DnB Week In The News – Week of Feb 27 2018

· Gaurdian – White powder letter sent to Meghan Markle treated as racist hate crime

Police say they are treating as a racist hate crime a letter containing white powder sent to Meghan Markle, which sparked an anthrax scare. The letter was received this month at St James’s Palace in central London. The powder inside was found to be harmless after being examined by experts. It is understood the package contained a racist note and was received on 12 February. In a statement, Scotland Yard said: “Officers are also investigating an allegation of malicious communications, which relates to the same package, and it is being treated as a racist hate crime.”

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said on Wednesday at a meeting of the National Space Council that the United States would be prepared for any conflict that took place in space. “Due to competitor and adversary actions, the space domain is increasingly contested. Space has now joined land, sea, and air as a war-fighting domain. While we prefer the conflict not to extend to space, the United States will be prepared if it does,” National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said. Earlier in the meeting, Vice President Mike Pence said the United States should be as dominant in space as it is on earth. In June, the US Air Force declared the creation of the position of Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations Directorate in order to assemble multiple functions and ensure the United States stays dominant in space. Exactly ten years ago, on February 21, 2008, the US military first blasted a satellite using the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) system, and the experimental strike brought modern warfare to a whole new level.

· NPR – Cave Art May Have Been Handiwork Of Neanderthals

it turns out that some of that cave art may have been created by Neanderthals — our ancient and, by evolutionary standards, failed cousins. At least, that’s what a team of scientists is now claiming. The painted caves were discovered in Spain. The walls were the canvasses, and the paintings are bold and clearly not some kind of smeary accident. The paint used was red ochre, from soil mixed with water.
One geometric design looks like part of a ladder, forming rectangles. There are stencils where someone pressed a hand up against the wall and then apparently blew liquid ochre over it. Someone painted swirls of bright red dots and patches onto flowing curtains of stalactites that hang from the cave ceilings. Most of this work has long been known and attributed to humans, who originally came from Africa and are believed to have arrived in Spain about 45,000 years ago.

· ABC – Missing CDC employee left work sick 10 days ago, hasn’t been seen since, police say

Police are asking the public for help finding a missing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee who went home sick 10 days ago and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Timothy Cunningham, 35, went to work on Feb. 12 and left sick, the Atlanta Police Department said. Cunningham, who studied at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is a commander in the Public Health Service and has been sent to respond to public health emergencies including the Ebola virus and the Zika virus, according to the CDC. The CDC in a statement called Cunningham “a highly respected member of our CDC family.” Atlanta Police Department Timothy Cunningham, 35, a CDC employee, has not been heard from since Feb. 12, police said. Police said it’s unusual for Cunningham not to contact his family. Cunningham’s parents said they found his phone, wallet, car and keys, as well as his dog, at his home, reported ABC affiliate WSB in Atlanta.

· NBC – Deputy at Florida high school where 17 were killed ‘never went in,’ resigns

The Broward County Sheriff’s deputy who was assigned to be the school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas High School during last week’s massacre that left 17 dead resigned this morning after being suspended without pay, Sheriff Scott Israel announced on Thursday. Israel said that Deputy Scot Peterson was outside of the building during the time of the shooting. According to Israel, video evidence suggested that Peterson remained outside for four minutes. The entire mass shooting lasted an estimated six minutes, Israel said.

In a Monday evening release, host Laura Ingraham revealed in an exclusive that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputies were supposedly told not to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School unless they had body cameras on, which they did not have. Ingraham also revealed that police “lost radio transmissions” during the shooting, which also happened at the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport shooting last year, which is also in Broward County.

The Alex Jones Channel, Infowar’s biggest YouTube account, received one strike for that video, a source with knowledge of the account told CNN. YouTube’s community guidelines say if an account receives three strikes in three months, the account is terminated.

That video focused on David Hogg, a strong voice among survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The attention has given him a powerful platform — but it has also made him the subject of demonstrably false conspiracy theories that claim he’s so skilled as a public speaker that he must be a paid actor. On Wednesday, YouTube removed the video from InfoWars’ page for violating its policies on harassment and bullying. The video was titled, “David Hogg Can’t Remember His Lines In TV Interview.”

· StatNews – With DNA from a museum specimen, scientists reconstruct the genome of a bird extinct for 700 years

Scientists at Harvard University have assembled the first nearly complete genome of the little bush moa, a flightless bird that went extinct soon after Polynesians settled New Zealand in the late 13th century. The achievement moves the field of extinct genomes closer to the goal of “de-extinction” — bringing vanished species back to life by slipping the genome into the egg of a living species, “Jurassic Park”-like. “De-extinction probability increases with every improvement in ancient DNA analysis,” said Stewart Brand, co-founder of the nonprofit conservation group Revive and Restore, which aims to resurrect vanished species including the passenger pigeon and the woolly mammoth, whose genomes have already been mostly pieced together. For the moa, whose DNA was reconstructed from the toe bone of a museum specimen, that might require a little more genetic tinkering and a lot of egg: The 6-inch long, 1-pounder that emus lay might be just the ticket.

· The Atlantic – A Biohacker Regrets Publicly Injecting Himself With CRISPR

When Josiah Zayner watched a biotech CEO drop his pants at a biohacking conference and inject himself with an untested herpes treatment, he realized things had gone off the rails. Zayner is no stranger to stunts in biohacking—loosely defined as experiments, often on the self, that take place outside of traditional lab spaces. You might say he invented their latest incarnation: He’s sterilized his body to “transplant” his entire microbiome in front of a reporter. He’s squabbled with the FDA about selling a kit to make glow-in-the-dark beer. He’s extensively documented attempts to genetically engineer the color of his skin. And most notoriously, he injected his arm with DNA encoding for CRISPR that could theoretically enhance his muscles—in between taking swigs of Scotch at a live-streamed event during an October conference. (Experts say—and even Zayner himself in the live-stream conceded—it’s unlikely to work.) So when Zayner saw Ascendance Biomedical’s CEO injecting himself on a live-stream earlier this month, you might say there was an uneasy flicker of recognition.

· Real Clear Politics – Shooting Survivor: CNN Gave Me “Scripted Question” After Denying Question About Armed Guards

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Colton Haab said he was approached by CNN to ask a question at Wednesday night’s town hall but decided not to after the network gave him a “scripted question,” quashing one he wrote himself. Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC shielded students while the school was under attack from the shooter, said he was going to ask about using veterans as armed security guards. (CNN response below.)
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV.
CNN aired a town hall on the Florida school shooting with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) that included NRA’s Dana Loesch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel that was moderated by Jake Tapper. Students and parents asked questions about gun control and school safety.

“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab said.

“Colton Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC who shielded classmates in the midst of terror says he did not get to share his experience,” WPLG’s Janine Stanwood explained.

· Popular Science – China’s hypersonic aircraft would fly from Beijing to New York in two hours

A team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have tested a hypersonic plane in a wind tunnel to speeds of Mach 7, or 5,600 miles per hour, according a paper published (PDF) in the Chinese journal Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy. The project is led by Cui Kai, who’s part of the Key Laboratory of High Temperature Gas Dynamics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, though the plane is likely a biproduct of research from other Chinese hypersonic programs, too, including those with military ties. This reported breakthrough comes hot on the heels of other Chinese hypersonic successes, including China’s DF-17 HGV as well as various scramjet test flights and rocket-powered spaceplanes. The test adds teeth to U.S. Admiral Harry Harris’s warning to Congress that China is looking to lead the global hypersonic arms race. Hypersonic vehicles are considered potential strategic game-changers. The speed would allow for greater global reach, but also could nullify current air defenses. For his part, Cui touted the project’s peaceful uses, remarking in his article that it could fly from Beijing to New York in two hours.

· CNBC – Apple confirms it uses Google’s cloud for iCloud

The collaboration is around storing iCloud users’ data. There’s no indication Apple is also relying on Google for additional computing work. Google’s cloud websites don’t contain references to its business from Apple. A file that Apple updated on its website last month provides the first acknowledgment that it’s relying on Google‘s public cloud for data storage for its iCloud services. The disclosure is fresh evidence that Google’s cloud has been picking up usage as it looks to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure business. Some media outlets reported on Google’s iCloud win in 2016, but Apple never provided confirmation. Apple periodically publishes new versions of a PDF called the iOS Security Guide. For years the document contained language indicating that iCloud services were relying on remote data storage systems from Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft’s Azure.

· CNBC – This smartphone cuts off your camera and microphone so no spy agencies can watch you

Cybersecurity firm DarkMatter has unveiled its first smartphone. The Katim is designed to stop spy agencies listening to you. It is an Android smartphone with a 5.2-inch display and strong encryption. One security feature called “shield mode” disconnects power from the microphone and camera on the device, so nobody can spy on your conversations.

· Scientific American – 1 in 7 Teens Are “Sexting,” Says New Research

Is consensual teen sexting a cause for concern? The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. Sexting is known as the sharing of sexually explicit images and videos through the internet or via electronic devices such as smartphones One in seven teens report that they are sending sexts, and one in four are receiving sexts, according to our study of over 110,000 teens from around the world published today, Monday Feb. 26, in JAMA Pediatrics. Teen-to-teen sexting has generated considerable media attention, with news headlines mostly warning of the dangers of sexting. In January 2018, police in Châteauguay, near Montreal, launched a campaign called “sexts are porn” targeted at students aged 12 to 17. In the U.K., one police force recently warned parents they may be prosecuted if their children send indecent images over mobile phones. Naturally, this has many parents worried. Is consensual teen sexting a cause for concern?


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