Non-IT News Thread



  • More than 140 ancient geoglyphs were found carved in the sands of Peru

    Scientists discovered more than 140 designs that were carved in the earth by an ancient people, and they're hoping they might hold clues to the ways they lived, thousands of years in the past
    Researchers from Yamagata University in Yamagata, Japan, discovered the ancient pictures, which are known as geoglyphs. They were carved out of the sand on a Peruvian coastal plain and resemble living things and other objects. The new geoglyphs join an existing collection of mysterious drawings in Peru known as the Nazca Lines. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. At the time, just 30 geoglyphs had been identified. "These lines, which were scratched on the surface of the ground between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, are among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity," according to UNESCO's listing.



  • BBC News - DR Congo: Many dead as plane crashes into homes
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-50536220



  • Hong Kong elections: Carrie Lam promises 'open mind' after election rout

    Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam has said the government will "seriously reflect" after local elections saw massive gains by pro-democracy candidates.
    Seventeen of the 18 district councils are now controlled by pro-democracy councillors, according to local media. The election, the first since the wave of anti-Beijing protests began, saw an unprecedented turnout of more than 71%. It is being seen as a stinging rebuke of Ms Lam's leadership and a show of support for the protest movement. Hong Kong has seen months of increasingly violent protests since Ms Lam tried to introduce a controversial bill enabling extradition to China.



  • Climate change: 'Bleak' outlook as carbon emissions gap grows

    Countries will have to increase their carbon-cutting ambitions five fold if the world is to avoid warming by more than 1.5C, the UN says.
    The annual emissions gap report shows that even if all current promises are met, the world will warm by more than double that amount by 2100. Richer countries have failed to cut emissions quickly enough, the authors say. Fifteen of the 20 wealthiest nations have no timeline for a net zero target. Hot on the heels of the World Meteorological Organization's report on greenhouse gas concentrations, the UN Environment Programme (Unep) has published its regular snapshot of how the world is doing in cutting levels of these pollutants. The emissions gap report looks at the difference between how much carbon needs to be cut to avoid dangerous warming - and where we are likely to end up with the promises that countries have currently committed to, in the Paris climate agreement.



  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Tips to get the best deals

    Black Friday is almost upon us and this year many retailers have extended their deals for the whole week.
    And hot on its heels will be Cyber Monday, a phrase coined back in 2005 when online shopping needed promotion, but is increasingly becoming less relevant. There will be bargains to be had but shoppers need to keep their wits about them. Here are some top tips. You're unlikely to get 50% off the latest iPhone. Newer products are still going to sell well at their original price so there is less incentive for firms to put them on offer - especially tech devices.Consumer website Which? also suggests being cautious about apparently amazing offers on unknown brands. It found that one in five Black Friday shoppers did not read any reviews of the products they bought and advised people to do their research and be wary of unusual brands.



  • Climate change: COP25 talks open as 'point of no return' in sight

    Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis.
    According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, "the point of no return is no longer over the horizon". Meanwhile, Save the Children says that climate shocks have left millions in Africa facing hunger. The charity says 33 million people are at emergency levels of food insecurity due to cyclones and droughts. The world's average surface temperature is rising rapidly because human activities release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, much like the glass roof of a greenhouse.



  • US mulls retaliation to French tech tax

    The US is preparing tariffs on $2.4bn (£1.85bn) worth of French exports as retaliation against the country's new digital services tax.
    The top US trade official said the new tax, which France approved in July, unfairly targets American tech giants. He said the potential tariffs were intended to deter other countries from taking similar steps. The items that could face tariffs at rates up to 100% include cheese, sparkling wine, make-up and handbags. The decision "sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on US companies", said US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.



  • FaceApp may pose 'counterintelligence threat' says FBI

    The FBI said FaceApp and other mobile applications developed in Russia pose a "potential counterintelligence threat".
    The comments were made in a letter to US Senator Chuck Schumer after he called for an investigation into the app. The face-editing tool went viral earlier this year but prompted privacy concerns. The FBI comments come amid rising US concern that products made by foreign tech firms could pose security risks. In a letter addressed to Mr Schumer, the agency said "it considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat".



  • @mlnews said in Non-IT News Thread:

    FaceApp may pose 'counterintelligence threat' says FBI

    The FBI said FaceApp and other mobile applications developed in Russia pose a "potential counterintelligence threat".
    The comments were made in a letter to US Senator Chuck Schumer after he called for an investigation into the app. The face-editing tool went viral earlier this year but prompted privacy concerns. The FBI comments come amid rising US concern that products made by foreign tech firms could pose security risks. In a letter addressed to Mr Schumer, the agency said "it considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat".

    Sooo - what are the national security risks of collecting US facial data?

    Don't get me wrong - I don't want anyone collecting that, or my fingerprints, DNA, etc. Sadly, it's just as likely that it has already been collected and cataloged.



  • Pound surges to two-year high against the euro

    Sterling has jumped after opinion polls suggested the UK would avoid a hung parliament after next week's election.
    The pound reached a seven month high against the dollar and its highest level against the euro since May 2017. The move came after polls suggested a 10-point lead for the Conservative party and a parliamentary majority. However, analysts cautioned against relying too much on one poll and said the pound gained momentum after it went past the $1.30 mark.The pound has risen sharply since October, gaining 6% in two months, after the EU granted Britain an extension to its departure from the bloc. This week sterling climbed further as investors saw the prospect of a hung parliament receding. Jeremy Stretch at CIBC World Markets said move was caused by traders consolidating all the recent polls and deciding that a Conservative majority was the most likely outcome.





  • Huawei launches new legal challenge against US ban

    Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has launched a legal challenge to a decision by US regulators to classify it as a national security threat.
    It comes after the US Federal Communications Commission put curbs on rural mobile providers using a $8.5bn (£6.5bn) government fund to buy Huawei equipment. The firm said evidence that it was a threat to security "does not exist". The move is the latest in a series of challenges between Huawei and the US. The company has asked the US Court of Appeal to overturn the decision. Speaking at a news conference at Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen, the company's chief legal officer, Song Liuping, said: "The US government has never presented real evidence to show that Huawei is a national security threat. That's because this evidence does not exist."





  • https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/06/us/pensacola-naval-station-lockdown/index.html

    For the second time in two days, a deadly shooting unfolded at a US Navy base when a gunman opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday, killing at least two people and injuring several others.

    It's easy to "block out" these types of events, because they generally occur in someone else's backyard. This is my hometown, so it's difficult to ignore. Prayers to the family of those affected. 😞



  • @Danp said in Non-IT News Thread:

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/06/us/pensacola-naval-station-lockdown/index.html

    For the second time in two days, a deadly shooting unfolded at a US Navy base when a gunman opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday, killing at least two people and injuring several others.

    It's easy to "block out" these types of events, because they generally occur in someone else's backyard. This is my hometown, so it's difficult to ignore. Prayers to the family of those affected. 😞

    Texans rarely get to see these as "far off somewhere", so many happen here.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Non-IT News Thread:

    Texans rarely get to see these as "far off somewhere", so many happen here.

    Probably because everyone there owns at least one gun. 😉

    I just read that this is the 8th mass shooting in Florida in the past 3 years.



  • @Danp said in Non-IT News Thread:

    I just read that this is the 8th mass shooting in Florida in the past 3 years.

    Supposedly only on six, but I know of at least one locally not listed in the last month. So we are probably past you.



  • https://fox40.com/2019/12/08/benson-star-trek-actor-rene-auberjonois-has-died-at-79/

    Famous for MASH, Benson, Deep Space Nine and much more.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Non-IT News Thread:

    https://fox40.com/2019/12/08/benson-star-trek-actor-rene-auberjonois-has-died-at-79/

    Famous for MASH, Benson, Deep Space Nine and much more.

    Read about it early. He was a good actor.



  • BBC News - People 'unaccounted for' after volcano erupts in NZ
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-50708727



  • 'We’re sorry for Thomas Cook refund delay'

    The body repaying money owed to Thomas Cook customers after the tour firm collapsed has apologised to thousands of customers facing refund delays.
    Paul Smith, director at the Civil Aviation Authority, said "we are very sorry" and promised the CAA is "working tirelessly" to process payments. Despite £160m having already been refunded, he told the BBC well over 50,000 customers were still owed money. Incomplete claim forms and attempted fraud were adding to delays, he said. Thomas Cook collapsed on 23 September, after failing to obtain rescue funds from its banks. Some 150,000 travellers had to be repatriated back to the UK during a two-week operation run by the CAA. A refund process was opened on 7 October for customers covered by Atol-protected insurance.



  • New Zealand volcano eruption leaves survivors with extensive burns

    Almost all patients who were injured in the deadly New Zealand volcanic eruption have suffered extensive burns to their bodies and lungs, as questions mount over the circumstances surrounding the tragedy that has left at least six people dead.
    Every burns unit in the country is at full capacity as medical staff do all they can to treat those with severe injuries from the volcanic ash and gas, Ministry of Health spokesman Pete Watson said Tuesday. Out of the 31 people still in hospital, 27 had burns to at least 30% of their bodies and many have inhalation burns that require airway support.Given the extent of survivors' injuries, the death toll could continue to rise. "It's possible that not all patients will survive," Watson said. Authorities are now working to gather information on the dead, injured, and missing, and provide emergency services to those affected, after the eruption on White Island, also known as Whakaari, left at least six people dead. The injured were aged between 13 and 72. Police confirmed the death of a sixth victim in a statement on Tuesday. The unnamed person was earlier being treated at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.



  • BBC News - Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies, aged 61
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-50730052



  • @scottalanmiller said in Non-IT News Thread:

    BBC News - Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies, aged 61
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-50730052

    Bummer.... They were a really big part of my High school days. 😞



  • Climate change: Major emitters accused of blocking progress at UN talks

    Delegates from developing countries have reacted angrily to what they see as attempts to block progress at the COP25 meeting in Madrid.
    One negotiator told the BBC that the talks had failed to find agreement on a range of issues because of the blocking actions of some large emitters. Carlos Fuller from Belize said that Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India and China were "part of the problem". Other observers said there was a serious risk of failure at the talks. Ministers from all over the world have arrived in Madrid for the high-end negotiations that will determine the final outcome of this conference. Despite a huge climate demonstration on the streets of the Spanish capital last Friday, hopes of an ambitious declaration at COP25 have smacked straight into the realities of politics and entrenched positions.



  • Sulawesi art: Animal painting found in cave is 44,000 years old

    A painting discovered on the wall of an Indonesian cave has been found to be 44,000 years old.
    The art appears to show a buffalo being hunted by part-human, part-animal creatures holding spears and possibly ropes. Some researchers think the scene could be the world's oldest-recorded story. The findings were presented in the journal Nature by archaeologists from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Adam Brumm - an archaeologist at Griffith - first saw the pictures two years ago, after a colleague in Indonesia shimmied up a fig tree to reach the cave passage. "These images appeared on my iPhone," said Mr Brumm. "I think I said the characteristic Australian four-letter word out very loud." The Indonesian drawing is not the oldest in the world. Last year, scientists said they found "humanity's oldest drawing" on a fragment of rock in South Africa, dated at 73,000 years old.



  • Climate change: Stalemate at UN talks as splits re-appear

    UN climate talks in Madrid enter their final scheduled day with divisions emerging between major emitting countries and small island states.
    Negotiators are attempting to agree a deal in the Spanish capital that would see countries commit to make new climate pledges by the end of 2020. But serious disagreements have emerged over how much carbon-cutting the major emitters should undertake. The talks have also become bogged down in rows over key technical issues. Negotiators arrived in Madrid two weeks ago with the words of the UN secretary general ringing in their ears - António Guterres told delegates that "the point of no return is no longer over the horizon". Despite his pleas, the conference has become enmeshed in deep, technical arguments about a number of issues including the role of carbon markets and the financing of loss and damage caused by rising temperatures.



  • Water firms hit by toughest profit crackdown in 30 years

    Water firms in England and Wales are facing the toughest restrictions on investor payouts since privatisation 30 years ago, the regulator has said.
    Ofwat also said water firms would have to cut the average customer bill by £50 over the next five years. It is also forcing firms to invest billions of pounds to improve their performance and reduce leaks. Chief executive Rachel Fletcher said she was "firing the starting gun on the transformation of the water industry". "Now water companies need to crack on, turn this into a reality and transform their performance for everyone," she added. Water companies listed on the stock market - such as United Utilities and Severn Trent - initially fell, but later traded higher.



  • Boeing to temporarily halt 737 Max production in January

    Boeing will temporarily halt production of its troubled 737 Max airliner in January, the manufacturer said.
    Production of the jet had continued despite the model being grounded for nine months after two deadly crashes. More than 300 people died when two 737 Max aircraft crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia after reported problems with a new feature. Boeing had been hoping to have the planes back in the air by the end of this year. But US regulators made it clear that they would not be certified to return to the skies that quickly.



  • @mlnews "temporarily" until they go bankrupt, get their assets bought, and someone makes a new plane with a less ominous name.


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