Fourth-Largest Coal Producer In the US Files For Bankruptcy
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
Cloud Peak Energy, the U.S.' fourth-largest coal mining company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last week as the company missed an extension deadline to make a $1.8 million loan payment. In a statement, Cloud Peak said it will continue to operate its three massive coal mines in Wyoming and Montana while it goes through the restructuring process. Colin Marshall, the president and CEO of the company, said that he believed a sale of the company's assets "will provide the best opportunity to maximize value for Cloud Peak Energy."
Cloud Peak was one of the few major coal producers who escaped the significant coal industry downturn between 2015 and 2016. That bought it a reputation for prudence and business acumen. But thinning margins have strained the mining company as customers for thermal coal continue to dry up. Coal-fired electricity is expected to fall this summer, even though summer months are usually boom times for coal plants as air conditioning bolsters electricity demand. That's because cheap natural gas and a boost in renewable capacity have displaced dirtier, more expensive coal. According to the Casper Star Tribune, Cloud Peak shipped 50 million tons of coal in 2018. The paper noted that after the bankruptcy filing, "speculation almost immediately began that Cloud Peak would sell its mines."
Scientists Help Artificial Intelligence Outsmart Hackers
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine:
A hacked message in a streamed song makes Alexa send money to a foreign entity. A self-driving car crashes after a prankster strategically places stickers on a stop sign so the car misinterprets it as a speed limit sign. Fortunately these haven't happened yet, but hacks like this, sometimes called adversarial attacks, could become commonplace -- unless artificial intelligence (AI) finds a way to outsmart them. Now, researchers have found a new way to give AI a defensive edge. The work could not only protect the public. It also helps reveal why AI, notoriously difficult to understand, falls victim to such attacks in the first place. Because some AIs are too smart for their own good, spotting patterns in images that humans can't, they are vulnerable to those patterns and need to be trained with that in mind, the research suggests.
To identify this vulnerability, researchers created a special set of training data: images that look to us like one thing, but look to AI like another -- a picture of a dog, for example, that, on close examination by a computer, has catlike fur. Then the team mislabeled the pictures -- calling the dog picture an image of a cat, for example -- and trained an algorithm to learn the labels. Once the AI had learned to see dogs with subtle cat features as cats, they tested it by asking it to recognize fresh, unmodified images. Even though the AI had been trained in this odd way, it could correctly identify actual dogs, cats, and so on nearly half the time. In essence, it had learned to match the subtle features with labels, whatever the obvious features. The training experiment suggests AIs use two types of features: obvious, macro ones like ears and tails that people recognize, and micro ones that we can only guess at. It further suggests adversarial attacks aren't just confusing an AI with meaningless tweaks to an image. In those tweaks, the AI is smartly seeing traces of something else. An AI might see a stop sign as a speed limit sign, for example, because something about the stickers actually makes it subtly resemble a speed limit sign in a way that humans are too oblivious to comprehend. Engineers could change the way they train AI to help outsmart adversarial attacks. When the researchers trained an algorithm on images without the subtle features, "their image recognition software was fooled by adversarial attacks
only 50% of the time," reports Science Magazine. "That compares with a 95% rate of vulnerability when the AI was trained on images with both obvious and subtle patterns."
Class-Action Lawsuit Says TurboTax Tricked Taxpayers Into Paying For 'Free' Tax Prep
Less than a week after ProPublica found that TurboTax
lied to taxpayers about its free filing program, "a new class action lawsuit against TurboTax maker Intuit claims the tax service breached its agreement with the Internal Revenue Service by
intentionally obscuring its free filing service and charging qualifying taxpayers anyway," reports Gizmodo. From the report:
The complaint was filed Sunday in a California district court on behalf of plaintiffs from three different states. TurboTax's free filing service is offered -- alongside programs from other tax companies -- in partnership with the IRS and is meant to benefit 70 percent of U.S. taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $66,000 or less. In TurboTax's case, the free filing service should be offered to those with adjusted gross incomes of $34,000 or less, per the IRS Free File Software page.
But according to the suit, TurboTax violated its agreement with the IRS by separating its free filing page from its primary service as well as by intentionally hiding the service from search engines -- and therefore qualifying taxpayers -- by altering its code, a discovery unearthed through ongoing investigations into TurboTax's practices by ProPublica. Additionally, TurboTax is accused of using language meant to lead taxpayers to believe that its primary service is free only to later charge them. When asked about the lawsuit, a spokesperson for TurboTax said in a statement: "We are committed to offering Americans the ability to file their taxes for free, and we're committed to the IRS Free File program. More IRS Free File returns have been filed using a TurboTax product than any other of the member companies -- including approximately 1.2 million returns this tax season. We look forward to working with the IRS and private industry to improve the Free File program and help it continue to grow."
Lenovo Launches HoloLens Competitor
launching a new AR-and-VR system targeted at businesses. It's called ThinkReality, and from the looks and description of the device and platform, it looks like a competitor for
Microsoft's HoloLens. Engadget reports:
There are two parts to the new ThinkReality system -- the AR headset and a software platform. The ThinkReality A6 is a comfortable 380-gram headset with two fisheye cameras on the front, as well as depth sensors and a 13-megapixel RGB sensor. There's also microphones onboard for voice control, and the headset can also detect where you're gazing to optimize resolution or navigation. You'll also be able to interact with your virtual environments using an included 3DoF controller. Untethered, the A6 can last up to four hours with its 6,800mAh battery, and you can still use the device while it's plugged in and charging.
The headset connects to an SSD-sized compute box that contains a Snapdragon 845 CPU running an Android-based platform. There's also an Intel Movidius chips powering waveguide optics here, and each eye on the A6 offers a 40-degree diagonal field of view and 1080p resolution. By comparison, the HoloLens 2 uses a Snapdragon 850 CPU and packs two 2K MEMS displays. Microsoft also squeezes all the computing components into the headset rather than in a separate box like Lenovo does. While I'm not a fan of having to carry around an additional accessory to power a headset, this setup does make the ThinkReality A6 lighter, so it's a compromise I'm willing to make. You can wear the box on a belt clip or an armband, which should make it easy to move around when wearing this setup at work. Lenovo claims this is "one of the lightest fully featured AR headsets in its class," and during a brief trial with a non-working model, I certainly found the A6 lightweight.
5G Networks Will Likely Interfere With US Weather Satellites, Navy Warns
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
A U.S. Navy memo warns that 5G mobile networks are likely to interfere with weather satellites, and senators are urging the Federal Communications Commission to avoid issuing new spectrum licenses to wireless carriers until changes are made to prevent harms to weather forecasting. The FCC has already begun an auction of 24GHz spectrum that would be used in 5G networks. But Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, asking him to avoid issuing licenses to winning bidders "until the FCC approves the passive band protection limits that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determine are necessary to protect critical satellite-based measurements of atmospheric water vapor needed to forecast the weather."
The internal Navy memo on the topic, written on March 27 by U.S. Naval Observatory Superintendent Marc Eckardt, was made public by Wyden and Cantwell today. The Navy memo cited NOAA and NASA studies on interference from 24GHz spectrum, which is intended for mobile use and is adjacent to spectrum used for weather operations. "[A]s such, it is expected that interference will result in a partial-to-complete loss of remotely sensed water-vapor measurements," the Navy memo said. "It is also expected that impacts will be concentrated in urban areas of the United States first." The problem could affect Navy and Marine Corps forecasts of tropical cyclones as well as rain, ice, and snow, the memo said. The Navy memo recommends asking the FCC to "tighten out-of-band interference by reducing bleed-over limits to -57dB." The memo also says the Navy should "work with NOAA and NASA to continually assess and quantify actual impacts" and develop mitigations including "limited use of other channels, substitution of lesser-fidelity parameters, and the development of new techniques and algorithms through new research and development."
It's Almost Impossible To Tell If Your iPhone Has Been Hacked
An anonymous reader writes:
A recent vulnerability in WhatsApp shows that there's little defenders can do to detect and analyze iPhone hacks. Some iOS security experts say this is yet another incident that shows iOS is so locked down it's hard -- if not impossible -- to figure out if your own iPhone has been hacked.
[...] "The simple reality is there are so many 0-day exploits for iOS," said Stefan Esser, a security researcher that specializes in iOS. "And the only reason why just a few attacks have been caught in the wild is that iOS phones by design hinder defenders to inspect the phones." As of today, there is no specific tool that an iPhone user can download to analyze their phone and figure out if it has been compromised. In 2016, Apple took down an app made by Esser that was specifically designed to detect malicious jailbreaks.
Walmart Announces Next-Day Delivery, Firing Back At Amazon
Walmart will now
offer shoppers the option to have their online orders delivered the next day, following Amazon's recently announced plans to spend $800 million for one-day delivery for all Amazon Prime members. CNBC reports:
Walmart said Tuesday it is rolling out next-day delivery in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California over the next few days and will expand it to reach roughly 75% of American consumers by the end of 2019, including 40 of the top 50 major metros. Amazon hasn't yet detailed a timeline for its own rollout of next-day shipping. But even before its April announcement, the company had offered same-day and two-hour delivery for Prime members in certain markets for certain products and at an additional cost. Amazon's next-day shipping plan expands the number of items and ZIP codes eligible for expedited service.
Walmart isn't disclosing the cost of its latest delivery push. But the company says it has been working on it for quite some time. To start, next-day delivery will be available for about 220,000 items "most frequently purchased" online, Walmart said, including toys and electronics. The company said it plans to make more items available to ship next day over time. And the option is only free for orders over $35. Amazon, for comparison, has no minimum purchase threshold for free, next-day delivery but requires customers to have a Prime membership, which costs $119 annually.
'Hard-To-Fix' Cisco Flaw Puts Work Email At Risk
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC:
Security researchers have discovered serious vulnerabilities affecting dozens of Cisco devices. The flaws allow hackers to deceive the part of the product hardware that checks whether software updates come from legitimate sources. Experts believe this could put emails sent within an organization at risk as they may use compromised routers. Messages sent externally constitute less of a risk, however, as they tend to be encrypted. The California-based firm said it is working on "software fixes" for all affected hardware.
"We've shown that we can quietly and persistently disable the Trust Anchor," Red Balloon chief executive Ang Cui, told Wired magazine. "That means we can make arbitrary changes to a Cisco router, and the Trust Anchor will still report that the device is trustworthy. Which is scary and bad, because this is in every important Cisco product. Everything." Security experts believe that the vulnerability could cause a major headache for Cisco, which has listed dozens of its products as vulnerable on its website. "We don't know how many devices could have been affected and it's unlikely Cisco can tell either," said Prof Alan Woodward, a computer security expert based at Surrey University. "It could cost Cisco a lot of money." Security firm Red Balloon has set up
a website with more details on the vulnerabilities, which they are calling "Thrangycat."
Microsoft Patches 'Wormable' Flaw in Windows XP, 7 and Windows 2003
Microsoft today is taking the unusual step of
releasing security updates for unsupported but still widely-used Windows operating systems like XP and Windows 2003, citing the discovery of a "wormable" flaw that the company says could be used to fuel a fast-moving malware threat like the WannaCry ransomware attacks of 2017. From a report:
The vulnerability (CVE-2019-0708) resides in the "remote desktop services" component built into supported versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008. It also is present in computers powered by Windows XP and Windows 2003, operating systems for which Microsoft long ago stopped shipping security updates. Microsoft said the company has not yet observed any evidence of attacks against the dangerous security flaw, but that it is trying to head off a serious and imminent threat.
Google Is About To Have a Lot More Ads On Phones
The Verge reports on the
types Google announced today that
will start showing up throughout its mobile products, including some that interrupt the core Google search and discovery experiences. From the report:
Google searches on mobile will soon include "gallery" ads that allow advertisers to display multiple images for users to swipe through. You'll also begin to see ads in Google's discover feed -- the feed of news stories that you find built into many Android home screens, inside the Google app, and on Google's mobile homepage -- though they'll only appear in select locations for now. The new ad formats are meant to make ads a lot more noticeable. In a blog post, Google ad chief Prabhakar Raghavan says that, in tests, gallery ads resulted in "up to 25 percent more interactions" than traditional search ads.
Gallery ads will only be launching on mobile, not the desktop. Discover ads will appear in Google's mobile app, as well as on the discover feed on Android phones. Google tells us those ads won't appear in the discover feed that's built into the google.com mobile homepage. [...] The discover feed -- a personalized feed of recommended news stories that Google displays on mobile -- will also be getting ads for the first time. They'll appear just like any other story, with an image on top, a headline, and a subject field with more information. But they'll have a small badge that says "ad" to let users know it's sponsored. Those ads will extend to YouTube as well, where they'll slot in alongside recommended videos. Discover ads will also roll out later this year.
Google's Censored Search Would Help China 'Be More Open', Said Ex-CEO Eric Schmidt
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has defended the company's plan to build a censored version of its search engine in China. From a report:
In an interview with the BBC on Monday, Schmidt said that he wasn't involved in decisions to build the censored search platform, codenamed Dragonfly. But he insisted that there were "many benefits" to working with China and said he was an advocate of operating in the country because he believed it could "help change China to be more open." As The Intercept first revealed in August, Google developed a prototype of the censored search engine that was designed to remove content that China's ruling Communist Party regime deems sensitive. The search engine would have blacklisted thousands of words and phrases, including terms such as "human rights," "student protest," and "Nobel Prize" in Mandarin.
Google Exec's Internal Email On Data Leak Policy Rattles Employees
With employees organizing sit-ins over retaliation and continuing to agitate for change,
Google is locking down internal communications. From a report:
Google's top legal executive Kent Walker sent an all-staff email on Thursday informing employees that accessing documents classified as "need to know" without permission could result in termination, sources inside the company tell BuzzFeed News. After BuzzFeed News contacted Google about the email, Walker sent an update on Tuesday in the company's daily newsletter, clarifying that employees were typically only terminated when intentional violations resulted in data leaks, risks to user privacy, or harm to co-workers.
The Thursday email, titled "An important reminder on data classifications," referenced changes to Google's data security policy that were updated in October. Although the policy has been in place since 2007, and updates are visible internally, employees weren't notified by email at the time. The timing of the email announcement rattled employees who've been involved with organizing within the company's ranks and who told BuzzFeed News they saw it as a blow to internal accountability mechanisms. These employees said the "need to know" language in the data security policy leaves which particular documents are considered "need to know" up to Google's interpretation; "need to know" documents aren't necessarily labeled as such, and the punishment for accessing such documents without permission can vary, but include termination.
San Francisco Could Be First US City To Ban Facial-Recognition Technology
San Francisco, long one of the most tech-friendly and tech-savvy cities in the world, is poised to prohibit its government from using facial-recognition technology. From a report:
A proposed ban is part of a broader anti-surveillance ordinance that the city's Board of Supervisors is expected to approve on Tuesday. If passed -- a majority of the board's 11 supervisors have expressed support for it -- it will make San Francisco the first city in the United States to outlaw the use of such technology by the police and other government departments. The ordinance could also spur other local governments to take similar action. Facial-recognition systems are increasingly used everywhere from police departments to rock concerts to homes, stores and schools. They are designed to identify specific people from live video feeds, recorded video footage or still photos, often by comparing their features with a set of faces (such as mugshots).
Europe Sticks a Knife Into Vegan Meat
The European Union is trying to put vegetables back in their box. From a report:
The trading bloc's agriculture committee wants to ban vegan food products from using terms such as burger and sausage on their labels. The logic is that consumers expect their burgers to be made of pork or beef and will be duped by plant-based pretenders. More likely the region's livestock industry smells danger. Meat-alternative products made by companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods appeal to a growing number of consumers that want to cut down on meat. A high-profile report from the EAT-Lancet Commission warned that red-meat consumption needs to halve by 2050 to avoid serious health and environmental problems. Whether or not consumers are fooled, vegan brands have found success in giving a meaty flavor to their marketing.
Intel CPUs Released in Last 8 Years Impacted by New Zombieload Side-Channel Attack
Academics have discovered a new
class of vulnerabilities in Intel processors that can allow attackers to retrieve data being processed inside a CPU. From a report:
The leading attack in this new vulnerability class is a security flaw named Zombieload, which is another side-channel attack in the same category as Meltdown, Spectre, and Foreshadow. Just like the first three, Zombieload is exploited by taking advantage of the speculative execution process, which is an optimization technique that Intel added to its CPUs to improve data processing speeds and performance. For more than a year, academics have been poking holes in various components of the speculative execution process, revealing ways to leak data from various CPU buffer zones and data processing operations. Meltdown, Spectre, and Foreshadow have shown how various CPU components leak data during the speculative execution process.
Today, an international team of academics -- including some of the people involved in the original Meltdown and Spectre research -- along with security researchers from Bitdefender have disclosed a new attack impacting the speculative execution process. This one is what researchers have named a Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) attack, and targets a CPU's microarchitectural data structures, such as the load, store, and line fill buffers, which the CPU uses for fast reads/writes of data being processed inside the CPU. [...] In a research paper published today, academics say that all Intel CPUs released since 2011 are most likely vulnerable. Processors for desktops, laptops, and (cloud) servers are all impacted, researchers said on a special website they've set up with information about the Zombieload flaws.
OnePlus 7 Pro Boasts a 90Hz Screen, Three Cameras, and Costs $669
Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has revealed two flagship smartphones:
the OnePlus 7, and the OnePlus 7 Pro. From a report:
The OnePlus 7 Pro's headlining features include a 6.67-inch AMOLED display (resolution: 3120 x 1440 pixels) with a 90Hz refresh rate, upgraded fast charging, and a telephoto lens -- and they don't come cheap. At $669, the 7 Pro's sticker price is far higher than that of previous OnePlus devices. The OnePlus 7 Pro's edge-to-edge waterproof design is very "of the moment," and that's not a knock against it. Much like the displays on Samsung's Galaxy S10 series and Huawei's P30 Pro, the OnePlus 7 Pro's is rounded at each corner along the contours of the frame and slightly tapered at either edge, slightly curving toward the rear cover. Other features of the OnePlus 7 Pro include a Snapdragon 855 SoC; 6GB or 8GB, or 12GB RAM; 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.0 storage; 4,000mAh battery; "Warp charge" fast charging (no wireless charging). For its camera system, the OnePlus 7 Pro has three different cameras on the back, with a 48-megapixel main sensor, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. There is a 16-megapixel on front in a motorized module that pops up out of the top of the phone -- meaning the display has notch, or any other cut out. The phone runs Android 9 with OxygenOS skin. Now, about the OnePlus 7:
So the OnePlus 7 won't hit U.S. stores. It makes do without a retractable selfie cam (it's got a notch instead) and it omits the 7 Pro's curved screen edges in favor of a thicker border between the display's left and right side and the frame. The ultra-wide angle sensor is missing in action, but as something of a consolation, the OnePlus 7 features a slightly larger battery -- 4,150mAh -- that's compatible with Warp Charge. The OnePlus 7's price has yet to be announced, but it's expected to be a good deal cheaper than the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Disney is Taking Full Control of Hulu
Disney's takeover of Hulu is just about complete. Comcast on Tuesday
agreed to sell its ownership stake in the streaming video service to Disney. The sale won't happen for at least another five years, but Disney will take full operational control of Hulu right now. From a report:
The deal is a sign of how much streaming video has changed in the last few years. Hulu was at one time a joint venture between several media titans: Disney (DIS), 21st Century Fox, Comcast's NBCUniversal and Time Warner (now WarnerMedia). None of those companies had majority control. Now Hulu is effectively a Disney product. The company became the majority stakeholder in the streaming video service after it closed a deal for most of Fox's assets in March. Last month, WarnerMedia -- now owned by AT&T -- agreed to sell its 9.5% interest back to Hulu. Comcast owns roughly a third of Hulu. Under the terms of the deal, Comcast will sell its interest to Disney for Hulu's fair market value no earlier than 2024. Disney has guaranteed that the sale price will reflect a minimum total equity value of $27.5 billion for Hulu at that time, according to a press release.
Huawei Says It is Willing To Sign 'No-Spy' Agreements With Governments
willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including Britain, the Chinese telecommunications company's chairman said on Tuesday as the United States pressures European countries to shun the firm over spying concerns. From a report:
Washington has told allies not to use Huawei's technology to build new 5G telecommunications networks because of worries it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying, an accusation the firm has denied.
Who To Sue When a Robot Loses Your Fortune
An anonymous reader
shares a report:
It all started over lunch at a Dubai restaurant on March 19, 2017. It was the first time 45-year-old Li, met Costa, the 49-year-old Italian who's often known by peers in the industry as "Captain Magic." During their meal, Costa described a robot hedge fund his company London-based Tyndaris Investments would soon offer to manage money entirely using AI, or artificial intelligence. Developed by Austria-based AI company 42.cx, the supercomputer named K1 would comb through online sources like real-time news and social media to gauge investor sentiment and make predictions on US stock futures. It would then send instructions to a broker to execute trades, adjusting its strategy over time based on what it had learned.
The idea of a fully automated money manager inspired Li instantly. He met Costa for dinner three days later, saying in an email beforehand that the AI fund "is exactly my kind of thing." Over the following months, Costa shared simulations with Li showing K1 making double-digit returns, although the two now dispute the thoroughness of the back-testing. Li eventually let K1 manage $2.5bn -- $250m of his own cash and the rest leverage from Citigroup. The plan was to double that over time. But Li's affection for K1 waned almost as soon as the computer started trading in late 2017. By February 2018, it was regularly losing money, including over $20m in a single day -- Feb. 14 -- due to a stop-loss order Li's lawyers argue wouldn't have been triggered if K1 was as sophisticated as Costa led him to believe.
Adobe Warns Creative Cloud Users With Older Apps of Legal Problems
Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers who haven't updated their apps in a while may want to check their inboxes. The software company has sent out emails to customers warning them of being "
at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties" if they continue using outdated versions of CC apps, including Photoshop and Lightroom. From a report:
These emails even list the old applications installed on the subscribers' systems, and in some cases, they mention what the newest available versions are. In a response to a customer complaint on Twitter, the AdobeCare account said users can only download the two most recent variants of CC apps going forward.
A spokesperson said in a statement, "Adobe recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications. Customers using those versions have been notified that they are no longer licensed to use them and were provided guidance on how to upgrade to the latest authorized versions." However, the spokesperson said Adobe can't comment on claims of third-party infringement, as it concerns ongoing litigation.
Making America Carbon Neutral Could Cost $1 Trillion a Year
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg:
Democrats have introduced a host of plans designed to make the U.S. carbon neutral. Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke outlined a $5 trillion scheme to reach that target by 2050, and other candidates are expected to follow suit. New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other backers of the Green New Deal are calling for an even more aggressive timeline: net-zero emissions by 2030. Meanwhile, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who's basing his run for the Democratic presidential nomination on fighting climate change, has released a "100% Clean Energy for America Plan." Any U.S. effort to cut net emissions to zero would "be a massive project over decades," says Alex Trembath, deputy director of the Breakthrough Institute, an Oakland, California-based environmental research group. The goal of 2050 is "a reach, but it's perfectly feasible in terms of technological innovation and scaling," Trembath adds, but 2030 "is functionally impossible."
It would also be costly. Cleaning up U.S. industries may require investments amounting to more than $1 trillion annually by 2050, according to the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, a global collaboration of energy research teams led by the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development & International Relations and the United Nations-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network. That's in line with an estimate by BNEF that found achieving the Green New Deal's goals of de-carbonizing the U.S.'s energy, transport, and agriculture sectors would cost roughly $980 billion a year. Critics say the costs would be even higher, and would unfairly penalize the U.S. economy given that China, India, and other carbon dioxide-emitting countries in the world aren't doing their share. The report goes on to note that doing nothing to mitigate the effects of climate change could cost companies $1.2 trillion during the next 15 years, "and if everyone does nothing, everyone's economy will be penalized."
NASA Says the Moon Is Shrinking and Experiencing 'Moonquakes'
The moon is getting smaller, which
causes wrinkles in its surface and moonquakes, according to a new study sponsored by NASA. Time Magazine reports:
As the moon's interior cools, it shrinks, which causes its hard surface to crack and form fault lines, according to research sponsored by NASA. The moon has gotten about 150 feet skinnier over the last few hundred million years. Astronauts have placed seismometers on the moon over a series of past missions. Scientists, who determined that the moonquakes are close enough to the fault lines to establish causality, published their analysis in a study in Nature Geoscience on Monday, according to NASA. The space agency has also recorded evidence of fault lines in a series of images. "Our analysis gives the first evidence that these faults are still active and likely producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool and shrink," said Thomas Watters, lead author of the study. Watters says that the quakes can register around a five on the Richter scale.
Algorithmic Analysis Shows That Pop Music Is Sadder and Angrier Than Ever
BBC Culture reports -- with some neat graphs in the article -- on two different scientific studies that both found that chart-topping pop music has been getting steadily sadder and angrier since the 1950s, and that both song lyrics and the musical tone in hit songs are sadder, more fearful, and angrier than ever before in history. Lior Shamir of Lawrence Technical University found the following trends in his algorithmic analysis of Billboard Hot 100 hit song lyrics: "Expressions of anger and disgust roughly doubled over those 65 years, for instance, while fear increased by more than 50%. Remarkably, today's songs are even more aggressive and fearful than in punk's heyday. One probable reason for this is the growing influence of rap music, which, like punk, has reflected social unrest and feelings of disenfranchisement. Sadness, meanwhile, remained stable until the 80s, then steadily increased until the early 2010s, while joy, confidence and openness all steadily declined."
In the second independent study, Natalia Komarova, a University of California Irvine mathematician who had been shocked by the negativity of her daughter's own music taste, found the following: "Looking through half a million songs released in the UK between 1985 and 2015, Komarova and colleagues found that the tone of the music had become less joyful since 1985 -- just as Lior Shamir's analysis of the lyrics had also suggested. Interestingly, Komarova found that the danceability -- as measured by features of the rhythm -- had increased alongside the negative feelings. So, despite the negative feelings they expressed, the songs were also more likely to get people moving. Just consider Robyn's hit Dancing on my Own -- the pulsing synths and percussion belying the lyrics of loneliness and isolation. In terms of albums, Komarova also points to Beyonce's Lemonade and Charlie XCX's Pop 2 mix-tape as being full of dark but danceable tracks."