2021-07-22 12:14:55 ..
2021-10-24 19:27:39 UTC
2021-10-25 12:45:27 UTC --martyb
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Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer who propelled the band’s sound for nearly 60 years, has died aged 80.
A statement from his London publicist, Bernard Doherty, to the PA news agency said: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts.
“He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family. Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also, as a member of the Rolling Stones, one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Watts was to miss the band’s forthcoming US tour as he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure.
With his limber stance, keen knowledge of jazz, and unruffled ability to make songs swing even when keeping the strictest time, Watts is regarded as one of the greatest – and most stylish – rock drummers of all time.
The Belgian Police warned about the return of the 'Joker' virus, which attacks Android devices and hides itself in various applications on the Google Play Store. This malware is capable of subscribing the user to payment services without their authorization and emptying their bank accounts without them noticing.
"This malicious program has been detected in eight Play Store applications that Google has suppressed," said the Belgian authorities in a statement published this Friday on their website.
The 'Joker' malware became famous in 2017 for infecting and robbing its victims by hiding in different applications. Since then, the Google Play Store defense systems have removed around 1,700 apps with the 'Joker' malware before they were downloaded by users.
[...] Researchers from the cybersecurity company Quick Heal Security Lab, cited in the statement, explain that this virus can enter text messages, contacts and other information on the infected smartphone.
[...] On this occasion, the harmful applications that the Google Play Store eliminated after detecting that they contained the 'Joker' virus are:
- Auxiliary Message
- Element Scanner
- Fast Magic SMS
- Free CamScanner
- Go Messages
- Super Message
- Super SMS
- Travel Wallpapers
The author of this piece has an obvious bias (Geoff Cooper is the president and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association), but does he also have a valid point?
After suffering through more than a year of quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and travel lockdowns, millions of Americans have eagerly returned to the nation's highways this summer for long-awaited vacations and road trips. As a result, gasoline demand has surged to record highs and pump prices are at levels not seen since 2014.
In recent weeks, regular-grade gas prices averaged $3.17 per gallon, up almost 50 percent from the same time last year. With higher fuel prices threatening to undermine the nation's ongoing economic recovery, it's easy to see why the Biden administration is looking for ways to ease America's pain at the pump.
[...] Before the Biden administration looks to OPEC+ countries or mineral-rich nations like Afghanistan, China and Bolivia for help, it has an opportunity to turn to America's heartland for a homegrown solution. Renewable fuels like ethanol have a 40-year proven track record of success in helping to lower prices at the pump while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions, supporting good-paying clean energy jobs and curtailing crude oil imports.
Four decades' worth of investment and innovation by ethanol producers has resulted in real breakthroughs in lower-carbon transportation fuels. Today's corn-based ethanol reduces carbon emissions by 52 percent when compared directly to gasoline, according to a recent study from the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Another study by scientists from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tufts University similarly shows corn ethanol achieves an average carbon reduction of 46 percent compared to gasoline, with some ethanol in the market today achieving a 61 percent carbon reduction.
[...] Before we turn to the Persian Gulf for answers to our nation's energy and climate challenges, let's give the American heartland a shot. The solution to high pump prices and decarbonization lies in the farm fields of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and other Midwest states — not in the oil fields of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East nations.
Uisung Lee, Hoyoung Kwon, May Wu, et al. Retrospective analysis of the U.S. corn ethanol industry for 2005–2019: implications for greenhouse gas emission reductions [open], Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining (DOI: 10.1002/bbb.2225)
Sensitive data including COVID-19 vaccination statuses, social security numbers and email addresses have been exposed due to weak default configurations for Microsoft Power Apps, according to Upguard.
[...] The data leaks impacted American Airlines, Microsoft, J.B. Hunt and governments of Indiana, Maryland and New York City. Upguard first discovered the issue involving the ODdata API for a Power Apps portal on May 24 and submitted a vulnerability report to Microsoft June 24.
According to Upguard, the primary issue is that all data types were public when some data like personal identifying information should have been private. Misconfiguration led to some private data being surfaced.
Power Apps is a development platform that makes it easy to create web or mobile apps for external use.
If you need to spin up a vaccine appointment sign-up site quickly during, say, a pandemic, Power Apps portals can generate both the public-facing site and the data management backend.
'We found one of these that was misconfigured to expose data and we thought, we've never heard of this, is this a one-off thing or is this a systemic issue?' said Greg Pollock, UpGuard's vice president of cyber research.
[...] 'And we discovered there are tons of these exposed. It was wild.'
Also at Yahoo News
This spring, as New York City warmed up and the local vaccination rate surged, I met my best friend for our first restaurant meal together in months. As soon as we sat down, she began rifling through her purse. "I have something for you," she told me. From her bag came a rectangle of clear, thick, double-layered plastic—the kind of display pocket that often dangles at the end of a lanyard. My friend had swiped a handful from her office's supply closet. "It's for your vaccine card," she explained. But I already knew.
When I got my first shot, in late February, I sat in the mandatory waiting area, holding my new card in one hand and my wallet in the other, trying to understand why the two objects weren't compatible. I contemplated where I should put this brand-new golden ticket, ultimately sliding the thin piece of too-large card stock into an envelope I found in my tote. I'm going to either lose this or destroy it, I thought to myself.
Indeed, I lost it—at least for a little while. Despite dutifully sliding the card into its new protective pocket after lunch with my friend, I eventually found myself tearing my apartment apart searching for it, for exactly the reasons I had feared: It was the wrong size for the one place where most people keep all their important everyday documents, and of too nebulous a purpose to sit safely in a drawer with my birth certificate and passport. Could it unlock some sort of privileges at the airport? Were restaurants going to check it? Did I need to take it to medical appointments? My card had gotten shuffled into a sandwich baggie filled with extra masks, not to be rediscovered for six weeks.
With all due respect to our country's overworked and undersupported public-health apparatus: This is dumb. The card is dumb, and it's difficult to imagine a series of intentional decisions that could have reasonably led to it as the consensus best pick. Its strangeness had been a bit less important in the past seven months, when evidence of immunity was rarely necessary to do things within America. Now, as Delta-variant cases surge and more municipalities and private businesses begin to require proof of vaccination to patronize places such as restaurants and gyms, the rubber has met the road on this flimsy de facto verification apparatus. It's not the highest-stakes question of this stage of the pandemic, but it's one that's become quite common: How did we end up with these cards?
What size are the COVID-19 vaccine ID cards in other (non-USA) countries?
It’s the dog days of summer. You bite down on a plump, chilled orange. Citrus juice explodes in your mouth in a refreshing, tingling burst. Ahh.
And congratulations—you’ve just been vaccinated for the latest virus.
That’s one of the goals of molecular farming, a vision to have plants synthesize medications and vaccines. Using genetic engineering and synthetic biology, scientists can introduce brand new biochemical pathways into plant cells—or even whole plants—essentially turning them into single-use bioreactors.
The whole idea has a retro-futuristic science fiction vibe. First conceived of in 1986, molecular farming got its boost three decades later, when the FDA approved the first—and only—plant-derived therapeutic protein for humans to treat Gaucher disease, a genetic disorder that prevents people from breaking down fats.
But to Drs. Hugues Fausther-Bovendo and Gary Kobinger at Université Laval, Quebec and Galveston National Laboratory, Texas, respectively, we’re just getting started. In a new perspective article published last week in Science, the duo argues that plants have long been an overlooked resource for biomanufacturing.
[...] “Molecular farming could have a considerable impact on both human and animal health,” the authors said.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is stepping behind the universal basic income movement because of the potential rise of robots — in fact, he's working on one himself.
During a Thursday presentation on artificial intelligence (AI) hosted by Tesla, Musk said he is working on creating a "Tesla Bot" [...] But Musk recognized that the creation of this robot might take the place of jobs that people are currently getting paid for, which is why he said a guaranteed income will likely be necessary in the future.
"Essentially, in the future, physical work will be a choice," Musk said during the presentation. "This is why I think long term there will need to be a universal basic income," he added.
[...] [B]usinesses across the country have turned to automation rather than paying humans for work. For example, Insider previously reported that restaurants struggling to hire workers for months [have] turned to QR codes where diners can view menus, rather than having a waiter bring them one.
In addition, Cracker Barrel rolled out a mobile app that lets customers pay for meals; McDonald's started testing automated drive-thru ordering at 10 Chicago locations; and Dave & Buster's plans to expand its contactless ordering, effectively getting rid of many restaurant jobs humans once did.
If this trend continues, it's likely that universal basic income will become a larger part of the conversation.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is now fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, making it the first shot against the coronavirus to get all the way through the regulatory review.
The FDA on Monday approved the mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech for two doses, given three weeks apart, in people 16 years of age and older. The vaccine was previously being given under an emergency use authorization, which is still in place for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
"While this and other vaccines have met the FDA's rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product," said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a release. "Today's milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the US."
Full approval is expected to make it easier for local governments, schools and businesses to require vaccinations and may encourage people who are hesitant to get a shot. Three in 10 unvaccinated adults said they'd be more likely to get a vaccine if one moved from emergency authorization to full approval by the FDA, according to a June poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
[...] The Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty, said the FDA.
Mozilla developers are putting the finishing touches on a new feature that will block insecure file downloads in Firefox.
Called mixed content downloaded blocking, the feature works by blocking files downloads initiated from an encrypted HTTPS page but which actually take place via an unencrypted HTTP channel.
The idea behind this feature is to prevent Firefox users from getting misled by the URL bar and think they're downloading a file securely via HTTPS when, in reality, the file could be tampered with by third parties while in transit.
GM said it is pursuing reimbursement commitments from EV battery supplier LG Energy Solution, which produced the defective parts in plants in South Korea and Michigan. Parts from the U.S. plant were previously not involved in the recall.
The automaker plans to replace the vehicle's costly battery cell modules. GM also said it is working with LG to rectify the cause of the defects and increase production of the new modules.
"Our focus on safety and doing the right thing for our customers guides every decision we make at GM," Doug Parks, a GM executive vice president who oversees products, purchasing and supply chains, said in a release. "As leaders in the transition to an all-electric future, we know that building and maintaining trust is critical. GM customers can be confident in our commitment to taking the steps to ensure the safety of these vehicles."
The expansion follows the companies finding that the batteries for these vehicles may have two manufacturing defects — a torn anode tab and folded separator — present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire.
IBM has detailed its next-generation Telum chip which is part of the Z processor lineup at HotChips 33. The Telum chip features a brand new core architecture design that's geared for AI acceleration.
According to IBM, the newly optimized Z core along with its brand new cache and multi-chip fabric hierarchy enables over 40% per socket performance growth. The Telum chip is comprised of a total of 8 cores that feature their dedicated L2 cache. The chip features SMT2 so[sic] which gives 16 threads on the chip while a maximum configuration of 32 core and 64 threads is possible with a 4-drawer system.
The same phenomenon that causes aurorae -- the magical curtains of green light often visible from the polar regions of the Earth -- causes mesospheric ozone layer depletion. This depletion could have significance for global climate change and therefore, understanding this phenomenon is important.
[...] In the Earth's magnetosphere -- the region of magnetic field around the Earth -- electrons from the sun remain trapped. Interactions between electrons and plasma waves can cause the trapped electrons to escape and enter the Earth's upper atmosphere (thermosphere). This phenomenon, called electron precipitation, is responsible for aurorae. But, recent studies show that this is also responsible for local ozone layer depletions in the mesosphere (lower than thermosphere) and may have a certain impact on our climate.
What's more, this ozone depletion at the mesosphere could be occurring specifically during aurorae. And while scientists have studied electron precipitation in relation to aurorae, none have been able to sufficiently elucidate how it causes mesospheric ozone depletion.
Prof. Miyoshi and team took the opportunity to change this narrative during a moderate geomagnetic storm over the Scandinavian Peninsula in 2017. They aimed their observations at "pulsating aurorae" (PsA), a type of faint aurora. Their observations were possible through coordinated experiments with the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) radar (at an altitude between 60 and 120 km where the PsA occurs), the Japanese spacecraft Arase, and the all-sky camera network.
Arase data showed that the trapped electrons in the Earth's magnetosphere have a wide energy range. It also indicated the presence of chorus waves, a type of electromagnetic plasma wave, in that region of space. Computer simulations then showed that Arase had observed plasma waves causing precipitations of these electrons across the wide energy range, which is consistent with EISCAT observations down in the Earth's thermosphere.
Miyoshi, Y., Hosokawa, K., Kurita, S., et al. Penetration of MeV electrons into the mesosphere accompanying pulsating aurorae [open], Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-92611-3)
Two renowned violin makers from Cremona, Italy, Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri 'del Gesù,' treated their instruments with various chemicals that produced their unique sound, and several of these chemicals have been identified for the first time: borax and metal sulfates for fungal suppression, table salt for moisture control, alum for molecular crosslinking, and potash or quicklime for alkaline treatment.
In string instruments, specially selected woods act as transducers of mechanical energy from vibrating strings into acoustic energy.
Stradivari made about 1,200 violins in his lifetime and sold them only to the very rich, including the royalty. Today, there are about 600 Stradivari violins remaining. He also made violas and cellos that are highly prized.
Guarneri 'del Gesù' had trouble selling his work, but his instruments are now considered equal in quality and price to Stradivari violins.
[...] "All of my research over many years has been based on the assumption that the wood of the great masters underwent an aggressive chemical treatment, and this had a direct role in creating the great sound of the Stradivari and the Guarneri," said Professor Joseph Nagyvary, a researcher in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Texas A&M University.
[...] "Both Stradivari and Guarneri would have wanted to treat their violins to prevent worms from eating away the wood because worm infestations were very widespread at that time."
[...] "This new study reveals that Stradivari and Guarneri had their own individual proprietary method of wood processing, to which they could have attributed a considerable significance," Professor Nagyvary said.
[Professor Joseph Nagyvary] said that the varnish recipes were not secret because the varnish itself is not a critical determinant of tone quality. In contrast, the process of how the fresh spruce planks were treated and processed with a variety of water-based chemical treatments is critical for the sound of the finished violin.
Such knowledge was needed to gain a "competitive advantage" over other instrument makers, he said.
Nagyvary added that the team found the chemicals used were found all over and inside the wood, not just its surface, and this directly affected the sound quality of the instruments.
He said that further research is need to clarify other details of how the chemicals and wood produced pristine tonal quality.
"First, one needs several dozens of samples from not only Stradivari and Guarneri, but also from other makers of the Golden Period (1660-1750) of Cremona, Italy," he said. "There will have to be better cooperation between the master restorers of antique musical instruments, the best makers of our time, and the scientists who are performing the experiments often pro bono in their free time."
Nagyvary has been involved with violin research much of his 87 years. He first learned to play in Switzerland on an instrument that once belonged to Albert Einstein.
Cheng-Kuan Su, Szu-Yu Chen, Jen-Hsuan Chung, et al. Materials Engineering of Violin Soundboards by Stradivari and Guarneri [open], Angewandte Chemie International Edition (DOI: 10.1002/anie.202105252)
It's no secret that a new Space Race has been brewing over the past few years. This time, rather than being a competition between two federal space agencies, the race has more competitors and is more complicated.
In addition to more state competitors, there are also commercial space entities vying for positions and lucrative contracts. Add to that a network of public-private partnerships, and you have Space Race 2.0!
In particular, there has been quite the stir ever since NASA awarded the Artemis contract for the Human Landing System (HLS) to SpaceX. This resulted in legal challenges filed by Blue Origin and Dynetics (SpaceX's competitors), as well as a lawsuit and messy public relations campaign.
As part of the NextSTEP – 2 Appendix H program, NASA selected SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics to develop the HLS that will take the Artemis III astronauts back to the lunar surface. Initially, NASA hoped to award contracts to two of these companies but ultimately went with SpaceX due to budget constraints and timetables.
In response, Blue Origin and Dynetics filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The SpaceX HLS concept is a modified version of the Starship, which is currently undergoing rapid development (along with the Super Heavy booster) at SpaceX's launch facility near Boca Chica. According to the latest mockup (shown above) and previous statements by Musk, the HLS Starship will have a higher payload capacity since it will not require heat shields, flaps, and large gas thruster packs (all of which are needed for atmospheric reentry).
It also comes with wider landing legs, which future Starships may do away with entirely now that SpaceX is building the "Mechazilla" launch tower. In any case, concerns about potential delays and fulfilling the 2024 deadline go beyond the four months lost due to the GAO's stop order. In addition, there are reported issues with the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Units (xEMU) spacesuits, leading to fears that they won't be ready in time.
Up to 17 inches [(43 cm)] of rain fell in Humphreys County in less than 24 hours Saturday, appearing to shatter the Tennessee record for one-day rainfall by more than 3 inches, the National Weather Service said.
[...] At the beginning of a news conference on Tropical Storm Henri’s impact on New England, President Joe Biden offered condolences to the people of Tennessee and directed federal disaster officials to talk with the governor and offer assistance.
[...] A flash flood watch was issued for the area before the rain started, with forecasters saying 4 to 6 inches of rain was possible. The worst storm recorded in this area of Middle Tennessee only dropped 9 inches of rain, said Krissy Hurley, a weather service meteorologist in Nashville.
“Forecasting almost a record is something we don’t do very often,” Hurley said. “Double the amount we’ve ever seen was almost unfathomable.”
Recent scientific research has determined that extreme rain events will become more frequent because of man-made climate change. Hurley said it is impossible to know its exact role in Saturday’s flood, but noted in the past year her office dealt with floods that used to be expected maybe once every 100 years in September south of Nashville and in March closer to the city.