The Apocalypticon ~ Trump hell-bent, exacerbating inequality, climate fears, tranche of idiots


Trump administration debates encryption … behind closed doors. Officials held a National Security Council meeting in the US focussed on the challenges and benefits of encryption.
Emails reveal how the Trump regime creates Twitter propaganda to excuse the migrant baby jails — On May 31, 2018, the Twitter account for Tyler Q Houlton, former press secretary for the US Department of Homeland Security sent out a tweet lecturing Senator Dianne Feinstein of California about the Trump regime’s immigration policies.
The bizarrely confrontational tweet starts with “News Flash @SenFeinstein: We don’t have a policy of separating families.” But as we now know, the Trump regime did, in fact, have a policy of separating children from their families at the border, and the policy never really stopped. But the tweet wasn’t just a hot-headed, spur-of-the-moment slip-up: the tweet went through revisions and was reviewed by numerous people before it was sent out into the world.
United States Homeland Security officials have attempted to downplay the impact of a security intrusion that reached deep into the network of a federal surveillance contractor, secret documents, handbooks, and slides concerning surveillance technology deployed along US borders are being widely and openly shared online. Reporters are digging through the dump and already expanding our understanding of the enormous surveillance apparatus being erected on the US border.
No toothpaste for camp kids — The US Justice Department argued in federal court that government agencies like Customs and Border Protection have no responsibility to provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap to migrant kids who are currently held in America’s vast network of concentration camps. [Well, did the Nazis provide toothbrushes and toothpaste for their concentration camp inmates? No, they did not.]
Star Wars convention impacted by Homeland Security — On the first day of Star Wars Celebration Chicago this April, it was suddenly announced that Riz Ahmed (he played Imperial courier-turned Rebel hero Bodhi Rook in Rogue One) had to cancel his appearance at the convention. Now, the actor’s revealed why: Homeland Security wouldn’t let him board his flight.
Facial recognition ban — Meanwhile, Massachusetts just became the second US city to ban the use of facial recognition in public space.
But companies can use employee smartphones to track them that’s thanks to PhoneAgent.

Away from the US — Trump’s impacts. Global commerce is “being hit by new trade restrictions on a historically high level,” World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in a report Monday that pointed to an increase in protectionist measures by G20 countries. “This will have consequences in increased uncertainty, lower investment and weaker trade growth.” [What an economic maestro.]
Following reports the US carried out cyberattacks against Iran, a senior US official has warned about hacking attempts from Iran directed at the United States.
Libra will concentrate economic power in Facebook — Hughes, who apparently still considers his university roommate Mark Zuckerberg a friend, has said Zuckerberg is too powerful and that the company should be broken up. Now Hughes has warned that Facebook’s new planned digital currency Libra would shift monetary power to corporate giants. The Switzerland-based Libra Association is a group composed of Facebook and its global corporate partners with an entry fee of $US10 million ($14 million). It will be making all the governance decisions surrounding this new global currency.
Robots are expected to take over some 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide by 2030, extending a trend of worsening social inequality while boosting overall economic output, a new study shows.
Upwards of 90% of insects found in British hospitals carry potentially harmful bacteria, according to new research.

Climate fears — Greenland’s ice is doomed. Research published in Science Advances finds that if emissions continue to climb at their current rate, all Greenland’s ice could melt by the year 3000, causing sea levels to rise 7.01m and redrawing coastlines around the world.
Indias’ sixth-largest city is almost dry — The floor of the Chembarambakkam reservoir is cracked open, dry and sun-baked. About 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) away, in Chennai, India’s sixth largest city, millions of people are running out of water.
Everglades ablaze — The US Democratic National Committee refuses to hold a climate change-focused debate despite calls for one from activists and candidates. And now, it would seem the Everglades are also helping to make their case: they’re on fire.
Jet contrails are adding to global warming — Under certain conditions these contrails can linger for hours, absorbing thermal radiation emitted by the Earth and adding to warming. By 2050, contrail-induced warming could be three times higher than it was in 2006.

Any good news? Not really. Even the US Democrats seems to attract its tranche of idiots.

Futurology ~ Rover wheels, solar car, sugar fuel, Crohn’s diet


The Lightyear concept car is causing quite a buzz – it does 450kms on a single, solar, charge

Mars Rover gets wheels — At just a little over a year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 Mission, which will see NASA’s new rover reach the Red Planet on 18 February 2021, NASA has fitted the wheels to the vehicle.
Once in Jezero Crater, the rover will search for signs of prior habitability and evidence of past microbial life, collect rock and surface samples, and perform some groundwork for a human mission to Mars, including an oxygen production test. Each wheel (there are six) has its own motor.
~ A roving it will go.

Solar-powered electric car — Lightyear, a startup from the Netherlands, has come a long way since it won a Crunchie award in 2015, with a vehicle that now looks ready for the road. The Lightyear One prototype vehicle has a sleek, driver-friendly design and also boasts a range of 450 miles on a single charge – definitely a first for a car powered by solar and intended for the actual consumer market.
~ Will it work better in countries that actually get substantial sunlight? 

Fuel from plants — Researchers in Japan and China have developed a two-step method to more efficiently break down carbohydrates into their single sugar components for the production of green fuel.
~ I can envisage so many issues with this around ramping up plant production to make fuel!

Apple’s new Mac Pro is being manufactured in China — After six years of manufacturing the cylindrical Mac Pro in Texas, Apple has shifted production of the new Mac Pro to China, even as trade tensions escalate between the US and China.
~ Imagine how much more than its ridiculous price it would cost at US labour rates!

Crohn’s diet breakthrough? A 25-year-old man first been diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2014 cut out all animal products and processed foods from his diet for 40 days, as part of a “period of religious observation.” He decided to stick with the diet, and a colonoscopy of the man’s ileum (the end of the small intestine long affected by his Crohn’s) revealed that it had fully healed.
~ This definitely deserves more research. 

The Apocalypticon ~ Climate woes, Trump’s fake war, data hypocrisy


Humans gleefully trash their only home — Photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier were inspired by this ongoing debate over this new geological era called the Anthropocene, in which humans have created significant changes to Earth. Arctic coastlines are collapsing into the sea.
Don’t let the sea into the US! Estimates show that to defend every coastal city, town, and hamlet in the US with sea walls over the next 20 years could cost over $600 billion, and that’s under a fairly optimistic climate scenario. [And the Mexicans won’t pay for it.]
‘Never-ending barrage of rain’ in the US It has left the Midwest flooded, the Gulf of Mexico primed for a huge dead zone.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the agency’s final replacement for the Obama-era rule, which aimed to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector to combat climate change. and yeah, it’s as bad as you’d imagine.
US military is killing the planet while it practices killing people — A new report from Brown’s Watson Institute examines the Pentagon’s day-to-day carbon footprint, oil use, and how much carbon the unending War on Terror has emitted. It shows that while the military is progressive in terms of acknowledging the threat climate change poses to the world, it’s also a huge part of the problem.
Glacial melts — Researchers are turning to a once-secret source: spy satellite imagery from the 1970s and 1980s, now declassified. The Himalayan glaciers lost 25 centimetres (10 inches) of ice per year from 1975 to 2000. This region contains the most ice in one region after the actual poles.
Bee worried — Beekeepers across the US lost four in 10 of their honeybee colonies over the past year, as the worst winter on record for tracked bee populations raised fresh concerns over the plight of the crucial pollinators.
Beautiful Chinese algae is a curse — Satellite imagery taken over the past two decades shows that the toxic bioluminescent microorganisms responsible for China’s sparkling blue seas are becoming increasingly abundant.
Canada’s empty climate words Canada’s Liberal Party voted en masse to declare a climate emergency in the House of Commons. Then the Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion that, when completed, will pump 590,000 barrels of highly-polluting tar sands oil from Alberta to British Columbia.

Trump ‘calls off’ fake war — President Trump says he called off a Thursday strike on Iran ordered as retaliation for Iran’s having shot down a US drone. Trump said he cancelled the attack shortly before it was to begin, after he was told 150 people would very likely be killed. [Honestly, does anybody believe any of this crap? Tell me, please, how you get video footage of ‘Iranian terrorists’ fitting mines to oil tankers yet you do nothing about it? Fake war!] 
Tens of millions displaced by violence — A record 70.8 million people had been forcibly displaced by war, persecution and other violence worldwide at the end of 2018, according to the latest annual Global Trends report by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This is the highest number in UNHCR history.

Data hypocrisy — Moderating Facebook is an awful job. The details in the report are, at best, a grim account of the dirty and chaotic conditions of the workplace and at worst a disturbing insight into the psychological toll of the job.
Magic Leap info stolen for China — Magic Leap Inc, a US startup that makes a headset to project digital objects onto the real world, accused one of its former engineers of stealing its technology to create his own augmented reality device for China.
UK can’t control ‘horny teens’ — Sources now say the project is “indefinitely delayed” (after being previously delayed twice) and will not in fact be rolling out next month as planned.
Millions of Google Maps listings are fake, but lucrative — Google still can’t seem to stop the proliferation of fictional business listings and aggressive con artists on its search engine.
WeTransfer shared its users’ files with the wrong people — The company not only shared files with the intended recipients, but with random strangers.
Gmail confidential is not confidential — Without end-to-end encryption, Gmail confidential mode is little more than a marketing strategy. Learn why privacy experts call Google’s privacy features “misleading.”
Facebook’s creepy cryptocurrency ambitions — Facebook’s ambitions to create a quasi-nation state ruled by mostly corporate interests is a secret weapon, one the company hopes it can use to create another platform used by billions of people – and generate enormous new revenue streams along the way.

Any good news — The inhabitants of Çatalhöyük, an ancient city founded over 9000 years ago in what is now Turkey, were subject to many urban problems we’re familiar with today, including overcrowding, interpersonal violence and sanitation issues. [But presumably not device addiction.]
More people return wallets than you’d imagine — but having money in the wallet upped the odds.
The world’s population is slowing down and could stop growing, or even begin decreasing, by 2100, according to a United Nations report. [The universe requires us to put a break on all that procreation!]

Futurology ~ Two world, ambitious aliens, pristine comet, bio-plastic, Boaty McB success, wifi bulbs, snail-sticky, lost city life


Two potentially life-friendly planets found orbiting a nearby star — A tiny, old star just 12 light-years away might host two temperate, rocky planets, astronomers have announced. If confirmed, both of the newly spotted worlds are nearly identical to Earth in mass, and both planets are in orbits that could allow liquid water to trickle and puddle on their surfaces.
~ I christen you Puddle and Trickle, then. 

Absence of aliens inspires more ambitions — The Breakthrough Listen project has completed a sweeping search of over 1700 nearby stars for signs of alien technology. Sadly, no evidence of extraterrestrials was found, but the $145 million project took a major leap forward in terms of its ability to continue the search. But those involved intend to try again, with better tools and refined techniques.
~ By ‘refined’ I am guessing they mean those Star Trek and Orville style aliens who almost all, magically, speak English. 

The Comet Interceptor mission will include a mothership and two ‘daughter’ spacecraft — The ESA describes the new Comet Interceptor mission, scheduled for launch in 2028, as unique in that it’ll be our first encounter with a comet making its first trip into the inner solar system. (Americans are less interested in NASA sending humans to the moon or Mars than they are in the US space agency focusing on potential asteroid impacts.)
~ It’s ‘pristine’. 

The Plastic Age — If civilisations are remembered for what they leave behind, our time might be labelled the Plastic Age. Plastic can endure for centuries. It’s everywhere, even in our clothes, from polyester leisure suits to fleece jackets.
A Silicon Valley startup is trying to get the plastic out of clothing and put something else in: biopolymers. Unlike plastic, they can be broken down into natural materials.
~ As long as these clothes don’t start eating their occupants.

Boaty McBoatface plumbs the depths — The British research submarine Boaty McBoatface has made an impressive debut in the scientific arena, discovering a significant link between Antarctic winds and rising sea temperatures on its maiden outing. Its findings have revealed how increasingly strong winds in the region are causing turbulence deep within the sea, mixing warm water from middle levels with colder water in the abyss.
~ The abyss really sounds like no fun at all. 

Wifi-transmitting smart bulbs — Signify (formerly known as Philips Lighting) produces Hue-branded smart lights and has announced a new range of internet-transmitting Li-Fi lights called Truelifi. They’re capable of transmitting data to devices like laptops at speeds of up to 150 Mbps using light waves, rather than the radio signals used by 4G or Wi-Fi.
~ I’ll just beam that data across the office, then. 

Stick like a snail — Scientists have developed an adhesive both sticky and reusable thanks to inspiration from snail mucus. Things stick together thanks to a combination of various microscopic and macroscopic behaviours, influenced by interactions between individual molecules and the shapes of surfaces.
~ Yeah, I was going to say that. 

Lost city teems with life — A black puma was just a taste of the magnificence Larsen and his team would find in the recently discovered lost city in Honduras’ Mosquitia Rainforest. This remote region is teeming with life – some of which was believed extinct.
~ Except this region is subject to very hard-to-control human ravages. 

The Apocalypticon ~ Let’s go to Siberia, Zuckerberg grabs, assorted catastrophes, assorted craziness


Moving to Siberia — Unchecked climate change could make Siberia an oasis capable of sustaining a up to nine times more people in some locations, according to new research. [Here, of course, we have Invercargill.]
So do we all owe Al Gore an apology? [I don’t, I always knew he was right.]
Canada to ban plastics — Canada will ban many single-use plastic items by 2021, including bags, straws, cutlery and stirring sticks, to cut harmful waste damaging the country’s ecosystems.
Americans may be ingesting thousands of microplastics every year — Americans consume between 74,000 and 121,000 plastic particles annually (and that’s likely an underestimate).
But Circulate Capital, the investment management firm that incubates and finances companies involved in plastic waste management in South and Southeast Asia (SSEA), has announced a blended finance partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to combat ocean plastic pollution.
Hydrogen explosion — A hydrogen refuelling station exploded in Norway and the company operating the station has suspended operation at its other locations following the explosion. Now, Toyota and Hyundai are both halting sales of fuel cell vehicles in the country.
Fix — But finally, there’s apparently a climate change documentary that will get you excited to fix it.

Zuckerberg up for grabs — After years of struggle, a man Mark Zuckerberg supports secured a series of disputed properties that lie within the bounds of Zuckerberg’s vast estate in the northeast corner of Kauai in Hawaii. [He’s rich so he gets what he wants.]
Emails dish dirt on Zuck — Facebook Inc. uncovered emails that appear to connect Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to potentially problematic privacy practices at the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
Deep Fake Zuckerberg — Mark Zuckerberg is famed for looking and acting like a (slightly damp) synthetic being trying to infiltrate human society … so the new Deep Fake of him is uncannily accurate.
Facebook shareholder revolt gets bloody — Powerless investors have voted overwhelmingly to oust Zuckerberg as chairman.
YouTube says it’s ‘too hard’ to ban LCBQT harassment — “I know that the decision that we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community,” Wojcicki said. “That was not our intention and we [are] really sorry about that.” Now YouTube’s LGBTQ and allied workers are mobilising to demand a satisfactory response.

Speaking of surveillance — As you shop, ‘beacons’ are watching you using hidden technology in your phone. InMarket tracks 50 million Americans per month.
Russia banning VPNs — Russia is getting closer to implementing the sort of internet regulations that exist under the Great Firewall of China.

In other assorted catastrophes — A 5-year-old has died in Uganda as Ebola spreads from the Democratic Republic Of The Congo.
Nowhere near as news-worthy, but measles is spreading in the US — The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that 1001 cases of measles have been reported so far in the US throughout 2019.
Boeing wanted to wait three years before fixing the Max — Boeing Company planned to wait three years to fix a non-working safety alert on its 737 Max aircraft and sped up the process only after the first of two deadly crashes involving the planes.
A swarm of meteors is coming — A swarm of meteors heading towards Earth could have the potential to cause a catastrophic impact, a new study from Western Ontario University says.
The Gulf Of Mexico’s ‘Dead Zone’ could balloon to over 20,720 square kilometres (8000 square miles) this summer.
Trump wants to limit aid for low-income Americans — NPR takes a  look at his proposals.

Assorted craziness — Soccer spy app: Spain’s data protection agency has fined La Liga, the nation’s top professional soccer league, 250,000 Euros (US$406,633) for using the league’s phone app to spy on its fans.
Icelandic tap water is a national resource — Iceland is now touting its tap water as a delicacy for tourists and locals alike.
Trump’s most hated journalists speaks — As the most visible reporter to regularly spar with the president, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta is a disputed icon. Trump has called Acosta a “rude, terrible person” and “fake news.” To many on the right, he represents deep media bias; to some on the left, he represents media pushback against Trump’s frequent lies.
Acosta recounts in his new book, The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America.
InfoWars must pay Pepe The Frog creator $21,500 and never sell Pepe merch again.
Drunken Japanese drone-flyers beware — Operating a drone in Japan while drunk could lead to a year in prison thanks to new legislation.
No pizza for Queen Lizzy — An unnamed Domino’s employee was reportedly stopped by armed guards at Buckingham Palace and caused a bit of a security kerfuffle as he attempted to deliver four large cheeseburger pizzas for “Elizabeth.”

Good news! John Dean, the man whose cool, calm and controversial testimony in the Watergate investigation began the public demolition of President Richard Nixon, has now set his sights on Trump [finally!].
Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov is now free, after Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry said it would drop drug charges [which appear trumped up] against him.
iPhones to block robo-calls — A recently announced iPhone feature arriving with iOS 13, however, might help quiet some of those unknown callers by kicking them straight to voicemail.
Heathrow has got rid of two steps in  security checks! Yay!

Futurology ~ Pentaquark reveal, Europa salt, elastic aerogels, 3D-printed corneas, bullet-proof foam, universal blood, better magnet, better microscope, algo-faces, brief Bronze Age


Large Hadron Collider reveals Pentaquark structure — New results from the world’s largest particle accelerator illuminate the structure of the pentaquark, an exotic particle consisting of five quarks bound together. Researchers observed a baryon bound to a meson, forming a weird new kind of unearthly molecule.
~ Sounds like a Fonterra brand. 

Salt under Europa’s surface — Observations from the Hubble Space Telescope point to the presence of sodium chloride on the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. This is potential evidence that sodium chloride, otherwise known as table salt, exists within Europa’s subsurface ocean – yet another indication of this moon’s potential to support alien life.
~ Except it’s humans who would be the aliens on Europa. 

Stretchy aerogel — A team of scientists in China has developed a straightforward technique to fabricate super-elastic and fatigue-resistant hard carbon aerogels.
~ Trip the light fantastic.

Better 3D-printed corneas — A research group in South Korea has developed a method to better 3D-print an artificial cornea.
~ Thanks to bio-ink. 

Better bullet-proof steel — A new bulletproofing material developed at North Carolina State University mimics lightweight styrofoam, sidestepping a big issue with bulletproofing: weight. Composite metal foam is  made from hollow metallic spheres surrounded by a matrix that can be made from various types of metals, including titanium or alloys.
~ It has other benefits: better heat dispersion, resistance to various rays etc. 

Type A blood converted to universal donor blood thanks to bacterial enzymes — Hospitals across the United States go through some 16,500 litres (35,000 pints) of donated blood for emergency surgeries, scheduled operations, and routine transfusions. But recipients can’t take just any blood: for a transfusion to be successful, patient and donor blood types must be compatible. Now, researchers analysing bacteria in the human gut have discovered that microbes there produce two enzymes that can convert the common type A into a more universally accepted type.
~ This could revolutionise blood donation and transfusion.

World’s strongest magnet — The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, or MagLab, at Florida State University runs the world’s strongest continuous magnet for use by scientists, at 45 tesla: that’s around 10 times stronger than a hospital MRI. Now, researchers at the lab have announced a 45.5-tesla magnet. Not a huge jump, but it paves the way for even stronger magnets based on the principles of superconductivity.
~ Now that is attractive. 

Better microscope — Researchers have combined laser techniques and an ingenious detection scheme in order to create a powerful new molecule-imaging system—a quicker, easier way to determine the identity of microscopic molecules. Basically, it’s an advanced yet surprisingly simple microscope.
~ I see. 

Algorithm generates fairly accurate faces from voices — MIT researchers published a paper last month called Speech2Face: Learning the Face Behind a Voice which explores how an algorithm can generate a face based on a short audio recording of that person. It’s not an exact depiction of the speaker, but based on images in the paper, the system was able to create an image with accurate gender, race, and age.
~ I can often do that by looking at someone. Grin. 

British Bronze Age settlement lasted just a year — A remarkably well-preserved Bronze Age settlement dubbed the ‘British Pompeii’ was destroyed by fire around a year after it was constructed, according to new research. It’s one of many new findings that’s shedding light on the 3000-year-old community and the people who called it home – albeit it for a short time.
~ Oh, they were Hobbits? 

The Apocalypticon ~ No more humans from 2050, Ladybuggeration, Dastardly data, evil unbound


High likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end starting in 2050 — A harrowing scenario-analysis of how human civilisation might collapse in coming decades due to climate change has been endorsed by a former Australian defence chief and senior royal navy commander.
Ladybuggeration — An 80 by 129km blob in the atmosphere, chugging toward San Diego in the US, turned out to be a massive ‘bloom’ of ladybugs . It was densest in a 16km mass in the middle and could be seen by people as flying specks from the ground.
Completely catastrophic’ flooding (and tariffs) causing chaos for US farmers — Weeks of rain across the Midwest and the Great Plains have kept many farmers from planting crops. Surging rivers have broken levees, flooded fields and brought barge traffic to a halt on some of the nation’s biggest waterways.
Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes — With the artificial-intelligence industry often compared to the oil industry, now it seems the metaphor may extend even further. Like its fossil-fuel counterpart, the process of deep learning has an outsize environmental impact.
The gyre is terrible, but microplastics are through all the oceans to a much greater degree — And it’s throughout the maritime food chain right up to us. 

Dastardly data — You might expect Homer Simpson to hand over personal details in exchange for a donut, but not cybersecurity professionals. But they do.
The US House Intelligence Committee will next week examine the risks posed by deepfakes, artificial intelligence technology that can create realistic-looking fake videos, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said. [A deepfake is an artful, digitally constructed fake, by contrast to Donald Trump, who is just a shallow fake.]
Schiff: “And this may be the future we are heading into, and when you combine that with the fact that we already have a President of the United States who says the things that are real – like the Access Hollywood tape – are fake, and things that are fake – like the Pelosi tape – he pushes out as real; when he has a presidential lawyer saying truth isn’t truth, and a spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway, saying they are entitled to their own alternate facts.”
Police order phone unlocking, but … A Florida man was thrown in jail for 44 days for refusing to unlock two iPhones in his possession during a traffic stop!
The Russian government has added dating service Tinder to a government database that legally forces the company to hand over user data and private communications to the country’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
NSA recommends updating Microsoft software — A critical Windows security vulnerability known as BlueKeep was revealed and fixed a few weeks ago, with Microsoft repeatedly begging users of older Windows versions to make sure their machines were updated. The NSA agreed: “Although Microsoft has issued a patch, potentially millions of machines are still vulnerable,” the NSA wrote.

Evil abounds — Piracy is ethically acceptable, according to many Harvard lawyers. This is the conclusion of an intriguing new study conducted among Harvard lawyers by Professor Dariusz Jemielniak and Dr Jérôme Hergueux.
Tesla tries to stop its workers communicating — Blind is an anonymous social network that has been used by tech workers to speak freely about grievances related to the workplace, among other concerns. Thousands of Tesla employees have signed up for the service, but now the company is reportedly trying to suppress its workers from joining the network.
Drug company’s paltry fine for 1 billion dollar scandal — Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals has announced the company expects to pay $15.4 million in a settlement with the US. Justice Department after allegations that Questcor Pharmaceuticals, which Mallinckrodt acquired in 2014, had bribed doctors and their staff to prescribe an incredibly expensive drug.
Troubling study to monitor social media against suicide — Northumbria University in the UK has announced it will surveil student social media posts, among other data, to try and determine whether students are suicidal. The project is part of a pilot program and will reportedly be deployed across all British institutions if it works as intended.
YouTube bravely bans Nazis hours after throwing LGBT users under the bigot bus — That headline says it all, really …
Boeing reports up to 148 parts for its aircraft were ‘improperly manufactured‘ — But hey, the profits! Even the payouts to the families of 346 dead people won’t come close.

Image: izusek via Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little good news — Princess Cruise Lines fined — It and its parent company Carnival Corporation has agreed to pay a $20 million criminal penalty for environmental violations. Princess Cruise Lines has already paid $40 million over other deliberate acts of pollution including systematic dumping gf plastics and oil at sea.
And Microsoft has discreetly wiped its massive facial recognition database.

Futurology ~ 10-million-light-year connection, self-repairing recharge, human mosaics, pumping heart patch, Justinian’s plague, medical Salamander goo,


A ‘pumping’ patch containing millions of living, beating stem cells could help repair the damage caused by heart attacks

Mysterious, 10-million-light-year-long magnetic field connects two galaxy clusters — Scientists have detected radio waves emanating from the space between a pair of galaxy clusters—evidence of intergalactic magnetic fields and fast-moving particles in the space between these giant galactic assemblages. Even more mysteriously, the feature the scientists detected is tens of times longer than the distance that a relativistic electron can travel in its lifetime.
~ It’s pizza delivery!

Self-repairing rechargeables — Researchers in Japan have developed a self-repairing material that could extend the lifespan of batteries. Professor Atsuo Yamada at the University of Tokyo, Japan, has invented an oxygen redox-layered oxide (Na2RuO3) that could allow rechargeable batteries to last much longer as it’s self-repairing.
~ OK, next I want self-recharging. 

Accumulated mutations create a cellular mosaic in our bodies — Mutations, most of them harmless, accumulate in our tissues over a lifetime. The subtle genetic variations in cells make humans a mosaic. Your body has about 40 trillion cells which all arose from a single fertilised egg. But the DNA in many of those cells is no longer a perfect clone of that original one.
~ So it It turns out you aren’t simply a clone of the cells you started with.

Pumping heart patch — A ‘pumping’ patch containing millions of living, beating stem cells could help repair the damage caused by heart attacks, according to researchers.
Sewn on to the heart, the 3cm (1in) by 2cm patch, grown in a lab from a sample of the patient’s own cells, then turns itself into healthy working muscle.
~ Rabbits recommend …

Ancient plague bacteria sequenced — Scientists have gained some insight into one of the first known calamities to visit mankind: a two century-long pandemic caused by the bacterial disease plague. Studying the remains of plague victims, the researchers say they were able to sequence the genomes of plague strains that devastated the Roman Empire starting in the 6th century. They also found direct evidence the plague’s destruction made it as far as England.
~ Maybe this item belongs in The Apocalypticon. 

Salamander goo makes amazing medical glue — When Chinese giant salamanders are injured, they discharge white mucus from glands on their skin. New research shows this sticky salamander goo makes an excellent medical glue, sealing wounds and encouraging them to heal. Using the glue, scientists were able to close bleeding skin incisions in less than 30 seconds.
~ Current medical glues make wounds hot, they’re not elastic enough and can be toxic. 

The Apocalypticon ~ New heights of rubbish


Tribal Climate Emergency — An indigenous community in Canada’s Yukon territory, where the planet is warming fastest, recently declared a climate emergency. In fact, they are the first indigenous peoples to do so — and that’s major.

Killing yourself eating — If you’re living somewhere that’s not warming as fast, you could be killing yourself by what you eat, instead. Heavily processed food like ready meals and ice-cream linked to early death. Obese seniors, by the way, have a higher risk of experiencing physical limitations in old age.

Speaking of rubbish — Malaysia is shipping thousands of tons of the world’s plastic rubbish back to where it came from, the food delivery trend in China is drowning the country in plastic and US parents are spending thousands on YouTube camps that teach kids how to be famous [a new height of vacuity].

Thought garbage — The San Francisco Police Officers’ Association is calling for the city’s police chief, William Scott, to resign over the raid of a freelance journalist’s home and office.
Uber posts massive losses while under-paying its drivers as its CEO takes home $75 million a year. Uber posted losses of $1 billion over the previous quarter, more or less matching investor expectations, because sending the GDP of Vanuatu off a cliff every three months is Uber’s current business model, more or less.
IBM has been flogging the latest facial recognition tech to a dictatorship, fake LinkedIn profiles are undetectable, Indian parents agonise over the radicalisation of their kids,

In good (?) news, single women are happier and live longer, London police officers were called to investigate a “possible unexploded device” washed onto the bank of the River Thames and found a giant Christmas decoration and New Zealand has introduced the Global Impact Visa which is as much about intellectual renewal and generating positive vibes as economic impact.

Futurology ~ Alien rock, purifying membrane, hearing aid, Titanium bodies, transparent batteries, 1884 electric car, ancient beers, jurassic fish school


Graphene may be leading to better, and even transparent, batteries

Ancient Extra-Terrestrial rock —Geologists in France and Italy have spotted what appear to be organic molecules from outer space in 3.3-billion-year-old rocks in South Africa, according to a new study.
Organic molecules, from methane to amino acids, exist in space. Perhaps some of these molecules were brought to our own planet via carbon-containing asteroids. Scientists studying ancient rock in South Africa seem to have uncovered evidence of the oldest examples yet of these extraterrestrial molecules.
~ Or were you hoping for music? 

Fabric purifies water — A team of scientists in China has found a way to purify water contaminated with pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). Their findings are published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
~ Dare I ask what they plan to do with the then-contaminated membranes? 

Improvement for hearing aids — Researchers at Columbia University had the opportunity to work with epilepsy patients undergoing repeated brain surgeries to test out a new approach to improving how hearing aids work. Using data gathered from electrodes implanted directly into the volunteers’ brains, they found that their brain wave activities tended to naturally mirror the speech patterns of a specific person they were focusing on and listening to, even when other voices were competing for attention. It’s this unique behaviour of the brain that researchers believe could be the key to radically improving the effectiveness of hearing aids.
~ The confusion of a multiplicity of voices …

We can build you from Titanium — Titanium is a silver-coloured metal valued for its low density, high strength, and resistance to corrosion. Relatively low-cost precision 3D printing is becoming a game-changer for titanium as designers can create amazing shapes, including structural body parts.
~ Titanium is a very biocompatible metal.

Almost-transparent batteries — Scientists in South Korea have developed a transparent and flexible battery using single-layered graphene. Advances in materials science and electronics are bringing such gadgets closer to reality. Graphene, a one-dimensional layer of carbon atoms in a hexagonal arrangement, has unique electrical and optical properties, making it ideal for use in electronic displays and devices.
~ Imagine a wholly-transparent smartphone. 

Electric car c1884 — Thomas Parker was a British genius inventor who revolutionised several aspects of life in England. He was once described as “the Edison of Europe” because of the things he was able to accomplish. He even built an effective electric car.
~ He had well aware how bad coal and gas were for the environment. 

Ancient beers revived — A self-proclaimed beer archaeologist, Rupp has traveled the world in search of clues as to how ancient civilisations made and consumed beer. With Avery Brewing Co, he has concocted eight of them in a series called Ales of Antiquity. The brews are served in Avery’s restaurant and tasting room.
~ Viking beer, anyone? 

Ancient school of fish — An exquisite fossil of photographic-like quality shows nearly 260 tiny fish swimming together in what appears to be coordinated group action. The 50-million-year-old fossil is evidence that fish have been swimming together in shoals for a very long time.
~ An enduring lesson, then.