Chinese propose to build a dam with a distributed 3D printer
A study recently published by a team of researchers at Beijing’s Tsinghua University has revealed plans to construct a 594-foot-tall dam using robots, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence. The researchers claim that no human labor needs to be directly employed in building this massive structure—if the plan moves forward, the dam would produce 5 billion kWh of electricity annually. This much energy will be enough to meet the power demands of 50 million homes in China.
The Yangqu dam is on the second largest river in China, the Yellow River, where it flows through Qinghai Province on the Tibetan plateau. There is already a dam on the river, so the proposal involves enlarging the existing structure and increasing its power generation capacity, making it one of the world’s largest dams. If everything goes as planned, the Yangqua dam will become the biggest ever AI-made 3D-printed structure on the planet.3D printing without a printer
Construction-scale 3D-printing technology involves the use of giant 3D printers to produce concrete layers that form the structure. In contrast, the researchers at Tsinghua University have developed a method that allows them to 3D-print concrete without a printer. They plan on using an additive manufacturing approach that employs a computerized scheduling system that takes the 3D structure into account. It will use AI-controlled robots instead of a large 3D printer to construct the upgrade to the Yangqu dam.
FTC Sues ‘Massive’ Data Broker for Selling Location Info on Abortion Clinics
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued Kochava, a large location data provider, for allegedly selling data that the FTC says can track people at reproductive health clinics and places of worship, according to an announcement from the agency.
The news is a dramatic move from the FTC in a post-Roe United States, and signals that the agency will take steps against what it identifies as privacy violations around reproductive health and location data.
“Defendant’s violations are in connection with acquiring consumers’ precise geolocation data and selling the data in a format that allows entities to track the consumers’ movements to and from sensitive locations, including, among others, locations associated with medical care, reproductive health, religious worship, mental health temporary shelters, such as shelters for the homeless, domestic violence survivors, or other at risk populations, and addiction recovery,” the lawsuit reads.
Do you know any other companies selling data regarding abortion clinics? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In its announcement, the FTC says its lawsuit is seeking to stop Kochava’s sale of sensitive location data and “require the company to delete the sensitive geolocation information it has collected.”
“Where consumers seek out health care, receive counseling, or celebrate their faith is private information that shouldn’t be sold to the highest bidder,” Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement published with the announcement. “The FTC is taking Kochava to court to protect people’s privacy and halt the sale of their sensitive geolocation information.”
As for why the FTC may have targeted Kochava specifically, Zach Edwards, a researcher who has closely followed the data trade, told Motherboard in an online chat “they are huge. Massive. And have more data broker partners than almost anyone in my opinion.”
On its website, Kochava says it delivers “better insights and actionable data in one operational platform.” Kochava sells a spread of products and capabilities based on different datasets, including letting clients gauge the effectiveness of televised adverts.
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In its lawsuit, the FTC includes a screenshot of Kochava data available for sale via Amazon Web Services data marketplace. That data includes the unique Mobile Advertising ID (MAID) linked to a device—either an IDFA for Apple devices or an ADID for Android—as well as that device’s precise GPS coordinates for a particular point in time. The lawsuit explains Kochava’s process for requesting a sample of the data and it seems very straightforward.
“A purchaser could use an ordinary personal email address and describe the intended use simply as ‘business.’ The request would then be sent to Kochava for approval. Kochava has approved such requests in as little as 24 hours,” the lawsuit says. One day of the sample data included over 327,480,00 rows and 11 columns data regarding over 61 million unique devices, and the sample included precise location data gathered in the seven days prior to the request being approved, the lawsuit adds.
With this data, the FTC says that by taking that data and plotting it with mapping programs “it is possible to identify which consumers’ mobile devices visited reproductive health clinics.”
As Motherboard has reported, armed with a MAID third parties can unmask phone users, by turning to certain companies that provide deanonymization services at scale. These companies offer personal information that they have linked to a specific MAID. Even without that service, it can be possible to identify people based on just the location data itself, such as seeing where a device is usually overnight and determining that is where the person sleeps.
The FTC alleges just that. “In fact, in just the data Kochava made available in the Kochava Data Sample, it is possible to identify a mobile device that visited a women’s reproductive health clinic and trace that mobile device to a single family residence. The data set also reveals that the same mobile device was at a particular location at least three evenings in the same week, suggesting the mobile device user’s routine. “The data may also be used to identify medical professionals who perform, or assist in the performance, of abortion services,” the lawsuit adds.
Kochava, in a way, knew this lawsuit was coming. Earlier this month, Kochava filed its own lawsuit against the FTC after reviewing a copy of the FTC’s proposed complaint. At the time of that lawsuit, Kochava defended its data collection practices in a statement to Ars Technica. “Kochava operates consistently and proactively in compliance with all rules and laws, including those specific to privacy. Nonetheless, Kochava has been threatened by the FTC with a lawsuit and a proposed settlement, the merits upon which are not accurate. This is a manipulative attempt by the FTC to give the appearance that it is protecting consumer privacy despite being based on completely false pretenses,” the statement read. After receiving the FTC complaint, Kochava announced a feature called “Privacy Block” which it says “removes health services location data from the Kochava Collective marketplace,” Ars Technica added.
Kochava did not immediately respond to Motherboard’s request for comment on Monday regarding the FTC filing its lawsuit. The FTC did not respond to a request for comment either.
Motherboard has reported on multiple companies selling location data products related to abortion clinic visits. In May, Motherboard found SafeGraph was selling location data of people who visited abortion clinics for as little as $160. Motherboard then found another firm called Placer.ai provided heat maps of where abortion clinic visitors live. Both companies removed the data for sale after Motherboard’s findings.
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Zuckerberg avoids Cambridge Analytica deposition as Facebook agrees to settle
It’s been four years since users alleging harm caused by the Cambridge Analytica scandal sued Facebook (now Meta) for selling tons of easily identifying personal information to third parties, allegedly doing so even when users thought they had denied consent. In 2018, plaintiffs alleged in a consolidated complaint that Facebook acted in “astonishingly reckless” ways and did “almost nothing” to protect users from the potential harms of this “intentionally” obscured massive data market. The company, they said, put 87 million users at “a substantial and imminent risk of identity theft, fraud, stalking, scams, unwanted texts, emails, and even hacking.” And users’ only option to avoid these risks was to set everything on Facebook to private—so even friends wouldn’t see their activity.
Because of Facebook’s allegedly deceptive practices, plaintiffs said that “Facebook users suffered concrete injury in ways that transcend a normal data breach injury.” Plaintiffs had gotten so far in court defending these claims that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was scheduled to take the stand for six hours this September, along with lengthy depositions scheduled for former Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and current Meta Chief Growth Officer Javier Olivan. However, it looks like none of those depositions will be happening now.
On Friday, a joint motion was filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It confirmed that the plaintiffs and Facebook had reached a settlement agreement that seems to have finally ended the class action lawsuit that Meta had previously said it hoped would be over by March 2023.
‘Girls Who Code’ Team Up With Tomahawk Missile Maker Raytheon
Defense contractor Raytheon and tech nonprofit Girls Who Code are teaming up to launch a “pilot leadership academy for STEM college students.” According to a Raytheon press release, the program is specifically for “STEM students who will soon enter the workforce.”
Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization that aims to close the gender gap in tech. It has various clubs and programs that seek to foster a love of STEM and tech in women. It has clubs for kids as young as eight, runs summer programs and gives out grants for highschoolers, and runs career counseling and development programs for college aged participants.
Raytheon is a defense contractor that manufactures weapons of war.
The partnership program is an initiative for teaching college aged girls how to code. It includes programs to strengthen leadership, technical, and professional skills as well as networking opportunities. In a press release announcing the partnership, Raytheon hailed it as a win for diversity.
“The Leadership Academy aims to provide students from historically underrepresented groups with increased exposure to tech careers by empowering them with a supportive community of peers and professional development opportunities,” the press release said. “Students in the Leadership Academy come from more than 80 colleges across the U.S. and about 90% identify as Black, Latina, Indigenous, or first-generation college students.”
Girls Who Code will also help Raytheon with its charitable giving initiatives.
“This four-month pilot program will include small cohort meetings—designed to provide opportunities for shared learning, career mentoring, and community-building—as well as a Give Back Project,” the press release said. “Participants will receive guidance from peers and Raytheon Technologies mentors as they plan, manage, and execute community service projects. Volunteers from the company will also participate in speed networking events and technical interview prep sessions with the students.”
Raytheon is most famous not for philanthropy, but for missiles. It manufactures the BGM-109 Tomahawk, the long range cruise missile Trump ordered fired at chemical weapons facilities in Syria in 2018. They cost around $2 million each. Raytheon also makes the Javelin weapon system that has become crucial to Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Girls Who Code has partnered with Raytheon since 2018 and the organization lists the manufacturer as a “partner” on its website that donates more than $1 million to it in 2021.
The press release did not say if the Girls Who Code would be working on weapons systems and the organization did not return Motherboard’s request for comment. But the press release did offer some insights.
"At Girls Who Code, we understand that to prepare our students for the workforce; we must not only equip them with the resources they need to build on their technical skills. To help them thrive, we also need hands-on engagement that will teach them the fundamentals of growing their networks through leadership," Tarika Barrett, CEO of Girls Who Code said in the release. "We're overjoyed to partner closely with Raytheon Technologies on this pilot program and are excited by the opportunity to continue to provide students with the tools and confidence they need to make a difference."
Raytheon did not return Motherboard’s request for comment.
Apple Watch “Pro” rumored to have new bands, price close to $1,000
Numerous Apple-watching outfits have reported that the company is working on a rugged, fitness-minded "Apple Watch Pro," to be announced at its September 7 event. The device could be even more of an upgrade than some expect, as the latest rumor has the wider, more square-shaped "Pro" watch requiring all-new bands.
Weibo user "Uncle Pan," who has shared accurate information before on AirPods and MagSafe cases, posted Monday from Guangdong that an Apple Watch with a 47 or 48 mm screen will be offered this year. The new band will be wider, indicating a likely square design, Uncle Pan wrote. The user embedded an image from Twitter account Apple Hub, which offered a quirky rendering of the rumored Pro design and cited a price "close to $1,000."
According to Mac Otakara, the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 “Pro” will feature a larger 47mm size and a flat display. This model is expected to start at a higher price close to $1000 pic.twitter.com/9MmBhkewFA— Apple Hub (@theapplehub) August 28, 2022
Uncle Pan's post conflicts with Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who reported in late July that while the Pro watch will be larger than existing Apple Watch models, it will not be squared or feature flat sides.
Review: Netflix’s exquisite The Sandman is the stuff dreams are made of
Like many nerds of a certain age, I have long adored Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novel series; it was an enormous influence on my younger self. So I was thrilled to hear of Netflix's planned adaptation when it was announced in 2019—but I also experienced some trepidation given the past misguided efforts to bring the story to the screen. That trepidation was unwarranted because The Sandman is a triumph. It's everything I had hoped to see in an adaption, and it has been well worth the wait.
(Warning: Some spoilers for the original graphic novels and the Netflix series below.)
The titular "sandman" is Dream, but he is also called Morpheus, among other names. He is one of seven entities known as the Endless. (The other Endless are Destiny, Destruction, Despair, Desire, Delirium, and Death.) Gaiman's 75-issue revival of the DC character is an odd mix of mythology, fantasy, horror, and history, rife with literary references and a fair bit of dark humor. There really is nothing quite like it, and the series proved to be hugely popular and enduring. One standalone story, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (The Sandman No. 19) even won the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction, the only time a comic has been so honored.
LG makes a TV roughly the size of a queen-sized bed
LG Electronics released a TV it is claiming is “the world’s largest” OLED.…
Honda is the latest automaker looking to build a US battery factory
North American lithium-ion battery production is set to soar over the next decade. The Biden administration and Congress have both put policies in place to incentivize domestic manufacturing over imports, and startups, battery companies, and automakers are responding. Honda and LG Energy Solutions are the most recent to make moves; on Monday morning, the companies announced that they are forming a $4.4 billion joint venture to build a US battery factory.
"Our joint venture with Honda, which has significant brand reputation, is yet another milestone in our mid- to long-term strategy of promoting electrification in the fast-growing North American market," said Youngsoo Kwon, CEO of LG Energy Solution. "Since our ultimate goal is to earn our valued customers' trust and respect, we aspire to position ourselves as a leading battery innovator, working with Honda in achieving its core initiatives for electrification, as well as providing sustainable energy solutions to discerning end consumers."
In May, the Department of Energy announced $3 billion in funding to boost domestic battery production. Much of that battery production will be destined for electric vehicles, particularly since President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law this month. The law ties an EV's tax credit to where its battery pack was made—if an ever-increasing proportion of the pack is not domestic, there is no credit.
Heat waves + air pollution can be a deadly combination
On the morning news, you see the weather forecast is for high heat, and there is an “excessive heat watch” for later in the week. You were hoping the weather would cool down, but yet another heat wave is threatening human health and increasing the chance of wildfires. On top of these warm days and nights, air quality data has been showing unhealthy levels of pollution.
Sound familiar? This scenario is increasingly the new normal in many parts of the world.
High heat and air pollution are each problematic for human health, particularly for vulnerable populations such as older adults. But what happens when they hit at the same time?
Desperate People Are Turning to Illegal Online Pharmacies for Birth Control
Almost every one of Shaylan’s friends has a child. She’s 25 and lives in rural Eastern Kentucky, where 47 percent of all pregnancies are described as unplanned, according to Power to Decide. Her county is a “contraceptive desert,” meaning it lacks the full spectrum of contraceptive methods and doesn’t meet the needs of women eligible for publicly funded care.
“Growing up in Harlan, I lived 45 minutes from the nearest OB-GYN and the nearest hospital. So if I didn’t get a ride from my mom, I wouldn’t have been able to get on birth control. I would say the biggest challenge for me was distance,” she told VICE News. Shaylan wanted to go on the patch, but the doctor on staff refused to prescribe this method for her, so despite her preference, she was forced to travel another 45 minutes to be seen elsewhere.
Shaylan says that if a clinic existed in her community, many young women in her county would have more options. Instead, they have kids.
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade may have dangerous implications for Americans seeking access to birth control and contraceptives beyond what anyone imagined. More than 19 million women in the United States live in contraceptive deserts, and while it’s too early to tell because preliminary data hasn’t been released, many experts fear that access to contraceptives is likely to worsen. In addition, some state legislatures have already sought to ban access to intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the morning-after pill, arguing that these drugs are abortifacients—substances that can stop the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
As a result, vulnerable communities are increasingly turning to the approximately 35,000 online pharmacies, of which about 96 percent operate illegally, according to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies. At these pharmacies, no matter where you live, counterfeit drugs, including birth control and contraceptives, are always in stock.
When people talk about counterfeit birth control and contraceptives sold on rogue websites, they’re talking about medications or devices that do not work. Deliberately intended to look like other medications, these drugs (both branded and generic formulations) are often intentionally packaged to pass as the real thing but may contain completely different active ingredients or simply don’t contain enough active ingredients to work. In other instances, they could have contaminants or be repackaged expired products, says Dr. Michael C. White, of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy.
The primary function of birth control pills is to prevent ovulation, the biological process in which the ovary releases a mature egg. The most common tablets contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone, to mimic what the body already does with these hormones when it stops ovulation. These pills also thicken the cervix’s mucus, preventing sperm from joining with an egg. IUDs, on the other hand, are “a form of continuous birth control,” explains Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a board-certified OB-GYN and Verywell Health’s chief medical officer. The copper form of the IUD prevents fertilization by making the endometrial cavity uninhabitable for sperm. Once implanted, IUDs have the greatest efficacy of any contraception method since the possibility of user error is all but eliminated.
Emergency contraception works entirely differently from the Pill: The hormones in Plan B prevent or delay ovulation from occurring, so there’s no egg to meet the sperm, explains Shepherd. To work, the pills must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. None of these methods of contraception is an abortifacient, but they’ve still become targets for anti-abortion advocates, who believe these medications can destroy a fertilized egg, despite what the science says.
Because access to birth control is already at risk, illicit drug manufacturers from all corners of the globe will fill the gap by creating counterfeit versions of these medications.
Online pharmacies have become a cornerstone of the modern age; since 1998, they’ve seen explosive growth as consumers shift to buying their medications via the internet. Keeping pace with their legal counterparts, illicit drug manufacturers have grown more emboldened over the years, advertising their services on social media and websites outside the jurisdictions of the United States, making it difficult if not impossible for government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to keep up. Between 2016 and 2021, 64.6 percent of the unique actions (including cease-and-desist letters, written agreements, removal, and prohibitive orders) the FDA took involved counterfeit medications sold online, and 84.6 percent of those enforcement activities revealed that counterfeit medicines could be obtained without a prescription, according to a study published this year in Annals of Pharmacotherapy.
Dr. White, who authored the study, says the problem is the FDA’s lack of funding and resources, which he describes as “wholly insufficient for being able to protect… consumers from counterfeit medications.” White says he initially believed the FDA wasn’t doing enough, but once he dug deeper, he found that the federal agency was simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fake websites, covert advertisements on social media, and even ads embedded into photos online (a representative for the FDA declined a request for an interview). In addition, White points out that the FDA’s other responsibilities include monitoring all food, medical devices, dietary drugs, and over-the-counter medications, implying it’s too much for one government agency. “With the FDA, one of its big issues is resources. So they’re supposed to be keeping all medical devices, all food, all prescription drugs, dietary supplements, and over-the-counter products safe, you know,” he says.
The combined impact of U.S. policy and lack of access to reproductive health has many people worried about their ability to get birth control and emergency contraceptives. Preliminary data collected following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in late June found twice the number of questions about birth control on the organization’s sexual health advice chatbot, according to Diana N. Contreras, M.D., MPH, chief healthcare officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Those unable to access family planning services may be pushed toward purchasing birth control and emergency contraception online. However, since only about 5 percent of all online pharmacies comply with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards, the vast majority are operating illegally, according to the FDA. While it’s difficult to determine exactly how many consumers have purchased drugs from illicit sources online, a 2016 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that 8 percent of respondents in the U.S. had purchased medications outside of the country. Based on the Census population estimates for that year, the KFF estimated that this data translated to 19 million adults in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated demand for online pharmacy use further, with a 17 percent increase reported in 2021 over the previous year, according to Clarivate, so it’s safe to say supply and demand for these drugs on the black market are booming.
These illegal pharmacies sell deeply discounted drugs, an appealing alternative for uninsured customers who may be priced out of purchasing the medication or may not have access to a healthcare provider who can write them a prescription. According to Planned Parenthood, emergency contraception can cost anywhere from $10 to $50, while the annual out-of-pocket cost for birth control pills is $240 to $600, and up to $1,000 for intrauterine devices, according to the National Women’s Health Network. In addition to convenience, buying medications online ensures consumers maintain their privacy since many illegal pharmacies accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, and savvier internet users can use their VPNs (although, while online purchase methods made with crypto may provide the ability to perform these actions under a false name, they’re not genuinely anonymous, according to a new study).
Getting found out, however, will depend on the state and federal response to purchasing a non-controlled substance without a prescription. Controlled substances are divided into five classifications and are organized by the likelihood of developing a “physical and mental dependence,” according to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. While purchasing a controlled substance online without a valid prescription “may be punishable with imprisonment under Federal Law,” the purchase of non-controlled substances is less scrutinized. For example, a 2015 report issued by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service listed only Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington as states where the dispense of non-controlled substances is tracked as part of Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plans mandated by state-specific rules.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion that the 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the right to contraceptives for married couples (and paved the way for Eistenstadt v. Baird, which extended the right to use contraceptives by unmarried people), should be “reconsidered” now that Roe v. Wade has been struck down has many people fearful of what’s next. Given the precarious legal status of contraceptives and birth control, consumers worried about states criminalizing their purchases in the not-so-distant future will inevitably turn to rogue pharmacies. But those pharmacies are “often run by criminal networks that knowingly and unlawfully sell potentially unsafe, ineffective, or counterfeit drugs to consumers in the United States,” according to BeSafeRX, the FDA’s national campaign to educate consumers and healthcare professionals about the dangers of buying medications from online pharmacies.
Rachel*, a 40-year-old resident of Seattle, who prefers not to use her real name for fear of legal repercussions, turned to an illegal online pharmacy in the Republic of Vanuatu to purchase her birth control after losing her insurance and discovering how convenient the entire process was online.
“I didn’t have to worry about finding a doctor, [or] paying for the doctor, getting childcare for my kid while I’m at the doctor, finding a pharmacy, or any of the hassle of all that. It was just so much easier not to have to deal with that,” she says. Rachel says she can’t be sure what she’s receiving is reputable but that she was referred to the website by a midwife she trusts. Rachel says she’s shared the website with friends and isn’t opposed to letting others know how well the process has worked for her, despite the potential risks involved.
Rachel says she enjoys the newfound sense of freedom she’s gained since shopping for her birth control this way, explaining that she used to get her medications with a prescription from her doctor. Online, she says she pays a fraction of what the medication costs her for the same generic medication she’s received before, but the brand name differs.
She acknowledged that she’s never had any of the medications she’s received tested or inspected by a medical professional to determine how safe they are, leaving that up to her own intuition. “I think it’s just trust,” she said. Rachel says she draws the line at purchasing medications to treat serious medical conditions like cancer or a seizure disorder from illegal internet pharmacies, but she believes purchasing other prescription medications this way is acceptable.
“I think if people have a way to try it, they certainly could. And should. I think it depends on what people can access. If you have insurance and a great doctor, well, no problem there. You wouldn’t need it,” she says.
“But for someone without insurance or who doesn’t have access to a doctor or pharmacy, it’s super easy. So I think that would be a very easy way for people to get the medication they need.”
Could the U.S. be headed down the same path as some Latin American countries, like Brazil and Peru? In a 2014 study, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered nearly a quarter of contraceptive pills in Peru were substandard. In that case, cultural factors in the predominantly Catholic country were cited as one of the reasons the government was slow to adopt birth control, coupled with less-than-stringent protocols to monitor the drug supply chain, which allowed counterfeit medications onto pharmacy shelves throughout the country. Today, lack of access is one of many factors contributing to women not receiving adequate sexual healthcare in Latin America.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Sully, senior research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, 18 million women in low and middle-income Latin American countries have an unmet need for modern contraception (i.e., birth control and emergency contraceptives). This isn’t only a question of access; it’s also a result of concerns about side effects. Researchers suggest diversifying the available contraceptive methods to improve the likelihood of contraceptive use.
While the circumstances are different, changing U.S. public policy and the surrounding social stigma around contraception could create similar opportunities for drug counterfeiters here. Moreover, having access to limited contraceptive options may not be enough. The data from Latin America reveals that many consumers may forgo contraceptives altogether due to factual or anecdotal evidence about possible side effects of one particular method. These same concerns could also drive some people to purchase drugs or devices they are comfortable with from other illicit online sources with dubious manufacturing and safety protocols.
“Some people are going to get a lot more side effects…and other people will get hardly any benefit at all,” says Dr. White.
A representative from the FDA told VICE News that “ensuring the quality of prescription drugs and safeguarding the integrity of pharmaceutical distribution are crucial roles the FDA plays in protecting the health of the American public. The FDA continues its ongoing review, surveillance, and compliance efforts across every product area and will continue to work with members of the drug supply chain… Illegitimate and unsafe products must be kept out of the U.S. drug supply chain.”
The sobering reality is that millions of Americans currently buy counterfeit medications from fake online pharmacies, including counterfeit birth control and emergency contraceptives. Current state abortion legislation, in addition to reduced inventory for emergency contraception due to recent surging sales, could push illicit drug manufacturers to create a new supply of fake birth control and contraceptives to meet demand, White says. Therefore, more considerable efforts must be made to find and prosecute counterfeiters in cooperation with international governments in places like China, India, and Russia (where many fake drugs are produced). In addition, more extensive outreach efforts are needed to educate U.S. consumers on the dangers of taking counterfeit drugs.
Purchasing birth control and contraceptives online from legitimate pharmacies is generally safe and convenient for consumers. However, until access to these medications increases in every state and federal protection for access to contraceptives is ensured, consumers like Rachel and many others will continue to find what they’re looking for elsewhere. As a result, some consumers may purchase legitimate products, but many more will face the consequences of ingesting counterfeit medications.
Despite the risks, Rachel says if faced with the same predicament, she would continue buying her birth control from the illegal online pharmacy she used in the past—even if she received health insurance coverage again.
“I probably still would just because it’s so easy. It’s one click at this point. It’s way too easy to change course and try to get a doctor and childcare,” she says. But she doesn’t anticipate buying birth control anymore–-because her husband is getting a vasectomy.
Lindsey Graham Threatens ‘Riots in the Streets’ if Trump Is Indicted
Leave it to Sen. Lindsey Graham to offer his trademark calm, rational perspective on the potential indictment of former President Donald Trump.
An affidavit unsealed in federal court Friday said the FBI retrieved more than 100 documents labeled “secret” or “top secret” when the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month. But according to Graham, the real crime would be if Trump were ever to, you know, face consequences for keeping those highly sensitive documents at his infamously unsecured residence.
“If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information…there’ll be riots in the streets,” Graham said in a Sunday appearance on Fox News.
“Most Republicans, including me, believe when it comes to Trump, there is no law. It’s all about getting him,” Graham told former-Rep.-turned-Fox-News-host Trey Gowdy Sunday. “There is a double standard when it comes to Trump.”
Trump, who was impeached by the House shortly before leaving office for inciting an insurrection, is separately under investigation for attempting to persuade Georgia officials to add votes to give him enough to win the state in 2020—a probe in which Graham himself has been subpoenaed to testify (he’s fighting the subpoena, hard).
Trump shared the video of Graham on his Truth Social account with no additional commentary.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, said Monday in response to Graham’s prediction that “top republicans would rather torch America in violent riots than lose an election or face any accountability for their crimes.”
In the weeks since the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, federal law enforcement agencies say there’s been a spike in threats against FBI agents, and the federal magistrate judge who signed the warrant, Bruce Reinhart, has been doxxed and threatened.
Reinhart’s synagogue even canceled a Shabbat service due to the threats the judge had received.
Trump, meanwhile, has continued to simultaneously deny and downplay the allegation that he effectively stole critical government documents for his own personal collection.
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NASA scrubs today's Space Launch System rocket launch
NASA's Space Launch System remained rooted to the pad this morning at the Kennedy Space Center on the US East Coast after its launch was scrubbed by controllers.…
The Secret to Hot Girl Hair (Without Showering) Is Oat Milk Dry Shampoo
We live among you, silently contemplating how stringy our bangs look while having a full conversation with you about your work drama. We dream of going more than a day between shampoos, but that’s just not in the cards for us slick scalperonis. I’m talking, of course, about my greaseball hive; rise up!
It took me until my 20s to come to terms with the fact that I was just born with super fine hair. Fine hair has less surface area and volume than average hair, so it can’t absorb as much of the scalp's natural oils, and therefore looks dirtier faster. Fine air has its perks too, like being incredibly soft, and never having to endure the absolute medieval torture my thick-haired friends performed on their hair via Y2K-era BaByliss pro straighteners. But mostly, it’s just put me on a constant hunt for products that will let me go longer in between washes. So let my painful, (nearly) lifelong struggle to find the best dry shampoo to be your gift today.
I’ve tried the no-poo method, natural products, yada yada, you name it. If it promises to give you a few extra hours of glorious dry and shiny looking hair, I've already purchased it. But after trying a wide slew of affordable options, I can authoritatively declare that the holy grail of all oil-absorbing powders is Klorane’s Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk.
Why is the secret ingredient to fresh-washed hair in a can also the hot alt milk of the moment? Truth be told, I have no idea what oat milk has to do with making my hair less greasy. But look, I’m not going to question it, because it fucking works, OK? It works like a dream. I use Klorane’s dry shampoo exactly as the brand instructs—by shaking it as hard as my tiny arms will physically allow, spraying my head in an even white frost, and letting it sink in to my roots for a couple minutes (the longer the better) before brushing it out with my brush, and then using my fingers to zhuzh and restyle.
I currently have the non-aerosol version in my arsenal, because I am trying to be more conscious about my impact on the planet, but as a bonus, it lasts 100 times longer than the aerosol. That being said, if I had to choose which version does the job better, it’s hands down the aerosol version—you just don't get the same distribution with loose powders. But regardless, both formulas have the same magic powers, and when given the time, both function flawlessly—this stuff really soaks up grease without giving that chalky, hair-product residue feeling.
If you really want to trick your dinner date into thinking you went full spa before meeting up, my expert tip is to apply your dry shampoo, seal it all in with a shower cap, and let it do the work while you take a quick and efficient body shower, saving you 20 to 30 minutes minimum. Get out, shake your head upside down, and you’re ready to take on the day…
Or maybe one day the WORLD [muahahaha]. Oat milk… who knew?
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is available at Amazon, Ulta, and Dermstore.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.
Copper Thieves Are Cutting Electric Car Charging Cables and Stealing Them
Wire thieves appear to have identified a new target: electric vehicle chargers.
The Reno, Nevada area appears to be getting hit particularly hard, according to a report by the local ABC affiliate KOLO. Three local charging stations were robbed recently, including one at a hotel and another at a mall.
EV charging cables are thick and heavily insulated for safety reasons, but they can be cut with the proper tools. Thieves then either take the entire cable with them or strip them of the copper on site.
“They took the copper out of it,” Josee, an employee at the Reno Aiden hotel who did not feel comfortable giving her last name, told Motherboard. “They actually cut it while it was charging somebody’s car.”
Copper prices surged during the pandemic which incentivized wire theft, although the problem is hardly new or unique to pandemic times. A 2013 CNBC article said copper theft at the time was “like an epidemic.”
The Reno Police Department did not respond to Motherboard’s inquiry for more information on the charging cable theft issue.
This is not the first time thieves have made off with charging tables. In February, every cable was cut and stolen from a brand new Tesla Supercharger station in Oakhurst, California, on the edge of Yosemite National Park.
Josee said they’re hoping to get the cables fixed within a few weeks because it is an important amenity for the hotel, although it may take longer.
You Can Now Play Doom in the Tamagotchi-Like Hacking Device
Earlier this month, a security researcher discovered that he could kill that creepy robot dog that can carry a submachine gun strapped on its back with just a small Tamagotchi-like hacking device.
The device is called Flipper Zero, and it’s made to send and receive wireless signals for different technologies like RFID, Bluetooth, and NFC. The device’s creators say the Flipper Zero “loves hacking digital stuff, such as radio protocols, access control systems, hardware and more.”
And, of course, someone has now found a way to play Doom on it.
“As tradition goes, Doom is being ported to almost every possible embedded electronic device. Therefore I did an attempt to come up with something close to Doom and still compatible on the Flipper Zero's hardware,” the developer who was able to run Doom on the Flipper Zero, who goes by Xoreo, wrote on their Github project page.
Indeed, there is a long tradition of putting Zoom on pretty much everything: thermostats, McDonald’s registers, IKEA lamps, an early 2000s digital camera, billboard trucks, an old Nokia phone, and a Zune, among others.
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“We all knew this was going to happen,” the people behind Flipper Zero’s official Twitter account wrote, referring to Xoreo’s project.
Given the Flipper Zero’s screen limitations, this is not the original Doom, but a port made by another developer for the Arduino Nano. Still, it sorta looks like Doom and you can still have some fun shooting monsters.
It’s the perfect way to fill your downtime while you go look for the next killer robot dog to disable.
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The Bizarre Mystery of the Only Armed Nuke America Ever Lost
In the early days of the Cold War, the United States wanted to make sure it could launch a retaliatory strike against the Soviet Union as quickly as possible if it launched a nuclear strike. The goal was 15 minutes. This was before the advent of submarines that launch ballistic missiles and intercontinental ballistic missile silos. From 1960 until 1968, America maintained that 15 minute ability to pepper the globe with nukes by putting pilots on 24 hour alert. For more than a decade, hundreds of U.S. pilots criss-crossed the planet in planes loaded with nuclear bombs. To keep up with brutal hours many of the pilots and crew took amphetamine.
America lost a lot of nukes in that ten year period. Some of them are still missing. At least one is armed.
As noted in Task & Purpose, the U.S. military had 32 nuclear accidents during the Cold War and six of the weapons are still unaccounted for. Every story of a Broken Arrow—the military term for a missing nuke—is harrowing, but what happened off the coast of Japan in 1965 was especially frightening.
On December 5, 1965, U.S. Navy Lt. Douglas Webster was supposed take an A-4E Skyhawk loaded with a nuclear bomb into the sky. On the U.S.S. Ticonderoga aircraft carrier, stationed in the Philippine Sea about 70 miles from Okinawa, Japan, the crew loaded the weapon onto the vehicle and Webster got into the cockpit. The crew then pushed the plane to an elevator that would bring it up to the flight deck.
The plan was for Webster to fly around, then land back on the aircraft carrier where the crew would unload the weapon. Webster never made it into the air. The Skyhawk rolled out of the elevator and the crew began to frantically wave at Webster, calling on him to hit the breaks. “According to testimony during the post-incident Board of Inquiry investigation, the pilot seemed oblivious to the whistles and was looking down,” Chief Petty Officer Delbert Mitchell, who was on the crew that loaded the bomb onto the Skyhawk, told the U.S. Naval Institute in 2019.
Navy crew desperately tried to stop the Skyhawk, but they only managed to pivot it in place as it rolled inevitably to the side of the carrier. It hit the netting on the side of the elevator, broke through it, and fell into the ocean. The nuke was armed. “We never saw Lieutenant Webster after he climbed into the cockpit or knew what efforts he might have attempted to get out of the Skyhawk, but we were stunned to witness a plane, pilot, and nuclear weapon fall into the ocean,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell and the rest of the ship looked into the ocean and watched as the Skyhawk sank into the ocean, its landing gear sticking straight up into the air. Efforts to save Webster and recover the nuclear bomb started immediately. The Navy called in other ships to aid with the search but discovered no sign of the missing nuke or plane—they only ever found Webster’s helmet.
The Navy then proceeded to not talk about the incident for decades. It reported the incident to Congress a year later when the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy was studying the shocking number of Broken Arrows, but the general public wouldn’t learn that America had lost an active nuke off the coast of Japan until 1989.
Japan was and is a U.S. ally, and it needed places like Okinawa to stage troops for the Vietnam war. The country—for obvious reasons—has strict laws about its allies bringing nuclear weapons into its territory.
It’s hard to know what will happen to an active nuclear weapon at the bottom of the ocean. “The environmental impact is expected to be nil,” Lt. Cmdr. James Kudla, a Navy spokesman, told the press in 1989.
Other nuclear accidents related to U.S. bombers have not had “minimal” environmental impact. Two crashes, along with the development of submarine-launched nukes and ICMBs, helped put an end to America’s strategy of keeping methed out pilots in the air 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The first was the 1996 Palomares crash. In January of that year, a B-52 carrying nukes collided with a tanker during mid-air refueling. They smashed into the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. The B-52 was carrying four nukes. The conventional explosives in two of them detonated on impact with the ground and contaminated the area. Spain told NATO it couldn’t fly in its air space anymore if it was carrying nukes.
The second incident happened in 1968 in Greenland. A B-52 carrying nukes near Baffin Bay caught fire. The crew couldn’t land the plane or control the blaze and they abandoned it. The B-52 crashed and spread nuclear materials through the sea and ice in Greenland. After the incident, the policy of keeping nuclear bombers in the sky at all times was politicaly untenable and the U.S. leaned heavily on silos and submarines instead.
And somewhere out there in the Philippine Sea a nuclear bomb waits, salt water slowly corroding it. It’s probably long past the point of detonating, but the nuclear material is still there, waiting to slip into the water.
India Blew Up These Apartments Worth $87 Million to Send a Message
There were countdowns, livestreams, and even viewing parties. Photographers camped outdoors for hours to get the perfect shot.
On Sunday, thousands in India turned up in Noida city’s Sector 93A, some 50 kilometres from the capital New Delhi, while millions were glued to their TV screens, as two mammoth buildings – nicknamed the ‘Twin Towers’ – exploded.
The dramatic build-up and explosion of the nearly 100-metre towers – India’s tallest structures to be demolished – is being lauded as a rare success for activists against powerful and wealthy builders who bend local laws and allegedly pay off officials to construct illegally.
A group of four elderly men took the real estate developer Supertech Limited to court for illegal construction nine years ago. India, the world’s largest democracy, ranks high on the global corruption index. The country’s builder mafias are often blamed for risky constructions that end up costing lives. Government officials have been accused of enabling such illegal deals.
“This is a victory for all middle-class people who don’t suffer injustice in silence,” 80-year-old Uday Tewatiya, one of the men who led the court case, told the media last year when the verdict to demolish the buildings came out. “Big builders will now think 100 times before conning common people.”
Top Indian political leaders applauded the destruction of the “building of corruption.”
“Notwithstanding the spectacle of seeing the Supertech Twin Towers go down, the demolition strikes at the heart of builder-bureaucrat-politician nexus, which first encroaches, then regularises illegal constructions, to the detriment of law abiding citizens,” tweeted Amit Malviya, an Indian politician who serves as the national convener of the IT cell of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Officials placed 3,700 kg of explosives in the towers, which had never been occupied but were worth $87.5 million or INR 7 billion. Officials also evacuated thousands of residents from the vicinity. At 2:30PM on Sunday, a controlled explosion brought down the condominium of nearly 1,000 upscale apartments, thus concluding a nine-year legal battle after the Supreme Court ruled that the towers were illegal.
In 2004, Noida’s authorities had allotted the land to Supertech Ltd to construct 14 10-storey buildings. Instead, the company built the two towers – illegally – with 40 floors each. The towers also ended up occupying plots designated for gardens, and were too close to each other, violating building rules. The plaintiffs sued Supertech in 2012, and the company’s pleas were quashed last year by the Supreme Court, which also ordered Supertech to return the home buyers’ money with interest.
In Noida, over 50 city development authority officials were investigated for enabling the illegal construction. During the course of the investigation, some officials mysteriously retired, while a few were suspended.
Supertech still maintains the towers were legal. On Sunday, they claimed they lost $62 million in land and construction costs. Despite paying for the demolition, too, the company still wants to continue building. “The order of the Supreme Court will not affect any other ongoing project and all other projects will continue," they said in a media statement.
For now, the blast has left over 80,000 tonnes of rubble, which authorities said will take up to three months to clean up.
The demolition comes at a time when several countries are taking a tough stance on illegal or neglected structures. Last year, China demolished 14 high-rise buildings that were left incomplete after developers ran out of money. In 2020, Singapore demolished one of its oldest buildings due to high maintenance costs. The same year, Dubai set a world record for demolishing a 144-storey building to make way for a port area.
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Waferscale startup says it can stitch chips together with light
Hot Chips As chipmakers look to scale compute to ever-greater heights, they’re increasingly turning to waferscale compute architectures to circumvent bandwidth and latency bottlenecks.…
Italian Combo Calzone Recipe
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 3 days (includes overnight refrigeration)
**for the poolish: **1 ¾ cups|250 grams high gluten flour
1 cup|250 grams water
½ teaspoon fresh yeast
**for the dough: **poolish (the entirety of it from above!)
4 ¼ cups|600 grams all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons|150 grams whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon|20 grams granulated sugar
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon|35 grams kosher salt
2 tablespoons|25 grams extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
semolina flour, for dusting
¼ cup|55 grams mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
**for the filling: **4 ½ ounces|135 grams hot cherry peppers
1 ½ pounds|675 grams whole milk ricotta cheese
¾ cup|120 grams minced pepperoncini
12 ounces|345 grams shredded low-moisture mozzarella
9 ounces|260 grams cherry tomatoes, seeds discarded, peels roughly chopped
6 ounces|180 grams mortadella, diced
6 ounces|180 grams prosciutto di parma, diced
6 ounces|180 grams provolone, grated
6 ounces|180 grams salami, diced
¾ cup|120 grams minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
**for the dressing: **½ cup|125 ml olive oil
¼ cup|60 ml red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon chili flakes
kosher salt, to taste
- Make the poolish: Combine all ingredients in a medium container and cover. Store at 20°C for 12 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Make the dough: The next day and in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the poolish with the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, plus the sugar, on medium speed for 10 minutes until a shaggy dough forms. Add 1 cup|250 ml room temperature water and continue kneading until a smooth dough forms, about 10 minutes longer. Add the salt and knead until combined, then stream in the oil until incorporated. You may need to add an additional ¼ cup|60 to ½ cup|125 ml of water, depending on the temperature of your home and the humidity. Cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small food processor, blend the hot cherry peppers until a paste forms. Alternatively, mince by hand. Add to a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until emulsified, then season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Divide the dough: Divide the dough into 6 equal-sized balls and transfer to a sheet tray drizzled with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Heat the oven to 500°F. Alternatively, if you’re using an outdoor pizza oven*, heat it to 600°F.
- Working with one ball of dough at a time and on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into an 8-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a floured pizza peel and spread about 1 ⅓ cups|360 grams of the filling on half of the circle, leaving a ½-inch border. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and use a fork to seal the edges closed. Brush 2 teaspoons of the mayonnaise all over the top and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough. Bake the calzones until golden, about 12 minutes for the home oven and about 5 minutes for the outdoor pizza oven. Cool slightly, then serve with the dressing.
*NOTES FOR COOKING IN THE OONI KARU PIZZA OVEN:
Using Wood: Your temperature will be very hot (900-1100°), tavern-style pizza normally bakes in a deck or conveyor belt oven at 550°F. In order to bring your temperature down, you will need to let heat out. Please be sure to open the vent in the flume as well as the vent above the door in the front. Add wood to the oven and the flame should be low when ready to bake (15 minutes). You will bake with the door open with a total bake time of 3 minutes.
Place calzone into the oven toward the front. Rotate every minute or so to achieve even browning.
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China’s Volleyball Team Stirred Controversy for Competing in N95 Masks
China’s national women’s volleyball team were seen competing in N95 masks in a recent international competition, prompting wide concerns that Chinese authorities are implementing its stringent anti-COVID measures at the expense of athletes’ health.
The players wore the medical-grade respirators early in their match against Iran on Thursday at the Asian Cup in the Philippines. They were the only team to sport masks as they played, which, social media users noted, appeared to affect their performance. The players lost the first set to Iran. Most took the masks off during half-time and the team eventually won against Iran by 3-1.
China’s Volleyball Association, the team organizer, apologized on Friday and blamed the decision on miscommunication.
In a statement on Chinese social media Weibo, the group said it required athletes to wear masks when they entered the competition venue, after it learnt that some athletes from other competing teams had caught COVID-19 and some of their own team members also reported symptoms.
As the group has been unclear on whether masks were required during the match, players opted for masks to protect themselves. The team organizer said it failed to remind players to take off their respirators “due to a lack of on-site experience.” It became aware after the first set that competing in masks was not good for their health.
The apology did not appease angry Chinese social media users, who saw the statement as an attempt to shed responsibility. “Before the athletes could contract the viruses, they would already suffocate from the masks,” a top comment under the statement noted. “This is so unprofessional it made Chinese athletes a laughing stock on the international stage,” another comment read.
Some users suggested sarcastically that players should don hazmat suits for the full look and disinfect the ball when they catch it.
Masks, a mainstay of China’s zero-COVID policy, are compulsory in indoor venues and public transport, as well as crowded outdoor areas across the country. The strict measures also came into attention in the summer of 2020, when three students in different provinces died after exercising in masks during physical education classes. Some schools have since eased restrictions.
The World Health Organization advises people against donning masks during vigorous physical activity as it makes breathing more difficult.