U.S. lawmakers seek to bar states from mandating encryption weaknesses | Reuters


The ENCRYPT Act, sponsored by Democratic Representative Ted Lieu and Republican Blake Farenthold, would prevent any state or locality from mandating that a “manufacturer, developer, seller, or provider” design or alter the security of a product so it can be decrypted or surveilled by authorities, according to bill text viewed by Reuters.

The legislation is in response to proposals in recent months in New York and California that would require companies to be able to decrypt their smartphones manufactured after 2017, Lieu said.

Source: U.S. lawmakers seek to bar states from mandating encryption weaknesses | Reuters

What I’ve learned so far from living in a Mars simulation


Not only is the light-time delay an effective filter, it is also a critical part of the psychological construct that keeps us, and everyone back on Earth, behaving as though the six of us really are on Mars.

Simulating the time gap created by millions of miles of space allows researchers to study how communication works, or doesn’t, when every message between the crew and mission control takes 40 minutes for a response.

Think about how a delay like that affects the classic space-movie scenario: ‘Houston, we have a problem, and … we’ll hear back from you about it in three-quarters of an hour.’

Source: What I’ve learned so far from living in a Mars simul…

The year 2040 is looking very scary for the world’s richest countries | Quartz


Heart disease, cancer, and strokes continue to be leading causes of death for Americans. In 1999, one of those three caused 64% of deaths among those 65 and over.

By 2014, however, that percentage fell to 53%.

Meanwhile, degenerative diseases that impair cognition, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, have been on the rise. That’s the flip side of people living longer.

Source: The year 2040 is looking very scary for the world’s richest countries – Quartz

The CMV virus causes microcephaly in babies, and it’s much wider spread than Zika | Quartz


“The psychology of humans is to be reactive rather than proactive,” Gail Demmler-Harrison, an infectious-disease expert who researches the virus at Texas Children’s Hospital tells Quartz.

“If there’s an outbreak such as with Zika or Ebola, people react and there’s a lot of interest.”

Source: The CMV virus causes microcephaly in babies, and it’s much wider spread than Zika – Quartz

Drones 101: What You Need to Know | Nextgov.com


Users can only fly under 400 feet and must keep their drones at least 5 miles away from airports. Flying in National Parks is also banned …

Source: Drones 101: What You Need to Know – Nextgov.com

Renovating Spaces and Preserving Places with Lasers


While 3-D scanning is not a new technology, it has matured to the point where it’s both practical and accurate.

Today, it’s used not only to design upgraded building interiors, but also by law enforcement officials for documenting crime scenes, by real-estate agents for presenting virtual walkthroughs of houses, and by archaeologists to preserve discoveries.

The accompanying two-minute video shows how 3-D scanning was used to help transform an old storage building into a stylish modern space.

Source: Renovating Spaces and Preserving Places with Lasers

“The business model of Wall Street is fraud?” Kind of | FT Alphaville


Governments can stop crises by using the state’s resources to help bankers pay their bills, and governments with their own currencies can prevent acute crises by promising in advance to guarantee the nominal value of all money-like debts before anything bad happens.

Thus we have deposit insurance and central banks that act as “lenders of last resort.

The problem is that these measures effectively give lenders a free option to take excessive risk — a subsidy transferring wealth from the rest of us to a select few.

As if that weren’t bad enough, obscuring market signals leads to worse investment decisions and slower long-run growth.

Source: “The business model of Wall Street is fraud”? Kind of | FT Alphaville

Quarterly profits at India’s biggest bank have fallen by a jaw-dropping 62% | Quartz


Interestingly, The Indian Express newspaper on Feb. 09 reported that state-owned banks have written off bad loans worth Rs1.14 lakh crore between 2013 and 2015 fiscal years, and 40% of these loans were waived by SBI.

Source: Quarterly profits at India’s biggest bank have fallen by a jaw-dropping 62% – Quartz

North Korea to cut hotlines with South amid Kaesong shutdown | BBC News


It seems odd but the hotlines between North and South Korea get disconnected precisely when they’re most needed.

When the two halves of the peninsula get along, if not amicably then without actually snarling at each other, the links are quiet and unnecessary.

Source: North Korea to cut hotlines with South amid Kaesong shutdown – BBC News

Related>

Tempers flare at IRS hearing | TheHill


When Connolly was done speaking, Chaffetz said it was beneath Connolly to “suggest, and try to assign motivation to our attempt here to get at the truth.”

“Name one thing that I said in my opening statement that’s not true. Name it. You don’t have anything,” Chaffetz said.

“You don’t have anything, Mr. Chairman,” Connolly replied.

“Yes I do,” Chaffetz said, before describing questions he had for the IRS officials testifying at the hearing.

Source: Tempers flare at IRS hearing | TheHill