Category Archives: News and Views

Coal-fired power is on the rise in America for the first time since 2014 | CNN

In a blow to the climate movement, US power companies are ramping up their coal consumption due to surging natural gas prices.

US coal-fired generation is expected to surge by 22% in 2021, the US Energy Information Administration said Monday. That would mark the first annual increase in coal-fired electric power generation since 2014, the EIA said.

Coal was long the main fuel source for the US power grid — even though its environmental footprint is the largest.

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CDC: ‘Avoid Travel’ Warning For 5 New Destinations Due To Covid-19 | Forbes

Well, the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Covid-19 Travel Recommendations seem to change as frequently as the Kardashians’ wardrobes. Every week there are new additions to the list of destinations considered Level 4, the highest of four Covid-19 risk levels. Destinations at Level 4 are deemed by the CDC as places that you should avoid traveling to, regardless of whether you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. This past week five new destinations ascended to Level 4: Belarus, Moldova, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Acer Was Hacked Again, Losing Personal Data of Millions | Digital Trends

Acer has just confirmed that its servers were beached by a group of hackers called Desorden. The hackers managed to steal over 60 gigabytes worth of data containing sensitive information about millions of Acer’s customers.

The compromised information includes the names, addresses, and phone numbers of several million clients, but also restricted corporate financial data.

The hack was recently reported by the hackers themselves and was later confirmed to be true by Acer. Desorden has managed to breach Acer’s servers in India and obtain massive amounts of data. The data consists of both consumer and corporate accounts. According to Desorden, the “affected customer data are in the millions.”

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Google gives security keys to 10,000 high-risk users | BBC News

Google is giving free physical USB security keys to 10,000 users at high risk of being hacked – such as politicians and human rights activists.

The USB keys provide two-factor authentication – an additional layer of security beyond a password.

Google says it wants to encourage people to join its “advanced protection programme” for high-profile users.

It follows news that the firm sent thousands of warnings to Gmail users who were targeted by hackers.

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On ten years of ‘The Vertical Farm’ | TechCrunch

Roughly two hours pass between my initial email and our first Zoom chat — on a Sunday, no less. I skip the post-gym shower and pop on a baseball cap, because I’m not sure when the opportunity will present itself again.

After more than two decades of espousing the benefits of vertical farming around the world, it seems Dickson Despommier is still every bit as eager to talk about the subject as I am. This is likely due, in no small part, to the tenth anniversary edition of The Vertical Farm, which arrived late last year. In a culture that seems almost irrevocably hung up on anniversaries, this occasion feels earned, largely due to everything that transpired in that intervening decade.

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Borrowed a School Laptop? Mind Your Open Tabs | WIRED

WHEN TENS OF millions of students suddenly had to learn remotely, schools lent laptops and tablets to those without them. But those devices typically came with monitoring software, marketed as a way to protect students and keep them on-task. Now, some privacy advocates, parents, and teachers say that software created a new digital divide, limiting what some students could do and putting them at increased risk of disciplinary action.

One day last fall, Ramsey Hootman’s son, then a fifth grader in the West Contra Costa School District in California, came to her with a problem: He was trying to write a social studies report when the tabs on his browser kept closing. Every time he tried to open a new tab to study, it disappeared.

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Premarket stocks: Electric vehicle hype is still driving car stocks | CNN

Car sales at major automakers are plunging due to a shortage of computer chips that’s forced factory shutdowns and crimped supply.

But that’s not fazing Wall Street, which remains laser-focused on investment in electric vehicles that could power future growth.

What’s happening: General Motors (GM), Chrysler-owner Stellantis and Honda (HMC) all recently said that sales fell sharply over the past three months due to supply chain disruption. The latest update from Ford (F) is due Monday.

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Energy Star won’t recommend gas appliances on ‘most efficient’ list | Fast Company

If you’re in the market for a new home appliance and you want that purchase to be as environmentally friendly as possible, you might look for options that feature a label from Energy Star, a symbol backed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy specifically to promote energy-efficient products.

Each year, Energy Star puts out a list of the Most Efficient appliances, those that the program says “save you money and protect the environment.” The list also features the “most efficient, pollution-reducing products.” Until now, that list might have included gas-powered appliances such as gas dryers, furnaces, and boilers—despite the fact that those items rely on polluting fossil fuels.

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All But 2 Major U.S. Airlines Have Announced Vaccine Mandates | Forbes

And then there were six. Last week, three major U.S. airlines said they would require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways are joining United, Hawaiian and Frontier airlines in announcing vaccine mandates for staff.

Among the major U.S. air carriers, the two holdouts — Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines — are getting pushback from unions as they mull taking similar action.

But airlines have little choice. Last month, as part of a new approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden administration ratcheted up pressure by ordering the nation’s largest employers to impose vaccine mandates. As large employers with more than 100 workers, airlines must require their workers to get the coronavirus vaccine or test their employees for the virus at least once a week. Airlines that provide services for the government as contractors have an even stricter set of rules. They must enforce the vaccine mandate by December 8 without offering a testing option.

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Amazon announces Astro the home robot | BBC News

Amazon is launching Astro, its first household robot, powered by its Alexa smart home technology.

The company said it can be remote-controlled when not at home, to check on pets, people, or home security.

It can also patrol a home automatically and send owners a notification if it detects something unusual.

Amazon said it was more than “Alexa with wheels” and had been programmed with a range of movements and expressions to give it personality.

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