Sunday, February 09, 2014

Things I learned lately - 9 February

  • UK PM David Cameron says that ISPs and phone companies should be required to store records of every click you make, every conversation you have, and every place you physically move through. Communications companies should have mandatory back-doors. He says we need this because "TV crime dramas illustrated the value of monitoring mobile data."
  • The 3-strikes law in France doesn't seem to be affecting piracy at all.
  • By the end of 2014, all the coal-powered power plants in Ontario will be gone. It took 10 years to achieve this goal.
  • Denmark wants to have 50% of its electricity coming from wind by 2020 and is well on its way to achieving that.
  • New studies suggest that Vitamin D supplements (except in northern locales in winter), Zinc and other cold treatments and multivitamins in general offer negligible benefits and are a waste of money.
  • Apple has filed 8 solar patents in recent history and also hired a thin films engineer with experience in the solar industry. This has led to the rumour that the iPhone 6 will have a sapphire glass solar-charging screen.
  • A Virginia Tech research team has created a sugar-powered battery. It has 10 times the energy of the lithium-ion batteries found in cell phones. It should be made commercially in 3 years.
  • The average price of a solar panel has declined 60% since 2011.
  • Ford has developed the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept that runs primarily on solar power from panels on the roof. A concentrator on the roof acts like a magnifying glass to produce energy. It's marketed for those living off-the-grid who want an electric vehicle but can't get to an electric charging station.
  • Katy Perry became the first person to reach 50 million Twitter followers.
  • In 2000, Netflix tried to get Blockbuster to buy a 49% stake in the company and Netflix would become the streaming arm of Blockbuster, but they weren't interested. Blockbuster finally tried to launch their own streaming service in 2004, but it was too late.
  • Having stopped smoking in 1999, I had no idea how expensive cigarettes have become. $12.50 for a pack of 25. Gee, didn't cartons cost that much back in the 1980s?
  • Russia's Olympian deputy prime minister warned a WSJ reporter that he would release hidden-camera footage of journalists in their hotel bathrooms if they continued to complain about the substandard hotels in Sochi. So.... there's cameras in the hotel bathrooms.....

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