The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Wednesday ordered the consolidation of 42 lawsuits that take issue with Apple’s decision to throttle the CPUs of iPhones with degraded batteries, a tactic the company claims extends the operational lifespan of its products. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
A court decision over Big Fish Casino [Free] might have a major impact on the mobile casino genre. An appeals court overturned a lower court’s ruling dismissing a case saying that Big Fish Casino constitutes illegal gambling under Washington state law. Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr. said in the ruling:
In this appeal, we consider whether the virtual game platform “Big Fish Casino” constitutes illegal gambling under Washington law. Defendant-Appellee Churchill Downs, the game’s owner and operator, has made millions of dollars off of Big Fish Casino. However, despite collecting millions in revenue, Churchill Downs, like Captain Renault in Casablanca, purports to be shocked—shocked!—to find that Big Fish Casino could constitute illegal gambling. We are not. We therefore reverse the district court and hold that because Big Fish Casino’s virtual chips are a “thing of value,” Big Fish Casino constitutes illegal gambling under Washington law.
Now, this isn’t the end of casino games as we know them…yet. This appeals court ruling just makes it so that the case can go to trial, unless Big Fish’s lawyers decide to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. This case is also a potential class action lawsuit, and if you’ve ever seen the results of class action lawsuits, they usually result in some nominal compensation for users, perhaps a few changes made to how a company operates, but rarely bring forth massive changes. Also, this case originally started in 2015, so it’s likely that redress will not come until the far-off future if at all.
However, this should scare the developers of mobile casino games a bit. Several titles are in the top grossing charts, including Slotomania Slots [Free]. These games are big business, and if legal issues make them untenable, even just in certain jurisdictions, then it might have an impact on many companies and the mobile gaming market as a whole.
While the appeal of mobile casino games migth seem bewildering, they provide the thrill of, well, gambling, while letting people do it from their phone. The catch is that t’s quite likely that most people aren’t paying, since the games do offer ways to play for free. Of course, while there are prizes to redeem, there’s no easy way to turn tokens into cash. But, it’s still going for many of the elements that constitute gambling, an activity that requires regulation because of the way that it can trigger addiction in people. Legally, this case is complicated, and so are the ethics! Will Big Fish Casino survive this legal challenge? Should it? The coming years might lead to interesting circumstances.
Coffee: life-giver, day-starter, conversation-lubricant… cancer risk?
Don’t pour out your cup of joe just yet.
A California judge has ruled that coffee companies must display a warning that this morning pick-me-up carries a cancer risk. The ruling, levied against 91 coffee companies, specifically concerns a chemical called acrylamide. Acrylamide is, indeed, found in all coffees. It’s also used in industrial processes, like making plastic or paper, and can be found in cigarette smoke. According to the American Cancer Society, lab-based studies have found that acrylamide increases rodents’ risk for several types of cancer when given doses in their drinking water.
But that’s hardly justification for making people afraid of their lattes. Acrylamide is not just found in coffee; it’s found in lots of other foods, from toast to french fries to baked goods. That’s because the chemical is produced naturally when starches in foods are subjected to high temperatures (above 250 degrees Fahrenheit, or 121 degrees Celsius). The same process (it’s called the Maillard reaction, FYI) that produces acrylamide is the same one that gives roasted, toasted or baked foods their distinctive brown crust and warm flavor. Mmm, acrylamide.
A 2013 study found that roasted coffee contains an average of 179 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg), or about .45 µg per cup. For a comparison, another study found that a slice of toasted wheat bread could contain between 11 and 161 µg/kg acrylamide, while a slice of toasted rye bread could have 27 to 205 µg/kg of the chemical. Potato products, in particular potato chips, can have much higher levels— some chips can reach nearly 3900 µg/kg. (Keep in mind that because this measure is by weight, so an individual chip will still have very little of the chemical. Whew.)
The decision to single out coffee, therefore, seems rather arbitrary.
What’s more, in the few animal studies linking this chemical to cancer risk, rats and mice consumed way more than humans normally would get from their food — between 1,000 to 10,000 times more. The American Cancer Society reports that, since acrylamide was discovered in foods in 2002, dozens of studies in people have examined whether eating this chemical in food is associated with any increased cancer risk. And most cancers don’t seem to have any causal relationship with the chemical. There have been some mixed results related to kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, but nothing so straightforward as an eat-this-then-boom-cancer relationship.
In short, as we’ve pointed out before, it’s unscientific and unrealistic to say a specific food causes cancer. The most reliable, proven research indicates that cancer is caused by a multitude of factors, including your genetics and your environment throughout your life.
Requiring that coffee companies put a cancer warning on their product will just contribute to unwarranted paranoia about what we eat. Too much coffee makes us anxious enough as it is.
Early in 2016, it was revealed that Samsung was being sued in the Netherlands for failing to update its phones. The Consumentenbond—a Dutch non-profit promoting consumer protection—was taking Samsung to court for, among other things, not adequately providing two years of updates from the time of purchase. According to Telecompaper, the case is now being heard.
Of course, Samsung does promise updates for two years after a product is launched, but the Consumentenbond believes that Samsung should be required to provide two years of updates from the time a consumer purchases it, whenever that might be.
Mark Hanusz paid over $ 1,000 for an unlocked iPhone that would work with "any carrier" in 2016, only to find it didn’t work with Verizon in 2018 — and sued Apple over it. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
The previous FCC leadership took some aggressive steps to fight robocalls, but they've just been scaled back. A DC Circuit appeals court has shot down an FCC rule for reportedly going far in its definition of an autodialer. The regulations defined… Engadget RSS Feed
The French government will be taking legal action against Apple and Google for alleged "abusive commercial practices," France’s finance minister has declared, accusing the tech firms of taking advantage of the country’s app developers with unfair contracts and unjust app store pricing schemes. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
A German court has ruled that cities are now allowed to ban diesel vehicles. While the measure is not compulsory, the court encouraged two cities in particular, Duesseldorf and Stuttgart, to take this option seriously as part of their anti pollution plans. In Stuttgart, known as the “German capital of air pollution”, the concentration of harmful nanoparticles regularly exceeds the legal limits, much more often than in any other city in the country.
However, it remains unclear whether the ban will benefit a country where diesel-powered vehicles are viewed as a better alternative to gas-powered ones. One problem is that cities are not required to compensate drivers who choose to give up their diesel-powered cars. Reuters also notes that the ban could ultimately lead to the end of the combustion engine, a creation Germans take great pride in due to the engine being a local invention.
Unsurprisingly, German automakers such as Daimler, Volkswagen, and BMW are concerned about the ruling, arguing that adjustments made to diesel cars could be expensive for customers and industries. However, Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said that bans could be avoided if carmakers agreed to contribute towards upgrading old diesel systems.
“The problem was caused by carmakers and we should not release them from their responsibility,” said Hendricks, as reported by Reuters.
While banning diesel engines will be good for air quality in Germany’s most polluted cities, the measure is unlikely to have a positive impact on the country’s broader environmental targets. With an economy still heavily reliant on coal, Germany is poised to miss the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. This is also due to the country’s strong growth and the decision to phase out nuclear power, all factors that interventions such as a moratorium on diesel cars are not going to offset.