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Comic for February 25, 2020

Dilbert - February 26, 2020 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Coronavirus spread in US: Not if, but when and how severe, CDC says

Ars Technica - 22 min 1 sec ago

Enlarge / Team leader of the joint mission between World Health Organization (WHO) and China on COVID-19, Bruce Aylward shows graphics during a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on February 25, 2020. (credit: Getty | Fabrice Coffrini)

Fresh off a plane from China, epidemiologist Bruce Aylward sat before members of the press at the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday and laid out key insights from the coronavirus front lines.

Aylward, a nearly 30-year veteran of outbreak and emergency responses with the WHO, had just led a joint mission through the COVID-19 trenches to appraise the outbreak and China’s control efforts. His assessment was glowing: China had responded swiftly, on a mind-boggling large scale, and with differential outbreak responses tailored to curb disease spread in different settings—from the outbreak’s blazing epicenter in a highly populated city to the spotty disease clusters in rural areas.

He pointed to humped graphs of cases over time—they are the shape of an epidemic that has been hobbled, he said. Disease spread has been in decline since the beginning of the month, and doctors in China are honing their ability to treat patients. “If I had COVID-19, I’d want to be treated in China,” he said candidly.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

TSA Bans Employees From Using TikTok

Slashdot - 38 min 35 sec ago
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Thanks, Qualcomm: Mandatory 5G means phones now ship with disabled 5G modems

Ars Technica - 50 min 11 sec ago

It's Qualcomm's world, and we're all just living in it.

Phones are starting to trickle onto the market with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 865 SoC, and the company's unchecked monopoly power over the mobile industry is really coming to a head with this new chip. Qualcomm is forcing 5G on everyone with the Snapdragon 865, increasing the size, cost, and complexity of smartphones, even if the world's 5G networks are not ready yet. This week, we're seeing an absurd new wrinkle in the Mandatory 5G Saga: manufacturers are sticking to Qualcomm rules and shipping its 5G modems, but they are also disabling them, because 5G just doesn't work in some markets.

Meet the "iQoo 3." As pointed out by XDA Developers, in India, this phone ships the Snapdragon 865 in a first-ever "4G" configuration. Apparently, BBK subsidiary iQoo does all the work of paying for Qualcomm's mandatory 5G modem, integrating it into the phone design, and then the company just, uh, disables the 5G functionality completely.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How to track the coronavirus: Dashboard delivers real-time view of the deadly virus

ZDnet Blogs - 1 hour 53 min ago
The live dashboard​ pulls data from sources like the World Health Organization to show all confirmed and suspected cases of coronavirus, along with recoveries and deaths.
Categories: Opinion

The wear patterns of your jeans aren’t good forensic evidence

Ars Technica - 1 hour 56 min ago

Enlarge / The "barcode" pattern of light and dark points along the seam of a pair of jeans. (credit: -Bine- / Flickr)

Is every pair of jeans like no other? According to the testimony of FBI forensic analysts, the patterns seen on denim are reliably unique and can be used to identify a suspect in surveillance footage.

The problem is, this technique has never been subjected to thorough scrutiny, and evidence acquired through it may not be as strong as it has been claimed to be. A paper published in PNAS this week puts denim-pattern analysis through its paces, finding that it isn’t particularly good at matching up identical pairs of jeans—and may create a number of “false alarm” errors to boot.

Shoddy evidence

For some time, there have been rumblings about the reliability and quality of commonly-used forensic techniques. In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences published a weighty report observing that, apart from nuclear DNA analysis, “no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.”

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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