Monday, November 18, 2019

U.S. Military Launches AV, Smart City Pilot at Fort Carson

 The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is  currently involved in a multiyear research project to understand how  smart city technologies can be used and deployed in military  installations. Some of that research will center on Fort Carson in  Colorado Springs, Colorado. This specifically includes a two-year  autonomous shuttle pilot project being developed for the base as a  partnership among the military, the city of Colorado Springs, the  University of Colorado Boulder and US Ignite, a nonprofit charged with  growing smart city projects in communities across the country. US Ignite  was awarded a $3.9 million contract by the ERDC to help the military  explore how to integrate a shared AV shuttle into the community, serving  on- and off-base shuttle needs. The project also includes testing other  devices such as environmental sensors. The project will also explore  the use of data, and data sharing among different entities like the city  and the base, particularly as next-generation transportation platforms  like ride-hailing, micro-mobility and other technologies become  increasingly commonplace. “The hope is that these technologies could  lead to saving money and increasing efficiency, as well as improving  the quality of life and safety for service members and their families,” said a program manager with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). (GovTech)

An  airline passenger is raising a stink after a fellow traveler pulled the  ultimate no-no in airplane etiquette: dangling their feet over her  headrest.

A  photo of the offender’s space-violating soles has since gone viral on  Reddit, sparking shock and revulsion over the heinous act. The image  depicts a pair of dirty feet hanging over the head of an unidentified  female passenger — who is visibly perturbed in the selfie shot. It  appears her fellow travelers sympathize. The incriminating pic has  accumulated over 1,000 comments, with many posting cries of “that is so wrong” and “this is way beyond mildly infuriating.” The  poster didn’t disclose on which airline the infraction occurred. But  fortunately, some social media Samaritans shared hilarious suggestions  on how passengers can ward off intrusive toes in the future. “Fake a sneeze, and flick a bunch of water on their feet,” submitted one comment section comedian. “Order something to eat and use the fork to poke the feet,”  advised another. In-flight foot infringements have become an  unfortunate trend of late. This past September, an American Airlines  flyer revolted the internet after her foot blister popped and splattered  her fellow passengers with blood. (Reddit)

NASA detects oxygen changes on Mars it’s ‘struggling to explain’

Four months after the stunning announcement that NASA’s Curiosity rover detected an “unusually high” level of methane on Mars, the government space agency said that oxygen “behaves in a way that so far scientists cannot explain”  on the Red Planet. The Curiosity rover, which has been exploring the  Gale Crater since it landed on Mars in August 2012, has been analyzing  the air using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. It found  that the oxygen in the atmosphere did not behave in the same way that  nitrogen and argon did, following “a predictable season pattern,  waxing and waning in concentration in Gale Crater throughout the year  relative to how much CO2 is in the air.” Instead, the amount of  oxygen in the air throughout the spring and summer rose by as much as 30  percent, then dropped to levels that were predicted by known chemistry  in the fall. “This pattern repeated each spring, though the amount  of oxygen added to the atmosphere varied, implying that something was  producing it and then taking it away,” NASA wrote in a statement.  Mars’ atmosphere is comprised of 95 percent carbon dioxide, 2.6 percent  molecular nitrogen, 1.9 percent argon, 0.16 percent oxygen and 0.06  percent carbon monoxide. For comparison purposes, Earth’s atmosphere is  78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, 0.9 percent argon and 0.03  percent carbon dioxide and trace amounts of other elements. The  researchers attempted to see if there were errors and checked to make  sure SAM was working properly, but they did not find any issues, leaving  them baffled. The Curiosity rover does not have any instruments that  will allow for the discovery of where the methane and oxygen are  originating from. NASA hopes the Curiosity rover, which “has a few more years before its nuclear power system degrades enough to significantly limit operations,” can provide additional clues about the planet prior to the launch of the Mars 2020 rover mission. (NASA)

Facebook And Instagram Removed More Than 12 Million Pieces Of Child Porn

Facebook  removed tens of millions of posts, photos and videos over the past six  months for violating its terms of service that restrict the use of child  pornography, drug and gun sales, and terrorism. The company revealed  its sweeping efforts to police its own network in its latest biannual  transparency report, which includes data from Instagram for the first  time. Facebook says it identifies most of the content automatically  using artificial intelligence and advanced software before users can  ever see it. Perhaps the most shocking detail in the report is the  dramatic increase in the removal of child pornography. Facebook says  that it removed about 11.6 million pieces of content it deemed to be  child nudity and sexual exploitation of children in the third quarter,  roughly double the number of pieces of content removed for the same  reason in the first quarter. On Instagram, it removed 1.2 million photos  and videos involving child nudity or exploitation over the second and  third quarters. (Forbes)

The Milky Way’s black hole kicked a star out of our galaxy

Astronomers  have spotted a star speeding through our galaxy at more than 3,728,227  mph. And in 100 million years, it will leave the Milky Way for good. But  where did it come from and why is it in such a hurry to leave?  Astronomers using the 3.9-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope at the  Australian National University’s Siding Spring Observatory discovered  the star and conducted follow-up measurements to track its path. The  astronomers were looking for the remains of small galaxies that orbit  the Milky Way. The telescope they were using can measure about 400  targets at a time. Instead, they found a star on the outskirts of the  galaxy that had been kicked there by the supermassive black hole at the  center. The black hole is known as Sagittarius A* or Sgr A*. The black  hole is 4.2 million times more massive than our sun. If the black hole  interacted with a binary star system that got to close, the results can  be tragic for the star system.  The star is 29,000 light-years away from Earth and it was kicked away  by the black hole about five million years ago. The astronomers plan to  keep tracking the star and gain a more precise measurement of its  velocity and position, thanks to the European Space Agency’s Gaia  satellite, according to study author and ARC Future Fellow at the  Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and  Astrophysics. (CNN)

FBI Reports Dip In Hate Crimes, But Rise In Violence

While  the number of reported hate crimes dipped slightly in 2018, violence  against individuals rose to a 16-year high, according to numbers  released by the FBI. The FBI’s annual tally counted 7,120 hate crimes  reported last year, 55 fewer than the year before. The main concern for  extremism trackers, however, is the rising level of violence. The report  showed an increase in the number of “crimes against persons,”  such as intimidation, assault and homicide. Hate crimes targeting people  accounted for 61% of all hate crimes in 2018, according to a co-author  of a report that analyzes law enforcement data. The FBI recorded 24  murders classified as hate crimes in 2018, up from 15 in 2017. Other  notable findings include:

  • In  hate crimes fueled by racism, African Americans continue to be the most  frequently targeted, though anti-black incidents overall fell to a  record low share of all hate crime in 2018.
  • There  was a mixed picture for religious minorities: Anti-Muslim incidents  decreased for the second year in a row, but still make up nearly 15% of  religiously motivated acts. Anti-Sikh attacks tripled between 2017 and  2018.
  • Anti-Semitic  homicides in the U.S. reached their highest level ever as a result of  the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11  people in October 2018.
  • Latinos  continued to experience an increase in racially motivated incidents. Such incidents rose 13% over one year and  48% over five years.
  • The  LGBTQ community also faced bias-motivated attacks in 2018. Incidents  targeting gay males increased by nearly 7%, and anti-transgender hate  crimes rose nearly 34%.
  • Anti-Latino, anti-gay, anti-Asian, anti-disability, anti-transgender, anti-Sikh and anti-white hate crimes increased in 2018.
  • Crimes against property, like vandalism and robbery, decreased by 19% from 2017 to 2018.

The  FBI report relies on data collected from state, tribal, local and  federal law enforcement agencies. In 2018, more than 16,000 law  enforcement agencies participated in the Hate Crime Statistics Program,  though a little more than 2,000 agencies reported hate crime incidents.  The number of participating agencies decreased by less than 1%, which  corresponds with the drop in incidents. (FBI)

Deadly superbugs pose greater threat than previously estimated

Drug-resistant  germs sicken about 3 million people every year in the United States and  kill about 35,000, representing a much larger public health threat than  previously understood, according to a long-awaited report released by  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new estimates show  that, on average, someone in the United States gets an  antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds, and every 15 minutes,  someone dies. Bacteria, fungi and other germs that have developed a  resistance to antibiotics and other drugs pose one of the gravest public  health challenges and a baffling problem for modern medicine.  Scientists, doctors and public health officials have warned of this  threat for decades, and the new report reveals the top dangers and  troubling trends. More pathogens are developing new ways of fending off  drugs designed to kill them, and infections are spreading more widely  outside of hospitals. No new classes of antibiotics have been introduced  in more than three decades. The report highlighted some successes.  Hospitals have improved their methods for tracking and slowing the  spread of resistant germs, and deaths from superbug infections there  have decreased by nearly 30 percent since 2013. Experts say everyone can  help control many of these pathogens by practicing basic prevention:  good hand hygiene, vaccination, safe food handling and safe sex. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

President Trump pardons 2 ex-military officers

President  Donald Trump on Friday (11/15) issued full pardons to two former  military officers implicated in improper killings. The pardon of former  Green Beret Major Mathew Golsteyn (who was accused of murdering a  suspected bomb-maker while deployed in Afghanistan) circumvents a court  martial that had been scheduled for February at Fort Bragg, North  Carolina, and has argued that the Afghan was a legal target because of  his behavior at the time of the shooting. President Trump has tweeted in  the past that Golsteyn is a “US Military hero” who could face the death penalty “from our own government.”  President Trump also issued a full pardon for Army 1st Lt. Clint  Lorance, who’d been found guilty of second-degree murder after nine  members of his platoon testified he ordered soldiers to open fire on  three men, also in Afghanistan. In the same statement issued by the  White House, President Trump ordered a promotion for Special Warfare  Operator 1st Class Edward R. Gallagher, who had been bumped down to a  lower pay grade after he was convicted in July of posing for a  photograph with the corpse of an ISIS fighter while on deployment in  Iraq in 2017 — but cleared of murder charges stemming from the fighter’s  fatal stabbing. (Military Times)

Cops find 26 kids behind phony wall in Colorado day care

Police  checking out reports of an overcrowded daycare in Colorado at first  found no kids there at all — then made a shocking discovery. Day care  workers had hidden 26 preschoolers in a basement behind a false wall,  authorities said. Cops responded to the Play Mountain Place in Colorado  Springs last week and while they didn’t see any kids at first, they  began hearing noises coming from below, officials said. The sounds were  coming from a phony wall which hid a secret staircase to a finished  basement where two adults and the 26 kids were, authorities said. None  of the kids (who were all under the age of 3) appeared to be injured or  held against their will, police said. The day care’s license was  suspended, but no one was charged in the incident. (KKTV)

Monday Is Magically Back With Sparkles And:

  • European Antibiotic Awareness Day
  • Married To A Scorpio Support Day
  • Mickey Mouse Day
  • National Apple Cider Day
  • National Princess Day
  • Push-button Phone Day

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