- Researchers Found a Way To Control Bacteria To Transport Microscopic Cargo
- Firefox Is Launching a New Test Pilot With Scroll To Pay Web Publishers
- Microsoft Throttles Some Office 365 Services To Continue To Meet Demand
- The Supreme Court Says States Cannot Be Sued For Copyright Infringement
- Amazon Prioritizes Essential Products in India, Temporarily Discontinues 'Lower-Priority' Items
- SF Businesses Decline Cash, Fearing it Could Spread the Virus
- Apple Releases iOS 13.4, iPadOS 13.4, macOS 10.15.4, tvOS 13.4, and watchOS 6.2
- Doctors Are Hoarding Unproven Coronavirus Medicine By Writing Prescriptions For Themselves and Their Families
- UPS To Develop New Delivery Drones With German Drone-Maker Wingcopter
- Ford, 3M, GE and the UAW To Build Respirators, Ventilators and Face Shields For Coronavirus Fight
- Comcast Wins Supreme Court Case Over Interpretation of Civil Rights Law
- Meet the Chinese OS That's Trying To Shift the Country Off Windows
- Akamai To Slow Video Game Downloads To Minimize Internet Congestion
- We May Finally Be Able To Destroy a Dreaded 'Forever Chemical' in Our Drinking Water
- YouTube To Limit Video Quality Around the World for a Month
- Google, LG, Don't Want Qualcomm's Super-Expensive Flagship Processor Snapdragon 865, Reports Say
- India Under Lockdown for 21 Days To Fight Coronavirus
- Warmer Weather May Slow, But Not Halt, Coronavirus
- Mozilla Launches New Initiative With Scroll To Fund Publishers
- Labs Are Euthanizing Thousands of Mice In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic
- HP Teases 'Next Gen' VR Headset Made With Microsoft and Valve's Help
- Star Wars: Tatooine Was Likely Orbiting In the Same Plane As Its Twin Suns
Researchers Found a Way To Control Bacteria To Transport Microscopic Cargo
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org:
Bacteria form the largest biomass in the world, larger than all the animals and plants combined, and they are constantly moving, but their movement is chaotic. The researchers [at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with groups in U.S. and U.K.] pursued the idea that if this motion could be controlled, they might be able to develop it into a biological tool. They used a liquid crystal to dictate the direction of the bacterial movement, and added a microscopic cargo for the bacteria to carry, more than five times the size of the bacteria.
Assistant Professor Amin Doostmohammadi at the Niels Bohr Institute explains that in the past, there have been attempts to control the behavior of bacteria. But he and his colleagues adopted a novel approach: "We thought to ourselves, how about we create a track for the bacteria? The way we do that experimentally is to put the bacteria inside a liquid crystal. The trick is that a liquid crystal is not like a crystal, nor is it a liquid, it is somewhere in between. Each molecule in the crystal has an orientation, but doesn't have a positional order. This means that the molecules can flow like a liquid, but they can also align like a crystal at the same time. [...] Strong jets of bacteria moving in a designated direction without fluctuations is the great outcome of the experiment, according to Amin Doostmohammadi. What usually happens if the jets of bacteria are strong enough to be useful, the concentration of bacteria has to be high, and instabilities typically start to appear. The jet becomes unstable and chaotic. But in the liquid crystal pattern, the instabilities can be largely suppressed and prevent the bacterial jets from becoming chaotic. The pattern dictates the direction. This means it is possible to create jets of bacteria strong enough to carry strings of microscopic cargo, each piece of cargo five times the size of the bacteria themselves.
Firefox Is Launching a New Test Pilot With Scroll To Pay Web Publishers
Mozilla and Scroll have made an earlier-announced partnership slightly more official today with the wider release of a browser extension called "
Firefox Better Web." It's part of Firefox's ongoing effort to combat tracking on the web, but with the small twist that it
includes the option to sign up for Scroll. The Verge reports:
Scroll, if you don't recall, is the $5-a-month service that stops ads from loading on certain websites. It's not technically an ad blocker, but rather lets publishers know they shouldn't serve them in the first place when you visit. For a limited time, the subscription will cost $2.50 per month for the first six months. The Mozilla partnership essentially builds Scroll into a package of tools that Mozilla offers as a test pilot. The idea is to see how far Firefox can go blocking trackers and other malfeasance (short of full ad blocking) without fully breaking the web or de-funding publishers.
The extension includes Scroll and also a "customized Enhanced Tracking Protection setting that will block third-party trackers, fingerprinters, and cryptominers," according to Mozilla. It will work across different desktop browsers, but of course it is designed primarily to be used with Firefox. The deal with Mozilla should get Scroll a much larger userbase, but neither company would disclose any financial terms. Scroll takes a 30 percent cut of your subscription fee and pays the rest out to its partner publishers based on your web browsing habits. It tracks those habits automatically, and the company tells me that it will soon offer users tools to delete their data -- on top of a pledge to never sell that data. Scroll also pledges to make it easier for small publishers to sign up through an automated system soon.
Microsoft Throttles Some Office 365 Services To Continue To Meet Demand
In response to high demand as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft has
started taking action to preserve overall performance by throttling some services. ZDNet reports:
On March 16, Microsoft posted to Microsoft 365/Office 365 admin dashboardds a warning about "temporary feature adjustments" that it might take. That warning told customers that Microsoft was "making temporary adjustments to select non-essential capabilities." Officials said they did not expect these changes to have significan impact on users' experiences. Among the examples of the types of changes Microsoft might take would be things like how often its services check for presence; intervals in which other parties typing are displayed; and video resolution. Today, March 24, Microsoft started cautioning Microsoft 365/Office 365 commercial users of some other "temporary changes" they should expect. The list:
- OneNote in Teams will be read-only for commercial tenants, excluding EDU. Users can go to OneNote for the web for editing.
- Download size and sync frequency of file attachments has been changed.
- You can find details on these and other OneNote related updates at http://aka.ms/notesupdates.
- We are rescheduling specific backend operations to regional evening and weekend business hours. Impacted capabilities include migration, DLP and delays in file management after uploading a new file, video or image.
- Reduced video resolution for playback videos
- People timeline has been disabled for newly uploaded videos. Pre-existing videos will not be impacted.
The Supreme Court Says States Cannot Be Sued For Copyright Infringement
sandbagger shares a report from PetaPixel:
The Supreme Court of the United States dealt a major blow to photographers' copyright protections when it declared that states cannot be sued for copyright infringement because they have "sovereign immunity." The opinion came down as part of a writ of certiorari regarding the case of Allen v Cooper. A writ of certiorari is basically a review of a lower court's decision, and in this case, the Supreme Court has upheld the decision by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which decided that states are immune from copyright infringement lawsuits.
The case began in 2013, when videographer Frederick Allen sued North Carolina for using his videos of the salvage of Queen Anne's Revenge, a shipwreck discovered off the North Carolina coast in 1998, without permission. The state claimed "sovereign immunity," and though they initially lost this argument in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the ruling. Allen appealed one final time, which is how we ended up with today's decision by The Supreme Court.
In essence, the Supreme Court agreed with the Fourth Circuit, ultimately striking down the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) of 1990. This 30-year-old amendment to the Copyright Act of 1976 tried to strip states of their sovereign immunity where copyright was concerned, and it was at the core of Allen's lawsuit. If states can't claim sovereign immunity to get out of copyright infringement, then North Carolina had no defense. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court agreed with the Fourth Circuit, stating that Congress lacked the authority to take away State's immunity in the CRCA, passing the buck back to Congress and giving states carte blanche to infringe with impunity (or, as it were, immunity).
Amazon Prioritizes Essential Products in India, Temporarily Discontinues 'Lower-Priority' Items
Amazon said on Tuesday that it is
temporarily discontinuing accepting orders for "lower-priority" products in India and prioritizing servicing urgent items such as household staples, health care, and personal safety products as the e-commerce player -- along with several of its competitors -- grapples with coronavirus outbreak in one of its key overseas markets. From a report:
"To serve our customers' most urgent needs while also ensuring safety of our employees, we are temporarily prioritizing our available fulfilment and logistics capacity to serve products that are currently critical for our customers such as household staples, packaged food, health care, hygiene, personal safety and other high priority products," the American e-commerce giant said in a statement. "This also means that we have to temporarily stop taking orders and disable shipments for lower-priority products," it added. Understandably, the company said it did not have a timeline to share for how long this new measure would last. Amazon has taken a similar approach in the U.S. and Italy. The move, which goes into effect today, comes as nearly every Indian state has imposed a lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
SF Businesses Decline Cash, Fearing it Could Spread the Virus
When customers step in for a cup of coffee at Ritual Coffee Roasters on Valencia Street, a sign informs them that cash is no longer welcome. The coffee shop wants customers to use contactless forms of payments to pick up their cups of joe, in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. More and more businesses are turning away from cash,
fearing that the virus could be sitting on banknotes and coins, as it exchanges hands from person to person in everyday transactions. From a report:
"Looking at the situation with COVID-19 getting worse, we decided to switch," said Eileen Rinaldo, owner of Ritual Coffee. "Cash is notoriously covered with germs and it's a matter of eliminating that point of contact." The reluctance to take cash is emerging even though San Francisco ordered most businesses to accept cash last year, out of a concern that the trend to cashless payments was shutting out those without access to smartphones and credit cards. The city said it's still enforcing the rule and does not plan to lift it temporarily. "We're not currently engaged in any discussions about a freeze on this important equity policy," said Gloria Chan, spokeswoman for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. "As a city, we still need to ensure everyone can purchase goods, whether or not they have access to credit or noncash forms of payment." Still, fears of cash abound. Other companies, like food delivery service DoorDash, are providing cashless options for payments. And on Saturday, cash toll collection on all seven Bay Area bridges was temporarily suspended under Gov. Gavin Newsom's orders, to curb the spread of the virus.
Apple Releases iOS 13.4, iPadOS 13.4, macOS 10.15.4, tvOS 13.4, and watchOS 6.2
officially released versions 13.4 of iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS to the public, alongside macOS 10.15.4 and watchOS 6.2. While many of their improvements are minor, there are a few standout features across the updates. From a report:
One of the most noteworthy additions is a dramatic expansion of iPadOS 13's prior trackpad and mouse support, which was limited solely to an Accessibility option before evolving to full system-wide support across all iPad models capable of running iPadOS 13.4. Now, keyboard-trackpad hybrids (such as the upcoming Magic Keyboard for iPad), standalone trackpads, and standalone mice can create a cursor that highlights and selects on-screen text and objects, paving the way for more Mac-like apps on Apple's tablets. Another major improvement is cross-platform support for a new universal app purchase option, enabling a single app developed using Apple's shared Catalyst framework to be purchased and run across Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. This feature went live for developers yesterday, and it uses the iOS App Store as the base for universal apps. Standalone Mac App Store app listings will likely need to be abandoned for the transition to universal apps.
Doctors Are Hoarding Unproven Coronavirus Medicine By Writing Prescriptions For Themselves and Their Families
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ProPublica:
A nationwide shortage of two drugs touted as possible treatments for the coronavirus is being driven in part by doctors inappropriately prescribing the medicines for family, friends and themselves, according to pharmacists and state regulators. Demand for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine surged over the past several days as President Donald Trump promoted them as possible treatments for the coronavirus and online forums buzzed with excitement over a small study suggesting the combination of hydroxychloroquine and a commonly used antibiotic could be effective in treating COVID-19.
"It's disgraceful, is what it is," said Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, which started getting calls and emails Saturday from members saying they were receiving questionable prescriptions. "And completely selfish." Reynolds said the Illinois Pharmacists Association has started reaching out to pharmacists and medical groups throughout the state to urge doctors, nurses and physician assistants not to write prescriptions for themselves and those close to them. "We even had a couple of examples of prescribers trying to say that the individual they were calling in for had rheumatoid arthritis," he said, explaining that pharmacists suspected that wasn't true. "I mean, that's fraud." In one case, Reynolds said, the prescriber initially tried to get the pills without an explanation and only offered up that the individual had rheumatoid arthritis after the pharmacist questioned the prescription. In a bulletin to pharmacists on Sunday, the state association wrote that it was "disturbed by the current actions of prescribers" and instructed members on how to file a complaint against physicians and nurses who were doing it. It's important to note that there is little evidence that the drugs work to treat coronavirus, although clinical trials are underway to find out.
The report mentions a man in his 60s who
died after ingesting a version of the chloroquine commonly used to clean fish tanks. "The man, who thought he might have COVID-19, took a small amount of the substance in a misguided effort to treat his symptoms," reports ProPublica. "His wife was also hospitalized after taking the substance but survived."
UPS To Develop New Delivery Drones With German Drone-Maker Wingcopter
UPS' Flight Forward subsidiary focused on drone delivery is
partnering with German drone-maker Wingcopter to develop the next generation of package delivery drones for a variety of use cases in the United States and internationally. GPS World reports:
UPS chose Wingcopter for its unmanned aircraft technology and its track record in delivering a variety of goods over long distances in multiple international settings. As part of this collaboration -- UPSFF's first new relationship with a drone manufacturer since its formation -- both companies will work toward earning regulatory certification for a Wingcopter unmanned aircraft to make commercial delivery flights in the United States. It also is a critical step toward building a diverse fleet of drones with varying capabilities to meet potential customer needs.
The Wingcopter drones feature vertical takeoffs and landings in tight spaces, transitioning to efficient, high-speed horizontal flight, enabling ranges suitable for a variety of uses. These capabilities will allow UPSFF to begin developing solutions that, if approved, will go well beyond the healthcare and retail industries to solve long-standing challenges for high-tech, industrial manufacturing, hospitality, entertainment and other customers. [Wincopter's] electric vertical takeoff and landing drones have a patented tilt-rotor mechanism, which enables a seamless transition between two drone modes: multicopter for hovering and fixed-wing for low-noise forward flight. The aerodynamic Wingcopter aircrafts operate with stability even in harsh weather conditions. "Drone delivery is not a one-size-fits-all operation," said Bala Ganesh, vice president of the UPS Advanced Technology Group. "Our collaboration with Wingcopter helps pave the way for us to start drone delivery service in new use-cases. UPS Flight Forward is building a network of technology partners to broaden our unique capability to serve customers and extend our leadership in drone delivery."
Ford, 3M, GE and the UAW To Build Respirators, Ventilators and Face Shields For Coronavirus Fight
announced today that it's
partnering with 3M and GE to build respirators, ventilators and face shields for front-line healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients. TechCrunch reports:
Its efforts include building Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) with partner 3M, including a new design that employs existing parts from both partners to deliver effectiveness and highly scalable production capacity. Ford says that it's also going to be building face shields, leaning on its 3D printing capabilities, with an anticipated production rate of more than 100,000 units per week. The company has designed a new face shield, which will be tested with the first 1,000 units this week at Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospitals in Michigan to evaluate their efficacy. Provided they perform as planned, Ford anticipates scaling to building 75,000 by end of week, with 100,000 able to be made in one of the company's Plymouth, Mich. production facilities each week thereafter.
The automaker is also going to be working with GE on expanding production capacity for GE Healthcare's ventilator, with a simplified design that should allow for higher-volume production. That's part of a response to a U.S. government request for more units to support healthcare needs, the company said. On top of its U.S.-focused ventilator project with GE, Ford is also working on a separate effort to spin up ventilator production targeting the U.K. based on a request for aid from that country's government, and it's also shipping back 165,000 N95 respirator masks that were sent by the company from the U.S. to China earlier this year, since the need for that equipment is now greater back in the U.S., the company said, and China's situation continues to improve. "The PAPRs that Ford is building, for instance, will use off-the-shelf components from the automaker's F-150 truck's cooled seating, as well as 3M's existing HEPA filters," the report adds. "These respirators could potentially offer significant advantages in use compared to N95s, since they are battery-powered and can filter airborne virus particles for up to eight hours on a single, swappable standard power tool battery pack worn at the waist."
Comcast Wins Supreme Court Case Over Interpretation of Civil Rights Law
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
Comcast has won a US Supreme Court case against Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), dealing a major blow to Allen's attempt to prove that Comcast's refusal to carry ESN channels was motivated by racial bias. The key question taken up by the court was whether a claim of race discrimination under the 42 U.S.C. 1981 statute can proceed without a "but-for causation." As the Legal Information Institute explains, a "but-for test" asks "but for the existence of X, would Y have occurred?"
The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in 2018 that the case could proceed because ESN "needed only to plausibly allege that discriminatory intent was a factor in Comcast's refusal to contract, and not necessarily the but-for cause of that decision." The Supreme Court ruling issued yesterday reversed that decision, saying that a "plaintiff bears the burden of showing that the plaintiff's race was a but-for cause of its injury, and that burden remains constant over the life of the lawsuit." Because of yesterday's unanimous Supreme Court ruling, ESN would have to prove that racism was a determining ("but-for") factor in Comcast's decision rather than just one motivating factor. ESN and the National Association of African American Owned Media were seeking a $20 billion judgment because of Comcast's refusal to pay for carriage of ESN networks, namely Cars.TV, Comedy.TV, ES.TV, JusticeCentral.TV, MyDestination.TV, Pets.TV, Recipe.TV, and The Weather Channel. Comcast has said it didn't pay for ESN channels because of lack of customer demand for the company's programming and the bandwidth costs of carrying the channels. Comedian and media mogul Byron Allen founded ESN in 1993 and is the company's chairman and CEO. "Few legal principles are better established than the rule requiring a plaintiff to establish causation," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the court's decision against ESN. "In the law of torts, this usually means a plaintiff must first plead and then prove that its injury would not have occurred 'but for' the defendant's unlawful conduct. The plaintiffs before us suggest that 42 U.S.C.1981 departs from this traditional arrangement. But looking to this particular statute's text and history, we see no evidence of an exception."
Meet the Chinese OS That's Trying To Shift the Country Off Windows
China's homegrown operating systems haven't made much of a dent on the global stage. Now there's
a Linux-based system that's aimed at weaning the country off Windows. From a report:
UOS, or Unified Operating System, hit a new milestone after its first stable release in January: Union Tech's OS can now boot in 30 seconds on China-made chips. It's an important step as Chinese tech companies look to reduce their dependence on US-made software and hardware. The struggles of ZTE and Huawei illustrate this clearly: The former was reliant on chips made in the US to produce smartphones, while the latter has the difficult task of selling Android handsets outside China without Google apps or services. The "current international climate" has made it imperative for China to have its own foundational software to avoid being cut off by the US, said the general manager of Union Tech, Liu Wenhan. While Chinese operating systems currently account for less than 1% of the market, Liu said he expects them to grow to 20% to 30% in the future. Integrating homegrown Chinese chips could be the biggest accomplishment of UOS if it pans out. Although Chinese computer chips still don't approach the sophistication of those created by US-based companies, Union Tech said that it is actively working with Chinese chipmakers like Loongson and Sunway to facilitate the gradual replacement of American technology in the Chinese government and pillar industries. In December, Beijing ordered all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years.
Akamai To Slow Video Game Downloads To Minimize Internet Congestion
Online video gaming just became the latest victim of COVID-19. New submitter
watha2020 shares a report:
Akamai Technologies of Cambridge, the data delivery company that handles Internet traffic for many of the world's biggest companies, said on Tuesday it will deliberately delay downloads of video games during peak hours because of bottlenecks from so many people playing from home during the coronavirus shutdown. The slowdown will specifically affect downloads of games during daytime and evening hours, so that someone buying a downloadable copy of a new game such as "Doom Eternal" will have to wait a lot longer to start playing. Akamai said it will continue to allow normal high speed downloads late at night. In a posting on the company's blog Akamai chief executive Tom Leighton said the company is trying to ensure the demand for gaming downloads doesn't overwhelm the system's capacity to the point where other information is affected. "This will help ensure healthcare workers and first responders working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19 have continual access to the vital digital services they need," Leighton said.
We May Finally Be Able To Destroy a Dreaded 'Forever Chemical' in Our Drinking Water
Compounds once thought indestructible
were successfully broken down. From a report:
2019, nearly two dozen water agencies in Southern California were found to have reportable levels of cancer-causing chemical compounds in their wells. By 2020, 700 agencies with similar contamination had been identified across the United States. These compounds, known as perfluorinated alkylated substances or PFAS, are dubbed "forever chemicals" because, for a long time, there was no known way to break them down. But Sharma Yamijala, a computational chemist at the University of California, Riverside, may have just discovered a solution. After hearing about the issue at a seminar in 2019, he got to work on the problem with two colleagues at the university. The results of their project were published in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics in January. "I thought that we should try something out to understand what's happening," he tells OneZero. Since the 1940s, PFAS have been used in a wide variety of products, like food packaging, nonstick pans, paints, cleaning supplies, and even smartphones. Because they don't break down in the environment, they get into drinking water and other living organisms, many of which we eat. Since the body can't digest them either, they accumulate inside of us, too.
"These pollutants are very persistent," explains Bryan Wong, one of Yamijala's co-authors on the paper, to OneZero. "They last for a long time." High levels of PFAS intake are linked to cancer as well as low birth weight and thyroid hormone disruption, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In his research, Yamijala used computer simulations to study the chemical structure of the PFAS that are the most ubiquitous in the environment: perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. The carbon-fluorine bond that acts as the backbone of these chemicals is one of the strongest bonds in organic chemistry, which is why they seem to last forever. But this is exactly what the team's breakthrough addresses: When they exposed the compounds to excess electrons -- a process called reduction -- the bond with the fluorine atom broke. What's more, the broken molecules that resulted from the process had a domino effect on the remaining PFAS in the water. In the simulation, these smaller molecules accelerated the breaking down of the other PFA molecules.
YouTube To Limit Video Quality Around the World for a Month
reduce the quality of videos around the world starting Tuesday, an effort by the world's most popular video site to ease internet traffic during the coronavirus outbreak. From a report:
Over the coming days, viewers will at first see YouTube videos in standard definition, the company said. Users will still be able to watch in high definition if they want, but will have to choose to do so. YouTube, part of Google, is extending a policy it already instituted in Europe, where regulators have asked major streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, to reduce their bandwidth usage.
Google, LG, Don't Want Qualcomm's Super-Expensive Flagship Processor Snapdragon 865, Reports Say
Google and South Korean tech major LG are likely to skip the top tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 platform this year for their smartphones as the cost of the chipset is too high,
a report claimed. From a report:
The Pixel 5 and Pixel 5 XL don't actually use Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 865 as per the Android code base. Both are running the Snapdragon 765G, a chip that's one step down from the 865 in Qualcomm's lineup. There isn't actually a Snapdragon 865 Google phone in the Android repository, ArsTechnica reported on Monday. LG is taking a similar approach to its 2020 flagship, the LG G9 ThinQ: instead of shipping the Snapdragon 865, the company is also opting for the cheaper 765G, according to website Naver.
India Under Lockdown for 21 Days To Fight Coronavirus
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday the government
would impose a nationwide lockdown from midnight for 21 days to stem the spread of the coronavirus. "There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi said in a televised address.
Warmer Weather May Slow, But Not Halt, Coronavirus
Communities living in warmer places appear to have a comparative advantage to
slow the transmission of coronavirus infections, according to an early analysis by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From a report:
The researchers found that most coronavirus transmissions had occurred in regions with low temperatures, between 37.4 and 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (or 3 and 17 degrees Celsius). While countries with equatorial climates and those in the Southern Hemisphere, currently in the middle of summer, have reported coronavirus cases, regions with average temperatures above 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18 degrees Celsius) account for fewer than 6 percent of global cases so far. "Wherever the temperatures were colder, the number of the cases started increasing quickly," said Qasim Bukhari, a computational scientist at M.I.T. who is a co-author of the study. "You see this in Europe, even though the health care there is among the world's best."
Mozilla Launches New Initiative With Scroll To Fund Publishers
Firefox, the global web browser from Mozilla, is launching a new subscription product Tuesday
called the "Firefox Better Web initiative," and it will feature former Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile's new product Scroll as a launch partner. From a report:
It's uncommon for a web browser to launch a product that's explicitly tied to paying out publishers. Scroll's business is all about paying publishers for their content while giving users a better ad experience. The test pilot for the product, which is a subscription to a privacy-first Firefox extension, will only be available in the U.S. The money from a membership ($4.99 monthly, $2,99 for first six months) goes directly to fund publishers and writers.
Labs Are Euthanizing Thousands of Mice In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic
Science Magazine has learned that researchers across the U.S. are euthanizing thousands of lab mice in anticipation of a shortage of workers who can care for them. Some scientists have had to sacrifice half or more of their colonies, potentially resulting in the loss of months or years of work. "I was staring at my mice one by one and deciding who lives and who dies," says one researcher. "It was really rough." At the moment, Science has not seen evidence that larger animals such as cats, dogs, or monkeys are being proactively euthanized. That will likely remain the case. Unlike larger animals, mice breed quickly and must be used quickly. And because they comprise about 95% of all research animals, they suck up the most money and time.
HP Teases 'Next Gen' VR Headset Made With Microsoft and Valve's Help
teasing a Reverb G2 VR headset
developed in tandem with Microsoft and Valve that should be "more immersive, comfortable and compatible" than previous-generation hardware. Engadget reports:
The first Reverb wasn't a revolution in design, but it did stand out with a sharp 2,160 x 2,160 pixels per eye. It won't be surprising if HP pursues bragging rights once again, especially when its Twitter teaser claims the new Reverb is the "next benchmark" in VR gear. We wouldn't count on Valve dramatically influencing the design given that the Index remains its pride and joy, though. The new Reverb may be more gamer-friendly, but this is still likely to be aimed as much at professionals as it is enthusiasts.
Star Wars: Tatooine Was Likely Orbiting In the Same Plane As Its Twin Suns
The Bad Astronomer writes:
A new study of very young binary stars shows that exoplanets orbiting them (circumbinary planets) will orbit in the same plane as the stars if the two stars are relatively close together. If the stars are farther apart, the planets may have a perpendicular (polar) orbit around them. This study looked at the protoplanetary disks of dust and gas around binaries to draw this conclusion. Extrapolating to fiction, this means Tatooine in Star Wars was coplanar with its host stars.