Friday, February 21, 2020

Virus chews into Apple sales

Apple has warned it won’t meet its quarterly revenue forecast due to the impact of the coronavirus. The company says it has been temporarily hit by a drop in Chinese demand and lower iPhone supply globally as its production in China ramps up slowly after factory closures. A new study by data analytics firm Dun & Bradstreet suggests some 5 million businesses worldwide are expected to be impacted by the outbreak, as the Chinese provinces most affected by the virus are tightly linked to global supply chains. (CNBC)


Elon Musk says all advanced AI development should be regulated, including at Tesla

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is once again sounding a warning note regarding the development of artificial intelligence. The executive and founder tweeted on recently that “all org[anizations] developing advance AI should be regulated, including Tesla” in responce to a new MIT Technology Review profile of OpenAI, an organization founded in 2015 by Musk, along with Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, Greg Brockman, Wojciech Zaremba and John Schulman (forming a non-profit with the aim of pursuing open research into advanced AI with a focus on ensuring it was pursued in the interest of benefiting society, rather than leaving its development in the hands of a small and narrowly-interested few). The comments seem to indicate that he’s quite distant from the organization he helped co-found both ideologically and in a more practical, functional sense, adding that he “must agree” that concerns about OpenAI’s mission expressed last year at the time of its Microsoft announcement “are reasonable,” and he said that “OpenAI should be more open.” Musk also noted that he has “no control & only very limited insight into OpenAI” and that his “confidence” in OpenAI’s research director, “is not high” when it comes to ensuring safe development of AI. Musk has repeatedly warned of the risks associated with creating AI that is more independent and advanced, even going so far as to call it a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.” He also clarified that he believes advanced AI development should be regulated both by individual national governments as well as by international governing bodies, like the U.N., in response to a clarifying question from a follower. (TechCrunch)


Coronavirus is deadlier than flu, study finds

The fatality rate of the new coronavirus is far higher than that of the seasonal flu, according to a new analysis from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found a fatality rate of 2.3 percent in China as of last week, though later figures suggest the rate has increased. They represent a subset of the more than 760 million people in China whose neighborhoods and villages have imposed strictures of some sort on residents’ comings and goings. That larger figure represents more than half of the country’s population, and roughly one in 10 people on the planet. In the U.S., flu fatality rates hover around 0.1 percent.  (New York Times)


An edible blob filled with water means you don’t need a plastic bottle

The package, which is also compostable, is made from seaweed and plant extracts. You simply bite the corner off and drink. The designers used a technique from molecular gastronomy to create the package—if you dip a sphere of ice in a mixture of calcium chloride and brown algae extract, an edible membrane forms around the ice, holding everything in place as the ice melts back to room temperature. A small version of the package is designed to break open inside your mouth. The seaweed coating, which is tasteless, can either be eaten or composted. The design isn’t likely to replace the plastic bottles, for simple reasons of convenience: it holds a small amount of water, and like a piece of fruit, it’s perishable. If it was sitting on a store shelf, it would also have to be washed off to make it hygienic to eat. (Fast Company)


Average U.S. birth weight drops 2.4 ounces in 23-year period

Babies born in the United States weigh less than they used to, with the average birth weight dropping 2.4 ounces (0.15 pounds), down from 7.31 pounds to 7.16 pounds ranging from 1990 to 2013, according to a new analysis using data from more than 23 million births. In that time, births were also less likely to occur after the 40th week of pregnancy, often considered the official due date (18 percent in 2013 vs. 29 percent in 1990) and more likely to occur in weeks 37 to 39 (49 percent in 2013 vs. 38 percent in 1990). Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder who analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed the drop in birth weight primarily to shorter pregnancies and earlier births because of increased scheduling of Caesarean sections and induced labor before week 40. The percentage of births by C-section grew from 25 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2013, and deliveries that involved induced labor went from 12 percent to 29 percent. The report does not speculate on the reasons for this. The lower average birthrate still leaves the average baby well above the 5 pounds 8 ounces that is considered a low birth weight and that increases a child’s risk for health problems. (Seattle Times)


Selfie-cides on the rise

A new survey found that 41 percent of us have already risked our safety in pursuit of a selfie, while more than half of us would stand on the edge of a cliff for that ideal photo. A third of respondents have visited a destination purely to digitally capture the scene and 4 percent admitted to endangering someone else for the sake of a good snapshot. The poll questioned 2,023 people (999 women and 1,024 men) to find out what they were willing to do to appear Instagram perfect. It found that testosterone-fueled men are more likely to take risks than women, with 61 percent of males accepting the challenge of a cliff-edge photo, compared to 38 percent of females. Worryingly, more than 1 in 10 (11 percent) have sustained injuries while attempting a selfie. The reported accidents range from falling down hills to falling off bikes and being knocked down by a wave. This latest study comes seven months after research proved that selfies gone wrong (a.k.a. selficides) account for more deaths than shark attacks. Last summer, the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care in India found that 259 people worldwide died in 137 selfie-related accidents between 2011 and 2017, compared to just 50 people killed by sharks. While 259 deaths over a seven-year period may not sound excessive, selfie-related fatalities are on the rise. In 2011, there were only three, but by 2017, the number had shot up to 93. Selfie accidents range from the downright sad to the ridiculous. (New York Post)


A new study ranks ‘the worst states for men’

While the company admits that men typically make higher salaries than women, it looked at things like imprisonment rates, unemployment rates, percentage of college degrees, suicide rates, and work fatalities. The study declared these states as the nation’s worst for men:

  1. Mississippi
  2. West Virginia
  3. New Mexico
  4. Louisiana
  5. Arkansas
  6. Alaska
  7. Nevada
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Alabama
  10. Wyoming

The study claims that in all states, men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, ten times more likely to be imprisoned than women, and more likely than women to die or be injured on the job. That study also looked at the median earnings for female workers, women’s preventative health care, uninsured rates, and female homicide rates, just to name a few. (Zippia)


Crossing guard, 88, dies saving kids from speeding car outside Kan. school

An 88-year-old school crossing guard from Kansas is being hailed as a hero after he was struck by a car and killed while protecting two children from being hit. The father of three, nicknamed “Mr. Bob”, pushed two young students out of the path of the speeding vehicle before he was struck in front of Christ the King Parish School in Kansas City, according to eyewitnesses. He had served in the Coast Guard and gone into the banking industry before retiring. He had worked as a guard at the private school for five years. “This was something, I think, he felt like he could help children and help himself feel good about what he was doing,” said his nephew. The school Principal said that the students “would not be here if he had not stepped in and we are thankful, we feel very blessed to have had him in our lives for five years.” (KWCH)


Coronavirus Slows Its Spread in China

The coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people, all but six of them in mainland China. It has infected more than 75,000 people, with over 1,000 cases outside mainland China. The remaining passengers aboard the Diamond Princess in Japan began disembarking after a 14-day quarantine. A total of 545 cases of the virus are linked to the stricken ship. Chinese state media is pushing the message that the worst of the crisis is over. Along with news that the number of new coronavirus infections in mainland China fell for the second straight day, it offered a rare dose of hope that the worst might be over. Still, the death toll has now exceeded 2,000, while analysts remain nervous about the health of the global economy too. China is enlisting the help of tens of thousands of military veterans who say they’re still “on a mission” despite hanging up their uniforms. (Reuters)


Jars of preserved human tongues found hidden in Florida home

Inspectors were looking at the home’s foundation when they made the disturbing discovery. Beneath the floorboards, in a hidden crawl space, they found jars filled with preserved human tongues. The home was once owned by University of Florida professor emeritus, Dr. Ronald A. Baughman. Gainesville Police say his ex-wife still lives there and was having work done on the home when the contractor notified the police after finding the jars. The ex-husband used to be a research pathologist who published studies in the 1970s and 80s. Gainesville Police detectives are investigating the possibility the preserved tongues are related to his work dating back to the 1960s. According to the department, it’s unclear if there is a crime to prosecute in this case based on laws from the time. (WCJB)


Friday Comes In With A Save Because It’s:

  • International Mother Language Day
  • National Caregivers Day (Third Friday)
  • National Grain Free Day
  • World Information Architecture Day

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