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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.

2 days 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 week 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 two weeks 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 two weeks 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 two weeks 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 two weeks 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 two weeks 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 three weeks 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 three weeks 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 a month 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 a month ago
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Continuous System For Converting Waste Plastics Into Crude Oil

retroworks Old Tech (Pyrolysis), Why it didn't sail (139 comments)

Pyrolysis for "recycling" plastic waste into oil (or tire waste into oil) has been around since at least the 1990s. The main problems are 2: A) As Irate Engineer states, a polymer is an "added value" and deconstructing polymers back to oil always fails economically when actual recycling to like-polymers is available, and B) as Itzy says, the comparative value of returning it to fuel, vs. leaving it in an Municipal Solid Waste to energy facility and burning it, is small.

I read TFA and cannot figure out what differentiates this from the pyrolysis "waste investments" of the 1990s, none of which really sailed.

about a month ago
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Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

retroworks Re:The facts? (322 comments)

Mod parent up. This is a silly idea. Yes, the Non-OECD growth in carbon emmissions is growing enormously. But the non-OECD still has LESS CO per unit of production than the OECD. In other words, a carbon tax would benefit China production from the start. Plus, over time, China's already investing a lot more in CO free energy (as a percentage of GDP) than the OECD is. http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/i.... Trade agreements don't allow WTO members to apply rules specifically against a certain member, they apply to all members, and the West still produces more CO per capita

Obesity too is increasing in China. But if you tax obesity, you aren't going to advantage western countries. .

about a month and a half ago
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Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

retroworks Budweiser Ad Hijacked, Viewers Directed to Miller (155 comments)

News at 11. Or is it...? (organ music) Dunnn Dunnn DUNNNNNN!!!

The article winds up with "Another fix would be to prompt users to press a button confirming their okay before an app launches on their TV, as well as regular reminders that apps are loading or running whenever they switch channels." Well, I don't look forward to having to click my remote to approve apps from my couch, but it's not exactly an emergency. Seems appropriate to wait for Miller Beer or Dr. Evil to actually execute the attempt first, before worrying much about the potential for television broadcast content impurities.

about a month and a half ago
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Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks

retroworks Re:George Carlin was Right! (123 comments)

Mostly it comes from Marx, "commodity fetishism" (see wikipedia). Using the same concept Marx used to describe how the labor added value of goods and commodities are unseen but known and measurable. Similarly, in regulating an object which is "waste" or "discard" differently from the same material mined and smelted attaches a fetish, ignoring hidden environmental and economic costs of production a waste or secondary commodity. I learned the concept from papers by Josh Lepawsky and Ramzy Kahhat on electronic scrap, but it goes back at least to 2003 http://oae.sagepub.com/content..., or more recently by Graham Pickren of Univ of Georgia 2013 "Political ecologies of electronic waste: uncertainty and legitimacy in the governance of e-waste geographies"

about a month and a half ago
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Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks

retroworks Re:George Carlin was Right! (123 comments)

Parent link George Carlin (Q:"Why are we here?" A:"Plastic, asshole.") routine was insightful. Reporting on environmental problems needs to better distinguish between serious harms like habitat loss and species extinction, resource conservation issues (one generation using everything up - like fresh water - disadvantaging later human generations), and what researchers call "fetishizing". The "fetish" is used when people are made to feel guilty about something (e.g. "waste") and continue to attach guilt and responsibility to the item based not on risk but on past human ownership. This can lead to regulations which disadvantage recycling (secondary copper smelters), secondary markets (e.g. used display devices and cell phones) disproportionately to the risk.

There are some interesting academic papers on environmental fetishes and untended consequences of fixations based on previous human 'ownership' and 'guilt association'. Many environmentalists are scientists and are aware of the 'quasi-religion' of moral risk association, but are afraid to speak openly about it the same as the Renaissance's great thinkers were afraid to publicly pose their doubts about Christianity. The philosophers doubted much about sources of Christian ethics but were concerned about replacing it with anarchy. Scientific environmentalists have similar concerns about exposing "fetish" environmentalism without discrediting actual moral progress on stewardship.

about a month and a half ago
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Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US?

retroworks Re:A lose/lose/lose situation (432 comments)

You left off #5, that while it's good to turn spoiled or over-produced corn into ethanol, to actually plant/fertilize/grow/harvest/synthesize corn in order to produce ethanol likely consumes more fuel than the ethanol produces. From what I've read, you can't power the farm tractors and distilleries without a net loss of gasoline.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Potentially Immortal Single Cell Life form Eats, Breathes, Electrons

retroworks retroworks writes  |  6 hours 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 two weeks 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 three weeks 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month and a half 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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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LA Times: Snowden Had 3 Helpers Inside NSA

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 5 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Three people at the National Security Agency have been implicated in Edward Snowden's efforts to copy classified material, including a civilian employee who resigned last month after acknowledging he allowed Snowden to use his computer ID, according to an NSA memo sent to Congress. The other two were an active-duty member of the military and a civilian contractor. The memo does not describe their conduct, but says they were barred from the NSA and its systems in August.

Not much detail disclosed in the article, but the one who is talking seems to have just loaned Snowden his ID and password without really knowing why Snowden wanted it.Prompts reasking of the question on /. last week... "How many other NSA contractors / staff / moles / spies have been doing the same thing, without Snowden's intention to disclose their behavior?" http://slashdot.org/comments.p..."

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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 10 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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