Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:How is this tech related? (Score 1) 154

by Moridineas (#49769721) Attached to: EU Drops Plans For Safer Pesticides After Pressure From US

Did you even read the _summary_?

"Just weeks before the regulations were dropped there had been a barrage of lobbying from big European firms such as Dupont, Bayer and BASF over EDCs. The chemical industry association Cefic warned that the endocrines issue 'could become an issue that impairs the forthcoming EU-US trade negotiations.'"

Comment: Re:How is this tech related? (Score 4, Insightful) 154

by Moridineas (#49768535) Attached to: EU Drops Plans For Safer Pesticides After Pressure From US

Yes, aggressive lobbying form 'Merican companies like Bayer AG (oddly headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany) and the largest chemical producer in the world, BASF (again, oddly headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany).

It's really nice that the political class of the EU can rely on the old "blame the US" trick to convince Europeans to ignore their own indebtedness to European corporate interests. Always shocking to me to see propaganda work so well and so easily.

Comment: Re:Not pressure from the US, but US Corporations (Score 3, Interesting) 154

by Moridineas (#49768445) Attached to: EU Drops Plans For Safer Pesticides After Pressure From US

Well, now it looks like US corporations are flexing their muscles in Europe, reducing democracy there after all but buying legislators here in the US.

I would quip that you should RTFA, but the relevant part is even quoted in the summary!

Just weeks before the regulations were dropped there had been a barrage of lobbying from big European firms such as Dupont, Bayer and BASF over EDCs. The chemical industry association Cefic warned that the endocrines issue “could become an issue that impairs the forthcoming EU-US trade negotiations”.

Dupont -- American
Bayer AG -- German
BASF -- German

Yes, American corporations pressured American politicians to pressure EU politicians. EU corporations were also pressuring EU politicians directly. EU politicians wussed out. This story is sensationalist because, of course, the EU politicians want to blame the US for their lack of spine and total subservience to corporations. Pot, meet kettle.

Comment: Re:The Sony connection (Score 2) 402

by Moridineas (#49765189) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

It's also patently stupid to suggest that anything is "more vulnerable" now than it used to be. Things may be more interconnected, and are more likely to be attacked in the past, but they are not getting "more vulnerable" unless your management is A) not willing to spend the reasonable cost for appropriate security controls, or B) doesn't listen to their IT security staff when those systems start raising warning flags, or C) fails to hire competent security personnel in the first place.

I disagree strongly with this. Let's think about the case of industrial or governmental espionage. 50 years ago, saboteurs had to physically remove documents (or whatever they wanted) from the target. There were quite genius inventions--small (for the time) cameras, hidden canisters of films, briefcases with hidden compartments, etc., but ultimately there was a very physical component. Today it's possible to remotely infiltrate an organization and exfiltrate more "documents" than could previously have been removed in a lifetime, all with perfect fidelity.

A slightly more immediate example might be identity theft or credit card theft (as in your Target example). 30 years ago, did any company of any size have to worry about losing 50 million credit card numbers (or any similarly sized data set, for that matter!) in a data breach? 20 years ago? This is a new concern.

Comment: Re:I wonder why... (Score 1) 289

by Moridineas (#49732901) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

I've actually had good experiences with Google Apps (paid) technical support. I've only interacted with them perhaps two times over three years, but they were fast and good both times. Our local DMV is actually not terrible either (ever since they implemented appointments). God help you if you need to call them on the phone, though.

True story about my last visit from the permitting office (we were doing a series of renovations on our office building, so I visited quite a few times). I dropped by the the permits office to just sign my name to a sheet of paper. I arrived around 12:50am on a Wednesday.

The front desk person was sitting there reading a newspaper. I walk up through the cordoned off waiting area (I was the only person in line), and say "Hello, ...". The reception lady points to a sign that says "Out to lunch" and doesn't even look up from her paper. Ok, fine, I go and sit down for 10 minutes, expecting lunch to end at 1pm. At 1pm the lady removed the "Out to lunch" sign and walked away from the desk. She's mysteriously gone for another 10 minutes. Ok...

So, I'm still standing waiting in line and still the only person there when she comes back. She looks around the room and says "Next." I walk up, say hello, and tell her about what I'm picking up. She reaches down into her files and has my form right there. She explains that I need to sign the form. I pick up one of the bank-style chained down pens and start to sign my name on the only signature line on the form. She immediately says "SIR. The front desk is for interacting with customers only. We need to keep the area clear for other customers. Please go and sign this form and return to the permits office when you are done." Again, I am the ONLY other person in the room. I had to leave the office, go bum a pen off someone, and come back.

I literally could have been in and out in about 30 seconds if that person cared one iota about her job or other people. That was an annoying experience, but not really that out of line with my other local government interactions. To be fair, I did meet a few very helpful inspectors, but sheesh... I met my fair share of similar personality types when I worked for the federal government in DC. Governments, more so than corporations, seem to offer people like that tenured positions.

Comment: Re:I wonder why... (Score 1) 289

by Moridineas (#49723911) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

Sorry, but that doesn't sound like a disaster at all to me. It sounds a lot like the way business actually works. It also sounds like a valuable asset in the making. If you add in the positive effects of having the best internet connectivity in the country in terms of ability to attract businesses, it's not a bad deal at all.

Maybe. The next 20-30 years, over which the debt is scheduled to be repaid (with interest of course), will be the proof in the pudding. You are far more confident than I am.

Best internet in the country? Better than some of the surrounding areas--for now--for sure. Beyond that...? AT&T "Gigapower" is supposed to be the same speed as Google. Having neither, I can't say for sure.

Note that Davidson went in on this with Mooresville, population 32,000 so claiming the debt is held by just 10,000 people is way off the mark. It's not chump change, but it's not exactly a horror. There are many government and private ventures in a lot more debt with a lot less to show for it and unlike the broadband play, little hope to break even one day.

I didn't claim that Davidson was stuck with the entire debt. I said "A small municipality like Davidson, NC (population 10,000) being saddled with even a portion of 100 million debt, is a big deal." I don't know how those portions were...apportioned...but the point remains. 100 million for small tax bases is a big deal.

Cities have certain mandates that nobody else can fulfill. Roads. Public schools. Other transportation and municipal service mandates.

Given the speed of their network, they will beat the pants off of AT&T and will likely be on-par with Google. Now let's talk customer service. We have AT&(your call is important to us, please hold forever)T and Google(Talk to the hand).

That's certainly a valid question. Who would you rather go to for customer support--Amazon or the DMV? The permitting office (you ever been there? it made me want to stab my eyes out) or Apple? From the article about the Davidson fiber it seems they swung the pendulum from awful customer support to good. I don't think there are any guarantees here.

It's also worth considering, if not for the threat of efforts like these, do you really think any of the telcos would actually be trying to up their game?

Yes.

Comment: Re:I wonder why... (Score 1) 289

by Moridineas (#49723419) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

LUS Fiber (Lafayette), S&P upgraded their bonds from A to A+ based on strong performance this year. They went cash positive in 2012.

Bond ratings don't necessarily tell you anything about the performance of an entity. They tell you about the ability of the parent entity (corporation, municipality, whatever) to make interest payments.

Here's a different take, opinion site (I tried to stink to links from news sites, rather than opinion sites in my original post.):

http://freestatefoundation.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-gift-that-keeps-on-taking-municipal.html

Your second link indicates that MI-Connection is likewise cash positive and beginning to pay down debt.

Not quiet. From the link I cited (which I viewed, overall, as positive): "The towns borrowed $92.5 million to create the company and, while MI-Connection is now in the black operationally, it doesn’t yet generate enough revenue to also cover the towns’ payment on the debt." The chairman of the company estimated that within 3–5 years, MI-Connection would be able to stop receiving further subsidies.

That's a lot of debt. We're not talking millions of potential customers in this area either, the cities are relatively small.

But here's the biggest problem for Davidson and Mooresville. AT&T fiber is coming to the Triad and Google is coming to Charlotte. AT&T and Google cost the cities nothing (or very little), and in fact they probably make money from permitting and taxes. What will happen to these municipal networks when there's competition? Will municipal fiber be competitive with Google or AT&T?

After having read about a lot of these municipal setups, 100 million debt is not uncommon. This is expected to be paid back over decades. I guess we'll see how often they become--or remain--truly profitable over that time period.

So what your links really say is that (SURPRISE), big projects sometimes take longer to pay off than expected and may not pay off if they are sabotaged by people who would rather see their city take a financial bath than have their sacred cow slaughtered.

That's exactly the point. Governments (and corporations, to be fair! any suitably behemoth organization) are terrible at planning for this kind of project and event. It's really hard to predict the future (no shit, huh). A small municipality like Davidson, NC (population 10,000) being saddled with even a portion of 100 million debt, is a big deal. It doesn't take more than a few bad assumptions to seriously and very negatively affect the entire population of the area. Maybe they will be lucky and succeed, maybe not. It's a risk, and in my view, frequently one that is not worth taking when corporate fiber is in the process of exploding across the country.

Comment: Re:Too Bad For North Carolinians! (Score 1) 289

by Moridineas (#49720463) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

I'm getting the fastest internet service in the country [timescall.com] for $59 a month.

With an initial install cost of 40 million funded by the denizens of Longmont, I hope a lot of you subscribe at $59/mon!

I'm looking forward to getting fiber as well. Funny how back in the day those who played network games from a university were LPB (low ping bastards). 80ms pings?! So unfair to those of us on dialup...

Too bad about all these state legislators who seem to feel the need to protect their constituents from super-fast internet speeds at affordable rates that the private companies never seem to feel the need to deliver. I guess luckily for them, most people have no idea what they're missing, or a lot of those guys would be getting kicked out of office right now.

Actually, North Carolina is one of the most active states in the country in terms of upcoming fiber installs. All of the main populations centers--Charlotte metro area, the Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill), and the Triad (Greensboro/Highpoint/Winston-Salem) are currently scheduled to receive AT&T fiber, Google Fiber, or both(!) within the next year or two.

Comment: Re:I wonder why... (Score 3, Informative) 289

by Moridineas (#49720297) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband

Disclaimer, I live in NC and generally support municipal broadband projects when communities are underserved. I'm a big fan of the Wilson fiber service.

First, there is no concept of a citizen of a city or municipality. People are citizens of a state. Cities, counties, municipalities are all creatures of a state, and thus are under the control of state government, not local or federal government. There's no hypocrisy because the general argument in favor of states rights is not about ultimately devolving power to the smallest possible unit of control, but about maintaining state legal authority from being assumed by the federal government.

The main argument against municipal broadband projects is that they frequently fail and leave the municipality saddled with debt. This becomes the responsibility of the state government. Thus, state governments have the power to regulate what projects municipalities embark on, because the state government is the ultimate guarantor.

The secondary argument against municipal broadband is that municipal projects are typically able to entirely bypass permitting and other planning approval stages (costly stages and costly permits; let's not forget the requisite greasing of the political wheels). They are frequently given rights of way and access that private companies do not have authorization to use. There is a good chance that a municipal broadband network would discourage other companies from making a significant investment facing this kind of unbalanced competition. If the project then goes on to be a significant money loser, the municipality is even worse off than when it began.

Examples of municipal projects that have failed or otherwise had explosive debt:

Provo, UT (saved by Google)
Lafayette, LA http://www.rstreet.org/2014/05/30/muni-broadband-the-gift-that-keeps-on-taking/
Davidson, NC and Mooresville, NC http://www.lakenormancitizen.com/news/news/item/6426-reinventing-mi-connection-an-inside-look.html
Utah UTOPIA alliance http://www.wsj.com/articles/municipal-broadband-is-no-utopia-1403220660

Comment: Re:What is normal and how many were born? (Score 1) 220

I posted most of this elsewhere. I don't mean to be disrespectful to you or your parent's experiences (I'm just a "newbee" myself), but a good bit of what you write isn't quite correct.

In summer, a typical worker bee lives for about 6 weeks. 8 weeks, maybe 10, if she has one of the rare posts of guardians at the bee colony's entry, or is one of the even fewer bees that feed the queen.

No. Most worker bees go through a predictable lifecycle. See, e.g., http://www.clemson.edu/extension/county/oconee/programs/beekeeping/Honey_Bee_Life_Cycle_in_Pictures.pdf

1-2 days old: Cleaning duty
3-5 days old: Feeding older larva (nurse)
6-11 days old: Feeding younger larva (nurse)
12-17 days: comb maintenance and production (wax)
18-21 days: guard bee duty
22+ days: field bee (foraging)

It's relatively rare for a bee to have only one duty over its entire lifespan, though this can happen. Sometimes phases are skipped in the spring if a colony really needs foragers, for instance.

Bees literally work themselves to death. The replenishment rate is, during summer, 100%; this is taken care of by the queen.

More than 100%! Colonies expand rapidly in the spring and into summer.

A typical bee colony has between 10,000 and 40,000 bees in high summer, then goes into winter with about 1,000 bees, clumped around the queen to keep her warm, and comes out of winter with 400 to 600 bees.

40,000 is on the low ends of most estimates I read for summer population. Some estimates are up to 100,000 bees!

When you buy "package bees" to install in a hive, the typical size is 3 lbs of bees. This is over 10,000 bees, and is a small "starter" colony. So, I think your estimate of 10,000 to 40,000 bees for full, established summer population is very low.

Finally, FAR more than 300-400 bees survive the winter. I do not think a colony that overwintered with only 400 bees would be viable.

We are talking about apis mellifera carnica here, the so-called Italian bee, which is the variety most commonly used by beekeepers.

A. Mellifera Carnica is the "Carniolan" bee. It's another somewhat common breed of honey bee, but nowhere near as common as the Italian bee--Apis Mellifera Ligustica.

An entire colony dying in spring or early summer is, normally, an extremely rare event, and indicates either an epidemy, or severe poisoning.

Colonies death in spring is not at all uncommon. Colonies are actually at very great risk in the spring. When the queen starts breeding again and the hive starts growing, resources that have been stored since the previous summer are used up very rapidly. The bees leave the cluster and start moving around. A few bouts of bad spring weather that disrupts the early nectar flow or an unexpected hard freeze can destroy a colony that survived all winter long. If a spring colony has depleted all reserves and there's a nectar death and cold weather, things go bad fast!

Colony death in summer is more unusual.

Varroa mites are a known cause, but are a largely contained phenomenon now, at least in professional bee-keeping circles.

Somewhat. Effective treatments have become available only in the last several year. Near constant monitoring is still required.

Feral bees have come close to being wiped out nationwide. This is by no means a problem that is linked to just the much vilified commercial beekepers.

What remains, is ... poisoning. Neonicotinoids or something else.

Speculation and hyperbole. There are thousands of reasons hives can die. I do not believe the neonic connection has yet been proven, though with Europe banning, we should have some good data coming in over the next few years.

Comment: Re: What is normal and how many were born? (Score 1) 220

I keep bees as well, though I am not hugely experienced. I don't mean to disrespect the other post, but it's riddled with errors.

So you don't have to actually read all of my post--do you have ANY citation for hives that normally and naturally survive decades or centuries? I am not familiar with this claim and would like to read more.

In summer, a typical worker bee lives for about 6 weeks. 8 weeks, maybe 10, if she has one of the rare posts of guardians at the bee colony's entry, or is one of the even fewer bees that feed the queen.

No. Most worker bees go through a predictable lifecycle. See, e.g., http://www.clemson.edu/extension/county/oconee/programs/beekeeping/Honey_Bee_Life_Cycle_in_Pictures.pdf

1-2 days old: Cleaning duty
3-5 days old: Feeding older larva
6-11 days old: Feeding younger larva
12-17 days: comb maintenance and production (wax)
18-21 days: guard bee duty
22+ days: field bee (foraging)

It's relatively rare for a bee to have only one duty over its entire lifespan, though this can happen. Sometimes phases are skipped in the spring if a colony really needs foragers, for instance.

Bees literally work themselves to death. The replenishment rate is, during summer, 100%; this is taken care of by the queen.

More than 100%! Colonies expand rapidly in the spring and into summer.

A typical bee colony has between 10,000 and 40,000 bees in high summer, then goes into winter with about 1,000 bees, clumped around the queen to keep her warm, and comes out of winter with 400 to 600 bees.

40,000 is on the low ends of most estimates I read for summer population. Some estimates are up to 100,000 bees!

When you buy "package bees" to install in a hive, the typical size is 3 lbs of bees. This is over 10,000 bees, and is a small "starter" colony. So, I think your estimate of 10,000 to 40,000 bees for summer population is very low.

Finally, FAR more than 300-400 bees survive the winter. I do not think a colony that overwintered with only 400 bees would be viable.

We are talking about apis mellifera carnica here, the so-called Italian bee, which is the variety most commonly used by beekeepers.

A. Mellifera Carnica is the "Carniolan" bee. It's another decently common breed of honey bee, but nowhere near as common as the Italian bee--Apis Mellifera Ligustica.

An entire colony dying in spring or early summer is, normally, an extremely rare event, and indicates either an epidemy, or severe poisoning.

Colonies death in spring is not at all uncommon. Colonies are actually at very great risk in the spring. When the queen starts breeding and the hive starts growing, resources that have been stored since the previous summer are used up very rapidly. A few bouts of bad spring weather that disrupts the early nectar flow or an unexpected hard freeze can destroy a colony that survived all winter long.

Death in summer is more unusual.

Varroa mites are a known cause, but are a largely contained phenomenon now, at least in professional bee-keeping circles.

Somewhat. Effective treatments have become available only in the last several year. Near constant monitoring is still required.

What remains, is ... poisoning. Neonicotinoids or something else.

Speculation and hyperbole. There are thousands of reasons hives can die. I do not believe the neonic connection has yet been proven, though with Europe banning, we should have some good data coming in over the next few years.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

Working...