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Earth

Australia Repeals Carbon Tax 291

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-keep-it dept.
schwit1 notes that the Australian government has repealed a controversial carbon tax. After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politically divisive carbon emissions price that contributed to the fall from power of three Australian leaders since it was first suggested in 2007.
United States

FDA: We Can't Scale To Regulate Mobile Health Apps 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the hard-work-is-hard dept.
chicksdaddy writes Mobile health and wellness is one of the fastest growing categories of mobile apps. Already, apps exist that measure your blood pressure and take your pulse, jobs traditionally done by tried and true instruments like blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes. If that sounds to you like the kind of thing the FDA should be vetting, don't hold your breath. A senior advisor to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that the current process for approving medical devices couldn't possibly meet the challenge of policing mobile health and wellness apps and that, in most cases, the agency won't even try. Bakul Patel, and advisor to the FDA, said the Agency couldn't scale to police hundreds of new health and wellness apps released each month to online marketplaces like the iTunes AppStore and Google Play.
Microsoft

Tom's Hardware: Microsoft Smartband Coming In October With 11 Sensors 70

Posted by timothy
from the easier-sell-than-new-headgear dept.
New submitter TuxHiggs (2691251) writes "Last month, Forbes wrote that Microsoft was preparing a cross-platform smartwatch with the ability to continuously track your heart rate and sync the data to your devices. A trusted source with knowledge of the development has verified some of that information and provided Tom's Hardware with additional details about the device. The source confirmed previous rumors that the device is cross-platform compatible, and added there would be open APIs as well. The source also confirmed that the display is on the inside of the wrist as opposed to the outside. Design-wise, Microsoft has gone with a slim band design that is said to resemble a thinner, flatter version of the Nike Fuelband. While details about the hardware are scant, the source did reveal that there are 11 sensors under the hood and a mix of chips, including some from TI and Atmel. Finally, the release for this device is apparently set for October."
Government

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks 532

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-want-the-jumbo dept.
mpicpp writes with good news for every New Yorker who needs 44oz of soft drink to be refreshed. New York's Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that New York City's ban on large sugary drinks, which was previously blocked by lower courts, is illegal. "We hold that the New York City Board of Health, in adopting the 'Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule,' exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority," the ruling said. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had pushed for the ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces as a way to fight obesity and other health problems.
Education

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D. 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the start-calling-it-word-engineering dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new report from the Modern Language Association focuses on the decline of Ph.D. programs in the humanities over the past several years. "These programs have gotten both more difficult and less rewarding: today, it can take almost a decade to get a doctorate, and, at the end of your program, you're unlikely to find a tenure-track job." According to the report, 40% of new Ph.D.s won't be able to find tenure-track jobs, and many of the rest won't manage to receive tenure at all. "Different people will tell you different stories about where all the jobs went. Some critics think that the humanities have gotten too weird—that undergrads, turned off by an overly theoretical approach, don't want to participate anymore, and that teaching opportunities have disappeared as a result. ... Others point to the corporatization of universities, which are increasingly inclined to hire part-time, 'adjunct' professors, rather than full-time, tenure-track ones, to teach undergrads. Adjuncts are cheaper; perhaps more importantly, they are easier to hire." The MLA doesn't want to reduce enrollments, but they think the grad school programs should be quicker to complete and dissertations should be shorter and less complex."
NASA

Why NASA's Budget "Victory" Is Anything But 267

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes 'Earlier this week, attempts to cut NASA's budget were defeated, and it looks like the largest space agency in the world will actually be getting nearly a 2% budget increase overall. While common news outlets are touting this as a great budget victory, the reality is that this is shaping up to be just another year of pathetic funding levels, putting our greatest dreams of exploring and understanding the Universe on hold. A sobering read for anyone who hasn't realized what we could be doing.'
Transportation

Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production 311

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-what's-the-resolution dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes "It appears an Idaho-based company that created prototype panels for constructing roads that (among other features) gather solar power, will be going into production after it exceeded its crowdfunding goal of $1M. ... Solar Roadways' Indiegogo project has already exceeded $1.6 million. The hexagonal-shaped solar panels consist of four layers, including photovoltaic cells, LED lights, an electronic support structure (circuit board) and a base layer made of recyclable materials. The panels plug together to form circuits that can then use LED lights to create any number of traffic patterns, as well as issue lighted warnings for drivers. The panels also have the ability to melt snow and ice. Along with the crowdfunding money, Solar Roadways has received federal grant money for development."
Medicine

The Light Might Make You Heavy 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the switch-to-zero-calorie-light dept.
Rambo Tribble writes: "Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers have found that sleeping with high ambient light levels may contribute to obesity (abstract). In a survey of 113,000 women, a high correlation was found between higher bedroom light levels and increased propensity to be overweight or obese. Excess light in the sleeping environment has long been known to adversely affect melatonin production and circadian rhythms. It is posited that such an interference with the 'body clock' may be behind these results. Although there is not yet enough evidence to call this a smoking gun, as one researcher put it, 'Overall this study points to the importance of darkness.'"
China

China Bans Government Purchases of Windows 8 200

Posted by timothy
from the everybody's-got-priorities dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Last week, China's Central Government Procurement Center posted a notice on new requirements for government tender, that included, among other things, the mysterious request that Windows 8 be excluded from the bidding process on computer purchases. The agency could not be reached Tuesday, but China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency said that the government was forbidding the use of Windows 8 after Microsoft recently ended official support for Windows XP."

Comment: Costs?!?? (Score 4, Insightful) 193

by ErikTheRed (#47006361) Attached to: Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?

I've seen a pile of articles on this, and never once in them has anybody even scratched the topic of cost. Which would kind of be important, one would thing. Turns out, they don't know or aren't saying. From their FAQ:

"We are not yet able to give numbers on cost. We are still in the midst of our Phase II contract with the Federal Highway Administration and we'll be analyzing our prototype costs near the end of our contract which ends in July, 2014. Afterward, we'll be able to do a production-style cost analysis."

There are a hundred billion cool ideas out there, but if they're not cost effective than who cares?

The Internet

Netcraft: Microsoft Closing In On Apache Web Server Lead 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the tortoise-and-the-other-tortoise dept.
angry tapir sends this IDG report: "After almost two decades of trailing the market leader, Microsoft's Web server software is coming close to rivaling the dominance of the Apache Web server, according to the latest Netcraft survey of Internet infrastructure. May saw an additional 9 million sites using Microsoft Web server software, increasing the company's share of the Web by 0.37 percent. In the same period, Apache's market share fell by 0.18 percent, despite gaining an additional 4.3 million sites. Microsoft is now just 4.1 percentage points behind Apache, which, as the most popular Web server software on the Internet, now powers about 37.6 percent of all sites."

Comment: Re:Buggy whips (Score 1, Interesting) 417

by ErikTheRed (#46956389) Attached to: London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

Uber has been operating in my city for many years now (we were one of the first to get it) and if there are any dark spots, I sure haven't seen them. You get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car. If for some reason you don't get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car you can give feedback to Uber letting them know this. I would imagine that they axe any problematic drivers fairly quickly, because reports of bad ones are rare and I haven't had any (nor has anyone I know personally). It does cost a bit more than a cab (with a $15 minimum where I live), but it's very quick, friendly, polite, and clean (and in many areas they have a lower-cost UberX option).

The one thing that gets people is that they go to a supply / demand bidding system during ultra-high-demand periods like New Year's Eve. They put warnings all over the place when they do this, but prices can get VERY, VERY high.

Earth

US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe 627

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it-was-cold-yesterday dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Darryl Fears reports in the Washington Post on the U.S. government's newest national assessment of climate change. It says Americans are already feeling the effects of global warming. The assessment carves the nation into sections and examines the impacts: More sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and Caribbean; more drought and wildfires in the Southwest. 'Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance is no longer available in others. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage. In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and autumn storms now cause more erosion, threatening many communities with relocation.' The report concludes that over recent decades, climate science has advanced significantly and that increased scrutiny has led to increased certainty that we are now seeing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. 'What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.'"

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