2021-01-01 06:28:29 ..
2021-04-07 19:43:02 UTC
2021-04-08 12:51:39 UTC --martyb
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The US Food and Drug Administration is making progress in its efforts to sort out the fiasco at Emergent BioSolutions' Baltimore facility, which, at this point, has ruined more than 75 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines stemming from what the regulator identified as significant quality control failures.
In March, news leaked that Emergent ruined 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine as well as millions more doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine. The spoilage happened when Emergent cross-contaminated batches of the two vaccines with ingredients from the other.
Last week, the FDA told Emergent to trash about 60 million more doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine due to similar contamination concerns, The New York Times reported.
[...] FDA cleared an additional 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, bringing the total number of acceptable doses to just 25 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Amazon today said it can't stop fake product reviews without help from social media companies, and it blamed those companies for not doing more to prevent solicitation of fake reviews.
In a blog post, Amazon said its own "continued improvements in detection of fake reviews and connections between bad-actor buying and selling accounts" has led to "an increasing trend of bad actors attempting to solicit fake reviews outside Amazon, particularly via social media services."
Cosmic filaments are huge bridges of galaxies and dark matter that connect clusters of galaxies to each other. They funnel galaxies towards and into large clusters that sit at their ends. "By mapping the motion of galaxies in these huge cosmic superhighways using the Sloan Digital Sky survey – a survey of hundreds of thousands of galaxies – we found a remarkable property of these filaments: they spin." says Peng Wang, first author of the now published study and astronomer at the AIP.
"Despite being thin cylinders – similar in dimension to pencils – hundreds of millions of light years long, but just a few million light years in diameter, these fantastic tendrils of matter rotate," adds Noam Libeskind, initiator of the project at the AIP. "On these scales the galaxies within them are themselves just specs of dust. They move on helixes or corkscrew like orbits, circling around the middle of the filament while travelling along it. Such a spin has never been seen before on such enormous scales, and the implication is that there must be an as yet unknown physical mechanism responsible for torquing these objects."
[...] "Motivated by the suggestion from the theorist Dr. Mark Neyrinck that filaments may spin, we examined the observed galaxy distribution, looking for filament rotation," says Noam Libeskind. "It's fantastic to see this confirmation that intergalactic filaments rotate in the real Universe, as well as in computer simulation." By using a sophisticated mapping method, the observed galaxy distribution was segmented into filaments. Each filament was approximated by a cylinder.
Galaxies within it were divided into two regions on either side of the filament spine (in projection) and the mean redshift difference between the two regions was carefully measured. The mean redshift difference is a proxy for the velocity difference (the Doppler shift) between galaxies on the receding and approaching side of the filament tube. It can thus measure the filament's rotation.
By comparison, the Milky Way galaxy in which we reside is only about 200,000 light years across.
Peng Wang, Noam I. Libeskind, Elmo Tempel, et al. Possible observational evidence for cosmic filament spin [open], Nature Astronomy (DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01380-6)
Think of a conspiracy theorist. How do they see the world? What stands out to them? What fades into the background? Now think of yourself. How does the way you see things differ? What is it about the way you think that has stopped you from falling down a rabbit hole?
Conspiracy theories have long been part of American life, but they feel more urgent than ever. Innocuous notions like whether the moon landing was a hoax feel like child's play compared to more impactful beliefs like whether vaccines are safe (they are) or the 2020 election was stolen (it wasn't). It can be easy to write off our conspiracy theorist friends and relatives as crackpots, but science shows things are far more nuanced than that. There are traits that likely prime people to be more prone to holding these beliefs, and you may find that when you take stock of these traits, you aren't far removed from your cousin who is convinced the world is run by lizard people.
[...] "It's not like most beliefs are arrived at through some sort of pure logic. The world is not a bunch of Spocks running around deducing everything," said Joseph Uscinski, a professor of political science at the University of Miami who has studied conspiracy theories. "It's just not how people operate."
[...] Every one of us has a brain that takes shortcuts, makes assumptions and works in irrational ways. The sooner we recognize that, and stop treating loved ones who have adopted conspiratorial beliefs as lost causes, the better we may be at curbing the beliefs that threaten our democracy and public health. We're all human after all. Well, except for the lizard people.
Minutes before liftoff, Elon Musk's SpaceX ignored at least two warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration that launching its first high-altitude Starship prototype last December would violate the company's launch license, confidential documents and letters obtained by The Verge show. And while SpaceX was under investigation, it told the FAA that the agency's software was a "source of frustration" that has been "shown to be inaccurate at times or overly conservative," according to the documents.
[...] Neither SpaceX nor Musk has publicly commented on the SN8 violation. SpaceX didn't respond to a request for comment. The FAA confirmed the violation after a report by The Verge in January. But a confidential five-page report by SpaceX and letters between Shotwell and Monteith reveal what SpaceX employees knew before liftoff and detail how the company responded to its violation in the aftermath.
[...] SpaceX employees left the FAA meeting for the company's launch control room ahead of SN8's launch. Minutes before liftoff, an FAA safety inspector speaking on an open phone line warned SpaceX's staff in the launch control room that a launch would violate the company's launch license. SpaceX staff ignored the warning because they "assumed that the inspector did not have the latest information," the SpaceX report said.
[...] SpaceX agreed to take over a dozen corrective measures but defended its own data and decision-making. The company criticized the FAA's launch-weather modeling software. The software's results, SpaceX said, can be intentionally interfered with to provide "better or worse results for an identical scenario."
SpaceX has complained to the FAA in the past about the software, but "this feedback has not driven any action, contributing to the situation described above," the report said. A "closer and more direct dialogue" with FAA officials would've smoothed the FAA discussions before SN8's launch, SpaceX added.
[...] FAA investigators couldn't determine whether the SN8 license violation was intentional, according to people involved in and briefed on the investigation, speaking on the condition of anonymity. That's partially why the FAA review of the violation wasn't a more in-depth investigation that could have resulted in fines or stronger consequences. FAA officials also believed grounding Starship and foisting a two-month investigation on a multibillion-dollar company focused heavily on speedy timelines would be a more effective penalty than imposing relatively trivial fines, the people said.
Yesterday I got this global notice on Freenode IRC network:
We are moving past legacy freenode to a new fork. The new freenode is launched. You will slowly be disconnected and when you reconnect, you will be on the new freenode. We patiently await to welcome you in freedom's holdout - the freenode.
If you're looking to connect now, you can already /server chat.freenode.net 6697 (ssl) or 6667 (plaintext). It's a new genesis for a new era. Thank you for using freenode, and Hello World, from the future. freenode is IRC. freenode is FOSS. freenode is freedom.
When you connect, register your nickname and your channel and get started. It's a new world. We're so happy to welcome you and the millions of others. We will be posting more information in the coming days on our website and twitter. Otherwise, see you on the other side!
I didn't notice it until I was disconnected and reconnected today and found myself cancelled on the network. Since there is no blog post mentioned in the system notice, I went looking and I found a summary of this week's drama from Hugo Landau.
Freenode commits suicide, is no longer a serious IRC network
The old services database (registered nicknames, channels, etc.) is apparently gone. All of your registered nicknames and channels are gone. Anyone who wishes to continue to use Freenode (though at this point I honestly can't imagine why anyone would want to) must re-register their nickname.
In short, it seems there was no effort whatsoever to migrate the services database when migrating from Atheme to Anope. Not only that, this transition happened suddenly with, as far as I am aware, zero warning. Freenode has simply dropped all nickname and channel registrations without warning.
Even my channel ##hntop which was previously seized personally by Andrew Lee is no longer registered. It's literally open season for anyone who wants to impersonate someone else, steal their nickname, or take over someone else's channel.
What a strange move, to delete all users and channels and make no effort to move them to a new system, and not explain themselves publicly in a blog post!
Earlier Soylent coverage: Freenode Hijacked (Part 2)
We've been hearing about Microsoft's upcoming major update to Windows 10 for quite some time now. Codenamed Sun Valley, information so far on the internet indicated deep changes to the OS and the UI. We have also come across news that pointed to the Sun Valley update being likely christened as Windows 11. We can now confirm that it the next version of Windows will indeed be called Windows 11.
We have managed to get our hands on a leaked build of the OS. Given that we are just about 10 days from the official unveiling, we don't expect too many changes from the current build 21996.1 to the RTM candidate, but it still helps to be skeptical till launch.
[...] Microsoft will take wraps off Windows 11 on June 24. It is possible that the company may show off a few more visual changes not seen in these leaked builds. For now, take a look at the screenshots below and let us know what you think. We are still fiddling around with the build and will update this article if we come across anything noteworthy.
The first strong indication that bigger things may be coming landed last week from a Microsoft-published EOL notice for Windows 10. "Windows 10 Home and Pro"—no code names, no minor version numbers—is now listed as retiring on October 14, 2025. "Retiring" is a part of the Modern Lifecycle Policy and means that the retired product leaves support entirely; this does not follow the old Fixed Lifecycle Policy with "mainstream" and "extended" support. Retired is retired—hit the pasture.
Windows 11 has leaked online, giving us a first glimpse of Microsoft's next operating system and all the small ways it'll annoy and unsettle us until we finally Google how to change it back. This time around: it has rounded corners, the app icons are centered in the task bar, and the Start menu has changed.
As reported by The Verge, screenshots of Windows 11 first appeared on Chinese website Baidu Tieba, before it seems the whole operating system leaked.
Officials with Texas' power grid operator pleaded with residents Monday to limit their electrical usage amid soaring temperatures and a series of mechanical problems at power plants.
The appeal, from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, comes four months after deadly blackouts during a winter storm left millions of people without power — and weeks after state legislators passed a package of measures aimed at fixing some of the problems exposed by the storm.
Officials with the nonprofit group, which oversees 90 percent of Texas' energy production, asked residents to set their thermostats higher, turn off lights and avoid using larger appliances until Friday.
A spokeswoman for the group told reporters that the outages accounted for more than 12,000 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million homes. Some areas of the state, including Dallas and Tarrant counties, were warned about poor air quality and potentially dangerous heat, with the heat index approaching 110 degrees.
A senior official with ERCOT, Warren Lasher, said it wasn't clear why there were so many unplanned outages. But he said that the group is "deeply concerned" about the plants that are offline and that a thorough investigation is being conducted to better understand the problems.
A Starlink beta user in Arizona said he lost Internet service for over seven hours yesterday when the satellite dish overheated, demonstrating one of the drawbacks of SpaceX's broadband service. When the user's Internet service was disrupted, the Starlink app provided an error message saying, "Offline: Thermal shutdown." The dish "overheated" and "Starlink will reconnect after cooling down," the error message said.
[...] The user, named Martin, posted a screenshot of the error message on Reddit. He contacted Starlink support, which told him, "Dishy will go into thermal shutdown at 122F and will restart when it reaches 104F." Martin decided to give the dish a little water so it could cool down. He pointed a sprinkler at Dishy, and once it cooled enough to turn back on, "I immediately heard YouTube resume playback," he wrote yesterday.
But the Internet restoration was short-lived, Martin told Ars in a chat today.
"The fix was temporary," he told us. "When I stopped the sprinkler, [the dish] heated back up and would cycle back on for a few minutes and go back down for thermal shutdown.
The vote was 69-28 in a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, signaling the growing bipartisan interest in reining in large tech companies' power, just days after House lawmakers from both parties unveiled a series of bills that could force Silicon Valley companies to change their business practices and in the most severe cases, break the companies up.
Khan, who is aligned with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, is well-known for her 2017 paper, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," which argued that decades-old antitrust laws aren't equipped to deal with the e-commerce giant and the unique ways it exerts its dominance. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Khan previously worked as a counsel for the House Judiciary's antitrust panel, where she helped lead an investigation into the tech giants. That probe's findings of monopoly-style tactics and anti-competitive behavior at Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon gave rise to the recent bills introduced by House lawmakers.
Khan, 32, will be one of the youngest commissioners in the FTC's history after a meteoric rise since writing the Amazon paper as a law school student. She is an associate professor at Columbia Law School, and previously worked as a legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra (D).
One of the biggest personalities in Baltimore isn't playing on a sports field or occupying an office in city hall. Instead, he's performing the rather ordinary task of cleaning the city's waterways. But that's exactly what's made him famous. Maybe you're one of his millions of Twitter followers or you've eagerly posed next to him for a selfie.
He's Mr. Trash Wheel, a large garbage interceptor that works nonstop to clean rubbish in the Jones Falls stream of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Sporting a gaping maw of a mouth, he's winning hearts and minds by improving the prized waterfront of Maryland's largest city. And by stopping trash before it can empty into the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, he's making a difference far from the city limits.
[...] The Trash Wheels employ a straightforward technology: A large water mill is turned by the flowing river which powers a system of pulleys that turn a large conveyor belt and an array of rakes which help scoop floating debris onto the conveyor belt as trash floats down stream. The trash wheel has 2 long floating buoys which trap garbage that's floating on the surface and funnels it into the mouth of Mr. Trash Wheel. From there it gets carried up the conveyor belt and emptied into a large dumpster. A small crew easily removes and empties the floating dumpsters as they get full.
Power for the belt comes from river currents that turn the water mill, but the Trash Wheels are also outfitted with solar panels and batteries for times when the river isn't flowing fast enough to turn the wheel.
Kellet is able to switch on pumps remotely from his smartphone that then pump water onto the wheel so it never stops turning and gobbling garbage. Mr. Trash Wheel also has an internet connection so Kellet can see what's happening on the vessel via webcam and take action if needed.
After designing his concept, Kellet contacted the city, which was open to new ideas for combating the trash flowing into the harbor. He eventually partnered with a nonprofit called the Abell Foundation, which put up money to develop and refine the Trash Wheel concept. After much trial and error and months of testing and building Mr. Trash Wheel was installed in Baltimore's Harbor.
Once Mr. Trash Wheel was operational, business and community leaders noticed the immediate improvement in the harbor's pollution levels and lobbied to make the wheel a permanent fixture. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, a nonprofit funded by a coalition of local businesses, then got involved and began a campaign to produce more Trash Wheels and install them in other areas of Baltimore.
Adam Lindquist is the director of the Waterfront Partnership's Healthy Harbor Initiative, which aims to beautify the region by planting sustainable plants and organizing cleanup events and projects to improve the environment. He said Mr. Trash Wheel has impacted the Baltimore Harbor in ways that he could never have imagined and has delivered valuable data about where all the trash comes from.
"If you go to MrTrashWheel.com you can actually download a spreadsheet of every dumpster we've pulled out of the harbor over the past seven years, with an estimate of different types of trash that was in that dumpster," Lindquist said. "We know that we've pulled out over a million styrofoam containers from the harbor, and that's the sort of information, data and photos that we share with our elected officials to let them know just how big of a problem this is."
Now we need an electronic version to clean the internet seas. The web page also claims at the time of editing that it has recovered:
"5,1329 x SPORTS BALLS".
I'm not sure, but I think that is a very big number...
Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform for human sex trafficking recruitment in the US, according to a new report published by the Human Trafficking Institute.
Last year, 59 percent of victims in active cases who were recruited through social media were found through Facebook, the report states, with 41 percent of all recruitment taking place online.
“The Internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and they often recruit them on a number of very common social networking websites,” Victor Boutros, CEO of the Human Trafficking Institute, told CBS News. “Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims in active sex trafficking cases.”
The 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report draws its data from active federal criminal and civil human trafficking cases.
[...] Part of the reason why the Internet—and likely Facebook by extension—is so prevalent in the report is because it only considers federal cases. In those cases, law enforcement appears to rely heavily on the Internet for its investigations.
A single, one-hour treatment that involves breathing in a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide — otherwise known as laughing gas — significantly improved symptoms in people with treatment-resistant depression, according to new data from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Chicago.
[...] "A large percentage of patients don't respond to standard antidepressant therapies — the patients in this study had failed an average of 4.5 antidepressant trials — and it's very important to find therapies to help these patients," said Charles R. Conway, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University and one of the study's senior investigators. "That we saw rapid improvements in many such patients in the study suggests nitrous oxide may help people with really severe, resistant depression."
[...] The primary conclusions in this study were that nitrous oxide — both at 25% and in a 50-50 mixture with oxygen — improved depression in 17 of those study participants. The differences between a 25% mix and a 50% mix mainly involved how long the antidepressant effects lasted. Whereas the 50% dosage had greater antidepressant effects two weeks after treatment, the 25% dose was associated with fewer adverse events, the most common of which was feeling nauseated.
"Some patients experience side effects — it's a small subset, but it's very real — and the main one is that some people get nauseated," Conway said. "But in our study, only when people got the 50% dose did they experience nausea. When they received 25% nitrous oxide, no one developed nausea. And that lower dose was just about as effective as the higher dose at relieving depression."
Of the 20 people who completed all of the study's treatments and follow-up exams, 55% (11 of 20) experienced a significant improvement in at least half of their depressive symptoms, and 40% (eight of 20) were considered to be in remission — meaning they no longer were clinically depressed — after breathing a nitrous oxide solution for one hour.
Peter Nagele, Ben J. Palanca, Britt Gott, et al. A phase 2 trial of inhaled nitrous oxide for treatment-resistant major depression [$], Science Translational Medicine (DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abe1376)
U.S. companies are holding on to billions of dollars in cash. Their banks aren’t sure what to do with it.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, corporate executives rushed to raise money. Banks have been holding that cash ever since, and because companies are reluctant to borrow from them, they can’t turn it into income-generating loans. That has weighed on banks’ profit margins, and some have started pushing corporate customers to spend the cash on their businesses or move it elsewhere.
Bankers say they thought the improving economy would reduce companies’ desire for holding cash, but deposit inflows have continued in recent weeks. Chief financial officers and treasurers, many still wary of the pandemic’s impact, say they aren’t ready for big changes, even if they earn little or nothing on their deposits.
[...] Top of mind for many big banks is a rule requiring them to hold capital equivalent to at least 3% of all assets. Worried about the rule’s impact during the pandemic, the Fed changed the calculation in 2020 to ignore deposits the banks held at the central bank, but ended that break this March. Since then, some banks have warned the growing deposits could force them to raise more capital, or say no to deposits.
The transition from DDR4 to DDR5 memory should be swift, according to a new report. Widespread DDR5 adoption should occur in 2022, starting with the server markets and enterprise world, according to a report by industry beancounter Yolle Developpement. Then in 2023, we will finally see widespread DDR5 adoption in the mainstream market, with phones, laptops, and PCs fully utilizing the technology. In fact, we should see more DDR5 ship in 2023 than DDR4, marking a fast transition between the two technologies.
More specifically, estimates have it that we will see a 25% increase in DDR5 adoption in 2022 (thanks to the server market), then an even bigger jump in 2023 to over 50% of market share. Finally, through 2024-2026 we should expect the rest of the market to follow suit with DDR5 adoption, leaving DDR4 at barely 5% of the market.