Thursday, February 29, 2024

Short Takes – 2-29-24

Di-isodecyl Phthalate (DIDP) and Di-isononyl Phthalate (DINP); Draft Risk Evaluations; Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) Peer Review; Request for Nominations of ad hoc Expert Reviewers. Federal Register EPA notice. Summary: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public nominations of scientific and technical experts that EPA can consider for service as ad hoc reviewers assisting the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) with the peer review of the Agency's evaluation of the risks from di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) being conducted to inform risk management decisions under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). To facilitate nominations, this document provides information about the SACC, the intended topic for the planned peer review, the expertise sought for this peer review, instructions for submitting nominations to EPA, and the Agency's plan for selecting the ad hoc reviewers for this peer review. EPA is planning to convene a virtual public meeting of the SACC in the summer of 2024 to review the draft risk evaluations.”

Winter 2024 CISA SBOM-a-Rama. Federal Register CISA meeting notice. Summary: “CISA will facilitate a public event to build on existing community-led work around Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) on specific SBOM topics. The goal of this meeting is to help the broader software and security community understand the current state of SBOM and what efforts have been made by different parts of the SBOM community, including CISA-facilitated, community-led work and other activity from sectors and governments.” Meeting date February 29th, 2024. Not much advanced notice (SIGH).

The era of cheap helium is over—and that’s already causing problems. article. Pull quote: “He also predicted the US would use up much of its known helium reserves by the turn of the century. But the US still has enough helium in natural-gas reservoirs to last 150 more years, according to a recent USGS analysis.”

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Trump Trial Ransomware Leak. article. Pull quote: “There remain other theories, however, that Lockbit might still possess the court's data but is seeking to use it in some other way. “They generally don't lie about victims, because they're so worried about their reputation,” says Jon DiMaggio, the ransomware-focused chief security strategist at cybersecurity firm Analyst1. He notes that the decision to take down the leak threat may have been the decision of the “affiliate” hackers who partner with LockBit to penetrate victims like Fulton County and may have different motivations from LockBit itself.”

Why concerns over the sustainability of carbon removal are growing. article. Pull quote: “In a report last summer, the venture capital firm DCVC said that all of the approaches it evaluated faced “multiple feasibility constraints.” It noted that carbon-sucking direct-air-capture factories are particularly expensive, charging customers hundreds of dollars per ton.”

Can non-profits beat antibiotic resistance and soaring drug costs? article. Pull quote: “But, by funding the registration and launch of drugs in countries that cannot afford to pay commercial prices for them, both the DNDi and the GARDP are effectively providing pull incentives — which is something that these organizations can afford to do because, as non-profits with external funders, they do not need to earn the level of income that a company would require. That means they are providing a model not only for how much-needed drugs can be rescued in the development process, but also for how companies can be supported when their compounds are released onto the market.”

Private Moon lander is dying — it scored some wins for science.  Pull quote: “But during that last-minute manoeuvre, mission controllers forgot to update part of an algorithm — so Odysseus touched down around 1.5 kilometres from its planned landing site and pitched onto its side. The landscape where it ended up was much rougher than anticipated, so “we hit harder and sort of skidded along the way”, says Steve Altemus, chief executive of Intuitive Machines. Odysseus broke at least one of its six legs, causing it to slowly tip over and rest at an angle of about 30 degrees relative to the lunar surface.”

NASA, SpaceX Test Starship Lunar Lander Docking System. article. Pull quote: “This dynamic testing demonstrated that the Starship system could perform a “soft capture” while in the active docking role. When two spacecraft dock, one vehicle assumes an active “chaser” role while the other is in a passive “target” role. To perform a soft capture, the soft capture system (SCS) of the active docking system is extended while the passive system on the other spacecraft remains retracted. Latches and other mechanisms on the active docking system SCS attach to the passive system, allowing the two spacecraft to dock.”

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