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Earth

Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the brand-new-beach-front-property-for-sale dept.
An anonymous reader writes: In 2000, NASA began taking satellite images of the Aral Sea in central Asia, which was once the fourth-largest inland lake in the world. At that time, there was an expansive eastern basin, and smaller basins to the north and west. In images recorded just last week, we see that the eastern basin is completely gone, and the western basin just a thin strip of water. The local fishing industry has been devastated, old ship graveyards now rest on dry ground, and salt-heavy sand is being blown around the region, causing health issues.

Most of the lake's decline is attributable to human intervention: "In the 1950s, two of the region's major rivers – the Amu Darya and and the Syr Darya – were diverted by the Soviet government to provide irrigation for cotton production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, starving the Aral. It has been diminishing ever since, with the sea level dropping 16 meters between 1960 and 1996, according to the World Bank. Water levels are believed to be down to less than 10 per cent of what they were five decades ago." Low levels of rain and snow didn't help.

Comment: Re:Apple made the same mistake (Score 5, Insightful) 390

by servies (#45298133) Attached to: Smartphone Sales: Apple Squeezed, Blackberry Squashed, Android 81.3%

....

While their phone is inferior, it is "good enough" for all they need to do

....

but mostly because they see that their cheap phone can do EVERYTHING my iPhone can do at a quarter of the price.

So with that last sentence you're saying it's superior to your iPhone....

Earth

Belgium Plans Artificial Island To Store Wind Power 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the island-of-lost-watts dept.
bmcage writes "Belgium wants to build an artificial energy storage island within 5 years. The island will store excess energy produced at night from the offshore wind farms already present in the North-Sea. From the article: 'Belgium is planning to build a doughnut-shaped island in the North Sea that will store wind energy by pumping water out of a hollow in the middle, as it looks for ways to lessen its reliance on nuclear power. One of the biggest problems with electricity is that it is difficult to store and the issue is exaggerated in the case of renewable energy from wind or sun because it is intermittent depending on the weather. "We have a lot of energy from the wind mills and sometimes it just gets lost because there isn't enough demand for the electricity," said a spokeswoman for Belgium's North Sea minister Johan Vande Lanotte.'"

Comment: Re:Doomsday clock (Score 5, Insightful) 301

by servies (#42589329) Attached to: The World Remains Five Minutes From Midnight

As a Dutch person I can only say: yawn...
If you really think that just a modest spending restraint is the solution to the US debt, then you're an idiot...
The only solution to the US debt is a tax raise and a significant spending restraint.
If you don't get it by now: You're in it till over your heads... It's a miracle you can still breathe...
As a Dutch I really don't get it: more than 50% of the US population is against a tax raise for the 'filthy' rich which only constitutes a maximum of 3% of your population... Why do those (more than) 50% care for those 3%, they certainly don't care for you?....
If those 3% can raise their wealth by driving that 50% into poverty they certainly will do so... The other way around will never happen...
Btw, my taxrate is about 40%, those 'filthy' rich in the US don't even pay half of that with all the shortcuts they can make...

Censorship

UK Government Changes Tack and Demands Default Porn Block 163

Posted by timothy
from the but-predictably-so dept.
judgecorp writes "British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to reverse a policy announced last week, and demand that ISPs filter adult content by default. This system would require users to actively opt out of a filter designed to block adult content and material about self-harm. Last week, after consultation with parents, the Department for Education had said that an opt-in system would be sufficient and no default porn block would be required, but the Daily Mail has announced triumphantly that Cameron will be presenting the policy in the paper. MP Claire Perry, who has argued for the block, will be in charge — and freedom of speech campaigners have branded the sudden change of mind as 'chaotic.'"

Comment: Re:Only a little evil (Score 1) 305

by servies (#40528259) Attached to: Apple Loses Bid For Emergency Ban On HTC Phone Imports

Why then do people defend Android with "well, you can root it and install whatever you want on it" when people point out things like the fact that Android devices typically hit the market with out of date OS software and usually never see an update, ever?

I don't have to root my Android phone to install software not coming from "Play Store". That's a big difference.
My 1 year old phone had 1 official rom update and is getting updated to an Android 4.0 within a few months, although I also could also update it to another 'unofficial rom as it has been rooted... Thats total freedom...

Comment: Re:How many small businesses don't start... (Score 1) 130

by servies (#40467571) Attached to: US Patent Trolling Costs $29 Billion a Year

So you call up the lawyer and find out that the offer is insultingly small and comes with a catch. If you don't accept it, they are going to start suing you for all the bullshit patents you are violating. You are small, have nothing to fight back with, so what do you do?

Get your shotgun and shoot the lawyer?

Communications

BART Defends Mobile Service Shutdown 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the ay-carumba dept.
itwbennett writes "In a filing to the FCC, Bay Area Rapid Transit general manager Grace Crunican defended last August's mobile shutdown, saying that 'a temporary disruption of cell phone service, under extreme circumstances where harm and destruction are imminent, is a necessary tool to protect passengers.' Taking the opposing position, digital rights groups, including Public Knowledge, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the FCC (PDF) that 'wireless interruption will necessarily prohibit the communications of completely innocent parties — precisely those parties closest to the site where the emergency is located or anticipated.'"

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