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Comic for August 05, 2020

Dilbert - August 6, 2020 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

With COVID-19 spreading, 49% of low-income communities have zero ICU beds

Ars Technica - 1 hour 14 min ago

Enlarge / Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital where coronavirus patients are treated in Coral Gables near Miami, on July 30, 2020. (credit: Getty | CHANDAN KHANNA)

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads uncontrolled in much of the United States, a new study finds that almost half of low-income areas are gravely unprepared to treat severe cases of COVID-19, hinting at higher death rates to come.

Forty-nine percent of the country’s lowest-income communities—with median incomes of $35,000 or less—have zero intensive care unit beds in their area hospitals. Looking only at rural areas, the picture is even worse: 55 percent had no ICU beds. This is in stark contrast to the highest-income communities, defined by a median income of $90,000 and above. Of those, only 3 percent overall lack access to ICU beds. The study, published by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, appeared this week in the journal Health Affairs.

The findings further heighten concern over how the pandemic is exacerbating gaping socioeconomic disparities in the US. Low-income communities are already more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 due to unavoidable job-related exposure, reliance on mass transit, higher population densities, and less ability to quarantine upon potential exposure, the authors note.

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What we know about the massive chemical explosion in Beirut

Ars Technica - 1 hour 39 min ago

On Tuesday, Beirut was devastated by a massive chemical explosion that occurred at the city's port a little after 6pm local time. The blast killed at least 135 people and injured thousands more, and it may have left 300,000 residents homeless after the shockwave shattered glass and damaged buildings across the Mediterranean city. Initial reports blamed improperly stored fireworks for the disaster, but the real culprit soon emerged: 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) that had been seized by Lebanese officials from a freighter in 2013 and stored at a warehouse at the port ever since.

It's now believed that a fire broke out at the warehouse—possibly due to careless welding performed as an anti-theft measure—which caused the stockpile of the chemical, often used as a fertilizer, to explode catastrophically.

Ammonium nitrate has often been combined with fuel oil to create an explosive that's used in mining and construction, and it has been used as an oxidizer for rocket engines. But it's also been employed for more nefarious ends. The first recorded ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) bomb was detonated in 1970 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a protest against the Vietnam War. Terror groups on both sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian conflict also built bombs using ANFO from the 1970s until the 1990s, and Timothy McVeigh used a combination of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane for a terror attack in Oklahoma City in 1995.

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Zoombomber crashes court hearing on Twitter hack with Pornhub video

Ars Technica - 2 hours 29 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Zoombombers today disrupted a court hearing involving the Florida teen accused of masterminding a takeover of high-profile Twitter accounts, forcing the judge to stop the hearing. "During the hearing, the judge and attorneys were interrupted several times with people shouting racial slurs, playing music, and showing pornographic images," ABC Action News in Tampa Bay wrote. A Pornhub video forced the judge to temporarily shut down the hearing.

The Zoombombing occurred today when the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Tampa held a bail hearing for Graham Clark, who previously pleaded not guilty and is reportedly being held on $725,000 bail. Clark faces 30 felony charges related to the July 15 Twitter attack in which accounts of famous people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Joe Biden were hijacked and used to push cryptocurrency scams. Hackers also accessed direct messages for 36 high-profile account holders.

Today, Judge Christopher Nash ruled against a request to lower Clark's bail amount. But before that, the judge "shut down the hearing for a short time" when arguments were interrupted by "pornography... foul language and rap music," Fox 13 reporter Gloria Gomez wrote on Twitter.

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