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Profile: Oscar D. Grouch
User Name: Oscar D. Grouch
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: None Specified
Joined: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Last Visit: Friday, February 26, 2021 12:15:40 PM
Number of Posts: 1,549
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: China wants your data
Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 3:05:06 PM
China Wants Your Data — And May Already Have It
February 24, 2021 10:11 AM ET

As COVID cases began to rise a year ago, a Chinese company contacted several U.S. states and offered to set up testing labs. As a byproduct, the Chinese firm, Beijing Genomics Institute, would likely gain access to the DNA of those tested.

The offer was tempting for states struggling to set up their own testing facilities for a new virus on short notice. But U.S. national security officials urged the states to reject the offer, citing concerns about how China might use personal data collected on Americans.

"We certainly reached out to our partners and the community to make sure people were aware that the Chinese were pushing out these tests, informing them of what the risks were and really asking them not to take these tests," said Mike Orlando, the head of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, which is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"As far as I know, they all turned them down," Orlando added.

Meanwhile, Beijing Genomics Institute, a major global player in the world of genomics research, reportedly set up labs in at least 18 other countries, and provided COVID testing kits to 180 nations, including the U.S. The U.S. officials stressed that their main concern was preventing the establishment of full-service labs. The officials do not consider the testing kits to pose a serious risk.

Biotech companies in China, the U.S. and elsewhere routinely collect DNA data and use it to help guide the development of cutting-edge medicines that can benefit people worldwide. And BGI says it abides by all the laws in countries where it operates.

However, human rights groups say the Chinese government uses DNA testing for security purposes — such as identifying and tracking Uigher Muslims, the ethnic and religious minority whose members are being held in detention camps, in huge numbers, in western China.

Chinese police are also working to gather DNA samples from the country's male population — numbering roughly 700 million — to help keep tabs on the half of the population most likely to commit crimes, The New York Times reported last year.

A sweeping effort

U.S. officials add that DNA collection by Chinese companies, even when done openly and legally, should be seen as part of a comprehensive effort to vacuum up millions and millions of records on U.S. citizens. And many Chinese efforts violate U.S. law, the officials say.

"Most Americans have probably had their data compromised by the cyber intelligence units of the Chinese government and Chinese military intelligence," said April Falcon Doss who worked at the National Security Agency and wrote the book Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data And Why You Should Care.

Falcon Doss said China is collecting detailed personal information on a massive scale for multiple reasons: to boost its economy, advance its technology and to support its espionage efforts.

"China has really set as one of its strategic goals, trying to achieve dominance in artificial intelligence," she said. "What you need to feed artificial intelligence algorithms is lots and lots and lots of data."

The U.S. and China both spy aggressively on each other. In recent years, one striking feature of this rivalry is China's pursuit of personal data on Americans.

Since 2014, China's been blamed for a series of huge data thefts. They include individual records taken from the credit agency Equifax (145 million records), the hotel chain Marriott (400 million), the health insurer Anthem (78 million), and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (21 million), which stores sensitive files on government workers, including fingerprints and information on security clearances.

The Justice Department has filed charges against Chinese citizens in these and other cases, though most remain in China and beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Some of those accused are serving in the Chinese military.

China's aim

China denies responsibility for these hacks. Still, Beijing acknowledges it wants to be a world leader in gathering big data, and using artificial intelligence to sort through it.

"If you look at the cyber hacks of our credit information, our travel information, and then you layer in the DNA information, it creates an incredible targeting tool for how the Chinese could surveil us, manipulate us and extort us," said Orlando, whose office keeps watch over attempts by foreign countries to spy on the U.S.

U.S. officials, past and present, say it's difficult to tell exactly how the Chinese may be using the hacked data. But they say the possibilities are limitless.

"It gives them tremendous access into who we are," said retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who led the National Security Agency under President Barack Obama.

The files from the Office of Personnel Management would help China identify U.S. intelligence officers.

Credit information from Equifax could flag people who have money problems and might be susceptible to spying for China in exchange for financial help.

Alexander said China could cross-reference the data to send a highly personalized phishing email to a person in a key U.S. tech industry that China hopes to exploit.

"So it says in a email that China sends to a specific individual, 'You have Type 2 diabetes. Here's a new Type 2 diabetes solution. Click here,'" said Alexander, who is now the president of the private firm IronNet Cybersecurity.

After gaining access to that person's email account, hackers could look for sensitive personal or company information.

The U.S. and China signed a 2015 agreement that said neither government would seek to steal intellectual property from private companies in the other nation. But Alexander said it had only a brief and limited impact on the Chinese hacking of U.S. companies. He said the ongoing theft of American technology and data has given China a huge economic lift, and inflicted great damage on the U.S.

"The Chinese need access to intellectual property to fuel that economic engine," he said. "That theft is the greatest transfer of wealth in history."
Topic: Is the Omnipod worth it?
Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 2:03:33 AM
RoboIII wrote:
Sorry, but can you show me the right place?

I read like , but it is in Arabic. Too much confused information.

Did you try Google Translate?
Topic: The US surpasses 500,000 covid19 deaths
Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 12:49:27 AM
At 500,236 covid19 deaths, the US has exceeded the number of deaths due to the WWI, WWII and Vietnam wars combined.
Topic: Mars, again
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 6:07:33 AM
Here's an overview of the mission.

Searching for Life in NASA’s Perseverance Mars Samples
Feb 17, 2021

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will be the agency’s ninth mission to land on the Red Planet. Along with characterizing the planet’s geology and climate, and paving the way for human exploration beyond the Moon, the rover is focused on astrobiology, or the study of life throughout the universe. Perseverance is tasked with searching for telltale signs that microbial life may have lived on Mars billions of years ago. It will collect rock core samples in metal tubes, and future missions would return these samples to Earth for deeper study.

“To quote Carl Sagan,” said Gentry Lee, chief engineer for the Planetary Science Directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “‘If we see a hedgehog staring in the camera, we would know there’s current and certainly ancient life on Mars, but based on our past experiences, such an event is extremely unlikely. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the discovery that life existed elsewhere in the universe would certainly be extraordinary.’”

Mars 2020 mission scientists believe that Jezero Crater, the landing site for Perseverance, could be home to such evidence. They know that 3.5 billion years ago, Jezero was the site of a large lake, complete with its own river delta. They believe that while the water may be long gone, somewhere within the 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) crater, or perhaps along its 2,000-foot-tall (610-meter-tall) rim, biosignatures (evidence that life once existed there) could be waiting.

“We expect the best places to look for biosignatures would be in Jezero’s lakebed or in shoreline sediments that could be encrusted with carbonate minerals, which are especially good at preserving certain kinds of fossilized life on Earth,” said Ken Williford, deputy project scientist for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission at JPL. “But as we search for evidence of ancient microbes on an ancient alien world, it’s important to keep an open mind.”

NASA’s fifth rover to the fourth planet from the Sun carries a new suite of scientific instruments to build on the discoveries of NASA’s Curiosity rover, which has found that parts of Mars could have supported microbial life billions of years ago.

Any hunt for biosignatures will include the rover’s suite of cameras, especially Mastcam-Z (located on the rover’s mast), which can zoom in to inspect scientifically interesting targets. The mission’s science team can task Perseverance’s SuperCam instrument – also on the mast – to fire a laser at a promising target, generating a small plasma cloud that can be analyzed to help determine its chemical composition. If those data are intriguing enough, the team could command the rover’s robotic arm to go in for a closer look.

To do that, Perseverance will rely on one of two instruments on the turret at the end of its arm. PIXL the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) will employ its tiny but powerful X-ray beam to search for potential chemical fingerprints of past life. The SHERLOC (the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instrument has its own laser and can detect concentrations of organic molecules and minerals that have been formed in watery environments. Together, SHERLOC and PIXL will provide high-resolution maps of elements, minerals, and molecules in Martian rocks and sediments, enabling astrobiologists to assess their composition and determine the most promising cores to collect.

An enduring hope of the science team is to find a surface feature that couldn’t be attributed to anything other than ancient microbial life. One such feature could be something like a stromatolite. On Earth, stromatolites are wavy, rocky mounds formed long ago by microbial life along ancient shorelines and in other environments where metabolic energy and water were plentiful. Such a conspicuous feature would be difficult to chalk up to geologic processes.

Topic: The pandemic reigns on.
Posted: Saturday, February 20, 2021 5:07:57 AM
The US is now at 28,006,095 million confirmed covid19 cases and 495,804 deaths.

That's 32,371 deaths in 13 days. Or, about 1.73 deaths every minute.

Both the number of newly confirmed cases and deaths are finally slowing down a bit.


7 million to 8 million cases: 25 days
8 million to 9 million cases: 13 days
9 million to 10 million cases: 9 days
10 million to 11 million cases: 6 days
11 million to 12 million cases: 5 days
12 million to 13 million cases: 7 days
13 million to 14 million cases: 6 days
14 million to 15 million cases: 4 days
15 million to 16 million cases: 4 days
16 million to 17 million cases: 4 days
17 million to 18 million cases: 3 days
18 million to 19 million cases: 5 days
19 million to 20 million cases: 5 days
20 million to 21 million cases: 4 days
21 million to 22 million cases: 4 days
22 million to 23 million cases: 4 days
23 million to 24 million cases: 6 days
24 million to 25 million cases: 5 days
25 million to 26 million cases: 7 days
26 million to 27 million cases: 7 days
27 million to 28 million cases: 13 days
Topic: How vaccines help limit covid19 spread
Posted: Saturday, February 20, 2021 4:12:24 AM
How Herd Immunity Works — And What Stands In Its Way
February 18, 2021 2:19 PM ET

What will it take to finally halt the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.? To answer that question we've created a simulation of a mock disease we're calling SIMVID-19.

When you click "Run Simulation" above, you are witnessing how a disease can spread through a population and how increased levels of vaccination can stop it in its tracks.

We're chosen to simulate a fake disease since there are too many unknowns to simulate the course of COVID-19. There are common features in how any infection spreads. When enough people are immune — through vaccination or natural immunity — a population achieves herd immunity. The disease stops spreading efficiently and starts to fade away.
Topic: Words within words error
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2021 6:00:57 PM
jfullerton wrote:
"Golgi" is not accepted because it is a proper noun.

Mercedes is a proper noun for a specific type of car.

However, if I view the following entity under a microscope, then there is no other name for it.

Topic: Words within words error
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2021 5:16:31 PM
Missing word.

Given: Whereof

Missing: Whore
Topic: The pandemic reigns on.
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2021 6:35:47 AM
Last words...

Topic: Seven corona varients in US
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 2:34:59 AM
Scientists Detect Seven Coronavirus Variants In U.S. With Similar Mutation To More Infectious U.K. Type

Scientists have found seven separate but similar variants of the coronavirus that have emerged within the United States and appear share a similar genetic mutation to more contagious U.K. and South African types, raising concerns that the U.S. may have to deal with multiple variants of the virus that likely spread more easily.

Key Facts

● A preprint study released on Sunday, found that the seven variants—all of which evolved independently—have been spotted in several states.

● It is not yet clear if their mutations—which are similar to the more contagious foreign variants—make either of the seven types more contagious, but scientists suspect this is likely the case.

● One of the variants, Q677P, was first detected in the U.S. on October 23, yet it accounted for 27.8% cases in Louisiana between December 1 and January 19.

● It is, however, unclear if increased presence of the variants was due to its higher transmissibility or if it was aided by holiday travel or other superspreader events.

Crucial Quote

“There’s clearly something going on with this mutation. I think there’s a clear signature of an evolutionary benefit,” Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University and one of the study’s co-author told the New York Times.

Key Background

As the U.S. witnesses a sustained decline in Covid-19 cases, the more contagious U.K. and South African variants remain the biggest concern. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official, told the New York Times Saturday that the variants were the “big wild card” and warned if people failed to adhere to public health measures, those variants could “take off on us.” While the British variant is more contagious, the variant from South Africa appears to some extent to blunt the effectiveness of existing vaccines, according to limited, early data. Emergence of similarly threatening homegrown variants could compound the challenge, but knowledge about mutations within the U.S. remains woefully limited as the country has sequenced genomes from less than 1% of all coronavirus samples.

Big Number

1173. That is the number of detected cases with the the U.K. variant—known as B.1.1.7—across 40 states in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is most prevalent in Florida with 379 detected cases.