space claw, orbiting junk, European Space Agency, cleanup
The author writes, “The European Space Agency [yesterday] finalized a contract to launch a mission in 2025 that will be the first to capture and dispose of a piece of orbiting space junk. The ClearSpace-1 mission, built by Swiss startup ClearSpace, will home in on a piece of debris the size of a washing machine, grapple it with a four-armed claw, and escort it down to a lower orbit where the duo will enter the atmosphere and burn up.” Photo credit: Pxhere

Secret Amazon Reports Expose the Company’s Surveillance of Labor and Environmental Groups ; A Deepfake Bot Is Creating Nudes Out of Regular Photos ; and More Picks 12/2

Thanks to a Loophole, Houston Ambulance Trips Leave Door Open for High, Unexpected Bills (Reader Steve)

From the Houston Chronicle: “One night last September, just after dinner, Michael Schwab’s 1-year-old daughter suddenly started convulsing, her tiny back arching as her eyes rolled back in her head. Terrified, he and his wife called 9-1-1. Soon, an ambulance arrived at their west Houston home. … The child and her mother rode by city ambulance for the 6-mile trip to Texas Children’s Hospital in Katy for a thorough exam. Whatever she needs, Schwab told himself. He wasn’t thinking about cost when his daughter’s health was at stake. Besides, he had good health insurance through work. Then the ambulance bill arrived from the city: $1,976.92, all out-of-network from his Aetna plan. … It was no mistake. In the nation’s fourth-largest city, all city-run ambulance services are out-of-network for all insurers, leaving the door wide open for high, unexpected bills.”

Secret Amazon Reports Expose the Company’s Surveillance of Labor and Environmental Groups (Dana)

From VICE: “A trove of more than two dozen internal Amazon reports reveal in stark detail the company’s obsessive monitoring of organized labor and social and environmental movements in Europe, particularly during Amazon’s ‘peak season’ between Black Friday and Christmas. The reports, obtained by Motherboard, were written in 2019 by Amazon intelligence analysts who work for the Global Security Operations Center, the company’s security division tasked with protecting Amazon employees, vendors, and assets at Amazon facilities around the world.” 

A Deepfake Bot Is Creating Nudes Out of Regular Photos (Dana)

The author writes, “A free, easy-to-use deepfake bot found on the Telegram messenger app has victimized seemingly hundreds of thousands of women by replacing the clothed parts of their bodies in photos with nudity. More than 100,000 of these nonconsensual sexual images have been posted publicly online, but the bot has produced hundreds of thousands more that haven’t been traced.”

Climate Change Causes Landfalling Hurricanes to Stay Stronger for Longer (Mili)

The author writes, “Climate change is causing hurricanes that make landfall to take more time to weaken, reports a new study. Researchers showed that hurricanes that develop over warmer oceans carry more moisture and therefore stay stronger for longer after hitting land. This means that in the future, as the world continues to warm, hurricanes are more likely to reach communities farther inland and be more destructive.”

Cops Respond to Burglary Call, Discover Dozen Raccoons Brawling Instead (Reader Steve)

From the Mercury News: ”Two city police officers who thought they were thwarting a burglary in progress ended up face-to-face with about a dozen raccoons engaged in a raucous brawl at the corporation yard on 13th Street. True to their reputation as conniving critters, the naturally-masked procyonids promptly paraded to parts unknown, leaving one unfortunate smaller raccoon to stay and deal with the cops. A Richmond police news release said the remaining raccoon ‘advised officers it was just a family dispute’ and they let him or her go.”

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