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Comment Re:Finally (Score 5, Informative) 247

The agreement also would overhaul special tribunals that handle trade disputes between businesses and participating nations.

Probably something like ISDS. That should hardly be a surprise. It is the new colonialism: it gives companies the possibility to plunder foreign nations, but with an army of lawyers instead of an army of thugs.


Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal Is Reached 247

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports that negotiators have finally reached agreement over the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the U.S. and 11 other nations. The TPP has been in development for eight years, and has the potential to dramatically strengthen U.S. economic ties to east Asia. Though the negotiations have been done in secret, the full text of the agreement should be published within a month. Congress (and the legislative houses of the other participating countries) will have 90 days to review it and decide whether to ratify it. The TPP has been criticized in tech circles for how it regards intellectual property and facilitates website blocking, among other issues.

Proponents will also have to answer broader questions about whether it stifles competition, how it treats individuals versus large corporations, as if it creates environmental problems. To give you an idea of how complex it is: "The Office of the United States Trade Representative said the partnership eventually would end more than 18,000 tariffs that the participating countries have placed on United States exports, including autos, machinery, information technology and consumer goods, chemicals and agricultural products ranging from avocados in California to wheat, pork and beef from the Plains states."

The Decline of 'Big Soda': Is Drinking Soda the New Smoking? 563 writes: Margot Sanger-Katz reports in the NYT that soda consumption is experiencing a serious and sustained decline as sales of full-calorie soda in the United States have plummeted by more than 25 percent over the past twenty years. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are actively trying to avoid the drinks that have been a mainstay of American culture but bottled water is now on track to overtake soda as the largest beverage category in two years. The changing patterns of soda drinking appear to come thanks, in part, to a loud campaign to eradicate sodas. School cafeterias and vending machines no longer contain regular sodas. Many workplaces and government offices have similarly prohibited their sale.

For many public health advocates, soda has become the new tobacco — a toxic product to be banned, taxed and stigmatized. "There will always be soda, but I think the era of it being acceptable for kids to drink soda all day long is passing, slowly," says Marion Nestle. "In some socioeconomic groups, it's over." Soda represents nearly 25% of the U.S. beverage market and its massive scale have guaranteed profit margins for decades. Historically, beverage preferences are set in adolescence, the first time that most people begin choosing and buying a favorite brand. But the declines in soda drinking appear to be sharpest among young Americans. "Kids these days are growing up with all of these other options, and there are some parents who say, 'I really want my kids to drink juice or a bottled water,' " says Gary A. Hemphill. "If kids grow up without carbonated soft drinks, the likelihood that they are going to grow up and, when they are 35, start drinking is very low."

George W Bush Made Retroactive NSA 'Fix' After Hospital Room Showdown 258

circletimessquare writes: New details have emerged about the 2004 conflict between George W. Bush and his Attorney General, John Ashcroft, who was hospitalized when he forcefully disagreed with the president's authorization of the NSA's sweeping new collection powers after 9/11. The New York Times has discovered that the conflict was about a retroactive alteration of the President's wording on the legal theory by which the NSA is allowed to siphon up metadata on all Americans, not just certain targets or classes of targets, such as suspected terrorists. 'Mr. Bush, for the first time, explicitly said that his authorizations were "displacing" specific federal statutes, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and criminal wiretapping laws... the president had "made an interpretation of law concerning his authorities" and that the Justice Department could not act in contradiction of Mr. Bush's determinations.' The president faced a severe backlash from the Justice Department, including a threat of mass resignation.

Twitter Sued For Scanning Direct Messages 80

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Twittter is facing a new possible class action suit that accuses the company of violating user privacy. The lawsuit states that the company has been "systematically intercepting, reading, and altering" direct messages, most likely a reference to Twitter's long-standing practice of automatically shortening and redirecting any in-message links. The practice could be used to monitor or redirect any URLs included in a direct message, although it's generally seen as a benign extension of the company's broader link-shortening systems. In a statement to USA Today, Twitter, to nobody's surprise, insisted that the allegations are "meritless."

Google Partnering With Indian Railways To Provide Wi-Fi Hotspots 26

An anonymous reader writes: Google and Indian Railways have partnered together for 'Project Nilgiri' which aims to set up more than 400 Wi-fi hotspots. IBTimes reports: "Internet access will be free for passengers after the system verifies a user's mobile number with a one-time password sent by text message. However, only the first 30 minutes of usage will be on high-speed Internet, Telecom Talk reported. The telecom industry news site has also posted a screen grab — that shows the service is being provided by Google — of the portal into which passengers have to enter the one-time access code."

How To Fix Twitter 97

An anonymous reader writes: Dustin Curtis succinctly breaks down Twitter's biggest problems, and how they can be fixed. Some of the problems are technological — they way they've decided to handle multimedia objects is arbitrary and annoying, and their inclusion of third-party modules is inconsistent and behind the times. Other problems are more central to what Twitter is about: "[F]or normal users, Twitter feels too much like a one-way broadcast system. ... Twitter responses are difficult to read on the website–with that weird accordion expansion UI that only shows 5 responses and makes it impossible to follow a coherent conversation."

The biggest problem is in Twitter's utility for browsing real-time information, which should be its strength: "When I open Twitter during a major debate in the U.S., or when a bomb has exploded in Bangkok, there should be a huge f@$%&#g banner at the top that says 'follow this breaking event.' It shouldn't just search for a hashtag–it should use intelligent algorithms to show me all of the relevant content about that event.

Comment Gravitational slingshot (Score 1) 99

So basically, it is a gravitational slingshot, but more complex due to the use of a line. I am really curious to what the amount of energy does to the asteroids and comets' own trajectory, and if it literally fires back at us. If you take speed out of an asteroid, a somewhat circular orbit around the sun could become an elliptical one the interferes with Earth's orbit.

Congressional Testimony: A Surprising Consensus On Climate 370

Lasrick writes: Many legislators regularly deny that there is a scientific consensus, or even broad scientific support, for government action to address climate change. Researchers recently assessed the content of congressional testimony related to either global warming or climate change from 1969 to 2007. For each piece of testimony, they recorded several characteristics about how the testimony discussed climate. For instance, noting whether the testimony indicated that global warming or climate change was happening and whether any climate change was attributable (in part) to anthropogenic sources. The results: Testimony to Congress—even under Republican reign—reflects the scientific consensus that humans are changing our planet's climate.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai