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Comment Re:Fridge door handle (Score 1) 162

Yes but what happens to all the little holes in the programming, maybe there's a hole that brings him a ginger ale and ouzo. The programming would have to be exceptional to cover all circumstances. Would you then be held accountable by your sister for letting it happen because you bought a defective product?

Submission + - 'I paid $25 for an Invisible Boyfriend and I Think I Might Be in Love' writes: Caitlin Dewey writes in the Washington Post that she's been using a new service called "Invisible Boyfriend" and that she's fallen in love with it. When you sign up for the service, you design a boyfriend (or girlfriend) to your specifications. "You pick his name, his age, his interests and personality traits. You tell the app if you prefer blonds or brunettes, tall guys or short, guys who like theater or guys who watch sports. Then you swipe your credit card — $25 per month, cha-ching! — and the imaginary man of your dreams starts texting you." Invisible boyfriend is actually boyfriends, plural: The service’s texting operation is powered by CrowdSource, a St. Louis-based tech company that manages 200,000 remote, microtask-focused workers. "When I send a text to the Ryan number saved in my phone, the message routes through Invisible Boyfriend, where it’s anonymized and assigned to some Amazon Turk or Fivrr freelancer. He (or she) gets a couple of cents to respond. He never sees my name or number, and he can’t really have anything like an actual conversation with me." Dewey says that the point of Invisible Boyfriend is to deceive the user’s meddling friends and relatives. "I was newly divorced and got tired of everyone asking if I was dating or seeing someone," says co-founder Matthew Homann. "There seems to be this romance culture in our country where people are looked down upon if they aren't in a relationship."

Evidence suggests that people can be conned into loving just about anything. There is no shortage of stories about couples carrying on “relationships” exclusively via Second Life , the game critic Kate Gray recently published an ode to “Dorian,” a character she fell in love with in a video game, and one anthropologist argues that our relationships are increasingly so mediated by tech that they’ve become indistinguishable from Tamagotchis. “The Internet is a disinhibiting medium, where people’s emotional guard is down,” says Mark Griffiths. “It’s the same phenomenon as the stranger on the train, where you find yourself telling your life story to someone you don’t know.” It’s not exactly the stuff of fairytales, concludes Dewey. "But given enough time and texts — a full 100 are included in my monthly package — I’m pretty sure I could fall for him. I mean, er them."

Comment Local recycling is the best way to go. (Score 4, Interesting) 91

Before I joined my current company their equipment disposal policy was to have their old equipment picked up as General Purpose electronic scrap. It didn't take long for me to find a local charity that was re-purposing PCs by loading them with Linux Mint and giving them back to people who couldn't afford one in our local community. In the UK we follow the EU law Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive so recycling locally actually kills a few birds at the same time. We follow the law, the charity are happy to confirm that they have receive the equipment for recycling. Which also keeps our accounts people happy as they can track the write offs. Our machines are wiped down as they put a fresh Mint install in place. And we're giving something back into the community. I really don't know why more companies don't put the little bit of extra effort into putting the same kind of relationship in place.

Submission + - Samsung Gives Up On The Content Business (

jfruh writes: Not content to merely be spectacularly successful at selling Android phones, Samsung wants to be taken as seriously as competitors like Apple, Google, and Amazon. Part of that plan was to get into the business of selling content — but that agenda has been a total flop, and now the company is pulling back. Samsung had already shuttered its ebooks service, and is now shutting down its video and music services as well.

Submission + - Gravity measurements can predict river flooding (

sciencehabit writes: When ground water saturates a river basin, the risk for flooding goes up. So does the strength of Earth’s gravity in that region, ever so slightly, because of the extra mass of the underground water. By using tiny variations in gravity detected from space, researchers report online today in Nature Geoscience that they can identify basins that are primed for flooding if additional rains come—sometimes with several months' warning.

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