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Breakup of the Bell System

Today in 1974, the US Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the Bell System and A&TT. It would lead to a breaking up of MaBell, eventually leading to more competition and lower prices for telephone and other communication methods.

US government approves ‘killer’ mosquitoes to fight disease

"The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of a common bacterium to kill wild mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as dengue, yellow fever and Zika, Nature’s news team has learned."

"On 3 November, the agency told biotechnology start-up MosquitoMate that it could release the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis into the environment as a tool against the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Lab-reared mosquitoes will deliver the bacterium to wild mosquito populations."

(4) Sand Castle Holds Up A Car!

"Dirt is probably the cheapest and simplest construction material out there, but it's not very strong compared to other choices. Luckily geotechnical engineers have developed a way to strengthen earthen materials with almost no additional effort - Mechanically Stabilized Earth (aka MSE or Reinforced Soil). If you look closely, you'll see MSE walls are everywhere. Thanks for watching, and let me know what you think!"

Apache Foundation rebuffs allegation it allowed Equifax attack • The Register

"The Apache Software Foundation has defended its development practices in the face of a report alleging its code was responsible for the Equifax data leak., an outlet run by Atlantic Media, alleged that the hack was the result of an attack on Apache Struts, which as we reported last week was found to have a flaw allowing malware to be injected into corporate networks. The outlet pointed out that the flaw may have been present in Struts for nine years."

It seemed after about seven or eight years that the Time Warner Cable and Verizon had given up on trying to get me to sign up for Cable Television and Internet. And then I got another advertisement in the mail just this week. I chucked it in the paper recycling bin. And sighed. I am quite happy not having Internet at home, especially because with my new 4G Smartphone that can do about 90% of the stuff I need to do on the Internet. When I need larger files or something I can only do on my laptop, I walk down to the library or the park, which both have fast, free Internet which I can use. I also bring my laptop to work, and can connect to the wireless guest network they have there.

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I don’t plan on ever having Internet at home. It just seems like an unnecessary expense, not to mention an unnecessary distraction. By walking or driving down to the library, it is a good way to limit your time on the ethers of the World Wide Web, although, honestly, most of that same stuff can be done with a modern smartphone. I don’t want a connected home or the ability of hackers to enter my living space, I’m quite happy building my own dream cabin with 12 volt power, LED lighting, controlled by automotive relays and maybe an Andruino. Don’t get me wrong, I like technology. I blog, I like the Internet. It would be cool to have the LED lights come on in my home at 6:30 with a bright blue colors to wake me up on a cold winter morning. With cellphone service in more and more places, and the StraightTalk data service cap ever growing, it seems like I have all the connection I need to our modern society, without the wires tying everything on in.

The ghostly radio station that no one claims to run

"It is thought to be the headquarters of a radio station, “MDZhB”, that no-one has ever claimed to run. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues."

"Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as “dinghy” or “farming specialist”. And that’s it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can listen in, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz."

It’s so enigmatic, it’s as if it was designed with conspiracy theorists in mind. Today the station has an online following numbering in the tens of thousands, who know it affectionately as “the Buzzer”. It joins two similar mystery stations, “the Pip” and the “Squeaky Wheel”. As their fans readily admit themselves, they have absolutely no idea what they are listening to."

Better batteries charge forward

"A decade of incremental steps are beginning to pay off. In late 2017, scientists will introduce a handful of prototype batteries to be developed by manufacturers for potential commercialization. Some contain new ingredients — sulfur and magnesium — that help store energy more efficiently, delivering power for longer periods. Others will employ new designs."