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Mar 26, 2020

More than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment claims last week

Posted by in categories: business, economics, employment, government

The rescue package contains specific measures to address the spike in unemployment claims.

“It is reasonable to expect that some, perhaps many, but not all, of these jobs will come back once we venture back into public,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said. “One of the goals of the legislation now moving through Congress is to help many businesses survive and retain workers.”

“It’s beyond anything we have ever seen. It’s the speed that is so painful,” Swonk said.

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Mar 26, 2020

Jeremy Hunt proposes that the government track everyone’s phones in the UK

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, mobile phones

Jeremy Hunt proposes that the government track people’s phones in the UK during coronavirus meeting.

Mar 26, 2020

UK Plans to Roll Out 15-Minute Home Coronavirus Test Kits This Week

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health

Healthcare professionals and infectious disease experts around the world agree that extensive testing is the best way to combat coronavirus. However, the extreme shortage of COVID-19 testing kits has made that impossible. The Public Health England (PHE) just announced it was planning to begin rolling out at-home COVID-19 testing kits in the coming days. These tests could tell people if they’ve been infected with COVID-19 in as little as 15 minutes.

Current coronavirus testing is time-consuming and expensive because it requires healthcare practitioners to collect samples from the patient and have them processed in a laboratory. The test promised by the UK government would look like a pregnancy test and needs just a drop of blood to diagnose the individual.

Several companies are working on at-home COVID-19 tests, but PHE didn’t say which test it planned to deploy. According to PHE, the unnamed test takes 15 minutes to work, and it will be available at pharmacies and online via retailers like Amazon. The test will detect antibodies in the user’s blood that indicate they have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It works with both Immunoglobulin M and Immunoglobulin G (IgM and IGG) type antibodies. IgM peaks early in an infection and IgG remains even after the infection has subsided.

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Mar 24, 2020

The U.S. wants smartphone location data to fight coronavirus. Privacy advocates are worried

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, mobile phones, surveillance

The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking Facebook, Google and other tech giants to give them greater access to Americans’ smartphone location data in order to help them combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to four people at companies involved in the discussions who are not authorized to speak about them publicly.

Federal health officials say they could use anonymous, aggregated user data collected by the tech companies to map the spread of the virus — a practice known as “syndromic surveillance” — and prevent further infections. They could also use the data to see whether people were practicing “social distancing.”

Some sources stressed that the effort would be anonymized and that government would not have access to specific individuals’ locations. They noted that users would be required to opt-in to the effort.

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Mar 24, 2020

CDC says coronavirus RNA found in Princess Cruise ship cabins up to 17 days after passengers left

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, government

Coronavirus RNA survived for up to 17 days aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, living far longer on surfaces than previous research has shown, according to new data published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study examined the Japanese and U.S. government efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks on the Carnival-owned Diamond Princess ship in Japan and the Grand Princess ship in California. Passengers and crew on both ships were quarantined on board after previous guests, who didn’t have any symptoms while aboard each of the ships, tested positive for COVID-19 after landing ashore.

The RNA, the genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19, “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” the researchers wrote, adding that the finding doesn’t necessarily mean the virus spread by surface.

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Mar 23, 2020

‘Favilavir’: First Approved Drug to Possibly Treat Coronavirus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health

As the COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally, the National Medical Products Administration of China has approved the first-ever antiviral medicine called Favilavir. This medicine is said to possibly treat the now-declared pandemic illness.

Over the weekend, Taizhou’s city government announced that Favilavir, which was initially formulated by a Chinese-owned pharmaceutical firm, is the first medicine authorized to stop the widespread of this fatal illness. At present, this drug is being promoted with the label, Avigan.

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Mar 23, 2020

Final NASA Seats on Soyuz in 2020

Posted by in categories: government, space, space travel

By Bill D’Zio

Chart prepared by WestEastSpace.com of Seat cost over time for Soyuz purchased seats.
*Notes *1 In February 2017, NASA purchased from Boeing two Soyuz seats and then later three additional seats for $373.5 million or $74.7 million per seat. Boeing had the rights to sell the seats as a result of a settlement with RSC Energia—the Russian company that builds the Soyuz for Roscosmos—due to a failed partnership to develop the capability to launch rockets from an off-shore platform in the ocean.
2 2017 NASA contract for 12 additional seats
3 Due to slippage in the commercial crew schedule, in March 2018 NASA purchased two additional Soyuz seats for $86 million each, one for the September 2019 Soyuz flight and another on the upcoming April 2020 mission.
4 One Soyuz launch failed during launch requiring an abort prior to reaching orbit. Data Source: NASA Office of Inspector General analysis of Soyuz cost data provided by NASA

Soyuz creeping up in cost

NASA has been dependent on Russia for transport to and from the ISS. Over time the cost of seats on the Soyuz crew vehicle have risen.

The Roscosmos’s Soyuz vehicle has been ferrying crew to the International Space Station since November 2000. Originally Soyuz was designed to carry cosmonauts to the Moon, however was repurposed to be the main transport vehicle for Russia over the years. The Soyuz spacecraft is capable of carrying three crewmembers at a time and is certified to remain docked with the ISS for a maximum of 200 days and is launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site.

Until the NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP) is completed, Roscosmos remains the sole option for transporting astronauts to and from the ISS. At all times, at least one of the Soyuz spacecraft is docked at the International Space Station serving as an emergency lifeboat or escape pot should evacuation be needed. Typically two Soyuz capsules are docked at the ISS which allows up to six astronauts to remain on the International Space Station. The limit of six astronauts is established by the number of seats available for evacuation.

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Mar 22, 2020

Army Developing Tech to ID Terrorists in the Dark From .5 KM Away

Posted by in categories: government, military, robotics/AI, terrorism

The super-charged face scanning tech is costing the military at least $4.3 million.


The United States Army is currently building a super-charged facial recognition system — tech that could be ready for action as soon as next year.

The system, as described in a new One Zero story, analyzes infrared images of a person’s face to see if they’re a match for anyone on a government watchlist, such as a known terrorist. Not only will the finished system reportedly work in the dark, through car windshields, and even in less-than-clear weather conditions — but it’ll also be able to ID individuals from up to 500 meters away.

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Mar 22, 2020

A ‘highly pathogenic strain’ of H5N1 bird flu has been reported in China’s Hunan province

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, government, sustainability

A “highly pathogenic” strain of the H5N1 bird flu has been reported in China’s Hunan province, Chinese officials said, according to a Saturday report from Reuters.

The outbreak was reported on a farm in the city of Shaoyang in the Hunan province, according to China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Of the 7,850 chickens on the farm where the outbreak occurred, 4,500 died of the H5N1 avian flu, Reuters reported.

The Chinese government said it culled 17,828 chickens as a result of the H5N1 outbreak, per Reuters.

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Mar 22, 2020

Millions of Americans are suddenly working from home. That’s a huge security risk

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, computing, government, internet, mobile phones, security

As they increasingly log on from home, Americans are having to meld their personal technology with professional tools at unprecedented scale. For employers, the concern isn’t just about capacity, but also about workers introducing new potential vulnerabilities into their routine — whether that’s weak passwords on personal computers, poorly secured home WiFi routers, or a family member’s device passing along a computer virus.


The dramatic expansion of teleworking by US schools, businesses and government agencies in response to the coronavirus is raising fresh questions about the capacity and security of the tools many Americans use to connect to vital workplace systems and data.

At one major US agency, some officials have resorted to holding meetings on iPhone group calls because the regular conference bridges haven’t always been working, according to one federal employee. But the workaround has its limits: The group calls support only five participants at a time, the employee noted.

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