Comcast brings fiber to city that it sued 7 years ago to stop fiber rollout

In April 2008, Comcast sued the Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) to prevent it from building a fiber network to serve residents who were getting slow speeds from the incumbent cable provider.

Comcast claimed that EPB illegally subsidized the buildout with ratepayer funds, but it quickly lost in court, and EPB built its fiber network and began offering Internet, TV, and phone service. After EPB launched in 2009, incumbents Comcast and AT&T finally started upgrading their services, EPB officials told Ars when we interviewed them in 2013.

But not until this year has Comcast had an Internet offering that can match or beat EPB’s $70 gigabit service. Comcast announced its 2Gbps fiber-to-the-home service on April 2, launching first in Atlanta, then in cities in Florida and California, and now in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Comcast brings fiber to city that it sued 7 years ago to stop fiber rollout

In April 2008, Comcast sued the Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) to prevent it from building a fiber network to serve residents who were getting slow speeds from the incumbent cable provider.

Comcast claimed that EPB illegally subsidized the buildout with ratepayer funds, but it quickly lost in court, and EPB built its fiber network and began offering Internet, TV, and phone service. After EPB launched in 2009, incumbents Comcast and AT&T finally started upgrading their services, EPB officials told Ars when we interviewed them in 2013.

But not until this year has Comcast had an Internet offering that can match or beat EPB’s $70 gigabit service. Comcast announced its 2Gbps fiber-to-the-home service on April 2, launching first in Atlanta, then in cities in Florida and California, and now in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Salty groundwater supports life in Antarctica’s extreme

It’s easy to forget that Antarctica is a desert, given that very nearly the entire continent is covered by a thick sheet of ice. But snowfall is very slow to add to that white mantle, as the cold air and ocean around Antarctica aren’t exactly going to provide prodigious production of atmospheric moisture.

As its name implies, one of the driest and weirdest locales in a very weird continent is the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This area near the coast is the biggest chunk of Antarctica not covered by ice. Bare rock is found there, and not a whole lot else.

There is, however, an unusual feature known as Blood Falls. At the end of Taylor Glacier, which spills into one of the Dry Valleys (Taylor Valley, actually), a mysterious red trickle of salty, iron-rich water periodically stains the ice as it spills out like blood from a wound. It’s a good thing that it isn’t a paranormal message from ghosts warning researchers to leave the valley, because it has had the opposite effect—it draws them in. In 2012, for example, biologists looking for signs of life eking out an existence in the Dry Valleys discovered that Blood Falls contained an impressive community of microbial life.

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Salty groundwater supports life in Antarctica’s extreme

It’s easy to forget that Antarctica is a desert, given that very nearly the entire continent is covered by a thick sheet of ice. But snowfall is very slow to add to that white mantle, as the cold air and ocean around Antarctica aren’t exactly going to provide prodigious production of atmospheric moisture.

As its name implies, one of the driest and weirdest locales in a very weird continent is the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This area near the coast is the biggest chunk of Antarctica not covered by ice. Bare rock is found there, and not a whole lot else.

There is, however, an unusual feature known as Blood Falls. At the end of Taylor Glacier, which spills into one of the Dry Valleys (Taylor Valley, actually), a mysterious red trickle of salty, iron-rich water periodically stains the ice as it spills out like blood from a wound. It’s a good thing that it isn’t a paranormal message from ghosts warning researchers to leave the valley, because it has had the opposite effect—it draws them in. In 2012, for example, biologists looking for signs of life eking out an existence in the Dry Valleys discovered that Blood Falls contained an impressive community of microbial life.

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Let’s embed some classic games in tweets

This one’s for you @Lee_Ars https://t.co/PHwtwGgUNM

— Kyle Orland (@KyleOrl) April 30, 2015

Remember the feeling you got the first time you embedded a YouTube video in an external website—how simple and seamless it felt transporting rich multimedia content from one part of the Web to another? The feeling of inserting a fully playable classic game into a humble tweet isn’t quite the same, but it’s still pretty remarkable for anyone who remembers when these old titles required every bit of power available to a state-of-the-art PC.

The Internet Archive’s massive collections of classic games and software, emulated through JSMESS, has actually been fully embeddable in outside webpages since early February. But plenty of people, us included, only seemed to notice this feature in the last day or so. Internet Archive curator Jason Scott even noted a sizeable bump in Web traffic going to the site
as word of the feature got around social media in the last 24 hours.

While you can copy iframe code to your personal Web space or blog, Twitter makes it especially easy to embed a game by simply linking to the applicable URL on archive.org. Then you can embed that tweet in a webpage, as we’ve done above in a transparent attempt to garner the favor of Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson through his favorite classic series. If you’re really feeling fancy, you can even embed a tweet that has an embedded copy of DOS running a TRS-80 emulator, which could run any number of games. Hold on one second, I have to go see if my Inception top is still spinning.

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Let’s embed some classic games in tweets

This one’s for you @Lee_Ars https://t.co/PHwtwGgUNM

— Kyle Orland (@KyleOrl) April 30, 2015

Remember the feeling you got the first time you embedded a YouTube video in an external website—how simple and seamless it felt transporting rich multimedia content from one part of the Web to another? The feeling of inserting a fully playable classic game into a humble tweet isn’t quite the same, but it’s still pretty remarkable for anyone who remembers when these old titles required every bit of power available to a state-of-the-art PC.

The Internet Archive’s massive collections of classic games and software, emulated through JSMESS, has actually been fully embeddable in outside webpages since early February. But plenty of people, us included, only seemed to notice this feature in the last day or so. Internet Archive curator Jason Scott even noted a sizeable bump in Web traffic going to the site
as word of the feature got around social media in the last 24 hours.

While you can copy iframe code to your personal Web space or blog, Twitter makes it especially easy to embed a game by simply linking to the applicable URL on archive.org. Then you can embed that tweet in a webpage, as we’ve done above in a transparent attempt to garner the favor of Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson through his favorite classic series. If you’re really feeling fancy, you can even embed a tweet that has an embedded copy of DOS running a TRS-80 emulator, which could run any number of games. Hold on one second, I have to go see if my Inception top is still spinning.

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The Internet of Cows: Azure-powered pedometers get dairies mooo

SAN FRANCISCO—At Microsoft’s Build conference here today, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s machine learning unit Josephe Sirosh discussed some of the applications already leveraging data analytics and machine learning services in Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Among the early adopters: Japanese cows.

In 2013, Fujitsu introducedGyuHo SaaS, a cloud-based system for dairy farmers that helps track the health of their herds through Wi-Fi connected pedometers—essentially giant Fitbits for cows. The time and movement data can help farmers not only track the general health of cattle, but can also help track when cows are going into estrus (a condition more commonly known as “heat”).

Fujitsu built the data analytics for GyuHo (which is Japanese for “cow step”) in the Azure cloud. Using Azure machine learning logic, the software-as-a-service application can detect spikes in movement activity at night that are an indicator that a cow is going into estrus and is ready for artificial insemination. Sirosh said that by alerting farmers when data suggested estrus was beginning (which the system can do with 95 percent accuracy), they could raise their successful insemination rate from about 30 percent, based on daily hands-on cow inspection, to 65 percent.

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Apple and IBM will give 4 to 5 million iPads to Japanese seniors

IBM and Apple said today that they would be working with Japan Post, the country’s postal service, to deliver four to five million iPads outfitted with IBM software to seniors in Japan by 2020.

The collaboration between Apple and IBM is an extension of the partnership the two companies announced last year as they hope to put more iOS devices and IBM software into offices. Last July, Apple and IBM said that they would introduce over 100 industry-specific apps for iPhones and iPads to entice IT departments to buy Apple for their offices. This latest project with Japan Post will be similar in that IBM will design wellness apps and analytics software for iOS to serve an aging population.

The initiative will be a part of an existing Japan Post service called Watch Over in which post deliverers check in on senior citizens and report their status to family members for a monthly fee equivalent to about $8.40, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple and IBM will run a pilot program in the second half of this year.

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