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Archive for September 13th, 2012

Hey, Apple! It’d Be Harder For Chinese Factories To Do Instant Apple Knock-Offs If Your Stuff Was Made In The US.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 13, 2012

Apple’s iPhone 5 wasn’t even out yet before a Chinese factory had a copy on the open market:

Want to get an iPhone 5 but can’t handle the wait for the Apple (AAPL) release later this month? You might consider buying a knockoff from Goophone. This little-known Chinese company has just announced the launch of its own iPhone 5 look-alike, the Goophone I5, and says it has already patented it in China, according to Gizchina.com. It may even consider suing Apple when the Cupertino (Calif.) company starts selling its sixth-generation iPhone in China, reports the tech and gadgets website.

Goophone’s Apple clone (viewable on its website) is believed to be a close copy of the iPhone 5. Like Apple’s upcoming smartphone, it reportedly has a larger 4-inch screen. It also has a smaller dock connector. Apart from a small honeybee logo on the back (and, at $300, a likely cheaper price—Apple hasn’t announced what it will charge for its next phone in China), it looks remarkably like the much-anticipated next-generation iPhone. But it runs on Google’s (GOOG) Android system and is believed to have much more limited functions internally.

You know, Apple, you wouldn’t have this problem if you actually made stuff in the United States of America. It wouldn’t hurt your profit margins much at all, in fact.

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Student’s tsunami film brings out human face of tragedy

Posted by Charles II on September 13, 2012

Hiroshi Matsubara, Asahi Shimbun

Carrying a camcorder she borrowed from her professor, Yuka Kanno returned last summer to her tsunami-ravaged hometown of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, in an emotional pilgrimage.

The Yamanashi college student is hoping the film she made, which will be shown at colleges across the United States, will help close the “widening gap in perception” from last year’s Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

“Even I feel distant from survivors in my hometown when I am in Yamanashi, because everything is normal there and people seem hesitant, and I feel hesitant, to talk about the tragedy,” Kanno said in a recent interview in Tokyo.

“But I always have unresolved feelings, and that goes away when I talk to people in Rikuzentakata, listening to their accounts of the disaster and sharing their grief.”

She edited the interviews into a documentary film titled “Kyo o mamoru” (To keep up today). The film has been greeted warmly at cultural and civic events since its completion in November.

It will be shown at several colleges and a high school in the United States from April 13 with English subtitles.

This looks like the relevant story (in Japanese). It seems to have been retitled “Resilience: Protecting Today”

I saw this on NHK, and hope it gets wide distribution.

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Rock County Star Herald: Minnesota Photo ID Amendment Too Expensive, Fixes Nothing, Destroys Much

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 13, 2012


As mentioned a few days ago, for months there’s been a growing list of rural and urban Minnesota counties and their newspapers that are warning anyone who will heed them about the costs and dangers of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s photo ID ballot amendment.

We can now add the Rock County Star Herald to that list (hat tip to Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen; extra emphases mine):

What will it cost?

For local election officials who would need to implement a new voting system, it’s not about GOP or DFL, it’s about what would be accomplished at what cost.

In Rock County, a general election currently costs about $50,000, according to Rock County Auditor Ashley Kurtz.

If the Constitutional amendment is approved, Rock County elections will cost nearly $100,000. And that’s only after the first year implementation costs of $185,000, by Kurtz’s estimates. . . .

What will it mean?

From the outset, she said, it appears as though there would be no more mail balloting.

Rock County currently has five mail ballot precincts, which originally chose to move to mail balloting because they did not have facilities available to serve polling places that were accessible to voters with disabilities.

The voter ID amendment would eliminate mail balloting and these precincts would be required to re-establish polling places and would incur the costs associated with that.

The estimated cost per mail-in precinct is $19,500, so in Rock County the cost would be $97,500. . .

What will it fix?

At first glance, Kurtz said it sounds like a good idea to have all voters present a valid photo identification to vote.

“And I don’t think that any election administrator would disagree with that,” Kurtz said, emphasizing that the unknown details and unknown costs are the cause of concern. . . .

. . .She said the same-day registration is reliable, because the information provided is cross-checked through several databases. In Rock County there has never been a case where a same-day registrant was discovered to be ineligible.

See the chart above for more details.

The paper’s editors also note the following:

Minnesota has the lowest rate of voter fraud in the nation, and the highest rate of voter turnout.

If fraud were a problem, then this Constitutional amendment would be a good idea, but it’s not.

The type of fraud most commonly caught by our current system of safeguards is a felon voting before his or her rights are restored. This fraud wouldn’t be fixed with a photo ID, since an ID wouldn’t identify the person as a felon at the polls. . . .

In Rock County it’s never happened. And none of the same-day voter registrations have ever turned out to be ineligible in Rock County. Ever.

Metro areas with same-day voter eligibility issues report ineligible felons — not impersonation that would be caught by a photo ID.

Is it really worth spending millions to revamp 150 years of Minnesota voter integrity?

This amendment is such a bad idea, if viewed at face value as a (strictly alleged) solution to a (nonexistent) problem, that one has to ask what its real purpose is. And the only answer to that question that is supported by the evidence is this: It’s designed by Republicans and their ALEC allies to suppress the votes of people who are deemed likely to vote for Democrats.

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