Perseverance rover sets a Martian speed record with software controls

The Register - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 12:00
347.7 meters in a day - humans could probably do better

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has set a speed record by traversing a massive boulder field in a third the time it would have taken its predecessor Curiosity.…

Categories: Tech News

Trump’s Lawyers Struggle to Grasp the Impact of Fraud Ruling

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:59
At a hearing, lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump and New York State began sorting through the real-world meaning of a finding that he inflated the value of his holdings.
Categories: Local News

Pok Pok chef’s award-winning Thai food comes to the Bay Area

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:58

Crispy chicken wings. Red curry with sweet potatoes. Coconut curry noodle soup.

The Northern Thai recipes of James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker, founder of the noted Pok Pok restaurants, are now available in the Bay Area at the Local Kitchens food hall locations in Cupertino, Lafayette, Palo Alto and Mill Valley.

Ricker fell in love with the cuisine of northern Thailand while backpacking there in 1987, then trained to master the flavors. He launched Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon, in 2005 and over the next 15 years expanded the acclaimed concept to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. The pandemic put an end to the restaurants, his website says, with Ricker closing all locations in 2020 for the safety of his workers.

But his recipes live on through his many cookbooks and now the Local Kitchens option.

“Thai is a cuisine many of our guests have been asking for, so to bring this menu to life with Chef Andy is a privilege,” said Chef Matthew Rudofker, the head of culinary options for Local Kitchens, in announcing the partnership. Ricker now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Ricker’s new concept, called Tam Sang, offers four dishes: The crispy Chicken Wings, finished with fried shallots and served with a house-made Sri-Rancha dressing and a sweet-and-smoky chile sauce; Yam Yai, a meal-sized salad of greens, chicken, vegetables, pickled garlic, fried tofu and chopped peanuts that’s served with house-made Sri-Rancha dressing; the vegan/vegetarian dish of Red Curry with Sweet Potato and Thai Basil, served with jasmine rice; and Khao Soi Ka, a curry noodle soup with chicken, coconut broth, pickled mustard greens, shallots, roasted chile paste, cilantro and lime.

In California, Local Kitchens operates eight Bay Area micro food halls, plus Sacramento area locations in Davis, Roseville and Granite Bay.

The Tam Sang menu can be ordered in Palo Alto (369 California Ave.), Cupertino (21666 Stevens Creek Blvd.), Lafayette (3455 Mt. Diablo Blvd.) and Mill Valley (741 E. Blithedale).  Hours vary; check

Categories: Local News

Ask the Pediatrician: What are some no-cost, screen-free activities to play with my preschooler?

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:54

Dr. Suanne Kowal-Connelly | (TNS) American Academy of Pediatrics

Most parents want to provide more for their children than their parents were able to do for them. But have you ever noticed how kids tend to have fun with things as simple as a cardboard box?

When it comes to play, which is essential to healthy development, simple toys such as blocks, balls, jump-ropes and buckets are often the best kind for kids. In fact, they’re more effective in allowing children to be imaginative and creative than more expensive toys that may be out of reach for many parents.

So why not take that cardboard box and play with them? More than any material gift, YOU are the best toy your child will ever receive.

While it may be hard to relax and give yourself over to play, view this time with your child as an adventure. You are not only promoting the many benefits of play, but also getting to know your child better and strengthening the parent-child bond. For starters, your role can actually be quite minimal and the play you undertake can be almost any activity.

Here are a dozen old-school play ideas your preschooler will adore.

1. Duck, duck, goose: Everyone sits in a circle. One child is “it” and goes around the circle tapping everyone on the head while saying, “Duck.” At the child’s discretion, they tap someone and call out “Goose.”

At that moment, the child tapped must jump up and chase the child who was “it” around the circle of kids. If the child who was “it” makes it around the circle and sits down, then they are “safe.” If tagged by the “goose,” then they are out. Either way, the goose is now “it” and the game resumes. Eventually, only two children are left. The last child left without being tagged wins.

2. London Bridge is falling down: Two children form a bridge by joining hands across from each other. As everyone sings the nursery rhyme, all the children pass under the upstretched arms. When the song ends, the arms are dropped around the child passing through at the time. Then the song changes to, “Take the key and lock her up.” Those joining hands can start rocking arms back and forth. Preschoolers delight in being “locked up” and swayed to and fro.

3. Limbo: Bring a broomstick outside and ask two older children or adults hold the ends. Have the children go under the stick without touching it. If the stick is touched, that child is out. After everyone has had a turn, the stick can be gradually lowered in increments. This can be done to music, too, if available.

4. Egg races: Make some hard-boiled eggs and bring them outside with some tablespoons. Have fun telling your preschooler where they have to walk, run, jump, etc., while balancing the egg on the spoon. This promotes balance and dexterity.

5. Simon says: This is one of the most popular games for young children to play. It encourages good listening skills and focus. You are Simon. Stand facing your children and give orders, such as “Simon says to touch your nose” or “Simon says to do a jumping jack.” As you call out each order, the children must do whatever you do, as long as you have said, “Simon says.” If you just say, “Do this,” whoever follows the action that you now do is out. The last child standing wins.

6. Head, shoulders, knees and toes: You sing the tune and control the pace. Children have to touch the body part being mentioned, as it is mentioned. You can speed up the pace of the tune, and your child has to move faster and faster to keep up. It can get pretty funny as everyone tries to touch their knees and toes as fast as possible.

7. Nature walks: You can turn literally any walk outside into a nature walk — even a walk around the block. Observe the weather, animals, bugs and plants. You might say, “Look at those big clouds,” or “Touch this grass. It is still wet from yesterday’s rain.” Preschoolers especially love exploring and are sure to have plenty of questions for you along the way!

8. Follow the leader: Move all around doing different movements. Everyone has to do what you do. Simple. Great. Fun!

9. Tag: You can be “it” for starters. Everyone tries to catch you and tag you. If a child tags you, that child gets to be “it.” Some designated spots can be considered “safe,” like all the trees, park benches, etc. This is a great excuse to just run around!

10. Run around: You can be “it” and call out things for everyone to do. For example, “Run from this tree to that tree,” or “Hop on one foot from this bench to that tree.” There are endless suggestions — you will probably run out of ideas before your preschooler gets bored!

While you may find many opportunities to capitalize on “teachable moments” during these activities, the key is to do what comes naturally to you as a parent. Playing together shouldn’t be a chore or something you feel pressure to do. Enjoy the time you spend with your child. It will pass all too soon!



Suanne Kowal-Connelly, MD, FAAP is a pediatrician who spent over 20 years in private practice. She now serves as the Director of Pediatric Clinical Quality for Harmony Healthcare Long Island, the only FQHC serving marginalized and under-served communities in Nassau County. Within the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), she sits on the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, the Council on School Health, the Section on Obesity and the Committee on Communication and Media and serves as an AAP Spokesperson. She shares strategies for successful lifelong health and wellness in blog posts at Dr. Kowal-Connelly is the very proud parent of three grown sons.

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Local News

Trump to Speak at Nonunion Factory Amid UAW Strike, Skipping the Debate

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:46
A day after President Biden appeared on a union picket line, the former president will speak at an auto parts factory, but it’s unclear whether any striking workers will be in the crowd.
Categories: Local News

Roku slashes San Jose office space, seeks to sublease two big buildings

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:45

SAN JOSE — Roku has decided to slash its office footprint in San Jose as it seeks to sublease two big office buildings at its headquarters campus near the city’s airport, regulatory and real estate documents show.

Internet company ByteDance, owner of the TikTok social network that hosts short-length videos, is in big-time hiring mode in San Jose and is deemed to be a likely candidate to sublease one or both of the Roku buildings, according to commercial property experts.

The maker of cutting-edge video streaming devices is seeking to reduce its office footprint, the company stated in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

1155 Coleman Avenue, an office building in the Coleman Highline mixed-use tech campus. A Roku logo is visible on the building.(October 2022 image capture) (Google Maps)1155 Coleman Avenue, an office building in the Coleman Highline mixed-use tech campus. A Roku logo is visible on the building. (Google Maps)

“In the third quarter of fiscal 2023 the company expects to record an impairment charge in a preliminary estimated range of $160 million to $200 million related to ceasing to use certain office facilities,” Roku stated in a Sept. 6 filing with the SEC.

At the same time as this disclosure, Roku is attempting to sublease two San Jose buildings that together total 357,100 square feet, according to marketing brochures distributed by Colliers, a commercial real estate firm.

Both of the office buildings are located within the Coleman Highline tech campus across the street from San Jose International Airport.

The buildings are located at 1155 Coleman Avenue, which is the current Roku headquarters building, and at 1143 Coleman Avenue.

The 1155 Coleman office building totals 194,500 square feet while the 1143 Coleman building totals 162,600 square feet, the Colliers brochure states. Two Colliers brokers, vice chair Paul McManus and vice president Blake Zamudio, are handling the sublease efforts.

ByteDance logo is visible on a sign next to the tech company's offices at 1199 Coleman Avenue in north San Jose. (George Avalos/Bay Area News Group)ByteDance logo is visible on a sign next to the tech company’s offices at 1199 Coleman Avenue in north San Jose. (George Avalos/Bay Area News Group)

It’s possible that Roku’s next-door neighbor in the Coleman Highline campus could wind up in one or both of the Roku offices.

In 2022, ByteDance subleased from Yahoo two office buildings at 1193 and 1199 Coleman Avenue. By early 2023, the company had moved into the buildings, which total 658,000 square feet.

China-based ByteDance is also in hiring mode locally. As of Wednesday, TikTok was seeking to fill 1,027 jobs in the San Jose market, according to the TikTok website.

At present, Roku uses the 1155 Coleman office building as its corporate headquarters, according to the regulatory filing.

The 1143 Coleman building has never been occupied, the Colliers marketing brochure states.

The office sublease efforts have materialized at a time when Roku revealed in an SEC filing this month that it had decided to chop 10% of its worldwide workforce.

These layoffs are just the latest in a series of employment cutbacks by Roku. Roku has disclosed plans to lay off 184 workers in San Jose in two prior rounds of staffing reductions.

In December 2022, Roku said it would cut 93 San Jose jobs and in March 2023, the company revealed plans for the elimination of another 91 positions in that city.

Over the one-year period that ended in June, Roku lost $660.6 million on revenue of $3.22 billion. During the 2022  calendar year, Roku lost $498 million on revenue of $3.13 billion.

Categories: Local News

How to Start Making Sausages at Home (It's Easier Than You Think)

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:45

Howdy, home cooks. How are you doing these days? Is the sourdough mother you started during the early days of the pandemic still alive? What did you end up naming your SCOBY? Have you hit your cast iron skillet with a TYFYS yet today? Go ahead, we’ll wait. 

If you—like us and many, many others—got really into home cooking, fermenting, or baking during the pandemic, you’re probably on the hunt for a new culinary adventure to embark on. (After all, you haven’t had to explain a random kitchen purchase to your SO since you bought that air fryer a few months ago.) Whether you’ve already mastered preserving and pickling, or you’re just looking for a fun hobby now that you’re running out of people to foist your homebrew on, we’d like to introduce you to the thing that’s going to finally kill off the rest of your counter space: at-home sausage making. 

Sausage-making seems like the kind of thing you want to research before diving into, so we asked our friend Elias Cairo—sausage expert, chef, salumist, and the guy behind Olympia Provisions in Portland, Oregon—for some help. And, like always, he delivered.

“Things changed during the pandemic,” Cairo explains. “Now people want restaurant-quality food and restaurant-quality charcuterie in their house.” And when he says quality, he means quality. At Olympia Provisions, he uses GAP 4, pasture-raised animals which he contracts out from ranchers he’s built personal and professional relationships with. 

“That’s my plight—just getting people to understand that you don’t just have to fill the void with value-added meat products,” he says. “There are lots of delicious, responsibly made meat products out there. You just have to look.” Or, of course, simply make them at home. 

Now, we know your brain is probably exploding at the thought of assembling charcuterie boards using your own meats—and bragging about it to literally everyone you know—so we won’t dilly dally any longer. Here’s how to get started on your sausage-making journey.

Step One: Gather Your Meats 

The first thing you need to make sausage is, of course, meat. But before you go pick up some pre-ground mystery blend at the corner store, we have some tips. 

“Best case scenario, you have access to a farmers market, where a rancher is bringing their products straight to consumers,” Cairo says. “You can develop a really good relationship with them, especially since the cuts that make the best sausages are definitely the ones that they’re going to want to move: the higher fat cuts, the belly, the trim, and the fat backs.” Going to the local farmers market also increases the odds that you’re getting healthy (and responsibly raised) meat. Which, Cairo explains, is key for not just quality and flavor, but for the wellbeing of the planet. “The vast majority of the meat industry is a miserable, dirty place that has a horrible impact on the environment,” he says. “That’s just a fact… To get away from that, you have to put in the effort to find audited, pasture-raised sources,'' he says. 

If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, try going to a butcher that has responsible sourcing practices and sells audited meats. “When you’re looking for sausage meat, you’re roughly looking for about 30- to 35-percent fat content to make a nice, moist sausage,” Cairo says. “There are lots of creative ways a butcher can get to that 30-percent mix. A good butcher will mix, say, a lean chuck roast from grass-fed beef with beef fat or a fat back from a pig to get to that ratio.” 

No farmers market or local butcher? No problem. “You can go to a Whole Foods, if you’re fortunate enough to live near one, or a similar market, and go to their butcher,” he says. “Pork shoulder and pork fat are pretty commonly carried products everywhere. It’s a great place to start.” You can even find pasture-raised beef and pork online from sites such as Belcampo and Porter Road, and have it shipped straight to your house.

Despite much of the meat industry’s environmental shortcomings, Cairo still believes that “meat can beat a beautiful tool that can be used to better land when done responsibly," adding that "the peace of mind that you’ll get from sourcing responsibly raised meat is great, and the quality of meat that you’ll get from pasture-raised meat will make your sausage-making so much better and easier. It’ll be more flavorful, it’ll bind better, it’ll have more depth, and—you know what, you'll see.” 

Step 2: Grindin’ and Stuffin’ 

OK, your meat situation is in order. Now, it’s time to get grindin’.

We can’t stress this enough: If you screw up during the grinding process, it’s all downhill from there. But don't stress—you don't necessarily have to buy a huge, dedicated meat grinder. If you own a KitchenAid mixer, there's a simple attachment that will help you grind away.

“If you’re going to [try making sausages] once to see if you like it, I'm actually fine with a KitchenAid sausage grinder attachment,” Cairo says. “That little attachment can actually create some great sausages, especially if you’re only going to be doing it a few times a year.” For mixing your ground meat, using a KitchenAid mixer bowl is totally fine, he explains. “You can also use your grinder to use the majority of the mixing, and then finish mixing it by hand.”

“If you’re looking to turn this into something you actually want to do all the time, like if you want to have backyard barbecues with 30 people and you need 20 pounds of sausage (or is that just a Cairo party?), you’re going to need a little bit bigger and better of a grinder,” he says.

Cairo recommends buying a table-top grinder with about three-quarters of a horsepower (at the minimum) and with stainless steel parts. “This allows you to freeze the grinder to make the sausage easier to work with,” he says. “It also pulls the meat through faster with sharp blades, and that’s going to make everything smoother.”

Westons are workhorses, fairly affordable, and they have a great return policy, Cairo says. 

Let's talk casing. It’s a common misconception that for a sausage to be a sausage, it must be cased. 

“Sausage-making without a casing is a very beautiful process to start with,” Cairo explains. “If you’re just starting, try making a breakfast patty with fresh sage and maple syrup, or an Italian meatball, or chicken sausage with apple—those are all really fun, really easy places to start.” From there, you can figure out what you like by playing around with texture and flavor without having to worry about casing it. 

“Sausage doesn’t need to be on a bun. Think about Italian sausage gravy, or any kind of ground beef from Bolognese on down,” he says. “So good and so easy to make.”

If you do plan on getting deeper in the sausage game, casing is your next step. Cairo is a huge hog casing fan to start. Just go to your butcher, and if they’re sausage producers, they’ll usually sell you natural hog casings, he says. Hog casing is the easiest to form, as opposed to lamb casings, which are more tender and brittle, and tend to burst. Oh, and steer clear of synthetic casings when making fresh sausages. “It just doesn’t make a very delicious end product,” Cairo says.

“Some grinders have an attachment where you can stuff casings through the actual grinder in a pinch, but if this is something you’re going to do often, you can get a cheap hand stuffer, and that’s going to allow for more control and make an easier final product,” he explains. 

If you’re trying to impress the in-laws, Cairo suggests investing in a F. Dick Stuffer. (We’re not joking, that is what they’re actually called.) “They’re bomb-proof,” he says. “You’ll have them for the rest of your life.” 

Step 3: Smoke Your Meat

Alright, it's time to get cookin'. And while it may be tempting to immediately throw your gorgeous homemade wieners over a blistering-hot flame, Cairo says: Don’t sear the sausage. 

“The number one rule with grilling sausages is indirect, low heat,” he says. Instead, warm them up in a beer and water mixture, then once they’re poached, pop ‘em on the grill to crisp up the casings. “What you don’t want to do with sausage grilling is take a raw sausage and put it directly over the fire like you would a steak, since it’ll cook like a steak,” Cairo explains. “You’ll get a really charred, ripped outside and a rare middle, which you don’t want. You want an evenly cooked sausage with a crispy, non-burnt outside.” 

When it comes to getting that smoky flavor, use a proper smoker. “Liquid smoke? Get that shit outta here!” Cairo says. 

Once you’re able to get the perfect texture on your bratwurst, Cairo says, then you can step up to actual smoking—none of that liquid, synthetic smoke cologne. He also likes Little Chiefs, and says that any small smoker will work great, especially if you’re just starting out. 

“The other [smoker] that’s catching a lot of love out in the world—and I’m a fan because it’s getting a lot of people into smoking meats—is Traeger,” he says. “It’s a beautiful smoking machine and they come in all sorts of sizes.” Though Cairo, a self-proclaimed wood nerd, isn’t a huge fan of pellets, and likes to be a little more hands on. “I like playing with the fire a little more, controlling how hot and cold I want it, but it’s a great entry-level smoker for people that want to do smoked turkey, chickens, sausages, or pulled pork.”

If you don’t have a fancy smoker, don’t sweat. Any backyard grill, including Webers, will work just fine. 

“I’ve smoked sausages on people’s back patios in New York,” Cairo says. “Make a perfect kielbasa ring, put it on the cold side of your Weber, start a small fire and put a little applewood on top of it, and slowly but surely get the smoke to permeate that sausage.”

Step 4: Reflect Upon Your Sausage

You can buy the fanciest grinders, the biggest and baddest smokers, and all of the stainless steel sausage toys you can fit on your countertop, but, Cairo stresses, it all comes back to the meat. 

In Oregon, he helps farms and ranches get their GAP 4, pasture-raised certification. “We want to help [these farmers] get the credit they deserve,” he explains. “We have so many epic ranchers out here who are already doing it right, who have been doing these regenerative farm practices for so long.”

Elias and his team buy the entire animal, which reduces waste, streamlines their buying process, and allows the producers to focus on ranching and improving their properties. “This year we’ve moved to completely zero-waste on those animals,” he says. “We use the bones, skin, kidneys, everything.” While this might not be realistic to do for an amateur sausage-maker, it's a good reminder to do your research about what animal agricultural businesses you choose to support (and what you eat). 

His final note? Relax, don’t worry, have a sausage. “Just make a perfect bratwurst or frankfurter and put it on a bun,” he says. “Add mustard and a cold beer—c’mon. Get outta here. That wins, every time.”

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.  

Categories: Tech News

What to stream: A grab bag of new releases and returning reality shows

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:39

Katie Walsh | Tribune News Service

Thankfully, the Writers Guild of America and major Hollywood studios reached a tentative agreement over the weekend, ending 146 days of picketing. While pencils are not back up again for the TV and film writers in the guild, it’s a great sign for progress, and new productions will likely begin soon.

There’s still an interesting grab bag of new stuff to stream this week, from spinoff miniseries to long-standing reality TV favorites, to other curios available on streamers. So let’s check out what’s new this week.

First up, the “John Wick” prequel “The Continental: From the World of John Wick” is a three-part miniseries that premiered last week on Peacock, with Episodes 2 and 3 dropping Friday, Sept. 29, and Friday, Oct. 6, respectively. The miniseries focuses on the mysterious hotel for assassins that features in the Wick movie franchise, and takes place in the 1970s, offering ample opportunity to play in the styles of kung fu and blaxploitation. Colin Woodell of “The Flight Attendant” and “Ambulance” stars as a young Winston Scott (played by Ian McShane in the movies). The only hang-up? No Keanu Reeves, and franchise director Chad Stahelski is also not behind the camera. But if you’re jonesing for the kind of shoot-em-ups that “John Wick” provides, check it out on Peacock, or stream the first three “John Wick” movies there.

Rose Matafeo stars in "Starstruck."Rose Matafeo in a scene from “Starstruck,” which returns this week for its third season. (Mark Johnson/HBO Max/TNS) 

On Thursday, Sept. 28, the third season of Rose Matafeo’s charming rom-com “Starstruck” streams on Max. The series stars Matafeo as a nanny who finds out she’s had a one-night stand with a famous actor, Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel). In the third season, Jessie has to part ways with Tom but finds love in some other interesting places. This screwball comedy will scratch that rom-com itch so tune in on Thursday for the new season on Max.

Wes Anderson may have had the delightful “Asteroid City” in theaters this summer but on Wednesday, Sept. 27, another film that he wrote and directed streams on Netflix. “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is a 37-minute short film based on the book by Roald Dahl, and it stars an insane lineup of storied English actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes and Dev Patel. This is not one to be missed, and it’s a delightfully bite-sized serving of Anderson. Stream it on Wednesday.

But for the more reality-minded among us, there are some new seasons of long-running favorites to tune into as well. First up, the new season of “Love is Blind” on Netflix, casts singles from Houston for the addictive dating experiment hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey. Tune in to see if love is truly blind once the couples emerge from the pods. The first four episodes of the new season are already streaming.

Finally, on Wednesday, Sept. 27, one of the original blockbuster reality series is still going strong with its 45th season. That’s right, there’s a new season of “Survivor” on CBS. Yes, they are still in Fiji, but the game is now shorter, faster and more complex than ever. Tune in to CBS or on Paramount+ to check out the ever-evolving survival series. It’s worth it.


(Katie Walsh is the Tribune News Service film critic and co-host of the “Miami Nice” podcast.)

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Categories: Local News

US Intervention and Sanctions Blamed for Rise in US-Mexico Border Crossings

TruthOut - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:36

A sharp increase in the number of people attempting to cross into the United States is straining resources in border communities, as thousands of asylum seekers arrive at the southern U.S. border each day seeking safety from violence, conflict, extreme poverty and the impacts of the climate crisis. Congressmember Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois says decades of U.S. military interventions...


Categories: World News

'It's good to be home,' after 371 days in space

BBC World News - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:35
Astronaut Frank Rubio now holds the record for the longest continuous space flight in US history.
Categories: World News

The New ChatGPT Can ‘See’ and ‘Talk.’ Here’s What It’s Like.

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:32
The image-recognition feature could have many uses, and the voice feature is even more intriguing.
Categories: Local News

Philips Ignored Complaints About Breathing Machines Despite Evidence of Hazard

TruthOut - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:27

The first complaints landed at the offices of Philips Respironics in 2010, soon after the company made a fateful decision to redesign its best selling breathing machines used in homes and hospitals around the world. To silence the irritating rattle that kept users awake at night, Philips packed the devices with an industrial foam — the same kind used in sofas and mattresses.


Categories: World News

With Meta’s Quest 3, Mixed Reality Is Here. So Now What?

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:25
The new $500 headset lets people see the outside world while immersed in virtual reality. The benefits are to be determined.
Categories: Local News

Convicted ‘Stanford killer’ John Getreu dead in prison at 79

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:24

STOCKTON — A Bay Area man convicted of rape and multiple murders, including two 1970s slayings of women near the campus of Stanford, has died in prison while serving two life sentences, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Wednesday.

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John Arthur Getreu, 79, gained notoriety in the region beginning in 2018, when he was arrested in connection to the 1973 killing of Stanford University graduate Leslie Marie Perlov, solving a 45-year cold case.

“Getreu was a deviant sex offender and serial killer who escaped justice for far too long,” a statement from San Mateo County DA Stephen Wagstaffe reads in part. “We are thankful that we and the Santa Clara DA’s office were able to bring closure to the Perlov and Taylor families for their immense loss and to deliver some measure of justice to an extraordinarily violent man.”

At the time of Getreu’s November 2018 arrest at his Hayward home, which led to a 2023 conviction, prosecutors and law enforcement credited advancing technology related to DNA genealogy analysis. The likely attempts from the 21-year-old victim to fight Getreu off landed some of his DNA inside of her fingernails, her sister said in a January hearing. Getreu admitted to the murder, as well as an attempted rape of Perlov, in January.

The body of Perlov, a Stanford graduate working at a local law library, was found face down underneath an oak tree, west of her car parked off Old Page Mill Road following her Feb. 13, 1973 death.

“Today before the court to be sentenced is a serial killer,” Deputy District Attorney Michel Amaral said in April. “This defendant has escaped justice for nearly 50 years. Since murdering Leslie in 1973 he has escaped justice until his arrest a couple of years ago in which he lived a free life.”

While the murder of Perlov proceeded through the Santa Clara County court system, authorities identified Getreu as the suspect in the subsequent 1974 murder of 21-year-old Stanford student Janet Ann Taylor, the daughter of former Cardinal athletic director and football coach Chuck Taylor.

On March 25, 1974, Taylor was found strangled to death in a ditch by a truck driver on Sand Hill Road west of Interstate 280, just one day after she was reported missing. Getreu once again was named as a suspect due to DNA testing, which matched him with material found on with Taylor’s clothing.

He was convicted of Taylor’s murder in Sept. 2021, and was sentenced to life in prison. He earned a second life sentence for the murder of Perlov this April.

Getreu was employed as a security guard in Palo Alto at the time of both slayings.

Prior to the two Stanford killings, Getreu was twice convicted for rape, as well as another murder when he was a teenager in Germany.  When he was 18, in 1964, Getreu was convicted of raping and killing a 16-year-old girl in Germany, while both were the children of Army officers.

He returned to the United States after he served a short sentence following his trial as a juvenile.

John Arthur Getreu, 74, of Hayward, was arrested Nov. 20, 2018 in connection with the 1973 murder of Leslie Marie Perlov, whose body was found in the Palo Alto hills west of Stanford and whose killing had gone unsolved until this year when DNA genealogical analysis helped detectives pinpoint Getreu as a suspect. (Santa Clara Co. Sheriff's Office)John Arthur Getreu, 74, of Hayward, was arrested Nov. 20, 2018 in connection with the 1973 murder of Leslie Marie Perlov, whose body was found in the Palo Alto hills west of Stanford and whose killing had gone unsolved until this year when DNA genealogical analysis helped detectives pinpoint Getreu as a suspect. (Santa Clara Co. Sheriff’s Office) 

Getreu was also convicted of rape in 1975 in Palo Alto. He wasn’t linked to the two Stanford murders committed in the years prior due to the lack of standardized DNA testing.

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At the time of his death, Getreu was incarcerated in California Health Care Facility, Stockton due to health issues which prevented him from appearing in person at multiple court hearings this year, according to his attorneys.

Attempts made to contact officials at California Health Care Facility, Stockton were not successful. No cause of death was indicated.

Categories: Local News

Hep C’s number comes up: Can Biden’s 5-year plan eliminate the longtime scourge?

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:22

Michelle Andrews | (TNS) KFF Health News

Rick Jaenisch went through treatment six times before his hepatitis C was cured in 2017. Each time his doctors recommended a different combination of drugs, his insurer denied the initial request before eventually approving it. This sometimes delayed his care for months, even after he developed end-stage liver disease and was awaiting a liver transplant.

“At that point, treatment should be very easy to access,” said Jaenisch, now 37 and the director of outreach and education at Open Biopharma Research and Training Institute, a nonprofit group in Carlsbad, California. “I’m the person that treatment should be ideal for.”

But it was never easy. Jaenisch was diagnosed in 1999 at age 12, after his dad took him to a San Diego hospital because Jaenisch showed him that his urine was brown, a sign there was blood in it. Doctors determined that he likely got the disease at birth from his mom, a former dental surgical assistant who learned she had the virus only after her son’s diagnosis.

People infected with the viral disease, which is typically passed through blood contact, are often outwardly fine for years. An estimated 40% of the more than 2 million people in the U.S. who are infected don’t even know they have it, while the virus may quietly be damaging their liver, causing scarring, liver failure, or liver cancer.

With several highly effective, lower-cost treatments now on the market, one might expect that nearly everyone who knows they have hepatitis C would get cured. But a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in June found that is far from the case. A proposal by the Biden administration to eliminate the disease in five years aims to change that.

Overall, the agency’s analysis found, during the decade after the introduction of the new antiviral treatments, only about a third of the people with an initial hepatitis C diagnosis cleared the virus, either through treatment or the virus resolving on its own. Most infected people had health insurance of some kind, whether Medicare, Medicaid, or commercial coverage. But even among commercially insured patients, who were most likely to receive treatment, only half of those age 60 or older had viral clearance by the end of the study period in 2022.

“Unlike HIV, where you have it for the rest of your life, with hepatitis C it’s a very short time frame, just eight to 12 weeks, and you’re cured,” said Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute. “So why aren’t we doing a better job?”

Experts point to several roadblocks that infected people encounter. When the new treatments were introduced, cost was a huge factor. Private plans and state Medicaid programs limited spending on the pricey drugs by making them tougher to get, imposing prior authorization requirements, restricting access to people whose livers were already damaged, or requiring patients to abstain from drug use to qualify, among other restrictions.

By the time Jaenisch’s case was cured at age 31, the landscape of hepatitis C treatment had changed dramatically. A groundbreaking, once-a-day pill was introduced in 2013, replacing a grueling regimen of weekly interferon injections that had uncertain success rates and punishing side effects. The first of these “direct-acting antivirals” treated the disease in eight to 12 weeks, with few side effects and cure rates exceeding 95%. As more drugs were approved, the initial eye-popping $84,000 price tag for a course of treatment has gradually dropped to about $20,000.

As drug prices have declined, and under pressure from advocates and public health experts, many states have eliminated some of those barriers that have made it difficult to get approved for treatment.

Still more barriers exist that have little to do with the price of the drug.

Ronni Marks, a former hepatitis C patient, advocates for patients who often fall through the cracks. These include rural residents and those who are uninsured, transgender people, or injection drug users. An estimated 13% of people who pass through U.S. jails and prisons each year have a chronic hepatitis C infection, but access to care there is scant.

Marks said that many disadvantaged people need help getting services. “In many cases they have no way to travel, or they’re not in a situation where they can get to testing,” she said.

Unlike the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which for more than 30 years has provided grants to cities, states, and community-based groups to provide medication, treatment, and follow-up care for people with HIV, there’s no coordinated, comprehensive program for patients with hepatitis C.

“In a perfect world, that would have been a good model to replicate,” said Sonia Canzater, the senior project director of the infectious diseases initiative at Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. “That’s probably never going to happen. The closest thing we can hope for is this national plan, to systemically provide access so that people aren’t beholden to the policies in their states.”

The national plan Canzater is referring to is a $12.3 billion, five-year initiative to eliminate hepatitis C that was included in President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget proposal. Former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins is spearheading the initiative for the Biden administration.

The program would:

— Speed up the approval of point-of-care diagnostic tests, allowing patients to be screened and begin treatment in a single visit, rather than the current multistep process.

— Improve access to medications for vulnerable groups such as people who are uninsured, incarcerated, part of the Medicaid program, or members of American Indian and Alaska Native populations by using a subscription model. Known as the Netflix model, this approach enables the government to negotiate a set fee with drug companies that would cover treatment for all the individuals in those groups that need it.

— Build the public health infrastructure to educate, identify, and treat people who have hepatitis C, including supporting universal screening; expanded testing, provider training, and additional support for care coordination; and linking people to services.

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“This is both about compassion and good financial sense,” Collins said, pointing to an analysis by Harvard researchers projecting that the program would avert 24,000 deaths and save $18.1 billion in health spending over 10 years.

Collins said legislation to implement the Biden plan, currently in draft form, was expected to be introduced now that Congress has reconvened after its summer recess. The Congressional Budget Office has not yet estimated its cost.

Until COVID-19 burst on the scene in 2020, hepatitis C had the dubious distinction of killing more Americans annually — nearly 20,000 — than any other infectious disease. Advocates are pleased that the virus is finally getting the attention they believe it deserves. Still, they are not confident that Congress will support providing more than $5 billion in new funding for it. The rest would come in the form of savings from existing programs. But, they said, it’s a step in the right direction.

“I’m thrilled” that there is a federal proposal to end hepatitis C, said Lorren Sandt, executive director of the Caring Ambassadors, a nonprofit in Oregon City, Oregon, that helps people manage chronic diseases such as hepatitis C. “I’ve cried so many times in joy since that came out.”

(KFF Health News, formerly known as Kaiser Health News (KHN), is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs of KFF — the independent source for health policy research, polling and journalism.)

©2023 KFF Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Local News

Feds’ cash stream supports Colorado River conservation — but the money will dry up

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:17

Matt Vasilogambros | (TNS)

Despite a megadrought, states in the West have been able to avoid drastic cuts to their allocations of Colorado River water this year not only because of surprising storms but also thanks to generous financial incentives from all levels of government that have encouraged people to conserve.

The temporary Colorado River water-sharing agreement that Arizona, California and Nevada announced in May depends on an injection of $1.2 billion from the federal government. Some of the 30 tribal nations in the river basin also are getting federal dollars. The Gila River Indian Community, for example, will receive $233 million from the feds over the next three years, mostly to conserve water.

Fueled by the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the feds will spend a total of $15.4 billion for drought resiliency programs over the coming years, mostly for large-scale projects for water storage and recycling but also to persuade people to use less water.

Water experts worry that paying people to conserve isn’t a long-term solution; states must make long-term investments and rethink water-sharing agreements if the Colorado River is to survive, they say.

But in the meantime, the money is helping to sustain the river basin. Conservation spurred by federal dollars has spared the seven Western states whose 40 million residents depend on the Colorado River’s water from painful cuts, said Michael Cohen, a senior researcher at the Pacific Institute, an Oakland, California-based water think tank. (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming comprise the upper basin, and Arizona, California and Nevada make up the lower basin.)

The federal government has a long history of sending money when disasters such as a hurricane or earthquake hit, Cohen said. The drought is no different.

“It’s hugely important,” Cohen said. “This is an example of the United States actually getting out in front to say let’s try to offset or at least reduce the demand on this very stressed water system.”

For years, some Western states and localities have offered money to farmers to not irrigate their crops and to residents who rip out grass lawns and install water-efficient appliances.

In Arizona, cities such as Gilbert and Scottsdale offer residents up to $800 and $5,000, respectively, to tear out their grass lawns. Peoria and Surprise will pay residents hundreds of dollars to encourage them to plant native desert plants and shrubs in their yards instead of grass.

For the past 20 years, Las Vegas has offered rebates for residents to tear out their grass lawns and replace them with plants more appropriate for a desert climate. The effect has been staggering.

In 2002, the city used more than 300,000 acre-feet of water annually. (An acre-foot is a common measurement in the water industry that amounts to 326,000 gallons.) This year, it will use less than 200,000, in large part due to the incentives, said Cohen, at the Pacific Institute.

“Incentivizing people has worked,” he said. “But the bigger question is whether we’re going to get to the level of reductions necessary to stabilize the system. And that remains to be seen.”

Upcoming negotiations

The Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that manages the Colorado River basin, is asking states for long-term proposals to conserve water to prepare for a drier future exacerbated by climate change.

The agency went to states last year and laid out two options to protect the Colorado River from the effects of a two-decade megadrought that is worse than anything the region has seen in 1,200 years: Either they voluntarily reduce water use and get compensated, or the feds would force those cuts by fiat.

Under the agreement announced in May, Arizona, California and Nevada — the lower basin states — will reduce their water use by 3 million acre-feet over the next three years. The region avoided disaster this year because of an especially wet winter and recent summer storms that swept through the Southwest. But the deal was easier for those states to make because of federal money.

That was just a short-term fix, said George Frisvold, a professor of agricultural economic policy at the University of Arizona.

“They’re treading water, pardon the pun,” he said. “It’s going to be challenging.”

The region’s broader conservation strategy might change, however. In the years to come, there will be more scrutiny over what the feds got from those billions spent, Frisvold said. Money to encourage conservation may start coming more from localities than from the federal government, he added.

States are preparing for negotiations on a long-term Colorado River water-sharing agreement that would kick in after 2026. A crucial challenge: what role agriculture will play in conserving Colorado River water.

Money for agriculture

Western agriculture, a major part of the region’s economy and a key contributor to the country’s food supply, consumes more Colorado River water than any other user.

To conserve more water, farmers have used federal and local dollars to line canals, install drip irrigation systems and fallow fields to temporarily halt crop growth on sections of their land.

Farming is getting more efficient in the West partly through financial incentives, said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that represents agricultural interests.

He pointed to California’s Imperial Valley, where Southern California’s urban water users have for the past two decades paid inland farmers to transfer a half-million acre-feet of their share of Colorado River water to cities.

“It’s a win-win situation,” he said. “It’s not taking people out of business. It’s covering the costs of business temporarily interrupted to achieve conservation savings in the Colorado River.”

Wade calls it a model for other Colorado River states, a way to prevent mandatory cuts that might threaten peoples’ livelihoods and instead invest in communities and businesses. In the long term, however, he said that these investments must come from local governments.

But there is disagreement over whether paying farmers is the right path forward.

It is not a sustainable solution, said Mark Gold, director of water scarcity solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The payments are just getting the Colorado River basin through 2026, when states must negotiate new terms for sharing the water.

“There needs to be a very different mindset,” he said. “Paying farmers not to farm is just not an efficient nor sustainable way to save 2 [million] to 4 million acre-feet of water a year.”

This past wet winter bought a two-year reprieve on having to make difficult decisions, he said.

Moving forward, the region needs to get beyond short-term incentives, said Katherine Wright, a research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center, a conservation nonprofit that emphasizes market-based solutions. Inflation Reduction Act money will run out eventually, but the underlying problem is not going away, she said.

As the population continues to grow in cities in the Southwest, Wright sees a long-term solution in private transactions between, for example, farmers and cities to transfer water allocations without federal money.

“We need to do something in the short term, because cities need water and they don’t have water, and it’s unrealistic that we’re going to change a policy today,” she said. “More broadly, it’s a call for facilitating conversations between farmers and tribes and cities. What can we do in the long term to address water scarcity?”

Stateline is part of States Newsroom, a national nonprofit news organization focused on state policy.

©2023 States Newsroom. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Local News

Bruce Springsteen postpones San Francisco concerts due to illness

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:14

Bay Area Bruce Springsteen fans will have to wait a bit longer to see “The Boss” in concert.

That’s because Springsteen has just announced that he’s postponing all remaining 2023 dates until next year — including two shows at Chase Center in San Francisco that were originally scheduled for December.

The new rescheduled dates are expected to be announced next week.

Here’s the announcement from Springsteen’s website:

“Bruce Springsteen has continued to recover steadily from peptic ulcer disease over the past few weeks and will continue treatment through the rest of the year on doctor’s advice. With this in mind, and out of an abundance of caution, all remaining 2023 tour dates for Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will be postponed until 2024. Rescheduled dates for each of the 2023 shows, including those postponed earlier this month, will be announced next week, all taking place at their originally scheduled venues.

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“When the new 2024 dates are announced, those unable to attend on the new date who purchased their tickets through official ticketing companies have 30 days to request a refund. All tickets for postponed performances will remain valid for the newly announced dates.”

The statement ended with a quote from Springsteen, thanking fans for their support.

“Thanks to all my friends and fans for your good wishes, encouragement, and support. I’m on the mend and can’t wait to see you all next year,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said.

Categories: Local News

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony rapper Krayzie Bone hospitalized in California with ‘life-threatening’ condition

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:13

David Matthews | New York Daily News

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Krayzie Bone is hospitalized and in “life-threatening” condition.

According to All Hip Hop, the rapper is “fighting for his life” after checking into a Los Angeles-area hospital on Friday “after he started coughing up large amounts of blood.”

Krayzie, whose real name is Anthony Henderson, reportedly suffers from sarcoidosis, a rare condition where a person’s immune system overreacts and causes inflamed tissue clusters called granulomas.

Henderson, 50, was examined at the hospital and a CAT scan found an artery in one of his lungs was leaking. He underwent emergency surgery but the bleeding did not stop. He was purportedly put on a ventilator and sedated in the intensive care unit on Sunday.

According to TMZ, Henderson was to undergo a second surgery on Monday in hopes of stopping the bleeding.

“Pray 4 Kray,” bandmate Bizzy Bone posted on his Instagram Story. “Can’t sleep. Sometimes you just gotta pray.”

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who is also from Ohio, offered his support for the rapper on social media.

“Prayers to Krayzie man!!!!” the Akron native posted.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony formed in 1991 in Cleveland, Ohio by Krayzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Flesh-N-Bone, Wish Bone and Layzie Bone. They won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Tha Crossroads” in 1996

“Sarcoidosis most commonly affects the lungs and lymph nodes, but it can affect any organ including the eyes, skin, heart and nervous system,” according to the American Lung Association.

The disease is rare with only about 150,000 to 200,000 cases in the United States every year and approximately 27,000 new cases per year.


©2023 New York Daily News. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Local News

Google deal may have kept Apple from building search engine, exec says

ARS Technica - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:12
Apple Senior Vice President of Services Eddy Cue.

Enlarge / Apple Senior Vice President of Services Eddy Cue. (credit: Justin Sullivan / Staff | Getty Images North America)

One of the most anticipated witnesses in the Department of Justice's antitrust trial over Google's search business was Apple executive Eddy Cue. But Cue, who testified this week for approximately four hours, publicly revealed very few details about the hotly debated deal between the two tech giants that set Google as the default search engine on Apple devices for the past two decades, The New York Times reported. He largely defended the deal as an obvious business choice for Apple.

“I didn’t think at the time, or today, that there was anybody out there who is anywhere near as good as Google at searching,” Cue told the court. “Certainly there wasn’t a valid alternative."

During Cue's approximately two hours of open court testimony, however, it was perhaps a passing remark from Cue that raised eyebrows the most.

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Categories: Tech News

To Bring Socializing Back to Social Networks, Apps Try A.I. Imagery

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 11:09
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and several newcomers are betting on artificial intelligence to rejuvenate the fun, interactivity and whimsy of creating and sharing images.
Categories: Local News