Tuesday, November 09, 2021

An Unsolved Mystery: Why Do More Men Die of Covid-19?

Germany is Making Playgrounds Riskier So Children Will Grow Up “Risk Competent.”

Businessinsider: A Chinese Spy Was Convicted On US Soil For Trying To Steal Trade Secrets From American Aviation Companies

An Unsolved Mystery: Why Do More Men Die of Covid-19? New York Times 

The Federal Court system is corrupt The Cavalier Daily. A student newspaper steps in to fill the mainstream void

It's no secret that app data can reach investigators without much oversight, but you might be surprised at just who is buying that data. The Intercept and advocacy group Tech Inquiry have learned that the US Treasury Department recently bought sensitive app data from Babel Street, the same firm that handed info to the Secret Service and other agencies. The department spent over $300,000 on two contracts in the past four months to collect data for the sake of investigations.

One contract, made official in July 2021, gave Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) investigators access to mobile app location data from Babel Street's Locate X tool. The info will help OFAC target people and enforce international sanctions, according to the contract. As you might expect, there's a concern the office is effectively circumventing Fourth Amendment search restrictions. The data is technically anonymous, but it's relatively easy for an investigator to link data to individuals.

The Treasury Department is buying sensitive app data for investigations 

CNET - How science is helping unearth an 80-year-old Holocaust mystery – “Out of the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto, remnants of resistance emerge, thanks to advanced geoscientific tools and a team determined to keep the horrors of history from fading…The excavation — organized by Poland’s Warsaw Ghetto Museum and led by its research specialist Jacek Konik — is part of a broader effort to fill gaps in Holocaust history using geoscientific tools. These include ground-penetrating radar; GPS systems; magnetometers, which study variations in Earth’s geomagnetic field; and electrical resistivity tomography, a technique typically used for engineering and environmental investigations that images subsurface structures down as far as 660 feet (200 meters). Geoscience allows for what’s called “non-invasive archaeology.”  “Archaeology is the most destructive science on Earth,” says Richard Freund, an archaeologist and professor of Jewish studies at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. “What’s good about the geoscience is you don’t destroy anything before you stick a spade in the earth. It’s not very labor intensive and, most importantly, it’s not very expensive.” Because these advanced tools identify and map historical sites without disturbing human remains, they also enable searches that honor the view held by some that digging up Holocaust graves disrespects the victims.  “It’s a game changer for Holocaust studies,” says Freund. He heads a multidisciplinary geo-archaeological research group aimed at unearthing lost Holocaust history to preserve the past and to protect the future from similar depravity. The group includes Geoscientists Without Borders, a program of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists that applies geoscience to humanitarian efforts…”

Three years after Hayne, the robber barons are back in charge

In banking scandals, Crown casino and half a dozen other such disasters, the cover-up begins with government, now skilled at evading accountability. 

China accidentally sparks ‘doomsday prepper’ frenzy after telling residents to stockpile food.

British Medical Journal: “Researcher Blows the Whistle on Data Integrity Issues in Pfizer’s Vaccine Trial”

A new BMJ article raises serious questions about how Pfizer ran its Covid-19 clinical trial.

12 photos of stunning weather events Royal Meteorological Society

Reader service note: The Financial Times is having a freebie day, so you might as well have a gander…after Links, of course!

The Dawn Chorus is getting QUIETER due to climate change: Intensity of bird song has reduced across North America and Europe over the last 25 years as warming temperatures have shifted the distribution of species, study finds Daily Mail 

How to get rid of lots of used books

“This year, as the world opened back up, we had less time to sit around savoring books. We raced through stacks even faster than usual and approached our list in a cutthroat manner brandishing a simple question: Would we give this book as a gift? If the answer was “No,” it was tossed into the donation pile for our local library. Books that were fine or pretty good also did not make the cut. However, we tried to pick for every literary palate, not just ours. We gravitate towards weird, dark, and complicated but we also included smarter beach reads, as well as Goldilocks stories (not too heavy or light, just right). At any rate, we constantly update this list throughout the year and welcome your suggestions. And, if you want real-time updates on the books we’re currently reading, please follow us on Insta @thewhathq where we post our favorite things in every category, speaking of which …”

  1. Gender is complicated and attributed on various bases; for example, in most of Germany “butter” is usually feminine, but not everywhere. Why? — Wolfgang de Melo (Oxford) on how languages gender nouns, and related issues
  2. Should we kill one and redistribute his organs to five others who could be saved with them? No? What if the one is a pig? — a look at the ethics of transplanting pig kidneys, at Vox (with philosophers weighing in)
  3. “There’s a difference between ghost stories that are accurate and ones that are real” — Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin (Sam Houston State Univ.) on how we can “believe some ghost stories without believing in ghosts.”
  4. “Causal reasoning should be understood in ‘functional’ terms — that is in terms of the role that it plays in human life and the human goals and purposes that it serves” — James Woodward (Pittsburgh) discusses “Causation with a Human Face” with others at a Brains symposium
  5. “The misgivings that philosophers had about quantum mechanics, it turned out, weren’t entirely irrelevant after all. If physicists hadn’t been so dismissive of philosophy, they might have seen that sooner” — Sabine Hossenfelder (Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies) on stagnation and progress in physics
  6. “Unravelling his turgid prose turns out to be worth the effort, affording us glimpses of how things ‘hang together’ that others miss” — William deVries (New Hampshire) on the “renaissance in Hegel appreciation” (via Preston Stovall)
  7. Was Descartes “skull-blasted”? — details on the controversy over where Descartes’ skull is, and how many pieces it is in