When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty

Rogers was found to be throttling an astonishing 80% of file-sharing traffic on its network. Bell was not far behind at 77%.

Rogers said it would stop throttling by the end of this year. Bell said it would stop by March 1st of this year; the company recently affirmed this was done on schedule.

While Rogers and Bell are by far the worst offenders, they are not the only. TekSavvy was caught throttling 36% of file-sharing traffic, Shaw with 22%. Telus, the third of the “Big Three,” throttled just 2%.

Suddenly, my Bell Fiber Op connection seems less cool


Boron-treated carbon nanotubes soak up oil from water repeatedly

Researchers at Rice University and Penn State University have discovered that adding a dash of boron to carbon while creating nanotubes turns them into solid, spongy, reusable blocks that have an astounding ability to absorb oil spilled in water. […]

The blocks are both superhydrophobic (they hate water, so they float really well) and oleophilic (they love oil). The nanosponges, which are more than 99 percent air, also conduct electricity and can easily be manipulated with magnets. […] He then put a match to the material, burned off the oil and returned the sponge to the water to absorb more. The robust sponge can be used repeatedly and stands up to abuse; he said a sample remained elastic after about 10,000 compressions in the lab. The sponge can also store the oil for later retrieval, he said.

“These samples can be made pretty large and can be easily scaled up,” said Hashim, holding a half-inch square block of billions of nanotubes. “They’re super-low density, so the available volume is large. That’s why the uptake of oil can be so high.” He said the sponges described in the paper can absorb more than a hundred times their weight in oil. […]

“Oil-spill remediation and environmental cleanup are just the beginning of how useful these new nanotube materials could be,” added. “For example, we could use these materials to make more efficient and lighter batteries. We could use them as scaffolds for bone-tissue regeneration. We even could impregnate the nanotube sponge with polymers to fabricate robust and light composites for the automobile and plane industries.” […]

[via] [more] [paper]

Mikash - For Science, mother-fucker! This is actually really amazing, and might just save the Gulf of Mexico, if people want to follow through with this.


A major new study has quashed fears that onshore windfarms are causing long-term damage to bird populations, but found new evidence that some species are harmed when windfarms are built.

The study by conservationists into the impacts on 10 of the key species of British upland bird, including several suffering serious population declines, concluded that a large majority of species can co-exist or thrive with windfarms once they are operating.

But the study, the largest carried out in the UK into the impact of onshore windfarms on bird life, also found strong evidence that some species suffered serious harm while windfarms are being built.

The Guardian

Consider that there are about 7 billion people on the planet, and about 5.6 billion mobile phones. Today most of those phones are feature phones. (The smartphone installed base is approaching 1 billion.)

But at some point, maybe in a decade, virtually every phone will be a smartphone, if only because the parts required to make one will become so cheap and commoditized. Today’s smartphones are already as powerful as a mainframe computer from 1990. In 10 years they will have doubled in power five times.

What are the implications of a world where virtually everyone on the planet carries a mainframe-class computer and has a constant connection to the Internet, and where people have easy access to all of the world’s information, and to each other?

One way to think about the War for the Internet is to cast it as a polar conflict: Order versus Disorder, Control versus Chaos. The forces of Order want to superimpose existing, pre-digital power structures and their associated notions of privacy, intellectual property, security, and sovereignty onto the Internet. The forces of Disorder want to abandon those rickety old structures and let the will of the crowd create a new global culture, maybe even new kinds of virtual “countries.” At their most extreme, the forces of Disorder want an Internet with no rules at all.

A conflict with two sides is a picture we’re used to—and although in this case it’s simplistic, it’s a way to get a handle on what the stakes are. But the story of the War for the Internet, as it’s usually told, leaves out the characters who have the best chance to resolve the conflict in a reasonable way. Think of these people as the forces of Organized Chaos. They are more farsighted than the forces of Order and Disorder. They tend to know more about the Internet as both a technical and social artifact. And they are pragmatists. They are like a Resistance group that hopes to influence the battle and to shape a fitful peace. The Resistance includes people such as Vint Cerf, who helped design the Internet in the first place; Jeff Moss, a hacker of immense powers who has been trying to get Order and Disorder to talk to each other; Joshua Corman, a cyber-security analyst who spends his off-hours keeping tabs on the activities of hackers operating under the name of Anonymous; and Dan Kaminsky, one of the world’s top experts on the Internet’s central feature, the Domain Name System.

Although they may feel a certain kinship with one another, they are not an organized group. Their main point of agreement is that the Internet has changed the world forever, in ways we are only beginning to understand. They know that Order is impossible and that Disorder is unacceptable. They understand that the world is a messy place whose social arrangements come and go. But they are united in the conviction that what must be preserved and promoted at all costs is what the forces of Order and Disorder, in their very different ways, are both intent on undermining: the integrity of the Internet itself as a reliable, independent, and open structure.

Loving this story so far, 6 pages of the history of the battles the Internet has already been involved in, and some perspective on where we are going forward. Everyone should read this story, for the future of the Internet could be at stake later this year.