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  • How to Fight Against Big Tech’s Power
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/technology/personaltech/big-tech-power-how-to-fight.html?auth=login-email&login=email

    In the morning, you check email. At noon, you browse social media and message friends. In the evening, you listen to music while shopping online. Around bedtime, you curl up with an e-book. For all of those activities, you probably used a product made or sold by Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook. There’s no simple way to avoid those Big Four. Even if you subscribed to Spotify, you would probably still be using a Google Android phone, an Amazon speaker or an Apple iPhone to stream the music. (...)

    #Apple #Google #Amazon #Mastodon_ #Facebook #Android #Brave #Firefox #Opera #smartphone #DuckDuckGo #consommation #technologisme #domination (...)

    ##addiction

  • Opinion | Yes, the #Coronavirus Is in the Air - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/opinion/coronavirus-aerosols.html

    I agree that long-range transmission by aerosols probably is not significant, but I believe that, taken together, much of the evidence gathered to date suggests that close-range transmission by #aerosols is significant — possibly very significant, and certainly more significant than direct droplet spray.

    The practical implications are plain:

    Social distancing really is important. It keeps us out of the most concentrated parts of other people’s respiratory plumes. So stay away from one another by one or two meters at least — though farther is safer.

    Wear a mask. Masks help block aerosols released by the wearer. Scientific evidence is also building that masks protect the wearer from breathing in aerosols around them.

    When it comes to masks, size does matter.

    The gold standard is a N95 or a KN95 respirator, which, if properly fitted, filters out and prevents the wearer from breathing in at least 95 percent of small aerosols.

    The efficacy of surgical masks against aerosols varies widely.

    One study from 2013 found that surgical masks reduced exposure to flu viruses by between 10 percent and 98 percent (depending on the mask’s design).

    A recent paper found that surgical masks can completely block seasonal coronaviruses from getting into the air.

    To my knowledge, no similar study has been conducted for #SARS-CoV-2 yet, but these findings might apply to this virus as well since it is similar to seasonal coronaviruses in size and structure.

    My lab has been testing cloth masks on a mannequin, sucking in air through its mouth at a realistic rate. We found that even a bandanna loosely tied over its mouth and nose blocked half or more of aerosols larger than 2 microns from entering the mannequin.

    We also found that especially with very small aerosols — smaller than 1 micron — it is more effective to use a softer fabric (which is easier to fit tightly over the face) than a stiffer fabric (which, even if it is a better filter, tends to sit more awkwardly, creating gaps).

    Avoid crowds. The more people around you, the more likely someone among them will be infected. Especially avoid crowds indoors, where aerosols can accumulate.

    Ventilation counts. Open windows and doors. Adjust dampers in air-conditioning and heating systems. Upgrade the filters in those systems. Add portable air cleaners, or install germicidal ultraviolet technologies to remove or kill virus particles in the air.

    It’s not clear just how much this coronavirus is transmitted by aerosols as opposed to droplets or via contact with contaminated surfaces. Then again, we still don’t know the answer to that question even for the flu, which has been studied for decades.

    But by now we do know this much: Aerosols matter in the transmission of #Covid-19 — and probably even more so than we have yet been able to prove.

    #

  • ‘This Is a New Phase’ : Europe Shifts Tactics to Limit Tech’s Power
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/technology/europe-new-phase-tech-amazon-apple-facebook-google.html?campaign_id=158&emc

    The region’s lawmakers and regulators are taking direct aim at Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple in a series of proposed laws. LONDON — European Union leaders are pursuing a new law to make it illegal for Amazon and Apple to give their own products preferential treatment over those of rivals that are sold on their online stores. In Britain, officials are drawing up a law to force Facebook to make its services work more easily with rival social networks, and to push Google to share some (...)

    #Apple #Google #Amazon #Facebook #domination #législation #GAFAM

  • Randonautica: What Is It and Are the Stories Real? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/31/style/randonautica-app.html

    That is the gamble one takes with Randonautica, which claims to channel users’ “intentions” to produce nearby coordinates for exploration. Think: The law of attraction meets geocaching.

    Randonautica makes a few asks of users — “What would you like to get?” “Choose your entropy source” — before prompting them to “focus on your intent” while it fetches coordinates. This process relies on location settings and a random number generator, which, despite what the company says, cannot be directly affected by human thoughts.

    Since its release, Randonautica has been downloaded 10.8 million times from the App Store and Google Play, according to the research firm Sensor Tower. After a few months of rapid growth, much of it propelled by TikTok, its downloads have started to taper off, according to data from the analytics firm App Annie.

    In an interview in July, Mr. Lengfelder described Randonautica as “a multimedia storytelling platform” that encourages “performance art.” He said the overwhelming response has not surprised him.

    “I kind of figured it was inevitable,” he said. “Because basically what it is is like a machine that creates memes and legends, and it kind of virally propagates on its own.”

    So How Does It Work?

    On first use, Randonautica offers a brief intro and some tips (“Always Randonaut with a charged phone,” “Never trespass”) before prompting you to share your location.

    Then it will ask you to choose which type of point you would like it to generate (the differences between which only matter if you believe the app can read your thoughts) before fetching coordinates from a random number generator. The user can then open that location in Google Maps to begin their journey.

    Randonautica throws big words like “quantum” and “entropy” around a lot. Its creators believe that quantum random numbers are more likely to be influenced by human consciousness than non-quantum random numbers. This hypothesis is part of a theory Mr. Lengfelder refers to as “mind-machine interaction,” or M.M.I.: It posits that when you focus on your intent, you are influencing the numbers.

    “Basically if you’re looking for any kind of peer-reviewed, scientific consensus, that does not exist yet in the literature,” Mr. Lengfelder said in a TikTok video in June, speaking about the theory. Instead, he pointed to the work of Dean Radin, a prominent figure in the pseudoscientific field of parapsychology, and the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which has cited Dr. Radin’s research, as evidence.

    Randonautica claims that a 1998 PEAR experiment supported the idea that people can control random number generation with their thoughts. That study was published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, which includes work about the paranormal, spirit possessions, poltergeists and questions about Shakespeare’s authorship. In the study, PEAR’s researchers wrote that the experiment was far from conclusive.

    “It looks like they saw some kind of correlation, but they admit that it was weak and it needed to have further research associated with it,” said Casey Schwarz, an experimental physicist and assistant professor at Ursinus College who reviewed Randonautica’s claims for this article. She said she did not know of any quantum system that could be influenced by human thoughts.

    Mr. Lengfelder dismissed such criticisms, stating that the app was not created to prove a hypothesis. “I would say it’s not some kind of academic science work,” he said. “We’re more like inventors than academic scientists.”

    An update coming in August will feature improved graphics and, Mr. Lengfelder said, a custom random number generator that would have a higher “rate of entropy.” “So technically our M.M.I. effects should be higher,” he said. Of course, as noted above, M.M.I. is a theory that is not supported by science.

    Daniel J. Rogers, a physicist who has worked with quantum random number generators, called Randonautica’s M.M.I. theory “completely absurd.”

    “There is no quantum physics here,” said Dr. Rogers, a founder of the Global Disinformation Index. “This is just people using big science words to sound magical. There is no actual science here.”
    ‘Do Not Go Randonauting’

    Randonauting became popular partly because of reverse psychology; young people approach it with a sense of foreboding. “Do not go randonauting” has become a popular title for videos.

    Some adults have expressed concerns about the app’s lack of safety precautions for children. Though Randonautica’s terms of use specify that anyone who is a minor must obtain parental consent to use the app, such consent is collected by email, making it easy for young users to bypass.

    Know and Tell, a child protection education program with the Granite State Children’s Alliance in New Hampshire, has posted on Instagram telling parents to keep young people off the app, or at least supervise their use.

    “It was very apparent that these were young teenagers that were going to undisclosed areas in the middle of the night,” said Jana El-Sayed, the outreach project manager for the Granite State Children’s Alliance. She described these circumstances as “a perpetrator’s dream.”

    #Randonautica #Fake_science #Culture_numérique #Mèmes

  • William English, Who Helped Build the Computer Mouse, Dies at 91 - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/31/technology/william-english-who-helped-build-the-computer-mouse-dies-at-91.html?campaig

    William English, the engineer and researcher who helped build the first computer mouse and, in 1968, orchestrated an elaborate demonstration of the technology that foretold the computers, tablets and smartphones of today, died on July 26 in San Rafael, Calif. He was 91.

    His death, at a medical facility, was confirmed by his wife, Roberta English, who said the cause was respiratory failure.

    In the late 1950s, after leaving a career in the Navy, Mr. English joined a Northern California research lab called the Stanford Research Institute, or S.R.I. (now known as SRI International). There he met Douglas Engelbart, a fellow engineer who hoped to build a new kind of computer.

    At a time when only specialists used computers, entering and retrieving information through punched cards, typewriters and printouts, Mr. Engelbart envisioned a machine that anyone could use simply by manipulating images on a screen. It was a concept that would come to define the information age, but by his own admission Mr. Engelbart had struggled to explain his vision to others.
    ImageAt a time when only specialists used computers, entering and retrieving information through punched cards, typewriters and print-outs,
    At a time when only specialists used computers, entering and retrieving information through punched cards, typewriters and print-outs,Credit...via English family

    Mr. English, known to everyone as Bill, was one of the few who understood these ideas and who had the engineering talent, patience and social skills needed to realize them. “He was the guy who made everything happen,” said Bill Duvall, who worked alongside Mr. English during those years. “If you told him something needed to be done, he figured out how to do it.”

    After Mr. Engelbart had envisaged the computer mouse and drawn a rough sketch of it on a notepad, Mr. English built it in the mid-1960s. Housed inside a small pinewood case, the device consisted of two electrical mechanisms, called potentiometers, that tracked the movement of two small wheels as they moved across a desktop. They called it a mouse because of the way the computer’s on-screen cursor, called a CAT, seemed to chase the device’s path.

    As they were developing the system, both Mr. English and Mr. Engelbart were part of the government-funded L.S.D. tests conducted by a nearby lab called the International Foundation of Advanced Study. Both took the psychedelic as part of a sweeping effort to determine whether it could “open the mind” and foster creativity.

    Though Mr. Engelbart oversaw the NLS project, the 1968 demonstration in San Francisco was led by Mr. English, who brought both engineering and theater skills to the task. In the mid-1950s he had volunteered as a stage manager for a Bay Area theater troupe called The Actor’s Workshop.

    For the San Francisco event, he used a video projector the size of a Volkswagen Beetle (borrowed it from a nearby NASA lab) to arrange and project the live images behind Mr. Engelbart as he demonstrated NLS from the stage. He had been able to set up the wireless link that sent video between the Menlo Park computer lab and the auditorium after befriending a telephone company technician.
    Image
    Mr. English helped orchestrate an elaborate demonstration of the technology that foretold the computers, tablets and smartphones of today.
    Mr. English helped orchestrate an elaborate demonstration of the technology that foretold the computers, tablets and smartphones of today.Credit...via English family

    Three years after the demonstration, Mr. English left S.R.I. and joined a new Xerox lab called the Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC. There he helped adapt many of the NLS ideas for a new machine called the Alto, which became a template for the Apple Macintosh, the first Microsoft Windows personal computers and other internet-connected devices.

    #Histoire_numérique #Souris #Bill_English #SRI_international #Xerox_park #Mother_of_all_demo

  • A Quarter of Bangladesh Is Flooded. Millions Have Lost Everything. - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/climate/bangladesh-floods.html

    Torrential rains have submerged at least a quarter of Bangladesh, washing away the few things that count as assets for some of the world’s poorest people — their goats and chickens, houses of mud and tin, sacks of rice stored for the lean season.

    It is the latest #calamity to strike the delta nation of 165 million people. Only two months ago, a cyclone pummeled the country’s southwest. Along the coast, a rising sea has swallowed entire villages. And while it’s too soon to ascertain what role climate change has played in these latest floods, Bangladesh is already witnessing a pattern of more severe and more frequent river flooding than in the past along the mighty Brahmaputra River, scientists say, and that is projected to worsen in the years ahead as #climate change intensifies the rains.

  • Opinion | John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/opinion/john-lewis-civil-rights-america.html

    By John Lewis

    Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral.

    July 30, 2020

    While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

    That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

    Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

    Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

    Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

    Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

    You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

    Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

    When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

    #John_Lewis #Black_lives_matter #Droits_civiques #Démocratie

  • As Republicans Embrace Cut in Jobless Aid, Divisions Weaken Their Leverage - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/27/us/politics/republicans-jobless-aid.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    The proposal comes after Republicans struggled to iron out their policy differences with the administration and each other. Democrats are all but guaranteed to reject the offer.

    #chômage #USA

  • High Court finds Najib guilty of all seven charges in misappropriation of RM42m SRC International funds | Malaysia | Malay Mail
    https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/07/28/high-court-finds-najib-guilty-of-misappropriation-of-rm42m-src-internationa/1888749

    Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been found guilty by the High Court today for abuse of power and misappropriating over RM42 million from 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

    In delivering his judgement to a packed courtroom, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said Najib was complicit in the deposits of RM42 million from SRC International in his private account.

    “In conclusion after considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond reasonable doubt against the accused, I therefore find the accused guilty and convict the accused on all seven charges,” he said.

    Najib Razak, Malaysia’s Former Prime Minister, Found Guilty in Graft Trial - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/28/world/asia/malaysia-1mdb-najib.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

    Douze ans de prison pour le « kleptocrate » Najib Razak, un haut fait démocratique en Malaisie
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/07/29/douze-ans-de-prison-pour-le-kleptocrate-malaisien-najib-razak_6047585_3210.h

    Pour chacun des six principaux chefs d’accusation, le prévenu encourait une peine d’une dizaine d’années : au lieu d’être additionnés, ils ont été fondus en une seule sentence de douze ans. Najib Razak a plaidé non coupable, affirmant avoir été abusé par d’anciens affidés.

    The Guardian view on Najib’s rise and fall : a victory for the rule of law | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/28/the-guardian-view-on-najibs-rise-and-fall-a-victory-for-the-rule-of-law
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/c05b54729d35900aeb8f404f40e408e47d23cf02/192_274_5290_3175/master/5290.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    Najib faces four more trials related to the theft of billions of dollars from 1MDB. The US department of justice said that the fund’s cash was used to purchase luxury apartments in Manhattan, paintings by Monet and even financed a major Hollywood movie. The DoJ says $680m (£525m) ended up in the prime minister’s bank accounts. This in a country where 40% live on less than £2 a day.

    But Najib has stayed active in politics, working behind the scenes. His party, the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), played a decisive role in instigating Machiavellian levels of betrayal to bring down the government that had come to power by defeating him. Umno currently props up the shaky Perikatan Nasional government, made up of Malay-centric parties and rural fundamentalists. Regaining high office, his opponents say, is the only way Najib can save himself from jail.

    This would be an awful turn of events. Najib’s Umno was autocratic as well as corrupt, and it let the economy splutter. The party lost office in 2018 after six decades in power. There was a genuine hope that the new multiracial Pakatan Harapan government would be a force for change. But apart from press freedoms and an anti-corruption drive, the hopes of the new government were largely unfulfilled.

    #Malaisie #corruption #Najib #1MDB

  • Lawmakers, United in Their Ire, Lash Out at Big Tech’s Leaders
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/technology/big-tech-hearing-apple-amazon-facebook-google.html

    The chiefs of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook faced withering questions from Democrats about anti-competitive practices and from Republicans about anti-conservative bias. WASHINGTON — The chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, four tech giants worth nearly $5 trillion combined, faced withering questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike on Wednesday for the tactics and market dominance that had made their enterprises successful. For more than five hours, (...)

    #Apple #Google #Amazon #Facebook #algorithme #Android #iPhone #smartphone #domination #marketing #microtargeting #publicité #bénéfices #profiling (...)

    ##publicité ##FTC

  • A Possible Weapon Against the Pandemic: Printing Human Tissue - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/27/science/bioprinting-covid-19-tests.html

    An organoid replicates an organ in its purest form and offers data points that might not occur in clinical trials, he said, adding that the testing is additive to, rather than in lieu of, clinical trials.

    Testing on bioprinted skin or other miniature organs also can more readily determine which drugs that work in animals like rats might not perform well in people.

  • Tech C.E.O.s From Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to Testify Before Congress
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/28/technology/amazon-apple-facebook-google-antitrust-hearing.html?campaign_id=158&emc=edi

    The tech C.E.O.s will appear together at a congressional hearing on Wednesday to argue that their companies do not stifle competition. WASHINGTON — After lawmakers collected hundreds of hours of interviews and obtained more than 1.3 million documents about Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, their chief executives will testify before Congress on Wednesday to defend their powerful businesses from the hammer of government. The captains of the New Gilded Age — Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of (...)

    #Apple #Google #TikTok #Amazon #Facebook #AppleStore #GooglePlay #payement #domination #BigData #GAFAM (...)

    ##FTC

  • Large DNA Study Traces Violent History of American Slavery

    Scientists from the consumer genetics company 23andMe have published the largest DNA study to date of people with African ancestry in the Americas.

    An 1823 cross-section diagram of a ship used to carry enslaved people. The illustration, which was used in abolitionist campaigns and contains several historical inaccuracies, has become one of the most famous depictions of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
    Credit...incamerastock/Alamy

    More than one and a half centuries after the trans-Atlantic slave trade ended, a new study shows how the brutal treatment of enslaved people has shaped the DNA of their descendants.

    The report, which included more than 50,000 people, 30,000 of them with African ancestry, agrees with the historical record about where people were taken from in Africa, and where they were enslaved in the Americas. But it also found some surprises.

    For example, the DNA of participants from the United States showed a significant amount of Nigerian ancestry — far more than expected based on the historical records of ships carrying enslaved people directly to the United States from Nigeria.

    At first, historians working with the researchers “couldn’t believe the amount of Nigerian ancestry in the U.S.,” said Steven Micheletti, a population geneticist at 23andMe who led the study.

    After consulting another historian, the researchers learned that enslaved people were sent from Nigeria to the British Caribbean, and then were further traded into the United States, which could explain the genetic findings, he said.

    The study illuminates one of the darkest chapters of world history, in which 12.5 million people were forcibly taken from their homelands in tens of thousands of European ships. It also shows that the historical and genetic records together tell a more layered and intimate story than either could alone.

    The study, which was published on Thursday in the American Journal of Human Genetics, represents “real progress in how we think that genetics contributes to telling a story about the past,” said Alondra Nelson, a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who was not involved in the study.

    Although the work is commendable for making use of both historical and genetic data, Dr. Nelson said, it was also “a missed opportunity to take the full step and really collaborate with historians.” The history of the different ethnic groups in Africa, for example, and how they related to modern and historical geographic boundaries, could have been explored in greater depth, she said.

    The study began as a dream project of Joanna Mountain, senior director of research at 23andMe, even before the company had any customers. Over 10 years she and her team built a genetic database. Primarily the participants were 23andMe customers whose grandparents were born in one of the geographic regions of trans-Atlantic slavery. All participants consented to have their DNA used in the research.

    In the new study, Dr. Micheletti’s team compared this genetic database with a historical one, Slave Voyages, which contains an enormous amount of information about slavery, such as ports of embarkation and disembarkation, and numbers of enslaved men, women and children.

    The researchers also consulted with some historians to identify gaps in their data, Dr. Mountain said. Historians told them, for example, that they needed representation from critical regions, like Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The team worked with academics connected to West African institutions to find that data.

    The size of the project’s dataset is “extraordinary,” said David Reich, a professor of genetics at Harvard who was not part of the project.

    Because it drew participants from a direct-to-consumer database of millions of people, the study was able to “ask and answer questions about the past and about how people are related to each other” that could not be asked by academics like himself, he said. At best, academic projects are able to study hundreds or a few thousand people, and generally that data does not also include the genealogical information that the 23andMe research participants provided.

    The findings show remarkable alignment with the historical record. Historians have estimated, for example, that 5.7 million people were taken from West Central Africa to the Americas. And the genetic record shows a very strong connection between people in West Central Africa and all people with African ancestry in the Americas.

    Historians have also noted that the people who were taken to Latin America from Africa disembarked from West Central Africa, but many were taken originally from other regions like Senegambia and the Bight of Benin. And the new genetic evidence supports this, showing that the descendants of enslaved people in Latin America generally carry genetic connections with two or three of these regions in Africa.

    Historical evidence shows that enslaved people in the United States and the British Caribbean, by contrast, were taken from a larger number of regions of Africa. Their descendants today show a genetic connection to people in six regions in Africa, the study found.

    The historical record shows that of the 10.7 million enslaved people who disembarked in the Americas (after nearly 2 million others died on the journey), more than 60 percent were men. But the genetic record shows that it was mostly enslaved women who contributed to the present-day gene pool.

    The asymmetry in the experience of enslaved men and women — and indeed, many groups of men and women in centuries past — is well understood. Enslaved men often died before they had a chance to have children. Enslaved women were often raped and forced to have children.

    The 23andMe project found this general pattern, but also uncovered a startling difference in the experience of men and women between regions in the Americas.

    The scientists calculated that enslaved women in the United States contributed 1.5 times more to the modern-day gene pool of people of African descent than enslaved men. In the Latin Caribbean, they contributed 13 times more. In Northern South America, they contributed 17 times more.

    What’s more, in the United States, European men contributed three times more to the modern-day gene pool of people of African descent than European women did. In the British Caribbean, they contributed 25 times more.

    This genetic evidence, the scientists say, may be explained by local practices. In the United States, segregation between enslaved people and the European population may have made it more likely that the child of an enslaved mother would have an enslaved father. But in other regions where enslaved men were less likely to reproduce, dangerous practices like rice farming — in which harsh conditions and muddy fields made it easier to drown, and malaria was common — may have killed many of them before they could have children.

    In some regions in Latin America, the government enacted programs that brought men from Europe to father children with enslaved women in order to intentionally diminish the African gene pool.

    The study illustrates how much physical and sexual violence were part of slavery — and how they are still built into our society, Dr. Nelson said. It confirms the “mistreatment, discrimination, sexual abuse, and violence that has persisted for generations,” she said, and that many people are protesting today.

    #DNA #American_Slavery #ancestry #trans-Atlantic_slave_trade #United_States

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/23/science/23andme-african-ancestry.html?referringSource=articleShare

  • Trump Administration Is Bypassing Arms Control Pact to Sell Large Armed Drones
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/24/us/politics/trump-arms-sales-drones.html

    The move has been opposed internally by arms control officials and lawmakers trying to limit the proliferation of such drones, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced on Friday that it would allow the sale of advanced armed drones to other nations and bypass part of an international weapons export control agreement that the United States helped forge more than three decades ago. Administration officials have (...)

    #drone #militaire

  • Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/25/business/coronavirus-vaccine-profits-vaxart.html

    On June 26, a small South San Francisco company called Vaxart made a surprise announcement: A coronavirus vaccine it was working on had been selected by the U.S. government to be part of Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19.

    Vaxart’s shares soared. Company insiders, who weeks earlier had received stock options worth a few million dollars, saw the value of those awards increase sixfold. And a hedge fund that partly controlled the company walked away with more than $200 million in instant profits.

    The race is on to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and some companies and investors are betting that the winners stand to earn vast profits from selling hundreds of millions — or even billions — of doses to a desperate public.

    Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members are capitalizing on that dynamic.

    They are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies — most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug — have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March, according to figures compiled for The New York Times by Equilar, a data provider.

    In some cases, company insiders are profiting from regularly scheduled compensation or automatic stock trades. But in other situations, senior officials appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out while their stock prices are sky high. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress.

    #vaccins #bourse #business #profits

  • Federal Agents Push Into Portland Streets, Stretching Limits of Their Authority
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/25/us/portland-federal-legal-jurisdiction-courts.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    Federal agents are venturing blocks from the buildings they were sent to protect. Oregon officials say they are illegally taking on the role of riot police. PORTLAND, Ore. — After flooding the streets around the federal courthouse in Portland with tear gas during Friday’s early morning hours, dozens of federal officers in camouflage and tactical gear stood in formation around the front of the building. Then, as one protester blared a soundtrack of “The Imperial March,” the officers started (...)

    #activisme #militaire #police #violence #BlackLivesMatter

  • Google Takes Aim at Amazon. Again. - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/23/technology/google-ecommerce-amazon.html

    On Thursday, Google announced that it would take steps to bring more sellers and products onto its shopping site by waiving sales commissions and allowing retailers to use popular third-party payment and order management services like Shopify instead of the company’s own systems. Currently, commissions on Google Shopping range from a 5 percent to 15 percent cut depending on the products.

    Google is usually the starting point for finding information on the internet, but that is often not the case when consumers are searching for a product to buy. More consumers in the United States are turning first to Amazon to find products that they plan to purchase. This has allowed Amazon to build a rapidly growing advertising business, which is a threat to Google’s main financial engine.

    Google announced in April that it would allow anyone to list products for free on its shopping site, reversing its previous policy of requiring sellers to buy an ad for products to appear. The company also announced that those free listings would appear on its search results. By eliminating the cost of listing and selling products, Google aims to make it more appealing for retailers to put products in front of the search engine’s enormous user base.

    In an interview, Mr. Ready said most retailers were already lagging behind in e-commerce before the pandemic hit. And as more consumers moved to shop online in recent months, the gap has widened with much of the growth in online sales swallowed by a handful of players.

    #Google #Amazon #Commerce_électronique

  • Can You Become Reinfected With Covid? It’s Very Unlikely, Experts Say - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/health/covid-antibodies-herd-immunity.html

    Reports of reinfection instead may be cases of drawn-out illness. A decline in antibodies is normal after a few weeks, and people are protected from the coronavirus in other ways.

  • Health Care Comes to Us - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/technology/coronavirus-telemedicine.html

    The pandemic, an unemployment surge and unrest over racial inequality have made more Americans feel isolated, anxious or depressed. Psychological distress could prove temporary, but the hurt and the ripple effects are serious nevertheless.

    Now here’s some good news. Benjamin F. Miller, a psychologist and chief strategy officer for Well Being Trust, a national foundation focusing on mental and spiritual health, told me something hopeful: In part because of technology, this moment in history contains the makings of more accessible and effective mental health care for everyone.

    “Probably one of the most profound impacts that technology had in the pandemic is that the care now comes to the patients,” Dr. Miller said.

    Since the start of the pandemic, Medicare and many private health insurers have changed policies to reimburse practitioners for patient visits by phone or web video at somewhere close to the payment rate of in-person visits.

    Privacy rules were relaxed to let people use familiar web video services like Skype and not only medical-specific video sites. (Yes, this comes with a possible risk to patient information.)
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    Telemedicine for all types of health care remains a tiny fraction of patient care, but many more people and providers have tried and liked it. Nearly every major mental health organization is pressing policymakers to make those temporary changes permanent, Dr. Miller said.

    #Confinement #Santé_mentale #Télémédecine