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Updated: 32 min 52 sec ago

Social Media Becomes Battleground Over Days of Street Protests

Tue, 2020-06-02 15:06
Social media has become a central battleground for the protests across the U.S., with tech platforms amplifying tensions while also providing a real-time chronicle of the riots and police responses that might not have otherwise gained widespread attention. From a report: A lone video of the violent arrest that led to the death of George Floyd posted last Monday on Facebook by a bystander, Darnella Frazier, has been shared by 52,000 people there and found its way to Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms, widening awareness of the episode. Since then, those outlets have been a tool to spread dissent and anger by those upset at Mr. Floyd's death and those disturbed by the sometimes violent actions of both protesters and police in cities across the country. Social media played a critical role in galvanizing the protesters through the quickly shared video around Mr. Floyd's arrest, said Alex Stamos, director of Stanford University's Internet Observatory. "It nationalizes local issues like this," he said, adding that "maybe 20 years ago this might have only been covered at the local press." The unrest also has fueled an online battle over how they are viewed, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford law professor and co-director of the California university's Cyber Policy Center, said the riots also have turned into an online battle of opposing viewpoints. "There is a fight on social media as to how to portray the events on the ground," he said. In some cases, distortions are fanning the anger. One photo pairing widely shared last week purported to show Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd's neck during the fatal arrest, having previously worn a red cap resembling those favored at President Trump's rallies but with the slogan "Make Whites Great Again." Twitter slapped a label saying "Manipulated media" on tweets containing the photos -- including one from the rapper Ice Cube that has been liked more than 148,000 times -- taking users to a post where it said several photos purporting to show Mr. Chauvin were of other people.

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Categories: Technology

Coronavirus Patients Lose Senses of Taste, Smell -- and Haven't Gotten Them Back

Tue, 2020-06-02 14:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Clinicians racing to understand the novel disease are starting to discern an unusual trend: one common symptom -- the loss of smell and taste -- can linger months after recovery. Doctors say it is possible some survivors may never taste or smell again. Out of 417 patients who suffered mild to moderate forms of Covid-19 in Europe, 88% and 86% reported taste and smell dysfunctions, respectively, according to a study published in April in the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. Most patients said they couldn't taste or smell even after other symptoms were gone. Preliminary data showed at least a quarter of people regained their ability to taste and smell within two weeks of other symptoms dissipating. The study said long-term data are needed to assess how long this can last in people who didn't report an improvement. Anyone who has had the sniffles knows a stuffy nose impedes smell and taste; the novel coronavirus's ability to break down smell receptors is puzzling because it occurs without nasal congestion. One theory is that the "olfactory receptors that go to the brain -- that are essentially like a highway to the brain -- commit suicide so they can't carry the virus to the brain," said Danielle Reed, associate director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. "It could be a healthy reaction to the virus. If that doesn't work, maybe people do get sicker," she said. "It might be a positive takeaway from what is obviously a devastating loss to people."

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Categories: Technology

5G Obliterates Your Phone Battery, But a Power-Saving Fix Is Coming

Tue, 2020-06-02 11:00
It's no secret that 5G networks drain battery. "To rectify that grim side effect, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Lille in France have developed a new radio-frequency switch they say is 50 times more energy efficient than the current solid-state switches," reports Popular Mechanics. From the report: The solution is actually rooted right in the problem. Because smartphones are packed with switches that perform duties like hopping back and forth between different networks and spectrum frequencies (4G to LTE, to WiFi, to Bluetooth, etc.), batteries drain much faster. State-of-the-art radio-frequency switches are constantly running in the background on your iPhone or Android device, consuming not only battery life, but processing power. So when the limited number of 5G-enabled smartphones on the market are constantly bouncing back and forth between 4G and 5G communications, for instance, the problem is amplified. "The switch we have developed can transmit an HDTV stream at a 100GHz frequency, and that is an achievement in broadband switch technology," lead researcher Deji Akinwande, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a prepared statement. And the premise is simple: the switches stay off most of the time. Unless the radio-frequency switches are actively helping the device jump between networks at that precise point in time, they stay off, preserving precious battery life for other processes. To build it, the scientists used a nanomaterial called hexagonal boron nitride, a newcomer in the materials science field that comes from the same family as graphene, a honeycomb-lattice sheet of carbon atoms used in everything from bike tires to cleaning up radioactive waste. According to research in Semiconductors and Semimetals, hexagonal boron nitride is only as thick as a single layer of atoms and is the thinnest known insulator in the world, with a thickness of 0.33 nanometers (for comparison's sake, a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers thick). In this case, these scientists used a single layer of boron and nitrogen atoms in a honeycomb pattern. Then, they sandwiched the layers between a set of gold electrodes. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Electronics.

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Categories: Technology

Class of Stellar Explosions Found To Be Galactic Producers of Lithium

Tue, 2020-06-02 08:00
A team of researchers, led by astrophysicist Sumner Starrfield of Arizona State University, has combined theory with both observations and laboratory studies and determined that a class of stellar explosions, called classical novae, are responsible for most of the lithium in our galaxy and solar system. The results of their study have been recently published in the Astrophysical Journal of the American Astronomical Society. Phys.Org reports: Several methods were used by the authors in this study to determine the amount of lithium produced in a nova explosion. They combined computer predictions of how lithium is created by the explosion, how the gas is ejected and what its total chemical composition should be, along with telescope observations of the ejected gas, to actually measure the composition. [Astrophysicist Sumner Starrfield of Arizona State University] used his computer codes to simulate the explosions and worked with co-author and American Astronomical Fellow Charles E. Woodward of the University of Minnesota and co-author Mark Wagner of the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Tucson and Ohio State to obtain data on nova explosions using ground-based telescopes, orbiting telescopes and the Boeing 747 NASA observatory called SOFIA. Co-authors and nuclear astrophysicists Christian Iliadis of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and W. Raphael Hix of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee, Knoxville provided insight into the nuclear reactions within stars that were essential to solving the differential equations needed for this study. "Our ability to model where stars get their energy depends on understanding nuclear fusion where light nuclei are fused to heavier nuclei and release energy," Starrfield said. "We needed to know under what stellar conditions we can expect the nuclei to interact and what the products of their interaction are." Co-author and isotope cosmochemist Maitrayee Bose of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration analyzes meteorites and interplanetary dust particles that contain tiny rocks that formed in different kinds of stars. "Our past studies have indicated that a small fraction of stardust in meteorites formed in novae," Bose said. "So the valuable input from that work was that nova outbursts contributed to the molecular cloud that formed our solar system." Bose further states that their research is predicting very specific compositions of stardust grains that form in nova outbursts and have remained unchanged since they were formed.

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Categories: Technology

135-Year-Long Streak Is Over: Renewables Overtake Coal, But Lag Far Behind Oil and Natural Gas

Tue, 2020-06-02 04:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: Last week the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported something extraordinary. For the first time in 135 years, last year U.S. consumption of renewables surpassed consumption of coal. There are two interrelated reasons for this: The collapse of coal consumption over the past decade, which was fueled by the rise of cheaper alternatives. I have covered the reasons for coal's collapse previously. The short version is that policies to curb carbon emissions were put in place about the same time the shale boom and renewable power revolutions created cheaper, cleaner alternatives to coal. The graphic above shows the surge in renewables that helped collapse coal demand. This surge is better shown by the following graphic, which highlights the three categories of modern renewables that have driven the consumption surge: Wind power, solar power, and biofuels. The report points out that fossil fuels still dominate our energy consumption. "Last year the U.S. consumed 11.3 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of coal and 11.5 quads of renewables," adds Forbes. "But we also consumed 36.7 quads of petroleum and 32.1 quads of natural gas. Each of these categories of fossil fuel consumption was greater than our combined consumption of renewables and coal, which provides a broader perspective on our energy consumption." "In total, the U.S. consumed 80.5 quads of fossil fuels, 11.5 quads of renewables, and 8.5 quads of nuclear power. Renewables represented 11.4% of U.S. energy consumption in 2019, versus 8.1% a decade ago."

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Categories: Technology

MIT Builds Robot Hand That Can 'See and Feel' Objects

Tue, 2020-06-02 03:05
Robotic hands capable of picking up objects as fragile as a crisp by "sensing" objects have been developed by researchers. The Independent reports: Two new tools built by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) offer a breakthrough in the emerging field of soft robotics -- a new generation of robots that use squishy, flexible materials rather than traditional rigid equipment." These types of soft robots often draw inspiration from living organisms and offer numerous benefits in their versatile functionality. They are able to operate far more delicately than their rigid counterparts, but until now they have lacked the ability to perceive what items they are interacting with. To overcome this, the researchers equipped their robots with various sensors, cameras and software, allowing them to "see and classify" a range of objects. The first robot built of research from MIT and Harvard University in 2019, where a team developed a robotic gripper in the shape of a cone. It worked by collapsing in on an object in a similar way to a Venus flytrap, allowing it to pick up a range of awkwardly shaped objects up to 100-times its weight. By adding tactile sensors, the robot was able to understand what it was picking up and adjust the amount of pressure exerted accordingly. Of the 10 objects used in the experiment, the sensors were able to identify them with an accuracy rate of more than 90 percent. The second robot made use of an innovative "GelFlex" finger, which uses a tendon-driven mechanism and an array of sensors to provide "more nuanced, human-like senses." The team now hopes to fine-tune the sensing algorithms and introduce more complex finger configurations, such as twisting.

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Tesla Model 3 Drives Straight Into Overturned Truck In What Seems To Be Autopilot Failure

Tue, 2020-06-02 02:25
A viral video making the rounds on social media shows a Tesla Model 3 smacking into the roof of an overturned truck trailer. The crash took place on Taiwan's National Highway 1 and appears to be "caused by the Tesla's Autopilot system not detecting the large rectangular object right in front of it, in broad daylight and clear weather," reports Jalopnik. From the report: There's video of the wreck, and you can see the Tesla drives right into the truck, with only what looks like a solitary attempt at braking just before impact. For any human driver paying even the slightest bit of attention, this accident is almost an impossibility, assuming the driver had the gift of sight and functional brakes. Tesla's Autopilot system primarily uses cameras for its Autopilot system, and previous wrecks have suggested that situations like this, a light-colored large immobile object on the road on a bright day can be hard for the system to distinguish. In general, immobile objects are challenging for emergency automatic braking systems and autonomous systems, as if you use radar emitters to trigger braking for immobile objects, cars tend to have far too many false positives and unintended stops than is safe or desirable. News reports from Taiwanese outlets, clumsily translated by machine, do seem to suggest that the driver, a 53-year-old man named Huang, had Autopilot activated: "The Fourth Highway Police Brigade said that driving Tesla was a 53-year-old man named Huang, who claimed to have turned on the vehicle assist system at the time. It was thought that the vehicle would detect an obstacle and slow down or stop, but the car still moved at a fixed speed, so when the brakes were to be applied at the last moment, it would be too late to cause a disaster." Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt in the accident. The takeaway is that regardless of whether Autopilot was working or not the driver should always be paying attention and ready to step in, especially since no Tesla or any currently-available car is fully autonomous.

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Pepper Spray Sales Soar On Amazon

Tue, 2020-06-02 01:45
The unrest following the death of George Floyd has prompted Amazon shoppers to buy pepper spray for self-defense. According to Bloomberg, "a $9.48 canister of Sabre 'max police strength' pepper spray shot up to the top-selling rank in Amazon's sports and outdoors category Monday morning." The No. 2 spot was a neck gaiter, which can cover the nose and mouth. From the report: One Amazon shopper named "Bill" left a 5-star review for the pepper spray May 31 and said "Put the cops down when they mess with you." People are swapping recommendations for self-defense products on social-media platforms like Twitter, where users are posting links to Sabre pepper spray on Amazon. According to customer reviews, the pepper spray can be used for self-defense. Amazon became a pipeline for household essentials such as toilet paper and disinfecting wipes for shoppers hunkered down at home to avoid contracting Covid-19. The spike in pepper spray sales shows how protests around the country are influencing consumer demand. Amazon's best-seller product rankings provide a real-time gauge for sudden swings in consumer demand.

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Google's 'Overpromising' Led To Stadia 'Disappointment,' Says RDR2 Publisher

Tue, 2020-06-02 01:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A year ago, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said he was "pretty optimistic" about Google's Stadia game-streaming service. The concept of "being able to play our games on any device whatsoever around the world, and to do it with low latency, well that's very compelling if that can be delivered," he offered in May of 2019. Now, though, Zelnick has changed his tune a bit. In an interview given during the Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference late last week, Zelnick acknowledges what has been apparent to industry watchers for a while: "The launch of Stadia has been slow," he said. "I think there was some overpromising on what the technology could deliver and some consumer disappointment as a result." While major publishers like EA and Activision stayed away from Stadia's "Founders" launch last November, Take-Two provided three of the service's highest-profile games in its early months -- Red Dead Redemption 2, NBA 2K20, and Borderlands 3. And Zelnick said such Stadia support will continue in the future "as long as the business model makes sense." (Take-Two's PGA Tour 2K21, WWE2K Battlegrounds, and the Mafia series are currently planned for future Stadia release.) That said, Zelnick was pretty bearish on how much of an impact the streaming business model will really have on Take-Two's bottom-line sales. "It's not a game changer," Zelnick said. "People who want our games now can get our games now. The fact that you could stream them and not have to have a console interface is really not that big of a deal."

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Categories: Technology

Setting This Image As Wallpaper Could Soft-Brick Your Phone

Tue, 2020-06-02 00:25
Well-known leaker Universe Ice on Twitter, along with dozens of other users, have discovered that simply setting an image as wallpaper on your phone could cause it to crash and become unable to boot. Android Authority reports: Based on user reports, many models from Samsung and Google are affected, while we've also seen some reports from users of OnePlus, Nokia, and Xiaomi devices (it's not clear if these latter devices ran stock software or custom ROMs). From our own testing and looking at user reports, Huawei devices seem to be less exposed to the wallpaper crash issue. There are a few solutions, depending on how hard the phone is hit. Some users were able to change the wallpaper in the short interval between crashes. Others had success deleting the wallpaper using the recovery tool TWRP. But in most cases, the only solution was to reset the phone to factory settings, losing any data that's not backed up. The issue affects up-to-date phones running Android 10, but as it turns out, it's not actually new. Users have been reporting similar problems for a couple of years, and just last month Android Police reported on what appears to be a closely related issue specifically impacting Pixel phones running the Google Wallpapers app. [...] An issue with a very similar description has been reported in Google's Android issue tracker back in 2018. At the time, Google developers said they were unable to reproduce the issue and closed it out (Hat tip: inverimus on Reddit).

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Microsoft Researchers Say NLP Bias Studies Must Consider Role of Social Hierarchies Like Racism

Mon, 2020-06-01 23:45
As the recently released GPT-3 and several recent studies demonstrate, racial bias, as well as bias based on gender, occupation, and religion, can be found in popular NLP language models. But a team of AI researchers wants the NLP bias research community to more closely examine and explore relationships between language, power, and social hierarchies like racism in their work. That's one of three major recommendations for NLP bias researchers a recent study makes. From a report: Published last week, the work, which includes analysis of 146 NLP bias research papers, also concludes that the research field generally lacks clear descriptions of bias and fails to explain how, why, and to whom that bias is harmful. "Although these papers have laid vital groundwork by illustrating some of the ways that NLP systems can be harmful, the majority of them fail to engage critically with what constitutes 'bias' in the first place," the paper reads. "We argue that such work should examine the relationships between language and social hierarchies; we call on researchers and practitioners conducting such work to articulate their conceptualizations of 'bias' in order to enable conversations about what kinds of system behaviors are harmful, in what ways, to whom, and why; and we recommend deeper engagements between technologists and communities affected by NLP systems."

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After a Breach, Users Rarely Change Their Passwords, Study Finds

Mon, 2020-06-01 23:05
Only around a third of users usually change their passwords following a data breach announcement, according to a recent study published by academics from the Carnegie Mellon University's Security and Privacy Institute (CyLab). From a report: The study, presented earlier this month at the IEEE 2020 Workshop on Technology and Consumer Protection, was not based on survey data, but on actual browser traffic. Academics analyzed real-world web traffic collected with the help of the university's Security Behavior Observatory (SBO), an opt-in research group where users sign up and share their full browser history for the sole purpose of academic research. The research team's dataset included information collected from the home computers of 249 participants. The data was collected between January 2017 and December 2018 and included not only web traffic, passwords used to log into websites and stored inside the browser. Based on their analysis of the data, academics said that of the 249 users, only 63 had accounts on breached domains that publicly announced a data breach during the collection interval. CyLab researchers said that of the 63 users, only 21 (33%) visited the breached sites to change their passwords, and that of these 21, only 15 users changed passwords within three months after the data breach announcement.

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Apple Releases iOS 13.5.1, Patching Out the Unc0ver Jailbreak

Mon, 2020-06-01 22:25
Apple has released iOS 13.5.1 today, which the company says "provides important security updates and is recommended for all users," albeit without much detail in the change log. But as noted by Twitter account Apple Software Updates, the update is meant to patch out the kernel vulnerability used by the recent Unc0ver jailbreak. The Verge reports: Apple's support page lays things out more clearly -- the update was designed to prevent an application from being able to "execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges." In other words, iOS 13.5.1 is designed to block jailbreaking. The Unc0ver jailbreak was particularly notable in the iOS jailbreaking community because it was available on the then-current iOS 13.5, allowing users of the latest Apple devices to install new software features outside of Apple's gated App Store.

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AI Isn't Magical and Won't Help You Reopen Your Business

Mon, 2020-06-01 21:45
The coronavirus is helping to erode the hype around artificial intelligence; data scientists get the axe and some 'old-fashioned' solutions work better. From a report: When SharpestMinds, a startup that sells mentoring services to data scientists, surveyed its alumni in April and again in May, it found that 6% of respondents had been affected by furloughs, pay cuts or layoffs. That's a drop on the ocean compared to the enormous layoffs in, say, the restaurant business, but it's notable because these jobs are generally thought to be business-critical roles requiring high-demand specialized skill sets. Uber recently shut down its AI research lab, and Airbnb's layoffs included at least 29 full-time data scientists, according to its directory of those let go. The pain for data scientists will likely increase as companies rethink how they spend, predicts SharpestMinds founder Edouard Harris. Hiring for such roles has slowed significantly, down by 50% since before the pandemic, he adds. On the other hand, that means there's still demand, though it's diminished. What's happening is not so much a reckoning as a "rationalization" of the application of AI in businesses, says Rajeev Sharma, head of enterprise AI at Pactera Edge, a technology-consulting firm. "[Companies] feel this is a time they can get rid of extra hires or lower performers who are not a good cultural fit," he adds.

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George Floyd: Anonymous Hackers Reemerge Amid US Unrest

Mon, 2020-06-01 21:05
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: As the United States deals with widespread civil unrest across dozens of cities, "hacktivist" group Anonymous has returned from the shadows. The hacker collective was once a regular fixture in the news, targeting those it accused of injustice with cyber-attacks. After years of relative quiet, it appears to have re-emerged in the wake of violent protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, promising to expose the "many crimes" of the city's police to the world. However, it's not easy to pin down what, if anything, is genuinely the mysterious group's work. Various forms of cyber-attack are being attributed to Anonymous in relation to the George Floyd protests. First, the Minneapolis police department website was temporarily taken offline over the weekend in a suspected Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. This is an unsophisticated but effective form of cyber-attack that floods a server with data until it can't keep up and stops working -- in the same way that shopping websites can go offline when too many people flood it to snap up high-demand products. A database of email addresses and passwords claiming to be hacked from the police department's system is also in circulation, and being linked to Anonymous. However, there is no evidence that the police servers have been hacked and one researcher, Troy Hunt, says the credentials are likely to have been compiled from older data breaches. A page on the website of a minor United Nations agency has been turned into a memorial for Mr Floyd, replacing its contents with the message "Rest in Power, George Floyd", along with an Anonymous logo. On Twitter, unverified posts have also gone viral, apparently showing police radios playing music and preventing communication. However, experts suggest it is unlikely to be a hack, and could instead be the result of a stolen piece of hardware being commandeered by protesters on the scene -- if the videos are genuine in the first place. Anonymous activists are also circulating years-old accusations against President Trump, taken from documents in a civil court case that was voluntarily dismissed by the accuser before it went to trial.

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Categories: Technology

Sony Postpones PS5 Event 'To Allow More Important Voices To Be Heard'

Mon, 2020-06-01 20:25
Sony is postponing its PlayStation 5 event that was scheduled for June 4th due to ongoing protests. From a report: "While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration," says Sony in a Twitter message. "And for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard."

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India's Richest Man Built a Telecom Operator Everyone Wants a Piece Of

Mon, 2020-06-01 19:49
As investors' appetites sour in the midst of a pandemic, a three-and-a-half-year-old Indian firm has secured $10.3 billion in a month from Facebook and four U.S.-headquartered private equity firms. From a report: The major deals for Reliance Jio Platforms have sparked a sudden interest among analysts, executives and readers at a time when many are skeptical of similar big check sizes that some investors wrote to several young startups, many of which are today struggling to make sense of their finances. Prominent investors across the globe, including in India, have in recent weeks cautioned startups that they should be prepared for the "worst time" as new checks become elusive. Elsewhere in India, the world's second-largest internet market and where all startups together raised a record $14.5 billion last year, firms are witnessing down rounds (where their valuations are slashed). Miten Sampat, an angel investor, said last week that startups should expect a 40%-50% haircut in their valuations if they do get an investment offer. Facebook's $5.7 billion investment valued the company at $57 billion. But U.S. private equity firms Silver Lake, Vista, General Atlantic, and KKR -- all the other deals announced in the past five weeks -- are paying a 12.5% premium for their stake in Jio Platforms, valuing it at $65 billion.

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New Ebola Outbreak Declared in Congo City That Last Saw the Virus in 2018

Mon, 2020-06-01 19:08
Congo's health minister confirmed the discovery of a new Ebola case in the country's Equateur province, which last saw an outbreak of the highly deadly virus in 2018, ultimately killing 33 people there. From a report: The province's governor, Bobo Boloko Bolumbu, spoke on national radio earlier on Monday, saying there were five likely cases and that four of those infected had already died. He said the cases were found in Mbandaka, the provincial capital, which is home to more than 1 million people and is an important port city at the confluence of the Congo and Ruki rivers, which are heavily plied for trade and transport. The World Health Organization's director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said later on Monday that six cases had been identified by Congo's Health Ministry. He said the WHO's response was already underway. No cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Mbandaka, although more than 3,000 have been confirmed across Congo. The coronavirus and Ebola are unrelated. Ebola, which is endemic to Africa's tropical rainforests, is transmitted only through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids and manifests as a hemorrhagic fever accompanied in severe cases by vomiting and extensive internal bleeding. Congo has grappled for almost two years with a separate Ebola outbreak in its northeastern provinces that has killed 2,272 people so far. In April, the end of that outbreak, the country's worst, had been just days away from being declared over when new cases were found. The same region is also home to the world's largest ongoing measles outbreak. Further reading: WHO's statement. .

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Behind Tech Layoffs Lay Systemic Cash Flow Negative Companies

Mon, 2020-06-01 18:28
An anonymous reader shares an analysis: Since the pandemic started, there's been approximately 61,260 tech layoffs. Close to 30% of the layoffs came from public tech companies, 85% of those companies are unprofitable. No deep insights here, just the simple fact that the once growth hyper focused startups grew to be publicly traded companies without ever sorting their unit economics, and now their mediocracy has real consequences on real people. This includes household names such as Uber, Lyft, Casper, and Eventbrite which we've all used, and raises the question: why did we allow so many unprofitable companies IPO? When did losing money become acceptable and the new normal for publicly traded companies? Chamath Palihapitiya's "VC Ponzi Scheme" monologue comes to mind.

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Publishers File Suit Against Internet Archive for Systematic Mass Scanning and Distribution of Literary Works

Mon, 2020-06-01 17:49
Today, member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive (IA) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit asks the Court to enjoin IA's mass scanning, public display, and distribution of entire literary works, which it offers to the public at large through global-facing businesses coined "Open Library" and "National Emergency Library," accessible at both openlibrary.org and archive.org. In a statement, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) wrote: IA has brazenly reproduced some 1.3 million bootleg scans of print books, including recent works, commercial fiction and non-fiction, thrillers, and children's books. The plaintiffs --Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons and Penguin Random House -- publish many of the world's preeminent authors, including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Newbery Medal, Man Booker Prize, Caldecott Medal and Nobel Prize. Despite the self-serving library branding of its operations, IA's conduct bears little resemblance to the trusted role that thousands of American libraries play within their communities and as participants in the lawful copyright marketplace. IA scans books from cover to cover, posts complete digital files to its website, and solicits users to access them for free by signing up for Internet Archive Accounts. The sheer scale of IA's infringement described in the complaint -- and its stated objective to enlarge its illegal trove with abandon -- appear to make it one of the largest known book pirate sites in the world. IA publicly reports millions of dollars in revenue each year, including financial schemes that support its infringement design. In willfully ignoring the Copyright Act, IA conflates the separate markets and business models made possible by the statute's incentives and protections, robbing authors and publishers of their ability to control the manner and timing of communicating their works to the public. IA not only conflates print books and eBooks, it ignores the well-established channels in which publishers do business with bookstores, e-commerce platforms, and libraries, including for print and eBook lending. As detailed in the complaint, IA makes no investment in creating the literary works it distributes and appears to give no thought to the impact of its efforts on the quality and vitality of the authorship that fuels the marketplace of ideas.

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