Friday, December 15, 2023

Short Takes – 12-15-23

Human Brain Cells on a Chip Can Recognize Speech And Do Simple Math. article. Pull quote: “There are still significant limitations, including the issue of keeping the organoids alive and healthy, and the peripheral equipment power consumption levels. But, bearing ethical considerations in mind, Brainoware has implications not just for computing, but understanding the mysteries of the human brain.”

Synthetic Bioweapons Are Coming. article. Pull quote: “Of those dangers, next-generation bioweapons are the most serious. Unlike traditional bioweapons, which most states have abandoned as unreliable, synthetic bioweapons (SBWs) are weaponized biological threats modified through synthetic biology for novel effects, mechanisms, or processes.8 Unshackled from natural biology, SBWs possess characteristics engineered to target populations or individuals, through socially transmitted rather than kinetic means. Although each of the military services and the entire U.S. population could be at risk from SBWs, the nature of the Sea Services’ operations—far from home but necessarily dependent on local goods and services in forward-deployed locations—places them at particular risk.”

Jeffries: Government will shut down unless House GOP yields on demands. article. Pull quote: ““The problem is that while House Democrats agree with Senate Democrats on that number, and House and Senate Democrats agree with Senate Republicans on that number, and all of us agree with the Biden administration on that number, the extreme MAGA Republicans remain on an island, trying to break the agreement that they themselves negotiated,” he [Rep Jefferies (D,NY)] continued.”

Senate to return next week in hopes of pre-Christmas border deal. article. Pull quote: “The chamber is expected to need more time to finish work, including reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration funding and a number of nominations, including potential votes on four-star military promotions that are being held up by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).”

Tris(2-chloroethyl) Phosphate (TCEP); Draft Risk Evaluation Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); Letter Peer Review; Notice of Availability, Public Meeting and Request for Comment. Federal Register EPA TSCA notice. Summary: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of and soliciting public comment on the document titled: “2023 Draft Risk Evaluation for Tris(2-chloroethyl) Phosphate (TCEP)” and related draft charge questions. EPA will be submitting the Draft Risk Evaluation and public comments to peer reviewers who will consider the approach and methodologies utilized. The letter peer review will include review of the analysis of physical-chemical properties, the fate of TCEP in the environment, releases of TCEP to the environment, environmental hazard and risk characterization for terrestrial and aquatic species, and human health hazard and risk characterization for workers, consumers, and the general population. The letter peer review is expected to begin on March 13, 2024, and end on April 12, 2024. A preparatory virtual public meeting will be held on March 5, 2024, for reviewers and the public to comment on and ask questions regarding the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions.”

Export Controls on Semiconductor Manufacturing Items; Implementation of Additional Export Controls: Certain Advanced Computing Items; Supercomputer and Semiconductor End Use; Updates and Corrections; Extension of Comment Period. Federal Register BIS comment extension notice. Summary: “On October 25, 2023, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register the interim final rules (IFR), “Export Controls on Semiconductor Manufacturing Items” (SME IFR) and “Implementation of Additional Export Controls: Certain Advanced Computing Items; Supercomputer and Semiconductor End Use; Updates and Corrections” (AC/S IFR). This notification extends the deadline for submission of written comments on both rules to January 17, 2024. BIS is making this extension to allow commenters to have additional time to review the interim final rules and to benefit from the significant amount of public outreach that BIS is conducting on the rules prior to preparing and submitting their comments on the IFRs.”

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