SoftBank-backed HAPSMobile joins the high-flying global internet race in league with Alphabet’s Loon
HAPSMobile, a joint venture created by Japan’s SoftBank Corp. and California-based AeroVironment, is jumping into the race to provide global broadband access from above, alongside SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb and Telesat. Unlike those four companies, HAPSMobile plans to use high-flying, solar-powered planes rather than satellites to transmit signals wirelessly over a wide swath of the planet’s surface. In that respect, the concept has more in common with the aerial broadband concept that Facebook was pursuing until last year. Like Facebook’s plan, HAPSMobile’s concept relies on high-altitude platform stations, or HAPS. The venture’s ultralight Hawk30 airplanes would fly above the clouds at… Read More
04/26/2019 - 10:04 AM
‘It looked like a gunshot wound’: how a flesh-eating parasite felled a British adventurer
The largely unexplored Essequibo river snakes through Guyana’s vast rainforest for more than 1,000km – and after kayaking its length, Pip Stewart felt fitter than ever. The 34-year-old was part of the first team to paddle the entirety of South America’s third longest river, from the source in the Acarai mountains, through untouched jungle to the river mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. But three months after completing her “magical” journey, Stewart found herself hooked up to an IV in a hospital room in London, feeling weak and achy as her body was pumped full of toxic drugs. The adventurer was battling a flesh-eating parasite – which was slowly consuming her neck. “It looked like I had a gunshot wound,” Stewart told The Telegraph. “It was just disgusting.” Pip was part of the first team to kayak the Essequibo river - along with Laura Bingham and Ness Knight Credit: Jon Williams Despite donning full-length jungle gear throughout her trip, Stewart was covered in bites when she left Guyana, and most of them slowly disappeared. But one sandfly bite was growing above her collar on the left of her neck, so she went to the London Hospital of Tropical Medicine to check out this “weird bite that wasn’t going away”. A couple of weeks and a biopsy later, the adventurer was diagnosed with cutaneous leishmaniasis, an illness which causes skin lesions and ulcers, leaving behind life-long scars and, in extreme cases, disability. It is the most common form of one of the world’s most devastating parasitic diseases. Factfile | Leishmaniasis Each year, roughly one million people are infected with leishmaniasis, which is endemic in 98 countries – predominantly in Latin America and Africa. The most deadly form of the disease, visceral leishmaniasis, is fatal without treatment and kills between 26,000 and 65,000 people annually. The vast majority of those affected live in remote corners of the globe with little or no access to health facilities, said Dr Byron Arana, head of cutaneous leishmaniasis at Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, the drug research and development not-for-profit. “Leishmaniasis is a poverty-related neglected disease that affects neglected people mainly in developing countries,” he told The Telegraph. “In complex cases, the disease can eat away at the face, eyes, ears and vocal cords. These cases are very difficult to treat.” The bite turned into a hole in Pip's neck, filled with puss - "it was just disgusting" Credit: Phillipa Stewart Tackling the illness is costly and often involves painful injections of toxic drugs over many weeks. For most people in remote communities, access to such treatment is near impossible. After Stewart’s diagnosis, she contacted friends from Guyana to find out how their communities dealt with the flesh-eating parasite. Options they recommended included searing the parasite out of the skin using burning cow fat, or treating the lesions with crushed turtle shells. At the London Hospital of Tropical Medicine, the drugs Stewart was offered were hardly more appealing. The adventurer was injected with toxic antimonials which – despite the high risk of pancreatic, liver and arthritic problems down the line – have been used to treat leishmaniasis for more than 50 years. Pip hooked up to an IV during her 21 days of treatment to tackle the flesh-eating parasite last August Credit: Phillipa Stewart “Every day for three weeks I was going into hospital, spending about an hour and a half on an IV, being pumped full of this highly toxic drug,” Stewart said. “Because it’s a form of chemical therapy, my liver functions and my heart were monitored.” The treatment, she added, was more painful than the scabby pus-filled lesion growing on her neck. “I constantly had to remind myself, as I was 21 days with an IV attached to my arm, that I was lucky, that I was having the best treatment available. But all the time I was questioning why there isn’t a better option out there,” Stewart said. Efforts to develop alternative drugs have struggled, in part due to a lack of funding. While there has been a new treatment for the deadly visceral leishmaniasis in the last decade – which, when administered in a single dose, has cured roughly 90 per cent of cases in India – there’s been less success in tackling other forms of the parasitic illness. “For cutaneous leishmaniasis, there is no such drug and that is why we continue using antimonials,” said Dr Arana. “There is an urgent need to develop new, effective, affordable, oral, short-course treatments for leishmaniasis that are easy to administer.” Newsletter promotion - global health security - end of article After her experience last August, Stewart agrees, and is using her profile to raise awareness of the little-known but common disease – most recently delivering a TED Talk earlier this year. “Getting leishmaniasis was probably the most physically exhausting thing I’ve ever had – the treatment, not the actual bite – and emotionally one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through,” she said. “One billion people are at risk [of leishmaniasis] in 98 countries. This is not a small scale thing, it has real global implications that we’re just ignoring.” Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security
04/26/2019 - 10:03 AM
Amazon Satisfies Wall Street With ‘Instant Gratification’ Play
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. rose as much as 2 percent on Friday, after reporting first-quarter earnings that beat expectations, helped by continued growth in its advertising and cloud-computing businesses. The stock was on track for its highest close since October before paring some of the gains.
04/26/2019 - 09:46 AM
Amazon Pledges One-Day Delivery for Top Clients in U.S.
The announcement came after the online retailer Thursday reported first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates, demonstrating the company’s focus on cloud-computing, advertising, and other high-margin businesses continues to pay off. Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky later put the attention back on Amazon Prime, the subscription program that helped make the company the world’s largest online retailer. Established retailers and startups have closed the gap on Amazon’s offer of convenience.
04/26/2019 - 09:43 AM
Chevron profits down 27 percent but still top estimates
Chevron Corp said on Friday first-quarter profits slid 27 percent from a year earlier due to lower crude oil prices and weaker margins in its refining and chemicals businesses, but the No. 2 U.S. oil and natural gas producer still topped forecasts. Shares of San Ramona, California-based Chevron rose slightly to $118.40 in pre-market trading. Earlier this week, Chevron found itself in a takeover duel for Anadarko Petroleum Corp, a smaller oil and gas producer, when Occidental Petroleum Corp made a $38 billion offer that topped Chevron's bid.
04/26/2019 - 09:42 AM
Exxon Mobil's first-quarter profit misses estimates on lower oil, gas prices
The largest U.S. oil producer's profits were down across its major operations, including chemicals and oil and gas production, and fell to a loss in its refining business due to higher maintenance costs and lower margins on sales. First-quarter profit fell to $2.35 billion, or 55 cents a share, from $4.65 billion, or $1.09 a share, a year ago. "They had a large $2 billion cash flow shortfall that I don't think investors will be comfortable with," said Jennifer Rowland, analyst with Edward Jones.
04/26/2019 - 09:41 AM
New restrictions to protect rare whale expected from group
A group organized by the federal government is expected to release recommendations about how to better protect a vanishing species of whale in the Atlantic Ocean.
04/26/2019 - 09:33 AM
Pattern of Mozambique storms 'unprecedented': UN
The back-to-back cyclones that have ravaged Mozambique are unprecedented in recorded history, the UN said Friday, as it planned to examine the country's defences against extreme weather in the light of climate change. Cyclone Kenneth, which smashed into northern Mozambique late Thursday, hit "an area where no tropical cyclone has been observed since the satellite era," the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a statement. Kenneth struck barely a month after Cyclone Idai cut a path of destruction through central Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving more than 1,000 dead.
04/26/2019 - 09:06 AM
Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection Causes Sudden Tears in the Heart. Here's What It's Really Like
The rare heart condition can cause heart attacks in otherwise healthy people.
04/26/2019 - 09:04 AM
Scientists on a Sailboat Just Found Nearly 200,000 Viruses Hiding in Earth's Oceans
Scientists aboard a single sailboat have identified nearly 200,000 marine virus species, increasing the number of known marine viruses from the 15,000 documented in previous surveys.The new survey has revealed new details about the distribution of marine viruses across the ocean ecosystem.Viruses exist at the fringes of life. They don't have cells or perform normal biological processes or independently reproduce. Instead, they're more or less bags of genetic material that bump into living cells and inject those cells with the genetic instructions to produce more viruses. [6 New Findings about Viruses]But whether or not viruses count as life, there's no denying they play an important role in the ecosystems where they're found."Because they're present in such huge numbers, they really matter," Matthew Sullivan, a microbiologist at The Ohio State University and senior author on a paper published in Cell today (April 25) describing the findings, said in a statement.Despite that, marine biologists knew very little about the viruses dwelling in our oceans. To remedy that, the scientists embarked on a globe-spanning viral hunt between 2009 and 2013, circumnavigating both poles aboard a boat named Tara. The researchers were surprised to find the sloshing ocean currents did not mix viral species very well. Instead, viruses divided roughly into five regional categories. The researchers also found many viruses in the Arctic, where little had been known about any local viruses.The new research will help biologists understand how viruses affect the marine ecosystem. Among other things, the authors noted, viruses may change how the ocean pulls carbon dioxide out of the air and into the water, the researchers said Viruses, like any organic thing, are made in large part from carbon. [The 9 Deadliest Viruses on Earth]"In the last 20 years or so, we've learned that half of the oxygen that we breathe comes from marine organisms," Sullivan said. "Additionally, the oceans soak up half of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."Understanding what viruses are present, and where, could help flesh out that story. * Germs on the Big Screen: 11 Infectious Movies * Images: Human Parasites Under the Microscope * Tiny & Nasty: Images of Things That Make Us SickOriginally published on Live Science.
04/26/2019 - 08:54 AM
High-Altitude Auroras Create 'Speed Bumps' for Satellites
A high-altitude version of the northern lights can create a headwind for some orbiting satellites, a new study reports.The auroras help transport pockets of air higher up into Earth's atmosphere, increasing the drag on spacecraft that zip around Earth at relatively low altitudes, researchers in the new study said."We knew these satellites were hitting 'speed bumps,' or 'upwellings,' which cause them to slow down and drop in altitude," study lead author Marc Lessard, a physicist at the University of New Hampshire, said in a statement. "But on this mission, we were able to unlock some of the mystery around why this happens, by discovering that the bumps are much more complicated and structured."Related: Northern Lights 2019: When, Where & How to See the Aurora BorealisThe mission Lessard referenced is Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling 2 (RENU2), a brief suborbital flight that launched from Norway in December 2015.The RENU2 rocket observed poleward-moving auroral forms (PMAFs), which are dimmer and less energetic than the "normal" northern lights that grace postcards and posters.PMAFs are much higher up, too, occurring as far as 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the ground, compared to about 60 miles (100 km) for their more-familiar and picturesque cousins. PMAFs therefore transfer energy to the wispy air in the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere, the study found.And these "upwelling events" can complicate life for the satellites passing by in low Earth orbit."You can think of the satellites traveling through air pockets or bubbles [as being] similar to those in a lava lamp, as opposed to a smooth wave," Lessard said.Earth's auroras result when charged particles from the sun slam into molecules in our planet's atmosphere. That excites these molecules to higher energy levels, and they emit light as a result. The color of that light depends on the molecule affected. Collisions involving oxygen generate yellow and green glows, for example, whereas nitrogen emits red, purple or blue when excited.Earth's magnetic field funnels solar particles toward the planet's poles, which is why the auroras are usually confined to high latitudes. But strong solar activity can ramp auroras up, increasing their potency and extending their geographic reach. Such activity can also make PMAF upwelling events more substantial, the researchers said.The new study was published last month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. * Auroras Over Earth: Amazing Northern Lights Photos from Space * Here's Why Auroras on Earth Are Different in the North and South * Aurora Guide: How the Northern Lights Work (Infographic)Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
04/26/2019 - 08:54 AM
Be wary of robot emotions; 'simulated love is never love'
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When a robot "dies," does it make you sad? For lots of people, the answer is "yes" — and that tells us something important, and potentially worrisome, about our emotional responses to the social machines that are starting to move into our lives.
04/26/2019 - 08:47 AM
Uber's Executives Have Big Payouts Riding on a $120 Billion Value Target
Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi and at least four other executives received equity awards that won’t vest until the company reaches that threshold, Uber said Thursday in a registration statement. Khosrowshahi, for example, held stock options worth about $184 million when he departed Expedia Group Inc. in 2017 to take over the ride-hailing firm, some of which he had to forfeit. Companies commonly grant new awards to externally hired executives to make them whole, on top of their regular compensation packages.
04/26/2019 - 08:45 AM
Uber’s Early Investors Poised to Reap $1.3 Billion in IPO Sale
SoftBank Group Corp. is offering 5.5 million shares, while Uber co-founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp expect to sell holdings worth $176 million and $147 million, respectively. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and Alphabet Inc. haven’t offered any of their shares for sale. The selling shareholders will still control about $36 billion worth of the San Francisco-based firm’s stock after the offering, according to calculations by Bloomberg.
04/26/2019 - 08:07 AM
Heartburn or Heart Attack: When to Worry
Chest pain? Learn the potentially lifesaving difference between heart burn and a heart attack.
04/26/2019 - 08:00 AM
Uber Aims for $84 Billion Valuation in Year’s Largest IPO
The No. 1 ride-hailing company plans to offer 180 million shares at $44 to $50 each, according to a regulatory filing Friday. The filing puts Uber on track to make its trading debut in May on the New York Stock Exchange in what is expected to be the year’s biggest U.S. IPO. At the top of the range the listing would value Uber at almost $84 billion, based on the number of shares outstanding after the offering, as detailed in the filing.
04/26/2019 - 07:58 AM
Volkswagen Built the World’s Fastest Electric Car. Now, It’s Planning a Whole EV Family
Fingers crossed for an electric Kombi.
04/26/2019 - 07:00 AM
Newer drugs fuel AstraZeneca quarterly sales beat
Newer treatments such as lung cancer drug Tagrisso, now the company's top selling medicine, have helped the drugmaker's return to growth after years of crumbling sales due to patent losses on older drugs. Sales in China have shown explosive growth, more than doubling since 2012, but AstraZeneca executives on Friday said that may not be sustained. "The enormous growth you currently see in China, 28 percent, probably is not sustainable, but we feel very bullish that the growth will continue to be at a pace of between 15 percent and 20 percent," Ruud Dobber, executive vice president, BioPharma, told Reuters.
04/26/2019 - 06:40 AM
Sony CEO Gives Cautious Profit Outlook as Loeb Seeks an Opening
Operating profit will be 810 billion yen ($7.3 billion) in the year ending March 2020, down from last year’s 894 billion yen and below the 843 billion yen average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. For the three months ended in March, operating income came to 82.7 billion yen, surpassing the 69.1 billion yen average projection. Sony Chief Executive Officer Kenichiro Yoshida is known for providing conservative guidance, a practice he honed helping to lead the Japanese icon through a turnaround over the past five years.
04/26/2019 - 06:24 AM
Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback
Twenty critically endangered 'Royal Turtles' were released into a remote stretch of a Cambodian river Friday -- a species once feared extinct because of hunting, trafficking and illegal sand mining. Conservationists hope they will form new breeding populations. Cambodia is home to several populations of endangered turtles, coveted as delicacies and traditional medicine in Vietnam and China.
04/26/2019 - 06:04 AM
No Pay, No Gain: Huawei Outspends Apple on R&D for a 5G Edge
In money terms, its 2018 R&D budget trailed only those of Amazon, Alphabet Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., data compiled by Bloomberg show. Huawei’s 2018 research budget grew 149 percent from 2014, outpacing increases by Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Korea’s Samsung over the same period.
04/26/2019 - 05:35 AM
Intel Outlook Stokes Concern Server Gold Mine Has Lost Shine
Intel also cut its overall annual sales and earnings targets and said this quarter will be worse than analysts estimated, sending shares tumbling in extended trading. Intel shares fell almost 8 percent in pre-market trading on Friday. Asian semiconductor-related shares also fell on Friday after Intel reported, undermining confidence in demand for computer processors.
04/26/2019 - 05:10 AM
Glencore stock weakens as U.S. probes 'corrupt practices'
After the markets shut on Thursday, Glencore said the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating whether the company and its units have violated some provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and/or CFTC Regulations. Glencore added that the investigations had a similar scope in terms of subject matter as the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Last July, U.S. authorities demanded Glencore hand over documents about its business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela and Nigeria as part of a corruption probe.
04/26/2019 - 04:20 AM
8-year-old girl battling leukemia designs her own Lilly Pulitzer print to benefit children's cancer research
An 8-year-old girl battling leukemia turned her love of art and design into a way to help other kids also fighting cancer. Mary Andersen, of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) nearly two years ago. During her treatment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Mary was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
04/26/2019 - 04:16 AM
China's rocket start-ups go small in age of 'shoebox' satellites
The 1.5-tonne rocket hovered 40 meters above the ground before descending back to its concrete launch pad after 30 seconds, to the relief of 26-year-old chief executive Hu Zhenyu and his engineers - one of whom cartwheeled his way to the launch pad in delight. LinkSpace, one of China's 15-plus private rocket manufacturers, sees these short hops as the first steps towards a new business model: sending tiny, inexpensive satellites into orbit at affordable prices. After entering orbit, the near-term focus (of clients) will certainly be on satellites," Hu said.
04/26/2019 - 04:11 AM
Huawei hopes for Britain-like solution in New Zealand 5G bid
Britain will ban Huawei from all core parts of 5G network but give it some access to non-core parts, sources have told Reuters, as it seeks a middle way in a bitter U.S.-China dispute stemming from American allegations that Huawei's equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage. Washington has also urged its allies to ban Huawei from building 5G networks, even as the Chinese company, the world's top producer of telecoms equipment, has repeatedly said the spying concerns are unfounded. In New Zealand, a member of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network that includes the United States, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in November turned down an initial request from local telecommunication firm Spark to include Huawei equipment in its 5G network, but later gave the operator options to mitigate national security concerns.
04/26/2019 - 03:43 AM
Central Banks Are the World's Newest Climate Change Activists
Central Banks Are the World's Newest Climate Change Activists
04/26/2019 - 03:00 AM
‘I Have A Lying Addiction,’ Says Woman Who Admits To Lying About Having Terminal Cancer And Muscular Dystrophy
A woman who admits to lying about having cancer and muscular dystrophy explains why she deceives people.
04/26/2019 - 03:00 AM
Wall Street Accelerates Shake-Up in Market for New Bonds
A group of banks led by Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., has set up a company and appointed a chief executive officer to develop an electronic system for investors to request allocations of new debt, according to people familiar with the matter. Other banking heavyweights including Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. have also joined the founders in backing the platform that was originally conceived more than a year ago, the people said, asking not to be identified because it isn’t public.
04/26/2019 - 02:19 AM
Ecuador's Waorani tribe vows to protect life in Amazon
Spears and poisoned blowguns at hand, the Waorani people say they are ready to strike down invaders of their Amazon homelands, just like their forefathers did. The prize is their corner of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, ancestral lands where exploration licenses are up for grabs under a government plan to sell lucrative land concessions to oil companies. A judge in the provincial capital Puyo is to rule on Friday on the tribe's legal challenge to the government's selloff, and a shiver of apprehension is running through their village of Nemompare, deep in the dripping rainforest.
04/26/2019 - 02:09 AM
Why Changmao Biochemical Engineering Company Limited's (HKG:954) CEO Pay Matters To You
Chun Pan is the CEO of Changmao Biochemical Engineering Company Limited (HKG:954). This report will, first, examine the CEO compensation levels in comparison to CEO compensation at companies of similar size. Then we'll l...
04/26/2019 - 01:57 AM
Quarantines at 2 LA universities amid US measles outbreak
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A quarantine at two Los Angeles universities affected more than 200 students and staff who may have been exposed to measles and either have not been vaccinated or cannot verify that they are immune.
04/26/2019 - 01:38 AM
Uber Aims for an IPO Valuation of as Much as $90 Billion
Uber could aim to raise about $8 billion to $10 billion in the listing, though the final details of the pricing may still change, the people said. At the lower end of the range the price would value Uber just above its last private funding round, in which Toyota Motor Corp. invested at a valuation of about $76 billion. Uber is taking a conservative approach to its valuation and could later raise the price depending on investor demand, the people said.
04/25/2019 - 11:59 PM
Nintendo's Guidance Seen as a `Mockery,' Sending Shares Lower
The company’s stock tumbled as much as 5.1 percent after it forecast operating profit of 260 billion yen ($2.3 billion) this year, well short of the 350.2 billion yen average of estimates. Analysts were particularly befuddled by the forecast that it will sell 125 million new software titles, significantly below market expectations for 161 million and lower than all but one of 10 projections tracked by Bloomberg. “The way they guided software growth, it’s a mockery of the whole guidance word and the process,” Atul Goyal, a senior analyst at Jefferies Group, said on Bloomberg TV.
04/25/2019 - 11:11 PM
Newly-discovered ancient crab species is like nothing science has seen before
When researchers discover fossils of species that are new to science it's only natural that they attempt to find a place for them in the colossal tree of life, matching them up with related species that may even exist today. A newly-discovered species of ancient creature is pushing that practice to its absolute limit.Tiny fossils discovered in both Columbia and the United States reveal the existence of a pint-sized marine animal that lived some 90 million years ago. It's being called a crab, but the researchers who discovered it are quick to point out how dramatically different it is from any other known crab species.The species is so strange, in fact, that its discoverers offer a nod to its bizarre nature in its very name. The tiny crab has been named Callichimaera perplexa and, as its name implies, its discovery has been rather confusing to scientists.https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=7t7okeW729UWith curved, paddle-like legs for swimming and a pair of massive, all-seeing eyes dotting its pointed face, it's built like no other crab in the fossil record. It's unique not only for the strange features it boasts, but also for the common crab features it totally lacks."Callichimaera perplexa is so unique and strange that it can be considered the platypus of the crab world," Yale's Javier Luque, who led the research, said in a statement. "It hints at how novel forms evolve and become so disparate through time. Usually we think of crabs as big animals with broad carapaces, strong claws, small eyes in long eyestalks, and a small tail tucked under the body. Well, Callichimaera defies all of these 'crabby' features and forces a re-think of our definition of what makes a crab a crab."It's a fantastic discovery that reminds us that no matter how varied life seems on present-day Earth, our planet's history is filled with more bizarre evolutionary forks than we can possibly imagine.
04/25/2019 - 10:05 PM
Cryptocurrencies Lose $10 Billion on Tether Cover-Up Allegations
Bitcoin sank 6.4 percent to $5,145.33 at 9:55 a.m. in Hong Kong, while the value of cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com dropped by about $10 billion. Tether, the so-called stablecoin at the center of an investigation by New York’s top cop, declined 1.9 percent to $0.99. The companies behind Tether and Bitfinex, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, engaged in a cover-up to hide the “apparent loss” of $850 million of co-mingled client and corporate funds, New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged in a statement on Thursday.
04/25/2019 - 10:01 PM
China's First Nuclear Missile Suffered from Radiation Leaks, a Fire and Might Have Sank
The single Xia-class submarine was not a military success. During the early 1980s, the People’s Republic of China attempted to modernize its nuclear deterrent force. One concrete results of the effort was the construction of a single nuclear ballistic missile submarine, a “boomer” in arms-control parlance. Constructed at enormous cost, the Xia class of submarines was such a disappointment that a follow-on class was not fielded for twenty years.For a country with a population of more than a billion, the People’s Republic of China has a remarkably small nuclear force—and a restrained nuclear policy. The country detonated its first nuclear device in 1957, and its first thermonuclear device in 1964. The country’s nuclear weapons, under the control of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, are estimated to total approximately 260 weapons, equipping both land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and sea-based submarine-launched ballistic missiles.China’s nuclear policy is a pragmatic one, largely anchored in the country’s former poverty. Rather than pursue a first-strike capability and thousands of nuclear weapons, something it could not afford during the Cold War, the country largely pursues a countervalue strategy that places an emphasis upon survivable weapons that can stage devastating revenge attacks against enemy cities. As a result, land-based missiles dominated the PLA during the early years.(This first appeared in January 2017.)
04/25/2019 - 10:00 PM
U.S. measles outbreak triggers quarantine at two Los Angeles universities
The quarantine affects the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) and comes as the United States battles the highest number of measles cases since the country declared the virus eliminated in 2000. The United States has confirmed 695 cases of measles, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. California has confirmed 38 cases, state health officials have said.
04/25/2019 - 09:53 PM
Alibaba's Online Mall Chief Wants to Double Sales in 3 Years
Jiang Fan, who runs the company’s two biggest e-commerce businesses, wants to double transaction volumes on its Tmall service in three years. Alibaba doesn’t disclose dealings over the platform, which helps brands and companies sell goods to 600 million-plus buyers, but it’s one of the single largest online retailers in China’s $1 trillion e-commerce arena. Beyond investing in cloud services and making inroads into international markets such as Southeast Asia, Alibaba is also intent on becoming the window through which brands from Valentino to L’Oreal sell stuff to an increasingly affluent middle class.
04/25/2019 - 09:25 PM
Google Accused of Retaliating Against Staff in New Labor Case
The filing was made this week by an unidentified individual and the case has been assigned to the agency’s New York office, according to the agency’s website. It involved an alleged violation of a New Deal-era ban on punishing employees for involvement in collective action related to working conditions, according to a case summary posted online. This week, the internet giant came under fire from two leaders of the walkout, who alleged in a message posted internally that the company has been retaliating against them -- a claim Google has denied.
04/25/2019 - 09:17 PM
Nike, Telegram, Facebook, and Everyone Else Suddenly Love Blockchain
By CCN: Nike is launching a blockchain product. Telegram is launching a blockchain. Samsung is reportedly planning to launch its own token platform; building with Ethereum for the S10 wasn’t enough. Facebook is getting into blockchain. Google still hasn’t done much with it, but JP Morgan now uses it. The list of major corporate names edging in on the crypto space is staggeringly long. Should we be excited or turned off? Big Deal or Nah? For one thing, the development of all these new tokenized platforms is a lot of money. I’m not going to make a maximalist argument about
04/25/2019 - 09:05 PM
Kill a 'Raptor': How to Shoot Down an F-22 Stealth Fighter
The Chinese—like the Russians—have formidable electronic attack capabilities including DRFM jammers.The U.S. Air Force has as a tiny fleet of 186 Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighters. That’s all that survived out of 187 production aircraft (195 jets if developmental airframes are included) that were built out of the 750 that were originally planned. Of those 186 remaining Raptors, only 123 are “combat-coded” aircraft with another twenty that are classified as backup aircraft inventory machines. The rest are test and training assets.But even if 186 aircraft remain in the Air Force’s inventory—not all of those fighters are operational. At least two—possibly more—jets are not currently flyable. One test aircraft—tail 91-4006—at Edward Air Force Base (AFB) in California has avionics that are so old; it’s not worth bothering to fly it anymore. Another aircraft—02-4037—was badly damaged in a belly landing at Tyndall AFB, Fla. It’s going to take at least four years and $98 million to repair the damage. The Air Force has also had trouble with repairing other F-22s due to snafus with retrieving improperly stored production tooling for the jet.This first appeared in October 2015.
04/25/2019 - 09:00 PM
Petrobras sells rights to two fields to Malaysia's Petronas for $1.29 billion
Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro said on Thursday it had closed a $1.29 billion deal with Malaysia's Petronas to sell 50 percent of Petrobas' exploration and production rights in two of its offshore fields. The deal is part of Petrobras' divestment program, which seeks to reduce indebtedness. "Continuous portfolio management contributes to improving the allocation of capital, thereby increasing the generation of value for our shareholders, in addition to enabling the reduction of indebtedness and cost of the company's capital," the company's chief executive, Roberto Castello Branco, said in a statement.
04/25/2019 - 08:42 PM
China pledges to have the first Moon base within a decade
The Chinese space agency has spent the first few several months of 2019 exploring the far side of the Moon after being the first nation to successfully perform a soft landing on the half of Earth's neighbor that we never get to see. It deployed a rover -- which is likely nearing the end of its brief exploration journey -- and it even grew plants there for a brief time.The country has rapidly caught up to nations like the United States and Russia, which have been exploring off-world for decades, and it's pioneered some new advancements along the way. Now, China is pledging to focus on what would surely be one of its greatest scientific accomplishments to date: building a lunar base.China's state-run Xinhua news agency first reported the declaration, which was made by the head of China's National Space Administration, Zhang Kejian, during a speech at China's Space Day celebration.The country's immediate plans include launching the successor to the Chang'e-4 lander, called (predictably) the Chang'e-5, which will collect samples of lunar material and then return back to Earth. That mission is expected to get underway by the end of 2019, and a Mars probe mission is also slated for 2020.Plans for a base on the Moon are a bit more vague, however, with the country stating that it plans to build a "research station" near the South Pole of the Moon in order to facilitate exploration and make new discoveries. China's space agency says it will accomplish this within about ten years.China isn't the only country to consider plans for a lunar base, of course, and several other nations have openly discussed plans for similar establishments on the Moon's surface. NASA is particularly interested in the advantages of a lunar base for resource gathering, including harvesting water from the lunar surface material, which could be used on missions deeper into space such as those to Mars and beyond.Using the Moon as a "jumping-off point" for missions deeper into the solar system could be hugely beneficial, but building a base on the Moon is easier said than done. If (when) it happens, it'll likely be the result of a huge collaboration between several nations, and China clearly wants to be part of it.
04/25/2019 - 08:08 PM
SpaceX's Crew Dragon fire sent hazardous chemical compounds into the environment
When a test fire of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule went up in smoke Saturday, the incident puffed up a reddish, toxic plume.
04/25/2019 - 08:04 PM
John Singleton Suffered a Stroke at Age 51: Why Younger People Are Having Them
John Singleton Suffered a Stroke at Age 51: Why Younger People Are Having Them
04/25/2019 - 08:00 PM
One million species risk extinction due to humans: draft UN report
Up to one million species face extinction due to human influence, according to a draft UN report obtained by AFP that painstakingly catalogues how humanity has undermined the natural resources upon which its very survival depends. The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, CO2-absorbing forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves -- to name but a few of the dwindling services rendered by Nature -- poses no less of a threat than climate change, says the report, set to be unveiled May 6. Indeed, biodiversity loss and global warming are closely linked, according to the 44-page Summary for Policy Makers, which distills a 1,800-page UN assessment of scientific literature on the state of Nature.
04/25/2019 - 07:59 PM
Brent slips from $75 per barrel as investors doubt rally will endure
Oil prices eased after Brent touched $75 per barrel on Thursday for the first time in nearly six months on the suspension of some Russian crude exports to Europe as investors second-guessed the market's ability to rally further.
04/25/2019 - 07:54 PM
U.S. measles outbreak triggers quarantine at two Los Angeles universities
The quarantine affects the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) and comes as the United States battles the highest number of measles cases since the country declared the virus eliminated in 2000. The people ordered quarantined at two California campuses were exposed to measles and could not provide evidence they had been immunized against the disease, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement.
04/25/2019 - 07:49 PM
Google Announces More Policy Changes After Employee Protests
Staff can now lodge complaints and concerns about harassment and other misconduct at work via a new website. “We want every Googler to walk into a workplace filled with dignity and respect,” Google’s global director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Melonie Parker, wrote in an email to employees, which was also posted publicly online. Last year, temporary, vendor and contracted staff became a majority of Google’s workforce.
04/25/2019 - 07:31 PM
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