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+ - Comcast Confessions->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "We heard a couple weeks ago about an incredibly pushy Comcast customer service representative who turned a quick cancellation into an ordeal you wouldn't wish on your enemies. To try and find out what could cause such behavior, The Verge reached out to Comcast employees, hoping a few of them would explain training practices and management directives. They got more than they bargained for — over 100 employees responded, and they paint a picture of a corporation overrun by the neverending quest for greater profit. From the article: 'These employees told us the same stories over and over again: customer service has been replaced by an obsession with sales, technicians are understaffed and tech support is poorly trained, and the massive company is hobbled by internal fragmentation. ... Brian Van Horn, a billing specialist who worked at Comcast for 10 years, says the sales pitch gradually got more aggressive. "They were starting off with, ‘just ask," he says. "Then instead of ‘just ask,’ it was ‘just ask again,’ then ‘engage the customer in a conversation,’ then ‘overcome their objections.’" He was even pressured to pitch new services to a customer who was 55 days late on her bill, he says.'"
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+ - Six Ways Big Telecom Tries to Kill Community Broadband

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Beyond merely staying out of each other's way in many big cities, ISPs have managed to throw up legal, logistical, and financial roadblocks at every turn to prevent municipally owned fiber networks from taking hold in many parts of the country.
The lobbying money is well-documented, but some of the other strategies, such as threatening to cut off business with companies who help build municipal fiber networks, are less known. Catharine Rice of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice, says there are at least six distinct tactics national telecom companies have perfected to do this."

+ - Smoking mothers may alter the DNA of their children->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Pregnant women who smoke don’t just harm the health of their baby—they may actually impair their child’s DNA, according to new research. A genetic analysis shows that the children of mothers who smoke harbor far more chemical modifications of their genome--known as epigenetic changes--than kids of non-smoking mothers. Many of these are on genes tied to addiction and fetal development. The finding may explain why the children of smokers continue to suffer health complications later in life."
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+ - Microsofts Android patents ..->

Submitted by lippydude
lippydude (3635849) writes "'73 patents that are said to be "standard-essential patents," or SEPs, implemented in smartphones generally, followed by 127 patents that Microsoft says are implemented in Android' ..

'The patent lists are strategically significant, because Microsoft has managed to build a huge patent-licensing business by taxing Android phones without revealing what kind of legal leverage they really have over those phones' ..."

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+ - Hitchbot, the hitchhiking robot, bums 1st ride->

Submitted by bayduv1n
bayduv1n (196505) writes "It didn't take long for a little robot attempting to hitchhike across the country relying on the kindness of strangers to get its first ride.

The little traveller, about the size of a six-year-old child, was made using pool noodles, an old bucket, Wellington boots, rubber gloves, solar panels and a computerized "brain."

Hitchbot is entirely dependent on human beings for its survival. It's part of a Canadian research project looking into the evolving relationship between people and technology."

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+ - Silicon Valley has created an imaginary staffing shortage->

Submitted by walterbyrd
walterbyrd (182728) writes "As longtime researchers of the STEM workforce and immigration who have separately done in-depth analyses on these issues, and having no self-interest in the outcomes of the legislative debate, we feel compelled to report that none of us has been able to find any credible evidence to support the IT industry's assertions of labor shortages."
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+ - New protein structure could help treat Alzheimer's, related diseases->

Submitted by vinces99
vinces99 (2792707) writes "There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but the research community is one step closer to finding treatment. University of Washington bioengineers have a designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body’s normal proteins into a state that’s linked to widespread diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The synthetic molecule blocks these proteins as they shift from their normal state into an abnormally folded form by targeting a toxic intermediate phase. The discovery of a protein blocker could lead to ways to diagnose and even treat a large swath of diseases that are hard to pin down and rarely have a cure.

“If you can truly catch and neutralize the toxic version of these proteins, then you hopefully never get any further damage in the body,” said senior author Valerie Daggett, a UW professor of bioengineering. “What’s critical with this and what has never been done before is that a single peptide sequence will work against the toxic versions of a number of different amyloid proteins and peptides, regardless of their amino acid sequence or the normal 3-D structures.”"

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+ - Can the Multiverse be Tested Scientifically?->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Physicists aren’t afraid of thinking big, but what happens when you think too big? This philosophical question overlaps with real physics when hypothesizing what lies beyond the boundary of our observable universe. The problem with trying to apply science to something that may or may not exist beyond our physical realm is that it gets a little foggy as to how we could scientifically test it. A leading hypothesis to come from cosmic inflation theory and advanced theoretical studies — centering around the superstring hypothesis — is that of the "multiverse," an idea that scientists have had a hard time in testing. But now, scientists at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Ontario, Canada, have, for the first time, created a computer model of colliding universes in the multiverse in an attempt to seek out observational evidence of its existence."
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+ - Google, CNN Leaders in "Advertising Pollution" 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes ""Everyone gets that advertising is what powers the internet, and that our favorite sites wouldn't exist without it," writes longtime ad guy Ken Segall in The Relentless (and annoying) Pursuit of Eyeballs. "Unfortunately, for some this is simply license to abuse. Let's call it what it is: advertising pollution." CNN's in-your-face, your-video-will-play-in-00:25-seconds approach, once unthinkable, has become the norm. "Google," Segall adds, "is a leader in advertising pollution, with YouTube being a showcase for intrusive advertising. Many YouTube videos start with a mandatory ad, others start with an ad that can be dismissed only after the first 10 seconds. Even more annoying are the ad overlays that actually appear on top of the video you're trying to watch. It won't go away until you click the X. If you want to see the entire video unobstructed, you must drag the playhead back to start over. Annoying. And disrespectful." Google proposed using cap and trade penalties to penalize traditional polluters — how about for those who pollute the Internet?"

+ - Google addresses Chrome battery-drain issue->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A bug in Chrome that saps Windows laptops battery life had been left unattended to for two years---simply because we fail to star the issue on the bug tracker to be look at. But, the good news is Google has been drawn to it, all thanks to a Forbes' writer. The Google Chrome team has said it is working to fix it."
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+ - Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling-> 1

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The ongoing battle between Netflix and ISPs that can't seem to handle the streaming video service's traffic boiled over to an infuriating level for Colin Nederkoon, a startup CEO who resides in New York City. Rather than accept excuses and finger pointing from either side, Nederkoon did a little investigating into why he was receiving such slow Netflix streams on his Verizon FiOS connection, and what he discovered is that there appears to be a clear culprit. Nederkoon pays for Internet service that promises 75Mbps downstream and 35Mbps upstream through his FiOS connection. However, his Netflix video streams were limping along at just 375kbps (0.375mbps), equivalent to 0.5 percent of the speed he's paying for. On a hunch, he decided to connect to a VPN service, which in theory should actually make things slower since it's adding extra hops. Speeds didn't get slower, they got much faster. After connecting to VyprVPN, his Netflix connection suddenly jumped to 3000kbps, the fastest the streaming service allows and around 10 times faster than when connecting directly with Verizon. Verizon may have a different explanation as to why Nederkoon's Netflix streams suddenly sped up, but in the meantime, it would appear that throttling shenanigans are taking place. It seems that by using a VPN, Verizon simply doesn't know which packets to throttle, hence the gross disparity in speed."
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+ - Comcast Is Astroturfing the Net Neutrality Issue->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "By its own admission, Comcast is working with think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute. Fellows at the Institute are printing op-eds all throughout the media in support of killing Net neutrality--without disclosing the think tank's ties to Comcast"
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+ - U.S. Senator blasts Microsoft's H-1B push as it lays 18,000 off workers->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "On the floor of U.S. Senate Thursday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) delivered a scalding and sarcastic attack on the use of highly skilled foreign workers by U.S. corporations that was heavily aimed at Microsoft, a chief supporter of the practice. Sessions' speech began as a rebuttal to a recent New York Times op-ed column by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson, a casino owner that has chastised Congress for failing to take action on immigration reform. But the senator's attack on "three of our greatest masters of the universe," and "super billionaires," was clearly primed by Microsoft's announcement, also on Thursday, that it was laying off 18,000 employees. "What did we see in the newspaper today?" said Sessions, "News from Microsoft. Was it that they are having to raise wages to try to get enough good, quality engineers to do the work? Are they expanding or are they hiring? No, that is not what the news was, unfortunately. Not at all.""
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