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Global Ship Traffic Could Imperil the Antarctic's Biosecurity

By Doug Johnson, Ars Technica
Vessels from more than 1,500 ports have visited the region since 2014. Each one is a threat to introduce invasive species.

Tabletop RPG Rule Books Can Be Beautiful and Accessible

By Pearse Anderson
Role-playing rule books are being designed to be more experimental and unique. Here’s how they can be designed for accessibility, too.

Pfizer CEO: Virus will be here for years but this may be last wave with restrictions

Pfizer CEO
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks during a ceremony in Thessaloniki, Greece, on October 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday that while the "most likely scenario" is that the coronavirus will circulate for many years, he believes the current wave of infections will be the last to require restrictions.

Bourla gave an interview to the French medium BFM. TV to commemorate the announcement of an investment package by the pharmaceutical company in France. Bourla also touted the vaccines' effectiveness and safety, saying  he believed people would still need booster shots. "It's important that people get Pfizer's three-dose regimen. coronavirus vaccine and will likely  require yearly booster shots, although the immunocompromised may need them every four months," Bourla said.

“Children need to be vaccinated  to protect them. Its effectiveness in children is very, very, very good. Bourla also said  the company's anti-COVID pill, Paxlovid, is "changing everything" as a new way to fight serious illnesses. Pfizer said in December that its Paxlovid pill had reduced hospitalizations and deaths by nearly 90 percent in vulnerable people.

In the interview, Bourla said the company was working on a plan that would invest 520 million euros ($593.7 million)  in France over the next five years, including a partnership with French company Novasep to develop an anti-inflammatory treatment -COVID pills.

France, like many other countries, is facing a record number of infections caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant. France's parliament passed legislation on Sunday barring unvaccinated people from all restaurants, sports stadiums and other venues, the centerpiece of the government's effort to protect hospitals. in the middle of the wave.

The government of French President Emmanuel Macron is hoping the step will be enough to limit the number of patients filling up strained hospitals nationwide without resorting to a new lockdown.


More than 76% of French ICU beds are occupied by virus patients, most of them unvaccinated, and some 200 people with the virus are dying every day. Like many countries, France is in the grip of the Omicron variant, recording more than 2,800 positive cases per 100,000 people over the past week.


Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire's portfolio


Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire's portfolio

While we're constantly bombarded with confusing investment mumbo jumbo, we must never forget that, for the most part, companies  exist for one primary reason: to take capital from investors and make a return on it. For this reason, it makes sense for investors to look for companies with enduring competitive advantages that are capable of consistently delivering high returns on investments.

As Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, once said, "The best company to own is one that  can deploy large amounts of incremental capital at very high prices at very high rates of return. With that in mind, here are three Berkshire holdings with double-digit returns on invested capital.

Moody's (MCO)

With returns on invested capital consistently in the mid-20% range, credit rating leader Moody’s leads off our list.

Moody’s shares held up incredibly well during the height of the pandemic and are up nearly 220% over the past five years, suggesting that it’s a recession-resistant business worth betting on.

Specifically, the company’s well-entrenched leadership position in credit ratings, which leads to outsized returns on capital, should continue to limit Moody’s long-term downside

Moreover, Moody’s has generated about $2.4 billion in trailing twelve-month free cash flow. And over the first three quarters of 2021, the company has returned $975 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

As of Q3 2021, Berkshire holds more than 24.6 million shares of Moody’s worth just under $8.8 billion. Moody’s has a dividend yield of 0.7%.

Apple (AAPL)

Next up, we have consumer technology gorilla Apple, which boasts a five-year return on invested capital of 28%, much higher than that of rivals like Nokia (-3%) and Sony (12%).

Even in the cutthroat world of consumer hardware, the iPhone maker has been able to generate outsized returns due to its loyalty-commanding brand and high switching costs (the iOS experience can only be had through Apple products).

And with the company continuing to penetrate emerging markets like India and Mexico, Apple’s long-term growth trajectory remains healthy.

In the most recent quarter, Apple’s revenue jumped 29% to $83.4 billion. The company also returned over $24 billion to shareholders.

The stock currently sports a dividend yield of just 0.5%, but with a buyback yield of 3%, Apple is doling out more cash to shareholders than you might think.

It's no wonder that Apple is Berkshire's largest public holding, owning more than 887 million shares in the tech giant worth roughly $125.5 billion.

Procter & Gamble (PG)

Rounding out the list is consumer staples giant Procter & Gamble, with a solid five-year average return on invested capital of 13.5%.

Berkshire held 315,400 shares at the end of Q3, worth around $44 million at today’s price. While that’s not a big position by Berkshire standards, something does make P&G stand out: the ability to deliver rising cash returns to investors through thick and thin.

The company offers a portfolio of trusted brands like Bounty paper towels, Crest toothpaste, Gillette razor blades and Tide detergent. These are products households buy on a regular basis, regardless of what the economy is doing.

In April, P&G’s board of directors announced a 10% increase to the quarterly payout, marking the company’s 65th consecutive annual dividend hike.

P&G share currently offer a dividend yield of 2.2%.

Source: Yahoo News


  • January 17th 2022 at 12:20

Gig Workers Were Promised a Better Deal. Then They Were Outsourced

By Morgan Meaker
A new subcontractor industry in Europe is benefiting from platforms’ efforts to clean up their image and comply with stricter employment rules.

Is There Really Such a Thing as Low-Carbon Beef?

By Matt Reynolds
The USDA is making it easier for farmers to market their meat as “low-carbon.” Not everyone is happy about it.

China’s ‘People’s Courts’ Resolve Online Disputes at Tech Firms

By Jennifer Conrad
No garlic on the oysters? Soup stained a blanket? Panels of users hear the complaints and can order refunds or removal of critical reviews.

Inside the Student-Led Covid Walkouts

By Pia Ceres
US high school students are demanding safer classrooms, and they’re mobilizing through group chats, Google Docs, and homespun social media campaigns.

Oppo’s next flagship leaks with OnePlus-esque Hasselblad branding

Oppo find x5
Image Credit: Onleaks

 Details about Oppo's next flagship  are starting to gather. Multiple leaks suggest it will be called the Find X5 Pro, with a similar design to last year's Find X3 Pro and specs broadly in line with the new OnePlus 10 Pro, now available in China. (OnePlus is now, of course,  treated as an Oppo sub-brand. 


The Find X3 Pro wasn't sold in the US, but it made its way to Europe and was one of the best phones of 2021. Renderings recently released by OnLeaks show a device with a camera hump that flows into the rest of the rear much like the Find X3 Pro, although the camera setup has changed and doesn't appear to include the previous phone's unique ring light accoutrement, which features a 'microscope' camera.


Alleged real photos confirming the OnLeaks renders have also now surfaced online, showing a white Hasselblad branded model of the phone, just like recent OnePlus flagships. There's also a photo of the device's settings menu, stating that  it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, like the OnePlus 10 Pro, as well as Oppo's own new chip, the MariSilicon X. This is an NPU used for image processing . It was announced  alongside Oppo's Air Glass AR device late last year. 

There are other specs  floating around on Chinese social media channels that can't be verified but don't sound very surprising, like the OnePlus 10 Pro. Both of Oppo's previous  Find X flagships were announced in March, for which we should get official details pretty soon.

A massive volcanic eruption and tsunami hit Tonga and the Pacific. Here's what we know


Satellite images from JMA show the volcano eruption in Tonga on January 15.

An undersea volcano near Tonga has erupted for the third time in four days, potentially threatening the ability of surveillance flights to assess  damage to the Pacific island nation following Saturday's massive eruption and tsunami.

The Australian Meteorological Service said a "major eruption" occurred on the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Monday, but no tsunami warning was issued. Saturday's eruption was probably the largest recorded  on the planet in more than 30 years, experts said.

Dramatic footage from space captured the eruption in real time, when a huge plume of ash, gas and steam was spewed up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the atmosphere and Tsunami waves were sent to crash into the Pacific.

Footage on social media showed people fleeing as waves flooded Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa, and the afternoon sky turned  black from the heavy ash cloud.

Tsunami waves have also been recorded thousands of miles away along the west coast of the United States, in Peru, New Zealand and Japan. In Peru, at least two people have died after being hit by high waves.

No mass casualties have yet been reported, but aid organizations are concerned about  air contamination and access to clean water for residents of Tonga's outer islands.

With communications down, Australia and New Zealand sent flights to survey the damage.

Where is Tonga's Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano?

Tonga is a Polynesian country of over 170 islands in the South Pacific  and is home to around 100,000 people. It is a remote archipelago that lies about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Fiji and 2,380 kilometers (1,500 miles) from New Zealand.

The HungaTongaHungaHa'apai volcano, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Tonga's Fonuafo'ou Island, lies underwater between two small islands  about 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) high from the sea floor, with about 100 meters (328 feet) visible above sea level.

Researchers said it has erupted steadily over the past few decades.

In 2009 an eruption sent plumes of steam and ash into the air and formed new land above the water, and an eruption in January 2015 created a new island about 2 kilometers wide , effectively merging with the islands of HungaTonga and HungaHa'apai.

The most recent eruption began in December 2021, with plumes of gas, steam and ash  rising about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) into the air.

The volcano erupted again on January 14, and a massive eruption on January 15 sent shock waves around the world and triggered tsunami waves in the Pacific.

Where did the tsunami hit?

The eruption caused a tsunami on Tonga's largest island, Tongatapu, with waves recorded at 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) near Nuku'alofa city flowing onto coastal roads and flooding properties on Saturday.


Tsunami warnings went into effect across Pacific Island nations including Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu. Footage from the ground in Fiji shows people fleeing to higher ground in the capital, Suva, as large waves hit the coast.


Tsunami warnings and advisories were also issued from parts of New Zealand, Japan and Peru, to the United States and Canada's British Columbia.


In Japan, the northeastern prefecture of Iwate saw waves as high as 2.7 meters (9 feet) and multiple smaller tsunamis were reported in numerous other locations, according to public broadcaster NHK. By Sunday afternoon, all tsunami advisories had been lifted in Japan.


The eruption also sent waves to the US West Coast, with some exceeding 3 and 4 feet in height, according to the National Weather Service office in San Diego. Tsunami waves were felt in California, Alaska and Hawaii.


What is happening with the ash cloud?


A giant cloud of volcanic ash  blanketed Tonga over the weekend, obscuring the afternoon sky  and blanketing Nuku'alofa in a thick foam of volcanic dust on Saturday.

Save the Children said drinking water supplies could be contaminated with ash and smoke and the immediate concern in Tonga is  air and water safety. The ash cloud was moving west and was visible over Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia on Sunday.

According to the state weather service, it reached Queensland in Australia on Monday. at dawn sunlight was  scattered by #volcanic ash from the #Tonga eruption," the Queensland Bureau of Meteorology said on Twitter.

The ash prevented an Australian reconnaissance flight from departing to assess the damage  early on January 17, although the flight took off later that morning.Several flights from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to Tonga were postponed due to the ash cloud. suggest the volcanic ice eruption was the largest since the 1991 explosion at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, New Zealand volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.

"This is a better observed eruption  from space," Cronin said, according to Reuters. The eruption suggests  it was likely the largest since  the Pinatubo eruption in 1991," Cronin said.

What is the scale of devastation?

So far there have been no reports  of mass casualties in Tonga and the extent of the damage is unknown as communications, particularly on the offshore islands, have  yet to be restored.

Tonga "needs immediate help to provide its citizens with clean water and food". said the  Speaker of the country's House of Representatives, Lord Fakafanua, in a statement released on social media.

It said "many areas" had been affected by "significant volcanic ash fall" but "the full extent of the damage to life and property is unknown at this time". Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said  January 16 that tsunami waves had had a "significant impact" on Nuku'alofa as boats and large rocks washed ashore.

"Shops along the coast have been damaged and major cleanup will be required," he said. The main underwater communications cable is also affected, likely due to a power outage. Australia's Minister for Pacific and International Development  Zed Seselja said there was "significant  damage" in Tonga, including to roads and homes.

He said there was still "very limited, if any" information  from the outer islands. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said its teams are on the ground and have enough supplies in the country to feed 1,200 homes.

"Based on what little current information we have, the extent of the devastation could be immense, particularly for the outer  islands,"  Katie Greenwood, head of the IFRC's Pacific delegation, said, according to Reuters.

The New Zealand Defense Force sent an Orion aircraft  on a surveillance mission to Tonga to assess the damage. Ardern said the country initially provided $340,000 for relief supplies, technical assistance and on-site assistance.

Australia said it was preparing for additional support, with a plane loaded with humanitarian supplies including water and hygiene items ready to deliver to Tonga as soon as conditions allow.

China and the autonomous island of Taiwan said in separate statements that they are ready to provide assistance at Tonga's request.


Yellowjackets Is the Internet's Favorite Anti-Internet Show

By Angela Watercutter
Its story begins in the halcyon days before smartphones took over teens’ lives. Of course, everyone on social media is obsessed.

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro ready to fire on all cylinders as January OTA update brings dozens of vital fixes

Google pixel 6 6 pro
 Image Credit: Eric Zeman/ Android        Authority
The January OTA pack for  Google Pixel 6 (“oropiole”) and Google Pixel 6 Pro (“raven”) has started rolling out. The software update brings fixes from December and January that should help  Pixel 6 series smartphones run at full speed after numerous bugs and problems seemed to affect the functionality.


Google has revealed that the January software update for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is now available as factory images and full OTA images via the Google Play services website (12.0.0 (SQ1D.220105.007), Jan 2022 - specific device/images links can be found in "sources" below). Those who prefer to wait for the OTA package to arrive with a “check for update” notification may start receiving the update from Monday January 17 onwards according to a report from 9to5Google. The list of fixes for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in the December and January patches is extensive and an installation should help relieve some of the serious teething issues users have experienced.


We recently reported on Google's flagship smartphones being criticized for their flaws, including a scathing comment from tech blogger Marques Brownlee who claimed he would return to his Galaxy S21 Ultra for now. However, it looks like it's ready to give the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro another chance as it's been busy downloading the software update (215MB of fixes in this particular case, presumably  from November) . Google took a lot of flak when the December update appeared to leave many Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones with critical issues like signal reception issues. Also, many users have complained about the battery drain issue in cellular network standby mode and the slow fingerprint sensor.


>

Browsing through the list of fixes (see drop-down element "changelog" below for full list) one can find several for battery and charging and for network and telephony. One of these is “general improvements for network connection stability and performance”, which will hopefully alleviate two of the more serious issues mentioned above. There are fixes for biometrics too, with a “general improvements” update coming for the fingerprint sensor. While it’s unlikely every single problem with the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro can be fixed with this December/January OTA package, it does seem that Google is at least paying attention to the growing din of complaints about the new Pixel phones and doing something proactive about the situation.

Buy The Google Pixel 6 Pro On Amazon

Buy the Google Pixel 6 on Amazon


Source: NoteBook Check


Tesla asked law firm to fire attorney who worked on Elon Musk probe at SEC, report says

Patrick Pleul | picture alliance | Getty Images
A Tesla lawyer has asked a law firm to fire one of its lawyers or risk losing his job for the electric carmaker led by Elon Musk, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. 

The Tesla lawyer  wanted Cooley LLP to fire previously worked at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The attorney questioned Musk as part of the agency's investigation into the Tesla CEO's claim in 2018  that he secured funding to take Tesla private,  the publication said. 

The investigation led to a settlement in which Musk and Tesla agreed to pay a fine of $20 million  each and Musk agreed to step down for three years as Tesla chairman. 

Tesla's attorney late last year asked Cooley to fire the attorney working on the SEC investigation, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The firm did not fire the partner. 

Tesla has offered to replace Cooley or hire other attorneys in several cases since December, according to the Journal. 

Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, has also stopped working with the law firm on regulatory matters, she also stopped working. with the law firm, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Tesla has its  ties to the SEC. The company hired David Misler, a former defense attorney for the agency, as legal counsel. Musk has faced more regulators than the SEC. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated whether Tesla's Autopilot  assistance system is at least partially responsible for incidents where Tesla cars crashed into parked first responder vehicles. 

The agency called Missy Cummings, a Duke University professor, automated systems expert, former Navy fighter pilot and Tesla critic, as a consultant on the investigation. 

Musk tweeted in October  that "his resume is extremely biased in favor of Tesla," prompting outcry among his supporters. 

NHTSA then asked Cummings to recuse himself from Tesla-specific questions, the Journal reported on Saturday.

Source: CNBC


Destructive Hacks Against Ukraine Echo Its Last Cyberwar

By Andy Greenberg
A data wiper posing as ransomware bears a discomfiting resemblance to the earlier wave of Russian cyberattacks that ended with NotPetya.

How to Prepare for Climate Change's Most Immediate Impacts

By Emma Pattee
The effects of the climate crisis are happening right now. From natural disasters to supply chain shortages, here's how to cope.

Our 4 Favorite Electric Kick Scooters

By Julian Chokkattu
These WIRED-tested e-scooters will help you scoot scoot scoot around town.

How Apple's iCloud Private Relay Can Keep You Safe

By David Nield
The newest security measure is still in beta. But if you want to make use of it, here's what you need to know.

Meet Our New Favorite Travel Mug

By Joe Ray
The Oxo Good Grips Thermal Mug keeps your coffee nice and hot—and it's dishwasher-safe!

The Mega-Guide to Fixing Your Own iPhone

By Simon Hill
Battery not holding a charge? Wi-Fi woes? We break down ways to solve almost any issue you can think of.

An Injection of Chaos Solves a Decades-Old Fluid Mystery

By Adam Mann
In the 1960s, drillers noticed that certain fluids would firm up if they flowed too fast. Researchers have finally explained why.
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