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Messages - vox_mundi

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1
Glaciers / Re: Alaska Glaciers
« on: Today at 01:22:51 AM »
The National Park Service has a surge page now ...

https://www.nps.gov/articles/dena-muldrow.htm

Denali Park glacier surging 65 feet a day, threatening summit route

... Before the surge, the ice was moving between 3 and 11 inches per day. Now it's moving 30 to 60 feet per day, according to satellite image analysis.

During the last surge event in 1956-57, the glacier moved over 4 miles in a period of months.

"It's gone from basically a very smooth, level ice surface to a totally impassable crevassed area," Adema said.



... “[There’s the] potential for a very intense outburst flood. There’s just masses of water trapped under that glacier, to lubricate that surface to the extent where it can surge at this rate,” he said. “The reason the surge ends is because that trapped water finds a path out.”

2
Policy and solutions / Re: Transport and self driving vehicles
« on: April 12, 2021, 07:25:25 PM »
Thanks for opening this thread, NeilT.

Your study on the average driver brought to mind the closing words of the monologue on Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon  ... "Well, that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wobegon

------------------------------------------------------

Here's another self-driving entrant ...

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Intel’s Mobileye Will Launch a Fully Driverless Delivery Service In 2023
https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/12/22375759/intel-mobileye-udelv-autonomous-vehicle-delivery-2023



Mobileye, the company that specializes in chips for vision-based autonomous vehicles, announced that it will launch a full-scale, fully driverless delivery service starting in 2023. The company, a subsidiary of Intel, is joining forces with self-driving delivery startup Udelv to run this new service.

Deliveries will be made using a new type of cabin-less vehicle called The Transporter. While manufacturing plans are still in flux, Mobileye and Udelv say they will produce 35,000 Transporters between 2023–2028 — a signal of their seriousness to launch a driverless delivery system at scale.

The vehicle will be compatible with DC fast charging and will have a top speed of 65 mph. A spokesperson said that Udelv will announce its manufacturing plans for the Transporter at a later date.

Mobileye’s turn-key self-driving system features a full-sensor suite of 13 cameras, three long-range LiDARs, six short-range LiDARs, and six radar. It also includes the Israeli company’s EyeQ system-on-a-chip and a data crowdsourcing program called the Road Experience Management, or REM, which uses real-time data from Mobileye-equipped vehicles to build out a global 3D map.

While the Transporter will be fully autonomous, it won’t be completely alone in the wilderness. Udelv says the vehicle will have ultra-low-latency teleoperation capabilities, meaning a remote operator can offer a prompt to the vehicle if it gets tripped up.

The company is also testing autonomous vehicles in a variety of cities around the world for the eventual launch of a robotaxi service and has said it would bring its technology to personally owned consumer vehicles by 2025 as well.

Udelv is an interesting choice for a partner for Mobileye. One of the few AV startups that has yet to be acquired by a larger company, Udelv has been testing autonomous delivery vans in a variety of markets across the US over the last few years, including Oklahoma City, Arizona, and the Bay Area in California. Udelv said it has completed 20,000 deliveries for merchants in the cities where it has operations.

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GM's Cruise to Operate All-Electric Driverless Cars In Dubai
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-04-gm-cruise-all-electric-driverless-cars.html

Dubai said Monday that U.S. self-driving car company Cruise will become the first to operate autonomous taxis and ride-hailing services in the United Arab Emirates city of more than three million people.

It is the first venture outside of the U.S. for General Motors-owned Cruise, which has been operating electric vehicles in San Francisco for years, although it just recently began testing without the safety of a backup driver in the car. Cruise plans to begin offering a fully autonomous ride-hailing service there but it has not said when that will begin.

The partnership, Dubai officials said, aims to reduce traffic accidents, cut pollution and save money while converting 25% of all trips in the city to driverless transport by 2030.

As part of the agreement, Cruise will establish a Dubai-based company that will be responsible for the fleet of roomy vehicles, which have four passenger seats and no visible driver's seat or controls.

The fleet is expected to start operating in 2023 in limited numbers, before scaling up to as many as 4,000 vehicles by 2030, Al Tayer said.



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Your Next Pizza From Domino's Could Be Delivered By a Robot
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2021/04/12/pepperoni-for-the-robot-dominos-nuro-test-autonomous-pizza-delivery/
https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/technology/dominos-putting-its-delivery-robot-work



The chain and autonomous vehicle maker Nuro will start testing the R2 vehicle at a location in Houston this week.

Customers can choose to have their pizza delivered by Nuro’s R2 robot—Nuro’s first autonomous, occupantless on-road vehicle with regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

... “This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations.”

For the pizza chain, Nuro could provide a solution to perpetual challenges in finding drivers, a challenge that has only intensified in recent months. Nuro has also recently received some attention from other companies—Chipotle Mexican Grill invested in the company last month.

3
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 12, 2021, 02:55:06 PM »
Brazil Now Has More Young Than Old COVID Patients In ICUs
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-brazil-young-covid-patients-icus.html

The number of COVID-19 patients under 40 in intensive care in Brazil surpassed older groups last month, a researcher said Sunday, amid a deadly surge driven partly by a new coronavirus variant.

The number of people aged 39 or younger in intensive care units with COVID-19 in March rose sharply to more than 11,000, or 52.2 percent of the total, said the Brazilian ICU Project.

That was up from 14.6 percent of total ICU patients early in the pandemic and around 45 percent from September through February.

"Previously, this was a population that would typically only develop a less-severe form of the disease and would not need intensive care. So the increase for this age group is very significant," said Dr. Ederlon Rezende, co-coordinator of the project, an initiative of the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine (AMIB).

... The numbers suggest that COVID Variant P1, which can re-infect people who have had the original strain of the virus, may also be more virulent, Rezende said.

"The patients arriving in ICUs now are younger, have no pre-existing conditions and are developing more severe cases of the virus, too," he told AFP.

The number of ICU patients without pre-existing conditions increased by nearly a third in March, to 30.3 percent of the total.

And the proportion of patients put on ventilators reached a pandemic record of 58.1 percent in March, according to the project's data.

4
The rest / War, War, War
« on: April 11, 2021, 05:49:51 PM »
War, War, War

It's that Season again; and those who have squandered humanity's future on the 'Great Game' are dusting off their toys and setting up their pieces on the playing field.

Other threads cover some of the precursors to wars, like inequality, overpopulation, and economic or political rivalry, maybe this should cover, what Carl von Clausewitz had said - "diplomacy by other means." That and mans inhumanity to fellow man.

War is not inevitable, but I wouldn't sell it short

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------------------------------------------

Russian Armor Floods Toward Border With Ukraine Amid Fears Of An "Imminent Crisis"
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40016/russian-armor-floods-toward-border-with-ukraine-amid-fears-of-an-imminent-crisis



Trains loaded with large amounts of Russian military hardware, including tanks and other heavy armored vehicles, as well as heavy artillery, appear to be streaming toward the country's borders with Ukraine. There are unconfirmed reports that the scale of these movements is so significant that it has, to the dismay of Russian farmers, disrupted shipments of tractors and other agricultural equipment ahead of the spring harvest season. U.S. officials are now worried that a new major round of fighting between Russia and Ukraine may be imminent as a ceasefire is at risk of expiring tomorrow.

It's not entirely clear when the Russian buildup began, but video footage and other imagery reportedly showing armored vehicles and other military equipment on trains heading toward southwestern Russian has been appearing on social media since at least March 27, 2021. There have also been sightings of large ground convoys and groups of aircraft.



https://mobile.twitter.com/GirkinGirkin/status/1376965845172289536

https://mobile.twitter.com/Eire_QC/status/1377017401401835521

This includes at least one clip of a trainload of 152mm 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers, BMP-3 infantry fight vehicles, and other military vehicles, crossing a bridge that now links Russia to the Crimean Peninsula, and footage of what appears to be the same train in the Crimean city of Kerch. Russian forces seized this region from Ukraine in 2014 and the Kremlin subsequently annexed it.

... Though the new Russian military buildup is clearly at least a message meant for Ukrainian authorities, what the Kremlin's exact plan is remains unclear. The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, which includes representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the multinational Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), reportedly failed to agree on the terms of an extension of an existing ceasefire agreement in Donbass beyond April 1.

... Ukraine is not a NATO member or otherwise a formal American ally, though they are an important regional security partner, and it's unclear how willing or able the U.S. government would be to prevent any new major incursion by Russia into Ukraine.

---------------------------------------------

Turkey Confirms 2 U.S. Destroyers Are Headed For The Black Sea Amid Russia-Ukraine Crisis
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40118/turkey-confirms-u-s-destroyers-are-headed-for-the-black-sea-amid-russia-ukraine-crisis

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Russian Gunboats Head To The Black Sea To Join Military Buildup Near Ukraine
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40103/russian-gunboats-head-to-the-black-sea-to-join-troop-buildup-near-ukraine

The Russian Navy is sending 10 vessels, a mixture of landing craft and small gunboats, from its Caspian Sea Flotilla to the Black Sea. The deployment is ostensibly part of a larger series of readiness drills, but comes amid a continuing and worrisome Russian military buildup near the country's borders with Ukraine. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, has also said there has been a spike in GPS jamming in the region, which has impacted its ability to monitor the situation as part of an existing agreement between Russia and Ukraine. All of this only further fuels concerns that a significant escalation in the conflict between these two countries may be imminent. ...

-----------------------------------------

Kiev estimates there are now 85,000 Russian troops between 6 and 25 miles from its border and in Crimea.

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--------------------------------------------

U.S. And Chinese Carrier Groups Mass In The South China Sea
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40131/u-s-and-chinese-carrier-groups-mass-in-the-south-china-sea

The northern reaches of the South China Sea have become very busy as of late with two U.S. carrier groups and one Chinese carrier group in the region.

Tensions between China and its regional neighbors in the South China and Philippine Seas increased markedly this week. Naval exercises by both the United States and China have massed an unusual number of warships in the South China Sea at a time of renewed diplomatic friction as concerns over China’s territorial ambitions grow.

The uptick began late last week. The War Zone reported that China’s Liaoning Carrier Strike Group (CSG) maneuvered through the strategic Miyako Strait on Sunday, just southwest of Okinawa. Since then, a separate point of tension between China and the Philippines over a 200 ship mass of fishing vessels identified as part of China’s People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM) led to a series of heated diplomatic exchanges between Manila and Beijing.

Open-source intelligence analysts tracked the movements of the Liaoning carrier strike group this week as it appeared to traverse the Luzon strait, the body of water that, along with the Bohai Channel, separates the Philippines and Taiwan. This crucially strategic area is also the primary boundary between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea and connects the greater Pacific to the northern reaches of the South China Sea.

By April 10th, analysts flagged one Type 055 Renhai class missile destroyer and one Type 052D Luyang class destroyer splitting from the group and heading north towards the Taiwan strait:

Imagery derived from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite identified an unusually large number of military vessels in the South China Sea on Saturday:

Yesterday the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) conducted a coordinated exercise in the South China Sea. The TRCSG consists of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59). The USS Makin Island's group also consisted of amphibious assault ships the USS Somerset and USS San Diego.

... The Taiwan area has also recently seen an increase in drone incursions. On Wednesday, Taiwanese official Ocean Affairs Council Chair Lee Chung-wei addressed the drone issue, describing them as circling the island. He declared a willingness to shoot them down, stating “if we need to open fire, we will open fire.” Additionally, China has recently invested heavily in coastal bases, such as a massive new helicopter base directly across the strait of Taiwan that could prove essential to a major offensive against the island.

Meanwhile, the week saw a near-constant stream of Chinese overflights of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, there have been 46 overflights across the southwestern portion of the Taiwan Strait. These flights have included as many as fifteen People’s Liberation Army aircraft at one time, including 8 J-10 and 4 J-16 fighter aircraft in one incident.

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meanwhile ...



-----------------------------------------

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_War_War



https://www.countryjoe.com/war.htm

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5
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 11, 2021, 04:19:56 PM »
Official: Chinese Vaccines’ Effectiveness Low
https://apnews.com/article/beijing-immunizations-chengdu-coronavirus-pandemic-china-675bcb6b5710c7329823148ffbff6ef9

BEIJING (AP) — In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.

Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the previously experimental messenger RNA, or mRNA, process.

Gao gave no details of possible changes in strategy but cited mRNA as a possibility. “It’s now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunization process,” Gao said.

Vaccines made by two state-owned drug makers, Sinovac and Sinopharm, have been exported to 22 countries including Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, Hungary, Brazil and Turkey, according to the foreign ministry.

The effectiveness of a Sinovac vaccine at preventing symptomatic infections was found to be as low as 50.4% by researchers in Brazil, near the 50% threshold at which health experts say a vaccine is useful.

Beijing has yet to approve any foreign vaccines for use in China.

As of April 2, some 34 million people (out of 1.3 billion) in China have received both of the two doses required for Chinese vaccines and about 65 million received one, according to Gao.

6
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 11, 2021, 04:12:48 PM »
‘You Can’t Trust Anyone’: Russia’s Hidden Covid Toll Is an Open Secret
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/world/europe/covid-russia-death.html

SAMARA, Russia — She burst into the hospital morgue and the bodies were everywhere, about a dozen of them in black bags on stretchers. She headed straight for the autopsy room, pleading with the guard in a black jacket: “Can I speak to the doctor who opened up my father?”

Olga Kagarlitskaya’s father had been hospitalized weeks earlier in a coronavirus ward. Now he was gone, cause of death: “viral pneumonia, unspecified.” Ms. Kagarlitskaya, recording the scene on her smartphone, wanted to know the truth. But the guard, hands in pockets, sent her away.

There were thousands of similar cases across Russia last year, the government’s own statistics show. At least 300,000 more people died last year during the coronavirus pandemic than were reported in Russia’s most widely cited official statistics.

The country’s official coronavirus death toll is 102,649.

Deaths in Russia Were Much Higher Than Normal Last Year

Deaths from all causes, shown for selected European countries and the U.S., is the most reliable way to compare mortality during the pandemic across countries.

CountryDeaths above
normal
Total excess
deaths
Covid-19 deaths
Reported
Covid-19 deaths
per 100,000
Russia+28%362,30257,00239
Spain+23%71,20050,046106
Italy+19%85,60055,53592
U.K.+17%79,70082,620124
U.S.+17%385,100316,37096
Poland+16%48,70017,15045
Czech Rep.+15%11,9008,30778
Switzerland+13%7,2007,21084
Sweden+12%8,1008,58283
France+12%53,10055,38183
Netherlands+12%14,70010,49161
Portugal+12%10,1005,55954
Austria+12%7,3004,47350
Hungary+7%6,9004,67248
Finland+4%1,5004899
Germany+3%19,30022,40627

... “People didn’t know the objective situation,” Ms. Kagarlitskaya said. “And if you don’t know the objective situation, you are not afraid.”

For much of the last year, Russia has appeared more focused on the public-relations and economic aspects of the pandemic than on fighting the virus itself.

... Perhaps the starkest sign, though, of the state’s priorities is its minimization of the coronavirus death toll — a move that, many critics say, kept much of the public in the dark about the disease’s dangers and about the importance of getting a vaccine.

... However, a far different story is told by the official statistics agency Rosstat, which tallies deaths from all causes. Russia saw a jump of 360,000 deaths above normal from last April through December, according to a Times analysis of historical data. Rosstat figures for January and February of this year show that the number is now well above 400,000.

By that measure, which many demographers see as the most accurate way to assess the virus’s overall toll, the pandemic killed about one in every 400 people in Russia, compared with one in every 600 in the United States.

... Mr. Raksha, a demographer, noted that the elevated mortality that accompanied the chaos and poverty of the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was deadlier than the overall toll of the pandemic.

“This nation has seen so many traumas,” Mr. Raksha said. “A people that has been through so much develops a very different relationship to death.”

... He quoted Dostoyevsky: “Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!”

“We are growing used to living in a pandemic,” ... “We are growing used to the deaths.”


-----------------------------------

7
The rest / Re: George Floyd murder and blowback
« on: April 11, 2021, 04:16:17 AM »
Virginia cops pepper-sprayed Black and Latino Army officer who had hands raised during traffic stop, video shows
https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/7173377002



A U.S. Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after a December traffic stop in which the officers drew and pointed their weapons, pepper-sprayed him and used a slang term to suggest he would face execution as he purposefully held both hands aloft in attempts to defuse the situation.

In his report, included in the court filing, Windsor police officer Daniel Crocker had reported encountering a vehicle with tinted windows and without a rear license plate, describing it in radio transmissions as “eluding police” and labeling it a “high-risk traffic stop.”

According to the suit, Nazario explained at the time that he had slowed down wasn’t attempting to elude the officer but instead looking for an illuminated location “for officer safety and out of respect for the officers.”

His newly purchased Tahoe was so new that he had temporary cardboard tags displayed in both the rear and passenger windows, the suit said.

Thought Nazario’s rear plate became visible under the glare of the fuel station, the suit says Crocker and Gutierrez immediately left their squad cars and drew their weapons, attempting to extract Nazario from his SUV as he held his hands high and repeatedly asking what he had done wrong.

The footage shows Gutierrez pepper-spraying Nazario several times as the officers continue to order him to remove his seat belt and exit his vehicle.

His eyes shut in pain as he resisted the impulse to wipe them, Nazario told the officers: “I don’t even want to reach for my seatbelt – can you please…. My hands are out, can you please – look, this is really messed up,”

After Nazario eventually climbed out of the car, he was brought down with “knee strikes” as he continued to ask for a police supervisor, the lawsuit said, then struck several times and handcuffed.

The officers searched the SUV, where they found a handgun, but replaced it after determining it was legally owned.

The suit said that after questioning Nazario, the officers threatened to derail his military career "knowing the harm criminal charges would cause him" and told him they would refrain from filing charges if he would "chill and let this go."

According to the suit, the officers altered or omitted details about the stop in their subsequent reports.

8
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: April 11, 2021, 04:14:38 AM »

9
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 10, 2021, 06:21:23 PM »

10
The rest / Re: Systemic Isolation
« on: April 10, 2021, 06:19:56 PM »
humans tend to anthropomorphize everything ... It's turtles all the way down ...

11
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 10, 2021, 03:17:41 PM »
Russia Cries “Sabotage” After Slovakia Questions Quality of Sputnik Vaccine
https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/04/russia-cries-sabotage-after-slovakia-questions-quality-of-sputnik-vaccine/

Russia has asked Slovakia to return 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine after Slovak testing indicated serious quality control issues.

The Slovak regulatory agency, the State Institute for Drug Control, reported that the batches it received did not “have the same characteristics and properties” as the Sputnik vaccine that was peer-reviewed in the Lancet and found to be 91.6 percent effective.

... The Slovak regulatory agency reported that around 40 countries are using or planning to use Sputnik V, which is made in seven different locations in Russia as well as in plants in India and South Korea. But the vials of vaccine produced in different places and labeled Sputnik V are “only associated by the name,” according to the Slovak regulator.

“The comparability and consistency of different batches produced at different locations has not been demonstrated,” the Slovak regulator said, according to the New York Times. “In several cases, they appear to be vaccines with different properties (freeze-dried lyophilisate versus solution, single-dose ampoules versus multi-dose vials, different storage conditions, composition, and method of manufacture).”

Sputnik V has not been approved by the EU’s regulator, the European Medicines Agency, though the EMA has begun a rolling review of the vaccine. In the EU, Hungary has begun using Sputnik V in its mass vaccination campaign and, as of Thursday, Germany is looking into placing a pre-order with Moscow.

12
^ The estimated pressure over central Greenland was around 1075 mbar (about 1065 mbar per ECMWF model and 1080+ mbar per GFS model) while around 968 mbar was observed near Lofoten, Norway.

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Slovenia beats the all-time national record with below -20 °C. Numerous nearly 100 years old records broken with extreme cold across Europe
https://www.severe-weather.eu/europe-weather/extreme-cold-slovenia-damaging-frost-europe-mk/

April 7th - In Slovenia, the weather station Nova vas na Blokah hit -20.6 °C and set the new official lowest temperature for April (the previous record at the station Nova vas was -18.0 °C set on April 4th, 1970). There was another record of -26.1 °C recorded with an unofficial weather station in the village Retje near Loški Potok.



Unfortunately, these temperatures were so extremely low that the ongoing blossoming fruit trees and early growing states of the vegetation were simply burned and destroyed.

Very low temperatures with record-breaking cold and damaging frost ware also reported from parts of England, France, Germany, around the Alps, Italy, and Croatia.

The ongoing Arctic cold blast arrived less than a week after a very warm and locally record-warm period at the final days of March.

Some of the most impressive values recorded on the 31st of March.

It was +25.3 °C in Ljubljana (Slovenia), +26.0 °C in Paris (France), +26.8 °C in Koersel (Belgium), +26.1 °C in Arcen (the Netherlands), +26.3 °C in Ettelbreck (Luxembourg) and +27.2 °C in Rheinau (Germany). And also +32.3 °C in Badajoz (Spain), a very hot day for March to say at least! Many areas set their new March maximum temperature records.



It might be the new normal as the warming periods at the end of winter and in early spring are becoming quite frequent lately. This helps vegetation to start earlier than usual, making it even more vulnerable for any potential cold outbreaks that normally follow at the end of March or within the month of April.

Sadly, this is the 5th year among the last 6 years when spring damaging frost occurs.

----------------------------------------

... Good luck with agriculture if this is the 'new normal"

----------------------------------------

Alaska could challenge all-time April temperature records as potentially historic cold blast from the Arctic Ocean heads south this week
https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/historic-arctic-cold-blast-alaska-united-states-mk/



April 8th - The state of Alaska is experiencing an unusually cold Arctic blast this week, with temperatures forecast to reach close to -50 °F in some areas this weekend. Therefore challenging its 100+ years old all-time temperature records with this extremely cold air mass arriving from the Arctic Ocean. The cold pool could then turn towards the Contiguous United States next week, resulting in very cold mid-April.

The National Weather Service has reported that Bettles and Fairbanks hit their record lows -33 °F and -24 °F  respectively on Tuesday. Now the weather model forecast calls for even colder temperatures into this weekend, potentially challenging the all-time low-temperature records for April in some areas across the state of Alaska.

According to the staff from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, temperature could drop to almost 50 °F below the average for early April, with lows well below -40 °F in some areas across the state. And could rival the all-time Alaskan low-temperature record of -50 °F (= -45.6 °C).

Temperatures in Fairbanks are forecast to reach around -30 °F through Friday night into Saturday morning, which is nearly 50 degrees (°F) below normal. ... The last one this cold was more than a century ago, in the days of April 9-11th back in 1911.

... Temperature over Alaska next week could be around 15 °C above normal, so a very significant warm wave would replace the ongoing Arctic cold blast, with 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit warmer weather arriving just about a week later.

It also has to be noted that the overall weather pattern across the North American continent might then push this Arctic cold towards southern Canada and potentially also into the Contiguous United States next week. If the weather model guidance verifies, temperature could plummet well below freezing again with nearly 20 °F below-average period into mid-April.


13
Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2021
« on: April 10, 2021, 02:32:47 PM »
Quote
Is this the "tropical cyclone" thread too?

Yes: Typhoons, Cyclones, and Hurricanes ...

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A Spectacular Fujiwhara Effect Happens With Merging Tropical Cyclones Seroja and Odette, Both Head for a Rare and Damaging Impact to Australia This Weekend
https://www.severe-weather.eu/tropical-weather/fujiwhara-effect-cyclone-seroja-odette-australia-landfall-mk/



We don’t see this very often, but the tropical region is facing two merging cyclones this week. A so-called Fujiwhara effect of tropical cyclone Seroja and Odette revealed a spectacular satellite view. Seroja will be a dominant feature of both and turns towards western Australia with an extremely dangerous landfall with severe winds and flooding on Sunday.

The Fujiwhara effect can make forecasting track and intensity even more challenging, as a number of weather scenarios can occur with the general track and also intensity. One system typically becoming more dominant and overtakes the weaker one.

On rare occasions, the two systems can combine into one larger and intense system (as is this case), or they destroy each other. Tropical Cyclone Seroja reaches a Category 3 intensity this weekend, while the tropical low is expected to be of much weaker intensity.



... Modeled wind swath suggests that the approach of tropical cyclone Seroja will include severe winds, potentially becoming violent prior to the landfall of the system on Sunday. Wind gusts will be dangerous along the coast, possibly with gusts 140-170 km/h at the landfall.

https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/?model=gfs&region=aus&pkg=mslp_pcpn_frzn&runtime=2021041006&fh=6

14
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 10, 2021, 06:31:36 AM »
The Reality of Covid Treatment Costs In the U.S. — 'It Keeps On Digging That Financial Hole'
https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2021/04/09/how-covid-treatment-can-take-a-financial-toll-on-americans.html

Covid long-haulers, people who suffer from lingering symptoms after they were first infected, could require months of follow-up appointments. This level of aftercare could lead to a heavy financial burden for many Americans because of the inconsistency of the health-care system.

"There is not one access model here in the United States," said Krutika Amin, associate director for the Kaiser Family Foundation. "For preventive services, for treatment, it really depends on people's insurance status, where they are located and the provider network near them."

"Even for people with insurance, affordability is an issue," she added.

Miranda Erlanson, a middle-school teacher from Austin, Texas, has been experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 since March 2020. She spoke with CNBC about her experience trying to navigate the health-care system and handling the financial burden of her medical bills.

"We can't breathe from the bills, and we can't breathe because we can't breathe," she said.

"The aftercare expenses have actually been just as significant as the expenses for inpatient care," said Joe Babaian, a pharmaceutical industrial researcher who was hospitalized for coronavirus in December 2020. "That's the thing with Covid. It keeps on digging that financial hole. It's not just a hospital stay."

Video at link ...

-------------------------------------------

YouTube Pulls Florida Governor's Video, Says His Panel Spread Covid-19 Misinformation
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1263635

Video of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a panel of scientists apparently trading in Covid-19 misinformation has been pulled from YouTube.

The video of DeSantis’ roundtable discussion last month at the state Capitol in Tallahassee was removed on Wednesday because it violated the social media platform’s standards, YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez said.

“YouTube has clear policies around Covid-19 medical misinformation to support the health and safety of our users,” Hernandez said in a statement. “We removed AIER’s video because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

“Our policies apply to everyone and focus on content regardless of the speaker or channel,” Hernandez said.

... Many public health experts have accused Bhattacharya and the other scientists on the panel with DeSantis — former Trump White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas; epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta; and Dr. Martin Kulldorff — of spreading public health misinformation.

Based on a transcript provided by YouTube, it appears the participants ran afoul of the platform’s standards when DeSantis asked whether children in school should be wearing masks and Kulldorff replied, “Uh, children should not wear face masks, no. They don’t need it for their own protection, and they don’t need it for protecting other people either.”

Less than a minute later, Bhattacharya chimed-in, saying that mask-wearing “is developmentally inappropriate and it just doesn’t help on the disease spread.”

“There’s no scientific rationale or logic to have children wear masks in school,” Atlas said six minutes later.

All the scientists in the video but Atlas are signatories to The Great Barrington Declaration, which was sponsored by AIER and which opposed lockdowns and argued that society would build herd immunity against Covid-19 if all but people over age 70 “resume life as normal.”

DeSantis in the AIER transcript agreed with his panelists that lockdowns were ineffective at stopping the pandemic.

The Trump administration embraced that thinking, as did DeSantis, who was criticized by public health experts for being slow to shut the state down and for reopening the state too soon. Most of the Covid-19 deaths and cases were recorded in Florida after DeSantis visited Trump in the White House last April and prematurely, as it turned out, declared victory over the virus.

... As of Friday, Florida had reported more than 2 million Covid-19 infections and nearly 35,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic

------------------------------------------

America May Be Close to Hitting a Vaccine Wall
https://www.axios.com/america-coronavirus-vaccines-republicans-rural-states-34755cbf-384e-4539-bb45-68a775581f6f.html

There are growing signs that parts of the country may be close to meeting demand for the coronavirus vaccine — well before the U.S. has reached herd immunity.

Why it matters: For the last few months, the primary focus of the U.S. has been getting shots to everyone who wants them, as quickly as possible. Soon, that focus will abruptly shift to convincing holdouts to get vaccinated.

State of play: Red states in the South are administering the lowest portion of the vaccine doses that they receive from the federal government — a sign of low demand, slow public health systems, or both.

The most vaccine-reluctant Americans are white Republicans, polling has found

An analysis released by Surgo Ventures yesterday concluded that "the supply-demand shift for the vaccine will happen earlier than expected — as early as the end of April — and before the nation reaches the 70-90% threshold for achieving herd immunity."

https://surgoventures.org/newsroom-all/analysis-surgo-projects-us-covid-19-vaccination-rates-will-plateau-in-late-april

At the current U.S. vaccination rate, all of those vaccine-enthusiastic adults could be inoculated by the end of April.

Vaccination rates will then slow, and Surgo's projections show that only around 52% of Americans will be vaccinated by July. When combined with people who have already been infected, the immunity rate overall may be around 65% by then — still not high enough for herd immunity.

Among rural residents who said they definitely won't get vaccinated, almost three-quarters were Republicans or Republican-leaning, and 41% were white Evangelical Christians.

15
The rest / Re: Systemic Isolation
« on: April 10, 2021, 02:18:16 AM »
Physicists Working With Microsoft Think the Universe Is a Self-Learning Computer
https://thenextweb.com/neural/2021/04/09/physicists-working-with-microsoft-think-the-universe-is-a-self-learning-computer/

A team of theoretical physicists working with Microsoft today published an amazing pre-print research paper describing the universe as a self-learning system of evolutionary laws.

In other words: We live inside a computer that learns.

Dubbed “The Autodidactic Universe,” and published to arXiv today, the paper spans 80 pages and lays out a pretty good surface argument for a novel, nuanced theory of everything.

The paper argues that the laws governing the universe are an evolutionary learning system. In other words: the universe is a computer and, rather than exist in a solid state, it perpetuates through a series of laws that change over time.

The researchers explain the universe as a learning system by invoking machine learning systems. Just like we can teach machines to perform unfolding functions over time, that is, to learn, the laws of the universe are essentially algorithms that do work in the form of learning operations.

Per the researchers:

... For instance, when we see structures that resemble deep learning architectures emerge in simple autodidactic systems might we imagine that the operative matrix architecture in which our universe evolves laws, itself evolved from an autodidactic system that arose from the most minimal possible starting conditions?

We understand the laws of physics as we observe them, so it makes sense that the original physical law would be incredibly simple, self-perpetuating, and capable of learning and evolving.

The scientists describe the ever-evolving laws of the universe as being irreversible:

One implication is that if the evolution of laws is real, it is likely to be unidirectional, for otherwise it would be common for laws to revert to previous states, perhaps even more likely than for them to find a new state. This is because a new state is not random but rather must meet certain constraints, while the immediate past state has already met constraints.

A reversible but evolving system would randomly explore its immediate past frequently. When we see an evolving system that displays periods of stability, it probably evolves unidirectionally.

The consequences: If the universe operates via a set of laws that, while initially simple, are autodidactic (self-learning) and thus capable of evolving over time, it could be impossible for humans to ever unify physics.

According to this paper, the rules that governed concepts such as relativity may have had functionally different operational consequences 13.8 billion years ago than they will 100 trillion years from now. And that means “physics” is a moving target.

Conclusion: ... This all comes off a little “I just got back from the dispensary and had a few thoughts,” at first, but the researchers do a lot of leg work describing the kinds of algorithms and neural network systems such a universe would generate and, itself, be comprised of.

“The Autodidactic Universe,”
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2104.03902.pdf

16
The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: April 10, 2021, 01:24:31 AM »
OneWeb, SpaceX Satellites Dodged a Potential Collision In Orbit
https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/9/22374262/oneweb-spacex-satellites-dodged-potential-collision-orbit-space-force

Two satellites from the fast-growing constellations of OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink dodged a dangerously close approach with one another in orbit last weekend, representatives from the US Space Force and OneWeb said. It’s the first known collision avoidance event for the two rival companies as they race to expand their new broadband-beaming networks in space.

On March 30th, five days after OneWeb launched its latest batch of 36 satellites from Russia, the company received several “red alerts” from the US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron warning of a possible collision with a Starlink satellite. Because OneWeb’s constellation operates in higher orbits around Earth, the company’s satellites must pass through SpaceX’s mesh of Starlink satellites, which orbit at an altitude of roughly 550 km.

One Space Force alert indicated a collision probability of 1.3 percent, with the two satellites coming as close as 190 feet — a dangerously close proximity for satellites in orbit. If satellites collide in orbit, it could cause a cascading disaster that could generate hundreds of pieces of debris and send them on crash courses with other satellites nearby.

Space Force’s urgent alerts sent OneWeb engineers scrambling to email SpaceX’s Starlink team to coordinate maneuvers that would put the two satellites at safer distances from one another.

SpaceX’s automated system for avoiding satellite collisions has sparked controversy, raising concerns from other satellite operators who say they have no way of knowing which way the system will move a Starlink satellite in the event of a close approach. “Coordination is the issue,” McLaughlin says. “It is not sufficient to say ‘I’ve got an automated system,’ because the other guy may not have, and won’t understand what yours is trying to do.”

... Satellite maneuvers in space are common, but worry in the industry is mounting as OneWeb, SpaceX, Amazon, and other companies race to toss more satellites into space. And this Starlink close call isn’t the first. In 2019, a European Space Agency satellite had to move out of the way of a Starlink satellite to avoid a potential collision. SpaceX didn’t move its satellite because of a computer bug that prevented proper communication with ESA, it said at the time.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/3/20847243/spacex-starlink-satellite-european-space-agency-aeolus-conjunction-space-debris

With more OneWeb satellite launches planned on a monthly basis, and with planned constellations from Amazon and Telesat in higher orbits than Starlink, the need to establish clear rules of the road in orbit is becoming more urgent than ever. SpaceX looms especially large, not just because of the size of its constellation but because of where it’s sending them. “OneWeb and others will have to transit through Starlink to reach their destinations, so SpaceX needs to ensure now that other satellite operators can do that safely,” says Caleb Henry, a satellite industry analyst at Quilty Analytics.

17
Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: April 09, 2021, 11:15:49 PM »
U.S.Navy Labs To Reopen The Once Taboo Case On Nuclear Cold Fusion
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40105/navy-labs-to-reopen-the-case-on-once-taboo-cold-fusion

Researchers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division have reopened the case on low-energy nuclear reactions, or LENRs, largely unexplained phenomena that are at the core of theories about "cold fusion." Five different government-funded laboratories under the control of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and National Institutes of Standards and Technology will conduct experiments in an attempt to once and for all settle the debate over this little-understood and highly controversial topic. Despite the controversy and stigma associated with LENR, many experts across the U.S. military believe that the science behind them is sound, and if working technologies can someday be developed, it could transform military operations to an extent not seen in over a century.

... Enough researchers believe there is at least something to LENRs and that the topic is worth a serious second look. The 2016 Scientific American guest blog “It's Not Cold Fusion... But It's Something” claims that “Hidden in the confusion are many scientific reports, some of them published in respectable peer-reviewed journals, showing a wide variety of experimental evidence” for LENRs, “including transmutations of elements.”

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/its-not-cold-fusion-but-its-something/

The same article states that studies have also shown that LENRs “can produce local surface temperatures of 4,000-5,000 K and boil metals (palladium, nickel and tungsten) in small numbers of scattered microscopic sites on the surfaces of laboratory devices.” A more recent theory suggests that LENR reactions have nothing to do with fusion at all, and instead are produced by weak interaction and are perfectly consistent with known physics.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division seeks to get to the bottom of the LENR phenomenon with an honest look at the available data and by conducting new experiments. NSWC Indian Head specializes in energetics, a branch of research involving the development and testing of explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, fuels, and other reactive materials as they pertain to propulsion and weaponry.  ... the lab will serve as an “honest broker” that will reexamine decades’ worth of data collected by the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The Department of Defense (DOD), as a whole, has been interested in LENR research for some time. Previously, the Navy’s LENR research was conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center - Pacific. According to LENR subject matter expert and author Steven Krivit, SPAWAR “produced some of the most interesting experiments and observations in the field and published more LENR papers in mainstream journals than any U.S. LENR group.” SPAWAR’s LENR research was terminated in 2011.



Just two years prior, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) published a report on LENR research which stated that based on the available scientific data from around the world, "nuclear reactions may be occurring under conditions not previously believed possible." The report states that Italy and Japan lead international research on the topic, and that the stigma associated with the topic in the United States means that most of the information surrounding LENR is presented at international conferences, with U.S. data in the hands of foreign scientists.

... DIA ultimately concluded in 2009 that "if nuclear reactions in LENR experiments are real and controllable, whoever produces the first commercialized LENR power source could revolutionize energy production and storage for the future" and that "the potential applications of this phenomenon, if commercialized, are unlimited." The report goes on to state that LENR could lead to batteries that last for decades, revolutionizing power for sensors and military operations in remote areas and/or space, and that "the military potential of such high-energy-density power sources is enormous," potentially leading to "the greatest transformation of the battlefield for U.S. forces since the transition from horsepower to gasoline power." ...

... NSWC Indian Head plans to publish their initial results on their LENR experiments and reviews of data by the end of the year.

---------------------------------------------



---------------------------------------------

Whether Cold Fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions, U.S. Navy Researchers Reopen Case
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/energy/nuclear/cold-fusion-or-low-energy-nuclear-reactions-us-navy-researchers-reopen-case

... Aside from the recent promising findings from NASA, Google published a paper in Nature in 2019 revealing that the company had spent US $10 million to research cold fusion since 2015. The company teamed up with researchers at institutions including MIT, the University of British Columbia, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The research group found no evidence of classic Pons-Fleischmann-style cold fusion, but it did find evidence of the larger umbrella category of LENRs—suggesting (as the NASA group also reported) that nuclear fusion may be possible in locally-hot sites in otherwise room temperature metals.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1256-6

18
Consequences / Re: Volcanoes
« on: April 09, 2021, 06:39:47 PM »
Thousands Flee as Volcano Erupts On Caribbean Island of St Vincent
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-thousands-volcano-erupts-caribbean-island.html



The blast from La Soufriere, the highest peak in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, sent plumes of hot ash and smoke 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) into the air, the local emergency management agency said.

Video posted on the website news784.com showed a tower of ash being belched out and expanding roughly into a ball shape as it rose upwards. No deaths or injuries have been reported.


19



20
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 09, 2021, 01:05:12 PM »
Meanwhile, in India ...

India's Vaccination Programme Halted In Some Areas Amid Supply Crisis
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-india-hardest-hit-state-huge-vaccine.amp

Leading hospitals in India’s most coronavirus-hit state halted vaccinations today, citing shortages as infections across the country crossed 13 million and set a new daily record.

The nation of 1.3 billion is confronting a ferocious second wave that has brought the fastest infection rate since the pandemic began, with nearly 132,000 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.

The situation at government-run inoculation centres was not much better, with a giant 1,000-bed field hospital turning away people arriving for their first dose on Friday morning.

“There is a shortage of vaccines so the programme has been halted,” Heeba Patwe, a doctor at a facility inoculating 5,000 people daily, told AFP.

India’s vast vaccination programme – which has already administered 94m shots – is reportedly facing major supply snags in the quest to inoculate its huge population. The Times of India reported that states on average had just over five days of stock left, according to health ministry data, with some regions already grappling with severe shortages.

The health minister of Maharashtra state, the epicentre of the pandemic, warned on Wednesday that it would not be able to continue vaccinations beyond the weekend unless stocks were replenished. In the state’s badly hit city of Pune, two leading private hospitals told AFP they had run out of vaccines and would be unable to inoculate anyone until fresh supplies arrived.

Deepak Baid, president of the Association of Medical Consultants in Mumbai, told AFP the situation was becoming increasingly dire. “Vaccination is the need of the hour, it is the best weapon we have against Covid,” he said.

Production capacity at India’s Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker by volume, is “very stressed”, the firm’s CEO, Adar Poonawalla, said earlier this week, calling for financial help from the government

21
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: April 09, 2021, 12:49:31 PM »
France to Declare Agricultural 'Disaster' Over Spring Frost
https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-france-wine-frost-idUKKBN2BW0L1
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-france-declare-agricultural-disaster-frost.html

The French government is to declare an agricultural disaster over an unusual early spring frost that has damaged crops and vines across the country, the agiculture minister said.

Temperatures plunged as low as -5°C in wine regions such as Chablis, Burgundy and Bordeaux, which could hurt shoots already well developed because of prior mild weather.

Video: https://twitter.com/ScottDuncanWX

“This is an unheard of situation,” said Denormandie, adding that initial estimates showed about 100,000 hectares (247,100 acres) of vineyards may have been damaged by the frosts.

A severe cold spell in April 2017 affected vineyards so much that annual French wine output was the lowest in history. Frosts had already caused damage the previous year and again in 2019.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-sugar-frost/growers-fear-frost-may-have-ruined-up-to-10-of-french-sugar-beet-idUSKBN2BU2Q8

------------------------------------------

An Extreme 100+ mbar Pressure Difference Releases a Historic Arctic Cold Blast Towards Europe: Damaging Frost Expected Across Central Europe
https://www.severe-weather.eu/europe-weather/arctic-cold-blast-frost-snow-mk/

An exceptional, more than 100 mbar pressure difference between Greenland and northern Europe on Sunday has released a massive Arctic cold blast towards continental Europe. The sharp Arctic front is racing south and will result in intense snow with blizzard conditions across Slovenia and Croatia on Tuesday. Then, destructive and widespread frost to vulnerable vegetation is expected across central Europe.


22
France to Declare Agricultural 'Disaster' Over Spring Frost
https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-france-wine-frost-idUKKBN2BW0L1
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-france-declare-agricultural-disaster-frost.html

The French government is to declare an agricultural disaster over an unusual early spring frost that has damaged crops and vines across the country, the agiculture minister said.

Temperatures plunged as low as -5°C in wine regions such as Chablis, Burgundy and Bordeaux, which could hurt shoots already well developed because of prior mild weather.

Video: https://twitter.com/ScottDuncanWX

“This is an unheard of situation,” said Denormandie, adding that initial estimates showed about 100,000 hectares (247,100 acres) of vineyards may have been damaged by the frosts.

A severe cold spell in April 2017 affected vineyards so much that annual French wine output was the lowest in history. Frosts had already caused damage the previous year and again in 2019.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-sugar-frost/growers-fear-frost-may-have-ruined-up-to-10-of-french-sugar-beet-idUSKBN2BU2Q8

------------------------------------------

An Extreme 100+ mbar Pressure Difference Releases a Historic Arctic Cold Blast Towards Europe: Damaging Frost Expected Across Central Europe
https://www.severe-weather.eu/europe-weather/arctic-cold-blast-frost-snow-mk/

An exceptional, more than 100 mbar pressure difference between Greenland and northern Europe on Sunday has released a massive Arctic cold blast towards continental Europe. The sharp Arctic front is racing south and will result in intense snow with blizzard conditions across Slovenia and Croatia on Tuesday. Then, destructive and widespread frost to vulnerable vegetation is expected across central Europe.


23
The politics / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: April 09, 2021, 01:04:29 AM »
US Spies Peer Into the Future - And It Doesn't Look Good
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56683852

https://www.dni.gov/index.php/global-trends-home

The US Intelligence Community has issued a survey of where the world may end up in 2040.

It warns of a political volatility and growing international competition or even conflict.

The report entitled Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World is an attempt to look at key trends and outlines a series of possible scenarios.

Report: https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/GlobalTrends_2040.pdf

It is the seventh such report with one coming every four years since 1997 from the National Intelligence Council.

The Global Trends 2040 report does not make comfortable reading if you are a political leader or international diplomat - or hope to be one in the coming years.

The latest attempt by the US National Intelligence Council to understand what may happen within and between countries points to uncertainty and instability. It firstly focuses on the key factors driving change.

One is political volatility.

"In many countries, people are pessimistic about the future and growing more distrustful of leaders and institutions that they see as unable or unwilling to deal with disruptive economic, technological, and demographic trends," the report warns.

It argues people are gravitating to like-minded groups and making greater and more varied demands of governments at a time when those governments are increasingly constrained in what they can do.

"This mismatch between governments' abilities and publics' expectations is likely to expand and lead to more political volatility, including growing polarisation and populism within political systems, waves of activism and protest movements, and, in the most extreme cases, violence, internal conflict, or even state collapse."

Unmet expectations, fuelled by social media and technology, could lead to risks for democracy.

... The report says the current pandemic is the "most significant, singular global disruption since World War II", which has fuelled divisions, accelerated existing changes and challenged assumptions, including over how well governments can cope.

The last report in 2017 included such a possibility - imagining that "the global pandemic of 2023" dramatically reduced global travel to contain its spread.

... Climate change and demographic shifts will also be key drivers, as will be technology, which could prove disruptive but also empower those who harness it fastest and first.

... The competition between the US and China lies at the heart of many of the differences in the scenarios - whether one of them becomes more successful or whether the two compete equally or divide the world into separate silos.

 The risk of conflict may increase, with it becoming harder to deter new weapons being used.

... "The world adrift scenario" imagines market economies never recovering from the Covid pandemic, becoming domestically deeply divided and living in an international system that is "directionless, chaotic and volatile" as international rules and institutions are ignored by countries, corporations and other groups.

One scenario, though, does manage to combine pessimism with optimism.

"Tragedy and Mobilisation" imagines a world in the midst of a global catastrophe in the early 2030s thanks to climate change, famine and unrest - but this in turn leads to a new global coalition, driven in part by social movements, to address the problems.

24
From Director of National Intelligence: Global Trends 2040:
https://www.dni.gov/index.php/global-trends-home

https://www.dni.gov/index.php/gt2040-home/gt2040-structural-forces/technology



Artificial Intelligence Becoming Mainstream

AI is the demonstration of cognition and creative problem solving by machines rather than humans or animals, ranging from narrow AI, designed to solve specific problems, to Artificial General Intelligence, a system that in the future may match or exceed a human being’s understanding and learning capacity

Although many new AI developments will be available globally, there are disproportionate advantages for nations that can afford to support, develop, and adopt AI now. Widespread adoption of AI, particularly in warfare, also increases the risk of intentional misuse or unintended engagement or escalation.

AI Enhanced Warfare. AI will confer strong advantages to countries that incorporate AI into their military systems. AI will enhance the performance of existing weapons, defenses, and security systems, both physical and cyber, while counter-AI techniques, designed to negate or confuse AI decisionmaking, also are likely to emerge.

...

Accelerated Societal Change. Privacy and anonymity may effectively disappear by choice or government mandate, as all aspects of personal and professional lives are tracked by global networks. Real-time, manufactured, or synthetic media could further distort truth and reality, destabilizing societies at a scale and speed that dwarfs current disinformation challenges. Many types of crimes, particularly those that can be monitored and attributed with digital surveillance, will become less common while new crimes, and potentially new forms of discrimination, could arise.

....

Existential Risks. Technological advances may increase the number of existential threats; threats that could damage life on a global scale challenge our ability to imagine and comprehend their potential scope and scale, and they require the development of resilient strategies to survive. Technology plays a role in both generating these existential risks and in mitigating them. Anthropomorphic risks include runaway AI, engineered pandemics, nanotechnology weapons, or nuclear war. Such low-probability, high-impact events are difficult to forecast and expensive to prepare for, but identifying potential risks and developing mitigation strategies in advance can provide some resilience to exogenous shocks.

25
War? ... There's an app for that ...

The Air Force Is Making an App That Basically Does What a General Does
https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2021/04/air-force-making-app-basically-does-what-general-does/173215/



JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington—Can an app help decide what jets to scramble when Russia aircraft head its way?

Tentatively titled Arachnid, the nascent decision-support tool is a product of DARPA’s Adapting Cross-domain Kill-webs program, The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and other service vice chiefs were briefed on the app on Monday as part of a trip by the Pentagon’s Joint Requirements Oversight Committee, or JROC.

“You identify a threat and it's supposed to give you multiple options for what effect do you want to achieve on that threat,” said Lt. Col. Antony “Bigfoot” Braun, director Of operations at the Western Air Defense Sector of the Washington Air National Guard.  “It says, ‘You want to scramble this base over here? You want to scramble this base over there? Here are the pros and cons and pluses and minuses associated with your timelines and all of those things.’”

Quote
... “It’s trying to automate the decision-making cycle and then, from a machine-to-machine perspective, allow you to press a button and when you press that button it generates all the command messages.”

In other words, it’s a general in app form.

The app debuted in September during an Air Force event created to look at new concepts for interconnecting objects on the battlefield, itself part of a broader program called the Advanced Battle Management, or ABMS. Weapons maker Raytheon and data analysis software company Kinetica are working on it with coding support from the Air Force’s Kessel Run program.

https://kesselrun.af.mil/

--------------------------------------------

... Arachnid? ... Wasn't that the evil trans-dimensional 'thirdspace' alien race in Babylon-5?

--------------------------------------------

Army Revives ’10x Platoon’ Experiment In Robotics, AI
https://breakingdefense.com/2021/04/army-revives-10x-platoon-experiment-in-robotics-ai/

WASHINGTON: How do you make a platoon of foot soldiers ten times more effective? If your company has a new technology that might help, Army Futures Command wants to know by May 5th.

The AI, networking, and robotics experiment, which had been postponed by COVID, will be part of the Project Convergence wargames in 2022.

The ultimate goal, around 2028-2035? An infantry platoon that can see further, shoot further, and make better decisions 10 times faster than before, thanks to unmanned sensors, robots, networks, and AI systems that help share intelligence and advise commanders.

... Today, soldiers have to learn a different set of controls for each unmanned system they operate. The Army aims to streamline the system by creating a common Universal Robotic Controller (URC). URC will eventually operate all the unmanned vehicles used by a combat brigade, both aerial drones and ground robots – even armed Robotic Combat Vehicles now in development. (The URC won’t handle high-end drones that require the specialized skills of an Army aviator to operate).

https://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/93251

The next step, Maciuba said, is to turn the URC from a physical gadget to an app. It will be one of many on a future open architecture system called AI for Small Unit Maneuver (AISUM). AISUM will also have apps to collect intelligence data from all the platoon’s drones, curate it, and present it to the platoon’s leaders to help them make better decisions faster. The ultimate goal is an “AI cloud,” running off robot-carried mini-servers, that manages the robots’ movements moment-to-moment so the humans can focus on the bigger picture.

Just like the lieutenant can order a squad to seize a hill and not worry about telling them the exact route to follow or cover to take, the lieutenant will order the AI cloud to scout out an area and not have to micromanage the individual robots executing that order. [... SkyNet will do the rest]

Basically, AI for Small Unit Maneuver would be a platoon-sized microcosm of the future Joint All-Domain Command & Control system networking the entire military. While JADC2 would link the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force across all five domains of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace, AISUM would link Army systems across air and ground, manned and unmanned.


26
Warm Feelings About Human-Looking Robots Can Turn Icy When Bots Blunder
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-04-human-looking-robots-icy-bots-blunder.html

In a series of studies on robots used in service industry settings, such as restaurants and hotels, researchers found that people's reactions to robot gaffes may be influenced by whether the robots look like humans, or humanoid; or mostly lack human features, or non-humanoid. The team also uncovered strategies that humanoid robots can use to recover from mistakes with customers, according to Lisa Bolton, professor of marketing and the Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow at Penn State's Smeal College of Business.

"One of the things we learned is that what a robot looks like really matters—it's not just window dressing," said Bolton.

According to Bolton, people may assume that humanoid robots always have an advantage over non-human-looking devices, but the team found that humanoid features may not automatically give robots a pass to commit blunders. In fact, a robot's human resemblance may increase a person's annoyance at service failures, especially those involving inattentive or slow service.

The researchers found that people tended to expect greater warmth from human-looking robots compared to non-humanoid machines. However, those warm feelings did not translate to forgiveness for robot errors, as people seem more dissatisfied when the human-looking machine delivers poor service compared to a non-humanoid robot.

"One of the implications of these studies for businesses is that humanoid is not always better," said Bolton.

Although humanoid robots tend to take the brunt of criticism for service failures, the researchers, who report their findings in the current issue of Journal of Service Research, also found that politeness can go a long way for humanoid robots. The team said that when humanoid-looking robots offered sincere apologies, people were more likely to forgive their mistakes.

"Also, with current advanced technologies, robots can use facial expression recognition, voice stress analysis, or natural language processing to detect whether customers are angry," said Choi. "Once a robot detects service failure or customer dissatisfaction with such ways, it should be able to provide a sincere apology by verbal means—vocally, by displaying a message, or both—and through non-verbal means, such as with facial expressions, if possible."

Sungwoo Choi et al. To Err Is Human(-oid): How Do Consumers React to Robot Service Failure and Recovery?, Journal of Service Research (2020).
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1094670520978798


27
Antarctica / Re: What's new in Antarctica ?
« on: April 08, 2021, 03:36:18 PM »
Third of Antarctic Ice Shelf Area at Risk of Collapse as Planet Warms
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-antarctic-ice-shelf-area-collapse.html

More than a third of the Antarctic's ice shelf area could be at risk of collapsing into the sea if global temperatures reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels, new research has shown.

The University of Reading led the most detailed ever study forecasting how vulnerable the vast floating platforms of ice surrounding Antarctica will become to dramatic collapse events caused by melting and runoff, as climate change forces temperatures to rise.

It found that 34% of the area of all Antarctic ice shelves—around half a million square kilometers—including 67% of ice shelf area on the Antarctic Peninsula, would be at risk of destabilization under 4°C of warming. Limiting temperature rise to 2°C rather than 4°C would halve the area at risk and potentially avoid significant sea level rise.

The researchers also identified Larsen C—the largest remaining ice shelf on the peninsula, which split to form the enormous A68 iceberg in 2017—as one of four ice shelves that would be particularly threatened in a warmer climate.

The new study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, used state-of-the-art, high-resolution regional climate modelling to predict in more detail than before the impact of increased melting and water runoff on ice shelf stability.

Ice shelf vulnerability from this fracturing process was forecast under 1.5°C, 2°C and 4°C global warming scenarios, which are all possible this century.

The researchers identified the Larsen C, Shackleton, Pine Island and Wilkins ice shelves as most at-risk under 4°C of warming, due to their geography and the significant runoff predicted in those areas.



Surface melt and runoff on Antarctic ice shelves at 1.5°C, 2°C and 4°C of future warming, Geophysical Research Letters (2021)
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL091733

28
Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: April 08, 2021, 03:35:34 PM »
Third of Antarctic Ice Shelf Area at Risk of Collapse as Planet Warms
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-antarctic-ice-shelf-area-collapse.html

More than a third of the Antarctic's ice shelf area could be at risk of collapsing into the sea if global temperatures reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels, new research has shown.

The University of Reading led the most detailed ever study forecasting how vulnerable the vast floating platforms of ice surrounding Antarctica will become to dramatic collapse events caused by melting and runoff, as climate change forces temperatures to rise.

It found that 34% of the area of all Antarctic ice shelves—around half a million square kilometers—including 67% of ice shelf area on the Antarctic Peninsula, would be at risk of destabilization under 4°C of warming. Limiting temperature rise to 2°C rather than 4°C would halve the area at risk and potentially avoid significant sea level rise.

The researchers also identified Larsen C—the largest remaining ice shelf on the peninsula, which split to form the enormous A68 iceberg in 2017—as one of four ice shelves that would be particularly threatened in a warmer climate.

The new study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, used state-of-the-art, high-resolution regional climate modelling to predict in more detail than before the impact of increased melting and water runoff on ice shelf stability.

Ice shelf vulnerability from this fracturing process was forecast under 1.5°C, 2°C and 4°C global warming scenarios, which are all possible this century.

The researchers identified the Larsen C, Shackleton, Pine Island and Wilkins ice shelves as most at-risk under 4°C of warming, due to their geography and the significant runoff predicted in those areas.



Surface melt and runoff on Antarctic ice shelves at 1.5°C, 2°C and 4°C of future warming, Geophysical Research Letters (2021)
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL091733

29
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 08, 2021, 01:58:10 PM »
One In 10 Have Long-Term Effects Eight Months After Mild COVID-19
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-long-term-effects-months-mild-covid-.html

Eight months after mild COVID-19, 1 in 10 people still have at least one moderate to severe symptom that is perceived as having a negative impact on their work, social or home life. The most common long-term symptoms are fatigue and a loss of smell and taste. This is according to a study published in the journal JAMA, conducted by researchers at Danderyd Hospital and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Since spring 2020, researchers at Danderyd Hospital and Karolinska Institutet have conducted the so-called COMMUNITY study, with the main purpose of examining immunity after COVID-19. In the first phase of the study in spring 2020, blood samples were collected from 2,149 employees at Danderyd Hospital, of whom about 19% had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Blood samples have since then been collected every four months, and study participants have responded to questionnaires regarding long-term symptoms and their impact on the quality of life.

In the third follow-up in January 2021, the research team examined self-reported presence of long-term symptoms and their impact on work, social and home life for participants who had had mild COVID-19 at least eight months earlier. This group consisted of 323 healthcare workers (83% women, median age 43 years) and was compared with 1,072 healthcare workers (86% women, median age 47 years) who did not have COVID-19 throughout the study period.

The results show that 26% of those who had COVID-19 previously, compared to 9% in the control group, had at least one moderate to severe symptom that lasted more than two months and that 11%, compared to 2% in the control group, had a minimum of one symptom with negative impact on work, social or home life that lasted at least eight months. The most common long-term symptoms were loss of smell and taste, fatigue, and respiratory problems.

... "Despite the fact that the study participants had a mild COVID-19 infection, a relatively large proportion report long-term symptoms with an impact on quality of life. In light of this, we believe that young and healthy individuals, as well as other groups in society, should have great respect for the virus that seems to be able to significantly impair quality of life, even for a long time after the infection," says Sebastian Havervall, deputy chief physician at Danderyd Hospital and Ph.D. student in the project at Karolinska Institutet.

Sebastian Havervall et al, Symptoms and Functional Impairment Assessed 8 Months After Mild COVID-19 Among Health Care Workers, JAMA (2021)
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2778528

---------------------------------------------

1 in 3 Covid Survivors Suffers Neurological or Mental Disorders, Study Finds
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-largest-date-link-covid-infection.html



One in three Covid-19 survivors has suffered a neurological or psychiatric disorder within six months of infection with the virus, a study has found.

The results were based on an observational study of more than 230,000 patient health records.

The study was published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal on Tuesday.

Maxime Taquet et al. 6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236 379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records, The Lancet Psychiatry (2021).
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(21)00084-5/fulltext

---------------------------------------------

They Had Mild Covid. Then Their Serious Symptoms Kicked In.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/23/health/long-covid-symptoms.html

------------------------------------------------------

Persistent neurologic symptoms and cognitive dysfunction in non‐hospitalized Covid‐19 “long haulers”
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acn3.51350

---------------------------------------------

India Reports Record New Covid Cases as Vaccines Run Short In States
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/07/india-carries-out-record-covid-jabs-cases-rise

India reported a record 126,789 new Covid cases on Thursday as several states struggled to contain a second surge in infections, Reuters reports.

Daily infections surpassed 100,000 for the first time on Monday and have now exceeded that mark three times, the biggest daily rises in the world.

The government attributes the resurgence mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks as shops and offices have reopened.

Vaccine centres in several states, including hardest-hit Maharashtra, have been shutting early and turning people away as supplies run out.

30
Report: Clearview AI's Facial Recognition Has Been Used by Over 1,800 Public Agencies
https://gizmodo.com/report-clearview-ais-facial-recognition-has-been-used-1846628884/amp



A new series of reports from BuzzFeed News shows the wide net cast by shadowy surveillance firm Clearview AI. Individuals at 1,803 public agencies—many of which are police departments—have used its facial recognition software at some point over recent years, according to data reviewed by the news outlet.

... One of the more interesting revelations from BuzzFeed’s coverage is the fact that the New York Police Department appears to have lied about whether it ever worked with Clearview. In 2020, the NYPD stated that it had “no institutional relationship” with the surveillance firm. However, according to the recent investigation, Clearview was actually “an acknowledged vendor to the department from as early as 2018.” That undisclosed relationship involved a trial of Clearview’s services, which reportedly included contracts, emails, and in-person meetings between police and the company.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanmac/clearview-ai-local-police-facial-recognition

Clearview AI, founded by Hoan Ton-That, markets itself as a searchable facial-recognition database for law enforcement agencies. The New York Times has previously reported on Ton-That’s close association with notorious figures from the far right, and the company is backed by early Facebook investor, and Trump confidant, Peter Thiel. The company’s USP has been to download every image posted to social media without permission to build its database — something the social media companies in question have tried to stop. The company is currently under investigation in both the UK and Australia for its data-collection practices.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/18/technology/clearview-facial-recognition-ai.html

https://www.engadget.com/clearview-ai-investigation-australia-uk-142825168.html

The report — which you should read in its entirety — outlines how Clearview has offered generous free trials to individual employees at public bodies. This approach is meant to encourage these employees to incorporate the system into their working day, and advocate for their agencies to sign up. But there are a number of civil liberties, privacy, legal and accuracy questions that remain in the air as to how Clearview operates. This has not deterred agencies like ICE, however, from signing up to use the system, although other agencies, like the LAPD, have already banned use of the platform.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/carolinehaskins1/nypd-has-misled-public-about-clearview-ai-use

-------------------------------------------------

Time to Regulate AI That Interprets Human Emotions
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00868-5

-----------------------------------------

Discover the Stupidity of AI Emotion Recognition With This Little Browser Game
https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/6/22369698/ai-emotion-recognition-unscientific-emojify-web-browser-game

-----------------------------------------------

31
New AI Technique Transforms Any Image Into the Style of Famous Artists
https://thenextweb.com/neural/2021/04/06/ai-text-to-image-generator-transforms-any-picture-into-style-of-famous-artists-glenn-marshall-openai-dail/

... Marshall named the technique Chimera, after the mythical beast formed from various animal parts, which has become a byword for something that exists only in the imagination and isn’t possible in reality.



The system morphs an input image towards the suggestion of a text prompt, such as “Salvador Dalí Art.” Over repeated mutations and iterations of each frame, the AI gradually finds features and shapes that match the text description until it produces a final composition.



Each piece was generated with a modified version of the Aleph-Image notebook, which is itself powered by OpenAI’s DALL-E and CLIP models.

I think the surrealists would probably bow down to the wonders of AI as Gods, but the Renaissance guys would probably send the witch-hunters after it for desecrating their art with evil machines.

32
The French Army Is Testing Boston Dynamics’ Spot the Robot In Combat Scenarios
https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/7/22371590/boston-dynamics-spot-robot-military-exercises-french-army

Boston Robotic’s Spot quadruped robot seems to be hitting the battlefield with a group of French Army trainees in a series of drills and simulations that explore how these currently unarmed robots could work side-by-side with humans.

The soldiers-in-training used Spot for various reconnaissance tasks during a two-day trial of the technology.

As reported by news outlet Ouest-France, Spot and some robot friends are supplying intelligence and support for ground troops. The other robots included the French-made pack robot called the Nexter ULTRO and Shark Robotics Barakuda, a wheeled drone that carries a heavy blast shield to protect the student.



http://lignesdedefense.blogs.ouest-france.fr/archive/2021/03/31/quand-emia-part-au-combat-avec-des-robots-terrestres-22012.html

The tests, which took place in late March, were part of a project by the École Militaire Interarmes school at a French army camp Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan.

... Sources quoted in the article say that the robots slowed down operations but helped keep troops safe. “During the urban combat phase where we weren’t using robots, I died. But I didn’t die when we had the robot do a recce first,” one soldier is quoted as saying. They added that one problem was Spot’s battery life: it apparently ran out of juice during an exercise and had to be carried out.



https://mobile.twitter.com/SaintCyrCoet/status/1379457690020294665

Boston Dynamics’ vice president of business development Michael Perry told The Verge that the robot had been supplied by a European distributor, Shark Robotics, and that the US firm had not been notified in advance about its use. “We’re learning about it as you are,” says Perry. “We’re not clear on the exact scope of this engagement.”

Spot’s appearance on simulated battlefields raises questions about where the robot will be deployed in future. Boston Dynamics has a long history of developing robots for the US army, but as it’s moved into commercial markets it’s distanced itself from military connections. Spot is still being tested by a number of US police forces, including by the NYPD, but Boston Dynamics has always stressed that its machines will never be armed. “We unequivocally do not want any customer using the robot to harm people,” says Perry.

The test in France seems to be the first time Spot has been seen in a true military setting. If robots prove reliable as roaming CCTV, it’s only a matter of time before those capabilities are introduced to active combat zones.

--------------------------------------------

meanwhile, in China ...



---------------------------------------------

33
Am I Arguing With a Machine? AI Debaters Highlight Need for Transparency
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00867-6

With artificial intelligence starting to take part in debates with humans, more oversight is needed to avoid manipulation and harm.

As AI systems become better at framing persuasive arguments, should it always be made clear whether one is engaging in discourse with a human or a machine? There’s a compelling case that people should be told when their medical diagnosis comes from AI and not a human doctor. But should the same apply if, for example, advertising or political speech is AI-generated?

Unlike a machine-learning approach to debate, human discourse is guided by implicit assumptions that a speaker makes about how their audience reasons and interprets, as well as what is likely to persuade them — what psychologists call a theory of mind.

But researchers are starting to incorporate some elements of a theory of mind into their AI models (L. Cominelli et al. Front. Robot. AI https://doi.org/ghmq5q; 2018 ) — with the implication that the algorithms could become more explicitly manipulative (A. F. T. Winfield Front. Robot. AI https://doi.org/ggvhvt; 2018 ). Given such capabilities, it’s possible that a computer might one day create persuasive language with stronger oratorical ability and recourse to emotive appeals — both of which are known to be more effective than facts and logic in gaining attention and winning converts, especially for false claims (C. Martel et al. Cogn. Res. https://doi.org/ghhwn7 (2020); S. Vosoughi et al. Science 359, 1146–1151; 2018).

As former US president Donald Trump repeatedly demonstrated, effective orators need not be logical, coherent, nor indeed truthful, to succeed in persuading people to follow them. Although machines might not yet be able to replicate this, it would be wise to propose regulatory oversight that anticipates harm, rather than waiting for problems to arise.

Government is already undermined when politicians resort to compelling but dishonest arguments. It could be worse still if victory at the polls is influenced by who has the best algorithm.

--------------------------------------------

Are Digital Humans the Next Step in Human-Computer Interaction?
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/robotics/artificial-intelligence/are-digital-humans-the-next-step-in-humancomputer-interaction



https://digitalhumans.com/



------------------------------------------------------

Lord Johnson-Johnson: ... Any old iron. Any old iron. Any old iron. Any old iron. ... Expel your Mecha. Purge yourselves of artificiality. Come along, now. Let some Mecha loose to run. Any old unlicensed iron down there?

- A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

34
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 08, 2021, 02:15:01 AM »
AstraZeneca Vaccine Linked to Rare Blood Clots, EU Regulators Conclude
https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/04/blood-clots-are-very-rare-side-effects-of-astrazeneca-vaccine-eu-regulators/

European medical regulators on Wednesday concluded that there is a strong link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and life-threatening conditions involving the unusual combination of blood clots and low levels of blood platelets.

As such, the conditions should be listed as a “very rare side effects” of the vaccine, according to the European Medicines Agency, a regulatory agency of the European Union.

https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/astrazenecas-covid-19-vaccine-ema-finds-possible-link-very-rare-cases-unusual-blood-clots-low-blood

The conclusion was based on the EMA’s in-depth review of 86 blood-clotting events among around 25 million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe and the UK. Of the 86 blood-clotting events (0.00034%), 18 people died (0.00007%). Most—but not all—of the cases occurred in women under the age of 60.

The events reviewed by the EMA included 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a rare form of stroke in which a clot prevents blood from draining out of the brain. The remaining 24 cases involved splanchnic vein thrombosis, which involves blood clots in the veins that drain blood from the abdomen.

Beyond the 86 cases examined, the EMA estimated that there’s a reporting rate of one case of the side effect in 100,000 people vaccinated.

Regulators noted that this unusual combination resembles a condition called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or HIT.

HIT develops because of an aberrant immune response. In a reaction to heparin that’s not completely understood, some patients’ immune systems produce antibodies that attack a common platelet protein called Platelet Factor 4, or PF4. This in turn triggers platelet activation and pro-clotting particles, leading to HIT.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20059332/

Though the EMA solidified the connection between the clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine, it still recommends using the vaccine. Along with the EMA, the World Health Organization still strongly contends that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing deadly COVID-19 infections strongly outweigh the risks of extremely rare blood-clotting conditions.

The new side effect listing in the EU will only make things more difficult for AstraZeneca. And it’s also likely to cast a shadow over the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which is authorized in the US and elsewhere and uses the same design as AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Both vaccines use an adenovirus vector.

A potential pitfall of adenovirus-based vaccines is that adenoviruses can also bind to platelets and cause problems. In fact, some pre-pandemic data has suggested that adenoviruses can activate platelets and lead to low platelet counts. But the connection between this and the mechanism causing the blood clotting in vaccinees needs far more data to be understood.

https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/mmr.2013.1805

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006497120417847?via%3Dihub

Of the approximately 4.5 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine worldwide, there have been three reported cases of blood-clotting events similar to those seen in people given the AstraZeneca vaccine, Arlett said. These numbers are “extremely small,” he emphasized. “This is, however, under close scrutiny... I think it would be fair to say there’s intensive monitoring of this issue across the vaccines.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------

People Who Got the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Say They Have More Side Effects
https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/7/22371665/covid-vaccine-side-effects-moderna-pfizer

The anecdotal reports are true: people who get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine say they have more side effects than people who get the Pfizer / BioNTech shots, according to new data published this week in JAMA.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2778441

The study analyzed reports collected through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program called v-safe. It’s a text message-based program designed to track side effects in vaccine recipients. For the first week after each vaccine dose, people who enroll are prompted to fill out a daily survey about any symptoms, like fatigue or arm pain

Over 3,600,000 people who got their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before February 21st enrolled in v-safe and checked in at least once. Around 70 percent of those people said they had some kind of injection site reaction, like pain or swelling, and half had a more generalized reaction like fatigue or chills. For both, people who got a Moderna shot were more likely to have a side effect — 73 percent had an injection site reaction, compared with 65 percent of people who had a Pfizer / BioNTech dose. Around 51 percent of Moderna recipients had full-body symptoms, compared with 48 percent of people who got Pfizer / BioNTech.

The gap widened after the second dose. About 1.4 million people completed those check-ins. Almost 82 percent of people getting their second Moderna shot had injection site pain versus just under 69 percent of people with Pfizer / BioNTech. Overall, 74 percent of people said they had general reactions after their Moderna shot, compared with 64 percent of people getting Pfizer / BioNTech. The biggest difference was for chills, which were experienced by 40 percent of people taking Moderna and only only 22 percent of people taking the Pfizer / BioNTech shot.

People over 65 were also less likely to have side effects than people under 65, regardless of which vaccine they received.

Overall, the side effects and frequency of side effects were similar to the ones seen in clinical trials testing these vaccines. The clinical trials gave researchers and doctors an accurate look at the types of side effects people can expect after they get their shots

35
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 07, 2021, 10:45:57 PM »
Time will tell...

36
The rest / Re: Systemic Isolation
« on: April 07, 2021, 10:30:35 PM »
'Tantalizing' Results of 2 Experiments Defy Physics Rulebook
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-tantalizing-results-defy-physics-rulebook.html

Preliminary results from two experiments suggest something could be wrong with the basic way physicists think the universe works, a prospect that has the field of particle physics both baffled and thrilled.

The United States Energy Department's Fermilab announced results Wednesday of 8.2 billion races along a track outside Chicago that while ho-hum to most people have physicists astir: The magnetic field around a fleeting subatomic particle is not what the Standard Model says it should be. This follows new results published last month from CERN's Large Hadron Collider that found a surprising proportion of particles in the aftermath of high-speed collisions.

The experiment, Muon g-2 (pronounced Muon g minus 2), follows one that began in the '90s at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory, in which scientists measured a magnetic property of a fundamental particle called the muon.

https://home.cern/news/news/physics/intriguing-new-result-lhcb-experiment-cern

... Preliminary results suggest that the magnetic "spin" of the muons is 0.1% off what the Standard Model predicts. That may not sound like much, but to particle physicists it is huge—more than enough to upend current understanding.

Researchers need another year or two to finish analyzing the results of all of the laps around the 50-foot (14-meter) track. If the results don't change, it will count as a major discovery, Venanzoni said.

... "This is not a fudge factor. This is something wrong," Kaplan said.

He explained that there may be some kind of undiscovered particle—or force—that could explain both strange results.

B. Abi et al, Measurement of the Positive Muon Anomalous Magnetic Moment to 0.46 ppm, Physical Review Letters (2021).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.141801

T. Albahri et al. Magnetic-field measurement and analysis for the Muon g−2 Experiment at Fermilab, Physical Review A (2021).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.103.042208

37
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 07, 2021, 10:22:29 PM »
Covid deaths reach 4,000 a day in Brazil, bringing hospitals to breaking point
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-56657818

Brazil has registered 4,195 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, which is the highest death toll in a single day, according to figures released by its health ministry. As per John Hopkins University data, the South American nation has now recorded 332,752 deaths, and is second only to the United States toll of over 555,000 deaths.

 Some 66,570 people died with Covid-19 in March, more than double the previous monthly record

... “If Brazil keeps the current pace, the country will probably reach 5,000 daily deaths in April,” said Christovam Barcellos, a researcher at Fiocruz.



A Bloomberg report, citing government data, states that from March 1-27 - 2,030 Brazilians in the 30-39 age group died from COVID-19 — double the number of deaths in January. The number of deaths among those in their 40s was 4,150 fatalities during the same period, compared to 1,823 in January.

Older people still make up the majority of Brazil's COVID-19 deaths. However, the number of younger Brazilians succumbing to the virus has gone up. In March, 6 percent of deaths in Brazil were of those under the age of 40, versus less than 5 percent in February.

State health officials in São Paulo, Brazil's most populous state, said that 60 percent of younger patients with COVID-19 needed ICU beds, a higher figure than earlier in the pandemic.

https://portal.fiocruz.br/sites/portal.fiocruz.br/files/documentos/boletim_extraordinario_2021-abril-06-red_2.pdf

A bulletin issued by the Brazilian medical research institution Fiocruz on Tuesday said that the lethality of coronavirus has more than doubled to 4.2% from around 2% at the end of 2020. Fiocruz attributes the increased death rate to the inability to quickly and correctly diagnose serious cases of COVID-19 and to overloaded hospitals. It warns of the "collapse of the health care system."

... Brazil has been through four health ministers since the pandemic began, slowing planning efforts, with some Brazilians travelling to countries such as Uruguay to get vaccinated. Authorities in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, have emptied old graves to make room amid soaring death tolls.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-brazil/sao-paulo-exhumes-old-graves-to-make-space-for-surging-covid-19-burials-idUSKBN2BO6KP

Bolsanaro speaking to supporters outside the presidential residence on Tuesday, criticised quarantine measures and suggested without evidence that they were linked to obesity and depression. He did not comment on the 4,195 deaths recorded in the previous 24 hours.



---------------------------------------------------

Brazil COVID-19 Deaths On Track to Pass Worst of U.S. Wave
https://mobile.reuters.com/news/picture/brazil-covid-19-deaths-on-track-to-pass-idUSRTXB9W7I

38
The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: April 07, 2021, 02:36:25 PM »
EmDrive is going nowhere ...


Why won't it work? ...

-----------------------------------------------------------

In a Comprehensive New Test, the EmDrive Fails to Generate Any Thrust
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-comprehensive-emdrive.html

The EmDrive is a hypothetical rocket that proponents claim can generate thrust with no exhaust. This would violate all known physics. In 2016, a team at NASA's Eagleworks lab claimed to measure thrust from an EmDrive device, the news of which caused quite a stir. The latest attempt to replicate the shocking results has resulted in a simple answer: The Eagleworks measurement was from heating of the engine mount, not any new physics.



... The results of the Eagleworks experiment were not very strong. While the team claimed to measure a thrust, it wasn't statistically significant, and appeared to be a result of "cherry-picking"—the authors watching random fluctuations and waiting for the right time to report their results.

But in the spirit of scientific replication, a team at the Dresden University of Technology led by Prof. Martin Tajmar rebuilt the Eagleworks experimental setup.

And they found squat.

Reporting their results in the Proceedings of Space Propulsion Conference 2020, Prof. Tajmar said, "We found out that the cause of the 'thrust' was a thermal effect. For our tests, we used NASAs EmDrive configuration from White et al. (which was used at the Eagleworks laboratories, because it is best documented and the results were published in the Journal of Propulsion and Power.)

With the aid of a new measuring scale structure and different suspension points of the same engine, we were able to reproduce apparent thrust forces similar to those measured by the NASA team, but also to make them disappear by means of a point suspension."



In essence, the Eagleworks EmDrive apparent thrust came from a heating of the scale they used to measure the thrust, not from any movement of the drive itself.

"When power flows into the EmDrive, the engine warms up. This also causes the fastening elements on the scale to warp, causing the scale to move to a new zero point. We were able to prevent that in an improved structure," Prof. Tajmar continued.


39
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: April 06, 2021, 11:02:23 PM »
Chip Shortage Shows No Signs of Abating, May Drag Into 2022
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/04/global-chip-shortage-may-drag-into-2022/

... It’s not just manufacturing capacity that’s hard to come by. Shortages of wafers and packaging substrates are compounding the problem. Those have hit the automotive sector especially hard, Richard added. A drought in Taiwan and a fire at a Japanese fab threaten to add to the industry’s woes.

Many of the chips in shortest supply, including those destined for the automotive sector, are made using older processes. These mature nodes are typically well understood, and many fabs run them near the limits of their capacity, meaning there’s not a lot of slack in the system.

Automakers are unlikely to dial up a new supplier, since it takes about three to six months, sometimes more, to qualify chips from a new factory. And semiconductor manufacturers are unlikely to build new fabs to meet what might prove to be temporary surges in demand.

For many car companies, chip problems have been made worse by the fact that the companies are often several steps removed from semiconductor manufacturers. Over the years, as cars have incorporated more advanced technologies, automakers have outsourced the production of more and more parts to suppliers. That distant relationship stands in sharp contrast with computer and electronics companies, which often work directly with semiconductor companies. Together, they command about 60 to 70 percent of the chip market, while automotive customers account for less than 10 percent.

The current chip crisis and the trend toward electrification are factors likely to change how car companies interact with semiconductor manufacturers. While today’s fossil fuel-powered vehicles use plenty of chips, electric vehicles promise to use more, especially as advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, become more widespread in the coming years

Some companies have fared better than others. Toyota, for example, requires suppliers to stockpile two to six months of parts as a buffer against supply chain problems. The company developed the plan in the wake of the Fukushima earthquake in 2011, and it has left the company producing when others have idled some plants.

40
Consequences / Re: Drought 2021
« on: April 06, 2021, 10:50:15 PM »
And here are the rest of the results that you left out from the study you failed to cite...

Global and U.S. temperatures continue to rise

The annual average temperature for the globe and the contiguous U.S. has increased 1.8 degrees F from 1901 to 2016.

Sixteen of the warmest years on record for the globe occurred in the last 17 years; the last three years were the warmest.



Variability in temperature and precipitation is increasing

Annual precipitation has decreased in much of the West, Southwest, and Southeast and increased in most of the Northern and Southern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. A national average increase of 4% in annual precipitation since 1901 mostly a result of large increases in the fall season.

Heatwaves have become more frequent in the U.S. since the 1960s.

Cold temperatures and cold waves have decreased since the early 1900s.

Annual trends toward earlier spring snowmelt and reduced snowpack are already affecting water resources in the western U.S.

Ocean temperatures are warming and an increase in sea level

Global average sea level has risen by about 7-8 inches since 1900.

Global average sea level is expected to rise by several inches in the next 15 years.

Temperature increases in Alaska and across Arctic are greater than the rest of the globe

Annual average near-surface air temperature in Alaska and across the Arctic has increased over the last 50 years at a rate more than twice as fast as the global average temperature.

Since the early 1980s, Arctic sea ice extent has decreased between 3.5 percent and 4.1 percent per decade, has become thinner by between 4.3 and 7.5 feet, and on average the season of melting lasts 15 more days per year.

https://science2017.globalchange.gov/downloads/CSSR_Ch7_Precipitation.pdf

https://science2017.globalchange.gov/

41
Consequences / Re: Drought 2021
« on: April 06, 2021, 03:30:43 PM »
Droughts Longer, Rainfall More Erratic Over the Last 50 years In Most of the West
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-droughts-longer-rainfall-erratic-years.html

Against the backdrop of steadily warming temperatures and decreasing total yearly rainfall, rain has been falling in fewer and sometimes larger storms, with longer dry intervals between. Total yearly rainfall has decreased by an average of four inches over the last half century, while the longest dry period in each year increased from 20 to 32 days across the West, explained co-senior author Joel Biederman, a research hydrologist with the ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, Arizona.

"The greatest changes in drought length have taken place in the desert Southwest. The average dry period between storms in the 1970s was about 30 days; now that has grown to 45 days," Biederman said.

Extreme droughts are also occurring more often in the majority of the West according to historical weather data as there has been an increase in the year-to-year variation of both total rainfall amounts and the duration of dry periods.

"Consistency of rainfall, or the lack of it, is often more important than the total amount of rain when it comes to forage continuing to grow for livestock and wildlife, for dryland farmers to produce crops, and for the mitigation of wildfire risks," Biederman said.

The rate of increasing variability of rainfall within each year and between years also appears to be accelerating, with greater portions of the West showing longer drought intervals since 2000 compared to previous years.

Notable exceptions to these drought patterns were seen in Washington, Oregon and Idaho and the Northern Plains region of Montana, Wyoming, and the most western parts of North and South Dakota. In these regions, the researchers found some increases in total annual rainfall and decreases in drought intervals. Together, these changes support what models have predicted as a consequence of climate change: a northward shift in the mid-latitude jet stream, which brings moisture from the Pacific Ocean to the western United States, according to Biederman.

Five Decades of Observed Daily Precipitation Reveal Longer and More Variable Drought Events Across Much of the Western United States, Geophysical Research Letters, (2021)
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL092293

42
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 06, 2021, 02:56:53 PM »
Pfizer Halts Shipment of 700,000 COVID Vaccines to Israel After the Country Reportedly Failed to Make Payment
https://www.insider.com/pfizer-halts-shipment-of-covid-vaccines-after-israel-doesnt-pay-2021-4?amp

Pfizer halted a shipment of 700,000 COVID vaccines scheduled to arrive in Israel on Sunday following the country's failure to pay for the last 2.5 million doses shipped there.

https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/banana-republic-pfizer-outraged-israel-failed-to-pay-for-covid-vaccines-664140

The Jerusalem Post wrote that local Israeli media outlet Army Radio was circulating reports that Pfizer staff were calling the country a "banana republic," commenting on its political instability. The media outlet also reported that senior officials at Pfizer were concerned that the Israeli government — currently led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — would not come through with payment.

According to Reuters, the Israeli government sought to buy around 36 million more Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses, which would cost the country around 3.5 billion shekels (around $1.05 billion). But these plans — as well as a motion to approve funds to pay for the 700,000 COVID vaccines — were halted when Netanyahu and defense minister Benny Gantz got into a political tiff over judicial appointments.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-israel-pfizer/pfizer-says-working-on-new-covid-19-vaccine-supply-deal-to-israel-idUSKBN2BS1EM

43
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 06, 2021, 01:49:30 PM »
‘Clear’ Link Between Rare Blood Clotting Cases and AstraZeneca Vaccine, EMA Official Says
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-ema-links-astrazeneca-vaccine-thrombosis.html

A senior official from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has told an Italian daily it is “clear” that there is a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare form of blood clot but that the cause is still not known, Agence France-Presse is reporting from Rome.

https://twitter.com/dannyctkemp/status/1379368851826180096

“In my opinion, we can say it now, it is clear there is a link with the vaccine. But we still do not know what causes this reaction,” the EMA head of vaccines, Marco Cavaleri, told Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper.

The official reportedly told the paper that Europe’s drug regulator would be making a statement on the issue “in the coming hours”.

... Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London told the BBC that the clots raised questions over whether young people should get the jab. He said: “There is increasing evidence that there is a rare risk associated particularly with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but it may be associated at a lower level with other vaccines, of these unusual blood clots with low platelet counts.

“It appears that risk is age related, it may possibly be – but the data is weaker on this – related to sex.”

44
The UK Wants To Add Combat Drones To Its Aircraft Carriers
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/39922/now-the-uk-wants-to-add-combat-drones-to-its-aircraft-carriers-but-is-it-really-feasible



Project Vixen is studying how a large high-performance combat drone could undertake missions from the Royal Navy’s flattops.

A naval combat drone could be headed to the decks of the U.K.’s two aircraft carriers in the future. Under the recently revealed Project Vixen, the U.K. Royal Navy is studying the potential for adding a large unmanned aerial vehicle that could undertake missions including aerial refueling — like the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray — as well as strike, potentially in loyal wingman-type role, networked together with its F-35B Lightning stealth fighters.

https://www.naval-technology.com/news/royal-navy-project-vixen-exploring-potential-carrier-uas/

The aspiration to have a large-size unmanned aircraft operate from the decks of the two Queen Elizabeth class ships doesn’t come altogether out of the blue. Last month, a request for information (RFI) for “aircraft launch and recovery equipment” appeared on the U.K. government’s public sector contracts website.

https://bidstats.uk/tenders/2021/W08/745668808

.... the upper weight limit could point to the Royal Navy looking at plans for operating large-size drones with considerable capacity for fuel, ordnance, or sensor payloads.



... Project Vixen also parallels the U.K. Royal Air Force’s Team Mosquito project, part of the Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) initiative. Naval Technology reports that the Royal Navy and RAF are working together to study potential platforms for Mosquito and Vixen, suggesting that a broadly common drone could eventually be fielded for both land-based and carrier applications.

... Plans call for start flight testing of a full-scale Project Mosquito vehicle by the end of 2023.



--------------------------------------------------

Stealthy Valkyrie Drone Uses Weapons Bay For First Time To Launch Smaller Drone
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40068/xq-58a-valkyrie-uses-weapons-bay-for-first-time-to-launch-smaller-drone

--------------------------------------------------

AI-Controlled F-16s Are Now Working as a Team In DARPA's Virtual Dogfights
https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2021-03-18a

The goal of bringing artificial intelligence into the air-to-air dogfighting arena has moved a step closer with a series of simulated tests that pitted AI-controlled F-16 fighter jets working as a team against an opponent. The experiments were part of Phase 1 of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program, focused on exploring how AI and machine learning may help automate various aspects of air-to-air combat.



DARPA announced recently that it’s halfway through Phase 1 of ACE and that simulated AI dogfights under the so-called Scrimmage 1 took place at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) last month.

Using a simulation environment designed by APL, Scrimmage 1 involved a demonstration of 2-v-1 simulated engagements with two blue force (friendly) F-16s working collaboratively to defeat an undisclosed enemy red air (enemy) aircraft.

Compared to the AlphaDogfight Trials, which were gun-only, Scrimmage 1 introduced new simulated weapons, in the form of a “missile for longer-range targets.”

“Adding more weapon options and multiple aircraft introduces a lot of the dynamics that we were unable to push and explore in the AlphaDogfight Trials,” Javorsek added. “These new engagements represent an important step in building trust in the algorithms since they allow us to assess how the AI agents handle clear avenues of fire restrictions set up to prevent fratricide. This is exceedingly important when operating with offensive weapons in a dynamic and confusing environment that includes a manned fighter and also affords the opportunity to increase the complexity and teaming associated with maneuvering two aircraft in relation to an adversary.”

So far, ACE has demonstrated advanced virtual AI dogfights involving both within-visual-range (WVR) and beyond-visual-range (BVR) multi-aircraft scenarios with simulated weapons, plus live flying using an instrumented jet to measure pilot physiology and trust in AI.

The process of “capturing trust data” has seen test pilots fly in an L-29 Delfin jet trainer at the University of Iowa Technology Institute’s Operator Performance Laboratory. This aircraft has been adapted with cockpit sensors to measure the pilot’s physiological responses, giving an insight into whether or not the pilot trusts the AI. In these missions, the L-29 has been flown by a safety pilot in the front seat, who makes flight control inputs based on AI decisions. However, for the pilot whose responses are being evaluated, it is as if the AI is flying the jet.

ACE Phase 2, planned for later this year, will add dogfights involving live subscale aircraft, both propeller-driven and jet-powered, to ensure that the AI algorithms can be moved out of the virtual environment and into real-world flying. Meanwhile, Calspan has also begun work on modifying a full-scale L-39 Albatros jet trainer to host an onboard AI “pilot” for Phase 3, a set of live-fly dogfights scheduled for late 2023 and 2024.

Once this concept is proven, DARPA plans to insert the AI technology developed in loyal wingman-type drones, like Skyborg, working collaboratively alongside manned fighters. In this way, the drones would be able to conduct dogfights with some autonomy, while the human pilot in the manned aircraft focuses primarily on battle management.

Ultimately, this AI could be crucial in realizing the dream of a fully-autonomous unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) capable of air-to-air combat, as well as air-to-ground strikes. While a UCAV would be able to perform many of the same functions as manned aircraft, its AI “brain” would be able to make key decisions faster and more accurately, taking into account much more information in a shorter period of time, without any concern about being distracted or confused by the general chaos of combat. The same algorithms could also be adapted to enable drones to be networked into swarms that work cooperatively to maximize their combat effectiveness, with decisions being made far quicker than a human-piloted formation.

-------------------------------------------

Multiple Destroyers Were Swarmed By Mysterious 'Drones' Off California Over Numerous Nights
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/39913/multiple-destroyers-were-swarmed-by-mysterious-drones-off-california-over-numerous-nights

The disturbing series of events during the summer of 2019 resulted in an investigation that made its way to the highest echelons of the Navy.



... they ain't our's; they're probably not China's or Russia's; that leaves something from outside the neighborhood

-------------------------------------

Navy's Top Officer Says ‘Drones’ That Swarmed Destroyers Remain Unidentified
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40071/navys-top-officer-says-mysterious-drones-that-swarmed-destroyers-remain-unidentified

At a roundtable with reporters today, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday, the U.S. Navy's top officer, was asked about a series of bizarre incidents that took place in July 2019 and involved what only have been described as 'drones' swarming American destroyers off the coast of Southern California.

Asked by Jeff Schogol of Task & Purpose if the Navy had positively identified any of the aircraft involved, Gilday responded by saying:

“No, we have not. I am aware of those sightings and as it’s been reported there have been other sightings by aviators in the air and by other ships not only of the United States, but other nations – and of course other elements within the U.S. joint force.”

... A Senate-requested report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena is expected later this year.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/34288/senate-intel-committee-pushes-for-unprecedented-public-report-on-ufos

45
Science / Re: Solar cycle
« on: April 05, 2021, 03:18:08 PM »
New Study Ties Solar Magnetic Variability to the Onset of Decadal La Nina Events
https://phys.org/news/2021-04-ties-solar-variability-onset-decadal.html

A new study shows a correlation between the end of solar cycles and a switch from El Nino to La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, suggesting that solar variability can drive seasonal weather variability on Earth.

If the connection outlined in the journal Earth and Space Science holds up, it could significantly improve the predictability of the largest El Nino and La Nina events, which have a number of seasonal climate effects over land. For example, the southern United States tends to be warmer and drier during a La Nina, while the northern U.S. tends to be colder and wetter.

The study was led by Robert Leamon at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and it is also co-authored by Daniel Marsh at NCAR.

... In the new study, the researchers rely on a more precise 22-year "clock" for solar activity derived from the Sun's magnetic polarity cycle, which they outlined as a more regular alternative to the 11-year solar cycle in several companion studies published recently in peer-reviewed journals.

The 22-year cycle begins when oppositely charged magnetic bands that wrap the Sun appear near the star's polar latitudes, according to their recent studies. Over the cycle, these bands migrate toward the equator—causing sunspots to appear as they travel across the mid-latitudes. The cycle ends when the bands meet in the middle, mutually annihilating one another in what the research team calls a terminator event. These terminators provide precise guideposts for the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next.

The researchers imposed these terminator events over sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific stretching back to 1960. They found that the five terminator events that occurred between that time and 2010-11 all coincided with a flip from an El Nino (when sea surface temperatures are warmer than average) to a La Nina (when the sea surface temperatures are cooler than average). The end of the most recent solar cycle—which is unfolding now—is also coinciding with the beginning of a La Nina event.

"We are not the first scientists to study how solar variability may drive changes to the Earth system," Leamon said. "But we are the first to apply the 22-year solar clock. The result—five consecutive terminators lining up with a switch in the El Nino oscillation—is not likely to be a coincidence."

In fact, the researchers did a number of statistical analyses to determine the likelihood that the correlation was just a fluke. They found there was only a 1 in 5,000 chance or less (depending on the statistical test) that all five terminator events included in the study would randomly coincide with the flip in ocean temperatures. Now that a sixth terminator event—and the corresponding start of a new solar cycle in 2020—has also coincided with an La Nina event, the chance of a random occurrence is even more remote, the authors said. ...



Robert J. Leamon et al, Termination of Solar Cycles and Correlated Tropospheric Variability, Earth and Space Science (2021)
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020EA001223

46
Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: April 04, 2021, 04:52:34 PM »
Florida Emergency as Phosphate Plant Pond Leak Threatens Radioactive Flood
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/03/florida-emergency-piney-point-phosphate-plant-pond-leak-radioactive-flood-ron-desantis

The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, declared a state of emergency on Saturday after a significant leak at a large pond at the old Piney Point phosphate mine threatened to burst a system that stores water polluted with radioactive materials.

Officials ordered more than 300 homes evacuated and closed off a highway near the large reservoir in the Tampa Bay area north of Bradenton. Residents who live around the Piney Point reservoir received an alert via text saying to leave the area immediately because the collapse was “imminent”.

George Kruse, a Manatee county commissioner, said he was at the plant on Saturday with other officials and had to clear the area quickly.

“We determined that it was no longer safe to be anywhere near Piney Point, so we all kind of raced off the stacks as fast as we could,” Kruse said in a Facebook video.

The pond at the old Piney Point phosphate mine sits in a stack of phosphogypsum, a waste product from manufacturing fertilizer that is radioactive. It contains small amounts of naturally occurring radium and uranium. The stacks can also release large concentrations of radon gas.

Hopes said that if the pond collapsed, it could destabilize other areas in the plant. “The pond is basically salt water,” he said.  That’s not the case for the other two pools.”

The wastewater in the other ponds would need to be treated to reduce ammonium content and other materials, Hopes said.

In 2016, more than 200m gallons of contaminated waste water from another fertilizer plant in central Florida leaked into one of the state’s main aquifers after a massive sinkhole opened up in a pond of a phosphogypsum stack.

47
Arctic sea ice / Re: What's new in the Arctic ?
« on: April 04, 2021, 04:24:35 PM »
Russia Considers Extended Claim to the Arctic Seabed
https://www.highnorthnews.com/en/russia-considers-extended-claim-arctic-seabed

Two Russian vessels have collected new data in the Arctic Ocean between Canada, Greenland and the North Pole - far from Russia’s existing claim.

It happened between August and October last year. Through several days, Russia’s large nuclear icebreaker “50 Let Pobedy” (50 Years of Victory) plowed through the polar sea ice between the North Pole and the northernmost reaches of Greenland and Canada. The speed most likely is no more than 3-4 knots.

The icebreaker systematically clears open tracks in the ice in honor of the vessel trailing it, the “Akademik Fedorov”. The lesser, but ice-enforced vessel methodically sucks up data about the seabed with an advanced multibeam echosounder embedded in its hull.

... The two Russian vessels toiled forth and back across the Lomonosov Ridge as close as 60 nautical miles from Greenland’s exclusive economic zone. They operated far from the seabed further north that was covered by Russia’s submission to the CLCS in 2015.



Focus is on the Lomonosov Ridge, the impressive subsea mountain range that runs from Russia across the North Pole and onwards towards Greenland and Canada. The ridge pushes 3700 meter tall peaks upwards from the seabed which is otherwise flat as a pancake, and the nature of the connection between the ridge and the landmasses at either end will determine who has the rights to what the seabed may hide of oil, gas and minerals.

Consistent rumors about the goal of this ambitious Russian mission can now be verified: The two vessels were harvesting data about the seabed, because Russia is contemplating a revised, enlarged submission to the UN’s Commission on the Limit of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

A such enlarged submission could win Russia the rights to the seabed from close to the North Pole and down all the way to the maritime borders of Canada and Greenland 200 nautical miles from shore.

... “It appears that they have done bathymetry, in other words mapping of the topography across the Lomonosov Ridge. Also, they have taken samples of the sediments. It is all about illustrating the character of the ridge: Does it belong to Greenland or does it belong to Russia? But we have not yet heard what came out of it,” Flemming Larsen, director of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said.

Russia has received encouraging rumblings from the CLCS on its existing submission, and new details about the latest mission corroborate expectations of an enlargement.

... In the most far reaching scenario, where Russia manages to realize the full potential of an enlarged submission to the CLCS, Russia’s rights to the seabed would begin right outside Canada’s and Greenland’s exclusive economic zones 200 nautical miles from shore.

Russia would have exclusive rights to all resources on the seabed, but, importantly, not in the water column, on the surface, or in the airspace above. Also, Russia would command certain rights to regulate traffic in the area in order to protect its riches.

These are privileges and potential wealth to which Greenland and Canada have so far been the only contenders.

According to an educated estimate an extended Russian submission could potentially increase the overlap between Russia’s existing claim and that of Denmark and Greenland with some 200.000 square kilometers, adding to an overlap already at 600.000 square kilometers.

On top of this, an enlarged Russian submission would most likely increase Russia’s overlap also with the Canadian and possibly the US designs.

48
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: April 02, 2021, 11:57:12 PM »
Fender Bender In Arizona Illustrates Waymo’s Commercialization Challenge
https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/04/why-its-so-hard-to-prove-that-self-driving-technology-is-safe/

A police report obtained by the Phoenix New Times this week reveals a minor Waymo-related crash that occurred last October but hadn't been publicly reported until now. Here's how the New Times describes the incident:

A white Waymo minivan was traveling westbound in the middle of three westbound lanes on Chandler Boulevard, in autonomous mode, when it unexpectedly braked for no reason. A Waymo backup driver behind the wheel at the time told Chandler police that "all of a sudden the vehicle began to stop and gave a code to the effect of 'stop recommended' and came to a sudden stop without warning."

A red Chevrolet Silverado pickup behind the vehicle swerved to the right but clipped its back panel, causing minor damage. Nobody was hurt.


https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/arizona-vaccination-site-discarded-228-doses-in-night-of-no-shows-11541881

Overall, Waymo has a strong safety record. Waymo has racked up more than 20 million testing miles in Arizona, California, and other states. This is far more than any human being will drive in a lifetime. Waymo's vehicles have been involved in a relatively small number of crashes. These crashes have been overwhelmingly minor with no fatalities and few if any serious injuries. Waymo says that a large majority of those crashes have been the fault of the other driver. So it's very possible that Waymo's self-driving software is significantly safer than a human driver.

At the same time, Waymo isn't acting like a company with a multi-year head start on potentially world-changing technology. Three years ago, Waymo announced plans to buy "up to" 20,000 electric Jaguars and 62,000 Pacifica minivans for its self-driving fleet. The company hasn't recently released numbers on its fleet size, but it's safe to say that the company is nowhere near hitting those numbers. The service territory for the Waymo One taxi service in suburban Phoenix hasn't expanded much since it launched two years ago.

Waymo hasn't addressed the slow pace of expansion, but incidents like last October's fender-bender might help explain it.

Rear-end collisions like this rarely get anyone killed, and Waymo likes to point out that Arizona law prohibits tailgating. In most rear-end crashes, the driver in the back is considered to be at fault. At the same time, it's obviously not ideal for a self-driving car to suddenly come to a stop in the middle of the road.

More generally, Waymo's vehicles sometimes hesitate longer than a human would when they encounter complex situations they don't fully understand. Human drivers sometimes find this frustrating, and it occasionally leads to crashes. In January 2020, a Waymo vehicle unexpectedly stopped as it approached an intersection where the stoplight was green. A police officer in an unmarked vehicle couldn't stop in time and hit the Waymo vehicle from behind. Again, no one was seriously injured.

The more serious problem for Waymo is that the company can't be sure that the idiosyncrasies of its self-driving software won't contribute to a more serious crash in the future. Human drivers cause a fatality about once every 100 million miles of driving—far more miles than Waymo has tested so far. If Waymo scaled up rapidly, it would be taking a risk that an unnoticed flaw in Waymo's programming could lead to someone getting killed.

And crucially, self-driving cars are likely to make different types of mistakes than human drivers. So it's not sufficient to make a list of mistakes human drivers commonly make and verify that self-driving software avoids making them. You also need to figure out if self-driving cars will screw up in scenarios that human drivers deal with easily. And there may be no other way to find these scenarios than with lots and lots of testing.

... There's every reason to think Waymo's competitors will face this same dilemma as they move toward large-scale commercial deployments. By now, a number of companies have developed self-driving cars that can handle most situations correctly most of the time. But building a car that can go millions of miles without a significant mistake is hard. And proving it is even harder.

49
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2021, 11:29:16 PM »
COVID-19 Patients Can Be Categorized Into Three Groups
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-covid-patients-categorized-groups.html



In a new study, researchers identify three clinical COVID-19 phenotypes, reflecting patient populations with different comorbidities, complications and clinical outcomes. The three phenotypes are described in a paper published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE 1st authors Elizabeth Lusczek and Nicholas Ingraham of University of Minnesota Medical School, US, and colleagues

In the new study, researchers analyzed electronic health records (EHRs) from 14 hospitals in the midwestern United States and from 60 primary care clinics in the state of Minnesota. Data were available for 7,538 patients with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 between March 7 and August 25, 2020; 1,022 of these patients required hospital admission and were included in the study. Data on each patient included comorbidities, medications, lab values, clinic visits, hospital admission information, and patient demographics.

Most patients included in the study (613 patients, or 60 percent) presented with what the researchers dubbed "phenotype II." 236 patients (23.1 percent) presented with "phenotype I," or the "Adverse phenotype," which was associated with the worst clinical outcomes; these patients had the highest level of hematologic, renal and cardiac comorbidities (all p<0.001) and were more likely to be non-White and non-English speaking. 173 patients (16.9 percent) presented with "phenotype III," or the "Favorable phenotype," which was associated with the best clinical outcomes; surprisingly, despite having the lowest complication rate and mortality, patients in this group had the highest rate of respiratory comorbidities (p=0.002) as well as a 10 percent greater risk of hospital readmission compared to the other phenotypes. Overall, phenotypes I and II were associated with 7.30-fold (95% CI 3.11-17.17, p<0.001) and 2.57-fold (95% CI 1.10-6.00, p=0.03) increases in hazard of death relative to phenotype III.

The authors add: "Patients do not suffer from COVID-19 in a uniform matter. By identifying similarly affected groups, we not only improve our understanding of the disease process, but this enables us to precisely target future interventions to the highest risk patients."



Elizabeth R. Lusczek et al, Characterizing COVID-19 clinical phenotypes and associated comorbidities and complication profiles, PLOS ONE (2021).
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0248956

50
After years of trying, 60 Minutes cameras finally get a peek inside the workshop at Boston Dynamics, where robots move in ways once only thought possible in movies. Anderson Cooper reports.



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