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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 08:58 PM
Number of posts: 3,323

Journal Archives

UK Launches 'World First' Trial Mixing Different Covid Vaccines for First and Second Doses


LONDON — A trial is being launched in the U.K. to explore whether using different Covid-19 vaccines for the first and second doses works in a bid to make nationwide vaccination programs more flexible.

The trial, being led by the University of Oxford and run by the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium, will evaluate the feasibility of using a different vaccine for the initial "prime" vaccination to the follow-up "booster" vaccination.


"If we do show that these vaccines can be used interchangeably in the same schedule this will greatly increase the flexibility of vaccine delivery, and could provide clues as to how to increase the breadth of protection against new virus strains," Matthew Snape, chief investigator on the trial and associate professor in Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said on Thursday.

The trial, which is formally known as the "COVID-19 Heterologous Prime Boost study" but has been dubbed the "Com-Cov" study, will recruit over 800 volunteers aged 50 and above in England to evaluate the four different combinations of prime and booster vaccination.


Virginia Senate Passes Death Penalty Abolition Bill

By Sarah Rankin

The Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would abolish the death penalty, a measure that if passed into law would mark a major policy change for a state that over its centuries-long history has led the nation in the number of executions it has carried out.

The Democrat-controlled chamber approved the bill in a 21-17 vote that split along party lines and was seen as a key hurdle for the measure. Advocates now expect the House version of the bill to easily clear that chamber, and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said he supports the legislation.

Wednesday's vote followed a lengthy, emotional floor debate.

“I cannot think of anything that is more awful, unspeakable and wrong for a government to do than to use its power to execute somebody who didn’t commit the crime they’re accused of. The problem with capital punishment is that once it’s inflicted you can’t take it back, it can’t be corrected,” Democratic Sen. Scott Surovell, the bill’s sponsor, said as he introduced it.


'New Chance at Life': Man Gets Face, Hands in Rare Surgery

By Marion Renault and Marshall Ritzel
Published February 3, 2021

Almost six months after a rare face and hands transplant, Joe DiMeo is relearning how to smile, blink, pinch and squeeze.

The 22-year-old New Jersey resident had the operation last August, two years after being badly burned in a car crash.

“I knew it would be baby steps all the way,” DiMeo told The Associated Press. “You’ve got to have a lot of motivation, a lot of patience. And you’ve got to stay strong through everything.”

Experts say it appears the surgery at NYU Langone Health was a success, but warn it’ll take some time to say for sure.


Line Cooks Have the Highest Risk of Dying During Pandemic, Plus Other Riskiest Jobs: Study

By Cory Stieg, CNBC • Published February 3, 2021

A new study from the University of California, San Francisco suggests that line cooks have the highest risk of mortality during the Covid pandemic — even more than healthcare workers.

For the study, which hasn't been peer-reviewed yet, researchers analyzed California death certificates for working-age people 18 to 65, during the first seven months of the pandemic. Then they looked at how the number of deaths increased in that time frame compared to pre-pandemic times.


Line cooks had a 60% increase in mortality associated with the pandemic.

The top five occupations that had higher than a 50% mortality rate increase during the pandemic include cooks, line workers in warehouses, agricultural workers, bakers and construction laborers.


Senate confirms Buttigieg as Biden's transportation secretary

The Washington Post
John Wagner

The Senate voted 86 to 13 on Tuesday to confirm Buttigieg as Biden’s transportation secretary. The 39-year-old became the first openly gay person ever to win confirmation to a Cabinet position.

The nomination sailed through the Senate Commerce Committee last week on a 21-to-3 vote.

Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a former rival to Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, has pledged to get to work immediately on Biden’s agenda of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.

Ahead of the vote by the full Senate on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that Buttigieg “is committed to working with members from both sides to improve rail and transit, highways, and more — in rural communities, urban centers, and everywhere in between.”


The Defense Department Wants To Outfit Troops With Microwave Weapon Detectors

Dan Vergano BuzzFeed News Reporter
Feb. 2, 2021

After being dismissed for decades, microwave weapons are beginning to be viewed as a serious military threat — prompting the Defense Department to issue a request to outfit US soldiers with detectors for what it called “a growing threat on the battlefield.”

The weapons, some of which cause burning sensations, have already been considered for use on US soil. In June, a federal police officer had requested a truck-sized microwave heat ray to disperse Black Lives Matter protests. The Trump administration considered using that same device against asylum seekers in 2018.

Now, the Defense Department wants US soldiers outfitted with microwave weapon detectors. That was laid out in a Dec. 9 contract solicitation for “a low cost, low weight, small size wearable radio frequency (RF) weapon exposure detector,” specifying high-frequency microwaves, that came from the Defense Department’s Defense Health Program.

The Defense Department’s interest in detecting microwave weapons comes as Israel, China, and Russia are reportedly inventing their own versions of a microwave heat ray “Active Denial System” that the US pioneered two decades ago. The US continues to develop the technology: An Air Force Research Laboratory is rolling out a “counter-swarm electromagnetic weapon,” called THOR, to fry drones in mid-flight. A Navy microwave weapon prototype mounted on a standard gun mount was unveiled in 2018. The need to disable drones became more real with the autumn war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which the former won with fleets of drones decimating the latter’s defenses.


America spent millions on a cybersecurity system that wasn't implemented -- and might have stopped t

Pro Publica on Raw Story
February 02, 2021

As America struggles to assess the damage from the devastating SolarWinds cyberattack discovered in December, ProPublica has learned of a promising defense that could shore up the vulnerability the hackers exploited: a system the federal government funded but has never required its vendors to use.

The massive breach, which U.S. intelligence agencies say was “likely Russian in origin," penetrated the computer systems of critical federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Justice, as well as a number of Fortune 500 corporations. The hackers remained undetected, free to forage, for months.

The hackers infiltrated the systems by inserting malware into routine software updates that SolarWinds sent to customers to install on its products, which are used to monitor internal computer networks. Software updates customarily add new features, remove bugs and boost security. But in this instance, the hackers commandeered the process by slipping in malicious code, creating secret portals called “back doors" that granted them access to an untold bounty of government and company secrets.

The incursion became the latest — and, it appears, by far the worst — in a string of hacks targeting the software supply chain. Cybersecurity experts have voiced concern for years that existing defenses, which focus on attacks against individual end users, fail to spot malware planted in downloads from trusted software suppliers. Such attacks are especially worrisome because of their ability to rapidly distribute malicious computer code to tens of thousands of unwitting customers.


Amazon to pay $61.7 million to settle charges it withheld driver tips

Agence France-Presse via Raw Story
Feb. 2, 2021

Amazon has agreed to pay $61.7 million to settle charges it withheld tips from its independent delivery drivers over two and a half years, US officials said Tuesday.

The US Federal Trade Commission said the agreement settles a complaint that Amazon failed to give the full tip amounts to drivers in its Amazon Flex program.

"Rather than passing along 100 percent of customers' tips to drivers, as it had promised to do, Amazon used the money itself," said Daniel Kaufman, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

"Our action today returns to drivers the tens of millions of dollars in tips that Amazon misappropriated, and requires Amazon to get drivers' permission before changing its treatment of tips in the future."


Amazon unveils 22-story Helix building as heart of HQ2 campus in Arlington

Washington Post
By Fredrick Kunkle
Feb. 2, 2021

Amazon unveiled plans Tuesday to build a 22-story, futuristic building modeled after a double helix to serve as the centerpiece of its Arlington, Va., headquarters.

In artists’ renderings, the 350-foot-tall building — designed by the architectural firm NBBJ to reflect nature’s fondness for the helix in areas from DNA to the Milky Way galaxy — climbs above its National Landing neighborhood like the swirl on an ice cream cone or the tip of a giant screw that has punched through the Earth’s surface.

Amazon officials said the structure is intended to be an alternative workspace, not a traditional office building, where employees would be able to air out ideas and find downtime beyond their cubicles. Trees dot terraces along two walkways that spiral upward, evoking the feel of a stroll through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The streetscape below, with wood-frame retail pavilions and green space, is designed to appeal to people and keep them around when the workday ends.

Company officials said they want the corporate complex to blend with the neighborhood, offering features such as a community center, an amphitheater, a dog run, new bicycle lanes and 2.5 acres of green space that would be open to anyone. The Helix would include an artists-in-residence program and on occasional weekends would open its doors to the public.


One has to ask, will the bathrooms be decorated with anti-union messages? I suppose they can afford all this architectural excess on the backs of low-paid workers.

Doesn't this look like it was based on a poop emoticon?

Democratic campaign committee seeks to link vulnerable Republicans to QAnon

Washington Post
By John Wagner

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday announced the launch of advertisements aimed at eight House Republicans who voted against Trump’s impeachment that accuse them of siding with supporters of QAnon.

The targets of the ads, which claim the GOP lawmakers “stood with Q, not you,” include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and seven others whom the DCCC says are vulnerable in the 2022 elections.

The DCCC said that the 30-second TV ads and digital spots will play across local broadcast and cable stations in the lawmakers’ districts and that the version attacking McCarthy will also air in Washington.

QAnon represents a sprawling set of false claims that have coalesced into an extremist ideology that has radicalized its followers, some of whom participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6. Trump was impeached by the House for “incitement of insurrection.” Ten Republicans voted with Democrats for his impeachment.

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