The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.
What the World Will Speak in 2115 – …But it didn’t matter. By the time Esperanto got out of the gate, another language was already emerging as an international medium: English. Two thousand years ago, English was the unwritten tongue of Iron Age tribes in Denmark. A thousand years after that, it was living in the shadow of French-speaking overlords on a dampish little island. No one then living could have dreamed that English would be spoken today, to some degree, by almost two billion people, on its way to being spoken by every third person on the planet.
…Thankfully, fears that English will become the world’s only language are premature. Few are so pessimistic as to suppose that there will not continue to be a multiplicity of nations and cultures on our planet and, along with them, various languages besides English. It is difficult, after all, to interrupt something as intimate and spontaneous as what language people speak to their children. Who truly imagines a Japan with no Japanese or a Greece with no Greek? The spread of English just means that earthlings will tend to use a local language in their own orbit and English for communication beyond.
But the days when English shared the planet with thousands of other languages are numbered. A traveler to the future, a century from now, is likely to notice two things about the language landscape of Earth. One, there will be vastly fewer languages. Two, languages will often be less complicated than they are today—especially in how they are spoken as opposed to how they are written.
…Yet more to the point, by 2115, it’s possible that only about 600 languages will be left on the planet as opposed to today’s 6,000. Japanese will be fine, but languages spoken by smaller groups will have a hard time of it. Too often, colonialization has led to the disappearance of languages: Native speakers have been exterminated or punished for using their languages. This has rendered extinct or moribund, for example, most of the languages of Native Americans in North America and Aboriginal peoples of Australia. Urbanization has only furthered the destruction, by bringing people away from their homelands to cities where a single lingua franca reigns. Read More > in The Wall Street Journal
A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Internet of Things – Smart locks, smart thermostats, smart cars — you’ve probably heard some of these terms lately, and you’re going to hear them even more as the year goes on. But what are these things exactly — and what makes them so smart?
These devices are all part of an emerging category called the Internet of Things, or IoT for short. At its very basic level, IoT refers to the connection of everyday objects to the Internet and to one another, with the goal being to provide users with smarter, more efficient experiences. Some recent examples of IoT products include the Nest Protect smoke detector and August door locks.
But as with any new technology, IoT can be confusing and intimidating for the average consumer, especially as debates swirl around standardization, security and privacy, and company after company piles on to this fast-growing trend. I’ve compiled an FAQ on IoT to better explain how it works, how these products are being used in the real world, and some of the issues and challenges facing the category. Read More > at <re/code>
KISS your GLASS GOODBYE! Google flings unloved bonce-puter in BIN – Google is killing off its Glass Explorer program – but the web goliath insists this isn’t the end for cofounder Sergey Brin’s controversial sci-fi specs.
In a post to the official Glass Google+ account on Wednesday, the Chocolate Factory said it will quit selling the current version of its spy-goggles to individuals on January 19, although it reportedly will still be available to developers and companies if they ask nicely.
At the same time, the online ad-slinger will move the Glass team out of its Google X experimental labs and into its own, independent division.
The new unit will continue to be headed by current Glass Project leader Ivy Ross, but Ross will in turn report to Tony Fadell, a former Apple exec and CEO of Google’s Nest Labs smart thermostat division. Read More > in The Register
Pope Francis Announces Sainthood for Junipero Serra, Founder of California Missions – Pope Francis announced Thursday that he will canonize Father Junipero Serra, the founder of California’s missions and a controversial figure for his role in a process that began the decimation of the Native American population here.
The pope said the canonization — the formal elevation of a person to sainthood — will take place in September, when he’s scheduled to visit the East Coast.
Pope John Paul II beatified Serra in 1987 — the first step in the process leading to sainthood. Read More > at KQED
Legislative analyst’s office: Funding uncertain for Delta tunnels project – The primary state agency responsible for the Delta tunnels project could run out of money soon, requiring tens of millions of dollars to move forward, said a new report by California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Local water agencies provided funding for preliminary planning on the tunnels project, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. But 84 percent of those funds, or $202 million, has been exhausted, the LAO found. For planning to continue, additional dollars must be identified.
At its core, the plan aims to build two 40-foot-wide tunnels underneath the Delta to move water from the Sacramento River to southern regions of the state. The overall undertaking — one solution to help fix California’s water woes — has caused a political rumpus across the state. It is estimated to cost more than $24 billion over 50 years.
The LAO doesn’t dispute the estimate, but said that most major public infrastructure projects cost a third more than their original budget. Read More > in the Sacramento Business Journal
The South Is Rising – Big news around these parts at the beginning of 2015 is that Mercedes Benz has decided to move its new U.S. headquarters to Atlanta. Which is a fine thing for Atlanta. Mercedes and Porsche. Two high class car companies with U.S. headquarters in a high class car driving city.
The more interesting aspect of the move is why MBUSA is heading south. I am sure that the $23 million in tax incentives had a little bit to do with it. But it was not the primary reason cited. It seems that they are coming to Atlanta for three reasons. First, the cost of doing business and the tax environment in New Jersey was too high (according to The Wall Street Journal the move is going to save MB 20% in costs). Second, the infrastructure in the South offers easier access to well maintained air, land, and sea transportation. Third, Mercedes felt that moving to Atlanta would improve their image to younger consumers.
This final point is an important one. Young people are moving to Georgia. The New York Times even saw it fit to print the following statement:
“The Southeast has replaced California as the place where many people now go to find the American dream.
The reason why they are coming is the same reason why Mercedes is heading to Atlanta. People are realizing that the biggest cost of living items, housing, energy, and taxes are lower in the South. And once they get here people don’t seem to leave. Georgia has the fourth lowest diaspora rate in the nation. Read More > at Force of Good
Can Compression Clothing Enhance Your Workout? – In recent years, many people who exercise have begun wearing compression clothes. These snug-fitting socks, shorts, tights or shirts, which squeeze muscles as tightly as sausage casings, are reputed to improve performance during exercise and speed recovery afterward.
But a new study and several reviews of relevant research raise interesting questions about whether the garments really function as expected and help people to exercise better and, if they do, whether it is the clothing or people’s expectations doing most of the work.
The rationales for wearing compression clothing are logical enough. “The garments supposedly increase blood circulation and thus oxygen delivery for improved sport performance,” said Abigail Stickford, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who led the new study of compression clothes. Read More > in The New York Times
Thompson: Jim Tomsula a costly choice for 49ers – The 49ers must really like Jim Tomsula. Really like him.
Tomsula doesn’t evoke confidence that the 49ers will immediately return as a title contender. It’s clear that upper management had him in mind all along, which points to personality taking precedence over experience. The decision to hire him as the franchise’s next head coach, after 17 days of searching, creates more holes than it fills.
Even if Tomsula is the right guy to replace Jim Harbaugh, the hiring of Tomsula practically ensures that the 49ers will need a new defensive coordinator, because it’s hard to see Vic Fangio sticking around after being passed over for the job. Hiring Tomsula, instead of an offensive mind, raises the stakes on hiring the right offensive coordinator.
But hiring Tomsula means question marks at the three most important spots on the coaching staff — head coach, defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator — if Fangio indeed leaves. Read More > at Inside Bay Area Sports
New ranking calls out California for social media narcissism – When it comes to self promotion on social media, the West Coast wins the gold.
That’s the verdict of a new study by HeyLets, a social platform, which surveyed from more than 2500 Americans who shared their experiences on social media. The analysis found that residents of California tend to be the most boastful when it comes to sharing information on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The states of Washington and Nevada followed close behind.
Sixty-two percent of respondents said they most frequently use social media when going on a special trip, followed by showing they attended a memorable event and meeting a noteworthy person. Other topics which ranked high included when a significant other did something nice and getting work-related good news.
In other words, the endless stream of information people share on their social networks function as a stealth opportunity for users to boast about how great they are, or how awesome their life is, according to Heylets. Read More > at CNBC
Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone – It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.
…The Meitivs say they believe in “free-range” parenting, a movement that has been a counterpoint to the hyper-vigilance of “helicopter” parenting, with the idea that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to progressively test limits, make choices and venture out in the world.
…Alexander said he had a tense time with police on Dec. 20 when officers returned his children, asked for his identification and told him about the dangers of the world.
The more lasting issue has been with Montgomery County Child Protective Services, he said, which showed up a couple of hours after the police left. Read More > in The Washington Post
Google won’t fix bug hitting 60 percent of Android phones – Just as Google is coming under fire for publicizing a Windows bug two days before Microsoft released a fix, the company is now in the crosshairs because of its approach towards updating its own software.
Not for the first time, a bug has been found in the WebView component of Android 4.3 and below. This is the embeddable browser control powered by a version of the WebKit rendering engine used in Android apps.
Android 4.4 and 5.0, which use Blink rather than WebKit for their WebView, are unaffected. But by Google’s own numbers, some 60 percent of Android users are using 4.3 or below. As such, this is a widespread, high-impact bug. The normal procedure would be to report the bug to Google, and for Google to develop a fix and publish it as part of Android Open Source Project release.
But, writes Tod Beardsley, developer of the Metasploit security testing framework, that’s not what happened this time. The Android security team was notified of the problem, and the response was
If the affected version [of WebView] is before 4.4, we generally do not develop the patches ourselves, but welcome patches with the report for consideration. Other than notifying OEMs, we will not be able to take action on any report that is affecting versions before 4.4 that are not accompanied with a patch.
Google will tell OEMs about the problem, but has no interest in fixing it. Read More > at Ars Technica
Same Performance, Better Grades – It’s raining As in America’s higher education system, and not necessarily because students are particularly smart. In fact, many of them probably don’t deserve the high marks they’re getting. They have grade inflation to thank.
That inflation is rapidly spreading to higher education institutions across the country. Despite stagnant academic performance, more students than ever before receive higher grades than they should. The trend is raising ethical questions and marks a 180-flip from a few decades ago, when the opposite problem—grade deflation—plagued many colleges.
…Grade inflation is more prevalent now at private institutions than it is at public ones, according to the study. The mean GPA for both private and public schools in the 1930s was 2.3, or a C+. That number for both types of institutions increased at the same rate until recently. Today, the average GPA at private universities is 3.3, a B+, while that at public colleges is 3.0, a B.
A 2013 study conducted by the University of North Texas’s Department of Economics might help explain the forces behind recent grade inflation, suggesting that several key players could be responsible for the overall trends. For one, the study shows that classes in certain subject areas are more prone to inflation than others. English, music, and speech courses experienced higher rates of inflation compared to those in math and chemistry, for example.
…“We’re not in an era of strong, moral ethical leadership in higher education,” Rojstaczer said, “Leaders are obsessed with national reputation and the size of their endowment and not very concerned about the quality of education.” Read More > in The Atlantic
The Only Way Democrats Could Lose Barbara Boxer’s Senate Seat in 2016 – Democrats are far-and-away favored to keep Sen. Barbara Boxer’s California Senate seat when she retires in 2016. They may even be able to shut Republicans out of the general election altogether. But, with both parties still feeling their way through recent and radical changes to the state’s rules for primary races, Democratic insiders see a nightmare scenario in which they fumble away the seat before the general election even begins.
At issue are California’s new “top-two” (or “jungle”) primaries, which have replaced party primaries with an open primary race in which the top two vote recipients—regardless of party affiliation—face off in a general election. The thinking behind the new system was to keep races competitive even in places that were traditionally “safe” areas for one party. But it also creates a scenario in which both parties face the prospect of being without a candidate in high-profile, statewide elections.
With Democrats making up 43 percent of the state’s electorate in 2014 and Republicans only 28 percent, the GOP appears the more likely party to miss out on the general, and the party is steeling for the possibility. “I would hate to see a situation in California where we end up with two Democrats running against each other for the U.S. Senate seat” in the general election, said Harmeet Dhillon, the vice chairwoman of the state Republican Party. “But it’s a real possibility with the top-two system.”
Democrats, however, are nervously aware of a nightmare scenario of their own, in which a wealth of strong Democratic candidates divides the party faithful and leaves two Republicans alone at the top. Read More > in the National Journal
Governor sets dates for three special elections – Gov. Jerry Brown has set the dates for special elections in three Senate districts to fill vacancies left by officeholders who won congressional seats in 2014.
Primaries will be held on March 3, with general elections falling on May 19.
Former state Sens. Mark DeSaulnier, D- Concord, Mimi Walters, R- Irvine, and Steven Knight, R- Palm Dale, weren’t required to formally resign from their legislative seats until being sworn in last Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
…Campaigns already are being mounted by former Assembly member Joan Buchanan and current member Susan Bonilla, both Democrats, signaling a bitter race for DeSaulnier’s old Senate seat.
Both Buchanan and Bonilla have been lining up endorsements for their runs in recent months, though DeSaulnier has yet to back a successor. Read More > at Capitol Weekly
IRS Warns Of Slower Tax Refunds, More Identity Theft Risk – Coming soon from the IRS: Slower tax refunds, fewer identity-theft protections and worse customer service.
That’s the word in an alarming email obtained by ABC News and sent to IRS employees today by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The only possible silver lining (especially for tax cheats): fewer audits. To be specific: 46,000 fewer audits this year and 1,800 fewer IRS enforcement officers.
That’s because the IRS budget has been slashed so deeply – the lowest inflation-adjusted budget in nearly two decades — that Koskinen says “we have no choice but to do less with less.”
The Commissioner writes that the budget cuts will mean a slower and less helpful IRS. Read More > at ABC News
She was charged with sex crime; Cretin-Derham 16-year-old got the blame – Cameron Clarkson was a 16-year-old football player when he suddenly landed in the middle of a sex crime investigation at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul.
Lawyers grilled him on the details of his sexual history. School officials, in a news release, cited him for not invoking the school’s sexual harassment policy and said he “bragged to fellow students about what had happened.”
His car was vandalized with red-dyed tampons and smeared with peanut butter, to which he is fatally allergic, by an unknown assailant. The shape of a penis was burned into his front lawn with bleach.
“People kept reminding me that I ruined that poor girl’s life,” Clarkson said.
The “poor girl” was a teacher at his school.
Gail Gagne, a 25-year-old basketball and lacrosse coach, was a full-time substitute teacher at Cretin-Derham Hall and a couple of months away from becoming a regular physical education instructor. One day, she offered to give Clarkson a ride home after he left the school gym, leading to what he describes as the first of a series of sexual encounters between them in 2008 — in Gagne’s car, in their homes, in hotels. Read More > in the St. Paul Pioneer Press
What It’s Like Living in the Coldest Town on Earth – It got down to -24 degrees Fahrenheit in Oymyakon, Russia, over the weekend. As frigid as that seems, it’s typical for this town, long known as the coldest inhabited place on Earth. If that kind of number is hard to wrap your brain around, such a temperature is so cold that people here regularly consume frozen meat, keep their cars running 24/7 and must warm the ground with a bonfire for several days before burying their dead.
…Oymyakon sits at a 63.4608° N, 142.7858° E latitude, just a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle. It’s dark — completely, utterly dark — for up to 21 hours a day during the winter, and the temperature averages -58. That’s balmy compared to one February in 1933, when Oymyakon earned its title as the coldest place on Earth when the mercury plunged to -90.
Here arctic chill is simply a fact of life, something to be endured. People develop a variety of tricks to survive. Most people use outhouses, because indoor plumbing tends to freeze. Cars are kept in heated garages or, if left outside, left running all the time. Crops don’t grow in the frozen ground, so people have a largely carnivorous diet—reindeer meat, raw flesh shaved from frozen fish, and ice cubes of horse blood with macaroni are a few local delicacies. Read More > in Wired
Here’s An Idea: A Catch Should Be A Catch – Stop the madness with what is and isn’t a catch, NFL. Please. Enough is enough.
Different plays in both NFL divisional playoff games on Sunday showed exactly how screwed up the NFL rule book is. Both plays also showed, coincidentally, how simple it would be to fix.
In the biggest play of the weekend, Dez Bryant’s 31-yard catch on 4th-and-1 against the Packers was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass. On the play, Bryant clearly possessed the ball with two feet on the ground (he took three steps, actually), and then, after having both his knee and elbow hit the ground, the ball popped up. Even though he caught the bobble, it was an incomplete pass.
In the Colts-Broncos game, Indianapolis punt returner Josh Cribbs caught a punt and was simultaneously drilled by Denver’s Omar Bolden. After Cribbs fell to the ground, the ball popped out and the Broncos jumped on the ball. On the field, the officials ruled it was a fumble that was recovered by Denver. After a replay review, Cribbs was ruled to be down by contact.
To summarize. Bryant took three steps and was not ruled down by contact. Cribbs was drilled in about a half second and deemed to possess the ball. Read More > at MMQB
U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Delta Smelt Ruling – The U.S. Supreme Court has left in place limits on water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the Delta smelt.
The justices on Monday rejected appeals from San Joaquin Valley farmers and urban water districts that had challenged water-pumping restrictions put in place by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2008 to protect the 3-inch smelt.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last March upheld the Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2008 biological opinion that controls were needed on the use of massive pumps that move water from Northern California through the delta and on to farms and cities to the south. Under the biological opinion, water exports are cut back at times of year when smelt are observed in the vicinity of the pumps.
U.S. District Court Judge Oliver W. Wanger of Fresno invalidated the biological opinion in 2010, finding that the pumping restrictions were an “arbitrary and capricious” measure with an inadequate scientific basis. He also ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to adequately consider the human impacts of the pumping, but allowed the agency’s measure to take effect during appeals. Read More > at KQED
Thousands of California state workers are hoarding vacation days – Not many workers can rack up almost two years of paid vacation time.
Yet two California state officials have done just that and stand to cash out their vacation for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they quit or retire.
They are the top vacation hoarders in a state bureaucracy with a lot of them. Tens of thousands of state employees have exceeded the official limit of 80 banked vacation days, leaving the state on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars.
What are the names of the workers at the top of the list? The State Controller’s Office, which collects the information and generally prides itself on transparency, wouldn’t say.
Rick Chivaro, the controller’s top lawyer, said he considered the information confidential, even though his office routinely discloses salaries of state workers by name.
It turns out that one of the two top vacation troves belongs to Chivaro himself. By June of last year, he had saved up 498 days of vacation, more than six times the limit. If he retired with that much time off, Chivaro could cash out $317,000 – nearly two years of pay. Read More > from The Center for Investigative Reporting
California attorney general to launch bid for US Senate seat – California Attorney General Kamala Harris plans to become the first prominent Democrat to enter what’s expected to be a full field in the 2016 race to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate.
Harris, the first woman and the first minority to serve as California’s top prosecutor, planned to announce the move Tuesday morning, according to an adviser not authorized to discuss her plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Harris, 50, a former two-term San Francisco district attorney, is a friend of President Barack Obama’s and attracted national attention when she helped negotiate a settlement with major mortgage lenders and secured extra funding for California. She has been widely viewed as an eventual candidate for governor or U.S. senator.
The disclosure of her plans came just a few hours after a potential rival, California Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said he would not run for the open seat created by Boxer’s retirement next year. Read More > in the Associated Press
Dez Bryant: When a Catch Is Not a Catch – It is 2015. The world has all the technology you could ever dream of. Human knowledge is growing faster than ever. And still, no one has any idea what a “catch” in the NFL is.
On Sunday, a classic game at Lambeau Field unfolded as the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 26-21 to reach the NFC Championship. The game had plenty of highlights—Aaron Rodgers hit Richard Rodgers for a 13-yard touchdown with 9:10 left, which turned out to be the decisive score—but when history remembers this game, it will be for the time America collectively watched an amazing football play and came away thinking: What the heck?
The Cowboys faced a fourth-and-2 on the Packers’ 32 yard-line with 4:42 remaining in the fourth quarter—trailing by five points. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo heaved up a bomb for star receiver Dez Bryant, who had favorable one-on-one coverage. Bryant jumped over the defensive back, Sam Shields, and “caught” the ball falling down to the ground at about the 1-yard line. The ball popped up out of Bryant’s hands when he hit the ground, but that was originally seen as an afterthought. Then something crazy happened: After the Packers challenged the play, referee Gene Steratore ruled the pass incomplete after viewing the replay. The call was correct—by NFL rule, it wasn’t a catch. Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, said that because Bryant was going to the ground, he must hold onto the ball “throughout the entire process of contracting the ground. He didn’t so it is incomplete.”
Sunday was the day that America learned what hard-core football fans already know: That the NFL has made understanding what is and is not a catch one of the most complicated endeavors in sports. The rules of a simple catch read like a rental car contract. There are officially too many rules in football. Read More > in The Wall Street Journal
Losing marijuana business, Mexican cartels push heroin and meth – Mexican traffickers are sending a flood of cheap heroin and methamphetamine across the U.S. border, the latest drug seizure statistics show, in a new sign that America’s marijuana decriminalization trend is upending the North American narcotics trade.
The amount of cannabis seized by U.S. federal, state and local officers along the boundary with Mexico has fallen 37 percent since 2011, a period during which American marijuana consumers have increasingly turned to the more potent, higher-grade domestic varieties cultivated under legal and quasi-legal protections in more than two dozen U.S. states.
Made-in-the-USA marijuana is quickly displacing the cheap, seedy, hard-packed version harvested by the bushel in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains. That has prompted Mexican drug farmers to plant more opium poppies, and the sticky brown and black “tar” heroin they produce is channeled by traffickers into the U.S. communities hit hardest by prescription painkiller abuse, offering addicts a $10 alternative to $80-a-pill oxycodone. Read More > in The Washington Post
Bay Area will be pivotal in fray for Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat – No matter who winds up running to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Bay Area will be at the center of the fight to break out of the pack.
“We are going to be ground zero” for both money and votes, said Mark DiCamillo of the nonpartisan Field Poll.
And indeed, when it comes to the primaries, the nine Bay Area counties traditionally have turned out more voters than Los Angeles County — even though there are far more registered voters in L.A.
So while former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may have a solid Latino base on paper, when it comes to actually casting ballots, the north still rules the roost.
And as recent history shows, barring some big-name Republican entry, Democrats have the best shot at winning the general election. Read More > in the San Francisco Chronicle
Economic Mood Brightens, Thumbs Down For Gas Tax Hike – The recession technically ended 5-1/2 years ago, but the public is only now — in the wake of falling gasoline prices and the GOP election victory last November — starting to believe it, the latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows.
The January survey found that 59% say the economy is improving, up from just 45% two months ago. And while nearly half said the economy was still in a recession last summer, only 37% say that’s the case today.
More than a quarter (28%) believe the economy will improve over the next six months, which is up from 19% who thought so last October.
At the same time, 46% now say they’re satisfied with federal economic policies meant to keep the economy going in the right direction. While that’s less than half, the satisfaction rate was just 39% two months ago.
And the share who say they are satisfied with the overall direction of the country hit 45% this month, up 10 points from December. The share who said they were dissatisfied dropped from 63% in December to 54% in January. Read More > at Investor’s Business Daily
Forget Wearable Tech. People Really Want Better Batteries. – The International Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up its showcase of the latest in high-tech, from wearables to curved-screen phones to extremely high-definition 4K televisions.
But according to a survey from the magazine Fortune, many Americans have a simpler wish: better batteries.
According to Fortune’s survey of more than 1,000 adults, conducted in collaboration with Survey Monkey, “only 2 percent said they were extremely or very likely to buy Internet-connected glasses, such as Google Glass, in 2015.”
And 4K television didn’t do much better. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they had never heard of it.
Meanwhile, consumers indicated that the new smartphone feature they were most excited about — picked by 33 percent of respondents — was “improved battery life.” Read More > at NPR
Heien v. North Carolina: A Win for Police, But Not a Free Pass on the Fourth Amendment – In Heien v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court held that a reasonable mistake of law can provide reasonable suspicion to uphold a traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment.
The ruling stems from an incident in which a police officer pulled over a car that had only one working brake light because he believed that North Carolina law required both brake lights to work. The North Carolina Court of Appeals, interpreting a statute over a half a century old, concluded only one working brake light is required.
When the vehicle’s occupants behaved suspiciously, the officer asked to search the car. The occupants consented, and the officer found cocaine. The owner of the car subsequently argued that the stop violated the Fourth Amendment because driving with one working brake light doesn’t violate North Carolina law.
The Supreme Court has long held that reasonable mistakes of fact do not undermine Fourth Amendment searches and seizures. Justice Roberts reasoned in this 8-1 decision: “Whether the facts turn out to be not what was thought, or the law turns out to be not what was thought, the result is the same: the facts are outside the scope of the law. There is no reason, under the text of the Fourth Amendment or our precedents, why this same result should be acceptable when reached by way of a reasonable mistake of fact, but not when reached by way of a similarly reasonable mistake of law.” Read More > at Public CEO