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+ - 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.""

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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."

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+ - 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.


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Comment: Go to the website and file incorrectly (Score 1) 204

by retroworks (#48864801) Attached to: Healthcare.gov Sends Personal Data To Over a Dozen Tracking Websites
I haven't completed it, but maybe I should just to pollute the database. Is that a crime? I could say I'm tall, healthy, young Asian Latino woman? That would probably go too far, but at least this is data I can control better than the data the credit card companies dole out on my purchases. People are always thinking "invisibility" when nature prefers "camouflage".

% "Every morning, I get up and look through the 'Forbes' list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work" -- Robert Orben