IT40 News for 02/04/2019

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IT40

#1 Super Bowl 53: 10 incredible stats from the Patriots’ win over the Rams

The Patriots are Super Bowl champions once again.

New England took home its latest title by pulling out a 13-3 win over the Rams on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. It was the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history.

Tom Brady completed 21 of his 35 passes for 262 yards with an interception in the victory. He and coach Bill Belichick have now won six championships together. Sony Michel added 94 rushing yards and a touchdown for New England.

Here are 10 incredible stats from the Patriots’ win.

2:08 — Tom Brady was picked off on his first pass, which came 2:08 into the game. It was the third fastest interception in a Super Bowl since 1996.

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#2 Northam meets with senior staff and considers options, including resignation

RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) was scheduled to meet with his Cabinet Monday at 9 a.m. and later with other administration officials as he considers resigning following two days of controversy over a racist photo in his medical school yearbook.

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All 140 members of the General Assembly returned to Richmond for the ongoing legislative session, trying to focus on deadlines for approving a state budget in an atmosphere of uncertainty and drama.

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House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) renewed his call for Northam to step down but in a morning news conference expressed “hesitation” about the possibility that the legislature would try to forcibly remove him.

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#3 Rising Temperatures Could Melt Most Himalayan Glaciers by 2100, Report Finds

NEW DELHI — Rising temperatures in the Himalayas, home to most of the world’s tallest mountains, will melt at least one-third of the region’s glaciers by the end of the century even if the world’s most ambitious climate change targets are met, according to a report released Monday.

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If global warming and greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rates, the Himalayas could heat up by 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) by 2100, according to the report, the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment.

Those starker numbers would translate to a loss of two-thirds of glaciers in the region, plus radical disruptions to food and water supplies, and mass population displacement.

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#4 PoliticsDemocratic candidate trusts Americans ready for gay president

Washington (AFP) - Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay mayor who is running for US president, said Sunday he believes America will judge him based on the quality of his ideas and experience.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, launched his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in January.

If elected -- which for now seems unlikely -- Buttigieg, a former naval intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, would become the first openly homosexual president of the United States.

He is among a crush of Democrats vying to unseat Republican Donald Trump next year. Other declared Democrats include Trump nemesis Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, a California senator who aspires to be the nation's first black female president.

But are Americans ready for a president who is openly gay and in a same-sex marriage? The question was put to him in an interview on ABC's "This Week."

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#5 PoliticsAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn share ‘lovely’ phone callMayors have ‘executive … problem-solving experience’ needed in Washington: ButtigiegBeing president ‘a leap for anybody,’ says 37-year-old 2020 hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Jeremy Corbyn and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have shared their visions of the future in a “lovely and wide-reaching” phone conversation.

The Labour leader revealed he had spoken to the newly-elected Democrat on Twitter on Sunday night.

He tweeted: “Great to speak to @AOC on the phone this evening and hear first hand how she’s challenging the status quo. Let’s build a movement across borders to take on the billionaires, polluters and migrant baiters, and support a happier, freer and cleaner planet.”

Two hours later the Ms Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: ”It was an honor to share such a lovely and wide-reaching conversation with you, @jeremycorbyn! Also honored to share a great hope in the peace, prosperity and justice that everyday people can create when we uplift one another across class, race, and identity both at home and abroad.”

The meeting of minds was celebrated by many of Mr Corbyn’s supporters, with teenage student Hasan Patel – who won a scholarship to Eton College last month – describing it as his “wildest dreams come true”.

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#6 WorldGermany recognises Guaido as legitimate interim president of VenezuelaWhy Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Need to Stop the Billionaire BashingOcasio-Cortez should have looked into Corbyn’s past before their phone call – now she is stuck with the damage

TOKYO (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday recognised Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president and said he should organise new elections as soon as possible.

"Guaido is the person with whom we are talking and who we expect to initiate an election process as quickly as possible and he is the legitimate interim president for this task from the German perspective and also from the perspective of many European partners," Merkel told a news conference during a visit to Tokyo.

"And we hope that this process is as short as possible and of course peaceful," she added.

(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Paul Carrel)

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#7 WorldRussia warns against ‘destructive meddling’ in Venezuela as UK recognises opposition leader as presidentProtesters Show Support for Juan Guaidó in Maturín, VenezuelaU.S. Aid to Venezuela Will Test Military Loyalties Amid the Spiraling Political Crisis

Russia has warned against “destructive meddling” in Venezuela as Britain recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

The US, Canada and several Latin American and European countries have disavowed Nicolas Maduro over his disputed re-election last year and recognised Mr Guaido, the national assembly president, as the country’s rightful leader.

“The international community’s goal should be to help [Venezuela], without destructive meddling from beyond its borders,” Alexander Shchetinin, head of the Latin America department at Russia’s foreign ministry, told the Interfax news agency.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said the UK and its European allies recognised Mr Guaido following Mr Maduro’s decision not to call new presidential elections following a collective ultimatum.

“Nicolas Maduro has not called presidential elections within eight-day limit we have set,” Mr Hunt tweeted. “So UK alongside European allies now recognises Juan Guaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let’s hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis.”

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#8 European nations recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president

The United Kingdom, Spain and France announced Monday that they recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president.

European nations had warned last week that if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not call new elections by the end of Sunday, they would officially recognize Guaido as the self-declared leader of the country.

"Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let's hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis," British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Monday.

Guaido, the leader of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself acting president on January 23, invoking a constitutional rule to open a rare challenge to Maduro's claim to the presidency.

Claudia Rebaza, Arnaud Siad and Stephanie Halasz contributed to this report.

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#9 Car bomb kills 11 at Somalia shopping mall

MOGADISHU, Feb 4 (Reuters) - A car bomb exploded at a shopping mall in Somalia's capital on Monday, killing 11 people and wounding 10 in an attack that police said was probably carried out by Islamist group al Shabaab.

The blast occurred in Mogadishu's Hamarweyne district, a busy area with shops and restaurants.

"Several dead people were removed from a wrecked building at the blast scene. So far death toll is 11 civilians and 10 others injured," police officer Mohamed Hussein said.

Hussein had earlier put the death toll at two.

A Reuters witness saw one dead person at the scene, where four cars burned and a restaurant was destroyed.

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#10 Taliban to take part in ‘intra-Afghan’ talks in Moscow

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban said Monday they will participate in what they call "intra-Afghan" talks in Moscow designed to bring together prominent Afghan figures, including former President Hamid Karzai, opposition figures and tribal elders — but no Kabul government officials.

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The two-day meeting in the Russian capital, which starts Tuesday, is seen as another step in a process aimed at resolving Afghanistan's 17-year war, a process that has accelerated since the appointment last September of U.S. peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Khalilzad has been holding separate negotiations with the Taliban even as he presses for a dialogue that would bring together all key Afghan players.

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#11 28 Haitians dead after ship sinks off Bahamas: officials

At least 28 Haitians have drowned off the coast of Abaco in the Bahamas, officials said Sunday, the latest tragedy at sea for migrants seeking to leave the Caribbean's poorest economy.

"Thus far, a total of 17 persons have been rescued alive and 28 bodies have been recovered from the water" after two days of dive operations, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force said.

The incident unfolded Saturday when the ship carrying the Haitians sank near Fowl Cay, six miles (10 kilometers) off the coast of Marsh Harbour, Abaco.

Fifteen survivors and 13 dead bodies were recovered Saturday in a joint mission between the RBDF and US Coast Guard. On Sunday, two more survivors were found alive on a nearby cay in addition to 15 bodies in the sunken vessel.

In a tweet, the US embassy in Haiti described the ship as a vessel trafficking people out of Haiti, adding: "No journey is worth risking lives - please urge families and communities: Illegal migrant & smuggling operations are dangerous and frequently end in tragedy."

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#12 Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will be one of the first Wi-Fi 6 phones

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will be one of the first smartphones to support the faster Wi-Fi speeds offered by Wi-Fi 6. Regulatory filings from Samsung, spotted by Droid Life, reveal that three models of the upcoming phone will include support for the brand-new Wi-Fi standard.

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Those speed gains won’t do much right away, though. Almost no one has a Wi-Fi 6 router, and you’ll need one to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6’s improvements. Wi-Fi 6 also doesn’t offer immense speed gains for individual devices. It’s supposed to improve performance in homes or on Wi-Fi networks where a ton of devices are connected (say, a home with a bunch of smart gadgets installed), and those devices will need Wi-Fi 6 to really see benefits, too.

Still, it’s a feature worth having. It makes the phone a bit more future-proof, and if you buy a new router in the next couple of years, it’ll likely bring Wi-Fi 6 support to your home.

There haven’t been many Wi-Fi 6 devices so far, but the Galaxy S10 suggests that could be about to change. The phone likely comes with Qualcomm’s new top-of-the-line processor, the Snapdragon 855, which includes support for Wi-Fi 6. That chip isn’t being widely used yet, but it should end up in many of this year’s flagship Android phones, bringing some of the first Wi-Fi 6 devices to the market.

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#13 Elon Musk shows off SpaceX’s dazzling Raptor rocket engine

We know what SpaceX's next-generation Starship looks like. Now we've also got a new look at the Raptor engine that will one day rocket it off our planet -- and a sublime display from its first test firing, too.

Elon Musk posted a pair of images to Twitter late Thursday showing a Starship Raptor engine and saying SpaceX is preparing to fire it at its Texas facility. One of the images shows a worker standing near the engine, giving us a good sense of its scale.

The Raptor has been under development for years, but Musk said in December the latest version is "radically redesigned." Musk spilled a few geeky details on the test engine's thrust and how it's geared toward reaching the moon as fast as possible.

The moon goal is an important one. SpaceX and Musk announced last year that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa had bought up all the seats for a planned 2023 Starship mission to travel around the moon.

Musk says Starship will eventually have seven of the new engines. SpaceX currently has a "hopper" prototype of the stainless-steel Starship meant for takeoff and landing tests, with hopes of unveiling an orbital version by mid-year. 

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#14 NASA scientist demonstrates the speed of light through simple, mind-blowing animations

In an effort to explain daunting astronomical concepts like the speed of light and the scale of the universe, a NASA scientist has turned to animation and created a series of nifty and easy to understand explainer videos that have become popular across social media. 

So far James O’Donoghue, the creator of the videos and a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has six explainer videos on YouTube.

The videos have amassed almost a million combined views, which is quite a feat considering the complicated concepts he deals with.

Dr. O’Donoghue has even used his animation talents to make fun of flat earthers, which of course won us over immediately.

A flat-Earther would have a lot mind games to perform to convince you this is flat, or that Earth is the only flat planet.

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#15 There’s an ’empty trash bag’ circling our planet

There is a lot of space junk streaming around the Earth’s orbit, but few objects are quite as peculiar as one called A10bMLz, which astronomers are describing it as an “empty trash bag.” Farther than the average distance between the Earth and the moon, A10bMLz doesn’t have a stable orbit. It’s moving erratically, unpredictably veering back and forth between a distance of about 372,000 and 334,000 miles from the surface of the Earth, a lot like—you guessed it—an empty trash bag caught in the wind.

A10bMLz is far from run-of-the-mill space junk. Astronomer Daniel Bamberger from London’s Northolt Branch Observatories, which made follow-up observations and ran more analyses on the object after its initial discovery on January 25 by the ATLAS asteroid survey in Hawaii, says he and his team initially had no clue whether the object was natural or artificial. As they tracked its movements, they realized it was defying predictions and moving around almost randomly.

But space is a vacuum—there’s no wind or air pressure to account for this sort of volatility. There are only a handful of forces that could simply bully an object out of a normal orbit. What exactly is A10bMLz, and what kind of forces could possibly shove it around as it blew through interstellar main street?

The first thing to clear up is that while the empty trash bag object (ETBO) moniker is a cute and useful analogy, there is a more technical label that helps describe what A10bMLz is. Moriba Jah, an orbital mechanics researcher at the University of Texas, explains that the object represents a phenomenon called High Area-to-Mass Ratio, or HAMR. When an object possesses a large surface area and a low mass, it’s primed for getting pushed around by solar radiation. Photons from stellar light and radiation are able to interact with the surfaces of other objects and apply a small pressure as a net result of different physical interactions. Solar radiation pressure is a weak force, but it acts continuously and will make a difference over time, eventually building to a point where it is powerful enough to move objects out of their normal trajectories.

Bodies with higher surface areas are hit with more sunlight, so solar radiation pressure has a bigger effect on HAMRs. Like empty trash bags, they have low masses but high surface areas, so they’re more susceptible to outside physical forces. It’s the same sort of mechanics engineers are using to develop space propulsion technologies like solar sails.

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#16 Climate change will change the color of the oceans

The ocean will not look the same color in the future. It won't turn pink or anything radically different; the change will be more apparent through optic sensors than though the human eye. But it serves as anearly warning sign that global warming is significantly altering the planet's ecosystems, according to a new study.

Essentially, climate change will make the blues of the ocean bluer and the greens greener. Scientists figured this out by creating a global model that simulates the growth of a tiny creature that lives in the oceans and affects the color we see. Their research was published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

The ocean looks blue or green to us because of a combination of how sunlight interacts with water molecules and with whatever else lives in that water.

The molecules in water absorb all but the blue part of the spectrum of sunlight, and the water reflects that blue color back. That's the color we see.

The water looks greener when it has more phytoplankton, tiny, microscopic organisms that, like plants, can use chlorophyll to capture mostly the blue portions of the spectrum of sunlight. They then use photosynthesis to create the chemical energy they need to live. When there are more of these creatures in the water absorbing sunlight, they make the water look greener. Conversely, if there are fewer phytoplankton, the water looks bluer.

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#17 Veggie-eating shark surprises scientists

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea, though as filter feeders, they don’t have the same bloodthirsty reputation as their kin. Still, they are sharks, so it’s long been believed these gentle giants rely almost exclusively on animal protein.

That’s not what an intriguing new study published this month in the journal Ecological Monographs found, though. Careful investigation of blood and tissue samples from over a dozen whale sharks suggests that they actually have a pretty omnivorous diet that includes plants and algae.

The research team, led by University of Tokyo biologist Alex Wyatt, used a combination of samples from captive and wild sharks to demystify the feeding habits of these enigmatic ocean travellers. While previous studies had found seaweed in whale shark stomachs, this is the first study to suggest they might ingest such algae as a dietary staple.

“Whale sharks are a very charismatic creature that is globally threatened, but we still don’t know enough about their ecology for effective conservation,” Wyatt tells National Geographic. “I am very keen to contribute to an improved understanding of the species.”

Studying what an animal eats is “fundamental stuff,” says whale shark biologist and vice president of research and conservation at the Georgia Aquarium Alistair Dove, but “it’s also central to the sort of population models that are necessary when you are trying to develop enlightened conservation plans for an endangered species.”

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#18 China deploys new rocket-launching robotic ship, but it’s not built for war

When one of the world’s superpowers deploys a robotic ship capable of launching rockets it’s safe to assume that it’s going to raise plenty of eyebrows. Well, that’s exactly what China just did, but this particular vessel isn’t concerned with protecting territory to fending off invaders.

The boat, which was designed and deployed by Chinese scientists, is far more concerned with the climate and weather patterns than military goals. The autonomous watercraft successfully launched a sounding rocket, which is a tool used by weather researchers to monitor conditions over a massive area, and its maiden voyage was chronicled in a new paper published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

The vessel is an unmanned semi-submersible vehicle (USSV for short) and it was built by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics. It’s operated remotely and offers much more control than weather buoys and more versatile than a weather balloon.

“The unmanned semi-submersible vehicle is an ideal platform for marine meteorological environmental monitoring, and the atmospheric profile information provided by [the sounding rocket] launched from this platform can improve the accuracy of numerical weather forecasts at sea and in coastal zones,” Dr. Jun Li, co-author of the paper, said in a statement.

The idea here was to create an ocean-based observation tool that could change positions as needed without requiring a manned presence on the ship itself. The team accomplished that task and proved that the robotic vessel is a viable option for ongoing weather observation over the ocean.

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#19 ‘Liam Neeson is canceled’: Fans react to actor’s story of urge for racist revenge

In a shocking new interview, "Taken" star Liam Neeson says he once sought revenge for a loved one's rape by searching for a black person to kill.

During an interview with Britain's The Independent, the Irish Oscar nominee-turned-action star revealed that when he returned home from an overseas trip and learned a loved one had been raped, he went looking for revenge.

“There’s something primal – God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions," he said before launching into the never-before-heard story.

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson told the outlet. “But my immediate reaction was... I asked, did she know who it was? No. 'What color were they?' She said it was a black person.

“I went up and down areas with a (nightstick), hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could – kill him.”

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