Airborne Microbes, Coronavirus Test Results, Florida Hurricane Ian Relief, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, November 24, 2022


Hong Kong Polytechnic University: PolyU researchers compile world’s first “atlas” of airborne microbes that provides an important new perspective for public health research. “Bacteria are truly abundant across the Earth’s surface, from the soil to the oceans. The microbial population of the air that surrounds us is comparatively unknown, but a research expedition led by PolyU scientists is about to change that. After nearly a decade of effort, they have compiled a comprehensive map of the world’s airborne microbes, providing fresh insights into how these species interact with the surface environment – as well as their likely future changes.”

News-Medical: NIH’s new website allows users to anonymously report COVID-19 test results. “[The site] developed through NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx®) Tech program, allows users to anonymously report the results of any brand of at-home COVID-19 test.”

ABC7: Florida creates website for Hurricane Ian relief. “Florida’s first-ever state-led sheltering and housing program is available through the Unite Florida Recovery Portal… and provides temporary sheltering options — such as travel trailers and recreational vehicles — and temporary or permanent repairs for households whose needs are not met through insurance or FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. Residents impacted by Hurricane Ian can also use the site to report unmet needs such as transportation, household items and social services.”


The Verge: Elon Musk proposes letting nearly everyone Twitter banned back on the site. “Now that Elon Musk has let us know that he’s totally done with his moderation council myth, he’s put up a new poll asking users if he should let most suspended accounts back onto the site.”


Vox: Crypto probably isn’t dead, but should it be?. “For those who have been paying attention to the sector, this sort of feels like waking up from a worldwide hypnosis. The metaverse thing, which is basically Zoom meetings with legless cartoons, never made sense. Neither did this idea that images of pixelated punks and weird-looking monkeys were worth millions of dollars as NFTs. Thousands of crypto tokens and coins spun up out of thin air have been revealed to be nothing more than magic beans.” If you HAVEN’T been paying attention to the sector, this is a good overview of its problems with lots of links to backstory.

NARA: NARA to Award $1.9 Million for Historical Records Projects . “Acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall approved 31 proposals totaling $1,904,539 in National Archives awards for projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia, pending appropriations of a final budget for FY 2023.”

Ars Technica: Crypto and NFTs aren’t welcome in Grand Theft Auto Online. “Cryptocurrencies and NFTs have been formally disallowed from Grand Theft Auto Online’s popular role-playing (RP) servers. That’s according to a new set of guidelines posted on Rockstar’s support site last Friday.”


Reuters: Crypto exchanges enabled online child sex-abuse profiteer. “The sums involved in buying and selling images of sexual abuse remain small compared to other criminal activities, such as the drugs trade. But the figures are increasing. While in the past offenders typically traded child abuse imagery among themselves in small communities, the darknet has become a breeding ground for sites like Dark Scandals that charge in crypto. And the damage is far-reaching.” This story is important but it’s also horrifying and has all kinds of disturbing content. PLEASE read with caution.

CoinDesk: Senator Warren Demands Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX Execs Be Held Accountable to ‘Fullest Extent of the Law’. “In the letter, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) reminded Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite of the DOJ’s recently renewed commitment to prosecuting white-collar criminals, and asked that they honor that commitment when investigating the behavior of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and other executives ‘with the utmost scrutiny.'”

New York Times: Crypto Firm FTX’s Ownership of a U.S. Bank Raises Questions. “Through a subsidiary, FTX invested $11.5 million in the parent company of Farmington State Bank, which has a single branch and, until this year, just three employees.”


Caltech: Machine Learning Tools Automatically Classify 1,000 Supernovae. “Astronomers at Caltech have used a machine learning algorithm to classify 1,000 supernovae completely autonomously. The algorithm was applied to data captured by the Zwicky Transient Facility, or ZTF, a sky survey instrument based at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory.”

Stony Brook University: Researchers’ App to Increase Quality of Life for ALS Patients. “Patients suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, experience limited mobility and communication, leading to less personal freedom and a lower quality of life. However, two Stony Brook University professors are working to advance a multifunctional eye-gaze-based app that can help ALS patients gain back some of their lost independence.” The app is currently available (it’s free) but I think it’s still in development. Good morning, Internet…

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