Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:How about this.. (Score 1) 62

by retroworks (#49564203) Attached to: Supreme Court To Consider Data Aggregation Suit Against Spokeo

I don't think it's that simple. Your next door neighbor states she knows you, and says where you live to someone, and she must pay you $100,000? Your housepainter lists you as a reference, but you own the data so he must pay you?

It bothered me when I lived in a very small town and everyone in the town was a busybody and gossiped about where I went. It bothers me that technology makes that nosiness scaleable to worldwide proportions. But I can't see making how to monetize privacy without all the benefits accruing to the people rich enough to sue for them.

Comment: Re:big battery mining cost (Score 1) 299

by retroworks (#49550601) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

Usually mining and extraction are the greatest energy and pollution generating periods of a device's life. Not greater than the entire lifecycle of use and disposal, unless the product is used less than 10 years. if its used less than 5 the impacts of mining can be even greater than the product 's use. Don't crash and total your Tesla or Prius. http://science.howstuffworks.c...

What's interesting with this home-battery is that this its use may not achieve any real energy savings, like a hybrid motor (which contributes captured friction) or like solar. Or maybe there is some lost energy in off peak hours and it contributes to efficiency, but that will be lost if the use of the product scales and every house has one. But the point is that the rare earth batteries must be mined in China, meaning a portion of the energy is being diverted to coal burned in China.

Comment: Re:Who to believe (Score 4, Informative) 78

by retroworks (#49538791) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

Any sources for the stats in Wired or Daily Mail? No? Because the original source has vanished.

Here is a link to research of peer reviewed articles which traces the claims made in Wired (actually repeating what a photographer said, Wired did not make the claim) and Mail scalar.usc.edu/works/reassembling-rubbish/mapping-e-waste-as-a-controversy-from-statements-to-debates-1?path=e-waste-mapping-a-controversy

And here is the UN funded 2012 study of the imports to Ghana which found 91% reuse. http://www.basel.int/Portals/4... This was the study that caused BAN.org (the NGO) to backtrack on their claims.

As for who I am, former Peace Corps volunteer, degree in intl relations, former head of recycling for Massachusetts DEP, consultant to EPA, and founder of WR3A.org which has part of a 3 university $469K research grant on used electronics imports, managed by Memorial University (USC Long Beach and Pontifica UCP Peru also part of the research).

The press release also refers to reporters who attended, including Author of NYT Bestseller (Junkyard Planet) Adam Minter of Bloomberg. I was most impressed however with the Dagbani geeks and nerds who gave us the tour of the site and the import containers with the reused equipment. But finding a news journal like Wired or Mail which actually interviews actual African businesspeople, I'm afraid I can't find quickly. But here is an essay from one of the Technicians who came with us (not Dagbani speaker, he's from Volta region) http://www.isri.org/news-publi...

You can also try doing math on an envelope to see which source to follow. The cost of shipping 700 televisions (what can fit in a sea container) is $10k (purchase of TVs, shippping and customs) or $14 per TV. They contain about $2 in copper. Oh, and Joe Benson, the guy in UK jail? His cost of disposing the bad ones, the ones he was supposedly avoiding recycling costs for? $0, he showed regular trips to recycle the ones he didn't want to pay $14 to ship.

Here is another source, Heather Agyepong (of UK but parents were from Ghana), who visited last summer and reported the same thing, that the "dystopia" and "dumping" was basically not to be found. http://www.okayafrica.com/phot...

+ - Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks writes: Two stories appear today which feature close up photos of young African men surrounded by scrap metal in the city of Accra. The headlines state that this is where our computers go to die (Wired). The Daily Mail puts it in even starker terms, alleging "millions of tons" are dumped in Agbogbloshie.

The stories appear the same day as a press release by investigators who returned this week from 3 weeks at the site. The release claims that Agbogbloshie's depiction as the worlds "largest ewaste dump site" to be a hoax. It is a scrap automobile yard which accounts for nothing more than local scrap from Accra. Three Dagbani language speaking electronics technicians, three reporters, Ghana customs officials and yours truly visited the site, interviewed workers about the origins of the material, and assessed volumes. About 27 young men burn wire, mostly from automobile scrap harnesses. The electronics — 20 to 50 items per day — are collected from Accra businesses and households. The majority of Accra (population 5M) have had televisions since the 1990s, according to World Bank metadata (over 80% by 2003).

The investigation did confirm that most of the scrap was originally imported used, and that work conditions were poor. However, the equipment being recycled had been repaired and maintained, typically for a decade (longer than the original OECD owner). It is a fact that used goods will, one day, eventually become e-waste. Does that support a ban on the trade in used goods to Africa? Or, as the World Bank reports, is the affordable used product essential to establish a critical mass of users so that investment in highways, phone towers, and internet cable can find necessary consumers?

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Great alternative to rural areas (Score 4, Insightful) 59

by retroworks (#49354389) Attached to: Facebook Successfully Tests Laser Internet Drones

No, they should mod you up. It is easy to write snarky and cynical comments... they can generate them without having to RTFA. Obviously Facebook makes its money on eyeballs / participants. Why can't this just be a win-win? By expanding access to higher speed internet, Facebook increases its potential market. What's the difference between that and increasing distribution of any product a segment of the marketplace needs?

The USA Highway system was built in part by the distribution needs of corporations. But we are all free to drive our cars and motorcycles on it. Should we not have built the roads because a corporation was going to profit from it? It's called "development".

Comment: Hillbilly Hare in Java (Score 1) 211

Looking forward to squaredance instructions in public boolean http://www.ebaumsworld.com/vid...

"whop him low and whop him high, stick your finger in his eye, kick him in the shin, hit him in the head, hit him again if the critter ain't dead"

(I grew up in northwest Arkansas and am allowed to make this joke /= trolling)

+ - #EWastegate: Nigerian ExPat TV repairman still in UK jail despite retraction->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks writes: What could possibly be worse than dumping 75%-80% of obsolete used "e-waste" in African dumps to be burned by children scavenging wires? What could be worse than violating international law?

How about lying that the crimes occurred in the first place?

Ghanain Emmanuel Nyaletey, an electronics repair technician who grew up a few blocks away from Agbogbloshie, has published an editorial questioning why the press has failed to correct its false reporting on the "e-waste export crisis". In April, Nyaletey will fly back to Ghana, with reporters, working on a documentary of the "e-waste hoax". http://retroworks.blogspot.com...

Seven months after the prison sentence for UK-based, Nigerian born TV repairman Joe Benson, the original source (Basel Action Network) of the "world's largest e-waste dump" story (Agbogbloshie scrapyard in Accra, Ghana) denies ever, ever stating that it has knowledge of foreign dumping in Africa. After the Guardian and the Independent and BBC ran stories claiming to follow "cut wires", UNEP studies of the "seized containerloads" found a range of 85%-93% of used electronics imported to Ghana and Nigeria were repaired or reused. The UN funded study found that the used electronics were more likely to be used than brand new product (raising questions of how much ESD "waste" is being resold after warranty return), that cities in Emerging Markets were generating up to 1/3 per capita as much electronic scrap as OECD nations (which would make them a larger net source than the West). Further, the study found that "geeks of color" like Nyaletey who repair and repurpose western imports earn six times more than the national average wages for their home nation (Nigeria, Ghana studies). Nyaletey painstakingly documents the findings from the 2011 and 2012 UN funded studies, and questions why white environmentalists are still trying to "save Africa" from reuse and repair.

2012 Study of Nigeria "E-Waste Assessment" http://www.basel.int/Portals/4...
2011 Study of Ghana "E-Waste Assessment" http://www.basel.int/Portals/4...

While the environmental organization BAN now denies being the source of the "80% waste" statistic, Memorial University researcher Josh Lepawsky has tracked the organizations orphaned statistic through peer-reviewed reports on "e-waste exports" over the past 15 years, and found it to be one of the most frequent citations in scholarly research on the topic. http://scalar.usc.edu/works/re...

If not from western "waste ships", what IS the source of the electronics shown at the African dumps? Cities like Accra and Lagos have millions of households with television (and refrigerators, and computers, etc.). World Bank estimated in 2003 that Nigeria had over 6 million households with television. Twenty six percent of Ghana households had televisions 15 years ago. http://www.econstats.com/wdi/w...

Meanwhile, 3 separate documentaries are in the works based on interviews with "Hurricane" Joe Benson. Benson has provided documentation that his cost of shipping, per unit, was much greater than scrap value, and has documented how he returned unrepairable appliances back to UK recycling centers free of charge, saying there is no earthly motive to ship waste. A petition to #freejoebenson will be circulated by Nyaletey in Ghana, and is now available online http://www.ipetitions.com/peti...

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:It's a model (Score 1) 230

by retroworks (#49247265) Attached to: Man 3D Prints a Working 5-Speed Transmission For Toyota Engines
World is really big. When a neighorhood becomes too rich, the repair jobs grow across the tracks. In fact Foxconn was originally a repair/upgrade operation, which eventually grew to accept contract manufacturing. Of the 7 billion people on earth, 1 billion are about as rich as you are, and of the other 6 billion, about 3 billion of them have access to knowledge of transmission motors.

+ - Instant Powdered Acohol: Approved for Sale->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks writes: From Motherboard.vice:

"The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has given the greenlight to Palcohol, a powdered alcohol that you mix with water to make, well, liquid alcohol. The TTB had already approved the product for sale last year but almost immediately backtracked on that decision, saying the approval had been “issued in error.”

"TTB spokesperson Tom Hogue today said the approval is only based on whether or not the label on the product matches what’s actually inside, according to the Associated Press. Palcohol sorted out the labelling issues since last year and so four flavors of Palcohol are now approved for legal sale."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:It's a model (Score 1) 230

by retroworks (#49244551) Attached to: Man 3D Prints a Working 5-Speed Transmission For Toyota Engines

My grandfather was a subsistence farmer and carpenter who grew up in a log cabin in the Ozarks. He explained to me how a transmission works. If my grandfather knew how a transmission worked, why should I disbelieve that assembly line workers at Ford know how a car's transmission works?

You on the other hand appear to have inside dope on the knowledge (or lack thereof) among 650,000 Foxconn employees, and aircraft assemblers, and Ford employees must be much greater than mine. I could only have presumed it varied by employee, based on their time working in the factory or their curiosity about their employment.

Comment: Re:It's a model (Score 1) 230

by retroworks (#49243027) Attached to: Man 3D Prints a Working 5-Speed Transmission For Toyota Engines
Being barely able to explain something which you now understand is progress if you began knowing nothing. I agree with Hodet, it seems like you are struggling for a negative comment when if you aren't interested you could perhaps just close and go read another story. Myself, I feel only better informed by knowing the number of parts in the Toyota transmission, and seeing them in a functioning scale model than I was before watching the film, but could not explain how it works. As for one of the 650,000 workers at the Foxconn factory, I didn't know they all had the same level of understanding how an iPhone works, but I would presume the average employee knows better than most Chinese people do.

No directory.