S01E47: Go Find Yourself



Freaks of Hazard: Bowl After Bowl @ 13.33, SirVo @ 5.55

U.S. FDA may not review new COVID-19 vaccine EUA requests during pandemic

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it may decline to review and process new emergency use authorization (EUA) requests for COVID-19 vaccines for the rest of the pandemic, if a company has not already begun discussions.

  • AstraZeneca (AZN.L) also has discussed plans for its COVID-19 vaccine with U.S. officials. However, the Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported that it was considering skipping U.S. emergency-use authorization and instead pursue the more time-intensive application for a full-fledged license to sell the shot. read more

Rock concert selling tickets for $18 if you're vaccinated – $1,000 if you're not

  • A concert promoter in Florida came up with a creative way to encourage his community to get vaccinated by offering $18 discounted tickets to an upcoming show for those who have been vaccinated -- and charging $999.99 per ticket for those who have not.

  • "I also wanted it to be a vaccine drive to get the fence-sitters off the fence," Williams told ABC News. "I wanted to get the kids that want to go to shows to go out and get their shots."

  • It will feature performances from three punk rock banks: Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin.

  • Some 250 discounted tickets for vaccinated patrons for are sale, compared to just four thousand-dollar tickets. So far, Williams said no one has bought any of the $1,000 tickets.

  • The response to his initiative from the local music scene has been "overwhelmingly positive," Williams said. He has been receiving negative comments, however, from a slew of anti-vaxxers who he said obtained his phone number and have been inundating him with spam messages.

    "To care about people being safe is very bad apparently," Williams said.

  • The promoter said he isn't denying entry to unvaccinated concertgoers, saying, "You can buy a full-price ticket and you'll be treated like everyone else."

Matthew Perry's coronavirus merch is just as cringeworthy as you'd expect

  • However, that's not why certain people criticized Friends star Matthew Perry for selling t-shirts emblazoned with, "Could I be any more vaccinated?" — a play on one of his famous quips from the show. (His character, Chandler Bing, is lovably cringey as a motif, so it tracks.) Instead, when Perry announced his Chandler-inspired line of apparel and accessories, timed to the release of the Friends reunion special on May 27, people called him greedy.

    A post shared by @mattyperry4
  • So, yeah, some people took issue with the fact that Perry was presumably pocketing whatever he earns from his line of Chandler-parel. And anti-vaxxers came for what they took as scientific propaganda in his Instagram comments. But honestly, if Perry's dumb shirts convince someone vaccine-hesitant (but Friends-obsessed) to get the shot, I don't care if he pockets $26.99 per tee. There are bigger things to get fired up about, like how not enough has changed in America a year after the murder of George Floyd. Let's direct public fury in that direction.

Great, "zombie fires" are officially a thing now

  • Climate change is changing the planet in weird ways. While zombies are still relegated to the world of science fiction and the Earth is unlikely to turn into the extended Walking Dead universe any time soon (as far as we know), zombie fires are starting to crop up across the Arctic. For years, scientists have observed and theorized the existence of these blazes that come back year after year, causing damage to the ecosystem of once reliably frozen parts of Earth. Now, thanks to a new study published in the journal Science, we know that zombie fires do in fact exist — and we have a better idea of how they are affecting the planet.

  • Zombie fires are exactly as the name suggests: fires that just keep coming back and seemingly are not killed by the natural means that would typically stifle the flames. These fires tend to burn during the normal fire season, but then exhibit what researchers referred to as overwintering behavior — basically, going dormant and waiting out the winter before re-emerging again when conditions are more favorable. To do this, the fires continue to quietly smolder as the months grow colder, staying low under the cover of peat and other soil. As things start to warm up in the spring, the fire finds more food, and the flames reignite.

  • Using satellite images, historical data, and an algorithm that helped to detect conditions and evidence of zombie fires, the researchers were able to identify wildfires that came back after the winter. These fires tend to start earlier in the season, igniting as the weather warms and vegetation dries out, instead of needing a new spark in the form of a lightning strike or another initiator.

  • While over the course of the full period studied, zombie fires were only responsible for about 1% of the total area burned, there were years that the returning fires were responsible for a significant portion of the total damage — as much as 40% of all area burned in some years. More troubling, though, is the contributions to climate change that these fires make. Over the course of the 16 years examined, zombie fires in just the two regions studies were responsible for contributing 3.5 million metric tons of carbon emissions. While it's just a fraction of the total emissions caused by fires that burn in the Arctic during summer months, researchers warned that it is a growing percentage — and that it could get worse as the planet warms.

  • Odds are, zombie fires aren't going anywhere. One of the things that enables their ability to hang on through the winter is the fact that the planet is warming. This means even in the winter months, these areas aren't getting cold enough to completely smother these flames, which weakens the Arctic's best defense against wildfires. The Arctic is warmer than it has been in the last 3 million years, and is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet. That is what's keeping these zombie fires around, which in turn contribute to the planet's continued warming. It's seeming like we're gonna need more than Rick Grimes to solve this one.

LifeShip Human DNA on the Moon Kit

  • LifeShip’s DNA Kit comes with everything you need to collect and return your DNA sample easily. Your genetic code will be extracted and preserved in synthetic amber. It’s stored in a time capsule with the DNA of other humans, plus the DNA of various plant and animal species, and an archive of human knowledge. The capsule gets sent to the Moon on a lunar lander shared with NASA missions. The kit comes with the saliva collection swab and prepaid mailer for returning your sample to LifeShip’s lab. You’ll also receive invitations to watch the rocket launch and lunar landing live streams, as well as a personalized digital mission certificate showing your location on the Moon.

Microsoft president: Orwell’s 1984 could happen in 2024

  • Eric Schmidt, former Google chief executive who is now chair of the US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, has warned that beating China in AI is imperative.

    “We’re in a geo-political strategic conflict with China,” he said. “The way to win is to marshal our resources together to have national and global strategies for the democracies to win in AI. If we don’t, we’ll be looking at a future where other values will be imposed on us.”

  • Dr Schmidt became an adviser to the Pentagon in 2016, while retaining a position as executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

    In the following years, Google started a contract with the Pentagon, allowing it to use some of its image recognition technologies as part of a military project.

    Project Maven used machine learning to distinguish people and objects in drone videos.

    “Maven at the time was…a way of replacing human eyes by automatic vision for the drone footage that was being used in the various Arab conflicts,” Dr Schmidt said. “I viewed the use of that technology as a net positive for national security and a good partnership for Google.”

  • “Google should not be involved in the business of war,” said software engineer Laura Nolan who resigned in 2018, when she discovered the nature of the project Google was working on. “I kinda felt like I had blood on my hands.”

Absurd new ‘third eye’ wearable watches the world so you can stare at your phone

  • Paeng, in short, wants to put a cyclops-like extra eye in the center of your forehead. No diminutive, smartphone front-facing camera lens “eye,” either. This is a protruding, tennis ball-sized lump of tech gadgetry, the kind of googly robot eye that might have been stitched onto a creature costume in a classic episode of 1970s-era Doctor Who. But it’s for your own good.

  • “These days, many people walk looking at their smartphones on the street,” Paeng, who was born in South Korea but is currently studying in the Innovation Design Engineering Master’s Program at the U.K.’s Imperial College London, told Digital Trends. “Even if there is a dangerous obstacle in front, or a car comes from behind, they don’t realize it. These people are called ‘Smombie,’ [meaning] ‘smartphone plus zombie.’”

  • In Korea, Paeng said, the problem has gotten so bad that traffic lights on crosswalks are now installed on the ground to tell Smombies when it’s safe to cross. Smombies is a good term, but Paeng has come up with his own: One that perfectly epitomizes this latest step in the evolution (or, in some senses, devolution) of the human race. “When I first saw this, I thought we were [becoming] ‘phono sapiens,’” he said. “And the world was changing accordingly.”

  • This is where the “third eye” project comes into play. Because humans seem incapable of taking their eyes off their phones while walking, Paeng has created a wearable device that keeps one, somewhat bulbous, eye on where people are supposed to be walking. Powered by Arduino, and kitted out with a gyro sensor that measures when a person is tilting their head and adjusts accordingly, the ultrasonic sensor is able to detect when an obstacle appears in front of the walker and then buzzes them to say as much.

  • To be clear, Paeng sees this work as more a piece of conceptual art — or, perhaps, a warning — rather than an actual product. “Through this critical and ironic design project, The Third Eye, I aim to point out what we were doing with our smartphones and reflect on ourselves,” he said.

  • “Recently, many idea products for digital detox [have been] released,” Paeng said. “However, I don’t think this problem can be solved easily because smartphones have penetrated deeply into modern people’s lives. The biggest problem with this is that people can’t realize themselves that they are addicted to smartphones. We can only start by focusing on realizing and defining the problem itself before solving it. That’s why I made The Third Eye.”

  • As AR smart glasses and other technologies further “augment” the real world with contextual overlays and notifications, this scene could become even more blurred. In other words, while Paeng’s project is quasi-satirical in nature, a tool like this could be useful as a reminder of how long we spend gazing at screens.

  • So how well does it work? “It works well, but there are many obstacles in the real world [when it comes to the] street, so for effective usability, the product needs to be developed further,” he said. “It should be able to better detect obstacles and alert users in ways other than sound. I’m trying to develop it further.”

Mass grave with remains of 215 children found at Indigenous school in Canada, an 'unthinkable loss'

  • KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — A mass grave containing the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, has been found on the site of what was once Canada's largest Indigenous residential school.

  • From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.

  • The Canadian government apologized in Parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant. Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages; they also lost touch with their parents and customs.

  • Indigenous leaders have cited that legacy of abuse and isolation as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reservations.

    A report more than five years ago by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission said at least 3,200 children had died amid abuse and neglect, and it said it had reports of at least 51 deaths at the Kamloops school alone between 1915 and 1963.

Mass grave of 215 children in Canada a stark reminder of the dark history of Native American boarding schools in US

  • "He started running away in 1934 and was picked up and returned a couple of times and successfully made his last escape in 1935," said K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Carr's daughter and a professor in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. "He survived it, but he reacted very strongly against the authoritarianism."

  • More than 350 Native American boarding schools were established across 30 states "to implement cultural genocide through the removal and reprogramming of American Indian and Alaska Native children," according to the Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

Residential Schools in Canada

Chinese ‘Artificial Sun’ experimental fusion reactor sets world record for superheated plasma time

  • The Belt and Road infrastructure megaproject doesn’t just include rails and highways, it’s aimed at helping nations achieve energy independence, too. China is exporting nuclear power plants of a newer, safer design to partner nations like Pakistan, as well as building them at home to help transition away from fossil fuel use. 

  • China’s futuristic nuclear fusion reactor just set a new world record for the longest duration of time in sustaining the sun-like temperature needed for fusion to occur.

  • The achievement was announced on Friday by Gong Xianzu, a researcher at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China’s Anhui Province. 

  • The device, which replicates the atom-building process that occurs at the center of stars and gives them their luminosity and warmth, held plasma at a temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds and at the even hotter temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for another 20 seconds. 

  • However, he cautioned that the technology is still decades away from actually being used outside of a lab. "It's more like a future technology that's critical for China's green development push,” he said. 

  • "In the shorter term, China is building a new generation of nuclear power plants they claim to be the world's safest. The Hualong One design, China's first domestic nuclear reactor, will also play a role in China's Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure megaproject, helping both China and partner nations to achieve energy independence. The effort also includes other forms of clean energy, such as renewables." 

  • China has built at least six fusion reactors of the Tokamak design, a torus-shaped chamber devised by Soviet physicists in the 1950s that uses magnets to create a stable plasma equilibrium; EAST is China’s fifth. A new reactor in Chengdu, Sichuan Province was turned on for the first time in December. 

  • Fusion power has long been sought after for its enormous energy output and clean production. While nuclear fission plants that split uranium or plutonium fuel to release energy produce large amounts of radioactive material that must be properly stored and disposed of, fusion reactions combine hydrogen atoms to create helium, which is harmless and actually highly sought after as a coolant for producing magnets and semiconductor chips. A shortage of helium in recent years has sent helium prices soaring as old sources have begun to dwindle.

Chinese ‘artificial sun’ hits new mark in fusion energy mission

  • Last year, EAST achieved a plasma temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds.

  • China’s another “artificial sun” project in Chengdu, the HL-2M Tokamak apparatus, operated at 150 million degrees Celsius for up to 10 seconds in an experiment late last year.

  • Similar endeavours are under way in the United States, Europe, Russia, South Korea. China is also among 35 countries involved in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) megaproject in France.

  • The facilities are called “artificial suns” because they aim to replicate the nuclear fusion reactions that power the sun, which has a temperature of 15 million degrees Celsius.

China’s ‘Artificial Sun’ Has Set A New World Record For Nuclear Fusion

  • The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak also called EAST, is China’s nuclear reactor aka artificial sun. It broke the world record and achieved plasma temperature at 216 million degrees Fahrenheit for a duration of almost 100 seconds, it also sustained 288 million degrees Fahrenheit of temperature for a fraction of 20 seconds, as reported by the Chinese state-affiliated newspaper Global Times.

  • However, scientists and researchers are certain that once the technology is established, it will take no longer at that point to produce unlimited clean energy at substantially cheaper costs.

Homes set to be heated by sewage plants in future

  • Waste heat from data centres and sewage works may keep many people warm in a future low-carbon Britain.

  • A fifth of heat needed for buildings could come from so-called district heat networks, government advisers said. These are grids of pipes laid under city streets to convey warm water generated at a centralised location by low-carbon technology.

  • District heating networks like this are common in Scandinavia, where many are fuelled by scrap from the timber industry or municipal waste from people's homes.

  • Mr Stark said each town and city should start planning and zoning its own heat decarbonisation. "The sooner we get on with it the better," he said. He expects £20bn to be invested into district heating by 2030.

  • The CCC is urging the government in its forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy to provide multi-year funding for district schemes. In the CCC's modelling, about 18% of homes will be warmed by district heat by 2050.