Posts Tagged ‘Caribbean’

Pirate Radio Station In Florida Jams Automotive Electronics

December 28th, 2012 12:05 admin View Comments


New submitter titanium93 writes “For months, dozens of people could not use their keyless entry systems to unlock or start their cars when parked in the vicinity of the eight-story Regents bank building in Hollywood, FL. Once the cars were towed to the dealership for repair, the problem went away. The problem resolved itself when police found equipment on the bank’s roof that was broadcasting a bootleg radio station. A detective and an FCC agent found the equipment hidden underneath an air conditioning chiller. The man who set up the station has not been found, but he faces felony charges and fines of at least $10,000 if he is caught. The radio station was broadcasting Caribbean music around the clock on 104.7 FM.”

Source: Pirate Radio Station In Florida Jams Automotive Electronics

Apple Pays Only 2% Corporate Tax Outside US

November 4th, 2012 11:25 admin View Comments


New submitter dryriver writes with this snippet from the BBC: “Apple paid only $713m (£445m) Tax in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8bn (£23.0bn), a remarkably low rate of 1.9%. Apple channels much of its business in Europe through a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, which has lower corporation tax than Britain. But even Ireland charges 12.5%, compared with Britain’s 24%. Apple is the latest company to be identified as paying low rates of overseas tax, following Starbucks, Facebook and Google in recent weeks. It has not been suggested that any of their tax avoidance schemes are illegal. Many multinational companies manage to pay substantially below the official corporation tax rates by using tax havens such as the Caribbean islands.”

Source: Apple Pays Only 2% Corporate Tax Outside US

Bloodsucking Parasite Named After Bob Marley

July 11th, 2012 07:42 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “The Christian Science Monitor reports that Gnathia marleyi, a tiny crustacean that feeds off the blood of reef-dwelling Caribbean fish, has been named in honor – for lack of a better term – of the Jamaican musician Bob Marley. Marley, who died in 1981, was an iconic exponent of the Jamaican-born music known as reggae. One of his standards is “No Woman, No Cry.” Marley joins the “I have a species named after me” club that includes Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert, Mick Jagger,and Beyonce. “I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley’s music,” says Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology at Arkansas State University. “Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley.” Juvenile gnathid isopods hide within coral rubble or algae so they can launch surprise attacks on fish, and then infest them. As adults, the parasites don’t eat. “We believe that adults subsist for two to three weeks on the last feedings they had as juveniles and then die, hopefully after they have reproduced,” says Sikkel. Specimens of Gnathia marleyi will be housed indefinitely at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “We are currently discussing with AMNH the possibility of creating an exhibit featuring this species that could be viewed by the public,.”"

Source: Bloodsucking Parasite Named After Bob Marley

The Internet of 2011 vs. The Internet of 2010

January 17th, 2012 01:02 admin View Comments

Map-Of-Internet-thumbnail.pngWhere were you on the Internet in 2010? What about in 2011? The folks over at Royal Pingdom have compiled a nice set of data for the Internet, by the Internet. That is, an entire list of data about email, websites, web servers, domain names by their .dot web addresses, Internet users by country, types of social media, web browser usage, mobile users, videos and images. We decided to take a look at the data points that tell us the most about the read/write web: websites and domain names, Facebook, Twitter and Internet users by continent. More importantly, we’ll look at how the Internet of 2011 compares to the Internet of 2010.

Facebook & Twitter: 2010 vs. 2011

Facebook: By the end of 2010, there were 600 million people total on Facebook, and 250 million were new users. Seventy percent of Facebook’s user base was located outside the United States. Users installed 20 million Facebook apps each day. Fast-forward one year later: 800+ million users on Facebook, including 200 million new users. By October 2011, Facebook was as big as the Internet of 2004. In 2011, Facebook mobile hit smartphones and Androids everywhere. Three-hundred fifty million Facebook users logged on from their mobile phones. They also shared 30 billion pieces of content (links, notes, photos) on Facebook every month. By the end of 2012, we’re likely to see an additional category: Facebook users who log on from their tablets, especially the iPad.

Twitter Loves @ladygaga: By the end of 2010, Twitter counted 25 billion sent tweets, 100 million new accounts and 175 million total users. Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) was Twitter’s most followed user, with a whopping 7.7 million followers. By the end of 2011, that number had more than doubled to 18.1 million followers – @ladygaga is still the world’s most followed Twitter user. Twitter grew to 225 million accounts, but only 100 million of those were active.

Tumblr and WordPress blogs grew fast in 2011. As of September 2011, Tumblr received 8X more pageviews than WordPress. By the end of the year, Tumblr blogs numbered 39 million and WordPress blogs hit 70 million.

Where Are The Internet Users? Asia

In 2010, Asia outnumbered all other continents with 42% of Internet users; in 2011, Asia made up 44% of the Internet’s population. European Internet users declined from 24.2% in 2010 to 23% by the end of 2011. North America saw a slight drop off, too, from 13.5% to 13%. Africa grew from only 5.6% of the Internet population to 6%. Latin America/Caribbean, Middle East and Oceania/Australia stayed about the same from 2010-2011.

Internet 2010.jpg

Internet 2011.jpg

Websites & Domain Names in 2010 vs. 2011

As of December 2010, the Internet held 255 million websites. That number more than doubled by the end of December 2011 to 555 million. Of domain name types, .COM grew the most from 88.8 million at the end of 2010 to 95.5 million by the end of 2011. The .NET domain names only grew by 0.6 million, whereas .ORG added 1.3 million domain names. The year 2011 also brought along 7.6 million .info domain names and 2.1 million .biz domains.

What will the Internet of 2012 look like? Post your predictions in the comments.

Source: The Internet of 2011 vs. The Internet of 2010

Netflix Expanding Streaming Service to The UK and Ireland

October 24th, 2011 10:03 admin View Comments

The Internet

bdking writes “Netflix says it will begin offering streaming video services to customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland early next year. (No DVDs by mail, though. That’s so ‘Oughts.’) The company launched services last month in 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Source: Netflix Expanding Streaming Service to The UK and Ireland

Hurricane Irene Threatens US Northeast; Cover Your Assets

August 25th, 2011 08:58 admin View Comments

Data Storage

jfruhlinger writes “Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the heavily populated U.S. Northeast Corridor. If you work in IT, you know that there are few things that are worse for electronics than water; so, what’s your plan? Tom Henderson has come up with a checklist, which sensibly includes backing everything up, twice; not that you have time for it now, but for future reference you might want to consider just moving your whole data center to a location that’s been conveniently pre-hardened, like a water tower or a boiler room.” Note that Irene has been no joke in the Caribbean; in Puerto Rico (with relatively modern infrastructure), about a third of the island lost power.

Source: Hurricane Irene Threatens US Northeast; Cover Your Assets

Bacteria From Human Feces is Behind Deadly Disease in Coral

August 18th, 2011 08:01 admin View Comments

spacing is importantElkhorn coral infected with white pox.

What’s the News: Over the past decade, diseases, pollution, and warming waters have put coral populations across the globe in a dramatic decline. In an extreme case, the population of elkhorn coral, considered one of the most important reef-building corals in the Caribbean, has decreased by 90–95 percent since 1980, partly due to a disease called white pox.

Now, scientists have traced this lethal disease back to humans. Human feces, which seep into the Florida Keys and the Caribbean from leaky septic tanks, transmit a white pox-causing bacterium to elkhorn coral, researchers report in the journal PLoS ONE. “It is the first time ever that a human disease has been shown to kill an invertebrate,” ecologist James Porter told Livescience. “This is unusual because we humans usually get disease from wildlife, and this is the other way around.”

What’s the Context:

How the Heck:

  • The researchers spent years gathering samples of S. marcescens from elkhorn coral, from wastewater collected from a treatment plant in Key West, and from other animals, such as the coral-eating snail Coralliophila abbreviate.
  • The team then exposed healthy elkhorn coral fragments to the various bacteria samples they collected. The fragments exposed to S. marcescens from wastewater or from other, already-infected elkhorn corals began showing signs of white pox within as little as four days.
  • The research also suggests that the corallivorous snail and another type of coral, Siderastrea siderea, may play a role in spreading white pox. One of the coral fragments infected with S. marcescens from the snail developed signs of the disease within 13 days, while S. marcescens isolated from the other coral species caused white pox in 20 days.

The Future Holds: In 2001, Key West installed an advanced wastewater treatment system capable of reducing the bacterium to undetectable levels, and has not had a new case of white pox since, the researchers told ScienceNOW. They hope that the new study will encourage communities throughout the Caribbean to upgrade their wastewater management facilities, too.

(via ScienceNOW)

Image courtesy of James W. Porter/University of Georgia

Source: Bacteria From Human Feces is Behind Deadly Disease in Coral

Buried Mangrove Forests Protect Buildings Above From Earthquakes

June 13th, 2011 06:45 admin View Comments

Haiti National PalaceThe National Palace in Port-au-Prince
after the 2010 Haiti earthquake

What’s the News: To dampen structural vibrations from earthquakes, engineers often place a flexible layer of rubber bearings in between buildings and the soil. Now, scientists are learning that Mother Nature uses a similar technique. A research team has found that a buried layer of mangrove in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe absorbs earthquake energy, shielding the above ground from soil liquefaction. This discovery could be exploited to help protect new buildings in the Caribbean islands.

How the Heck:

  • Using an array of accelerometers at the Belleplaine test site in Guadeloupe, the team, lead by Philippe Gueguen at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, measured the vibrations of 62 tremors in the area. They noticed that the shaking was less pronounced at the site when compared to nearby locations.
  • They then drilled bore holes into the ground and discovered an old mangrove swamp.
  • By analyzing the swamp and the soil column, the team learned that the mangrove dampened the quake waves and decreased the shaking of the ground soil, according to their paper posted on the non-peer reviewed arXiv.
  • Furthermore, the mangrove reduced the frequency variability of seismic motion on the ground, which should make it easier for scientists to determine earthquakes’ resonant frequency.

What’s the Context:

  • The Caribbean islands are prone to sometimes devastating earthquakes, as evidenced by the recent catastrophe in Haiti.
  • The researchers say that soil structures similar to Guadeloupe’s exist on many of the islands.
  • While the mangrove does dampen most of the seismic waves from earthquakes, the buried forests do have a specific resonant frequency that can still prove disastrous. If engineers build houses and structures that resonate at a different frequency than the earthquakes, they should be able to avoid major damage.

The Future Holds: Scientists need to work out the resonant frequency of quakes, and then engineers can try to design new buildings that will be more resistant to damage.

References: Philippe Gueguen, Mickael Langlais, Pierre Foray, Christophe Rousseau, Julie Maury. arXiv:1106.1268v1: A Natural Seismic Isolating System: The Buried Mangrove Effects.

(via Technology Review)

Image credit: Flickr/USAID_IMAGES

Source: Buried Mangrove Forests Protect Buildings Above From Earthquakes

Snake Venom, With Ketchup-Like Viscosity, Oozes Into Prey

May 19th, 2011 05:08 admin View Comments

What’s the News: Most poisonous snakes don’t inject their prey with venom; instead, they bite the prey and venom insidiously trickles down a groove on their fangs into the wound. A new study in Physical Review Letters investigated the physics behind how venom travels down the grooves: It turns out that snake venom has unusual viscosity properties that keep it cohering together until it’s time to flow down the fangs and into the snake’s soon-to-be-snack—the same properties that account for how ketchup seems stuck in the bottle, then flows freely onto your fries.

How the Heck:

  • The researchers found that snake venom, like ketchup, is a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning that its viscosity depends on how fast it’s moving. Before the snake’s fangs make contact, the venom sticks together pretty well, rather than coming down the tooth in a constant trickle. Once the fangs sink in, however, and the venom starts dripping down the groove, it flows freely.
  • What starts the venom flowing, the study suggests, is that when a snake bites down on its prey, the groove forms a tube that produces suction, helping to pull the venom into the wound.
  • In addition, snake venom has high surface tension, which helps it stay in the groove as it flows down the snake’s fang.

What’s the Context:

  • This venom-delivery strategy is common among not only snakes but other reptiles, too; it’s even seen in a venomous Caribbean mammal, the solenodon.
  • Most, but not all, poisonous snakes use the viscous-venom approach, but some species, including rattlesnakes, actively inject their prey with venom through hollow fangs rather than dripping venom slide down an external groove.

Reference: Bruce A. Young, Florian Herzog, Paul Friedel, Sebastian Rammensee, Andreas Bausch, and J. Leo van Hemmen. “Tears of Venom: Hydrodynamics of Reptilian Envenomation.” Physical Review Letters, May 13, 2011. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.198103

Image: Venom grooves in the fangs of a banded snake (a) and a mangrove snake (b); courtesy J. Leo van Hemmen

Source: Snake Venom, With Ketchup-Like Viscosity, Oozes Into Prey

And Now To See If This Social Search Stuff Actually Works

May 17th, 2011 05:41 admin View Comments

Yesterday, in a massively botched press launch, Bing released some new features that begin to really tap into the huge amount of social data exposed through its partnership with Facebook. The alliance isn’t a new one — the companies have had a friendly relationship ever since Microsoft made a $240 million investment in Facebook that valued the social network at $15 billion in 2007, and Bing launched Facebook’s Instant Personalization last October.

But Bing’s Facebook integration up until now was a little superficial — if you ran a query relevant to something your friend had previously ‘Liked’ on Facebook, you’d see that in a special module embedded in the search results page. Beginning today, things are getting much more interesting: Bing will actually reorder search results based on friends’ Likes (in other words, your friend’s recommendations won’t just be relegated to a standalone widget, they’ll influence the Ten Blue Links).

That isn’t all. If you run a query that matches information in a friend’s profile (but not necessarily their ‘Likes’) then Bing might show a link to their profile too (for example, run a query for “San Francisco” and you’ll see which of your friends live in SF). Sometimes Bing will show that a certain result has been liked N number of times by other users, even people who aren’t your friends. Bing’s blog post announcing the news outlines the features in more detail. And they look nifty.

But there’s still a big question: will social search, a term that gets tossed around as if it’s some kind of Holy Grail, actually be useful?

The average Facebook user has around 130 friends, which isn’t that many in the grand scheme of things, so you’ll be drawing from a limited amount of recommended content. And my hunch is that the majority of ‘Likes’ are concentrated around a few key areas that include movies, TV shows, breaking news, and humor — you know, the things you see popping up in your Facebook News Feed all the time. Obviously people search for those things on Bing, and when you’re looking for that awesome dancing Android video you heard about but don’t know the name of, surfacing these water-cooler links can be invaluable.

But people use search engines for a ton of other tasks too, and many of them aren’t involving the sort of content that people share to Facebook. How times have you actually ‘Liked’ the new shoes you just ordered? Or your favorite hotel in the Caribbean? Or the how-to guide on repairing your dishwasher? Everything you Like is shared with your friends via the News Feed, and when you share something they’re interested in — like breaking news, or something funny — there’s positive reinforcement as they interact with that shared story. But at the same time you’re probably going to be a little hesitant to start Liking things that are more mundane, even if you found them useful.

And there’s also the question of whether people actually care what their friends think. Internally, Facebook has found that people aren’t necessarily motivated to click links because they share similar tastes with their friends — sometimes, people are interested in a piece of content because it was shared by their friend. In other words, we care about our friends’ recommendations because we care about our friends, not necessarily because we like similar things. So do these ‘Liked’ pages become helpful for finding the information you’re searching for?

I asked some of these questions to Stefan Weitz, director of Bing, who was unsurprisingly a bit more optimistic than I am. He says that the ‘new web’ is inherently social, and that for the first time in human history we can tap into the data that was previously stored in people’s heads. But that’s long-term.

The features Bing launched yesterday, he says, are not ‘the ultimate social search’. He explains that we’re just at the tip of the iceberg, and that social search isn’t going to revolve exclusively around Facebook data. “It’s hard to predict where it’s going next,” Weitz says. “Facebook went from zero Likes to what they have now in one year. The challenge is to not get too locked into one signal — we have to pivot quickly around the current zeitgeist.”

As for my concerns about the way people are ‘Liking’ content with Facebook and how that ties into search, Weitz says that it’s still up to the user to figure out which of their friends’ recommendations are relevant (e.g. if you see one of your gadget-savvy friends ‘Like’ a camera, that’s important; someone else’s recommendation may not be).

And, regarding the scope of content that people are Liking, Weitz points out just how new the Like button is, and that it generally appears in inconsistent places on webpages. Bing launched a new browser toolbar as part of yesterday’s news that solves this issue, but this is only available to IE users. And I’m not convinced that people are having a hard time finding the buttons — I just don’t think they’re compelled to click them unless they really want to broadcast something to their friends.

Of course, Facebook isn’t standing still either. It has every incentive to get you to Like a broader array of content online — after all, its ad platform revolves around showing your friends what you’ve Liked. And it also has a strong incentive to give partners like Bing a way to leverage that data in a useful way.

Source: And Now To See If This Social Search Stuff Actually Works