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Wicked Blue

Wicked Blue's Journal
Wicked Blue's Journal
May 28, 2021

Microsoft says SolarWinds hackers have struck again at the US and other countries

By Jill Disis and Zahid Mahmood, CNN Business
Updated 11:27 AM ET, Fri May 28, 2021

Hong Kong/London (CNN Business) -- The hackers behind one of the worst data breaches ever to hit the US government have launched a new global cyberattack on more than 150 government agencies, think tanks and other organizations, according to Microsoft.

The group, which Microsoft calls "Nobelium," targeted 3,000 email accounts at various organizations this week — most of which were in the United States, the company said in a blog post Thursday.

It believes the hackers are part of the same Russian group behind last year's devastating attack on SolarWinds — a software vendor — that targeted at least nine US federal agencies and 100 companies.

Cybersecurity has been a major focus for the US government following the revelations that hackers had put malicious code into a tool published by SolarWinds. A ransomware attack that shut down one of America's most important pieces of energy infrastructure — the Colonial Pipeline — earlier this month has only heightened the sense of alarm. That attack was carried out by a criminal group originating in Russia, according to the FBI.


May 26, 2021

Partly cloudy with a chance of cicada pee

Washington Post
Capital Weather Gang
By Kevin Ambrose
May 25, 2021 at 12:33 p.m. EDT

Cicadas pee a lot, particularly during warm days. And when thousands of cicadas are perched overhead on tree branches, their pee falls to the ground like a gentle rain shower.

Their pee is like watery tree sap, so it’s wise to wear a hat when walking in the woods this month. But it’s harmless, just like the cicadas that squirt it out.

“It feels like when a rain just starts, and you get a small drop or two and say, ‘Is it starting to rain?’” Paula Shrewsbury, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, wrote in an email. "Instead, now you say, ‘Is that cicada pee?’ So little specks of wet, and it never gets any stronger than that.”


"As adults, cicadas are active on the hottest days because they can tap into the dilute, watery xylem fluid of deciduous trees,” wrote Daniel Gruner, who also teaches in U-Md.’s entomology department. “Evaporation of moisture cools their bodies by as much as five to 10 degrees, just as humans sweat and dogs pant, but an excess of fluids forces them to pee liberally.”


At least they pee liberally, not conservatively.

May 26, 2021

Jeff Bezos will step down as Amazon CEO on July 5

Source: CNN

New York -- Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will officially step down from his role as chief executive on July 5, he announced during the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.

Bezos will hand the reins to Andy Jassy, who currently runs Amazon Web Services, after a nearly three-decade run leading the internet giant that made him one of the richest people in the world. Bezos will become Amazon's executive chair.

The company first announced the leadership change as part of its February earnings report, saying Jassy would take over during the fiscal third quarter. Amazon (AMZN) had not previously shared the precise date of the transition.

The timing is "sentimental," Bezos said — July 5 is the date Amazon was incorporated in 1994.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/26/tech/jeff-bezos-andy-jassy-amazon-ceo/index.html

May 26, 2021

Court orders Shell to slash CO2 emissions in landmark climate ruling

Source: CNN

London -- A Dutch court has ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must dramatically reduce its carbon emissions in a landmark climate decision that could have far reaching consequences for oil companies.

The company must slash its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels, according to a judgment from a district court in The Hague on Wednesday. That includes emissions from its own operations and from the energy products it sells.

This is the first time that a court has ruled a company needs to reduce its emissions in line with global climate goals, according to Friends of the Earth Netherlands, an environmental campaigning group that brought the case against Shell (RDSA).

The verdict could pave the way for similar cases to be brought in other countries, holding oil companies liable for greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/26/business/shell-court-case-climate-change/index.html

May 25, 2021

D.C. attorney general brings antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

Source: Washington Post

May 25, 2021 at 11:51 a.m. EDT

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine on Tuesday brought an antitrust complaint against Amazon, alleging that the e-commerce giant wields monopoly power that has resulted in higher prices for consumers.

Racine’s office accused the company of fixing prices through contract provisions with third-party sellers who peddle their products on its platform. The attorney general said that Amazon prevents sellers from offering their products at lower prices or on better terms on any other online platforms, including their own websites, and that that prohibition results in “artificially high” prices across e-commerce sales.

(Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

“Amazon has used its dominant position in the online retail market to win at all costs,” Racine (D) said in a statement. “It maximizes its profits at the expense of third-party sellers and consumers, while harming competition, stifling innovation, and illegally tilting the playing field in its favor.”

The suit follows years of Washington antitrust scrutiny of Amazon and comes as consumer advocates have called on the Biden administration to bring federal antitrust charges against the company. Biden recently nominated one of the company’s key critics, Lina Khan, to the Federal Trade Commission.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/05/25/dc-ag-antitrust/

May 5, 2021

Brood Q is about to emerge!

After 7 months of hiding, dozens of Brood Q lunatics are preparing to burrow out of their dusty basements, molt, and start yammering.

The crazycadas, as they are sometimes known, clatter loudly and ceaselessly, day and night, about the dangers of masks, vaccines and common sense. They clack their insectoid lips and shriek about pedophile pizza and other baseless conspiracy theories. Their hideous carapaces clutter lawns and sidewalks.

They extol the superhuman glory of their deranged leader, who himself has been forced to burrow deep into the Florida sand to avoid the hazards of lawsuits and indictments.

His brood awaits the mythical day when the former guy digs his way out to lead his babblers into higher decibels and spheres of delusion.

Little do they know that a handful of rolled up subpoenas wielded by savvy prosecutors will swat them into oblivion.

April 23, 2021

Florida Woman Survives Being Hit By Flying Turtle

Huffington Post
04/22/2021 11:33 am ET

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It’s not unusual for rocks and other debris to crash through a windshield and injure a driver or passenger — but a turtle?

A 71-year-old woman riding with her daughter on Florida’s Interstate 95 suffered a gashed forehead Wednesday when a turtle smashed through the windshield of their car, striking her, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

The daughter pulled over and got help from another motorist. According to a 911 recording, both were surprised by what they found.

“There is a turtle in there,” the man can be overheard saying.


Turtle was apparently unharmed.

April 16, 2021

Scientists create 'whitest paint ever' to help reduce reliance on air conditioning

Liam James

Scientists have developed what they claim is the whitest ever paint as a way to tackle global warming by reducing the need for air conditioning.

Engineers at Purdue University say said it reflects up to 98.1 per cent of sunlight – up from 95.5 per cent on their last attempt from six months ago – and can cool surfaces by as much as 19F or 10.5C.

Ordinary white paints that are designed to reject heat reflect only 80-90 per cent of sunlight and cannot make surfaces cooler than their surroundings, according to researchers.


The paint is so white due to a high concentration of barium sulphate, which is used to make photo paper and cosmetics white.


I am really excited about the possibilities for this paint. More than a decade ago I wrote articles about using white roofs to cool buildings for a small magazine about energy solutions.

When we replaced our roof several years ago, we opted for a type of shingle that was the most reflective we could find at the time. We also had the roofers install a ridge vent and soffit vents. Before doing this, our ceilings were hot to touch during the summer. Now they no longer get hot, which likely reduces our cooling bill.

With the addition of solar panels. our electric bill in summer is usually $8.50, which PEPCO lists as a "customer charge," whatever that is. Now and then they also send us a small check for supplying them with the excess power from our solar panels.

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