Thursday, December 1, 2022

BIG Wrap

Rats! Humans can no longer claim to be only animals that naturally bop to the beat

(University of Tokyo) Accurately moving to a musical beat was thought to be a skill innately unique to humans. However, new research shows that rats also have this ability. The optimal tempo for nodding along was found to depend on the time constant in the brain (the speed at which our brains can respond to something), which is similar across all species. This means that the ability of our auditory and motor systems to interact...

Taliban ban women from Kabul parks

(BBC News) The Taliban have banned women from visiting all parks in Kabul, excluding them further from public life in Afghanistan. A spokesman for the Vice and Virtue Ministry told the BBC that those managing parks in the capital had been told not to allow women in. The group claims Islamic laws were not being followed at parks. Women's rights and freedoms have been severely restricted since the militant Islamists seized power in August 2021. Under Taliban rules...

Is Medibank decision to not pay hackers the right choice?

(The Conversation) Medibank is refusing to pay a ransom of an undisclosed amount to cybercriminals, despite the hackers now allegedly threatening to release the stolen data on the dark web. It is reported the data of about 9.7 million current and former Medibank customers were compromised in a breach first confirmed by Medibank on Oct. 13. The data are said to include customers’ names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses – as well as some 500,000 health claims with...

Lottery ticket bought for $2 in California now worth $2 billion

(BBC News) A winning ticket in the state of California has matched every number in the record U.S. Powerball jackpot of $2.04 billion, according to Powerball. If the winner opts for a cash payout, they will take home $997.6 million in one lump sum before taxes. Another winner who purchased a ticket in Florida won a prize of $2 million. Twenty-two other tickets won $1 million each. In a statement on Tuesday, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) –...

U.S. confirms communication with Kremlin

(BBC News) U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has confirmed communication channels between Washington and Moscow remain open despite the war in Ukraine. Speaking in New York, Sullivan said it was "in the interests" of the U.S. to maintain contact with the Kremlin. But he insisted officials were "clear-eyed about who we are dealing with." It comes as the White House refuses to deny reports that Sullivan has been leading talks with Russia to prevent a nuclear...

Don’t pull the plug – research indicates COVID patients can recover after long periods of unconsciousness

COVID-19 patients placed on ventilators can take a long time to regain consciousness. New research from Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital is illustrating that these delays may serve a purpose; protecting the brain from oxygen deprivation. The existence of such a brain-preserving state could explain why some patients wake up days or even weeks after they stop receiving ventilation, and it suggests that physicians should take these lengthy recovery times into...

Uganda extends lockdowns amid Ebola outbreak

(Medical Xpress) Uganda on Saturday extended a three-week lockdown on two districts at the centre of an Ebola outbreak that has claimed more than 50 lives, curbing travel and closing public places. Since the outbreak was declared in the central district of Mubende on Sept. 20, the disease has spread across the East African nation, including the capital Kampala. Fifty-one deaths have been reported as of Saturday, according to Ugandan authorities. The strain circulating in Uganda is...

Powerball pot hits $1.9 billion

(BBC News) The U.S. Powerball jackpot has risen to $1.9 billion after there was no winning ticket for Saturday's world-record prize. The lottery game has had no winner in more than three months after 39 consecutive drawings. The odds of winning the jackpot in Monday's draw are one in 292.2 million, according to Powerball. The previous world-record jackpot was set in 2016, when $1.59 billion was split between three Powerball players. While no one claimed Saturday's winning prize, there...

Musk defends deep cuts to company’s workforce

(BBC News) Twitter's new owner Elon Musk says he had "no choice" but to slash the company's workforce as the firm is losing more than $4 million a day. Half of the company's staff are being let go, a week after Musk bought Twitter in a $44-billion deal. Twitter staff have been using the platform to talk about their dismissal. There are concerns Twitter could water down content moderation, but Musk said the firm's policies remain "absolutely...

Alcohol deaths in U.S. rose sharply in first year of pandemic

(Medical Xpress) The rate of deaths that can be attributed directly to alcohol rose nearly 30% in the U.S. during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new government data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already said the overall number of such deaths rose in 2020 and 2021. Two reports from the CDC this week provided further details on which groups have the highest death rates and which states are...