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Accidents at New Jersey's Oyster Creek power plant have spurred calls for stricter oversight of the burgeoning nuclear decommissioning industry. Joseph Delmar, a spokesman for Holtec, defended the company's record, saying it takes safety and security seriously. The recent incidents “are not reflective of the organization's culture,'' he said, adding that the worker who knocked down the power line “did not follow the proper safety protocols.'' Delmar said the company has decades of experience building equipment to store nuclear waste and employs veteran plant workers to dismantle reactor sites. “While the decommissioning organization may seem new, the professionals staffing the company are experienced nuclear professionals with intimate knowledge of the plants they work at,'' Delmar said in an emailed statement. Accelerated decommissioning Founded and wholly owned by Kris Singh, an inventor and entrepreneur, Holtec says it is pioneering a new model of accelerated decommissioning. At the 24 U.S. reactors currently undergoing decommissioning, over half are expected to take two decades or more to complete the process, NRC data shows; Holtec pledges to return nuclear sites to safe, clean usable land in as few as eight years. Singh did not respond to requests for comment, and Holtec did not make him available for an interview. [...] “I went from a staff of six to a staff of two, all having extra responsibilities, doubling our workload and learning new criteria of the positions,' the manager said in the letter, which was posted on the NRC's website. In a settlement with the NRC announced this year, Holtec agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty, hire a new corporate security director and conduct external security assessments. [...] In 2017, Holtec opened the doors of a stately new manufacturing center in Camden, N.J., that showcases Singh's accomplishments. Employees arriving at the main office building on the Krishna P. Singh Technology Campus walk by a parking space reserved for the CEO's chauffeured Rolls-Royce and into an atrium where more than 100 patents bearing Singh's name are on display. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/05/13/holtec-oyster-creek-nuclear-plant-cleanup/ [In "only" eight years? PGN]
https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/crypto-is-dead When Britain voted for Brexit, Macron boasted that Paris would eat the City of London's lunch. It didn't quite work out that way, with most league tables continuing to put London as the number one or two financial centre, with not a single EU city in the top ten. Emmanuel Macron's government has now announced that it has invited Binance, a crypto-currency exchange site, to set up a European HQ in Paris. You have to ask: has Macron leaped onto a bandwagon that has already started to lose its wheels? [...] [The rest of this duplicates Yaffe-Bellany et al. in RISKS-33.20. PGN]
State and local officials across Nevada signed agreements with Northshore Clinical Labs, a COVID testing laboratory run by men with local political connections. There was only one problem: Its tests didn't work. https://www.propublica.org/article/covid-testing-nevada-false-negatives-northshore
Today's Earthweek diary of the planet in today's *San Francisco Chronicle": * Warming threshold: 50% chance the world will exceed the 1.5-degree Celsius goal by 2026 (UN weather agency). A harbinger? * Record swarms: Namibia's worst brown locust invasion in history, while still recovering from a 6-year drought ending in 2019. Fodder for livestock is rapidly vanishing. * Huge South Asia heat: Falling birds dehydrated and exhausted in Gujarat. * Eruption repercussions: The cataclysmic eruption of Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano brought hurricane-force winds and unusual electric currents to the ionosphere. Satellites detected giant plumes of gases, water vapor, and dust. * Collateral damage: Beyond casualties and destruction in Ukraine, Turkish marine-life experts say the war is causing a sharp rise in dolphin deaths along the Black Sea coast, due to underwater noise pollution from 20 Russian navy vessels, driving dolphins ashore or into fish nets. Bulgaria has similar reports.
Ferris Jabr, *The New York Times* Magazine, 15 May 2022, via ACM TechNews, 16 May 2022 Paralyzed since 2006, Dennis DeGray has regained a semblance of control over his body via a brain-computer interface (BCI) developed by Stanford University researchers. Implanted in him in 2016, the BCI enables DeGray to move a cursor on a computer screen by thought, using machine learning algorithms that associate different neural activity patterns with different intended hand movements. DeGray has learned to control various technologies with his mind, including videogames, robotic limbs, and a simulated aerial drone. BCI advancements to date have relied on a combination of invasive and noninvasive technologies. Thomas Oxley at BCI developer Synchron believes future models will help physically disabled people re-engage with physical and digital environments. https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click?ref=znwrbbrs9_6-2ea22x233cdcx071866& [This is really seminal work, and opens up many opportunities. There are many potential risks—security, reliability, denials of service attacks, and more. However, for some reason it reminded me of a book I read in 1978 when it first appeared, which might seem timely now: Ingo Swann, Star Fire: The War To End All Wars Has Begun -- Rock superstar-composer Dan Merriweather is the world's first true megapsychic. And when he discovers the true extent of his extraordinary powers, and his out-of-body voyages reveal the existence of top-secret U.S. and Russian installations for the development of psychic weapons more frightening than any nuclear or bacteriological hardware, he evolves an astounding plan to transform the world. [...] Note: Ingo was a subject for the SRI team on psychic experiments back then. PGN]
via ACM TechNews, 16 May 2022 Lily Hay Newman, *Ars Technica*, 14 May 2022 Researchers at Belgium's Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Radboud University in the Netherlands, and Switzerland's University of Lausanne analyzed the top 100,000 websites and found a significant number record some or all of visitors' typewritten data. The researchers estimated 1,844 sites gathered a European Union user's email address without consent, while 2,950 logged a U.S. user's email. Many sites incorporate third-party marketing and analytics services that perform data-logging. After crawling sites for password leaks last May, the researchers found 52 sites in which third parties, including Russian technology company Yandex, were incidentally collecting password data prior to submission. https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click?ref=znwrbbrs9_6-2ea22x233ce3x071866&
The Internet was delighted over the weekend when British history professor Matthew McCormack made a hilarious discovery during his morning bike ride: a six-wheeled delivery robot, driving by its lonesome self along a forested path, in a rather adorable reminder of the helplessness of increasingly ubiquitous autonomous machines. <https://futurism.com/the-byte/delivery-robot-lost-woods>
Better now than later. An interesting problem. There have been many well-documented cases of scoring systems encapsulating pre-existing biases and gaps in understanding. Twenty years ago, I spoke about the limitations of many analyses in "Les Approximations Dangereaux: The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Other Dangerous Approximations" at e_Protectit 2002. (http://www.rlgsc.com/e-protectit/sorcerers.html) A more extensive treatment is contained in Cathy O'Neil's 2016 book, "Weapons of Math Destruction". Also relevant is Lawrence Lessig's 2000 book "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace". Employment screening is no different than any other analysis. "Set", in essence, seeing what one wants is a long-known danger in the Intelligence, engineering, and other communities. Screening systems, whether for employment, creditworthiness (e.g., red-lining), parole (see O'Neil), or other uses, are no different. The EEOC release is at: https://www.eeoc.gov/newsroom/us-eeoc-and-us-department-justice-warn-against-disability-discrimination
Russian troops in the occupied city of Melitopol have stolen all the equipment from a farm equipment dealership - and shipped it to Chechnya, according to a Ukrainian businessman in the area. But after a journey of more than 700 miles, the thieves were unable to use any of the equipment—because it had been locked remotely. https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/01/europe/russia-farm-vehicles-ukraine-disabled-melitopol-intl/
In this clip by CNN, an Ukrainian drone operator describes how Russian troops were able to track the Ukrainians' off-the-shelf Chinese-made drones, trying to destroy their operators. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b166ecyNBCw&t=156s In this situation, it's all incidental, as both sides are just using whatever they can get; none of this was planned by the Chinese manufacturers -- yet. But military systems everywhere contain thousands of electronic components; I doubt their operators can even guess where every chip came from.
https://techcrunch.com/2022/03/29/flytrex-expands-drone-delivery-into-texas/ Will this "fly" with New York? What could go wrong?
https://www.wired.com/story/texas-social-media-moderation-ban/ Eventually he realized that if he wrote a version of Bitcoin that had a Turing-complete programming language, the network could deliver every imaginable digital service, right out of the box. It didn't even have to stop at financial applications. You could replicate Facebook, reassemble the stock market, or even build completely digital corporations and run them beyond the jurisdiction of any government entity. Once placed on a blockchain, they would exist in an environment where software, data, and financial assets interact without friction. https://www.wired.com/2016/06/the-uncanny-mind-that-built-ethereum
Identity theft and sophisticated criminal schemes siphoned billions from pandemic unemployment benefits while government officials were unprepared to deploy relief aid. https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2022/05/15/unemployment-pandemic-fr= aud-identity-theft/
Have you ever felt like recommendations on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube are dragging you down an unwanted rabbit hole? We the users need algorithm transparency and control. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/05/12/instagram-algorithm/
Hasn't anyone considered that once flying cars/taxis are practical and popularized, the traffic jams will simply migrate from the roads to the air? You're not going to be able to just breeze through the sky when everyone else has the same notion and capability.
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