Thursday, February 2, 2023

Short Takes – 2-2-23

Dangerous Fungi Are Spreading Across U.S. as Temperatures Rise. article. Pull quote: ““We keep saying these fungi are rare, but this must be the most common rare disease because they’re now everywhere,” Dr. Spec said.”

Kid-edited journal pushes scientists for clear writing on complex topics. article. Pull quote: “Dense language sends a message “that science is for scientists; that you have to be an ‘intellectual’ to read and understand scientific literature; and that science is not relevant or important for everyday life,” according to a paper published last year in Advances in Physiology Education.”

AI model accurately classifies reaction mechanisms. article. Pull quote: “Marwin Segler from Microsoft Research AI4Science calls the work ‘a fantastic demonstration of how machine learning can help creative scientists to unravel nature and solve hard chemical problems’. ‘We need better tools like this to discover novel reactions to make new drugs and materials and make chemistry greener,’ he says. ‘It also highlights how powerful simulations can be to train AI algorithms, and we can expect to see more of that.’”

How arming Ukraine is stretching the US defence industry. article. Extended supply chains provide multiple supply bottlenecks. “Ramping up production of the Javelins, Himars and the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) it fires is complex and time-consuming. Detailed mapping of the supply chains for each by the Financial Times reveals a sprawling network: Himars and GMLRS are assembled in factories across 141 different US cities, while Javelins are built in 16 states.”

Russia Sidesteps Western Punishments, With Help From Friends. article. Pull quote: “In part, that could be because many nations have found Russia hard to quit. Recent research showed that fewer than 9 percent of companies based in the European Union and Group of 7 nations had divested one of their Russian subsidiaries. And maritime tracking firms have seen a surge in activity by shipping fleets that may be helping Russia to export its energy, apparently bypassing Western restrictions on those sales.”

House Ousts Ilhan Omar From Foreign Affairs Panel as G.O.P. Exacts Revenge. NYTimes article. GOP moderates bought off cheap. Pull quote: “But the gesture was not enough for some other Republicans. Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, one of the more conservative naysayers, exacted a pledge from Mr. McCarthy to strengthen the appeals process for members facing punitive actions in the future, a commitment that won over most of the remaining holdouts.”

On "Sensitive but unclassified.". post. Short and sweet.

Pentagon: Suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over northern US. article. Pull quote: ““We had been looking at whether there was an option yesterday” to down the balloon “over some sparsely populated areas in Montana, but we just couldn’t buy down the risk enough to feel comfortable recommending shooting it down yesterday,” the official said.”

CSB Back to Three Board Members Again. release. Pull quote: “CSB Chairperson Owens said, “We are delighted to have Cathy Sandoval join us on the CSB Board, and we are looking forward to working closely with her to continue to rebuild and revitalize the CSB and protect communities, workers and the environment from chemical disasters.”  Three out of what is supposed to be a 5-member Board.

Stop Passing the Buck on Cybersecurity. article. Article by Jen Easterly and CISA Executive Assistant Director Eric Goldstein; part of new administration outlook on cybersecurity? Pull quote: “What the United States faces is less a cyber problem than a broader technology and culture problem. The incentives for developing and selling technology have eclipsed customer safety in importance—a trend that is not unique to software and hardware industries but one that has particularly pernicious effects because of the ubiquity of these technologies. As Americans have integrated technology into nearly every facet of their lives, they have unwittingly come to accept that it is normal for new software and devices to be indefensible by design. They accept products that are released to market with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of defects. They accept that the cybersecurity burden falls disproportionately on consumers and small organizations, which are often least aware of the threat and least capable of protecting themselves.”

Two decades after the Columbia disaster, is NASA’s safety culture fixed? article. Pull quote: “"We have enough examples now of what not to do," Heflin said. "I don't care what it is. If you have someone who is worried, don't slough it off. Deal with it. The program manager is under all this pressure to complete a mission. But you just can't ignore someone who might just have something you really need to pay attention to. You can't allow all of these successes to blind you to things you should pay attention to." Lessons applicable to more than just space flight.

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