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2012: The Year in Graphics

Great work by NYT. Graphics and interactives from a year that included an election, the Olympics and a devastating hurricane. A selection of the graphics presented include information about how they were created. HERE 2012: The Year in Graphics

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America's incredible mobile year 2011 or the clamor for more spectrum

The US isn't the largest developing and consuming country when it comes to wireless technologies you would have said in the last few years compared to Europe or Asia, especially Japan or India. This has changed looking at the figures of 2011 (from mobilefuture.org): 8.8 trillion texts were sent which presents 15% more than the year before, the data traffic soar by 1800% in the past four years (!), 166% increase of Facebook Mobile users in the first half of 2011 only, 103m wireless tweets posted each day, more smartphones were bought than PC. Short video with more facts about the year: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKAIzU90zA8]

In fact, the market with its smartphones and user behavior is pretty hungry but the mobile network is currently running out of airwaves (know as spectrum crunch). On 14 February 2012 America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected the possibility to increase the capacity consistent of the proposal by LightSquared to use airwaves formerly used by satellite operators. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) stated that LightSquared technology would interfere with navigation equipement used by planes and operators (see recommendation).

(via cnnmoney)

Heads of AT&T and the FCC are currently discussiung new and different approaches to the spectrum crunch at this years Mobile World Congress currently running in Barcelona, reports pcmag.com: 

Not surprisingly, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, pushed for a more market-based approach to spectrum allocation here at Mobile World Congress, while FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski expressed concern that a recent spectrum auction deal in Congress might decrease the agency's power on the issue.

One spectrum crunch option that recently made its way through Congress is voluntary spectrum auctions, with broadcasters selling unused, excess spectrum to carriers. The FCC would oversee the auctions, providing some of the proceeds to the participating broadcasters and the rest to the U.S. Treasury.

Earlier this month, AT&T argued that the FCC should not be allowed to impose restrictions on the auctions - namely, the commission should not be able to limit how much spectrum the larger, more wealthier carriers could snap up.

One of the concerns about not having FCC oversight of auctions is that the biggest carriers like AT&T and Verizon will buy everything, leaving nothing for the smaller providers. To that end, T-Mobile and several consumer groups recently asked the FCC to stop Verizon from purchasing $3.6 billion worth of spectrum from the nation's top cable providers.

Verizon defended the purchase in a recent blog post.

"Rather than waste time arguing about spectrum efficiency, let's focus on the issue on which we all agree: America's wireless consumers face a spectrum crunch that won't be relieved by Verizon's spectrum purchase," wrote Charla Wrath, vice president of Verizon policy development. "It's up to the industry, as well as policymakers, to help ensure that more spectrum reaches the marketplace soon, so America's wireless industry remains the global leader in innovation that it is today. I'm sure T-Mobile would agree with that."

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Rethink cities

Currently, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. And the complex collection of systems that make up a city’s infrastructure have evolved, creating new and efficient ways to sustain and support a significant concentration of people. But inside all cities are problem areas that can be optimized and made smarter—improving the function of the metropolis and the lives of its citizens.

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Meet the world

Icaro Doria is Brazilian, 25 and has been working for the magazine Grande Reportagem, in Lisbon, Portugal, for the last 3 years. He is part of the team (with Luis Silva Dias, João Roque, Andrea Vallenti and João Roque) that produced the flags campaign which has been circulating the Earth in chain letters via e-mail.

Icaro gave us a small statement about the campaign, translated by Isabell Erdmann:
The magazine Revista Grande Reportagem is a Hard Journalism magazine, on the same line as the Times. The idea was to bring across the concept that the magazine offers profound journalism about topics of real importance to the world of today. Read more... See more...

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