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US Broadband Speeds Jumped 90% In 2020. But No, It Had Nothing To Do With Net Neutrality.

An anonymous reader shares a report from Techdirt: Last last week, a report out of the UK topped the trending news items at Hacker News. The report found that U.S. broadband speeds -- historically the poster child for mediocrity -- jumped roughly 90% during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The improvements weren't consistent geographically, and the report was quick to note that by and large, the U.S. remains relatively mediocre when it comes to broadband speeds (in large part due to limited competition): "The US stills lags behind many European and developed nations worldwide, and its major cities also often lag behind their European equivalents. That said, there is cause for celebration in Dallas, Seattle and Austin, after our analysis has shown that these cities are performing extremely well relative to most European capital cities."

I spoke briefly to study author Thomas Buck after he reached out to note that folks were misinterpreting his study. Yes, the study shows U.S. broadband speeds jumped 90% in 2020. But Buck also notes this likely isn't because of policy decisions at the FCC, or because ISPs did much of anything differently. It's most likely because when consumers were forced to stay home to work and attend school during COVID lockdown, they were simply willing to pay more money for already available, faster speeds because they realized faster broadband was essential. Buck put it this way: "... the findings are more likely to suggest increased consumer spending on high-speed plans for working from home than anything else...speed test data is fascinating and helpful, but using it as proof that net neutrality was bad is a giant stretch by any means. When looking at broadband data, I think itâ(TM)s more important to discuss the dark spots (subscriber data, full capacity testing at scale, same-year fiber build data) than what we have (hundreds of thousands of speed tests, most of them showing results a fraction of what ISPs advertise)."

Yet a number of folks (including commenters at Hacker News) set to work trying to claim that this sudden boost in speed was courtesy of the FCC's decision to kill net neutrality and effectively self-immolate at telecom lobbyist behest. It's part of a fairly relentless attempt to proclaim that because killing net neutrality didn't immediately result in a rainbow-colored explosion, the repeal itself must have somehow been a good thing. [...] Yes, many activists and supporters of net neutrality were hyperbolic in trying to explain the very real, very negative impact the net neutrality repeal would have over the longer term. That doesn't mean it wasn't a terrible idea done in exclusive service to telecom monopolies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Set To Win EU Approval For Fitbit Takeover Next Week

According to Bloomberg, Google is set to win conditional European Union approval for its $2.1 billion takeover of Fitbit this month. From the report: The deal could be approved as soon as next week after national competition authorities give their opinion, said the people who asked not to be named because the procedure isn't public. The EU usually consults the so-called advisory committee on mergers days before it issues approval. Google announced its plans to buy Fitbit in November 2019, noting that it would use the smartwatch maker to improve its lagging hardware business. Clearing regulatory obstacles for the deal come in a tough climate when the company is facing mounting global scrutiny of big technology companies and potentially restrictive regulation in the EU and other regions. While Google has agreed to concessions to allay EU antitrust concerns about its move into wearable fitness devices, its final pledge to European authorities hasn't been disclosed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Moon with Vending Machines

sjrankin has added a photo to the pool:

Moon with Vending Machines

View of a crescent moon over (sort of) vending machines in Yubari at dusk. This was taken in the parking lot of a grocery store that went bankrupt this year but was taken over by another grocery store.

This outdoor puffy jacket isn’t just weather-proof, it’s fireproof too!

Most weatherproof jackets fail to consider the one element that’s often key to the outdoor experience… fire. Imagine this – you’re outdoors on a trek, and you’ve made it to your campsite. Craving some food or even a coffee, you build yourself a campfire, and a rogue spark or ember flies into the air, making it onto the sleeve of your jacket. You immediately brush it off, but it does manage to burn a small hole through the outer fabric of your jacket, not just ruining it aesthetically, but also compromising its ability to keep you protected in the rain or bad weather.

Being campfire-proof is arguably as integral to outdoor apparel as is being weatherproof, and that’s what the Trekka Element Jacket promises. Designed like any high-performance outdoor-wear, the Elements Jacket is waterproof, windproof, warm, breathable, and moisture-wicking, but the fact that it’s also fire-resistant gives it an edge of superiority. The outer layer of the jacket is outfitted with laminated Nomex® fabric, a fire-resistant, tear-resistant, and waterproof fabric that’s been used on everything from the Mars Rover to Flight Suits, and from firefighting gear to industrial apparel. The special Nomex® outer fabric gives the Elements Jacket the protective layering it needs, shielding you not just from bad weather and rough terrain, but giving you a jacket that won’t burn or melt when you try to start a campfire or toast a s’more! While the Nomex® fabric protects you from the outer elements, the jacket’s Polartec® Power Fill™ insulation keeps you warm and protected on the inside. A premium insulation material exclusively from PCR (post-consumer recycled) materials like plastic water bottles, the insulation provides greater warmth retention in colder conditions, without added weight or bulk. It’s also cruelty-free (as opposed to down), and is naturally hydrophobic, making it quick-drying.

Its innovative materials aside, the Trekka Elements jacket also boasts of a design that’s arguably perfect for the outdoors. The jacket is designed with a 4-way stretch for flexibility and sports an athletic fit that contours to the shape of your body, so you look great outdoors. 8 pockets give you ample space to stash your belongings so you don’t need to carry your backpack everywhere. Microfleece-lined hip pockets keep your hands warm in the cold, while YKK-lined chest pockets on the inside and the outside let you carry EDC or travel essentials, accessing them in a heartbeat. Moreover, the Essentials Jacket even comes with its own stash-and-go pocket that’s large enough to carry a water bottle or an umbrella with you. Like most good jackets, the Elements also comes with a waist drawcord and a 3-panel hood that provides a large head-covering, protecting your face in the rain. Available in multiple colors, the jackets come in both men and women variants across a wide variety of sizes. They also ship as early as February 2021, which should hopefully mark the rollout of vaccines and the official end of the pandemic, so you can travel outdoors with your family once again and crack open a fizzy one while bonding over a campfire!

Designer: Trekka Designs

Click Here to Buy Now: $229 $349 ($120 off). Hurry, only 5/320 left! Raised over $110,000.

Trekka Element – A Jacket For All The Elements

The Trekka Element is a minimal puffy jacket that is fire resistant, waterproof, wind-proof, and tear-proof.

Fire Resistant – An outdoor jacket needs to be as light and breathable as possible, even campfire-proof ones. They worked with fabric manufacturers to develop a lightweight laminated Nomex® fabric that is fire resistant and waterproof. Nomex® is a naturally fire resistant fiber that is used on everything from the Mars Rover to Flight Suits, from firefighting gear to industrial apparel that is now making its way to the outdoor industry.

Tear-proof – Not only is their Nomex® fabric fire resistant and waterproof, but as Kevlar®’s little brother, Nomex® is as strong as it is comfortable.

Water-proof – Most puffy jackets claim to be waterproof by applying a durable water repellency (DWR) coating that lets water bead up and run off the jacket. The Trekka Element jacket goes a step further and used it for their exterior material along with a 3 layer naturally waterproof and breathable fabric that is designed up to a 10-meter water column. That is the quality of waterproof in most $200+ rain shells.

Wind-proof – Most jackets on the market are wind resistant which means that they block some of the wind, but not all… Trekka’s Element jacket blocks ALL the wind – keeping you warmer.

Panel Construction – Most insulated puffy jackets use a baffled design. They do this because their insulation is loose and they have to keep it in place. This reduces the warmth and let’s be honest, it doesn’t look good.

They went with a structured insulation which allows them to design the jacket using large panels. This creates uniform insulation coverage – reducing cold spots & increasing warmth.

Polartec® Power Fill™ –  A premium insulation made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. This proprietary insulation provides greater warmth retention in colder conditions, without added weight or bulk– ideal for a variety of activities where body heat can’t ensure proper warmth. Polartec® Power Fill™ is a soft and pliable matrix of polyester fibers engineered with a distinct geometric shape.

Breathable – Even though this jacket doesn’t let water in, it will let water out. Thanks to a 3 layer outer fabric that is laminated with a membrane that is permeated with tiny holes that are big enough to let water vapor from your body out, but small enough to keep the water droplets out.

8 Great Pockets – The Element comes with eight hidden pockets – four outside and four inside. The four exterior pockets are on either side of the chest and waist and zippered with premium YKK zippers. Two of the interior pockets are staggered in-between the exterior pocket pairs to prevent bulky spots.

Dual Zippered Chest Pockets – Most companies out there only give you one chest pocket. They gave you 4, and there is a reason for that. Whether you’re left or right handed you will find a pocket placement that is natural for you. Exterior pockets are great if you want to put something in your pocket without unzipping the jacket letting out precious heat.

Interior Stash-And-Go Pockets – Sometimes you just need to quickly throw some stuff in pockets and get moving.

Click Here to Buy Now: $229 $349 ($120 off). Hurry, only 5/320 left! Raised over $110,000.

Simple Mechanics

that's one way to do it

Gold Beach Sunset

guerrerogjess has added a photo to the pool:

Gold Beach Sunset

DSC_1941 Zion Lutheran Church looking across Henschke's Hill of Grace vineyard, Moculta, South Australia

JohnJennings995 has added a photo to the pool:

DSC_1941 Zion Lutheran Church looking across Henschke's Hill of Grace vineyard, Moculta, South Australia

DSC_1940 ruins of Jacob Allerts House, Parrot Hill Road, Moculta, South Australia

JohnJennings995 has added a photo to the pool:

DSC_1940 ruins of Jacob Allerts House, Parrot Hill Road, Moculta, South Australia

Local Government Area: Barossa
Heritage Number: 16712

8719 Eggs Florentine at Le Coin 20201204_083016

iain.davidson100 has added a photo to the pool:

8719 Eggs Florentine at Le Coin 20201204_083016

Uncle Sam sues Facebook for allegedly discriminating against US workers in favor of foreigners on H-1B visas

Ad biz supposedly barely advertised jobs to staff if a visa worker applied

The US Department of Justice on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly unlawfully discriminating against US workers.…