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Submission + - Housewives on trial in China for smuggling in iPhones (

Quillem writes: "Last year, Hong Kong residents were finding it hard to get their hands on the latest Apple iGadget even though supply was plentiful. An investigation revealed that most of the iPhones and iPads that made it into HK were being smuggled sans import duties into mainland China—where the devices were yet to be released—by housewives who were paid around USD 6 per smuggled gadget. Earlier this week, 25 of the suspected smugglers went on trial in Shenzhen city."

Comment 99% of the fresh, unfrozen water? (Score 1) 318

But Gleeson adds that there is at least one significant source of hope. As much as 99% of the fresh, unfrozen water on the planet is groundwater. “It’s this huge reservoir that we have the potential to manage sustainably,” he says. “If we choose to.”

What is he talking about here? Do all the lakes, rivers, etc., only account for 1% of the unfrozen freshwater in the world? A couple of paragraphs above Gleeson's statements: Yet Famiglietti notes that the study, which focuses on quantifying the rate of groundwater tapping versus recharging, underscores the lack of data we have on the amount of water currently in the world's aquifers. “The only way to answer the sustainability question is to answer how much water we actually have,” he says.

So we don't know how much water we have in the aquifers. Yet, Gleeson is happy to state that 99% of the unfrozen freshwater is groundwater? Also, when did water-tables go out of fashion? I thought it was the water table which was being replenished by rainwater. I realise that the article is only an overview of the analysis. Nevertheless, considering its alarmist tone, I'd have expected mention of improvements in desalination technology.


Submission + - Altruism observed at a cellular level (

Quillem writes: "A recent paper [abstract, paywall] published in the journal Stem Cells claims to have observed altruistic behaviour at a cellular level. Bikul Das, a Stanford researcher, has shown that certain human embryonic stem cells, in times of stress, produce molecules that not only benefit themselves, but also help nearby cells survive. (Is it truly altruism if it also helps itself?) Besides being interesting from a ... Darwinian point of view, the altruistic cells also become prone to accumulating mutations which might lead to cancers, an attribute which might provide new insights into cancer therapies, as well as improving scientists’ ability to develop safe and effective stem cell treatments for other diseases."

Feed Google News Sci Tech: China Achieves First Manned Space Docking - Wall Street Journal (

China Achieves First Manned Space Docking
Wall Street Journal
By BRIAN SPEGELE BEIJING—China successfully achieved its first manned space docking, an important step in the country's quest to launch a space station by around 2020. The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft on Monday docked with China's Tiangong-1 space laboratory.
Chinese spacecraft docks with orbiting module on mission to lay space station ... Washington Post
Chinese astronauts pass their first space docking
China Set for 1st Manned Space Docking TestMashable
Reuters-Houston Chronicle
all 1,976 news articles

Submission + - "Muthuball": How to Build an NBA Championship Team ( 1

Quillem writes: "Muthu Alagappan, a 5'9" biomechanical engineering undergraduate at Stanford made a presentation at this year's MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference which might well do to basketball what Moneyball did to baseball. His contribution revolves around a topographical analysis of NBA games which contends that there are really 13 positions in basketball — not just five. Besides a rather patronising — but informative — read in "Gentlemen's Quarterly", there are earlier stories over at Wired and NYT blogs. Muthu's talk and slides are also available."

Comment Interview with Shiva (Score 1) 288

There's a video interview with Shiva Ayyadurai available for those of you who can sit through a 30-second ad. There's nothing new in it that's not already been said. But it's interesting nevertheless. Incidentally, is he still a lecturer at MIT? His WP page (which comes across as a little too critical) states that his contract was not renewed.

Comment Re:Singularity (Score 2) 101

Quoting the coda of the story:

While the changes stymied the Stiltwalker attack, Adam said his own experience using the new audio tests leaves him unconvinced that they are a true improvement over the old system.

"I could only get about one of three right," he said. "Their Turing test isn't all that effective if it thinks I'm a robot."


Comment Re:Microsoft Vanishing From Average Person's Life (Score 1) 363

What you state is, IMHO, for people who use their phones and tablets to do nothing besides mail and casual browsing. I think anything that involves extended typing or requires a more complex level of input still necessitates a laptop, if not a desktop. The desktop is still my most comfortable environment.

P.S. I wonder what you used to type your post :)

Comment Pretty and all ... (Score 1) 363

... but what are the reasons why I would need to upgrade from W7 to W8? Besides the HTML5 interface shenanigans, is there any ground-breaking feature that makes it attractive? I moved to W7 (from XP) only because of expanded memory support, 64-bit and improved driver support out of the box. I'm quite happy with it and feel no necessity to move up.

My Linux upgrades nowadays are LTS only and even those are delayed until something (usually a package without reliable backports or better driver support) absolutely demands it. Maybe I'm simply getting old, overly patient and content?

Comment Ugh! (Score 4, Interesting) 141

Tata Motors is a subsidiary of the Tata group. The latter is worth at least USD100B which makes it larger than BMW. The former and its subsidiaries also make everything from lorries, buses, and heavy lifting equipment to a number of other road cars besides the Nano. The Nano is in many ways considered a relative failure in India and it's their other cars which are more popular.

While export might be a possibility, the article clearly mentions that the Chinese domestic market alone demands 40000 imported JLR models which will very likely increase dramatically when they are produced locally and sold with cheaper price tags. A little googling would have also revealed that China is fast becoming the company's largest market and that JLR is expanding its factories in England and hiring more people.

If anybody needed an example of FUD, the OP would be an apt candidate.

Comment A little clarification (Score 5, Informative) 86

The Indian courts have not explicitly blocked file sharing sites. All they have provided is a generic order to stop the copyright infringement. The company Copyright Labs which is looking to stop the piracy of its films, maintain that they provided the ISPs with a list of specific URLs that were to be blocked. The ISPs have apparently decided (40 days after the blocks were requested) to block entire domains rather than individual URLs. One of these parties is liable for damages for the blanket blocks.

The courts haven't necessarily done anything wrong here besides being ingenuous.

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