Category Archives: News and Views

Can tech keep the world’s bees buzzing? | BBC News

The plight of the honey bee is a major cause of concern for the world’s scientists, environmentalists and the food industry, not to mention beekeepers.

Bees play a crucial role in the survival of many of the crops in our food chain – one in three mouthfuls of food depends on the pollinating insects, according to the British Beekeeping Association – but their numbers are significantly declining.

A recent US report said that American beekeepers lost 44.1% of their hives between March 2015 – April 2016 – the highest rate of decline since the annual study began six years ago.

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The Science of Boredom | Live Science

Although boredom is as familiar a feeling as excitement or fear, science has only begun to understand what makes people bored. Recently, six scientists who emerged after living for a year in isolation on the Mauna Loa volcano as part of the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) experiment, which simulated the isolation that future space travelers might experience traveling to and living on Mars, said that boredom was their biggest challenge.

Boredom “has been understudied until fairly recently, but it’s [worth studying] because human experience has consequences for how we interact with each our and our environment,” said James Danckert, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo in Ontario in an interview with Live Science.

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Europe demands YouTube pay more to artists | Money CNN

Europe has opened a new battlefront in its war against big U.S. tech, announcing draft rules that could force YouTube and others to pay more money to the music industry.

The European Commission, which administers EU law, has proposed a new Europe-wide copyright law on Wednesday, saying it wants to strengthen the rights of artists and make sure they receive a fair share of the profits made on their work.

If approved, the new rules will force streaming services such as YouTube and Dailymotion to beef up their copyright protection measures by filtering out copyrighted content or paying for its use.

That’s a huge step up from the current measures that only require these services to act when notified about a copyright infringement.

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Americans ditching big restaurant chains and eating local | Business Insider

Americans are downsizing their meal (location) choices.

Lagging sales at major restaurant chains have recently set off worries for the industry and the economy at large. According to Michelle Meyer, a US economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, it may be less about personal economic situations or the election, and more about consumers’ taste preferences.

Using data from millions of Bank of America debit and credit cards, Meyer noted that the weakness in restaurant spending isn’t as alarming as other people make it seem.

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Refugees Wanted: Meet The Companies Creating Jobs For The Displaced | Co.Exist 

When Charly Ngoma arrived in Arizona as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he’d never eaten a burrito before. Three months later, he had a job at Chipotle. Now—after a year and a half, and two promotions—he’s general manager at one of the restaurant’s locations in Phoenix.

“Everything I saw my first day was new,” he says. “I didn’t know even the name of the ingredients they use in English. I was just writing down everything.”

One reason for his success was his own motivation and hard work. But Chipotle also partners with the International Rescue Committee, or IRC, to recruit refugees. Without the partnership, it’s unlikely he would have even heard of the job.

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Private Prisons Have a Problem: Not Enough Inmates | Bloomberg

With overall violent crime rates falling nationally and fewer people getting sentenced to long stretches behind bars, private prison companies see a potentially catastrophic decline in demand for their services. Their response: diversify into everything from halfway houses to neighborhood check-in centers for drug offenders.

Over the past three decades, entrepreneurs and investors piled into the private prison industry, convinced that the thorny job of incarcerating criminals could be a lucrative growth business. No longer. Curtailment of harsh mandatory-minimum sentences and other changes in criminal justice policies have combined to reduce federal and state prison head counts to 1.56 million as of year end 2014, a 3 percent falloff.

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HP buys Samsung’s $1bn printer business | BBC News

US computer giant HP has struck a deal to take over Samsung’s $1bn (£750m) printer business.

HP said the acquisition would help it to “disrupt and reinvent” the $55bn copier industry, a segment that “hasn’t innovated in decades”.

It is buying a big printing presence in Asia, as well as Samsung’s laser printing technology and patents.

The deal comes days after HP’s sister company sold its software business to rising UK tech champion Micro Focus.

Hewlett-Packard split into two businesses last year: HP Inc, which focuses on printers and computers; and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which sold its software business to focus on data storage.

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