CDC Report Indicates Masks May Increase Chance of Infection with COVID or Other Respiratory Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks.
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.

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West Virginia Site Chosen for High-Speed Hyperloop Travel Facility

Virgin Hyperloop One will build a certification center in West Virginia for the high-speed transportation concept that uses enclosed pods to zip passengers underground at over 600 mph (960 km/h).

The company had received bids from more than a dozen states in the past year to build a 6-mile (9.7-kilometer) testing track and other safety facilities over hundreds of acres for the electromagnetic levitation transportation technology.

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U.S. COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Birx: Minnesotans Haven’t Done Enough to Decrease Spread

U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines.
Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.

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U.S. COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Birx: Minnesotans Haven’t Done Enough to Decrease Spread

U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines.
Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.

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Minnesota Lifts Statewide Ban on Hydroxychloroquine

Governor Walz lifted the restrictions on access to hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been in use for decades to treat a wide variety of illnesses – including SARS-type infections – that some say may be an effective therapeutic for COVID-19. The removal of limitations on the drug were outlined in Walz’s latest executive order issued last week.

Walz did not give an explanation for the reversal of his order on the drug.

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Pentagon Offers Military Airwaves for 5G Wireless Networks

The Pentagon plans to free up a big chunk of its military airwaves in the U.S. for high-speed internet service, part of a broader push to get ahead of China in the deployment of 5G wireless technology.

The Trump administration announced Monday that it has identified radio spectrum used for radar defense systems that can be shared with commercial telecommunications providers without compromising national security.

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500 Twin Cities Healthcare Workers Test Negative for COVID-19

The University of Minnesota released a report Thursday in which all 500 Twin Cities healthcare workers tested in their study were negative for COVID-19. Their test subjects were the healthcare workers who have been tending to patients for months.

Considering the recent surge of cases, this is good news for the frontlines.

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Commentary: TikTok is Just the First Chinese App the Trump Admin is Eyeing for Crackdown Over Spying

Two days after President Trump told reporters that he plans to ban TikTok from the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested in an interview with Fox News that executive action may soon be taken against many other apps owned by Chinese firms.

Trump remarked to journalists aboard Air Force One on Friday that he could ban TikTok “with an executive order,” suggesting that the president has made up his mind about the popular short video platform. TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance, has been at the center of a months-long debate over whether the data that it collects from American users could be exploited by China’s government.

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Kodak Company Flips to Pharma

A Kodak moment for the books: the former film giant flipped to pharma in a move aimed to rejuvenate the company after nearly two decades of hardship. Several reports state that Kodak branched out to offset the large-scale loss of its film business – punctuated by a bankruptcy in 2012 after the concept of the digital camera that it invented rendered many of its product offerings obsolete.

Initial talks of Kodak’s new active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) division, branded “Kodak Pharmaceuticals,” began as early as a few months ago according to Kodak CEO Jim Continenza. He says the move shouldn’t be all that surprising.

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NASA’s Next Mars Rover Sports Brawn, Brains, and Even a Helicopter

With eight successful Mars landings, NASA is upping the ante with its newest rover.

The spacecraft Perseverance — set for liftoff this week — is NASA’s biggest and brainiest Martian rover yet.

It sports the latest landing tech, plus the most cameras and microphones ever assembled to capture the sights and sounds of Mars. Its super-sanitized sample return tubes — for rocks that could hold evidence of past Martian life — are the cleanest items ever bound for space. A helicopter is even tagging along for an otherworldly test flight.

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Facebook’s Software Kit to Blame for Popular Apps Crashing

Friday’s widespread crashes of popular apps running on the iPhone’s iOS operating system — including Tinder, Spotify and Pinterest — serve as a reminder that Facebook is still tracking you through your phone using sophisticated software, even if you’re not browsing the social network.

Early Friday, users of the apps reported crashes when they tried to open them up. Facebook attributed the problem, which was quickly fixed, to a bug in its software development kit, or SDK, a tool developers use to integrate their apps with Facebook.

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Commentary: Algorithms Are Only as Fair as Their Authors

Machine and human intelligences bring different strengths to the table. Researchers like me are working to understand how algorithms can complement human skills while at the same time minimizing the liabilities of relying on machine intelligence. As a machine learning expert, I predict there will soon be a new balance between human and machine intelligence, a shift that humanity hasn’t encountered before.

Such changes often elicit fear of the unknown, and in this case, one of the unknowns is how machines make decisions. This is especially so when it comes to fairness. Can machines be fair in a way that people understand?

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Commentary: Algorithms Are Only as Fair as Their Authors

Machine and human intelligences bring different strengths to the table. Researchers like me are working to understand how algorithms can complement human skills while at the same time minimizing the liabilities of relying on machine intelligence. As a machine learning expert, I predict there will soon be a new balance between human and machine intelligence, a shift that humanity hasn’t encountered before.

Such changes often elicit fear of the unknown, and in this case, one of the unknowns is how machines make decisions. This is especially so when it comes to fairness. Can machines be fair in a way that people understand?

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Breast Cancer Drug Shows Promise, Boosts Survival Rates by 30 Percent

  A new form of drug drastically improves survival rates of pre-menopausal women with the most common type of breast cancer, researchers said on Saturday, citing the results of an international clinical trial. The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, showed…

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Study: Cell-for-Cell, a Human Body is 57 Percent Microbes and Other Non-Human Organisms

by Elizabeth Lee   New discoveries about what is inside the body are making scientists rethink what makes a person human and what makes people sick or healthy. Less than half of the cells in the body are human. The rest belong to microorganisms that affect the health, mood and whether…

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Scientists See Evidence of Underground Lake System on Mars

Scientists say images of craters taken by European and American space probes show there likely once was a planet-wide system of underground lakes on Mars. Data collected by NASA and ESA probes orbiting the red planet provide the first geological evidence for an ancient Martian groundwater system, according to a…

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Commentary: The Case for 5G and the Sprint/T-Mobile Merger

by Robert Romano   At the Feb. 13 hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the proposed merger of T-Mobile U.S., Inc. and Sprint Corporation was considered by members of Congress, with T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure testifying. By the far…

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NASA Makes Space History with Distant Fly-By

Just 33 minutes into the New Year, NASA’s New Horizons probe made space exploration history, flying by the most distant body ever visited by a spacecraft from earth. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which built and operates the spacecraft, said Tuesday it had “zipped past” the object known…

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World’s Most Popular Dinosaur Transforms at Chicago’s Field Museum

by Kane Farabaugh   You don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, unless, of course, you’re one of the world’s most popular dinosaurs. “It’s a different profile, a much more impressive profile in many ways, a pretty scary large animal, as opposed to a lighter, swifter…

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New Research Pushes Back the Discovery of Cacao – the Basis of Chocolate – By More Than a Millennium

New research strengthens the case that people used the chocolate ingredient cacao in South America 5,400 years ago, underscoring the seed’s radical transformation into today’s Twix bars and M&M candies. Tests indicate traces of cacao on artifacts from an archaeological site in Ecuador, according to a study published Monday. That’s…

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Google, Microsoft, Facebook And Twitter Reveal ‘Data Transfer’ Partnership

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft

by Eric Leiberman   Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook are teaming up to provide users with the capability of transferring data across platforms and services, the latter two social media giants announced Friday morning. After heightened concerns over data utilization (even exploitation and manipulation), companies appear to be trying to…

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Bill Gates Backs $30 Million Push for Early Alzheimer’s Diagnostics

Bill Gates

Reuters   Billionaire Bill Gates and Estée Lauder Cos chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder on Tuesday said they will award $30 million over three years to encourage development of new tests for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. For Microsoft co-founder Gates, launch of the Diagnostics Accelerator program follows an announcement in November of a…

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Dr. Bradford Smith, NASA’s ‘Tour Guide for Voyager,’ Missions Dies at 86

Bradford Smith c.1981

Bradford Smith, a NASA astronomer who acted as planetary tour guide to the public with his interpretations of stunning images beamed back from Voyager missions, has died. Smith’s wife, Diane McGregor, said he died Tuesday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, of complications from myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune…

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Robots Will Continue to ‘Take Jobs,’ and Humans Will Continue to Create More

robot automation

by Joseph Sunde   Given the breakneck pace of improvements in automation and artificial intelligence, fears about job loss and human obsolescence continue to consume the cultural imagination. The question looms: What is the future of human work in a technological age? Innovators such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates have done their share…

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Insecticide Ban, Not Global Warming, Is More Likely the Cause of Disease-Carrying Insect Outbreaks

exterminator

by James D. Agresti and Rachel McCutcheon   Politico claims that deadly insect-borne diseases are “on the rise” in the U.S. due to “warming global temperatures.” Although disease-carrying insect populations have increased greatly over the past several decades, there is no reliable evidence that climate change is the reason. Instead, the surge…

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President Trump Announces Next-Generation ‘Space Force’ as an Independent Service Branch

Donald Trump Space Force

Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space. Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s…

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Scientists Have Created a ‘Flux Capacitor’ That Could Unlock New Dimensions to Communications, Quantum Computing

Flux Capacitor

by Thomas Stace   The technology that allowed Marty McFly to travel back in time in the 1985 movie Back to the Future was the mythical flux capacitor, designed by inventor Doc Brown. We’ve now developed our own kind of flux capacitor, as detailed recently in Physical Review Letters. While we can’t send…

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Malware Discovered Pre-Installed On Android Devices Including Chinese Company ZTE

Smartphones

by Kyle Perisic   An anti-virus company has discovered malware comes pre-installed on Android phones, including on ZTE phones — a Chinese phone company with ties to the Chinese government. “Thousands of users are affected” by the ad-related malware, or adware, according to Avast, the Czech anti-virus company, in its…

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Identity Politics Is Now Undermining Science

JPL Scientists

by Michael Liccione   The prestige of science in our culture is well-earned. That scientists discover truths (or at least serviceable approximations to truths) is undeniable. The evidence for that is how successfully scientific findings have been applied for centuries as technology, which has improved life greatly for countless people. Sound…

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Trump Issues Commercial Space Policy Directive on Eve of Anniversary of JFK’s Space Program Speech

by Ginny Montalbano   President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a space policy directive, calling for “updating and refocusing” those policies in a bid to promote innovation and modernize American commercial space policy. The White House said the move “reforms America’s commercial space regulatory framework, ensuring our place as a leader in space…

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Bredesen-Backed Company Silicon Ranch Has History of Ethics Issues

Bredesen Solar Ranch

If Tennessee voters send former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen to the U.S. Senate this fall then Bredesen will step down as chair Silicon Ranch, a company he founded that has ethics problems. Silicon Ranch Corporation helps finance the construction of solar arrays. According to the Tennessean, Silicon Ranch owns or…

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Inventors of Augmented Reality and Dental Polymers Among This Year’s Americans Honored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Inventors Hall of Fame

by Julie Taboh   Edison did it. Eastman did it. And so did Steve Jobs. They invented products that changed our lives. But for every well-known inventor there are many other, less recognizable individuals whose innovative products have greatly impacted our world. Fifteen of those trailblazing men and women —…

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