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How a Health Care Trial Could Have a Chilling Effect

NY Times - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:44
Monday: The Sutter system could be liable for more than $2 billion under state law. Also: A deadline for wildfire damage claims, and the Eve Babitz revival.

Coal ash rule would risk putting carcinogen in water

Futurity.org - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:37

Proposed amendments to the federal 2015 Coal Ash Rule risk putting carcinogenic hexavalent chromium in water supplies across the country, preliminary findings show.

Allowing coal ash to be spread on soil or stored in unlined pits and landfills will raise the risk that several toxic elements could leach out of the coal ash, the study indicates.

Federal rules currently prohibit the uncontrolled disposal of coal ash into the environment, but the US Environmental Protection Agency has recently proposed amendments to the federal 2015 Coal Ash Rule that will remove this and other safeguards if the ash is dumped or spread for a “beneficial use,” such as fill.

That’s a bad idea, says Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He led the new study, which is the first to document the widespread presence of hexavalent chromium in coal ash leachate.

“Our experiments suggest that when coal ash interacts with water—as it will if it is spread on soil or buried in soil without protective liners—there is extensive mobilization of arsenic, selenium, and chromium, in the form of highly toxic hexavalent chromium,” Vengosh says.

“Our experiments also demonstrate that coal ash chemistry induces high pH when the ash interacts with freshwater and this further enhances the mobilization and solubility of elements like hexavalent chromium, and arsenic,” he says.

Vengosh presented testimony about his unpublished new research and the environmental risks from softening the 2015 coal ash rule at an EPA public hearing on Wednesday, October 2 in Arlington, Virginia. A copy of the testimony is available here.

To conduct the new study, he analyzed coal fly ash samples from the US’s three major coal basins, the Appalachian, Illinois, and Powder River, in laboratory settings simulating the high-pH conditions found when ash mixes with freshwater in the environment.

The average hexavalent chromium concentrations in samples from each region exceeded the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level for total chromium. Some samples contained levels as high as 415 micrograms per liter. That’s four times the EPA limit and about 6,000 times higher than the 0.07 micrograms per liter health advisory level set by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Vengosh is a widely cited expert on environmental geochemistry and isotope hydrology. He and his team have published 15 peer-reviewed scientific studies on coal ash’s environmental impacts and he has also testified twice before Congress on the topic. His lab at Duke University has developed a field-tested suite of forensic isotopic tracers that can identify and measure the presence of coal ash contaminants in water and track them back to their source.

“These findings add to more than a decade’s worth of hard scientific evidence, by my lab and many others, documenting coal ash’s harmful environmental and human health impacts,” Vengosh says.

“The amendments proposed by the EPA would allow the ‘beneficial’ placement of unlimited quantities of coal ash in the environment, potentially near drinking water wells, rivers, and lakes, without any restrictions or safeguards,” he says. “That could create countless new sources of leached contamination that will infiltrate into the subsurface and contaminate soil and water resources across the nation.”

All funding for the research came from Duke University.

Source: Duke University

The post Coal ash rule would risk putting carcinogen in water appeared first on Futurity.

Prince Harry takes on British tabloid newspapers

CNN - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:26
Buckingham Palace confirms that the Duke of Sussex has filed claims against the owners of The Sun and The Daily Mirror in relation to the illegal interception of voicemail messages. The development comes just days after Harry launched a scathing attack on the UK tabloid media for its treatment of his wife, Meghan, and accusing The Mail on Sunday of unlawfully publishing a letter from her to her father and deliberately editing it to change its meaning.

‘Stand With Hong Kong’? Not When N.B.A.’s Chinese Fortune Is on the Line

NY Times - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:25
A single tweet catapulted one of China’s favorite sports leagues into a tiptoe act familiar to many companies doing business in the autocratic country.

Trump’s former ISIS envoy offers scathing critique of his Syria decision — and entire management style

Washington Post - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:20
What Brett McGurk laid out aligns with pretty much everything Trump's opponents fear about his foreign policy decisions.

Trump’s former ISIS envoy offers scathing critique of his Syria decision — and entire management style

Washington Post - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:20
What Brett McGurk laid out aligns with pretty much everything Trump's opponents fear about his foreign policy decisions.

Intel adds Xeon W-2200 series to its 2019 HEDT lineup

Ars - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:20

Today, Intel's W-2200 series Xeon joins Cascade Lake-X in the 2019 HEDT lineup. The Xeon W line goes further down into low-performance territory than Cascade Lake-X does, but the top-four CPUs in the lineup effectively are Cascade Lake-X: they've got the same core and thread count, same base and turbo frequencies, same amount of cache, same number of CPU lanes, and the same advertised TDP, along with support for Deep Learning Boost, Thunderbolt 3, 2.5G Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 6.

Aside from Cascade Lake-X being unlocked for overclocking, the biggest—and so far as we can tell, only—real differentiator between Cascade Lake-X and the top four Xeon-W2200 processors is Intel vPro platform support. The vPro label means that Xeon-W2200 CPUs support up to 1TB of ECC RAM (compared to Cascade Lake-X's 256GB of non-ECC) and Intel Active Management Technology (an out-of-band management system that runs on the Intel Management Engine, not the main x86-context CPU).

The other differentiator between Cascade Lake X series and Xeon W-2200 is, of course, price. Like Cascade Lake-X, Xeon W-2200 cut Xeon W-2100's prices roughly in half—Xeon W-2295 costs $1,333 compared to Xeon W-2195's $2,553, for example. This still leaves you with about a 25% price increase going from a Cascade Lake-X CPU to its equivalent in the Xeon W-2200 line.

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The Daily 202: Trump abandoning Kurdish partners in Syria sends a chilling message to every other American ally

Washington Post - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:07
A win for autocrats – and a possible lifeline for the Islamic State

Tina Tchen, Ex-Obama Aide, Will Take Over Time’s Up

NY Times - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:06
The group was founded by powerful women in Hollywood in the wake of the #MeToo movement. It aims to fight sexual harassment and assault in all industries.

Amazon’s new Fire HD 10 tablet costs $149 and charges via USB-C

Ars - Mon, 2019-10-07 08:00

Amazon added to its lineup of products again today, just a few weeks after introducing a slew of Echo products. This time, the focus is on tablets—the new Fire HD 10 tablet upgrades the previous version with a faster processor, longer battery life, and for the first time, USB-C charging.

The new tablet will come in a regular edition and a kids edition, but the core technology remains the same on both. Let's get the specs out of the way: it has a 10.1-inch FHD touchscreen, an updated octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage that you can expand with its microSD card.

Amazon increased the battery life to 12 hours, up from the 10 hours of life the previous Fire HD10 could get. The tablet can charge fully in four hours thanks to its new USB-C port. This replaces the microUSB port that the previous model had and is arguably the most exciting thing about the Fire HD 10. It's the first Amazon device with a USB-C port for charging, giving us hope that we could see the company ditch microUSB altogether in the future.

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Indian hotel startup now worth $10 billion

CNN - Mon, 2019-10-07 07:59
The founder of India's biggest hotel chain is pumping $2 billion into his own company, upping his stake in the business and making it India's second-most valuable startup.

Mr. Robot season four: A show delightfully booting back to root

Ars - Mon, 2019-10-07 07:59

In retrospect, it was never just the attention to technical detail or the unique visual stylings. Part of what made Mr. Robot's first season a modern classic was how it blended familiar TV formats—Elliot would take down small timers or execute highly hackable heists in episodic of-the-week adventures while the show built up longer season arcs. It's a formula other modern shows like Buffy, Justified, or Mindhunter have used to great effect, combining satisfying procedural watchability with slowly built histories and battles. For Mr. Robot, that blend allowed viewers to quickly get familiar with Elliot on a deeper level, as his technical capabilities and internal struggle with mental illness revealed themselves through a variety of situations. Those two character traits became the hallmark of the whole series.

In subsequent seasons, however, Mr. Robot tipped heavily toward that second TV format with only a few select exceptions (like when Angela hacked an FBI base camp). The show's overarching plot became more and more complicated as a result: S1's showdown between Elliot and his cronies against E-Corp evolved into a situation where this highly skilled hacker working for a Big Tech/Finance corporation contractor has been duped into executing an attack against the big corporation on behalf of a Dark Web syndicate that maybe controls the global economy... huh?

Whatever the show's fourth and final season ultimately has in store, Mr. Robot seems to be tapping back into its roots based on last night's premiere ("401 Unauthorized") and the early season episodes that follow (Ars had the opportunity to watch the first four). Yes, there's plenty of plot to plow through to see whether Elliot or the Dark Army will come out victorious. But after a second season that frustrated the show's larger audience and a third season that quietly reset the world, Mr. Robot is willing once again to devote time to doing what it does best: sketching out deep character portraits while simultaneously executing some highly entertaining self-contained adventures.

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M.T.A. Pledges $5 Billion for Subway Elevators. Guess How Many.

NY Times - Mon, 2019-10-07 07:54
Disabled and older riders say they are long overdue. Transit advocates question the price tag.

NFL coach fired after team's winless start

CNN - Mon, 2019-10-07 07:48
Jay Gruden is out as head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Donald Trump's tricky maneuver

CNN - Mon, 2019-10-07 07:44
President Donald Trump says his phone call with the Ukrainian president was "absolutely perfect."

John Avlon on credibility of Trump's anti-corruption campaign

CNN - Mon, 2019-10-07 07:44
CNN's John Avlon examines President Donald Trump's credibility on combating corruption now that Trump is framing his 2020 re-election campaign around that narrative.

Beyoncé couldn't stop crying at Tyler Perry event

CNN - Mon, 2019-10-07 07:38
Beyoncé has revealed she "could not stop crying" when she attended the opening of Tyler Perry's gigantic new film studio.
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