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Submission + - Better than Insecticide? Or Insect Genocide? A Modest Zika Proposal (

retroworks writes: Several scientific journals reported (early 2016) on technological proposals to take the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti species of mosquito the way of the dodo bird and passenger pigeon. As fear over the spread of the Zika virus spreads (Florida, Singapore), more business journals are exploring private sector investments to eradicate the species of mosquito entirely — an investment itch begging to be scratched. But will business be content with eradication of just "cockroach of mosquitos"? The headline on today's WSJ article begs the question "Why Not Kill Them All?" Most articles seem to find extinction of the indoors attacking, dengue fever and malaria spreading Aedes aegypti a tantalizing prospect (MIT Review title "Humanitarian Cause" — https://www.technologyreview.c...). BBC weighed the approach more carefully, noting that mosquitoes make rain forests uninhabitable (and consequences of human populations in rain forests are usually disastrous). Investment channeling into the eradication of not just the most deadly species of the animal, but all 12 species of human — biting mosquitoes in the world, responsible for 500,000 deaths per year. Will capitalism would make the itch of mosquito bites forgotten... Forever? https://www.technologyreview.c... https://www.technologyreview.c...

Comment Electronic Recycling Company battery fire epidemic (Score 3, Interesting) 89

I manage an electronics recycling company. We are all hand disassembly, but even we have seen lithium battery fires. The companies which switched to shredding (to reduce labor costs) have had a serious and growing problem with fires from charged lithium batteries exposed to oxygen.

We use this youtube video for staff training

Comment Most Likely Explanation is Earth Satellite (Score 2) 282

If Earth launched a satellite precisely enough at the direction of the HD164595, and sufficient time elapsed for the distance to make earth's solar orbit fall in the range of the satellite's broadcast, and the satellite was sending communications back towards earth in its trail, could we not prank some future generation by not recording the launch? And how exactly do we know that wasn't done to us? Soviet Russia would have valued being the only ones to know that a signal wasn't coming from aliens, for example. Or some USA billionaire could have planned it, or rogue NASA could have calculated its eventual transmission would increase NASA funding...

If we translate the signal and it says that a Kardasian Prince needs us to transfer money in order to release millions of dollars from his account, it's a bad sign.

Submission + - Reported Top Nigerian email scammer arrested (

retroworks writes: Interpol reports that a Nigerian behind thousands of online scams around the world has been arrested in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt.
The 40-year-old man, known only as "Mike" is alleged to head a network of 40 individuals behind global scams worth more than $60m (£45m).
His operations involved using malware to take over systems to compromise emails, as well as romance scams. Nigeria's anti-fraud agency was also involved in the arrest.

"In one case, a target was conned into paying out $15.4 m (£11m)," Interpol said in a statement. "Mike" also allegedly ran a money laundering network in China, Europe and the US. The network compromised email accounts of small to medium-sized businesses around the world. They would then send fake messages to buyers with instructions to make a payment to a bank account under their control.

Submission + - Creator of the GIF says it is pronounced "Jif" (

retroworks writes: Steve Wilhite made the controversial declaration during an interview with the New York Times in the run up to the Webby Awards where he will accept a lifetime achievement award.
He said he was proud of his creation but remained annoyed that most people failed to get its name right.
"The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations," he said. "They are wrong. It is a soft 'G,' pronounced 'jif.' End of story."

Comment Like Every Other Advance We Take For Granted Now (Score 1) 44

Lads, this is the free market at work. Verizon is using stockholder investments to hire people to scope out the next sector. So long as they have competition, they will raise data caps to account for the new bandwidth (unless it's a total fail - no one finds it adds value, and the stock will drop). All the analog spectrum formerly used to send TV shows like "Beverly Hillbillies" and "Gilligan's Island" could perhaps be better managed, but probably not better managed by cantankerous commenters who see every investment by every mulitinational corporation to be doomed from the start.

Anticipating the curmudgeon lad who says that the bandwidth will increase exponentially more for the 1%, I say I care about MY bandwidth yesterday, today, and tomorrow, more than I care how much faster someone else obtains it.

Submission + - Physicist Simulate Sending Particles of Light Into the Past ( 1

retroworks writes: While it doesn't demonstrate time travel to be possible, per se, University of Queensland, Australia, physicists have shown how the concept can work via photons. Actual time travel would require a very fast revolution of a black hole, or "wormhole", according to the review. The abstract for the paper "Experimental simulation of closed timelike curves" states:

"Closed timelike curves are among the most controversial features of modern physics. As legitimate solutions to Einstein’s field equations, they allow for time travel, which instinctively seems paradoxical. However, in the quantum regime these paradoxes can be resolved, leaving closed timelike curves consistent with relativity. The study of these systems therefore provides valuable insight into nonlinearities and the emergence of causal structures in quantum mechanics—essential for any formulation of a quantum theory of gravity. Here we experimentally simulate the nonlinear behaviour of a qubit interacting unitarily with an older version of itself, addressing some of the fascinating effects that arise in systems traversing a closed timelike curve. These include perfect discrimination of non-orthogonal states and, most intriguingly, the ability to distinguish nominally equivalent ways of preparing pure quantum states. Finally, we examine the dependence of these effects on the initial qubit state, the form of the unitary interaction and the influence of decoherence."

Comment Re:Everyone in the World is Living Longer / Better (Score 1) 321

Let me postulate a difference between tomorrow and 50 years ago. Tomorrow a super rich person wins the lottery and simultaneously gains bitcoin, gold, etc. worth 10 to the power of 10 times what all other humans own. He's been given a 999 Trillion dollar coin. The gap tomorrow between the 1% and everyone else is now EXPONENTIALLY greater because this ONE DUDE totally gains inconceivable wealth. Question - were people better off 50 years ago than they will be tomorrow when "the divide between rich and poor" becomes insanely, exponentially greater? Or would you rather have a smart phone and vaccines?

Comment Here's the Scoop (Score 3, Interesting) 101

The "most onerous portions of USA copyright law" are tiddlywinks compared to the "most onerous portions" of Japanese copyright law (citation Fuji vs. Jazz Camera, Lexmark vs. Arizona Cartridge Manufacturers). Unfortunately, Japan's interpretation of protecting OEM rights internationally ("e-waste" takeback laws were invented in Japan for reasons having NOTHING to do with environmental destiny and EVERYTHING to do with re-manufacture and reverse-engineering) seems to have metastasized in Asia. EFF is on the right side of this, but pulling TPP's finger from the hole in the dike may result in "the perfect is the enemy of the good", ie if the USA was the strongest proponent to protect copyright - Disney lobbyists aside - then it's speculation whether TPP "could have done more".

I'm not an expert in TPP, or what concessions USA made or even brought to the table to protect USA lobbyists. But I'm above average as expert in the fact that trade is generally anti-protectionism, and protectionism is generally anti-trade, and TPP, NAFTA, TAP, etc. are generally trying to remove barriers. Glad EFF is there, but when I interviewed them about Chinese and Japanese law they said they didn't have enough bandwidth to be experts in that, and since the point of TPP is to leverage Japan vs. China (which despite certain idiot comments is NOT PART OF TPP), we had to find common ground, ie try to compromise with Japan.

Submission + - Largest Invasive Species on Earth: Hippos in S. America ( 1

retroworks writes: Motherboard has a fascinating story on the current state of 1980s Cocaine Kingpin Pablo Escobar's private Colombian menagerie of exotic African pet hippos. Since Escobar was killed in 1993, his palace has gone "feral". Colombia appointed some "zookeepers" but they have been unable to keep the pet hippos from replicating. Scientists and activists are divided on whether to kill off, contain, or embrace South America's newest pachyderm.

"“This is all speculative business right now. We have a lot of historic ecological analogs for things that originally came from Africa and were eventually found in the New World—like the extinct American lion, or relatives of elephants—but hippos are just not in that portfolio,” Douglas McCauley, a biology professor and hippo researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told me."

The trouble with tribbles, 1000 scale?

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