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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should 288

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "The biggest thing that sets the Amazon Fire Phone apart from its Android and Apple competitors probably isn't the clean interface or the unlimited photo storage—it's the dirty power behind it. When Fire users upload their photos and data to Amazon's cloud, they'll be creating a lot more pollution than iPhone owners, Greenpeace says. Apple has made a commitment to running its iCloud on 100 percent clean energy. Amazon, meanwhile, operates the dirtiest servers of any major tech giant that operates its own servers—only 15 percent of its energy comes from clean sources, which is about the default national average." Greenpeace's jaundiced eye is on Amazon more generally; the company's new phone is just an example. Maybe Amazon or some other provider could take a page from some local utilities and let users signal their own preferences with a (surcharged) "clean energy" option.

White House Worried About Discrimination Through Analytics 231

Cludge writes "Describing concerns about the potential for big data methods to inadvertently classify people by race, religion, income or other forms of discrimination, the White House announced it will release a report next week that reviews the adequacy of existing privacy laws and regulations in the era of online data collection. The review, led by Obama's senior counselor, John Podesta, will outline concerns about whether methods used for commercial applications may be inherently vulnerable to inadvertent discrimination. 'He described a program called "Street Bump" in Boston that detected pot-holes using sensors in smartphones of citizens who had downloaded an app. The program inadvertently directed repair crews to wealthier neighborhoods, where people were more likely to carry smartphones and download the app.' 'It's easy to imagine how big data technology, if used to cross legal lines we have been careful to set, could end up reinforcing existing inequities in housing, credit, employment, health and education,' he said."

Amazon Embodies the Gender Gap in Tech 302

New submitter chpoot writes: "The Guardian reveals the gender breakdown among Amazon's management 'S Team.' At one end of the team of 132 are 12 secretaries. All are female. At the other end are 12 who report directly to Jeff Bezos. All are male. Of the 119 remaining when Bezos and the secretaries are put to one side, 18 are female. Amazon, of course, grew out of book selling. Book selling, publishing, and writing have all a fairly admirable tradition of employing women. In its attempts to overthrow traditional book selling, Amazon seems to have been particularly successful in subverting that part of the tradition."
The Internet

Is Google Making the Digital Divide Worse? 259

theodp writes "As Google Fiber forges ahead into new metro areas, Michael Brick reports on worries the fiber project will create a permanent underclass. Building the next generation of information economy infrastructure around current demand, experts say, will deny poor people the physical wiring needed to gain access while the privileged digerati advance at hyperspeed. 'The fiber service deployment means multiplicity of the digital divide, multidimensionality of the digital divide,' says Eun-A Park of the Univ. of New Haven. 'You can see it in Google's trial in Kansas City.' Speed matters, explains Google, 'because a world with universal access and 100 times faster internet could mean 100 times the learning.' Without universal access, as is the case in KC due to pricing that's out of the reach of many of the city's poor, one presumes the outcome could be 100x the learning divide. Another case of the unintended consequences of good intentions?"
The Courts

Amazon: Publishers Strong-Armed Us On E-Books 171

Nerval's Lobster writes "Strengthened by an agreement with Apple that set the prices for their respective e-books higher, publishers strong-armed Amazon into giving them similar terms, an executive for the online retailer has testified in Manhattan federal court. The U.S. Department of Justice has taken Apple to court over the alleged price-fixing, after reaching out-of-court settlements with five publishers (HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, and MacMillian). Apple, which competes with Amazon in the e-book space, refused a similar settlement. "Certainly if someone offered reseller, we would have taken them up on that offer," Russell Grandinetti, Amazon's vice president for Kindle content, testified before the court, according to Reuters. "Reseller" means a company sells goods to a retailer for a particular price (usually wholesale), allowing the retailer to set the actual sales price. Under the terms of that model, Amazon could sell e-books for super-cheap, even if it meant going beneath the publisher's wholesale price. Macmillan and Amazon ended up in conflict over the issue, with Amazon temporarily yanking the publisher's e-books from its digital shelves. "We will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books," Amazon wrote in a statement at the time. "Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book." But Amazon eventually relented to Macmillan's demands, along with those of other publishers, and submitted to the agency model, in which publishers have a heavier hand in setting retail pricing."

Canadian Regulator Orders Telecoms To Tell Us What It Costs To Run Their Service 120

bshell writes "Canada's CRTC (like the FCC) has finally asked telecoms to provide information about how much their services actually cost. Quoting a Montreal Gazette story: 'In a report I wrote last year, I estimated the markup for Internet services was 6,452 per cent for Bell's Essential Plus plan, which provides a two-megabits-per-second speed for $28.95 (prices may have changed since last year).' The markup is likely similar in the U.S. It's about time that we consumers found out what it really costs to provide Internet service, and for that matter telephone and wireless services, so we can get a fair shake."

FAA Permits American Airlines To Use iPads In Cockpit "In All Phases of Flight" 372

hypnosec writes "American Airlines has announced that it has received permission from FAA to allow its pilots to use iPads in the cockpit during 'all phases of flight.' According to the airlines, the tablet will enable pilots to store documentation in electronic form on the iPad which otherwise weighs 15.876 kg (35 pounds) when in printed form. Use of the digital documentation will enable the airlines to save as much as U.S. $1.2 million of fuel each year." That number sounds both awfully low and awfully specific.

China Begins Stockpiling Rare Earths, Draws WTO Attention 227

eldavojohn writes "A report by China Securities Journal claims that China is now stockpiling rare earths although it has not indicated when this stockpiling started. Many WTO members have complained about China's tightening restrictions on exports of rare earths while China maintains that such restrictions are an attempt to clean up its environmental problems. A WTO special conference scheduled for July 10th will hopefully decide if China's restrictions are unfair trade practices or if the US, the EU and Japan are merely upset that they can't export their pollution and receive rare earths at low prices. Last year, China granted its mining companies the right to export 30,200 tons but in actuality only 18,600 tons were shipped out of country."

iPhone Owners Demand To See Apple Source Code 298

CWmike writes "iPhone owners charging Apple and AT&T with breaking antitrust laws asked a federal judge this week to force Apple to hand over the iPhone source code, court documents show. The lawsuit, which was filed in October 2007, accuses Apple and AT&T of violating antitrust laws, including the Sherman Act, by agreeing to a multi-year deal that locks US iPhone owners into using the mobile carrier. On Wednesday, the plaintiffs asked US District Court Judge James Ware to compel Apple to produce the source code for the iPhone 1.1.1 software, an update that Apple issued in September 2007. The update crippled iPhones that had been unlocked, or 'jailbroken,' so that they could be used with mobile providers other than AT&T. The iPhone 1.1.1 'bricked' those first-generation iPhones that had been hacked, rendering them useless and wiping all personal data from the device. The plaintiffs say that the source code is necessary to determine whether all iPhones were given the same 1.1.1 update, and whether it was designed to brick all or just some hacked iPhones."

Mozilla SSL Policy Considered Bad For the Web 897

Chandon Seldon writes "The issue of digital certificates for SSL and the policies surrounding them comes up repeatedly. I've written an article criticizing the behavior in Firefox 3, which includes a serious comparison of the current Mozilla policy — restricting encrypted HTTP to paying customers — to a violation of net neutrality."

Nvidia CEO "Not Afraid" of CPU-GPU Hybrids 228

J. Dzhugashvili writes "Is Nvidia worried about the advent of both CPUs with graphics processor cores and Larrabee, Intel's future discrete graphics processor? Judging by the tone adopted by Nvidia's CEO during a financial analyst conference yesterday, not quite. Huang believes CPU-GPU hybrids will be no different (and just as slow) as today's integrated graphics chipsets, and he thinks people will still pay for faster Nvidia GPUs. Regarding Larrabee, Huang says Nvidia is going to 'open a can of whoop-ass' on Intel, and that Intel's strategy of reinventing the wheel by ignoring years of graphics architecture R&D is fundamentally flawed. Nvidia also has some new hotness in the pipeline, such as its APX 2500 system-on-a-chip for handhelds and a new platform for VIA processors."

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"