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Comment: Calls from Credit Cards on "Suspicious Activity" (Score 3, Interesting) 76

by retroworks (#48020261) Attached to: Medical Records Worth More To Hackers Than Credit Cards

Over the years I can think of many times we've received a call from our credit card companies to "report suspicious activity". Sometimes it's annoying (yes, we are travelling, please don't cancel our card) but other times it's saved us thousands of dollars.

I personally cannot think of anyone who has gotten a call from medical establishment to report "suspicious activity" or any other kind of "fraud alert", but perhaps others have? If not, the fact that credit card companies respond to these would make them less profitable activity than defrauding companies that don't alert or respond.

+ - Rise and Fall of Gluten Intolerance Parellels use of Monsanto's RoundUp-> 2

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "The decades of increasing cases of "gluten intolerance" and "celiac sprue" among Americans has been linked (in Toxicology peer reviewed article) to the use or disuse of Monsanto's "Roundup" on USA crops. Unknown a few decades ago, "sprue" or gluten intolerance has spiked, leading to widely recognized "gluten free" advertised diets. The article (linked from Mother Jones coverage) shows that when glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto's RoundUp — use decreases, cases of gluten intolerance also fell."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Legit Effort (Score 2) 383

by retroworks (#47986869) Attached to: Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

I'm a pretty big critic of fellow environmentalists who get carried away with authority, sometimes actually doing environmental harm in the pursuit of theory (e.g. ROHS, removal of recycled content lead from circuit boards, replaced with tin mined from Indonesian coral islands, oy vey. Like replacing plastic with "organic, natural" baby seal pelts).

However, in defense of the enviros and the article posted on /., organic waste really is a pretty cutting edge activity. A century ago pig farmers actually collected significant amounts of food waste, and until very recently the Egyptian Zabaleen community (Coptic Christians) ran a hugely successful organic waste collection system in Cairo. It was a fairly recent innovation to put recyclables and organics and junk into "landfills" and incinerators. It's legitimate to study public policy and efforts to achieve more sustainable cities.

When I was in charge of a state recycling program in the 90s (MA DEP), however, I found that rewarding positive behavior got better publicity than "fines" for not recycling. We ran a "recycling lottery" in Somerville where they'd choose a household at random and if they had their recyclables out, they got $200. It generated the awareness the Seattle fine is trying to achieve without the Drudge-Report-iness. It's also easier to backtrack if the whole thing turns out to be a mistake, if you've given out prizes for affirmative behavior instead of fines.

+ - Why a Chinese Company is the Biggest IPO Ever in the US

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has made headlines lately in US financial news. At the closing of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on Friday, it had raised $21.8 billion on the New York Stock Exchange, larger even than Visa's ($17.9 billion), Facebook's ($16 billion), and General Motors ($15.8 billion) IPOs. Some critics do say that Alibaba's share price will plummet from its current value of $93.60 in the same way that Facebook's and Twitter's plummeted dramatically after initial offerings. Before we speculate, however, we should take note of what Alibaba is exactly. Beyond the likes of Amazon and eBay, Alibaba apparently links average consumers directly to manufacturers, which is handy for an economy ripe for change. Approximately half of Alibaba's shares "were sold to 25 investment firms", and "most of the shares went to US investors"."

Comment: Pan-Racial Future (Score 1) 85

by retroworks (#47944431) Attached to: Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings
On an evolutionary time scale, this is a snapshot. "Europeans" meant something for several thousand years, but the intermarriage and population growth and travel will commingle DNA in a century or two (evolutionarily known as an "instant"). I'm white and have native American DNA, most black / African Americans are dark skinned and have loads of European DNA, etc etc. These DNA results are interesting but it's like trying to follow a weather pattern, the geographical barriers are toast.

Comment: Part of the defamed "e-waste" culture (Score 4, Interesting) 53

by retroworks (#47944313) Attached to: Inside Shenzen's Grey-Market iPhone Mall
Have been to these markets in Shenzhen and Foshan, and to similar marketplaces in Cairo and Lima and Jakarta. In Chinese there is a word "shenzhai" I think which means to "hack" or copy, but it doesn't have the nefarious English connotations. It's more like a musician jamming someone else's guitar riff, it's seen as a talent worthy of applause. Slate had a great article in 2012, "The Chinese Steve Jobs is Probably a Pirate". I'm now working with 3 researchers at universities to document what we call the "Tinkerer Blessing", which is the opposite of the "Resource Curse"... correlating that emerging markets with a lack of natural resources develop better through technology repair and "grey market" activity. Simon Lin of Acer, Terry Gou of Foxconn, both started in video display refurbishment, by the way.

Comment: Employer says Thank You (Score -1) 109

by retroworks (#47941421) Attached to: Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research
While it's popular to cheer for victims of lost jobs and the unemployed, the brutal truth is that unemployment is 4% (in my state) and asshole-dom is about 14%. We look forward to MS-less resumes to grow our business. There's a shortage of smart employees, and until we figure out how to educate the emerging intellect-nots, medium-tech industry needs the dis-employed. Or immigrants. We are color blind, we don't care.

Comment: Generally accepted (Score 0) 55

by retroworks (#47941393) Attached to: Mystery Signal Could Be Dark Matter Hint In ISS Detector
Dark matter simply means matter that is too small to be detected by what humans have so far developed to see, but which gravity study suggests should be there. Seventy years ago, Pluto was probably "dark matter". Giving a name to "everything" we can't see and then finding evidence that there's something more is a bit curious. What hasn't been "seen" yet is "dark". We will eat away at "dark" matter one snapshot at a time.

Comment: Industry Needs Self-Certification or Academy (Score 2) 118

by retroworks (#47892713) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court
If the code-writing industry is going to rely on civil court judges and federal patent clerks to make the decisions, the firms with 2 lawyers per coder will win out. If the code-writing industry goes to no-patents, it will be from each coder according to his ability, to each according to his need. The only solution is for some industry gurus to come up with some rules which everyone agrees to abide by, and then to submit the concensus in friend-of-court decisions. I have no idea whether anyone in the industry is prepared to even define the 80/20 rule, but if they can agree on the WORST patent decisions (either way) and get some concensus on them, and then try to find commonalities in what made those "bad", it could be a start.

+ - Paypal Jumps into Bitcoin with Both Feet->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "BBC, WSJ, Bloomberg, Forbes and several other business sites are buzzing with Paypal's incorporation of Bitcoin transactions. According to Wired, Paypal will be "the best thing ever to happen to bitcoin" Paypal-owned Braintree not only brings 150 million active users in close contact with Bitcoin, it signals "mainstreaming" similar to cell phone app banking, perceived as experimental just a few years ago.

Meanwhile Wired News reports on "someone's efforts" to expose or unmask Bitcoin guru Satoshi Nakamoto..."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Improved? Or Hyperbolized to Start With? (Score 3, Interesting) 15

by retroworks (#47862091) Attached to: How China's E-Waste Capital Is Trying To Clean Itself Up

1. Guiyu is a used semiconductor / chip harvesting and reuse center. The acid baths stuff (for biproduct after chip reuse) stopped years ago, the material is now shipped to Dowa in Japan. There's an ongoing issue with incineration of the boards to concentrate the metals ash for Dowa - that is the focus of the improvements in the article.

2. Guiyu's main industry is textile dying. The river pollution blamed on "e-waste" is almost identical to Louhajang River in Bangladesh - a textile industry pollution site.

3. Abogbloshie in Ghana is mostly an automobile junkyard. Very little of the "e-waste" there is recently imported. African cities have had TV and recycling for a long time. World Bank statistics show Nigeria had 6.9M households with TV in 2006, for example. India has NO used imports, plenty of informal sector processes.

4. Three separate peer reviewed studies show 85%-91% reuse of used electronics imports in South America and Africa.

5. According to TFA, the material currently processed in Guiyu is mostly generated in China.

6. USA has never been a significant exporter to Africa.

Emerging markets pay $$ for all the shipping. They pay for stuff they want, which is usually reuse value. They also generate "e-waste" and have their own dumps. China and India and Africa generate more electronic junk than USA or Europe. For some decent academic study on the Hoax, here are links to research at Memorial University, MIT, ASU, and UN at this /. story from last December. Innocent tinkerers and fixers are getting a firehose of bullshit #FreeHurricaneBenson. It is true that China (and TCL, the largest TV manufacturer in China) have invested in a clean up of Guiyu, and it's true Guiyu was nasty, but there was fortunately not all that much "ewaste" to clean up (worst is incineration of boards to concentrate ash, after chip harvest, prior to export to Dowa). Unfortunately they are not taking on cleanup of the textile industry, so the arsenic in the water samples will remain. Finding arsenic in the Guiyu river should have tipped people off in the first place, it has nothing to do with e-waste and everything to do with textile factories and copper mining.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.