Google Turns AlphaFold Loose On the Entire Human Genome
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
Just one week after Google's DeepMind AI group finally described its biology efforts in detail, the company is releasing a paper that explains how it analyzed nearly every protein encoded in the human genome and predicted its likely three-dimensional structure -- a structure that can be critical for understanding disease and designing treatments. In the very near future, all of these structures will be released under a Creative Commons license via the European Bioinformatics Institute, which already hosts a major database of protein structures. In a press conference associated with the paper's release, DeepMind's Demis Hassabis made clear that the company isn't stopping there. In addition to the work described in the paper, the company will release structural predictions for the genomes of 20 major research organisms, from yeast to fruit flies to mice. In total, the database launch will include roughly 350,000 protein structures.
At some point in the near future (possibly by the time you read this), all this data will be available on a dedicated website hosted by the European Bioinformatics Institute, a European Union-funded organization that describes itself in part as follows: "We make the world's public biological data freely available to the scientific community via a range of services and tools." The AlphaFold data will be no exception; once the above link is live, anyone can use it to download information on the human protein of their choice. Or, as mentioned above, the mouse, yeast, or fruit fly version. The 20 organisms that will see their data released are also just a start. DeepMind's Demis Hassabis said that over the next few months, the team will target every gene sequence available in DNA databases. By the time this work is done, over 100 million proteins should have predicted structures. Hassabis wrapped up his part of the announcement by saying, "We think this is the most significant contribution AI has made to science to date." It would be difficult to argue otherwise.
Google details its protein-folding software, academics offer an alternative (Ars Technica)
China Plans To Build the World's First Waterless Nuclear Reactor
AltMachine shares a report from Interesting Engineering:
Government researchers in China unveiled their design for a commercial molten salt nuclear reactor that is expected to be the first in the world to not utilize water for cooling. As the reactor won't need water it can be deployed in desert regions, allowing operators to utilize otherwise desolate spaces in order to provide energy for large populations. The molten salt reactor is powered by liquid thorium instead of uranium. Molten salt reactors are expected to be safer than traditional uranium nuclear reactors, as thorium cools and solidifies quickly in the open air, meaning that a leak would theoretically result in less radiation contamination for the surrounding environment.
China expects to build its first commercial molten salt reactor by 2030, and the country's government has long-term plans to build several of the reactors in the deserts of central and western China. China's new system works by allowing thorium to flow through the reactor, enabling a nuclear chain reaction before transferring the heat to a steam generator outside. The thorium is then returned to the reactor, and the cycle repeats. The concept of a nuclear reactor powered by liquid salt instead of uranium was first devised in the 1940s. However, early experiments struggled to find a solution for problems including the corrosion and cracking of pipes used to transport the molten salts. The reactor "could generate up to 100MW" of energy and power about 100,000 homes, according to the report. "The reactor itself will only be 10 feet (3 meters) tall and 8 feet (2.5 meters) wide, though the power plant itself will be larger as it incorporates other equipment including steam turbines."
CIA Director Says He Is Escalating Efforts To Solve 'Havana Syndrome' Mystery
CIA Director William Burns says he has
redoubled the agency's efforts to uncover the cause of Havana syndrome -- the mysterious set of ailments that has afflicted more than 200 U.S. officials and family members around the world. NPR reports:
That includes the assignment of a senior officer who once led the hunt for Osama bin Laden to lead the investigation and tripling the size of a medical team involved in the probe, Burns told NPR on Thursday in his first sit-down interview since being confirmed as the agency's chief in March. "I am absolutely determined -- and I've spent a great deal of time and energy on this in the four months that I've been CIA director -- to get to the bottom of the question of what and who caused this," Burns said. "We're no longer the only big kid on the geopolitical block, especially with the rise of China. And as you know very well, there's a revolution in technology which is transforming the way we live, work, compete and fight. And so, CIA, like everyone else in the U.S. government, has to take that into account," he said.
Under Burns' direction, the CIA has tripled the number of full-time medical personnel at the agency who are focused on Havana syndrome and has shortened the waiting period for afflicted personnel to be admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. "I'm certainly persuaded that what our officers and some family members, as well as other U.S. government employees, have experienced is real, and it's serious," Burns said. The director says he is seriously considering the "very strong possibility" that the syndrome is the result of intentional actions, adding that there are a limited number of "potential suspects" with the capability to carry out an action so widely across the globe. A report from last December by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that microwave radiation is the "most plausible" explanation for the symptoms.
To head the task force investigating the syndrome, Burns has appointed a veteran officer who helped lead the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The identity of that officer is still undercover, according to The Wall Street Journal. "We're throwing the very best we have at this issue, because it is not only a very serious issue for our colleagues, as it is for others across the U.S. government, but it's a profound obligation, I think, of any leader to take care of your people," Burns said. The syndrome
first appeared in 2016 at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, where more than 40 diplomats complained of symptoms such as migraines, dizziness, and memory loss. Dozens more cases have been reported in the years since.
Last week, about two dozen U.S. intelligence officers, diplomats, and other government officials in Vienna have
reported experiencing mysterious afflictions similar to the Havana Syndrome." The Biden administration is "vigorously investigating" the reports, but the causes of the syndrome still remain unclear.
Mercedes-Benz To Go All-Electric By 2030
Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler plans to invest more than 40 billion euros, or $47 billion, between 2022 and 2030 to develop battery-electric vehicles, and
be ready for an all-electric car market by 2030. NBC News reports:
Outlining its strategy for an electric future, the German luxury carmaker said on Thursday it would, with partners, build eight battery plants as it ramps up EV production, and that from 2025 all new vehicle platforms would only make electric cars. "We really want to go for it ... and be dominantly, if not all electric, by the end of the decade," Chief Executive Ola Kallenius told Reuters, adding that spending on traditional combustion-engine technology would be "close to zero" by 2025. However, Daimler stopped short of giving a hard deadline for ending sales of fossil-fuel cars.
Daimler said that as of 2025, it expects electric and hybrid electric cars to make up 50 percent of sales, earlier than its previous forecast that this would happen by 2030. The carmaker will unveil three electric platforms -- one to cover its range of passenger cars and SUVs, one for vans and one for high-performance vehicles -- that will be launched in 2025. Four of its new battery plants will be in Europe and one in the United States. Daimler said it would announce new European partners for its battery production plans soon.
MITRE Updates List of Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Bugs
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer:
MITRE has shared this year's top 25 list of most common and dangerous weaknesses plaguing software throughout the previous two years. MITRE developed the top 25 list using Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) data from 2019 and 2020 obtained from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) (roughly 27,000 CVEs). "A scoring formula is used to calculate a ranked order of weaknesses that combines the frequency that a CWE is the root cause of a vulnerability with the projected severity of its exploitation," MITRE explained. "This approach provides an objective look at what vulnerabilities are currently seen in the real world, creates a foundation of analytical rigor built on publicly reported vulnerabilities instead of subjective surveys and opinions, and makes the process easily repeatable."
MITRE's 2021 top 25 bugs are dangerous because they are usually easy to discover, have a high impact, and are prevalent in software released during the last two years. They can also be abused by attackers to potentially take complete control of vulnerable systems, steal targets' sensitive data, or trigger a denial-of-service (DoS) following successful exploitation. The list [here] provides insight to the community at large into the most critical and current software security weaknesses.
Autonomy Founder Mike Lynch Can Be Extradited To US
The founder of UK software firm Autonomy
can be extradited to the US to face charges of conspiracy and fraud, a London court has said. The BBC reports:
Mike Lynch sold Autonomy to US computer giant Hewlett Packard (HP) for $11 billion in 2011. He denies allegations that he fraudulently inflated the value of Autonomy before the sale. Dr Lynch has been facing civil charges at the High Court in London, where HP is suing him for damages over the deal. But separately, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is pursuing criminal charges against him. Judge Michael Snow said he would deliver his ruling in that action without awaiting the civil verdict, saying it was "of limited significance in the case." Dr Lynch was released on bail by the judge in London.
Dr Lynch told BBC Radio 4's Today program that the decision was not unexpected, because of the terms of the extradition treaty the UK has with the US. "We have this imbalance and this default extradition treaty which can be used [in] any dispute that's going on with American companies and their interests." "The insanity of this extradition treaty [is that] it doesn't rely on any facts," he suggested. Dr Lynch added that he felt the extradition treaty was "imbalanced" and that the British public did not realize that the US justice system works entirely differently to the UK's. He said it was "particularly egregious" that the DoJ was not waiting to see the full judgement from the UK High Court, which will be due in nine weeks' time.
He claimed his former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, who was jailed for five years in 2019, did not receive a fair trial. Dr Lynch said no defense witnesses turned up to Mr Hussain's trial because they were told they would be arrested if they entered the US. His lawyer Mr Morvillo said:"At the request of the US Department of Justice, the court has ruled that a British citizen who ran a British company listed on the London Stock Exchange should be extradited to America over allegations about his conduct in the UK. "We say this case belongs in the UK. If the home secretary nonetheless decides to order extradition, Dr Lynch intends to appeal."
Leaked Intel i9-12900K Benchmark Shows Gains Over the Ryzen 5950X
An engineering sample of Intel's next flagship processor, the i9-12900K, was shown to beat AMD's current flagship 5950X in Cinebench R20 by 18% in multi-core and 28% in single-core tests. The next generation of Intel processors is believed to use a hybrid big.LITTLE design where 8 of its 16 cores are for low power usage and 8 are for full power. The low power cores only run in single thread where the high power cores can run 2 threads. No official word on pricing or release date from Intel though but engineering samples and B600 motherboards are being sold in China for $1,250 and $1,150, respectively. According to leaker
OneRaichu, the results for the 12900K were gathered using water-cooling and without overclocking, so it's possible the final score could be even higher. The rumors suggest the processor will come with 16 cores and 24 threads with a boost clock speed of up to 5.3GHz.
California Sues Activision Blizzard Over Unequal Pay, Sexual Harassment
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR:
The video game studio behind the hit franchises Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush is facing a civil lawsuit in California over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and potential violations of the state's equal pay law. A complaint, filed by the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Wednesday, alleges that Activision Blizzard Inc. "fostered a sexist culture" where women were paid less than men and subjected to ongoing sexual harassment including groping. (Activision and Blizzard Entertainment merged in 2008.)
Officials at the gaming company knew about the harassment and not only failed to stop it but retaliated against women who spoke up, the complaint also alleges. Years after the online harassment campaign known as Gamergate targeted women in the video game world, the California lawsuit depicts an industry that can still be unwelcoming and even hostile to female employees. "All employers should ensure that their employees are being paid equally and take all steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation," said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. "This is especially important for employers in male-dominated industries, such as technology and gaming."
The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard's female workers who spoke to investigators "almost universally confirmed" that their time at the company was "akin to working in a frat house." Male employees drank on the job and came to work hungover, the lawsuit said. The alleged sexual harassment ranged from comments about women's bodies and jokes about rape to the unwanted touching of female employees by their male peers. The complaint, which was the result of a two-year investigation by DFEH, claims that the unequal treatment of women went beyond company culture to the more formal parts of their jobs. Women were allegedly paid less than men, both when they were hired and during the course of their employment. They were also assigned to lower-level positions and passed over for promotions, despite doing more work than their male peers in some cases, according to the lawsuit. One woman said her manager told her she wouldn't be promoted because "she might get pregnant and like being a mom too much." The sex discrimination was even worse for women of color, the suit claims. At least two African-American women reported being singled out and micromanaged. Some of the women who came forward with complaints of discrimination or harassment faced involuntary transfers, were selected for layoffs or were denied certain opportunities, the suit said. In a statement, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said the company had worked to improve its company culture in recent years and accused the DFEH of not adequately trying to resolve the claims against it before resorting to a lawsuit.
"The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past," the statement read. "The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today."
In response to the company's rebuttal, former Blizzard Entertainment employee Cher Scarlett
tweeted: "This is certainly LONG overdue. I would be hard-pressed to find someone that wasn't witness to sex in the game lounges, coke in the bathrooms during a cube crawl, or a woman who wasn't sexually harassed at least once. I am so proud of these women." Scarlett added: "Blizzard has claimed that the DFEH report is false/misleading/irresponsible. I can tell you that I knew what was going to be in this report before I read it because during my time there - for only a YEAR - I witnessed ALL OF THESE THINGS. AND NAME NAMES."
Democratic Bill Would Suspend Section 230 Protections When Social Networks Boost Anti-vax Conspiracies
Two Democratic senators introduced a bill Thursday that would strip away the liability shield that social media platforms hold dear
when those companies are found to have boosted anti-vaccine conspiracies and other kinds of health misinformation. From a report:
The Health Misinformation Act, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), would create a new carve-out in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to hold platforms liable for algorithmically-promoted health misinformation and conspiracies. Platforms rely on Section 230 to protect them from legal liability for the vast amount of user-created content they host.
"For far too long, online platforms have not done enough to protect the health of Americans," Klobuchar said. "These are some of the biggest, richest companies in the world and they must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation." The bill would specifically alter Section 230's language to revoke liability protections in the case of "health misinformation that is created or developed through the interactive computer service" if that misinformation is amplified through an algorithm. The proposed exception would only kick in during a declared national public health crisis, like the advent of Covid-19, and wouldn't apply in normal times.
India Considering Phased Roll Out of Central Bank Digital Currency
India's central bank is
considering launching a digital currency, according to a top executive, giving a clear indication of its intentions for the first time after previously stating that it was studying the idea. From a report:
T Rabi Sankar, the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India, said at a conference today that the central bank is considering introducing the nation's digital currency in a "phased" manner while legal changes are made to the South Asian nation's foreign-exchange rules and IT laws. The digital currency, which will be backed by sovereign, will lower the economy's reliance on cash, enable cheaper and smoother international settlements, and protect people from the volatility of privacy cryptocurrencies, he said. "Every idea has to wait for its time, and the time for CBDC [central bank digital currency] is near. We have carefully evaluated the risks," he told an audience at a conference held by think-tank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
Google Pushed a One-Character Typo To Production, Bricking Chrome OS Devices
Google says it has fixed a major Chrome OS bug that locked users out of their devices. Google's bulletin says that Chrome OS version 91.0.4472.165, which was briefly available this week, renders users unable to log in to their devices,
essentially bricking them. From a report:
Chrome OS automatically downloads updates and switches to the new version after a reboot, so users who reboot their devices are suddenly locked out them. The go-to advice while this broken update is out there is to not reboot. The bulletin says that a new build, version 91.0.4472.167, is rolling out now to fix the issue, but it could take a "few days" to hit everyone. Users affected by the bad update can either wait for the device to update again or "powerwash" their device -- meaning wipe all the local data -- to get logged in. Chrome OS is primarily cloud-based, so if you're not doing something advanced like running Linux apps, this solution presents less of an inconvenience than it would on other operating systems. Still, some users are complaining about lost data.
Toronto-area Woman Wants Freedom Mobile To Stop Assigning Her Phone Number To Other People
Another day another telco failure. Freedom Mobile repeatedly reassigned a customer's phone number. From the report:
A Toronto-area woman says Freedom Mobile is still assigning her cell number to other people, even though she took the number with her when she moved to a new provider last year. Tsahai Carter, 22, made the switch last August. Since then, she says, on three separate occasions she's received phone calls and text messages intended for other people who'd been assigned the same number by Freedom Mobile. Carter, who lives north of Toronto in Markham, Ont., has also fielded phone calls from frustrated customers, wondering why someone else is getting their calls and messages. "They're getting mad at me for taking over their phone number, when really I had nothing to do with it," said Carter. "So it's a bit stressful." This isn't the first time Freedom Mobile customers have complained about a mix-up in phone numbers. In 2019, CBC reported on another customer who'd been given a number by Freedom Mobile that was still in use by someone else: a man who'd ported the number with him when he moved from Freedom to Fido.
Google is Starting To Tell You How It Found Search Results
Alphabet's Google will now show its search engine users more information about
why it found the results they are shown, the company said on Thursday. From a report:
It said people googling queries will now be able to click into details such as how their result matched certain search terms, in order to better decide if the information is relevant.
The Inevitable Weaponization of App Data Is Here
After years of warning from researchers, journalists, and even governments, someone used highly sensitive location data from a smartphone app to track and publicly harass a specific person. From a report:
In this case, Catholic Substack publication The Pillar said it used location data ultimately tied to Grindr to trace the movements of a priest, and then outed him publicly as potentially gay without his consent. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the outing led to his resignation.
The news starkly demonstrates not only the inherent power of location data, but how the chance to wield that power has trickled down from corporations and intelligence agencies to essentially any sort of disgruntled, unscrupulous, or dangerous individual. A growing market of data brokers that collect and sell data from countless apps has made it so that anyone with a bit of cash and effort can figure out which phone in a so-called anonymized dataset belongs to a target, and abuse that information. "Experts have warned for years that data collected by advertising companies from Americans' phones could be used to track them and reveal the most personal details of their lives. Unfortunately, they were right," Senator Ron Wyden told Motherboard in a statement, responding to the incident
TV Networks Want To Yank Nielsen Accreditation
The nation's big TV companies are calling for a new yardstick. From a report:
A trade organization representing Disney, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Fox Corp. and other media giants is calling for the organization that signs off on Nielsen's methodology for measuring TV viewership to yank accreditation, an aggressive maneuver in an era when media outlets and the advertisers who support them are scrambling to figure out how to count viewer eyeballs across an increasingly unwieldy array of new entertainment venues, digital behaviors and screens. The trade group, the VAB, on Wednesday sent a ten-page letter to the Media Rating Council urging the group to pull its backing of Nielsen's ratings, citing Nielsen's diminished ability to count viewership during the coronavirus pandemic. "Nielsen's COVID-period conduct as a ratings service violated at least five minimum standards," the VAB said in its letter, "with the damage done to their largest subscriber clients still creating material negative impact into July 2021."
Banks, Brokerages, PSN, the Steam Store, and More Are Down in Massive Internet Outage
Many websites -- including banking pages, brokerages, and gaming services --
have been affected by what looks to be a major internet outage. From a report:
As website owners and companies that run services that provide the backbone of the web scramble to solve the issue, consumers have been left unable to access services like Ally Bank, Fidelity, Sony's PlayStation Network, Airbnb, and more. Several airline sites are also having issues: Delta, British Airways, and Southwest's sites are all having major issues. At the moment, it's unclear what's causing the outage, though DownDetector reports that both AWS and Akamai, a pair of content delivery networks that host much of the internet, are both experiencing issues. Akamai's status page reports that the company is currently investigating an issue with its DNS service. Cloudflare's CEO has chimed in to say that its service isn't to blame.
AI Firm DeepMind Puts Database of the Building Blocks of Life Online
Last year the artificial intelligence group DeepMind cracked a mystery that has flummoxed scientists for decades: stripping bare the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life. Now, having amassed a database of nearly all human protein structures, the company is
making the resource available online free for researchers to use. From a report:
The key to understanding our basic biological machinery is its architecture. The chains of amino acids that comprise proteins twist and turn to make the most confounding of 3D shapes. It is this elaborate form that explains protein function; from enzymes that are crucial to metabolism to antibodies that fight infectious attacks. Despite years of onerous and expensive lab work that began in the 1950s, scientists have only decoded the structure of a fraction of human proteins.
DeepMind's AI program, AlphaFold, has predicted the structure of nearly all 20,000 proteins expressed by humans. In an independent benchmark test that compared predictions to known structures, the system was able to predict the shape of a protein to a good standard 95% of time. DeepMind, which has partnered with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), hopes the database will help researchers to analyse how life works at an atomic scale by unpacking the apparatus that drives some diseases, make strides in the field of personalised medicine, create more nutritious crops and develop "green enzymes" that can break down plastic.
How TikTok Sees Inside Your Brain
A new video investigation by the Wall Street Journal finds the key to TikTok's success in how the short-video sharing app monitors viewing times. From a report:
TikTok is known for the fiendishly effective way that it selects streams of videos tailored to each user's taste. The algorithm behind this personalization is the company's prize asset -- and, like those that power Google and Facebook, it's a secret. WSJ created a batch of individualized dummy accounts to throw at TikTok and test how it homed in on each fake persona's traits. TikTok responds most sensitively to a single signal -- how long a user lingers over a video. It starts by showing new users very popular items, and sees which catch their eyes.
China Weighs Unprecedented Penalty for Didi After US IPO
Chinese regulators are
considering serious, perhaps unprecedented, penalties for Didi Global after its controversial initial public offering last month,
Bloomberg News reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From a report:
Regulators see the ride-hailing giant's decision to go public despite pushback from the Cyberspace Administration of China as a challenge to Beijing's authority, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Officials from the CAC, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Natural Resources, along with tax, transport and antitrust regulators, began an investigation on-site at the company's offices, the cyberspace watchdog said in a statement. Regulators are weighing a range of potential punishments, including a fine, suspension of certain operations or the introduction of a state-owned investor, the people said. Also possible is a forced delisting or withdrawal of Didi's U.S. shares, although it's unclear how such an option would play out.
Deliberations are at a preliminary phase and the outcomes are far from certain. Beijing is likely to impose harsher sanctions on Didi than on Alibaba Group Holding, which swallowed a record $2.8 billion fine after a months-long antitrust investigation and agreed to initiate measures to protect merchants and customers, the people said. "It's hard to guess what the penalty will be, but I'm sure it will be substantial," said Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California.
Pegasus Spyware Seller: Blame Our Customers Not Us For Hacking
The maker of powerful spy software allegedly used to hack the phones of innocent people says blaming the company is like "
criticising a car manufacturer when a drunk driver crashes." From a report:
NSO Group is facing international criticism, after reporters obtained a list of alleged potential targets for spyware, including activists, politicians and journalists. Investigations have begun as the list, of 50,000 phone numbers, contained a small number of hacked phones. Pegasus infects iPhones and Android devices, allowing operators to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras. NSO Group has said the software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists and made available to only military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies from countries with good human-rights records. But a consortium of news organisations, led by French media outlet Forbidden Stories, has published dozens of stories based around the list, including allegations French President Emmanuel Macron's number was on it and may have been targeted.
Judge Forces US Capitol Rioter To Unlock Laptop Seized By FBI
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN:
A federal judge forced a US Capitol rioter to unlock his laptop Wednesday after prosecutors argued that it likely contained footage of the January 6 insurrection from his helmet-worn camera. The judge granted the Justice Department's request to place Capitol riot defendant Guy Reffitt in front of his laptop so they could use facial recognition to unlock the device. The maneuver happened after the hearing ended and Reffitt's lawyer confirmed to CNN that the laptop was unlocked. Investigators seized the laptop and other devices earlier this year pursuant to a search warrant.
Reffitt has been in jail since his arrest in January. His case received national attention after his son spoke publicly about how Reffitt had threatened to kill family members if they turned him into the FBI. The case became an example of how former President Donald Trump's lies tore some families apart -- Reffitt's son and daughter testified against him in court or before the grand jury. He pleaded not guilty to five federal crimes, including bringing a handgun to the Capitol grounds during the insurrection and obstructing justice by allegedly threatening his family. The felony gun charge was added last month, and undercuts false claims from Trump and prominent Republican lawmakers that the rioters weren't armed and that they had "no guns whatsoever." The case raised intriguing constitutional questions about the right against self-incrimination, but Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed with prosecutors that the unlocking was within the law. "As the court here noted, requiring a defendant to expose his face to unlock a computer can be lawful, and is not far removed from other procedures that are now routinely approved by courts, with proper justification: standing in a lineup, submitting a handwriting or voice exemplar, or submitting a blood or DNA sample," CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said in an email.
Honig said judges try to strike a balance "between respecting a defendant's privacy and other rights on the one hand, and enabling prosecutors to obtain potentially crucial evidence with minimal intrusion on the defendant's rights, on the other." The "potentially crucial evidence" here may include footage of the handgun that Reffitt brought to the Capitol or comments he made about his intentions that day.
After Repair, Hubble Captures Images of 'Rarely Observed' Colliding Galaxies
UnknowingFool shares a report from CBS News:
After being down for a month due to a computer issue, Hubble was brought back up last week. NASA released images captured by Hubble over the weekend including a rare observance of two galaxies that are colliding. The other interesting image is that of a spiral galaxy with three arms, as most spiral galaxies have an even number of arms. "I'm thrilled to see that Hubble has its eye back on the universe, once again capturing the kind of images that have intrigued and inspired us for decades," NASA administrator Bill Nelson
said in a statement. "This is a moment to celebrate the success of a team truly dedicated to the mission. Through their efforts, Hubble will continue its 32nd year of discovery, and we will continue to learn from the observatory's transformational vision."
Drones Are Zapping Clouds With Electricity To Create Rain In UAE Project
turp182 shares a report from USA Today:
[T]he UAE is now testing a new method that has drones fly into clouds to give them an electric shock to trigger rain production [...]. The project is getting renewed interest after the UAE's National Center of Meteorology recently published a series of videos on Instagram of heavy rain in parts of the country. Water gushed past trees, and cars drove on rain-soaked roads. The videos were accompanied by radar images of clouds tagged "#cloudseeding." The Independent reports recent rain is part of the drone cloud seeding project.
The UAE oversaw more than 200 cloud seeding operations in the first half of 2020, successfully creating excess rainfall, the National News reported. There have been successes in the U.S., as well as China, India, and Thailand. Long-term cloud seeding in the mountains of Nevada have increased snowpack by 10% or more each year, according to research published by the American Meteorological Society. A 10-year cloud seeding experiment in Wyoming resulted in 5-10% increases in snowpack, according to the State of Wyoming. According to a researcher that worked on the drone initiative, "the aim of the UAE's project is to change the balance of electrical charge on the cloud droplets, causing water droplets to clump together and fall as rain when they are big enough."