cybersecurity, ID theft, unemployment benefits, phishing texts
The author writes, “Unemployment benefits have been a lifeline for many Americans laid off during the pandemic. Unfortunately, con artists have been busy pillaging these funds — often with the help of workers’ own computers and cell phones. Americans have lost $63 billion nationwide of unemployment funds during the pandemic to improper payments and fraud — mostly the latter — according to February 2021 data from a watchdog for the US Department of Labor.” Photo credit: Jernej Furman / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Progressive Policies Moderates Hate Provide the Cost Savings Moderates Claim to Want ; The Hidden Fingerprint Inside Your Photos ; and More Picks 4/5

The Progressive Policies Moderates Hate Provide the Cost Savings Moderates Claim to Want (DonkeyHotey)

From the American Prospect: “Much like the American Rescue Plan, the fate of Biden’s Build Back Better package will in some measure come down to moderate Democrats, who have made it clear that they want to be placated yet again. So far, their objection has taken a peculiar form. Moderates in both the House and the Senate have requested assurances that the bill will come equipped with ‘pay-fors’ in equal or near-equal measure. This will mostly take the form of tax increases on the rich and corporations; the corporate-side tax hikes were announced [Wednesday].”

The Hidden Fingerprint Inside Your Photos (Dana)

The author writes, “When you take a photo, your smartphone or digital camera stores ‘metadata’ within the image file. This automatically and parasitically burrows itself into every photo you take. It is data about data, providing identifying information such as when and where an image was captured, and what type of camera was used. It is not impossible to expunge metadata, using freely available tools such as ExifTool. But many people don’t even realise the data is there, let alone how it might be used, so they don’t bother to do anything about it before they post images online. … This lack of awareness has proven useful for police investigators, to help them place unwitting criminals at a scene. But it also poses a privacy problem for law-abiding citizens if the authorities can track their activities through images on their camera and social media.”

Cells Form Into ‘Xenobots’ on Their Own (Doug)

From Quanta Magazine: “Early last year, the biologist Michael Levin and his colleagues offered a glimpse of how versatile living matter can be. Levin … brought together nascent skin and muscle cells from a frog embryo and shaped the multicelled assemblies by hand. This sculpting process was guided by an algorithm … which searched for simulated arrangements of the two cell types capable of organized movement. One design, for example, had two twitching leglike stumps on the bottom for pushing itself along. The researchers let the cell clusters assemble in the right proportions and then used micro-manipulation tools to move or eliminate cells — essentially poking and carving them into shapes like those recommended by the algorithm. The resulting cell clusters showed the predicted ability to move over a surface in a nonrandom way. The team dubbed these structures xenobots.”

Changes in Ocean Chemistry Show How Sea Level Affects Global Carbon Cycle (Mili)

The author writes, “A new analysis of strontium isotopes in marine sediments has enabled scientists to reconstruct fluctuations in ocean chemistry related to changing climate conditions over the past 35 million years. The results provide new insights into the inner workings of the global carbon cycle and, in particular, the processes by which carbon is removed from the environment through the deposition of carbonates.”

Grey Wolf’s Trip Enters Monterey County as Experts Watch (Reader Steve)

From the Mercury News: “Alone and far from home, OR-93 appears to be looking for love in all the wrong places. The journey of a 2-year-old male gray wolf from rural Oregon has turned from wondrous to worrisome, with authorities reporting late last week that he has arrived in Monterey County, land of Esalen hot tubs, the manicured Pebble Beach Golf Course and more than 400,000 wolf-wary humans. For now, California Department of Fish and Wildlife has decided not to meddle by moving him to an area more suitable for his single status. … Fitted with a collar that transmits his location, the animal has traveled farther in the state than any known wolf in a century.”

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