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Submission + - French Bees Produce Blue and Green Honey (

jones_supa writes: Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace, France have seen their bees starting to produce honey in an odd blue or green color. Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4 km away has been processing waste from a plant producing colorful M&M candies. Subsequently the bees had been carrying the waste to their nests. Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, said it had tried to address the problem after being notified of it by the beekeepers. 'We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it,' told Philippe Meinrad, co-manager of Agrivalor.

Submission + - The rise and fall of Zynga (

another random user writes: The year was 2008 and Zynga had it all figured out. Facebook became a portal to games for those who had never played. Viral growth there was unchecked. Facebook ad rates were low, so buying traffic was cheap. And most games were played on the desktop. But soon everything changed, and Zynga never recovered.

For years, Zynga got to sell virtual goods on its Facebook desktop games untaxed. It was essentially selling cost-less copies of digital images for real money, and the margins were great. Facebook finally forced all developers onto its virtual currency Credits in July 2011 and started taking a 30 percent cut. Zynga might have negotiated a slightly lower tax but it was still a hit to its bottom line.

Back in Zynga’s heyday, most Facebook usage was on the desktop where its games were. But the shift to mobile was quick. It seemed to take Facebook by surprise, and it hit Zynga, too.

Zynga IPO’d 10 months ago at $10 a share. Today it fell another $0.23 to just $2.48 after cutting its revenue projections.

Comment WiFi Android mini-tablet (Score 1) 301

It's like an iPod Touch; it's a pocket-sized Android tablet. They're handy for kid-entertainment (install a bunch of games), and worth little enough that eventual loss / destruction is no big deal. They don't have to be the latest and greatest; an old Droid 2 runs most games just fine. They also run Kindle really well, as a truly pocket-able e-reader (again, for kids, etc) They're particularly handy when "quick entertainment" is desired, but an iPad is really too big to carry around.

Comment There's an easy answer... (Score 2) 671

This is what tablets and smartphones are for. Bring your own tablet and/or smartphone, keep the personal surfing personal. Nobody will ask, nobody will care... your iPad is for watching movies on the plane, reading eBooks, random surfing, etc.

Also, having written a few AUPs myself... the exact restrictions tend to be pretty well documented, and driven by security and compliance requirements that your employer would be in trouble for violating. Read the AUP in full and make sure you understand it, ask questions if needed. Those of us who have to help maintain compliance / security would much rather get a few "silly questions" than have to clean up a mess. When in doubt, use a personal device. There's absolutely no excuse not to have one.

And to the employer... think about VDI+BYOD. Move the security back into the server room, let employees use "whatever". Keeping the personal surfing out is a losing battle, no matter what your compliance requirements are.

Comment I suggest an introductory course in economics (Score 4, Informative) 332

What you are asking for is not possible due to the way markets work.

If there is a skill that takes only a few months to learn, doesn't require formal background, and then you can do meaningful projects, that skill is not worth much because just about anybody can learn it.

Pick something that is more than a simple skill (i.e. artistic aptitude, something unique), find a niche, find something that's still widely used but "out of fashion", go local (works better in a relatively "low-tech" locale), find somebody who will take on an apprentice / mentee in some area deeper than a "2-3 month learning curve".

Also, if you're already writing, they way to get better at writing is to keep writing. Start a blog or two, volunteer to write documentation for a non-profit or open source project or similar, use that as a portfolio to find better paying writing work.

Speaking of non-profits - volunteering with one is a great way to network, find somebody who might pay you for the skills you're using as a volunteer, etc.

Comment It's called cashing out... (Score 1) 160

For the Huffington Post, this was no doubt a ridiculously good offer. $300m cash for a web site, which has fairly good traffic but a limited amount of really unique content; they'd be idiots not to sell. The owners / investors make out very well, and future value becomes AOL's problem. Even (liberal, conservative) bloggers can do math well enough to know when it's time to sell out!

On the other hand, I'm surprised that the activist investors of the world haven't been trying to force AOL to turn this cash into dividends instead of bad web investments. I guess that would involve said activist investors seeing enough cash flow potential to actually buy AOL stock first.

Comment Perhaps, for redundancy... (Score 1) 202

They could use this wonderful network of tubes that we can shove bits through called the Internet. There's plenty of bandwidth to stream high-def TV, weather images, etc; in fact, it's done every day. The satellite network no doubt serves as an important link, but you would think that fiber optics work in a pinch. (note that this is not a weather data gathering satellite, just a weather relay)

Comment Government is the problem, not the solution (Score -1, Flamebait) 565

The fact is, despite the cheaper labor, there is a great deal of overhead in doing business in China and similar countries. This includes infrastructure issues (i.e. electricity and transportation), responsiveness to customer demand, bribes, and the fact that it really does take more people to get the same work done. The US could be competitive, but it needs to unshackle itself from bad policy:
  • Pass a national right-to-work law
  • Reduce the power of unions, kill any threat to employers of card-check
  • Move healthcare to either a totally open market (individuals buy policies, regulated, priced fairly based on avoidable risk), get the companies out of that business
  • Cut corporate marginal tax rates, so companies are actually willing to make a profit in the US
  • Work to eliminate regime uncertainty; stop dangling "we're going to overhaul this later" over major and minor US industries
    (regime uncertainty will hopefully get better after November)
  • Work hard to reduce employer/employment burdens and costs

If our government did not make it so expensive to hire people, companies would hire more people. (Obvious 101, but apparently not to the current leadership)

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