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mbusby

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Member since: Sat Nov 5, 2016, 09:11 PM
Number of posts: 628

Journal Archives

Antibiotics set to flood Florida's troubled orange orchards...

Nature | Maryn McKenna

In the next month or so, orange trees across Florida will erupt in white blossoms, signalling the start of another citrus season. But this year, something different will be blowing in the winds. Farmers are preparing to spray their trees with hundreds of thousands of kilograms of two common antibiotics to combat citrus greening, a bacterial disease that has been killing Florida citrus trees for more than a decade.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of allowing growers to use streptomycin and oxytetracycline as routine treatments, spraying trees several times per year, beginning with the ‘first flush’ of leaves this spring. Growers in the state could end up using as much as 440,000 kilograms of the drugs. Although the compounds, which are both used in human medicine, have been sprayed on other crops in the past and applied in limited amounts to citrus groves, the scale of this application has researchers and public-health advocates alarmed.

“They are doing a huge experiment with limited monitoring,” says Steven Roach, a senior analyst in Iowa City at Keep Antibiotics Working, a coalition of research and advocacy groups that has formally objected to the plan with the EPA.

More: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00878-4

Proposal for U.N. to study climate-cooling technologies rejected

Reuters
Laurie Goering
MARCH 14, 2019

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A push to launch a high-level study of potentially risky technological fixes to curb climate change was abandoned on Thursday at a U.N. environmental conference in Nairobi, as countries including the United States raised objections.

“From our perspective, that’s a huge disappointment,” said Franz Xaver Perrez, environmental ambassador for Switzerland, which had proposed the U.N. assessment with the backing of 11 other governments.

“Some of these technologies could have huge impacts at a global scale - and if things have that dimension, there may also be a need for multilateral controls,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview from Kenya.

“Geoengineering” technologies, which are gaining prominence as international efforts to curb climate-changing emissions fall short, aim to pull carbon out of the atmosphere or block some of the sun’s warmth to cool the Earth.

They could help fend off some of the worst impacts of runaway climate change, including worsening storms and heatwaves, backers say.

More: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-climatechange-geoengineer/proposal-for-un-to-study-climate-cooling-technologies-rejected-idUSKCN1QV2RL

DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System

Source: MOTHERBOARD | By Kim Zetter | Mar 14 2019

For years security professionals and election integrity activists have been pushing voting machine vendors to build more secure and verifiable election systems, so voters and candidates can be assured election outcomes haven’t been manipulated.

Now they might finally get this thanks to a new $10 million contract the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched to design and build a secure voting system that it hopes will be impervious to hacking.

The first-of-its-kind system will be designed by an Oregon-based firm called Galois, a longtime government contractor with experience in designing secure and verifiable systems. The system will use fully open source voting software, instead of the closed, proprietary software currently used in the vast majority of voting machines, which no one outside of voting machine testing labs can examine. More importantly, it will be built on secure open source hardware, made from special secure designs and techniques developed over the last year as part of a special program at DARPA. The voting system will also be designed to create fully verifiable and transparent results so that voters don’t have to blindly trust that the machines and election officials delivered correct results.


Read more: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/yw84q7/darpa-is-building-a-dollar10-million-open-source-secure-voting-system
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