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The Evolution of Diet

retroworks Re:"Paleolithic diets" now vs then (277 comments)

"Then there is the question of physical activity. During the stone age, getting too fat and/or being too inactive, were probably the least of your worries."

OPs most important point... Part of just a bunch of ignorance? Or did you intend to go on and cover that too?

2 days ago
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850 Billion NSA Surveillance Records Searchable By Domestic Law Enforcement

retroworks First Link in Article Bullshit (207 comments)

What's with the first link? BS? The second link is about DEA. We all know DEA is chasing marijuana crime because the legislative branch needs to pass better pot sale laws. Do I think the DEA is tracking my political opinions? No. Could they with this software? Yeah. But let's fix the marijuana laws before we freak out and tell the government to stop tracking "crime".

2 days ago
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Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe

retroworks Track Yourself on Android Here (74 comments)

Here is a website where you can see how your android phone tracks your movement. You have to be logged in, which means it's about as private as a gmail account, however private that is. Tracked me in Europe last month, where I only used the wifi and GPS (but drew point-to-point crow flies lines, as compared to USA highway lines) https://maps.google.com/locati...

2 days ago
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Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

retroworks Grandfather Clauses vs Hostage Negotiations (272 comments)

I have a non-profit association which uploaded dozens of videos of repair geeks in several countries on Viddler.com, a "free" video storage back in 2007, 2008. Viddler, like Youtube and Vimeo, was in the video storage space, and had trouble making any money vs. Youtube. First thing they had to do was to drop "source files" in 2010, when all the original quality was lost to make space. Then last April they gave members about a month to either pay up monthly or lose all their videos.

This was really disturbing and it's my main concern about dropbox. If they suddenly change the price, and we have years of space stored, how realistic is it to download? Viddler did not offer any mass-download, we had to do it file by file. They cut us a break in the end but it would have been very appreciated if the EULA agreements allowed for something other than retroactive storage negotiations. At this point we choose where to put files not just based on monthly price, but the future monthly price and the ease of moving out. The latter is the most important, I'd never put material on the cloud again which took 2 minutes per file to get back off.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

retroworks Re:End state and private capitalism. (331 comments)

And we reduce resource consumption as well for the sake of achievement? Keep in mind that cost savings have driven most of the conservation as well as most of the extraction of earth resources. Risking capital investment for the sake of achievement isn't something many would buy into.

about two weeks ago
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Murder Suspect Asked Siri Where To Hide a Dead Body

retroworks Re:To be fair... (160 comments)

Thanks, and thanks tandis, anubus iv, and exomundo. Slashdot editors can't really be blamed for letting this slide through, as it was reported as such even if the reporter was a UF grad or something. Shows the worst and best of the internet. Worst is someone composes a tweet or thought or joke or stereotype and it's reported as "news" EVERYWHERE. Best is that fellow nerds on /. are essentially acting as background checkers and via internet have the tools to out the hyperbole quickly.

about two weeks ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

retroworks Re:Politically Correct Science (541 comments)

"There is a wide consensus that the racial categories that are common in everyday usage are socially constructed, and that racial groups cannot be biologically defined" - wikipedia

There's simply no scientific basis or definition of "race" as Nicolas Wade uses the term. People in the bookstore will presume he's talking about melanin. Three hundred years ago Spaniards were considered a different "race" than Anglo Saxons or Greeks. To suggest that the "learning gene" is somehow incompatible or cannot be passed on in combination with a certain skin color / melanin gene seems obnoxious if that's not what the data show. Most "races" as defined by book-buying public are hetero-genetic, it may indeed seem to some either reckless or cynical of Wade to work "melanin and intelligence" into the book title. If I inherit dark melanin from my father and intelligence from my mother, I'd be more than just "politically correct" to be pissed off at Wade for implying that my dad's skin color negates mom's smarts.

It is controversial enough that tendency for intelligence can be inherited. The fact that skin color can also be inherited is true. Height can also be inherited, and hairlines. To insinuate, through the title of the book, that "race" is more correlated than height/hairline may be true (or not, I don't know), but if it's not determinative of intelligence, it doesn't belong it the title. Some people objecting may indeed object out of so-called "political correctness", but unless the skin color gene is somehow genetically incompatible with intelligence, it's just creating a non-useful stereotype.

Since there is no link to the letter of objection, those /.ers whining about "political correctness" are merely guessing at the motive of behind the letter of objection. My personal guess is, "don't take years of our scientific data and pick two traits - melanin and learning - and imply that those two traits, out of thousands of other traits, are tied together in some way just to promote your book sales."

about two weeks ago
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High School Students Not Waiting For Schools To Go Online

retroworks Meat is in 2nd Link (82 comments)

The blog about the second link (2013 in particular http://www.heri.ucla.edu/brief...) doesn't really add much value.

The UCLA report, however, is pretty interesting. Many of the application strategies described were the same my daughter (entering college in September) and wife and I adapted. We told her that the mortgage crisis of 2008 was triggered by a bunch of adults who were told at 17-18 that signing student debt notes for university was rational and wise, and that it so confused people that it's no surprise they never saved to buy cars or houses and brought the whole economy down. We figured that more and more applicants were coming from overseas, which is a good thing as otherwise the middle tier colleges in the USA will collapse. Like the averages in the report, we told her to apply to many more colleges, as the cost of the application (about $100 per college) was probably less than the standard deviation between financial aid offers from the 1/4-1/3 of institutions she'd get admitted to.

If you are going to apply to college, or have kids headed that way, the report is definitely worth reading. We managed to find a way to get the full cost down to about $15K including room and board. All the things people were told to consider in choosing a college 20-30 years ago don't matter. You can choose based on selectivity, class size, strength of degree programs, etc. but aside from geography the only thing you will remember is people - roomates, classmates, bandmates, workmates, and professors - and there's no way to analyze that in advance, so just take the deal you can afford.

about a month ago
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How a Supercomputer Beat the Scrap Heap and Lived On To Retire In Africa

retroworks Tinkerer's Blessing vs. Resource Curse (145 comments)

The "curse of natural resources", also known as the paradox of plenty, refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources. The skills to succeed are in government control of billion dollar resource control contracts, and being related to people with sharp elbows.

By contrast, nations which have succeeded despite having few natural resources - Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. - usually develop from import for repair and refurbishment. Fixer economies reward problem solving skills and education. "Good enough" tech. I like Hartree's phrase "like locking the toolbox until the car is fixed" (mod him up please)

"Every man is, no doubt, by nature, first and principally recommended to his own care; and as he is fitter to take care of himself than of any other person, it is fit and right that it should be so." - Adam Smith

about a month and a half ago
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Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

retroworks Bigger blackness (238 comments)

I moderated /. (emitted my energy). But the world is not more enlightened, because I was counter-moderated (anti-doesn't-matter). We may need this device/material to more accurately graph our lack of enlightenment, given the energy (carbon) submitted. Already available, BTW, on /. beta.

about a month and a half ago
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Want To Ensure Your Personal Android Data Is Truly Wiped? Turn On Encryption

retroworks "It's just matter of time, money, and effort." (91 comments)

It's well established that plenty of consumers discard or donate hard disks without taking any precautions, and are playing roulette with their identity. It's also well established that hundreds of millions of tons of this equipment is replaced, resold, stolen or discarded, and most people who wind up with the secondary device lack either the time, money, or effort to scavenge data off the phone. If in fact someone is in the identity theft business by buying phones on ebay, they'd profile themselves pretty well after a dozen phone purchases (what do these data-theft-victims have in common?). And who knows how many phones they'd have to buy which had been wiped in some way (and required more time, money and effort)?

This isn't a bad article in that it birddogs simple things you can do before selling your used phone, and if it elevates the perception of risk in order to get people to do something easy, that's appropriate. But in response to people who are shooting and burning their devices to be "100% sure" that no one spends the time, money and effort to follow them... that's appropriate if you are a high risk target. If you have stuff on your phone of interest to the FBI or KGB, the amount of time+money+effort may be less than or = the amount of risk. Your call.

But there is a lot of hyperbole out there about the percentage of identity theft which is traced to secondary market devices, and the billions of dollars in secondary market sales on sites like ebay represent time+money+effort interest in new product makers to spend fanning flames. Again it's appropriate that the article raises concerns and then points to simple efforts a consumer can take to increase the barrier-to-entry to their personal data. But the army of ebay buyers getting their porn fixes by buying and then de-encrypting cell phones to retrieve ugly selfies seems exaggerated. Warn people about sharks if they are swimming in shark infested waters, don't tell people that most swimmers will be attacked by sharks.

Tear your mail in 8 pieces and someone could dig it out of the trash and tape it together, but the time+money+effort that represents is significant. I remember people selling paper shredding equipment in the 1990s who described armies of Iranian students or Chinese peasants who could be buying torn paper and taping it back together. If they know it's the President of the USA's mail, they no doubt will expend that time+money+effort... Presidents should assume they are swimming in a shark tank. For most of us, ebay resales are a swimming pool, and warnings of shark attacks get tiresome.

about a month and a half ago
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Chimpanzee Intelligence Largely Determined By Genetics

retroworks Learned Behavior can be Passed On (157 comments)

Can't remember whether I saw this on /. or another news site, but the cutting edge research on evolution has been called "neo Lamarckism". Intelligence itself can be passed on genetically. A recent "Epigenetic inheritance" study showed that mice who were taught to associate an odor with danger had baby mice who reacted strongly to the same odor. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re... (Science Daily 12/2013). It may be that learning or education "triggers" latent genes. Lamarck may not turn out to be a Tesla, but Darwin is unfinished business.

about a month and a half ago
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Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

retroworks Need fast-acting yeast (159 comments)

They better act fast if they want to skirt the law with yeast, while there's still a law to break. In USA, Pot will be legal nationwide by 2018

At least that's been my bet. According to the LA Times today, the DEA in Washington is showing "fatigue" at enforcing it and the White House is ready to give up on the "war on pot". http://www.latimes.com/nation/...

about a month and a half ago
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Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

retroworks "Don't Worry, it's only 400k volts" (162 comments)

This is intriguing. Jokes about tasers and cattleprods will abound, and it would definitely get plenty of late night comedy attention. But if the science is good, it will have a lot of commercial applications. As the employer of several commercial truck drivers (and a CDL who takes the tests myself), I'd be very interested in having one at the doorway of our employment office (to scare away certain substance abusing job applicants, mainly).

What it doesn't really address is the "bottleneck" equation at TSA. We've already reached the breakeven point where a suicide bomber can kill more people standing in the incoming security line of the airport than he'd kill bringing down a plane (arguably TSA is mainly a property crime and marketing psychology tool). Also I wonder what the "false positives" rates are and how many people will miss flight connections. You are going after one out of a billion flyers, it would have to either be wickedly accurate in order to achieve it's outcome, which is to redirect suicide bombers from airplanes and towards softer targets.>/p>

about a month and a half ago
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NASA Successfully Tests 'Flying Saucer' Craft, New Parachute

retroworks $150M Can You Land Me Now? (49 comments)

Actually I completely support this kind of NASA test, but I question why NASA would want their trial balloons in the Wasthington @#$ing Post.

about 2 months ago
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That Toy Is Now a Drone

retroworks Peeping Toms in the Neighborhood (268 comments)

The article and comments miss the point. http://washington.cbslocal.com... They are trying to regulate the use of the drones for peeping in neighbors yards and windows. They are trying to regulate it in a way without banning them, the over-reaction which will probably occur the first time a nude child shows up on youtube from an evil neighbor's google glasses. The CBS article - and most articles via news.google.com - point out that you can buy these pocket yard drones on amazon and are more nuanced about the policy debate than the /. "government is gonna take your toys away" article.

about 2 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

retroworks What is the Attrition Rate at Mensa? (561 comments)

Mensa members appear to treat IQ as a fixed point, like an SAT test score or GPA that stays in your recordbook forever. But people obviously slow down over time, or suffer psychological symptoms such as paranoia or obsession which may have a deleterious effect on IQ. Some think the act of joining Mensa itself is a contraindicator of highest intelligence (perhaps why they had to dip to 98th percentile, the top thought better of enlisting).

What dating sites actually need is not more dating sites, but a Kayak,com service where I can find dates simultaneously from MENSA, Match.com, EHarmony, FarmersOnly.com, AdultFriendFinder, ChristianSingles, AshleyMadison, HinduConnections, etc., with search-by boxes for attractiveness, income, and other values-based searches. Oh wait, i think the NSA has that already, maybe we can lower the national debt by making it a paid search service.

about 2 months ago
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Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

retroworks Re:Progress (268 comments)

Agreed. I have no problem with Wikipedia editors being sued. I recently ran across a Wikipedia biography of El Salvador ex-presidente Jose Napolean Duarte which was written atrociously, basically accusing him of being a dictator behind a military coup. I corrected the article, noting he was actually popularly elected (a mayor of San Salvador, not a military coup leader), ousted in a coup, and then brought back in a counter coup, and then again popularly elected. Had to repost it twice, it kept getting "reverted" (it did get fixed but someone has since added "His military regime is noted for large-scale human rights abuses and massacres amongst the civilian population, supported by the Reagan Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency" to the first paragraph). Sure, Duarte was criticized for accepting the invitation of the second coup, but most people feel the human rights abuses were the work of the first junta and those opposed to the Salvadoran land reforms proposed by Duarte. But who has time to fight an idiot editor?

This could get modded "off topic", I guess, but IMHO Wikipedia should encourage defamation lawsuits against its volunteer editors. The main problem is that people with extremely hostile views edit more perniciously, and moderate editors don't have time to fight about it. Unfortunately, that's a remedy of the rich, not for people who don't have the means to sue for defamation.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Burger King Announces Possible Move to Canada, Eh?

retroworks retroworks writes  |  3 days ago

retroworks (652802) writes "The announced merger discussions of Burger King and Canadian Burger-Coffee Chain Tim Hortons sets the stage for an "inverse acquisition", where the smaller company winds up the HQ. This tactic has long been used in domestic markets (waste giants BFI and Waste Management both had inverse mergers with smaller waste hauling firms more than a decade ago). http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03...

The spin on the Burger King — Tim Horton's deal is that it would allow Burger King itself to move to Canada, where corporate taxes are lower. Similar "big pharma" deals are cited in the WSJ coverage of the BK-TH deal. WSJ notes that since 2010, Burger King has been owned by a Brazilian company, 3G Capital Management, which took BK stock private, and purchased Heinz (the ketchup chain) and Anheiser Busch... so making an example out of Burger King could put Obama (who has publicly professed a willingness to "take action" on inverse mergers and expatriation) could take the USA out of the frying pan and into the flame broiler. WSJ http://online.wsj.com/articles..."

Link to Original Source
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Potentially Immortal Single Cell Life form Eats, Breathes, Electrons

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about a month ago

retroworks (652802) writes "University of Southern California, Los Angeles researchers are studying forms of bacteria, found on the sea bed, which can feed directly on electrons from electric current. Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. NewScientist reports on cells which make ATP, a molecule that acts as an energy storage unit for almost all living things. This life form needs no sugar or protein, it can consume electrons, from electricity, directly.

"To grow these bacteria, the team collects sediment from the seabed, brings it back to the lab, and inserts electrodes into it. First they measure the natural voltage across the sediment, before applying a slightly different one. A slightly higher voltage offers an excess of electrons; a slightly lower voltage means the electrode will readily accept electrons from anything willing to pass them off. Bugs in the sediments can either "eat" electrons from the higher voltage, or "breathe" electrons on to the lower-voltage electrode, generating a current. That current is picked up by the researchers as a signal of the type of life they have captured.""

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Dubai's Climate-Controlled "Dome City": Members Only?

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about a month and a half ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Motherboard.vice reports on Dubai's planned 7Km "pedestrian city", complete with retractable air conditioned dome. The mega-project is projected to open at the United Arab Emirates World Expo Trade Fair (2020). Dubai's demographics — 85% expatriot imported labor (mostly Asian) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... — is already one of the most polarized by income level, and Motherboard finds the air conditioned cityscape artwork "dystopian". Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Rasheed, on the other hand, sees it as a move towards a tourism economy, and part of the kingdom's plan for post-petroleum. "We plan to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people living in the region around us; and we are determined to achieve our vision," Bin Rasheed explains in a press release. http://www.dubaiholding.com/me...

Details of the "Mall of the World" project include:
- World’s largest mall occupying 8 million sq. ft. connected to 100 hotels and serviced apartments buildings with 20,000 hotel rooms
- Temperature-controlled covered retail street network spreading over 7 km
- Largest indoor family theme park in the world
- Wellness district catering to medical tourists in 3 million sq. ft."

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British Airways Experiments with Electronic Mood Reading Blankets

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 2 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "From Bloomberg Businessweek: "British Airways (BAY:LN), the airline that pioneered the flat-bed seats in the 1990s, has taken the business of in-flight sleep to its next (logical? absurd?) level: The airline has developed a blanket to analyze the “meditative state” of premium cabin fliers. The wool “happiness blanket” is embedded with tiny fiber-optic LEDs that change color based on brainwaves transmitted via Bluetooth from a band worn on a passenger’s head. Blue signifies calm, peace, and relaxation and is seen most often when the person is sleeping deeply."

A British Airways video (embedded in the article) http://www.businessweek.com/ar... describes how its gizmo monitors "neurons in the brain" sensing when a passenger is enjoying a state of well being. Information is transferred via bluetooth to microfibers in the blanket, which turn bright red if the passenger feels anxious. Now, the video explains, British Airways knows — scientifically — that people like to sleep during their flight."

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NIgerian born UK TV repairman sentenced 16 months prison for 91% reuse

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 2 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "The Guardian uses a stock photo of obvious electronic junk in its coverage of the sentencing of Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics. But film of the actual containers showed fairly uniform, sorted televisions which typically work for 20 years. In 2013, the Basel Convention Secretariat released findings on a two-year study of the seized sea containers containing the alleged "e-waste", including Benson's in Nigeria, and found 91% working and repaired product. The study, covered in Slashdot last February, declared the shipments legal, and further reported that they were more likely to work than new product sent to Africa (which may be shelf returns from bad lots, part of the reason Africans prefer used TVs from nations with strong warranty laws).

Director of regulated industry Harvey Bradshaw of the UK tells the Guardian: "This sentence is a landmark ruling because it's the first time anyone has been sent to prison for illegal waste exports." But 5 separate university research projects question what the crime was, and whether prohibition in trade is really the best way to reduce the percentage of bad product (less than 100% waste). Admittedly, I have been following this case from the beginning and interviewed both Benson and the Basel Secretariat Executive Director, and am shocked that the UK judge went ahead with the sentencing following the publication of the E-Waste Assessment Study last year. http://retroworks.blogspot.com... But what do Nerds at Slashdot think about the campaign to arrest African geeks who pay 10 times the value of scrap for used products replaced in rich nations?"

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PR Firms Admit: Whitewashing Wikipedia Articles is a "Black Hat" Process

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 2 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "In the wake of a dispute over paid edits of Wikipedia pages, 11 of the largest public relations firms have agreed to comply with the online encyclopedia's rules. The move comes after Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that administers Wikipedia, threatened legal action for "suspicious edits", citing FTC laws.

Acknowledging that "prior actions of some in our industry have led to a challenging relationship" with Wikipedia editors, the firms vowed to abide by the site's policies, guidelines and terms of service. The firms also promised to police their own industry and counsel their clients in regard to proper conduct on the site.

The WSJ Blogger Jeff Elder quotes Wikipedia representatives position that whitewashing Wikipedia articles is a "black hat" process. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/20..."

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Australian Solar Power Breaks Key Milestone: Subcritical Steam

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 3 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Gizmag and ScienceAlert.com report that a solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam. According to the reports, CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and a big step for solar thermal energy. Using a field of more than 600 directional mirrors (heliostats) directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, the researchers generated steam at a pressure of 23.5 mpa (3,400 psi) and 570 C (1,058 F).

"It's like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources," Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director, told Colin Jeffrey for Gizmag. Supercritical steam is used to drive the world’s most advanced power plant turbines, but the articles claim it was previously only been possible by burning fossil fuels (or I'd presume nuclear fission)."

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Saturated Fat and Heart Disease Studies Full of Baloney (NYT, WSJ)

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 4 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "The NYT and WSJ both report growing frustration with long-held medical "wisdom" on saturated fats in the human diet. While medical associations continue to caution against saturated fats, the strongest correlations seem to stem from research bias.

Per wikipedia: "Medical, heart-health, and governmental authorities, such as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetic Association, the Dietitians of Canada, the British Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, the British Heart Foundation, the World Heart Federation, the British National Health Service, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the European Food Safety Authority advise that saturated fat is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD)."

However, original studies may have been influenced by "big corn". Nina Tiecholz (WSJ) writes "The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these [saturated] fats cause disease... Nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias... Too much whole-grain oatmeal for breakfast and whole-grain pasta for dinner, with fruit snacks in between, add up to a less healthy diet than one of eggs and bacon."

"Butter and lard had long been staples of the American pantry until Crisco, introduced in 1911, became the first vegetable-based fat to win wide acceptance in U.S. kitchens. Then came margarines made from vegetable oil and then just plain vegetable oil in bottles. All of these got a boost from the American Heart Association—which Procter & Gamble, the maker of Crisco oil, coincidentally helped launch as a national organization. " Tiecholz goes on to document the concerns now associated with saturated fats replacements, from oxidation to Alzheimers. "In short, the track record of vegetable oils is highly worrisome—and not remotely what Americans bargained for when they gave up butter and lard."

http://online.wsj.com/news/art..."

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Arkansas Tornado Coverage with Drone Camera Raises Legal Questions

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 4 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "In the latest tornado and storm tragedy to hit the USA's south and midwest, small drone cameras steered by storm-tracker and videographer Brian Emfinger gathered stunning bird's-eye footage of the wreckage. Forbes magazine covers the [paywalled] Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's speculation that Emfinger has violated FAA rules which prohibit commercial use of small drones. The laws, designed years ago to restrict hobbyists use of model airplanes, may conflict with USA First Amendment free press use. So far, nothing in the article says that the FAA is enforcing the rule on the media outlets that may pay Emfinger for his video coverage, but interest in the footage will probably create a business economy for future commercial drone use if the FAA does not act."
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Is facial recognition at retailers being used to target banner ads online?

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 4 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Yesterday I had to go to a retail store (Staples) for something unrelated to laser printers. While I was in the store, I decided to check out the laser printers, see what's new, though I don't really need one.

Now my Sunday morning news search is filled with laser printer ads for HP. I have not been searching online. Looking for updates on whether stores are selling my aisle browsing habits to online advertisers, I found this NYT article by Natasha Singer to be quite informative, with interesting links to varying leads from Snowden testimony to Silicon Valley startups to National Telecom and Information Agency web pages."

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WSJ: Prepare to hang up the phone - forever

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 5 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Telecom giants AT&T and Verizon Communications are lobbying states, one by one, to hang up the plain, old telephone system, what the industry now calls POTS--the copper-wired landline phone system whose reliability and reach made the U.S. a communications powerhouse for more than 100 years. Is landline obsolete, and should be immune from grandparents era social protection?"
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Google Public DNS Hijacked for 22 Minutes in South America

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 5 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet reports:

"Without the Domain Name System (DNS), we're all lost on the Internet. DNS provides the service that translates our human readable Web addresses such as google.com to their real, but mysterious Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses, such as 8.8.8.8 or IPv6's 2001:4860:4860::8888. The problem with this master yellow pages directory to the Internet is that DNS records themselves can be corrupted or your communications with the DNS servers interrupted by a man-in-the-middle (MiM) attack. "

While it's only 22 minutes, and apparently only affected internet users in Brazil and Venezuela, the repercussions of DNS hijacking could be huge for online commerce. Since many of these attacks in the past have originated in Eastern Europe, should we all be on guard now that Russia has been sabre-rattling? How likely is this to occur in California-based Google servers? For reaction on Twitter, visit here https://twitter.com/bgpmon/sta..."

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U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 5 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Columnist Craig Timberg reports from the Washington Post:

"U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web.

"Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash last year to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

"The change would end the long-running contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit group. That contract is set to expire next year but could be extended if the transition plan is not complete."

Out of the frying pan, into wait-what?"

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Income Inequality Through Assortative Mating: Marry Up

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 6 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "While tax laws, minimum wages, and patent extension are frequently blamed for the rising gap between "haves and have nots", an international economics study finds another simple factor behind income inequality. Marriage. As gender equality has improved in the professional workplace, paired incomes don't occur randomly. "Better educated people are increasingly more likely to marry other better-educated people while those with less formal schooling are more likely to choose a less well-educated partner." Using Census data, the (UPenn directed) researchers found that "across the board, the income gap between couples with relatively high and those with relatively low levels of education had widened substantially since 1960 relative to the average household income... the relative earnings of couples with high school degrees had fallen by 20 percentage points relative to the average while the household incomes of highly educated husbands and wives had increased by 43 points."

The Economist http://www.economist.com/news/... notes, " The economic incentive to marry your peers has increased. A woman with a graduate degree whose husband dropped out of high school in 1960 could still enjoy household income 40% above the national average; by 2005, such a couple would earn 8% below it." And in Slate, http://www.slate.com/articles/... Matthew Iglesias puts it in terms a nerd can related to. "She likes Doctor Who; I like Star Trek...But one thing about us is pretty similar: We both went to fancy colleges full of people with high SAT scores. And in that regard, we’re pretty typical." Perhaps "Natural Selection" is the best explanation for rising college tuition, and increasing student debt."

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Unlock Your Cell Phone? Forget First Use Doctrine, Go Directly to Jail

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 6 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "CTIA, the Wireless Cell Phone Association http://www.ctia.org/about-us, has members who want to extend copyright law beyond the first use doctrine. The LG vs. Quanta case was the third time patent infringement lost to "first use" or "right to repair" precedent in the USA. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/... Rather than continue to lose technology patent court cases against reuse or "market cannibalization" gray markets, CTIA wants to take this to Congress. Bloomberg reports on a bill to make it illegal to tinker with your cell phone and move it to another carrier.

Since the Supreme Court rulings on first use are based on precedent rather than law or constitutional rights to ownership (an 1860s cotton baling wire case), passing an explicit law to ban repair seems like a more direct approach to making patents and copyrights apply to the multi-billion-dollar secondary market."

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Blood Test of 4 BioMarkers Predicts Death Within 5 Years

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 6 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "NHS and the Daily Telegraph report on two studies (original and repeat duplicating results) in Estonia and Finland which predict whether an apparently healthy human will likely die within 5 years. The four biomarkers that appeared to determine risk of mortality in the next five years were:

alpha-1-acid glycoprotein – a protein that is raised during infection and inflammation
albumin – a protein that carries vital nutrients, hormones and proteins in the bloodstream
very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle size – usually known for being “very bad” cholesterol
citrate – a compound that is an essential part of the body’s metabolism

Researchers found that people in the top 20% of the summary score range were 19 times more at risk of dying in the next five years than people in the lowest 20%."

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Ask Slashdot: What is the basis of 5-Cap Moderation Limit?

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 6 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Sometimes I submit a comment that is really good and deserves a 5 and is modded a 5. Sometimes it was really worth only 4, but someone was going to lose his mderator points and needed to spend them. Sometimes, once every couple of years, we submit a comment we think is worth 11. What was the original basis for the 5-max moderation, and does it still apply to comments today?"
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Math Models Predicted Ukraine Uprising

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 6 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Just over a year ago, complex systems theorists at the New England Complex Systems Institute http://necsi.edu/research/soci... warned that if food prices continued to climb, so too would the likelihood that there would be riots across the globe. Sure enough, we're seeing them now. The paper's author, Yaneer Bar-Yam, charted the rise in the FAO food price index—a measure the UN uses to map the cost of food over time—and found that whenever it rose above 210, riots broke out worldwide. It happened in 2008 after the economic collapse, and again in 2011, when a Tunisian street vendor who could no longer feed his family set himself on fire in protest."
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Correlation, Causation, and Cancer: Temperature of Lab Mice Twists Tests

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 6 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "The Economist reported on a study by Elizabeth Repasky, an immunologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Repasky noticed that mice prefer and will seek out a temperature of 30 Celsius, but that most lab technicians prefer to keep the mice at 20-26 degrees... it makes for cleaner cages. She then re-performed previous research showing causal cancer links on two sets of mice, one kept at 30 degrees, and one kept a 22 degrees. The report shows that temperature, a third variable, changes the correlations significantly."
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Journals

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Free Manoi-Go in Vermont

retroworks retroworks writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Vermont environmentalists were torn when Agency of Natural Resources began a crackdown on "e-waste" reuse, recycling, and repair company in Middlebury. Japanese robot Manio-Go was seized and impounded as hazardous waste, under actual new Vermont laws classifying electronic devices with less than 80% battery levels as "hazardous". A petition was released to get Governor Peter Schumlin to commute the sentence of recycling-by-shredder, to Free Manio-Go. This is partly April Fools, but sadly not April Fools enough http://tinyurl.com/saveManoi

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To Our Recycling Friends In Egypt

retroworks retroworks writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Ten years ago this week, I was inspired to attempt to establish "fair trade recycling" exports of the much maligned "e-waste" (which is one of the most misleading and misunderstood terms ever coined). It was based on my experience in Africa, watching entrepreneurs and small businesspeople who "tinkered" and repaired goods, which I recognized was the way Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Signapore emerged. The opposite of the "resource curse", repair and refubishment is so vital to economic development that one could even argue that it was worth the price of "waste"... but I also believe that proper recycling, the best recycling, is done with hand-disassembly.

[Read more about my fair trade recycling philosophy, and how it guides my own company, at www.retroworks.blogspot.com ]

Like Fair Trade Coffee (which emerged in response to a horrible "coffee boycott" idea to help coffee farmers), the result of fairly traded used electronics can result in proper recycling infrastructures within the developing world, which has its own "ewaste" to manage. More importantly, it can result in Egyptian revolutions... the 3 billion people in the world who earn about $3 thousand per year have gotten online at ten times the rate of growth of the developed world, and they are not doing it with brand new PCs. http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2011/01/to-our-recycling-friends-in-egypt.html

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Camouflage v. Cloaking

retroworks retroworks writes  |  more than 11 years ago Submitted for comment:

A program which submits random browser data can effectively complicate investigative work by 3rd party data collectors. It would take a lot of camouflage users to pollute Google or NSA's historic record base, but only take a few pieces of bad data to "poison the well" of information (e.g. he visited a gay website) used in court. I would like an option which is not completely random, which does not submit false terrorist or pedofile site data for example.

This would not be very effective against cookies (except when presence of cookies was to be used as evidence in a courtroom) but would effectively cloud any suspicions with doubt at the level of a large database such as a search engine.

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