in their internet use elsewhere, but also to your own servers as someone can set up a MITM attack and you have already trained your users to ignore the warning presented by the browser.

Widely trusted SSL certificates can be had for under $10. Wildcard certificates for under $100. There is no reason to have a self-signed certificate on anything public or employee facing.

about 4 months ago
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Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

Albanach Re:Good (225 comments)

Can the students even install and use a proper compiler or something like AutoCAD? Photoshop?

How many school kids have a daily need for AutoCAD or Photoshop? I'd imagine only a tiny percentage. So why should a school district equip elementary and middle school kids with a computer powerful enough for tasks that only a small minority of their high-school students need? Would it not be better to give something more powerful (and much more expensive) to just those with the specialist need for something more powerful?

As for a compiler, they could use something like Cloud 9 for cloud based developing.

about 4 months ago
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What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

Albanach Local streaming (152 comments)

I put 80-100%, but that's only if you count local streaming. Almost everything here is not watched via Netflix or Plex and the TVs each get a Chromecast.

about 4 months ago
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Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims

Albanach Re:ads (175 comments)

Ever had your battery die COMPLETELY and then when you charge it, the phone suddenly says "20% full"? That's the buffer The NSA or whomever programmed your phone to shut off and play dead at 20% battery life so that 1) you let down any defenses, and 2) they have *plenty* of spare battery left to covertly monitor your conversations, location, etc. Pretty genius, if you ask me.

Don't suppose you also sell tinfoil hats that could protect me from the NSA's mind-reading rays?

about 4 months ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Albanach Re: Pft (962 comments)

Freedom of speech.

Steam are not the government. They don't owe you anything. You're welcome to set up your own games company with freedom of speech as a founding principal if you so desire.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Following EU ruling, BBC article excluded from Google searches.

Albanach Albanach writes  |  about 5 months ago

Albanach (527650) writes "In 2007, the BBC's economics editor, Robert Peston, penned an article on the massive loses at Merrill Lynch and the resulting dismissal of their CEO Stan O'Neil. Today, the BBC have been notified that the 2007 article will no longer appear in some Google searches made within the European Union, apparently as a result of someone exercising their new-found 'right to be forgotten'. O'Neil was the only individual named in the 2007 article. While O'Neil has left Merrill Lynch, he has not left the world of business, and now holds a directorship at Alcoa, the world's third largest aluminum producer with $23 billion in revenues in 2013."
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FTC sues T-Mobile over bogus charges

Albanach Albanach writes  |  about 5 months ago

Albanach (527650) writes "The FTC has filed a lawsuit alleging that T-Mobile charged customers millions of dollars for premium rate spam text messages the customers neither wanted, nor signed up for. In response, T-Mobile point out that, unlike other major carriers they stopped billing for these services last year, and put in place procedures to enable customers to obtain refunds. Despite these measures, coverage in The Wire stated the FTC has determined T-Mobile not only refused refunds, but many of those who did receive refunds only received a fraction of the cost."
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E-ink reader for academic papers

Albanach Albanach writes  |  about 9 months ago

Albanach (527650) writes "Recently, I purchased an e-ink Kindle. I like real paper books, but I’m reading lots of academic papers. The Kindle is a nice way to carry and read them, and I went through several documents, highlighting important passages. Now I learn that there is no supported way to actually get a highlighted personal document back off of the Kindle with the highlights intact. I don’t need lectures about DRM, proprietary software or anything else along those lines — there are other things the Kindle can and will be used for. What I would like to know is whether there’s another e-ink reader that DOES let you add your own documents, then highlight them and export the altered document. Or does someone know of a way to achieve this using the Kindle itself?"
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WW2 pigeon code decrypted by Canadian?

Albanach Albanach writes  |  about 2 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "At the start of November Slashdot reported the discovery of a code, thought to be from the second world war, found attached to the leg of a pigeon skeleton located in an English chimney. Now a Canadian by the name of Gord Young claims to have deciphered the message in less than 20 minutes. He believes that the message is comprised mostly of acronyms."
Link to Original Source
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Options for FOSS remote support software?

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "I'm sure I'm not alone in being asked to help friends and family with computer issues. These folk typically run Windows (everything from XP onward) or OS X (typically 10.4 onward). Naturally, desktop sharing is often much easier than trying to talk the other end through various steps. I've found free sites like join.me but they don't work with OS X 10.4, neither does the Chrome plugin. I'd also prefer not to compromise security by using a third party in the middle of the connection. Is there a good, free solution I can run on my linux box that supports old and new clients that run Windows, OS X and possibly linux? I'd love it if the users could simply bring their systems up to date, but that doesn't solve the third party issue and it's not easy when it requires a non-trivial RAM upgrade on a Mac Mini."
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Apple ban security expert for exposing iOS flaw

Albanach Albanach writes  |  about 3 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "Reuters is reporting that Apple has expelled Charlie Miller, a researcher with Accuvant Labs and highly regarded cybersecurity expert from its iOS developers' programs. The move comes after he publicly demonstrated a flaw in its iOS operating system. Miller disclosed that he had figured out a way to build apps that can secretly download other programs that are capable of stealing data, sending text messages or destroying information. After disclosing the flaw via YouTube, Apple retaliated by banning Miller from the developer program for at least one year."
Link to Original Source
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Open source for severe weather warnings?

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "Tornadoes have caused devastating loss of life in the United States this year. While I'm fortunate to be unaffected, I was wondering whether open source technology can help distribute severe weather warnings. While large companies can use commercial products to alert staff, tools like asterisk should allow small and medium businesses to send phone and text alerts to staff. The challenge is getting warnings in timely fashion. The National Weather Service provides XML data, however the update frequency of every few minutes could be too slow for an event like a tornado. The obvious source seems to be receiving alerts in real time from the NWS weather radio. Unfortunately I have been unable to find an open source solution that can process an audio stream, reading the SANE header and allowing for an automated response. Have any /. readers tackled this problem at work or at home?"
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What happens when an App Store app has a bug.

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "Many software developers have grown accustomed to the release early and often model of software development. However, deploying rapid updates is not possible when your application first needs approval by Apple. At the weekend Friendly, one of the iPad's most popular Facebook clients, and the #9 top grossing app of 2010 was upgraded. Either as a result of this, or as a result of changes made by Facebook, users were left with a broken App. The developers claim they submitted a fixed version for approval on Saturday. They told their 3 million Facebook followers on Sunday that Apple had promised to prioritize the approval. The App has still not been approved, leaving customers with a useless App. Does Apple's slow approval process demand a return to an older model of development with longer testing phases?"
Link to Original Source
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Successful compromise of quantum encryption

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "Nature magazine is reporting that, by utilizing lasers, Norwgian 'hackers' have successfully cracked their encryption keys in a quantum encryption solution, yet left no trace of the hack. Vadim Makarov who with colleagues from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim carried out the exploit is quoted saying 'Our hack gave 100% knowledge of the key, with zero disturbance to the system.' He describes the technique as exploiting 'a purely technological loophole that turns a quantum cryptographic system into a classical system, without anyone noticing.'"
Link to Original Source
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State of Virginia experiencing computer problems

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "The State of Virginia has entered the third day of ongoing computer problems, blamed on 230 crashed servers. State offices have, amongst other things, been unable to issue new driving licenses and been unable to process new jobless claims. The State has outsourced much of its IT provision to Northrop Grumman in a $2bn deal that was criticized by auditors for poor service. That deal was rewritten with the State pledging increased funds in return for improved service."
Link to Original Source
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Wikileaks to publish remaining Afghan documents

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange has been quoted by the Associated Press as stating "the organization is preparing to release the remaining secret Afghan war documents". According to Assange, they are halfway through processing the remaining 15,000 files as they 'comb through' the files to ensure lives are not placed at risk."
Link to Original Source
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Regulators consider Apple antitrust probe

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "Apple's recent decision requiring developers use Apple tools when coding for the iPhone and iPad has drawn the attention of Government regulators, The Reuters news agency reports that regulators in the United States are now considering an antitrust investigation into the restriction. Reuters quote David Balto, a former FTC policy director as saying "What they're (Apple) doing is clearly anticompetitive ... They want one superhighway and they're the tollkeeper on that superhighway.""
Link to Original Source
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US cell phone plans amongst world's most expensive

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "An OECD report published today has shown moderate cell phone users in the United States are paying some of the highest rates in the world. Average US plans cost $52.99 per month compared to an average of $10.95 in Finland. The full report is available only to subscribers, however Excel sheets of the raw data are available to download."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft confirm job cuts

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "In a widely anticipated move Microsoft have today confirmed an immediate cull of 1,400 staff, with up to 5,000 positions to go over the next eighteen months. Microsoft are blaming the rise of netbooks and the slump in the global economy for their current woes. The jobs being cut appear to be across the company with cuts in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT."
Link to Original Source
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Amazon UK remove Spore reviews

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "Following up to yesterday's story that anti-DRM campaigners had posted numerous one-star reviews of Spore, someone seems to be feeling the pain. Amazon UK have responded by removing all reviews of the game. For now at least, the reviews on Amazon's US site remain. 1300+ one-star reviews and less than a hundred for two to five stars combined. Perhaps the reaction of Amazon UK is because the mainstream media have picked up on the story, with articles from the BBC and Financial Times. The big US news outlets seem slower to react."
Link to Original Source
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Best Western lose details on 8 million customers

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Albanach writes "Scotland's Sunday Herald newspaper has an exclusive report that the Best Western hotel chain has lost the personal details of each and every guest who has stayed at any of its 1300 hotels in the past 12 months. This amounts to details on 8 million customers and includes information such as name, address, credit card details and employment details. The data even includes future booking details, causing speculation that homes could be targeted for burglary when it's anticipated they will be unoccupied. A Best Western spokesperson is quoted as saying "Best Western took immediate action to disable the compromised log-in account in question. We are currently in the process of working with our credit card partners to ensure that all relevant procedural standards are met, and that the interests of our guests are protected,""
Link to Original Source
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Intel face antitrust investigation

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "The New York Times is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation of Intel. Subpoenas have already been issued to Intel, AMD and unnamed computer manufacturers. The decision to launch an investigation marks a u-turn for the FTC and follows the appointment of new FTC Chairman William E. Kovacic."
Link to Original Source
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EU Commissioner proposes 95 year copyright

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Albanach (527650) writes "The European Union Commissioner for the Internal Market has today proposed extending the copyright term for musical recordings to 95 years. He also wishes to investigate options for new levies on blank discs, data storage and music and video players to compensate artists and copyright holders for 'legal copying when listeners burn an extra version of an album to play one at home and one in the car.'"
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Microsoft bid to buy Yahoo!

Albanach Albanach writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Albanach writes "Microsoft have written to the Yahoo! board offering to buy the company for $44.6bn, an increase of 62% above Yahoo's closing price on Thursday.

The BBC report this is not the first time Microsoft have expressed interest in Yahoo!, having made an approach a year ago that was rebuffed.

There's more coverage from CNN while Reuters report on the fact clearance will likely be required from the European Commission. Slashdot previously discussed Yahoo's acquisition of Zimbra the Exchange alternative for $350m. Could Microsoft be allowed to buy what is possibly the most prominent Exchange alternative on the market?"

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