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Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

retroworks Pan-Racial Future (58 comments)

On an evolutionary time scale, this is a snapshot. "Europeans" meant something for several thousand years, but the intermarriage and population growth and travel will commingle DNA in a century or two (evolutionarily known as an "instant"). I'm white and have native American DNA, most black / African Americans are dark skinned and have loads of European DNA, etc etc. These DNA results are interesting but it's like trying to follow a weather pattern, the geographical barriers are toast.

1 hour ago
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Inside Shenzen's Grey-Market iPhone Mall

retroworks Part of the defamed "e-waste" culture (22 comments)

Have been to these markets in Shenzhen and Foshan, and to similar marketplaces in Cairo and Lima and Jakarta. In Chinese there is a word "shenzhai" I think which means to "hack" or copy, but it doesn't have the nefarious English connotations. It's more like a musician jamming someone else's guitar riff, it's seen as a talent worthy of applause. Slate had a great article in 2012, "The Chinese Steve Jobs is Probably a Pirate". I'm now working with 3 researchers at universities to document what we call the "Tinkerer Blessing", which is the opposite of the "Resource Curse"... correlating that emerging markets with a lack of natural resources develop better through technology repair and "grey market" activity. Simon Lin of Acer, Terry Gou of Foxconn, both started in video display refurbishment, by the way. http://www.slate.com/articles/...

1 hour ago
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Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research

retroworks Employer says Thank You (74 comments)

While it's popular to cheer for victims of lost jobs and the unemployed, the brutal truth is that unemployment is 4% (in my state) and asshole-dom is about 14%. We look forward to MS-less resumes to grow our business. There's a shortage of smart employees, and until we figure out how to educate the emerging intellect-nots, medium-tech industry needs the dis-employed. Or immigrants. We are color blind, we don't care.

13 hours ago
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Mystery Signal Could Be Dark Matter Hint In ISS Detector

retroworks Generally accepted (51 comments)

Dark matter simply means matter that is too small to be detected by what humans have so far developed to see, but which gravity study suggests should be there. Seventy years ago, Pluto was probably "dark matter". Giving a name to "everything" we can't see and then finding evidence that there's something more is a bit curious. What hasn't been "seen" yet is "dark". We will eat away at "dark" matter one snapshot at a time.

13 hours ago
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Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

retroworks Industry Needs Self-Certification or Academy (118 comments)

If the code-writing industry is going to rely on civil court judges and federal patent clerks to make the decisions, the firms with 2 lawyers per coder will win out. If the code-writing industry goes to no-patents, it will be from each coder according to his ability, to each according to his need. The only solution is for some industry gurus to come up with some rules which everyone agrees to abide by, and then to submit the concensus in friend-of-court decisions. I have no idea whether anyone in the industry is prepared to even define the 80/20 rule, but if they can agree on the WORST patent decisions (either way) and get some concensus on them, and then try to find commonalities in what made those "bad", it could be a start.

about a week ago
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UCLA Biologists Delay the Aging Process In Fruit Flies

retroworks Old Time Religion (82 comments)

The Bible tells us that: Adam lived 930 years. (Genesis 5:5) ... Seth lived 912 years.(Genesis 5:8) ... Methuselah lived 969 years.(Genesis 5:27) ... And Noah lived 950 years. (Genesis 9:29) ... And that Fruit Flies lived 120 days (Lost Scroll) ...

about two weeks ago
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How China's E-Waste Capital Is Trying To Clean Itself Up

retroworks Improved? Or Hyperbolized to Start With? (15 comments)

1. Guiyu is a used semiconductor / chip harvesting and reuse center. The acid baths stuff (for biproduct after chip reuse) stopped years ago, the material is now shipped to Dowa in Japan. There's an ongoing issue with incineration of the boards to concentrate the metals ash for Dowa - that is the focus of the improvements in the article.

2. Guiyu's main industry is textile dying. The river pollution blamed on "e-waste" is almost identical to Louhajang River in Bangladesh - a textile industry pollution site.

3. Abogbloshie in Ghana is mostly an automobile junkyard. Very little of the "e-waste" there is recently imported. African cities have had TV and recycling for a long time. World Bank statistics show Nigeria had 6.9M households with TV in 2006, for example. India has NO used imports, plenty of informal sector processes.

4. Three separate peer reviewed studies show 85%-91% reuse of used electronics imports in South America and Africa.

5. According to TFA, the material currently processed in Guiyu is mostly generated in China.

6. USA has never been a significant exporter to Africa.

Emerging markets pay $$ for all the shipping. They pay for stuff they want, which is usually reuse value. They also generate "e-waste" and have their own dumps. China and India and Africa generate more electronic junk than USA or Europe. For some decent academic study on the Hoax, here are links to research at Memorial University, MIT, ASU, and UN at this /. story from last December. http://news.slashdot.org/story.... Innocent tinkerers and fixers are getting a firehose of bullshit #FreeHurricaneBenson. It is true that China (and TCL, the largest TV manufacturer in China) have invested in a clean up of Guiyu, and it's true Guiyu was nasty, but there was fortunately not all that much "ewaste" to clean up (worst is incineration of boards to concentrate ash, after chip harvest, prior to export to Dowa). Unfortunately they are not taking on cleanup of the textile industry, so the arsenic in the water samples will remain. Finding arsenic in the Guiyu river should have tipped people off in the first place, it has nothing to do with e-waste and everything to do with textile factories and copper mining.

about two weeks ago
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GM To Introduce Hands-Free Driving In Cadillac Model

retroworks User Errors (185 comments)

I don't doubt GM and others can make this work. But we'll never know how many of the "sudden acceleration" Toyota accidents were actually user errors blamed via "Oh yeah, me too. That's the ticket!" excuse. Toyota eventually just settled with everyone rather than go through the cases all trial-by-trial. In other words, even if it works perfectly, how many drivers will blame the technology irregardless? And if it doesn't work perfectly, how many juries will err on the side of the victim?

about two weeks ago
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Apparent Meteorite Hits Managua, Nicaragua, Leaving Crater But No Injuries

retroworks MOD POINT BUCKET (107 comments)

Have mod points, but no one says anything interesting? Contribute here to the Mod Point Bucket [MPB] When your mod points expire, we'll owe you.

about two weeks ago
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Surprise! More Than Twice As Much Mercury In Environment As Thought

retroworks #1 Source of Environmental Mercury = Gold Mining (173 comments)

#2, Silver Mining. It turns out mountains don't come labelled as "gold" and "silver-only". As world affluence increases, demand for gold and silver increases. Today, affluent trapped from filters at gold mines produces more mercury than mercury mines. But the only mines "trapping" any mercury are in regulated western economies... most gold mining is in unregulated forests.

Lamps, by the way, have jackshit mercury, less than a fraction of what they had when lamp recycling got started. Billions of dollars are being spent "recycling" lamps which have barely any mercury in them.

At least the recycled mercury saves the environment, right? Oh. Nope. Read the great journalist John Fialka on WSJ 2006. Most of the mercury recovered from the recycling went to alluvial gold mining in Amazon and Congo river basins. http://online.wsj.com/news/art...

I'm an environmentalist, but environmentalists 3.0 need to recognize past mistakes, and correct them, the same as engineers and software coders are expected to do.

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

retroworks Re:Parent of University Frosh Twins: "Thank You" (161 comments)

That's what we all said in 1982 when Reagan was blamed for cutting the Pell Grant Program (which was replaced by loans). It turns out Reagan may have been right after all. The cost of tuition increases, when all other cost factors (energy, interest rates, salaries, etc.) were controlled for?... Federal Pell grants. The more the feds slopped into students, the higher the college tuition draw. (cue sucking sound).

I suspect that in nations where tax aid for tuition is working, the universities are government owned, and there are too many private colleges in the USA. And to give USA credit, our colleges are admired overseas in part for the competition between private and public enterprise (even if some was for the athletic facilities arms race). I was out protesting Reagan's cuts as a freshman and sophomore, but by the time I was a junior, I realized why Eisenhower included universities in his "military industrial complex" speech. We were patsies. The more our "need" was met, the higher the tuition went. It correlated to aid.

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

retroworks Parent of University Frosh Twins: "Thank You" (161 comments)

Competition and expense at elite colleges is really tough for my kids. Today, I don't think I would have gotten into the colleges I attended 30 years ago. And I hear most of the parents of my generation griping about competition from incoming foreign students.

No, I say this is good. The USA college tuitions have been going up 3 times the rate of inflation for three decades. While much of the increased annual fees go to "need based" tuition scholarships, the university endowments have funded an arms race on "country club" campuses complexes, the maintenance of which draws from the same tuition and fees. Students are paying for the lavishness. MOOC (massive online open courses) have been proposed as the solution, providing the education without the cost of the colleges' overhead.

As this would trend, the smaller and middle reputation colleges would fold and get privatized (which has not worked well at all). Colleges like, say Hendrix in Arkansas or St. Mike's in VT, are fine schools with good professors, and they'd be the victim if it weren't for an increase in students who can afford to pay the full tuition. If the country club and reputations of US colleges didn't attract foreign full-tuition paying students, the only solution would be more college debt, which is already unsustainable. So if my kid (with better grades, scores, and languages than I had) didn't get into the "A-List" college I attended, I'm satisfied she'll find more people as smart as she is at the less prestigious school, and that all the foreign tuition coming into this program will float all boats.

The only two things most people remember about college are 1) the interesting people they met (friends, faculty, etc) and 2) the debt they leave with. MOOC's only address the latter. More wealthy foreign students paying full tuition addresses both.

about two weeks ago
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Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

retroworks Re:Mod up 1000+ (448 comments)

Could we require them to run on proprietary fuel tank cartridges (like ink cartridgeware), with anti piracy chips?

about two weeks ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

retroworks CAPA vs. Barrier to Entry (152 comments)

Most people don't understand the compliance. There's good and bad, but there's no going back once your industry (candle makers, software writers, barbers, whoever) adapts a standard it invariably becomes a tool of an authority.

Good: What I like about it is that our certifications increase accountability by encouraging recording mistakes. The "routine" of flagging mistakes and finding root causes and formalizing "corrective and preventative action" has been good and improved our company.

Bad: These standards are adapted by many companies in order to reduce competition, take away via consensus unique individual methods for doing things. They become almost like a "union", punishing individual innovation via auditors that view the world inside a "box". Uniqueness and innovation are an increased cost and risk to the third party auditor, and the auditor is ready to adapt the majority interpretation - which is usually to increase barrier of entry into the field of competiton.

As Morris Kleiner, the AFL-CIO chair in labor policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, put it "Occupational licensing has either no impact or even a negative impact on the quality of services provided to customers by members of the regulated occupation."

about two weeks ago
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Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

retroworks Re:Nuclear waste trains in other countries (258 comments)

There are two types of "nuclear waste", actual spent fuel rods which are a real problem, and a lot of "definitional" nuclear waste, like contaminated hard hats, which may or may not be dangerous but may just be landfilled in other nations. TFA implies

Saw on CNN Fareed Zakaria 2 weeks ago that for the former nuclear waste there's a USA technology to use it as fuel. Similar to "breeder reactor" use, but evidently cheaper and safer. http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn....

Train transport would have to be modular by the way, using containers that go on trucks before the truck puts it on a train. That's the way most of the containers you see on trains get there. The trains don't actually, like, go up to loading docks. Or even go to most cities at all. See photos here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... If they are actually talking about actual train cars, they better first do a study of how many nuke plants have rail spurs!

about three weeks ago
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DNA Reveals History of Vanished "Paleo-Eskimos"

retroworks Re:Wiped out by new diseases perhaps? (57 comments)

Tsunamis and volcano-caused-climate-change events are historically significant.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

retroworks Diminishing Space on Phone (167 comments)

You need to have the right combination of apps. Too often an app I really like causes my voicemail or music storage not to run... not the fault of the app, I just don't have room for it and have to prioritize.. Perhaps the question should be, which are the most efficient apps, most value for the least resources? all glory to the hypnotoad... need to free space for the hynotoad app

about three weeks ago
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Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

retroworks Re:2X Generation ***Hole Conversion Rule (369 comments)

In what way were German fathers "assholes" during World War I? I don't think every time dad gets paddled the kids revolt. The point is if Dad's an outlandishly bad acting head-chopping innocent killing and embarrassing liar and gets caught at it, the next generation doesn't tend to copy his behavior.

about three weeks ago
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Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

retroworks Re:Self-Inflicted Damage (369 comments)

It's called "Blow-back" and mod parent up.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Paypal Jumps into Bitcoin with Both Feet

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about two weeks ago

retroworks (652802) writes "BBC, WSJ, Bloomberg, Forbes and several other business sites are buzzing with Paypal's incorporation of Bitcoin transactions. According to Wired, Paypal will be "the best thing ever to happen to bitcoin" http://www.wired.com/2014/09/p... Paypal-owned Braintree not only brings 150 million active users in close contact with Bitcoin, it signals "mainstreaming" similar to cell phone app banking, perceived as experimental just a few years ago.

Meanwhile Wired News reports on "someone's efforts" to expose or unmask Bitcoin guru Satoshi Nakamoto... http://www.wired.com/2014/09/s..."

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Tesla to Open $5B Battery Factory in Nevada

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about two weeks ago

retroworks (652802) writes ""In winning the contract, Nevada beat out California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to become the new home of the factory where Tesla, in partnership with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic, will build the lithium ion power plants for its Model S and Model X electric vehicles.""
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Apple Stock falls 3-4% after "Nude Celeb Scandal"

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about two weeks ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Both the Wall Street Journal (paywall http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat...), USA

Today, and Business Insider are all running stories about the big dip in Apple stock, close to the eve of the iPhone 6 rollout. Huffington Post's Headline is "Apple Stock Getting Killed" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

There are two different explanations given for the tanking Apple stock. To be sure, potential liabilities over The iCloud photo scandal and leaked celebrity nude photos gets its share of the blame. But and a note from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves telling investors to sell Apple shares seems to carry more weight.

"Last week, the company was flying high as anticipation built for the iPhone 6, and the iWatch, which are expected to be announced next week. The stock was hitting new all-time highs...It all came to a screeching halt over the weekend for Apple, when nude photos of celebrities hit the web. Apple's weak security on iCloud, where the photos were backed up, was blamed for the photos hitting the web."

Apple's new mobile payments feature, as well as health tracking data tied to the iPhone, may feel the pinch from the data security breach (although most of that data is likely to be stored right on the phone, not in the iCloud, BusinessInsider points out). Pacific Crest's Hargreaves says, "We recommend taking profits in Apple.""

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Burger King Announces Possible Move to Canada, Eh?

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about three weeks 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..."

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Potentially Immortal Single Cell Life form Eats, Breathes, Electrons

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 2 months 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 2 months 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 5 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 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 7 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 7 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 7 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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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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