- Zerologon Attack Lets Hackers Take Over Enterprise Networks Within 3 Seconds
- Apple Researching Apple Watch Bands That Can Provide Information In Braille
- Europe's Top Court Says Net Neutrality Rules Bar 'Zero Rating'
- Microsoft Submits Linux Kernel Patches For a 'Complete Virtualization Stack' With Linux and Hyper-V
- Personal Information of Roughly 46,000 Veterans Exposed In VA Hack
- A Bug In Joe Biden's Campaign App Gave Anyone Access To Millions of Voter Files
- Francisco-Backed Sandvine Cancels Belarus Deal, Citing Abuses
- Apple Introduces Redesigned iPad Air With A14 Chip, All-Screen Design, TouchID and USB-C
- New Google Fiber Plan: $100 For 2Gbps, Plus Wi-Fi 6 Router and Mesh Extender
- Apple is Removing the USB Power Adapter From Upcoming Apple Watch Boxes
- How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled
- Google Unveils Video Conferencing Hardware For Post-Pandemic Offices
- Apple One Bundles iCloud, Music, TV+, Arcade, News+ and Fitness+ for $30 a Month
- Apple Announces Apple Watch Series 6 With Ability To Measure Blood Oxygen Levels
- FBI Says Credential Stuffing Attacks Are Behind Some Recent Bank Hacks
- Addicted To Losing: How Casino-Like Apps Have Drained People of Millions
- European Police Malware Could Harvest GPS, Messages, Passwords, More
- China Says TikTok Sale Shows US 'Economic Bullying'
- IBM Publishes its Quantum Roadmap, Says it Will Have a 1,000-qubit Machine in 2023
- At JPMorgan, Productivity Falls For Younger Employees At Home
- Gene Editing To Produce 'Super Dad' Livestock
- America Is Facing a Monkey Shortage
- Mercedes-Benz Fined $1.5 Billion For Emissions Cheating
Zerologon Attack Lets Hackers Take Over Enterprise Networks Within 3 Seconds
An anonymous reader writes:
Researchers have developed and published a proof-of-concept exploit for a recently patched Windows vulnerability that can allow access to an organization's crown jewels -- the Active Directory domain controllers that act as an all-powerful gatekeeper for all machines connected to a network.
CVE-2020-1472, as the vulnerability is tracked, carries a critical severity rating from Microsoft as well as a maximum of 10 under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. Exploits require that an attacker already have a foothold inside a targeted network, either as an unprivileged insider or through the compromise of a connected device. However, when this condition is met, it's literally game over for the attacked company, as an attacker can hijack its entire network within three seconds by leveraging a bug in the Netlogon authentication protocol cryptography by adding zero characters in certain Netlogon authentication parameters, bypassing authentication procedures and then changing the password for the DC server itself. The technical report from Secura B.V., a Dutch security firm, is available
Apple Researching Apple Watch Bands That Can Provide Information In Braille
According to Apple Insider, Apple is
researching an Apple Watch band that could contain controllable protrusions to present tactile information on the surface. From the report:
Apple has famously always researched providing accessibility features in its devices, whether or not it's profitable. However, so far there has been a limit to what the Apple Watch can do -- and its bands could have no accessibility features at all. "Tactile output for wearable device," is a newly granted US patent which aims to change that. Alongside the various things Siri can say aloud since the Apple Watch Series 3, there could now be Apple-designed bands that display Braille information.
While Apple wants its patent to cover any kind of electronic device possible, most of its descriptions and all of its drawings refer to the Apple Watch and to what Apple refers to as actuators. These are components that respond to a processor and cause other elements to move or rearrange. "[For example, a] wearable item comprises a flexible strap and actuators within the flexible strap," says the patent. "The actuators are configured to dynamically form protrusions along the flexible strap. The protrusions present tactilely-perceptible information." These protrusions are similar to the raised dots in Braille, but Apple says they needn't be confined to that one system. Rather than following the established patterns of whole words in Braille, the same protrusions could be configured to "also or instead be dynamically and/or selectively actuated to form [the] shapes of alphanumeric characters."
Europe's Top Court Says Net Neutrality Rules Bar 'Zero Rating'
The European Union's top court has
handed down its first decision on the bloc's net neutrality rules --
interpreting the law as precluding the use of commercial 'zero rating' by Internet services providers. TechCrunch reports:
'Zero rating' refers to the practice of ISPs offering certain apps/services 'tariff free' by excluding their data consumption. It's controversial because it can have the effect of penalizing and/or blocking the use of non-zero-rated apps/services, which may be inaccessible while the zero rated apps/services are not -- which in turn undermines the principal of net neutrality with its promise of fair competition via an equal and level playing field for all things digital. The pan-EU net neutrality regulation came into force in 2016 amid much controversy over concerns it would undermine rather than bolster a level playing field online. So the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU)'s first ruling interpreting the regulation is an important moment for regional digital rights watchers.
A Budapest court hearing two actions against Telenor, related to two of its 'zero rating' packages, made a reference to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling on how to interpret and apply Article 3(1) and (2) of the regulation -- which safeguards a number of rights for end users of Internet access services and prohibits service providers from putting in place agreements or commercial practices limiting the exercise of those rights -- and Article 3(3), which lays down a general obligation of "equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic." The court found that 'zero rating' agreements that combine a 'zero tariff' with measures blocking or slowing down traffic linked to the use of 'non-zero tariff' services and applications are indeed liable to limit the exercise of end users' rights within the meaning of the regulation and on a significant part of the market. It also found that no assessment of the effect of measures blocking or slowing down traffic on the exercise of end users' rights is required by the regulation, while measures applied for commercial (rather than technical) reasons must be regarded as automatically incompatible. The full CJEU judgement is available
Microsoft Submits Linux Kernel Patches For a 'Complete Virtualization Stack' With Linux and Hyper-V
submitted a series of patches to the Linux kernel with its aim being "to create a complete virtualization stack with Linux and Microsoft Hypervisor." The Register reports:
The patches are designated "RFC" (Request for comments) and are a minimal implementation presented for discussion. The key change is that with the patched kernel, Linux will run as the Hyper-V root partition. In the Hyper-V architecture, the root partition has direct access to hardware and creates child partitions for the VMs it hosts. "Just think of it like Xen's Dom0," said Microsoft principal software engineer Wei Liu. Hyper-V's architecture is more similar to Xen than it is to KVM or to VMware's ESXi, and Liu acknowledged that "we drew inspiration from the Xen code in Linux," specifically for code handing interrupts. Until now, the Hyper-V root partition had to run Windows.
Microsoft has also ported Intel's open-source Cloud Hypervisor, a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) written in Rust that normally runs on KVM, the hypervisor that is built into the Linux kernel. Cloud Hypervisor itself is currently in "very early pre-alpha stage." Even when Linux is the root partition, it will still run on top of Microsoft's hypervisor, a thin layer running with ring -1 privileges. It will no longer be necessary to run Windows on that hypervisor, though, enabling Microsoft to call the new arrangement "a complete virtualization stack with Linux."
Personal Information of Roughly 46,000 Veterans Exposed In VA Hack
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN:
The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday that roughly 46,000 veterans had their personal information, including Social Security numbers, exposed in a data breach in which "unauthorized users" gained access to an online application used for making health care payments. A preliminary review of the incident indicated that the hackers accessed the application "to change financial information and divert payments from VA by using social engineering techniques and exploiting authentication protocols," according to the department's announcement.
"The Financial Services Center (FSC) determined one of its online applications was accessed by unauthorized users to divert payments to community health care providers for the- medical treatment of Veterans. The FSC took the application offline and reported the breach to VA's Privacy Office," the statement said. "To prevent any future improper access to and modification of information, system access will not be reenabled until a comprehensive security review is completed by the VA Office of Information Technology," it added. The department is taking steps to alert veterans whose information was compromised. "To protect these Veterans, the FSC is alerting the affected individuals, including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased, of the potential risk to their personal information. The department is also offering access to credit monitoring services, at no cost, to those whose social security numbers may have been compromised," Monday's statement said.
"Veterans whose information was involved are advised to follow the instructions in the letter to protect their data. There is no action needed from Veterans if they did not receive an alert by mail, as their personal information was not involved in the incident," it adds.
A Bug In Joe Biden's Campaign App Gave Anyone Access To Millions of Voter Files
schwit1 shares a report from TechCrunch:
A privacy bug in Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's official campaign app allowed anyone to look up sensitive voter information on millions of Americans, a security researcher has found. The campaign app, Vote Joe, allows Biden supporters to encourage friends and family members to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election by uploading their phone's contact lists to see if their friends and family members are registered to vote. The app uploads and matches the user's contacts with voter data supplied from TargetSmart, a political marketing firm that claims to have files on more than 191 million Americans.
When a match is found, the app displays the voter's name, age and birthday, and which recent election they voted in. This, the app says, helps users find people you know and encourage them to get involved." While much of this data can already be public, the bug made it easy for anyone to access any voter's information by using the app. The App Analyst, a mobile expert who detailed his findings on his eponymous blog, found that he could trick the app into pulling in anyone's information by creating a contact on his phone with the voter's name. The Biden campaign fixed the bug and pushed out an app update on Friday.
"We were made aware about how our third-party app developer was providing additional fields of information from commercially available data that was not needed," Matt Hill, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told TechCrunch. "We worked with our vendor quickly to fix the issue and remove the information. We are committed to protecting the privacy of our staff, volunteers and supporters will always work with our vendors to do so."
Francisco-Backed Sandvine Cancels Belarus Deal, Citing Abuses
Sandvine, the technology company backed by private equity firm Francisco Partners,
canceled a deal with Belarus, saying the government used its technology to violate human rights. From a report:
The company's technology, which is used to filter and manage internet networks, was used by a state-run internet agency in Belarus to block thousands of websites in the country amid nationwide protests over a disputed election, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 28. Sandvine said in a statement on Tuesday that a preliminary investigation determined that "custom code" was inserted into its products "to thwart the free flow of information during the Belarus election." The Tuesday announcement comes days after Sandvine was
criticized by many including politicians .
Apple Introduces Redesigned iPad Air With A14 Chip, All-Screen Design, TouchID and USB-C
introduced a redesigned iPad Air that looks more like an iPad Pro, as well as an
updated 8th-generation, entry-level iPad. MacRumors reports on the new iPad Air:
Apple today introduced a redesigned iPad Air with slimmer bezels, paving the way for an all-screen design similar to recent iPad Pro models. In addition, the new iPad Air is the first Apple device with Touch ID built into the power button. The new iPad Air is powered by the new 5nm-based, six-core A14 Bionic chip for up to 40 percent faster performance and up to 30 percent faster graphics than the previous-generation iPad Air.
The device features a fully laminated 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone, P3 wide color support, and an anti-reflective coating. Following in the footsteps of the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air features a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector. The device also features the same 12-megapixel rear camera used in the iPad Pro for higher-resolution photos and 4K video recording. The new iPad Air will be available starting in October on Apple.com and the Apple Store app in 30 countries and regions. Wi-Fi models will start at $599, while cellular models will start at $729, with 64GB and 256GB storage capacities available. There will be five colors to choose from, including silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue. 9to5Mac reports on the 8th-generation iPad:
Apple today announced the 8th-generation iPad, featuring an A12 chip compared to the previous-generation's A10 processor. The design of the new entry-level iPad is largely the same as its predecessor. The jump from A10 to A12 means Apple's cheapest iPad will feature the Neural Engine for the first time. Apple says the A12 chip offers more than twice the performance of the top selling Windows laptop, 6x faster than the top-selling Android tablet and 6x faster than the best-selling Chromebook. The 8th-generation iPad keeps the same price as the 7th-gen: that's $329 for general sale and $299 for education.
New Google Fiber Plan: $100 For 2Gbps, Plus Wi-Fi 6 Router and Mesh Extender
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
Google Fiber will soon offer 2Gbps service for $100 a month, a package that includes a Wi-Fi 6 router and mesh extender, the Alphabet-owned ISP announced yesterday. Google fiber-to-the-home service never rolled out as far as many people hoped, but the ISP is still making improvements in cities where it does provide broadband. The new offering is double the download speed of Google Fiber's standard 1Gbps service and costs $30 more. While the new offer is 2Gbps on the download side, it will be 1Gbps for uploads.
In addition to fiber-to-the-home, Google Fiber offers wireless home Internet access in some cities through its Webpass service. Even the Webpass wireless service will get the 2Gbps plan, the announcement said. Webpass' standard speeds today range from 100Mbps to 1Gbps. The 2Gbps service will initially be available to some customers through Google Fiber's Trusted Tester program next month, with plans to roll out across "most" Google Fiber and Webpass markets in 2021. The announcement didn't provide any details on the Wi-Fi 6 router and mesh extender that will be included in the $100 price. Google Fiber provides 1Gbps customers a gateway and router in a single device it calls a "Network Box." "Why 2 Gig? This year has made this need for more speed and bandwidth especially acute, as many of us are now living our entire lives -- from work to school to play -- within our homes, creating unprecedented demand for Internet capacity," the Google Fiber announcement said.
Google says the 2 Gig speeds "will roll out to all of our Nashville and Huntsville customers later this year, with plans to launch the service across most of our Google Fiber and Google Fiber Webpass cities in early 2021." You can sign up
here for an opportunity to be among the first to test the new speeds in your city.
Apple is Removing the USB Power Adapter From Upcoming Apple Watch Boxes
Apple on Tuesday announced it would no longer be
including USB power adapters with Apple Watch devices as part of an effort to reduce its environmental impact. From a report:
Removing the power adapter means new Apple Watch customers won't have access to the device that plugs into the wall, but they should still receive Apple's custom Apple Watch cable that recharges the device wirelessly. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, this move won't be restricted to Apple Watch devices; it will also include upcoming iPhones.
How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled
NPR and PBS Frontline spent months digging into internal industry documents and interviewing top former officials. We found that the industry
sold the public on an idea it knew wouldn't work -- that the majority of plastic could be, and would be, recycled -- all while making billions of dollars selling the world new plastic. NPR:
The industry's awareness that recycling wouldn't keep plastic out of landfills and the environment dates to the program's earliest days, we found. "There is serious doubt that [recycling plastic] can ever be made viable on an economic basis," one industry insider wrote in a 1974 speech. Yet the industry spent millions telling people to recycle, because, as one former top industry insider told NPR, selling recycling sold plastic, even if it wasn't true. "If the public thinks that recycling is working, then they are not going to be as concerned about the environment," Larry Thomas, former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, known today as the Plastics Industry Association and one of the industry's most powerful trade groups in Washington, D.C., told NPR.
In response, industry representative Steve Russell, until recently the vice president of plastics for the trade group the American Chemistry Council, said the industry has never intentionally misled the public about recycling and is committed to ensuring all plastic is recycled. [...] Here's the basic problem: All used plastic can be turned into new things, but picking it up, sorting it out and melting it down is expensive. Plastic also degrades each time it is reused, meaning it can't be reused more than once or twice. On the other hand, new plastic is cheap. It's made from oil and gas, and it's almost always less expensive and of better quality to just start fresh. All of these problems have existed for decades, no matter what new recycling technology or expensive machinery has been developed. In all that time, less than 10 percent of plastic has ever been recycled. But the public has known little about these difficulties.
Google Unveils Video Conferencing Hardware For Post-Pandemic Offices
Corporate workplaces around the world are empty due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Google on Tuesday unveiled new devices for when people eventually return to office conference rooms. From a report:
The system of gadgets, called Google Meet Series One, includes a camera, soundbar with eight mics and touchscreen remote. Google partnered with the Chinese manufacturer Lenovo for the hardware. The setup relies on Google Meet, the search giant's Zoom rival, which has surged in popularity as people began to hunker down in their homes earlier this year to fend off the spread of Covid-19. Google boasts that its artificial intelligence software can automatically pan and around the room and focus in on people who are speaking. The company also says its audio tools can use noise cancellation to block out the sounds of typing and people shuffling around and instead amplify peoples voices. Google is charging $2,700 for small room setups, $3,000 for medium-sized rooms and $4,000 for large rooms.
Apple One Bundles iCloud, Music, TV+, Arcade, News+ and Fitness+ for $30 a Month
An anonymous reader shares a report:
Seems everything charges a monthly fee, these days. It also seems that every Apple event brings another way to fork over $10 a month to the company. This time out, it was the addition of Fitness+, which brings metric-focused video workouts to an Apple TV near you. To keep things simple (and to keep you subscribing), the company is offering up a trio of new Apple One bundles. It's not quite mix and match yet, but there are three pricing tiers. Individual offers Apple Music, TV+, Arcade and iCloud for $15 a month. The Family version will get you those four services for $20 a month. For the hardcore, there's the $30 a month Premier tier, which bundles iCloud, Music, TV+, Arcade, News+ and Fitness+.
Apple Announces Apple Watch Series 6 With Ability To Measure Blood Oxygen Levels
Apple has announced the
Apple Watch Series 6, the latest in its line of popular smartwatches. The Series 6 model maintains the same overall design introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4 and continued with the Series 5, but it adds a variety of new sensors to allow for things like blood oxygen monitoring and better sleep tracking. From a report:
Apple says the Series 6 can measure blood oxygen levels in about 15 seconds, using both red and infrared light. The company says it's partnering with health networks to start large-scale studies using the new blood oxygen measurement feature, including testing to see if it can detect if a person is infected with COVID-19. The Series 6 also comes with the new S6 processor, which promises up to 20 percent faster performance. It's based on Apple's in-house A13 chip and brings the first major update to the Apple Watch's performance since the Series 4, given that last year's Series 5 model used the same S4 CPU (rebranded as the S5 with other additions like a compass and a new display controller). Starts at $399.
FBI Says Credential Stuffing Attacks Are Behind Some Recent Bank Hacks
The FBI has sent a private security alert to the US financial sector last week warning organizations about the
increasing number of credential stuffing attacks that have targeted their networks and have led to breaches and considerable financial losses. From a report:
Credential stuffing is a relatively new term in the cyber-security industry. [...] According to an FBI security advisory obtained by ZDNet today, credential stuffing attacks have increased in recent years and have now become a major problem for financial organizations. "Since 2017, the FBI has received numerous reports on credential stuffing attacks against US financial institutions, collectively detailing nearly 50,000 account compromises," the FBI said. "The victims included banks, financial services providers, insurance companies, and investment firms."
Addicted To Losing: How Casino-Like Apps Have Drained People of Millions
NBC News spoke to 21 people who said they were
hooked on casino-style apps and had spent significant sums of money. The industry is almost entirely unregulated. From a report:
Shellz, 37, a nurse from Houston, spends at least two hours a day with her husband playing a casino-style smartphone game called Jackpot Magic. The app offers a variety of typical casino games to play, including their favorite, called Reel Rivals, a game in which players accrue points by playing a virtual slot machine. As in a real casino, players exchange money for coins to bet. Unlike in a real casino, there is no way to win money back or earn a payout on coins. But that has not stopped Shellz and her husband from spending about $150,000 in the game in just two years. She asked to use her in-game username so her family does not find out how much money they have spent on the game. "We lie in bed next to each other, we have two tablets, two phones and a computer and all these apps spinning Reel Rivals at the same time," she said. "We normalize it with each other." Jackpot Magic is an app made by Big Fish Games of Seattle, one of the leaders in an industry of "free-to-play" social games into which some people have plowed thousands of dollars. Big Fish Games also operates a similar app, Big Fish Casino. Both are labeled as video games, which allows the company and others like it to skirt the tightly regulated U.S. gambling market. But unlike the gambling market, apps like Jackpot Magic and Big Fish Casino are under little oversight to determine whether they are fair or whether their business practices are predatory.
NBC News spoke to 21 people, including Shellz and her husband, who said they were hooked on the casino-style games and had spent significant sums of money. They described feelings of helplessness and wanting to quit but found themselves addicted to the games and tempted by the company's aggressive marketing tactics. Most of the 21 players wished to remain anonymous, as they were ashamed of their addictions and did not want their loved ones to find out about their behavior. A 42-year-old Pennsylvania woman said she felt saddened that she spent $40,000 on Big Fish Casino while working as an addiction counselor. "The whole time I was working as an addiction counselor, I was addicted to gambling and with no hope of winning any money back," she said. Big Fish Games did not make anyone available for an interview, nor did the company respond to detailed questions. The company has said in previous court filings that only a fraction of the game's players actually spend money. In a response to NBC News' inquiries, the company issued a statement saying its games are not gambling and should not be regulated as such.
European Police Malware Could Harvest GPS, Messages, Passwords, More
The malware that French law enforcement deployed en masse onto Encrochat devices, a large encrypted phone network using Android phones, had the capability to harvest "all data stored within the device," and was
expected to include chat messages, geolocation data, usernames, passwords, and more, according to a document obtained by Motherboard. From the report:
The document adds more specifics around the law enforcement hack and subsequent takedown of Encrochat earlier this year. Organized crime groups across Europe and the rest of the world heavily used the network before its seizure, in many cases to facilitate large scale drug trafficking. The operation is one of, if not the, largest law enforcement mass hacking operation to date, with investigators obtaining more than a hundred million encrypted messages. "The NCA has been collaborating with the Gendarmerie on Encrochat for over 18 months, as the servers are hosted in France. The ultimate objective of this collaboration has been to identify and exploit any vulnerability in the service to obtain content," the document reads, referring to both the UK's National Crime Agency and one of the national police forces of France. As well as the geolocation, chat messages, and passwords, the law enforcement malware also told infected Encrochat devices to provide a list of WiFi access points near the device, the document reads.
China Says TikTok Sale Shows US 'Economic Bullying'
A senior Chinese official accused the U.S., which forced the sale of TikTok on national security grounds,
of "economic bullying," while lambasting European Union restrictions on Huawei Technologies, in comments highlighting Beijing's increasing assertiveness against what it sees as unfair treatment from Western governments. From a report:
"What has happened with TikTok in the United States is a typical act of coercive possession," the head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, Zhang Ming, said. "Some American politicians are trying to build a so-called clean network under the cover of fairness and reciprocity and blah, blah, blah," Ambassador Zhang said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "This is nothing but economic bullying."
The Bytedance-owned company has come under pressure in the U.S., where President Donald Trump's ban has forced a sale of TikTok's American operations. TikTok submitted a proposal to the Treasury Department over the weekend in which Oracle will serve as the "trusted technology provider," the software company said. Zhang's comments represent an oft-repeated refrain from Beijing, which has accused Washington of targeting Huawei without evidence and called the forced sale of TikTok U.S. "state-sanctioned theft."
IBM Publishes its Quantum Roadmap, Says it Will Have a 1,000-qubit Machine in 2023
IBM today, for the first time, published its road map for the future of its quantum computing hardware. There is a lot to digest here, but the most important news in the short term is that the company believes it is on its way to building a quantum processor with more than 1,000 qubits -- and somewhere between 10 and 50 logical qubits --
by the end of 2023. From a report:
Currently, the company's quantum processors top out at 65 qubits. It plans to launch a 127-qubit processor next year and a 433-qubit machine in 2022. To get to this point, IBM is also building a completely new dilution refrigerator to house these larger chips, as well as the technology to connect multiple of these units to build a system akin to today's multi-core architectures in classical chips. IBM's Dario Gil tells me that the company made a deliberate choice in announcing this road map and he likened it to the birth of the semiconductor industry.
"If you look at the difference of what it takes to build an industry as opposed to doing a project or doing scientific experiments and moving a field forward, we have had a philosophy that what we needed to do is to build a team that did three things well, in terms of cultures that have to come together. And that was a culture of science, a culture of the road map, and a culture of agile," Gil said. He argues that to reach the ultimate goal of the quantum industry, that is, to build a large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer, the company could've taken two different paths. The first would be more like the Apollo program, where everybody comes together, works on a problem for a decade and then all the different pieces come together for this one breakthrough moment.
At JPMorgan, Productivity Falls For Younger Employees At Home
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg:
A troubling pattern emerged as most of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s employees worked from home to stem the spread of Covid-19: productivity slipped. Work output by younger employees was particularly affected on Mondays and Fridays, according to findings discussed by Chief Executive Office Jamie Dimon in a private meeting with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts. That, along with worries that remote work is no substitute for organic interaction, are part of why the biggest U.S. bank is urging more workers to return to offices over the coming weeks. "The WFH lifestyle seems to have impacted younger employees, and overall productivity and 'creative combustion' has taken a hit," KBW's Brian Kleinhanzl wrote in a Sept. 13 note to clients, citing an earlier meeting with Dimon. "Overall, Jamie thinks a shift back to the office will be good for the young employees and to foster creative ideas," Kleinhanzl wrote.
Gene Editing To Produce 'Super Dad' Livestock
Scientists have produced gene-edited animals they say
could serve as "super dads" or "surrogate sires." The BBC reports:
The pigs, goats, cattle and mice make sperm carrying the genetic material of donor animals. The researchers used a hi-tech gene editing tool to knock out a male fertility gene in animal embryos. The animals were born sterile, but began producing sperm after an injection of sperm-producing cells from donor animals. The technique would enable surrogate males to sire offspring carrying the genetic material of valuable elite animals such as prize bulls, said a US-UK team. This would be a step towards genetically enhancing livestock to improve food production, they added. Further reading:
America Is Facing a Monkey Shortage
Thud457 shares a report from USA Today:
The race for a coronavirus vaccine to help end the pandemic has consumed the scientific community and created an escalating demand for an essential resource: monkeys. Before drug companies call on human volunteers, monkeys are used in preclinical trials to test a vaccine's safety and effectiveness. But with more than 100 vaccines in development around the world, there aren't enough monkeys to go around. "There is a shortage," said Dr. Skip Bohm, associate director and chief veterinary medical officer of the Tulane National Primate Research Center.
Like other aspects of society, the pandemic has underscored an already existing problem. Nonhuman primate research centers have been strained in recent years because of restrictions on imported monkeys from countries like China and India, and a lack of funding to support domestic breeding. "We've always been in a state where we were always very close to the level of production to meeting the demand for research, and that has been the status for several years," Bohm said. "When the COVID pandemic came about, that just pressed us even further." According to a 2018 analysis by the National Institutes of Health, the national primate centers' projected demand for monkeys would increase by 20% to 50%. Most centers were not equipped to accommodate that kind of increase -- then the pandemic hit.
Tulane's primate research center has about 5,000 monkeys but only about 500 are used for research in a normal year because of age, health and colony dynamics. This year, Bohm estimates the same number of primates might be needed across the centers just for COVID-19 research alone. To satisfy the demand, NIH and research centers have had to collaborate more closely than ever. NIH created a committee to prioritize COVID-19 research while centers developed master protocols to optimize research, including sharing control groups.
Mercedes-Benz Fined $1.5 Billion For Emissions Cheating
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News:
Automaker Daimler AG and subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA have agreed to pay $1.5 billion to resolve allegations they cheated on emissions tests, officials said Monday. The U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and the California attorney general's office said Daimler violated environmental laws by using so-called "defeat device software" to circumvent emissions testing. In doing so, the companies sold roughly 250,000 cars and vans between 2009 and 2016 with diesel engines that didn't meet state and federal standards. The settlement, which includes civil penalties and still awaits court approval in Washington, will require Daimler to fix the already sold vehicles.
Daimler AG must repair at least 85% of the affected cars within two years and at least 85% of the affected vans within three years, justice department officials said. The company must also offer extended warranties to drivers on certain vehicle parts and conduct emissions tests on the repaired vehicles each year for the next five years. A separate class action civil settlement will bring a one-off charge of about $700 million, Daimler AG said. In a statement, the company also said settling the emissions allegations means Daimler does not admit any liability nor will the company have to buy back any of the vehicles in question. As part of Daimler AG's settlement, officials in California will receive $17.5 million for future environmental enforcement.