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Submission + - Recycling is Dying 1

HughPickens.com writes: Aaron C. Davis writes in the Washington Post that recycling, once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, has become a money-sucking enterprise. Almost every recycling facility in the country is running in the red and recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around. “If people feel that recycling is important — and I think they do, increasingly — then we are talking about a nationwide crisis,” says David Steiner, chief executive of Waste Management, the nation’s largest recycler.

The problem with recylcing is that a storm of falling oil prices, a strong dollar and a weakened economy in China have sent prices for American recyclables plummeting worldwide. Trying to encourage conservation, progressive lawmakers and environmentalists have made matters worse. By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system. “We kind of got everyone thinking that recycling was free,” says Bill Moore. “It’s never really been free, and in fact, it’s getting more expensive.”

One big problem is that China doesn't want to buy our garbage anymore. In the past China had sent so many consumer goods to the United States that all the shipping containers were coming back empty. So US companies began stuffing the return-trip containers with recycled cardboard boxes, waste paper and other scrap. China could, in turn, harvest the raw materials. Everyone won. But China has launched "Operation Green Fence" — a policy to prohibit the import of unwashed post-consumer plastics and other "contaminated" waste shipments. In China, containerboard, a common packaging product from recycled American paper, is trading at just over $400 a metric ton, down from nearly $1,000 in 2010. China also needs less recycled newsprint; the last paper mill in Shanghai closed this year. "If the materials we are exporting are so contaminated that they are being rejected by those we sell to," says Valerie Androutsopoulos, "maybe it’s time to take another look at dual stream recycling."

Submission + - Australia passes site-blocking legislation->

ausrob writes: Cementing their position as Australia's most backwards and dangerous government in recent memory comes this nasty bit of legislation, riddled with holes (which is nothing new for this decrepit Government): "The legislation allows rights holders to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas websites, or "online locations", blocked that have the "primary purpose" of facilitating copyright infringement. If a rights holder is successful in their blocking request, Australian internet providers, such as Telstra and Optus, will need to comply with a judge's order by disabling access to the infringing location."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Australian Devs Launch Crowd Funding for Open Software, Open Hardware, Router 3

An anonymous reader writes: Australian devs have launched a crowd funding campaign to market an open software, open hardware platform to protect against wholesale snooping. Stilgherrian from ZDNet writes:

If Redfish's crowdfunding campaign is successful, the ORP1 will fill a valuable niche in the marketplace: A high-performance router that's available commercially with all the right certifications, rather than having to be built by a hobbyist, which has the potential to dramatically improve privacy protection for ordinary households.

While it's clear from the specs that they're targeting commercial grade routers, the hardware could just as easily run other applications requiring higher performance than is available on platforms like the rPi and Beaglebone. Can a completely open system compete against tier 2 and tier 3 companies in this field?

Comment Re:You know what curbs piracy? (Score 1) 133

However, you can quite easily get a family of four on a modest income to pay $10 a month for Netflix.

Which is a good idea, but it assumes that you live in a country that has access to Netflix or an equivalent service. Most of us living outside of the US don't.

For the rest of us, there's the local cable TV monopoly (who abuse that monopoly to stop legal download services competing with them) ... or Bittorrent.

Australia

Submission + - Australia: ACCC seeks injunction against Apple for iPad advertising->

freddienumber13 writes: The Australian Competition and Consumer Comission (ACCC) has filed in an injunction against Apple for misleading advertising surrounding its latest iPad. In Australia, the latest iPad does not work on the 4G networks yet the advertising for the iPad continues to tout it as an available feature. Refunds for consumers and corrected advertising are being sought.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Director James Cameron awestruck at ocean's deepest spot->

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Returning from humankind's first solo dive to the deepest spot in the ocean, filmmaker James Cameron said he saw no obvious signs of life that might inspire creatures in his next "Avatar" movie but was awestruck by the "complete isolation." The only free-swimming creatures he saw near the bottom were tiny shrimp-like arthropods, but little else in the way of life was immediately visible. Cameron said further exploration would be required to discern what other organisms might dwell there.

"When I got to the bottom ... it was completely featureless and uniform," he said. "My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity. ... More than anything, (it's) realizing how tiny you are down in this big, vast, black, unknown and unexplored place."

The craft functioned flawlessly, he said, except for an unexplained failure of the hydraulic system that idled the vehicle's robot arm and prevented Cameron from collecting most of the biological and geologic samples he had hoped to retrieve.

Link to Original Source
Security

Submission + - Murdoch faces allegations of sabotage-> 1

Presto Vivace writes: "Neil Chenoweth, of the Australian Financial Review, reports that the BBC program Panorama is making new allegations against News Corp of serious misconduct. This time it involves the NDS division of News Corp, which makes conditional access cards for pay TV. It seems that NDS also ran a sabotage operation, hiring pirates to crack the cards of rival companies and posting the code on The House of Ill Compute (thoic.com), a web site hosted by NDS.

ITV Digital collapsed in March 2002 with losses of more than £1 billion, overwhelmed by mass piracy, as well as technical restrictions and expensive sports contracts. Its collapse left Murdoch-controlled BSkyB the dominant pay TV provider in the UK.

Chenoweth reports that James Murdoch has been an advocate for tougher penalties for pirates, “These are property rights, these are basic property rights,” he said. “There is no difference from going into a store and stealing a packet of Pringles or a handbag, and stealing something online. Right?""
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:What? (Score 5, Interesting) 128

Selling used stuff as new aside for a second

Umm. No.

The media blowup is being fuelled by "I bought a hard disk and it had hard core porn on it!" sensationalism but seem to be ignoring this deeper issue -
Dick Smith Electronics, Harvey Norman, JB-HiFi and the rest have been getting away with it for years but the fact is selling used goods (no matter how good a condition it's in) as new is illegal.

They can ask the same price for it if the return is in great condition but they can't just seal it back up and pop it back on the shelf next to the new unopened boxes.

Comment Key role in standardisation? (Score 2, Insightful) 64

From TFA, "Since World War II, the United States has played a key role in international standardization"

Umm. Played a key role in international standardisation? This is a country - the only major industrialised nation in the entire world - that so far refuses to embrace the metric system. Key role, indeed.

Microsoft

Submission + - Researchers test WiFi access from moving vehicles->

Julie188 writes: Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Massachusetts have been working on a technology that would let mobile phones and other 3G devices automatically switch to public WiFi even while the device is traveling in a vehicle. The technology is dubbed Wiffler and earlier this year its creators took it for a test drive with some interesting results. Although the researchers determined that a reliable public WiFi hotspot would be available to their test vehicles only 11% of the time, the Wiffler protocol was able to offload almost 50% of the data from 3G to WiFi.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Verizon Wireless to issue $90 Million in refunds->

tekgoblin writes: Verizon Wireless had somehow been charging customers extra money on their bills for data that they actually hadn't been using. Approximately 15 million customers were affected by the erroneous billing error. According to BGR the FCC had been pressuring Verizon to resp0nd to the hundreds of complaints that had been piling up. So Verizon's answer was to refund all of the overcharged money as soon as possible.
Link to Original Source

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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