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Comment: Taipei Geeks Get Shit On Again (Score 3, Interesting) 371

by retroworks (#48946719) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Dammit, please. I watched the touchscreen market, via DigiTimes, for years. The geeks in Taiwan who were carving the niche for ATM touchscreen displays were the top of the touchscreen pyramid. Apple was buying IPods (pods not pads) from Taiwan contract manufacturers, who would show other "cool stuff" they had. Apple saw it quickly and wrote software and gets a lot of credit, but designed Taiwanese inventions into it. I was told the small firm Apple claims did it for them in Vancouver was from the Taipei outfit.

Apple basically did to Taiwan what Bill Gates did to IBM. Which is great, I have no problem with it, but please give Terry Gou and Simon Lin (the Jobs and Gates counterparts in Taipei) some credit for what happened. They are the reason the Samsung vs. Apple patents go nowhere - its because Taiwan geeks made the hardware. It's less the invention of the hardware than it is the licensing fees. Control of the licensing fees is what made Gates and Jobs, and that's largely a legal play. Again, fine, but it just pains me to see the actual engineers ignored.

Comment: It's the Mining Stupid (Score 4, Interesting) 173

Graham Pickren wrote an excellent Ph.D thesis in 2013 "Political ecologies of electronic waste: uncertainty and legitimacy in the governance of e-waste geographies". While it isn't about nuclear waste, per se, it rather brilliantly describes how industrialized nations apply a "fetishism" to material which tracks downstreams but not upstreams.

The point of the article is that the dirtiest recycling (or most questionable Yucca storage) is practically always better than the cleanest extraction (mining).... and this applies to the risk at Yucca (for storage) vs. mining uranium in the USA Southwest. Nevada's strangely among the most willing states to allow in situ mining, even when mercury effluent (from gold mining) turns their extraction points into Superfund sites. 14 years ago Nevada and NM legislators were trying to provide the private sector with $30 million to develop environmental restoration technologies for in-situ leach (ISL) mining of uranium. "In a statement from his office in Washington, D.C. Domenici said he decided to remove the ISL provisions from his comprehensive nuclear energy plan in order to calm fears stoked by "substantial misinformation about the legislation." (Gallup Independent, Nov. 10, 2001)"

Treatment of Planetary Environmental health oddly follows the same "waste centric" obsessions of western medical history. Western medicine is pretty great today, but went through a couple of centuries of giving mercury as a laxative, and being always focused on what comes out of the body rather than the nutrition stream. Closing the "waste deposit" while giving tax incentives to mine uranium is "anal retentive" environmentalism.

See also Pickren et. al. at AREA Waste, commodity fetishism and the ongoingness of economic life

+ - Google vs. Cablevision: Rush to turn Wireless Industry "On its head"->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "WSJ reports on a race between Google (partnered with Sprint and T-Moble) and Cablevision to offer monthly "wifi only" cell phone service plans which would dramatically decrease the costs of monthly data and phone services for people living in cities with strong wifi infrastructure. The report emphasizes Google's caution in not creating enemies out of the cell phone companies (whom they need to support Android OS).

I remember the idea pitched in Burlington, VT over ten years ago. FTA

"Both efforts face substantial challenges—from stitching individual Wi-Fi hot spots into a reliable network to handling new customer-relations issues. And there is no guarantee the services would catch on with subscribers. Still, Google and Cablevision are throwing their weight behind an idea that up to this point has been pursued only by a handful of startups with names like FreedomPop, Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:So what's the point? (Score 1) 351

by retroworks (#48898511) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

The point is to use content labels to stimulate democratic change by hoping consumers become more concerned about words on a label with information they've been taught to pay attention to for health reasons. Now I do believe there are very legitimate social/environmental concerns over GM DNA, such as reduction in crop diversity, or unintended consequences. But there are no health concerns deriving specifically from the fact DNA was "modified" (could be bad, could be good, GMO is not health information). So "the point" is clear: to use labels to introduce non-health related message to consumners.

In my 20s I was involved in the "recycled/recyclable" label rules introduced in the 1980s and while I wasn't opposed to putting packaging content information, I saw it was rapidly politicized. "Metal has more recycled content", "glass is more recyclable", "plastic is source-reduced weight"... labels became "recyclable" or "recycled content", then "post-consumer recycled content". In Europe, composite material drink-boxes made a deal to pay-to-play, where the chasing raindrops label could simply reflect the packaging company "paying to support recycling". (That money led EU regulators to increase in number and power... a good thing when they know what they are talking about, an awful thing most other times).

There is a limited amount of "shelf space" on food package labels. Environmentalists are trying to repeat the "success" of recycled/recyclable. Many passionately believe in the social/environmental concerns, such as crop diversity, just as we believed in recycling. But perhaps labels should just be for health and nutrition information.

Comment: Market Was Wealthy People Giving Gifts (Score 1) 65

by retroworks (#48893555) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11
Most of the comments here assume people were ordering stuff on SkyMall for themselves. My assumption was always that, like holiday catalogues, the target audience was a gift shopper. Someone older who wants to order a nice gift for someone but can't think of anything their giftee actually needs or doesn't already have. Those shoppers have a lot more choices now.

+ - Patriots "Deflate-gate" Could be Done Legally->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "The American football (NFL) rules were not written by physicists. They prescribe the rules that teams must follow to inflate the football. Some quarterbacks like the footballs tight, others softer for easier grip, but the rules define 12.5-13.5 pounds. During their winning game against the Baltimore Colts, the New England Patriots were accused of supplying a football or footballs which were under-inflated, potentially (?) giving their quarterback (Tom Brady) an advantage during the game.

Dr. Allen Sanderson, a research scientist at the University of Utah, told USA TODAY, "We think this is naturally occurring." A good cheater (like the Patriots are accused of being) could inflate the ball to NFL standards — inside a hot room. While defenders of the Patriots have suggested cold climate could explain the de-flation, it would have affected all of the footballs... unless (as Sanderson explains) the Patriots thought of filling the ball — legally — inside a hotter room."

Link to Original Source

+ - First Baby Galapogos Tortoises Sighted in 150 Years->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "The Guardian, Nature, and other periodicals cover a report by Dr. James Gibbs of the State University of New York (SUNY-ESF) on the recent Pinzon Island population survey of giant tortoises. The survey of Galapogos (which means "tortoise" in Spanish) turned up the first reported sightings of baby tortoises in 150 years. Gibbs attributes the hopeful signs to a 2012 program to exterminate or control invasive rats, which are blamed for the low fertility rates, along with a 1982 repatriation of fertile tortoises from zoos. However, it's also possible, according to the article, that the researchers are just looking harder. The rare sightings may simply correlate with more frequent population surveys."

Link to Original Source

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