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New York Finally Legalizes Electric Bikes and Scooters

Slashdot - 39 min 3 sec ago
Included in New York's tentative budget agreement reached on April 1st is a provision that would legalize throttle-based bikes and scooters. The Verge reports: The budget language almost exactly mirrors a bill that passed the New York State Legislature last year but was inexplicably vetoed at the last minute by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It changes state law to legalize e-bikes and scooters but would give localities the ability to decide for themselves how to regulate the vehicles. Throttle-based e-bikes favored by delivery workers would be legal, and dockless scooter services like Bird and Lime would need to be permitted by municipalities before launching. Scooters would stay illegal in Manhattan, though the city could eventually overrule that provision. The budget language would create three classes of e-bikes: Class 1 is pedal-assisted with no throttle; Class 2 is throttle-assisted with a maximum speed of 20 mph; and Class 3 is throttle-powered with a maximum speed of 25 mph. E-scooters would be capped at 15 mph, and riders under 18 years of age would be required to wear a helmet. Helmets would also be required for riders of Class 3 e-bikes. (Food delivery workers, who favor these bikes, are already required by law to wear helmets.) But the budget is undoubtedly a huge win for delivery workers and immigrant rights groups that have been fighting for nearly a decade to overturn the rules.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

And Now, Some Awesome String-Wrangling by Jerry Douglas & Tommy Emmanuel: "Choctaw Hayride"

Little Green Footballs - 56 min 30 sec ago

Subscribe to Jerry Douglas on YouTube:
Subscribe to Tommy Emmanuel on YouTube:

Categories: Politics

Did Our “Testing Fiasco” Really Matter Much In the End?

Kevin Drum - 1 hour 3 min ago

An ICU doctor writes to tell me that the problem with false negatives on the coronavirus test is worldwide:

It’s been reported in the US, China, and Italy for a number of weeks that the sensitivity of the RT-PCR swab test for COVID-19 is not great. To put it simply, the issues aren’t specific to the US version(s) of the COVID-19 tests….We’ve known from very early on in the outbreak that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has higher affinity for receptors that are in the lower respiratory tract than it does for those in the NP/OP region like typical circulating coronaviruses. Given the dangers to healthcare workers of attaining lower respiratory specimens and the massively increased resources to do so safely, no country has moved to expectorated sputum samples outside of hospitalized patients, and even then only rarely.

This issue was obvious and widespread to Chinese and Italian authorities who have published numerous studies that predominantly used CT scans looking for a particular pattern of lung disease that most COVID-19 patients seem to demonstrate.

Not sure if that’s helpful or not, but this is something that physicians have rather widely understood for a number of weeks, but has not appeared to reach national leaders, which is sad.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been posting daily updates on the spread of COVID-19 in western countries, and one of the things that’s caught my attention is the fact that virtually every country seems to be on the same track. Some are farther along (Italy, Spain) and some still have a ways to go (France, USA), but the growth curve looks awfully similar in every case. But how can that be if every country has different testing regimens?

Without any explanation for this, I’ve been reluctant to speculate. But perhaps the explanation is the poor sensitivity of the COVID-19 PCR test? To put it bluntly, if the test is so bad that it misses a third of all cases, how much does testing even matter? I can even imagine that widespread testing might be detrimental if it produces a big pool of people who are infected with COVID-19 but feel confident that they aren’t.

If this is the case, it would also mean that the testing fiasco in the United States didn’t really have much effect. We didn’t “squander” two or three weeks of time. In the end, it hardly mattered at all.

For now, consider this speculation. But I would sure like to hear from some experts about it.

Categories: Politics

COVID-19 news: 6.65 million new jobless claims; FEMA orders 100,000 body bags for pandemic victims

Daily Kos - 1 hour 13 min ago

Multiple media outlets are now examining Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner's role in (continuing) botched White House pandemic response efforts after a Vanity Fair article reported Kushner to be a major force behind the White House refusal to provide requested ventilators to New York.

“I have all this data about ICU capacity. I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators,” Vanity Fair quotes Kushner as saying.

New York is predicting it will have insufficient numbers of the lifesaving equipment in coming weeks, as a surge of new patients overwhelms hospitals; there is no word on whether Kushner is still standing by his own "data."

In today's other major pandemic news:

Categories: Politics

New Blood Test Can Detect 50 Types of Cancer

Slashdot - 1 hour 18 min ago
A new blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer has been revealed by researchers in the latest study to offer hope for early detection. From a report: The test is based on DNA that is shed by tumours and found circulating in the blood. More specifically, it focuses on chemical changes to this DNA, known as methylation patterns. Researchers say the test can not only tell whether someone has cancer, but can also shed light on the type of cancer they have. Dr Geoffrey Oxnard of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, part of Harvard Medical School, said the test was now being explored in clinical trials. "You need to use a test like this in an independent group at risk of cancer to actually show that you can find the cancers, and figure out what to do about it when you find them," he said. Writing in the journal Annals of Oncology, the team reveal how the test was developed using a machine learning algorithm -- a type of artificial intelligence. Such systems pick up on patterns within data and as a result learn to classify it. The team initially fed the system with data on methylation patterns in DNA from within blood samples taken from more than 2,800 patients, before further training it with data from 3,052 participants, 1,531 of whom had cancer and 1,521 of whom did not.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Review: Christian nationalism's insidious hold on America is not an overnight phenomenon

Daily Kos - 1 hour 38 min ago

The unwavering devotion of pious, church-going fundamentalist Christians to President Donald Trump—undoubtedly the most impious, worldly, and sin-drenched president in American history—is an ongoing source of astonishment. How exactly did this happen?

In her new book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Christian Nationalism (Bloomsbury, 342 pp.), Katherine Stewart does her best to explain the mystifying relationship between the religious right—the same faction that relentlessly pursued Bill Clinton for his philandering in the 1990s—and the serial adulterer (not to mention profane hatemonger) who occupies the Oval Office. Eventually, it comes down to one word: authoritarianism.

Categories: Politics

FCC To Vote On Adding 6Ghz Band To Wi-Fi 6 To Improve Speeds

Slashdot - 1 hour 59 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Devices with Wi-Fi 6 started rolling out at the end of 2019, but now, a new vote proposed by the FCC could open up the 6Ghz band to unlicensed wifi and add a massive speed boost to wireless gadgets. Backed by Chairman Pai, the FCC vote is scheduled to take place on April 23rd, and if passed would add 1200MHz of available bandwidth to the usable wifi spectrum which the FCC says would "effectively increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi almost by a factor of five." Not only would this improve things like latency and download and uploads speeds, because the 6Ghz band was previously mostly used to support things like wireless backhaul, microwave services, and a limited number of public safety services, new 6GHz wifi devices wouldn't really have to compete with other gadgets for spectrum, unlike the existing 2.4Ghz wifi band which often suffers from interference caused by household appliances. The move is also seeing widespread industry support from a number of groups including the Wi-Fi Alliance, which earlier this year announced the creation of the Wi-Fi 6E which incorporates the 6Ghz band into current wireless standards. A number of tech companies also approve of the proposal, including Qualcomm, Intel, Facebook, Cisco and Apple.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

In Which Donald Trump Sends a Bizarre Ranty Letter to Sen. Schumer

Little Green Footballs - 2 hours 28 min ago

I'm filing this under Weird, for obvious reasons. This is not the behavior of a well human being at the best of times, but we're in the midst of a pandemic and this guy is supposed to be the leader of the US.

(Click the image icon under the tweet to embiggen the absurdity.)

Categories: Politics

Exclusive: iPhone 9 launch imminent, 2020 ‘iPhone SE’ in red, white, and black

9to5Mac - 2 hours 35 min ago

9to5Mac has learned new information about Apple’s long-rumored, entry-level iPhone model, including the marketing name, product colors, and storage options, based on a tip from a highly trusted reader.

Based on the new information, it’s possible Apple could be planning to open orders for the new iPhone as soon as tomorrow; the information definitely tells us that Apple is ready to start accepting orders very soon.


The post Exclusive: iPhone 9 launch imminent, 2020 ‘iPhone SE’ in red, white, and black appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Apple Will Stop Taking a Cut of Some Video App Purchases Made Through the App Store

Slashdot - 2 hours 39 min ago
Yesterday, Apple said it would stop taking a cut of some sales for "qualifying" streaming video services on iPhones and other Apple devices, including Amazon's Prime Video. Reuters reports: To make purchases inside apps on its App Store, Apple requires the use of its own payment systems and takes a commission of between 15% and 30% before passing on the rest to the third-party app developer. Many of Apple's rivals in streaming music and video, such as Netflix and Spotify, avoid paying those commissions by asking users to sign up with a credit card outside the App Store. That leaves those rivals' apps serving as log-in screens for existing customers. In an emailed statement, Apple said that for "qualifying premium video entertainment apps such as Prime Video, Altice One, and Canal+, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription." Apple also said the services will function better with Apple devices and apps, for example by letting users ask its voice assistant, Siri, to find shows on the third-party services. Last March, Spotify filed a complaint with EU antitrust regulators against Apple, saying the iPhone maker unfairly limits rivals to its own Apple Music streaming service. Spotify also raised the issue with the U.S. Justice Department and the House Judiciary Committee, "both of which have antitrust probes pending regarding Apple," notes Reuters.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Hospital Autoclaves May Allow Safe Reuse of N95 Masks

Slashdot - 2 hours 59 min ago
Freshly Exhumed shares a report from "[Autoclaving] is like a pressure cooker -- basically you enclose items into a chamber, you lock down the chamber, you heat it up and actually increase the pressure inside the chamber," Dr. Anand Kumar, a professor of medicine at the University of Manitoba, said. The machines heat up to about 121 C for 15 minutes, killing bacteria and viruses. "It'll sterilize anything." The assumption has been that if you tried this on an N95 mask they would degrade rapidly. We thought we'd give it a try anyway," Kumar said. "And actually what we found is while it does degrade some [types of] masks, there's a certain group of masks that are made of kind of a fabric-type material, rather than being moulded closely to the face they're called pleated [masks]," he said. Kumar said the pleated fabric masks can be cycled through an autoclaving machine 10 times and come out as good as before. "The reason this is really important is that autoclaves are available at literally every established hospital in the world. There is probably no hospital in the world that doesn't have an autoclave machine," Kumar said. "So everybody can use this for these particular types of masks and these particular types of masks are probably the most common type of N95 mask, so we're really pleased." Kumar said the technique could be put into use at any hospital at any time. "It's a technology that's available and ready to go right now."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Apple’s former SVP of retail praises the company’s response to the coronavirus pandemic

iDownloadBlog - 3 hours 16 min ago

Apple's former SVP of retail, Ron Johnson, praises Apple's efforts in the physical retail space despite the global coronavirus pandemic.
Categories: Geek

Boeing 787s Must Be Turned Off and On Every 51 Days To Prevent 'Misleading Data' Being Shown To Pilots

Slashdot - 3 hours 19 min ago
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Boeing 787 operators to switch their aircraft off and on every 51 days to prevent what it called "several potentially catastrophic failure scenarios" -- including the crashing of onboard network switches. The Register reports: The airworthiness directive, due to be enforced from later this month, orders airlines to power-cycle their B787s before the aircraft reaches the specified days of continuous power-on operation. The power cycling is needed to prevent stale data from populating the aircraft's systems, a problem that has occurred on different 787 systems in the past. According to the directive itself, if the aircraft is powered on for more than 51 days this can lead to "display of misleading data" to the pilots, with that data including airspeed, attitude, altitude and engine operating indications. On top of all that, the stall warning horn and overspeed horn also stop working. This alarming-sounding situation comes about because, for reasons the directive did not go into, the 787's common core system (CCS) -- a Wind River VxWorks realtime OS product, at heart -- stops filtering out stale data from key flight control displays. That stale data-monitoring function going down in turn "could lead to undetected or unannunciated loss of common data network (CDN) message age validation, combined with a CDN switch failure." Solving the problem is simple: power the aircraft down completely before reaching 51 days. It is usual for commercial airliners to spend weeks or more continuously powered on as crews change at airports, or ground power is plugged in overnight while cleaners and maintainers do their thing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Andrew And Chris Cuomo's Brother Act Debuted On CNN And It's Hilarious

Crooks and Liars - 3 hours 27 min ago

Sometimes you just need a moment of levity to break away from the fear and horror that we are currently facing as we fight the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been having daily press conferences and today he had a special guest - his brother, Chris Cuomo, CNN host. For those are not aware, Chris was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this week and has been hosting his show from the basement of his home while quarantining from his family.

Andrew and Chris spoke via live stream and although serious at times, they had some hilarious back and forth moments.

Chris told his brother: "I'm doing pretty well, all things considered. This is very tough. I get it now. I've now become part of this group of people who have this virus, and they're reaching out."

Without giving too much away, there was talk about ballet dancing, home hair cuts and fishing outfits. It was a great interview and could we all use a good laugh.

Feel better, Chris! And keep up the great work, Governor!

Categories: Politics

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Outraged About Gov. Kemp's 'Inexcusable' Ignorance About COVID-19

Crooks and Liars - 3 hours 29 min ago

Usually calm and mild-mannered, Dr. Sanjay Gupta seemed about ready to jump out of his skin in anger about Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp, claiming that he was not aware COVID-19 could be spread asymptomatically until two days ago. TWO. DAYS. AGO. More than two months after the first case was recorded in the United States, and nearly two months after the CDC discussed that fact in public.

Anderson Cooper played the governor's press conference, wherein he (finally!) issued the state's stay-at-home order.

KEMP: Finding out this virus is now transmitting before people see signs, so what we've been telling people, from directives from the cdc for weeks now, that if you start feeling bad, stay home. Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad. Well, we didn't know that until the last 24 hours and as Dr. Toomey told me, she goes, "This is a game changer for us."

Cooper and Gupta each took turns strangling for words to describe this criminal incompetence.

COOPER: I'm really kind of stunned by what he said because we've known that for quite some time, haven't we?

GUPTA: Anderson, this is inexcusable. I mean, it's just inexcusable. EVERYONE has been talking about that.

COOPER: I mean, he can't be being honest there.

read more

Categories: Politics

Trump Navy Secretary relieves captain from duty after plea for COVID assistance leaked to press

Daily Kos - 3 hours 54 min ago

In yet another display of apparent cowardice and cronyism, Trump acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has received the captain of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt from duty after a four-page letter by the captain to Navy officials was leaked to the press.

 In the letter, Capt. Brett Crozier begged his Navy superiors to set up quarantine space in Guam after  widespread COVID-19 infections as over 100 members of the over 4,000 person crew tested positive. The Navy indeed took action after his letter was received, with roughly 3,700 sailors either already put ashore or expected to be in coming days.

The official rationale for Crozier’s removal, according to NBC News sources, is “a loss of trust and confidence”—presumably meaning highest-level superiors were humiliated by the leak of a letter in which the captain begged them at length to protect his ship and crew. It also cast still more doubt on the competence of the Commander in Chief and his topmost officials, who presumably could have taken action before Crozier was reduced to sending his letter—but did not.

For the Navy, it also presents another stark comparison. Ask for your superiors to take action to save the lives of your sailors: Be removed from duty. Commit war crimes: Receive a Donald Trump pardon, and be feted as a hero by Trump’s supporters.

Categories: Politics

The World Just Hit 1 Million Coronavirus Infections

Slashdot - 3 hours 59 min ago
The new coronavirus has now infected 1 million people across the world, a milestone reached just four months after it first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan. More than 51,000 have died and 208,000 recovered in what has become the biggest global public health crisis of our time. Bloomberg reports: When the virus was first discovered, doctors likened it to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, the illness that sickened 8,000 people mostly in Asia in 2003. Highly contagious, and appearing with little or no symptoms in some cases, Covid-19 has rapidly eclipsed all recent outbreaks in scale and size. Fewer than 20 countries in the world remain free of infection. With some virus carriers presenting few outward signs of illness, and many countries unable or unwilling to conduct wider testing, the true number of global infections is likely higher -- some say far higher -- than 1 million. The U.S. now has the most cases officially recorded globally with more than 234,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, which draws on a combination of data sources -- from governments to the World Health Organization and local media -- to feed its tallies. Next is Italy, with 115,000, the JHU data show. Italy has the highest death toll with almost 14,000 virus fatalities, followed by Spain. With world travel paralyzed and millions of people under some form of lockdown as a result of government efforts to contain the spread, the health crisis has also become an economic one: The global economy is expected to shrink 2% in the first half of 2020. Business activity has ground to a halt in many sectors, with predictions the U.S. jobless rate could reach 30% in the second quarter.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

New ‘Broadcasts’ app lets you listen to streaming radio on the go with iPhone, iPad, and Mac

9to5Mac - 4 hours 29 sec ago

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith’s new universal app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, called Broadcasts, is out this week. The app is a new version of his app HCC Radio, which allows users to listen to radio stations on the go now across all three platforms.


The post New ‘Broadcasts’ app lets you listen to streaming radio on the go with iPhone, iPad, and Mac appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Former Apple SVP Ron Johnson praises Apple’s proactive approach to closing retail stores

9to5Mac - 4 hours 6 min ago

Apple’s former SVP of retail Ron Johnson offered his insight on the future of shopping post-coronavirus in a new interview with Yahoo Finance. Johnson was instrumental in the early success of Apple Retail, working alongside Steve Jobs to take Apple Stores from risky concept to global success. He left Apple for JCPenney in 2011 and is now building the retail personalization startup Enjoy.


The post Former Apple SVP Ron Johnson praises Apple’s proactive approach to closing retail stores appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Daily Deals: save big on Sonos smart speakers, Nomad iPhone accessories, and much more

iDownloadBlog - 4 hours 33 min ago

Welcome to our Daily Deals column, where we round up the best tech deals from around the web. Here you’ll find discounts on everything from Apple products to accessories, video games and much more. But you better hurry, these prices won’t be around forever!
Categories: Geek