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+ - Scientists just automated light-based computers ->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks writes: Integrated photonic devices are poised to play a key role in a wide variety of applications, ranging from optical interconnects and sensors to quantum computing. However, only a small library of semi-analytically designed devices is currently known. In the article in Nature Photonics, researchers demonstrate the use of an inverse design method that explores the full design space of fabricable devices and allows them to design devices with previously unattainable functionality, higher performance and robustness, and smaller footprints than conventional devices. The designed a silicon wavelength demultiplexer splits 1,300nm and 1,550nm light from an input waveguide into two output waveguides, and the team has fabricated and characterized several devices. The devices display low insertion loss (2dB), low crosstalk (100nm). The device footprint is 2.8×2.8m2, making this the smallest dielectric wavelength splitter.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Use their tracking against them (Score 1) 147

"Just fill out false information, post pictures that are not you, tag things incorrectly, feed the bots dust til they choke."

This "camouflage" or "false positive" technique is way underutilized with cookie tracking and searches tracking.

But it's far more difficult with facial recognition. If you are using someone else's face, it gets tricky, and is also probably fairly easy to sort out electronically.

I've thought about using Photoshopping to slightly change the distance between my eyes, shrink or expand my chin, etc. But that's time consuming and socially awkward if Friends figure it out and wonder what the hell I'm doing.

A late friend who was in the marijuana and drug importing business in the 1980s religiously changed his facial hair every 6 weeks. Full beard, goatee, mustache, clean shave, etc., constantly altering superficial grooming. I didn't realize why he did it until he told me how surprised I'd be at the number of people who were confused by it.

Comment: History of Regulator Jobs (Score 4, Interesting) 167

by retroworks (#49655629) Attached to: Texas Regulators Crack Down on App-Driven Hauling Service

As a former (1992-99 Boston MA USA) regulator, I smile. Regulator jobs were created because the average person didn't have access to information and it was worth it to pay taxes to hire people to regulate the service providers. The other two parts of the job were raising income for the state and protecting the commercial services / upstream market, but from Upton Sinclair times the protection of the consumer was the regulatory driver.

Protecting the consumer ordering the service is disrupted. The reputation (likes/dislikes/negative feedback) model does the equivalent of what Ebay did to print journalism. Print news made 1/3 from subscriptions, 1/3 from ads, and 1/3 from classified (my great grandparents-parents worked in newspaper market).

The newspapers were slow to embrace online classifieds because it wasn't in the marketplace they had cornered.... and they lost it. Regulators are now like new editors, they know the feedback system protects consumers, and they also know that's 1/3 of their jobs. I suspect most regulators are less adept than news editors.

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

And here is the UN funded 2012 study of the imports to Ghana which found 91% reuse. This was the study that caused (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 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)

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.

+ - 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

"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)

10 to the 6th power Bicycles = 2 megacycles