Monday, June 28, 2021

Google to delay its replacement of internet cookies, which track user behavior while browsing, with machine learning algorithms by two years

Google has delayed a major privacy change to its Chrome browser, pushing back a plan to block third-party cookies until late 2023 as it determines how to protect users while providing web publishers a way to make money. Last year, the search giant said it would prevent the world’s most widely used browser from accepting the snippets of text called third-party cookies that help advertisers, publishers and data brokers profile you to help advertisers target ads toward you. The change would prevent an advertiser that recorded your visit to a website from later showing you ads similar on other sites. (CNET)


Microsoft announces Windows 11

Microsoft is officially confirming the name for the next release of Windows: Windows 11. After months of teases, hints of the number 11, and a giant Windows 11 leak, Microsoft’s new operating system is official. The big focus for Windows 11 is a simplification of the Windows user interface, a new Windows store, and improvements to performance and multitasking. Windows 11 will also include support for running Android apps for the first time. The first thing you’ll notice about Windows 11 is that it includes a new Start menu and updated Start button that are both centered on the taskbar. Microsoft is also promising speed and performance improvements for Windows 11. The biggest news here is that Windows 11 will also run Android apps. Microsoft has partnered with Amazon and Intel to make this a reality, and Windows 11 will be using Intel Bridge technology to bring this to life. There’s no release date for Windows 11 yet, but Microsoft has promised to make it available as a free upgrade to Windows 10 users this holiday. (The Verge)


Stress turns hair gray, research finds, but the process may be reversible for some 

The study has broader significance than confirming age-old speculation about the effects of stress on hair color, says the study’s senior author and associate professor of behavioral medicine (in psychiatry and neurology) at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The researchers say their data adds to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that human aging is not a linear, fixed biological process but may, at least in part, be halted or even temporarily reversed. Though people have long believed that psychological stress can accelerate gray hair, scientists have debated the connection due to the lack of sensitive methods that can precisely correlate times of stress with hair pigmentation at a single-follicle level. Reducing stress in your life is a good goal, but it won’t necessarily turn your hair to a normal color. (Columbia University Ivring Medical Center)


Federal Reserve announces all 23 major US banks pass annual stress test

The Federal Reserve said all 23 institutions in the 2021 exam remained “well above” minimum required capital levels during a hypothetical economic downturn. That scenario included a “severe global recession” that hits commercial real estate and corporate debt holders and peaks at 10.8% unemployment and a 55% drop in the stock market, the central bank said. While the industry would post $474 billion in losses, loss-cushioning capital would still be more than double the minimum required levels, the Fed said. Nevertheless, during the pandemic, banks had to undergo extra rounds of stress tests and had restrictions imposed on their ability to return capital to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks. Those will now be lifted, as the Fed has previously stated. (CNBC)


The NHS in the U.K. is rolling out a blood test that can detect 50 types of cancer before symptoms of the disease emerge

Scientists say the test can accurately detect difficult-to-diagnose forms of the disease like ovarian and pancreatic cancers. The NHS will start administering the test in a pilot program with patients at higher risk of developing cancer this fall. The test was developed using AI, it examines chemical changes to DNA released by tumors and found in the blood of patients. In a study, the test accurately detected 51.5% of cancer cases in affected patients, but only wrongly-detected cancer in 0.5% of those who didn’t have it, a remarkably low false-positive rate. Cancer detection was even higher among solid tumors for cancers that don’t currently have screening options 65.6%. These include esophageal, liver, and pancreatic cancers. Researchers say the blood test could be used in conjunction with existing screenings to detect more cases of early-stage cancer. (The Guardian)


Scientists have discovered a human skull, dating back 146,000 years, that is more closely related to modern humans than Neanderthals

Chinese researchers are calling the newly-discovered species Homo longi, or “Dragon man.” One scientist at the Natural History Museum in London said the skull is one of the most important fossils discovered in the last 50 years. The skull was first discovered by bridge-builders in 1933 in northern China. Workers were worried the skull would be confiscated by Japanese soldiers who were occupying the territory, so they wrapped and hid it in an abandoned well. The skull was rediscovered in 2018 after the man who hid it 85 years earlier told his grandson about it before dying. The face of the skull, according to researchers, more closely resembles modern humans than Neanderthals, which, according to fossils and DNA evidence, lived across Europe and parts of Asia between 400,000 and 40,000 years ago. (BBC)


Virgin Galactic has received FAA approval to send paying passengers into space, with the first flights for customers set to launch next year

Virgin Galactic finally has the federal government’s approval to start launching customers into space from New Mexico. Richard Branson’s rocketship company announced the Federal Aviation Administration’s updated license as the final hurdle in Virgin Galactic’s yearslong effort to send paying passengers on short space trips. The company is working toward three more space test flights, with the next one this summer. The original plans called for Richard Branson to be aboard a test flight later this year, with flights for paying customers beginning next year. (NBC News)


‘Exorcism’ leads to ejection from Pennsylvania Home Depot

Two people, officers say, were removed from Dickson City, Pennsylvania’s Home Depot after they were caught conducting the ritual in the lumber aisle. The ceremony for the dead trees was held in the lumber aisle of the store, according to a post on the Dickson City Police Facebook page. It’s unclear if any evil spirits were expelled, but, police say the lumber aisle was selected for the dead trees. The duo involved was escorted out of the building. No charges were filed. (WNEP)


‘Worst day in pigeon-racing history’ as 10,000 birds vanish during solar storm

Pigeon enthusiasts are appealing for help after 10,000 prized birds vanished into thin air during a race. Breeders fear the birds may have lost their bearings following a solar storm which has left them unable to find their way back to their coops. The pigeons, which belong to fanciers from across the UK, were released in Peterborough, eastern England, and were meant to fly home against the clock, but when large numbers failed to arrive back as expected, it was clear that something was wrong. Pigeon racing officials are still trying to calculate how many birds are missing, but it is feared as many as 10,000 could still be lost. Each pigeon has an identification ring with a code and number. Owners have appealed to anyone who finds a disorientated pigeon to look after it by feeding it, giving it some water and allowing it to rest. (Independent)


World’s first cultured meat-production plant opens in Israel

The world’s first industrial cultured meat facility has opened in the city of Rehovot, home to the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Agriculture, Israeli slaughter-free meat-production startup Future Meat Technologies announced recently. With the capability to produce 1,102 pounds of cultured products a day, equivalent to 5,000 hamburgers, this facility makes scalable cell-based meat production a reality. Currently, the facility can produce cultured chicken, pork and lamb, without the use of animal serum or genetic modification, with the production of beef coming soon. The company claims its unique platform enables fast production cycles about 20 times faster than traditional animal agriculture. (Jewish News Syndicate)


Pennsylvania Senate sends bill protecting kids’ lemonade stands to Governor

The Pennsylvania state Senate voted 50-0 to send to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk a bill designed to protect the rights of kid entrepreneurs to market lemonade, brownies, cookies or whatever else can fit on a folding table without being harassed by the government. The so-called “Free the Lemonade Stands” bill was a reaction to news reports about lemonade stands, run by children, being shut down due to a lack of a municipal permit, prime sponsor Representative Johnathan Hershey said when he introduced the measure at the start of the current legislative session. (PennLive)


Tiddlywink stuck up Christchurch woman’s nose for 37 years

For most of her life, a 45-year-old woman often had a pain on the right side of her nose. Last year after an extremely painful Covid-19 test, her nasal problems deteriorated. The reason became obvious recently when a surgeon extracted a yellow tiddlywinks piece, 37 years after it was lodged in her upper nose as a child. Tiddlywinks, which was developed in England in the 1860s, is played with sets of small discs called “winks”. Players use a “squidger” to shoot a wink into flight and into a pot for points. Although she is still in pain and very nasal, she was able to breathe through her right nostril for the first time in eight months and seeing the funny side of her story. She said she remembered playing tiddlywinks with her seven brothers and sisters and as an 8-year-old took the game on a tangent by putting one piece up each nostril and “blowing them out to see how they would go”. One time she accidentally inhaled one instead of blowing it out, and was a bit too scared to tell her mother, so she didn’t. Not one to complain, she put the accident at the back of her mind and carried on with life. After a Covid-19 nasal swab test in October she was in pain for days afterwards, and then started developing serious sinus problems. She went to several general practitioners who put the pain down to a chronic sinus condition. A CT scan revealed an object in her upper nose, although it did not look like a tiddlywink. The doctor tried to remove it while she was awake, but it was too big and too painful. In the operation the object was pushed through her nose and extracted through her mouth. The Covid test had dislodged the disc and caused an infection. She is healing from the procedure and said she was looking forward to a life of easier breathing and a straighter nose. (Stuff)


Journalist tells viewers on live TV that he hasn’t been paid.

A TV journalist alleged that he and his colleagues had not been paid by their network employers while live on air. The reporter interrupted his news broadcast on Zambia’s KBN TVrecently to say, “away from the news, ladies and gentlemen, we are human beings. We have to get paid. Unfortunately, on KBN we haven’t been paid,” he said, adding that his colleagues were also due payment: “Everyone else haven’t been paid, including myself. We have to get paid.” He posted a clip of the broadcast on Facebook, writing in the caption: “Yes I did that on live TV, just because most journalists are scared to speak out doesn’t mean journalists shouldn’t speak out.” In a statement on the station’s Facebook page, KBN’s CEO criticized the reporter’s comments, alleging the journalist was intoxicated at the time of broadcast, though he did not address allegations that staff had not been paid. (CNN)


Monday Enters Our Lives With:

  • Alaska Day
  • Insurance Awareness Day
  • International Body Piercing Day
  • International Lightning Safety Day
  • Logistics Day
  • Paul Bunyan Day
  • Please Take My Children To Work Day (Last Monday)
  • Tau Day


Historical Events

  • 1389 – Battle of Kosovo took place, between Serbian and Ottoman army.
  • 1838 – Coronation of Victoria of the United Kingdom.
  • 1859 – The first conformation dog show is held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
  • 1865 – The Army of the Potomac is disbanded.
  • 1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, formally ending World War I between Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, the United States and allies on the one side and Germany and Austria-Hungary on the other side.
  • 1921 – Serbian King Alexander I proclaimed the new constitution of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, known thereafter as the Vidovdan Constitution.
  • 1942 – Nazi Germany started its strategic summer offensive against the Soviet Union, codenamed Case Blue
  • 1956 – in Poznań, workers from HCP factory went to the streets, sparking one of the first major protests against communist government both in Poland and Europe.
  • 1967 – Israel annexes East Jerusalem.
  • 1973 – Elections are held for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which will lead to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time.