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Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

retroworks Anti-Aging is a Fraud Magnet (144 comments)

On the one hand, this could be huge. On the other hand, let's see the peer reviewed articles. Remember "resveratrol"? After seeing resveratrol covered by CBS 60 Minutes, etc, I bought some tablets, based on the similar mouse aging claims. Interesting history in Quackwatch.com describes how the mouse aging study led to $720M investment by GlaxoSmithKline. Once the money started rushing in, it went quacky...

"In 2012, the University of Connecticut announced that it had concluded that Dipak K. Das, Ph.D., a professor in its Department of Surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center, was guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data and that the university had notified eleven journals about this problem [20]. In recent years, Das had gained attention for his reports on allegedly beneficial properties of resveratrol. As of March 2014, journals had retracted 20 of his papers, many of which were repeatedly cited by others [21]. Das died in 2013."

Some interesting research is still going on, tangentially from the resveratrol research. But the way anti-aging anything gets marketed, suspicion always seems warranted.

http://www.quackwatch.com/01Qu...

12 hours ago
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Webcast Funerals Growing More Popular

retroworks Tom Sawyer Applications / Counterfeits (60 comments)

How are we to know whether the funeral we are watching is genuine? Could it be counterfeit, rebroadcast, or pirated?

yesterday
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Forbes Blasts Latests Windows 7 Patch as Malware

retroworks Re:It uninstalled itself... (228 comments)

Yep, my history shows the Auto update installed the suggested fix 12/13/2014, before this article was posted here. I had noticed problems with Nvidia, so I'm glad they fixed it. Razr mouse may also have been affected. So the jury still says, let Windows auto-update.

2 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

retroworks Put your money into speakers (431 comments)

Ah, yes.... I rather vaguely remember a series of experiments I attended a couple of decades ago. My colleagues and I participated in several hours-long, herb-fueled, analysis sessions comparing cassette tape, CDs, and vinyl, with and without equalizers. We listened in sessions controlling for acoustic, heavy metal, synthesizer, etc.. I'm pretty sure the committee's conclusion was "put the money into the speakers". But I think we forgot to write it down anywhere.

3 days ago
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How High-Tech Temporary Tattoos Will Hack Your Skin

retroworks Can I opt for a Zoolander titty ring? (57 comments)

The gadget doesn't look like it should be limited to passing as a tattoo. We should see this as an opportunity to accessorize! But the models in TFA aren't into it. Catwalks! Sell it, baby!

about two weeks ago
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Pizza Hut Tests New "Subconscious Menu" That Reads Your Mind

retroworks Re:No It Reads Your Face (186 comments)

You will be banked into facial recognition database and find Peperoni ads on your Facebook ads page. This is about facial recognition software, it's going into store cameras everywhere, and they are starting to package it as a "consumer advantage". Physical browsing is now, today, being tracked the same as web browsing. Minority Report has your pizza ready.

about two weeks ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

retroworks Journalism Mantra: "If it bleeds, it leads" (409 comments)

Eyeballs are attracted to bad news. Good news does not sell papers or attract viewers. This has been documented for a century, and modern psychology actually studies the "fear", "bad news", and "schadenfreude" centers in the brain. Perceived risks that you avoid releases dopamine. Talk radio manufactures doomsday stories every hour, on the hour.

The saddest thing is when CBS 60 Minutes gets it completely wrong - and wins a journalism Award. Ask CBS 60 Minutes anchor, Scott Pelley, about the state of journalism. http://www.mediabistro.com/tvn...

"Our house is on fire. Never before in human history has more information been available to more people. But at the same time never before in human history has more bad information been available to more people.” - Scott Pelley

He should know. Pelley's won an journalism award for misreporting the "trail" of "e-waste" in 2008. But reporting that a past story was exaggerated doesn't sell many ads.

about two weeks ago
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Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

retroworks Re:I don't get it (167 comments)

Allvoices.com

about two weeks ago
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Obama Offers Funding For 50,000 Police Body Cameras

retroworks Re:There are issues to resolve... (262 comments)

There are issues to resolve, but they aren't that difficult to resolve. There are 9 exemptions police departments can claim, including #6 below. http://www.foiadvocates.com/ex...

6. Documents which are "personnel and medical and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6).

Also exempt is anything mentioned by statute, so Washington could just pass a law liminting FOIA access to the police cams. And #7 probably works as well. :

"7 Documents which are "records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes," but only if one or more of six specified types of harm would result. 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)."

Or if you are on the police cam, you can start to reveal secrets related to oil well data, or banking. Big Oil and Banking have their own exemtions, 8 and 9.

about two weeks ago
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Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation's Collapse

retroworks Taxpayer's Dilemma (213 comments)

If no one pays taxes, I live in a lousy infrastructure.

If everyone pays taxes, I live in a nice infrastructure, but had to pay taxes.

If I admit not paying taxes, no one else wants to pay taxes either.

If I make everyone believe in paying taxes, while I secretly do not pay taxes, I benefit from the infrastructure for free.

Dang. Didn't realize this was a Ph.D thesis material!

about two weeks ago
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Supreme Court To Decide Whether Rap Lyric Threats Are Free Speech

retroworks Threats Vs. Free Speech always a judgement call (436 comments)

That's all this is, it's balancing the laws protecting citizens against credible threats vs. the free speech rights of the person making the threat. Whether it rhymes, is set to music, or is in iambic pentameter is irrelevant. Threatening speech is like pornography, judges have to know it when they hear it.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

retroworks Airline Luggage (257 comments)

Could we robotize the baggage handling system first? Driverless luggage carriers and robots won't need background checks, won't pilfer, and don't interact with third parties out in the tarmac (less likely to encounter ambulance chasing lawyers out to sue Google for fender bending).

about two weeks ago
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Swiss Scientists Discover DNA Remains Active After Space Journey and Re-entry

retroworks Very limited test (67 comments)

Surviving the estimated 1000 degree centigrade reentry temperature is impressive. The rest of the test - a suborbital flight of 780 seconds - is less so. But I would have expected the seconds of heat to be more deadly to the DNA than light years of cold, so it's still interesting.

about three weeks ago
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Volcanic Eruption In Japan Disrupts Flights

retroworks Vocanic Winter (24 comments)

There's actually a fairly cool and intelligent discussion that could be had about volcanic activity's role in the history of world climate, and how forecasting of volcanic activity can play a role in climate modelling. Too bad I can't anticipate actually having that discussion without an eruption of troll commentary. Merely discussing it amounts to flamebait due to the polarizing of opinions on the issue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V...

about three weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

retroworks Creates False Impressions of Opinion Majority (413 comments)

Besides the effect on lawmaking (or failure to pass laws under gridlock), gerrymandering gives people on both sides of issues a sense of majority. "I won in a landslide, I must be right", combined with polarized news programming, has been demonstrated to make people dumber. Harvard Business Review has an interesting article this week on opinion reinforcement and groupthink this week [ https://hbr.org/2014/11/making... ], which compares focus groups from liberal Boulder CO USA and conservative Colorado Springs USA. The researchers documented the negative effects of grouping like-minded people in political discussions. I think gerrymandering has the same effect on political intelligence. Their own conservatism or liberalism appears validated by landslide elections in their districts.

about three weeks ago
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Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

retroworks Extend to Facial Recognition Software? (193 comments)

This is the big thing. Not just NSA, but retailer cameras selling stuff you literally "browse" by foot in the aisle. According to this article, Google and Facebook have the biggest "face banks" for the facial recognition software. Can they be told to forget that, too? If not, you aren't really "forgotten" just because you don't appear in a search engine. I don't think Europe could pass a law making Google delete the information. http://www.fastcocreate.com/30...

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

retroworks Re:In Finland (516 comments)

It isn't "crazy" to suppose, as de Tocqueville does, that the free market (like the fisherman of 'rude attainments') may have thought of something we didn't think of. Of course you are right about buildings being several stories tall and not expandable are made of stone. Therefore... the free market makes city buildings out of stone, even in the ignorant USA. Big city buildings are stone, big ocean ships are metal, small homes in countrysides are wood, and small small boats are still made of wood, even in the USA. The broader point is that someone as intelligent as Alexis dT could be surprised, for all his education, that the free market had made a rational decision. The original post is the equivalent of saying that small fishing boats should be made of metal. The argument is whether building codes and other social engineering will outperform the free market. The question is especially dangerous when the code developer has a quasi-religious approach, a moral certitude. It would be an environmental waste to make small boats out of metal boats. They'd be sturdier, but the amount of carbon and fossil fuels wasted by mining and refining ores to make heavy, slow, small metal boats would be a waste (though probably supported by the metal mining industry). USA has other problems with its wooden structure model, such as "urban sprawl"... I don't think the free market is perfect, but "command and control" scares me, especially when it's promoted by factoids and math that dazzle non-engineers, and are used to support a pompous argument over homebuilding material. Your math of finite resources is exactly on point... But you are using the math on finite resources to promote the theory that European command and control will protect those resources better than the free market. That's the argument central to TFA... Was the free market stupid, or would "solving" it just as likely lead to stone buildings in the countryside and small metal boats?

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

retroworks Re:In Finland (516 comments)

Valid points. But generally, the cost of entrenching is a bet against innovation. Maybe you're right and it's a good bet to bury several billion dollars of copper. I wasn't thinking the innovation would eliminate cable, the analogy to DSL in the home walls was that I'd paid to entrench what turned out to be the wrong kind of cable.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

retroworks Re:In Finland (516 comments)

As an American married to a European, I've often been asked by puzzled Europeans as to why Americans build houses from wood. Alexis de Tocqueville probably said it best (Democracy in America Vol II, Chapter VIII):

"I accost an American sailor, and I inquire why the ships of his country are built so as to last but for a short time; he answers without hesitation that the art of navigation is every day making such rapid progress, that the finest vessel would become almost useless if it lasted beyond a certain number of years. In these words, which fell accidentally and on a particular subject from a man of rude attainments, I recognize the general and systematic idea upon which a great people directs all its concerns."

Americans regularly get second mortgages and put additions and improvements to their homes, expanding and adapting them. The less this is true (inner cities) the less likely the home is made of wood. And that may turn out to be true of many high-line wires. I'm not sure about power lines, but would assume we'd pay for telephone cables to be buried at the same time, and that seems incredibly wasteful. If the USA paid to put all the telephone cables underground, how will it pay off if everyone goes wireless, as has happened in most rapidly emerging market cities? When I had my home rewired in 1998, I thought it would be wise to pay for double phone lines, put in for DSL cable. I wish I could get that money back and put it into a savings bond.

about three weeks ago
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Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

retroworks Re:The French can be just as Clownish... (376 comments)

Who can worry about Kitty Cat Memes, with all the Evil Clown crime? http://www.theatlantic.com/int...

My friends in Denmark and Norway tell me that the word "Friend" in the north is much more reserved, and it has held Facebook back. But like Halloween, differences in culture have a way of being only a generation deep. My mother in law, in southern France, is no slouch with the LOLs.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Sony Pictures Leak Reveals Quashed Plan to Upload Phony Torrents

retroworks retroworks writes  |  2 days ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Motherboard.vice offers an interesting scoop from the hacked Sony Pictures email trove. A plan championed by Polish marketing employee Magda Mastalerz was to upload false versions of highly-pirated Sony programming, effectively polluting torrent sites with false positives. For example, a “Hannibal”-themed anti-piracy ad to popular torrent sites disguised as the first episode. Sony Pictures legal department quashed the idea, saying that if pirate sites were illegal, it would also be illegal for Sony Pictures to upload onto them.

There were plans in WW2 to drop phony counterfeit currency to disrupt markets, and I wonder why flooding underground markets with phony products isn't widespread. Why don't credit card companies manufacture fake lists of stolen credit card numbers, or phony social security numbers, for illegal trading sites? For that matter, would fake ivory, fake illegal porn, and other "false positives" discourage buyers? Or create alibis? or distract police."

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Economist: US Congress Should Hack Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about two weeks ago

retroworks (652802) writes "This week's print edition of The Economist has an essay on the Right to Tinker with hardware. "Exactly why copyright law should be involved in something that ought to be a simple matter of consumer rights is hard to fathom. Any rational interpretation would suggest that when people buy or pay off the loan on a piece of equipment—whether a car, a refrigerator or a mobile phone—they own it, and should be free to do what they want with it. Least of all should they have to seek permission from the manufacturer or the government.""
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Engineering Groupthink: How Polarized Opinion Works

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about three weeks ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Harvard Business Review (5 free articles until payall warning) has an interesting article about groupthink. The authors describe a study of two focus groups. One is from classically "red state" conservative Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. A second focus group hailed from more liberal leaning Boulder, Colorado. Individually, members of each focus group were surveyed for their opinions before the groups met. Individual members (as anticipated) trended conservatively in Colorado Springs, and liberally in Boulder. Everyone was re-surveyed (anonymously and otherwise) after the groups met. After meeting with their opinionated peers, respondents opinions hardened. Conservatives answered the same surveys responded MORE conservatively, and liberals MORE liberally. When focus groups are randomized (blues and reds in proportion, in the same group), opinions become less polarized. The article discusses the effects on public policy and business decision making when groups assigned a problem to solve self-select and recruit people like themselves. Diversity leads to more intelligent decision making. Or if you are selling a specific (weaker) solution, be obnoxious to reduce participation from competitive views. Incentive-driven opinion benefits from the lack of diversity, protecting its agenda by driving away newbies who avoid trolls.

Maybe this is nothing new... the effect of co-ed dorms vs. single-sex dorms and fraternities has been studied for decades. As someone who has participated in /. for about 15 years, attracted to intelligent discourse, I notice how many mod points must today be spent on flamebait. There is still good debate, but frequently someone making an otherwise very valid counter-argument dilutes its effect with emphatic hostility and ad hominem attacks on the original poster. Is the ratio of "inciteful" to "insightful" going down? It's no way to attract women slashdotters, btw."

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Space E-Waste? Or Russian Killer Satellite?

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about a month ago

retroworks (652802) writes "Financial Times reports:

"For the past few weeks, amateur astronomers and satellite-trackers in Russia and the west have followed the unusual manoeuvres of Object 2014-28E, watching it guide itself towards other Russian space objects... The object had originally been classed as space debris, propelled into orbit as part of a Russian rocket launch in May to add three Rodnik communications satellites to an existing military constellation. The US military is now tracking it under the Norad designation 39765."

"Its purpose is unknown, and could be civilian: a project to hoover up space junk, for example. Or a vehicle to repair or refuel existing satellites. But interest has been piqued because Russia did not declare its launch – and by the object’s peculiar, and very active, precision movements across the skies. Russia officially mothballed its anti-satellite weaponry programme – Istrebitel Sputnikov or satellite killer – after the fall of the iron curtain, though its expertise has not entirely disappeared. Indeed, military officials have publicly stated in the past that they would restart research in the event of a deterioration in relations with the US over anti-missile defence treaties. In 2010, Oleg Ostapenko, commander of Russia’s space forces, and now head of its space agency, said Russia was again developing “inspection” and “strike” satellites."

For Russian RT coverage, see http://www.rt.com/news/206843-...

To Track the satellite on your own, visit: http://www.n2yo.com/?s=39765"

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Interpol Developing "Guidelines" for Use of Facial Recognition Software

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 2 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "INTERPOL announced the first meeting of its "Facial Expert Working Group" in order to "begin the process of developing international facial recognition standards." The two-day meeting (14 and 15 October) gathered 24 technical and biometrics experts and examiners from 16 countries who produced a ‘best practice guide’ for the quality, format and transmission of images to be used in facial recognition. It will be circulated to all 190 INTERPOL member countries to serve as a guideline for improving the quality of images necessary for accurate and effective facial recognition.

Last December (Bloomberg News) described a similar "voluntary guidelines" meeting between Facebook and Walmart for use of visual recognition to keep identification by retail store cameras in targeted online advertising. CBS also covered the story last December. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/20.

As more technology start ups like Facedeals http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/... recognize the opportunity to sell our browsing habits at stores to online marketing firms, Minority Report seems closer than ever. And unlike programs to erase, block, or deliver false clicks (cookie camouflage) to online advertisers, the solutions (wearing a Guy Fawkes mask or Groucho Marx glasses) seem much more intrusive."

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Google Fiber to Launch in Austin, Texas in December

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 2 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "WSJ blog reports on the third city to get fiber-optic high speed internet networks laid down by Google (Kansas City and Provo, UT were the first). The service averages 1 gigabit per second, about 100X the average US household speed, and costs $70-120 per month (depending on television). Google promotes the roll-outs by holding "rallies" in small neighborhoods. Suggested slogan — "Don't be Comcast"."
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Facial Recognition At Retailers: How Are They Used To Target Facebook Ads?

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 2 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "I made a comment a couple of days ago about how specific items I stopped to view at retail stores, without purchasing, showed up in hours on my Facebook ads. One respondent thought it was just coincidence, another told me to take off my tinfoil hat.

However, it was just last December (Bloomberg News) that Facebook and Walmart announced a "voluntary system" to keep identification by retail store camera from being misused. CBS also covered the story last December. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/20... Business Insider covered it earlier, May 2013. http://www.businessinsider.com...

It seems hush hush, but I'm certain I'm getting ads targeted at me solely based on time I spend viewing certain products (Sony video camera, HP Laser printers) at Staples and Best Buy. There are dozens of cameras and dozens of laser printers in the aisle, and I got ads for the specific camera / printer I touched or held in the store. Can we really believe that technology start ups like Facedeals http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/... have not recognized the opportunity to sell the "opportunity" to marketing firms? As we approach the holiday shopping season, how big is this advertising market going to get, and how fast?"

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Rise and Fall of Gluten Intolerance Parellels use of Monsanto's RoundUp

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 3 months ago

retroworks (652802) writes "The decades of increasing cases of "gluten intolerance" and "celiac sprue" among Americans has been linked (in Toxicology peer reviewed article) to the use or disuse of Monsanto's "Roundup" on USA crops. Unknown a few decades ago, "sprue" or gluten intolerance has spiked, leading to widely recognized "gluten free" advertised diets. The article (linked from Mother Jones http://www.motherearthnews.com... coverage) shows that when glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto's RoundUp — use decreases, cases of gluten intolerance also fell."
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Paypal Jumps into Bitcoin with Both Feet

retroworks retroworks writes  |  about 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 4 months 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 5 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 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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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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