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Submission + - Increase Rates of Microcephaly Birth Defect: Zika or Larvicide? (

retroworks writes: A report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns,[1] challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.

The increase in the reported instances of microcephaly, a birth defect in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the a physician's group in Brazil, the Ministry failed to recognise another correlation with mosquitos. In the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled program aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes. Monsanto has been named as the producer of the larvicide, which is designed to cause birth defects in mosquito larvae.

Comment Free and Fair Trade = More Jobs (Score 4, Insightful) 373

I realize this is a News for Nerds site, and many nerds fear losing their jobs in the short term to places like India. But 15 years ago /. used to have a lot more vocal free trade thinkers. The concept is that India gets richer, China gets richer, and that leads to peace and more net jobs (for example, Hollywood movies earn much higher international sales, USA chicken and corn exports go through the roof, Buick triples its exports). If this makes Hertz rentals cheaper, that income goes to something else in the USA, probably.

I explain it to my kids this way. Your cell phone was assembled by Taiwanese owned companies in China. That alone 1) reduces chance of war between China and Taiwan, and 2) reduces the cost of your cell phone by 400%, so 3) Chinese people can now afford to buy the cell phones, and 4) the cost of the cell phone falls another 400% because of scale of manufacture (as Chinese can now afford them). Would you rather live in a USA where the cell phones are assembled in California and cost $8000 and the Chinese are working in rice fields? Sacrificing the 1000 California assembly line jobs creates about 10,000 Chinese jobs (from the increased production due to cheaper phones) and creates programming jobs for cell phones - in California.

The same people who got alarmed by outsourced phone assembly jobs now express alarm about the programming jobs. And they sound like the same people who were alarmed in the 1970s when Hertz started buying more Japanese cars, so the cost of cars went down and the quality came up and Japan became wealthy and peaceful and eventually opened Toyota and Honda factories in the USA.

Trump says China and Mexico stole your jobs, Bernie says corporations sent your jobs to China and Mexico. They are both old enough to remember how utterly stupid the anti-Japanese-car kerfluffle turned out to be, shame on both.

Comment Re:The really sad thing (Score 1) 113

I think it was rational to go to the moon a limited number of times, and then give it a rest. Imagine if NASA had continued sending people to the moon into the 1990s, and it became an entitlement program. Edgar Mitchell is perfect in that he was brave, talented, and rare. A thousand more moonwalkers would have led to a backlash instead of nostalgia.

Comment Re:last chance to buy quality Sharp products (Score 2, Interesting) 48

Foxconn's Terry Gou is every bit a genius as Wozniak, and Taiwan should be proud of him. Gou's Foxconn techs are at least half (if not more) of the Apple IPhone tech advance (the Taiwan Foxcon techs were already manufacturing and designing IPods, and were wicked good at touch display, before iPhone was manufactured by them... there is a quarrel whether Apple bought key Taipai techs and moved them to Vancouver). If you are 582462 on Slashdot you should be way too old to generate racist anti-Taiwan rants. Taiwan geeks are quite honorable, and I have no doubt they can make Sharp proud.

Comment TV ratings methodology (Score 3, Insightful) 302

The Nielsen ratings have never rally been without major sampling error, methodology and fallacy. If they really want the traffic numbers, they can get them from Comcast and other cable networks. And after reading the article, it's actually more just a complaint and response to a complaint than "escalation". Move along, nothing to see here.

Submission + - Group Recycling New York City Pay Phones into Free WiFi Hubs (

retroworks writes: Jessica Lieber writes for FastCompany on the LinkNYC project, which is run by a private consortium called CityBridge. The project, which will convert existing public pay phones to free wifi hubs, is billed as "the largest and fastest public Wi-Fi network in the world." The advertising-supported model could eventually be expanded to other cities. 500 structures will be distributed among all five boroughs, and 4,500 within the first four years until there are 7,500 units.

Comment Muckraking (Score 3, Interesting) 150

Some of the best journalism comes from Muckraking. Still, it's pretty easy to see that the main advantage of the internet is that it provides education / information to billions of people who never had access to it before, and the growth in that penetration is a bigger story than the limits to educating and informing people. The main disadvantage is when the internet provides miseducation / false information to billions of people. The nuance is that misinformation has been readily accessible to the billions of people for eons. The optimist thinks that misinformation will find it more difficult to compete with truth, and that attempts to curtail it will tend to blowback on churches, governments and corporations which try to wedge against it.

Comment As Usual, Answer is Both (Score 1) 98

"Is Technology allowing us to improve ourselves, or allowing us to become lazy and complacent?" The answer is always it depends who and where and when and how. For example, if I'm outraged by Boka Haram, I could (per the article) tweet hashtags and think I accomplished something by venting my gossipy opinions. On the other hand, I can speak directly with Africans in the northern sahel who are online and have 80-90% cell phone teledensity about the problem and get information unfiltered by western media. Half assed opinions emerge and travel briskly, but so does research that snopes those halfassed opinions. Mass communications spreads information and disinformation very quickly, and what matters is how hard you try to get correct information (or to correct disinformation). BTW #freehurricanebenson #freejoebenson #ewastehoax

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