Sweden To Mobile Tech Users: Pay The TV Tax

Those who use smartphones and tablets are still expected to pay the tax -- which is mandatory for all TV owners -- if they're accessing content normally found on TV.

What's the Latest Development?

People who thought they could get away with not paying Sweden's mandatory TV tax because they replaced their TV with a mobile device received bad news last week: The government has decided to start collecting the monthly SEK173 (about US$27) fee from them as well. The Radiotjänst collection agency is doing this by checking its database and calling on those customers who haven't paid the fee. The move has created a backlash, with some residents calling it "completely absurd."

What's the Big Idea?

Currently there aren't many Swedes who are completely TV-free, but the decision to collect from computer and mobile device owners is seen as an attempt to get ahead of fast-changing technology and the ways it's being used to access content. Revenue generated from the tax is used to fund public broadcasting, which is facing market pressure from newcomers Netflix and HBO, each of which charge only SEK79 (about US$12) a month for their services. Despite the current backlash, Radiotjänst spokesman Johan Gernandt believes most Swedes will get used to it since "[n]ine out of 10 already pay a TV license [fee]."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The Wall Street Journal

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less