An amendment added to a two-bill spending package on the Senate floor last month would provide $45 million in funding to reimburse local water authorities or states for expenditures to treat drinking water contaminated with PFOS or PFOA due to activities at a neighboring Air Force or Air National Guard base. The provision is intended to cover treatment costs that occurred after Jan. 1, 2016, and requires water authorities to waive all claims for prior treatment expenses. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) offered the amendment to benefit communities such as Newburgh, N.Y., which faces contamination due to activities at Stewart Air National Guard Base.The language would require water authorities to request payment within four months after the legislation is signed into law. Before that takes place, the House and Senate will need to negotiate a compromise version of the fiscal 2019 spending package approved by the Senate Aug. 23, which includes the defense and labor-HHS-education spending titles. On Tuesday, the House approved a motion to go to conference with the Senate on the $857 billion minibus, with the goal of striking a compromise before the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) also signed onto the amendment as it would benefit utilities near Colorado Springs forced to address water contamination stemming from firefighting activities at Peterson AFB. The provision would allow water authorities in Security, Widefield and Fountain to be reimbursed for $9 million spent addressing elevated levels of PFAS in drinking water supplies, reported the Gazette.“Tonight’s win in the Senate is the result of years of bipartisan work with the southwestern Colorado communities, but it is only a small part of the broader work needed to ensure Colorado residents have access to clean drinking water,” Bennet said in a written statement after the Senate approved the amendment last month.Photo courtesy of Security Water and Sanitation District Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Angela Lang/CNET Smart displays, as we’ve come to call them, are countertop touchscreen devices that also feature either the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice services. The Amazon Echo Show was the first example in this category, and while it had a clunky design, its 2017 debut proved that the concept had potential. 4:05 Comments Tags See All The category his since grown to roughly a dozen different offerings, depending on how you define them, each with a variation on the core theme. All of them use a voice assistant and a touchscreen in combination to answer questions, play music and provide you with information about weather, the news and other things. Most of them also have a camera that enables two-way video chats. To help you sort through all of them, here’s a breakdown of every smart display currently available. Looking for the best of the best in this category? Check out the best smart displays of 2019.Read more: The Amazon Echo Show 5 is Alexa’s best smart displayDisclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Amazon Echo Show (second generation) Ry Crist/CNET Amazon Echo Show (second generation)The second-gen Echo Show updated the first popular smart display with a softer look, better sound quality and a large 10.1-inch display. Like the first Echo Show, you can make video calls to other Echo Show owners, watch movie trailers, play music, watch a feed from a video camera or use it as a digital picture frame, among other things. While the first model also famously lost YouTube support after its launch, Amazon built a workaround into the second-gen model by including web browser apps. You still can’t use Alexa to pull up or control YouTube videos on this model, but you can at least watch them via the touchscreen interface. Better than nothing, but it still doesn’t feel great given the $229 price tag.Read the CNET review of the Amazon Echo Show (second generation).See it on AmazonAmazon Echo Show (first generation)The first-gen Echo Show has been discontinued by Amazon, but if you’re chasing a bargain you can find it for less than $100 via Amazon resellers. The throwback, angular design didn’t do the Echo Show any favors, but it introduced the idea of an Alexa screen on your countertop.Read the CNET review of the Amazon Echo Show (first generation).See it on AmazonAmazon Echo Spot Taylor Martin/CNET Amazon Echo SpotFor the more privacy-minded consumer, an always-listening smart speaker is already problematic. Add a video camera for video calling, like you’ll find on most of these displays, and the sketch-factor climbs even higher. What if I told you the 2.5-inch Echo Spot is both an Alexa speaker and a camera-equipped video-calling device, and that it’s designed to go on your bedroom nightstand? Takers? Only $130.Read the CNET review of the Amazon Echo Spot.See it on AmazonAmazon Echo Show 5 Amazon Amazon Echo Show 5The Echo Show 5 addresses some of the privacy concerns raised by devices like the Spot with a physical shutter you can close over the camera. Amazon’s smart display with a 5.5-inch touchscreen is still designed for your bedside, and it includes the ability to watch videos and control your smart home, and all of the other tricks of the full-sized Echo Show. It also offers a few unique features specifically aimed at the bedroom such as a sunrise alarm setting. Turn this on, and the screen will gradually start getting brighter 30 minutes before you need to wake up. Better yet, the upcoming Echo Show 5 is a reasonable $90. Read the CNET revew of the Amazon Echo Show 5.See it on AmazonFacebook Portal (left) and Portal Plus (right) Chris Monroe/CNET Facebook Portal and Portal PlusSpeaking of privacy, it’s hard to imagine a more trust-challenged company than Facebook entering this category. That said, Facebook took some steps to keep your data protected on its two Portal video chat devices. Both devices have Alexa support, but to make video calls, you need to use the eponymous Portal voice assistant. All of the processing for voice commands issued to Portal happens on the device itself, not in the cloud. Facebook also says it will gather data about the length and frequency of your calls to inform which ads you see on Facebook, but not the contents of your calls. 3 Now playing: Watch this: CNET Smart Home CNET Smart Home Share your voice I wouldn’t blame anyone for not trusting Facebook despite that declaration. It’s a shame the company has earned such a bad reputation with regard to privacy because the quality of video calls on both Portal devices is excellent. The camera has an amazingly wide viewing angle, and it’s also smart enough that you can tag individual people and it will zoom in on them and follow their movements to keep them in the frame. The 15.6-inch Portal Plus is awkward-looking and expensive at $350, but the 10.1-inch, $200 Portal is more competitive with the other smart displays.Read the CNET Review of the Facebook Portal and Portal Plus.See it at Best BuyGoogle Nest Hub Chris Monroe/CNET Google Nest HubIf you’re not comfortable with the idea of an Amazon-, Facebook- or Google-provided video camera inside your home, Google is self-aware enough to offer a camera-free alternative, with an aggressive price to boot. The $129 Google Nest Hub (formerly the Google Home Hub) has a 7-inch touchscreen, and no camera. You control it via Google Assistant voice commands, or with the touchscreen, both of which are the most robust in this category. The screen is on the small side for smart displays, which for some people might be a turn-off. But that also makes it easy to plunk it down on a crowded kitchen counter. Guiding you through recipes is one thing every Google-powered smart display excels at. You can also regularly find the Nest Hub on sale for $100 or less, and recent sales have dipped the price down to $67. Read the CNET review of the Google Nest Hub.See it at WalmartThe Google Nest Hub Max Angela Lang/CNET Google Nest Hub MaxGoogle has a new smart display in the works as well. The Nest Hub Max adds a Nest Cam to the mix, so it can watch your home for movement when you’re not there. It features a bigger 10-inch touchscreen than the first Nest Hub and has more powerful speakers as well. Google also used the embedded smart cam for a few unique tricks: You can play and pause music with a gesture, the Hub Max can display personalized notifications when it recognizes you and the camera can follow you around on video calls, much like the main feature of the Facebook Portal. The Nest Hub Max will be competitively priced as well at $230 — the same as the second-gen Echo Show. Read the CNET preview of the Google Nest Hub Max.Join the waitlist on the Google storeJBL Link View Tyler Lizenby/CNET JBL Link ViewJBL is one of a few third parties with a Google Assistant-based smart display, and one of two that were actually on the market before Google’s own Nest Hub. Unlike that smart display, the JBL Link View has a camera for making two-way video calls via Google Duo. It also leans heavily into audio quality as a way to differentiate itself from its competitors, and we found it’s especially good with bass-heavy tracks.At $250, the Link View sits on the higher end of the smart display category. The camera, sound quality and 8-inch screen are compelling enough, but as we see more and more competition in this space, that price has become tougher to swallow.Read the CNET review of the JLB Link View.See it at WalmartLG WK9 ThinQ Chris Monroe/CNET LG WK9 ThinQ XboomThe LG WK9 smart display also uses Google Assistant as its voice platform, but it doesn’t differentiate itself enough from its competition. Its manufacturer suggested retail price was $300 before it launched, but you should be able to find it around $230 right now. It has similar features to the JBL display, and while the LG’s sound quality is decent, it’s not quite as good. If you can find it for a lower price, it might be worth picking up.Read the CNET review of the LG WK9 ThinQ Xboom.See it at AmazonLenovo Smart Display Chris Monroe/CNET Lenovo Smart DisplayLenovo’s Smart Displays might be the best of this bunch if you want one with a camera. Lenovo offers a 10-inch model for $250, and an 8-inch version for $200. They both use Google Assistant and come with a camera for making video calls. And while their audio quality isn’t as good as JBL’s, it’s good enough, and the Lenovo’s screen size and the overall design of both the 8-inch and 10-inch models are clean enough that they will match pretty much any decor. Read the CNET review of the Lenovo Smart Display.See it at WalmartLenovo Smart Clock Chris Monroe/CNET Lenovo Smart ClockLenovo recently debuted its own bedside smart display to compete with the Echo Spot and Show 5. The Lenovo Smart Clock sports Google Assistant, but the touchscreen doesn’t have all of the same features — you can’t watch videos, scroll through a recipe or access a smart home control panel. What remains are screens for weather, your commute and your calendar — the info you’d need when you’re going to bed or first waking up. As of a recent update, you can also look at personal pics on the screen and use a Google Photos album as your screensaver. The alarms are highly customizable and you can turn on the sunrise feature to ease yourself awake. You can also smack the top of the alarm if you want a few more minutes to snooze. At $60, it’s a little pricey given the limited touchscreen functionality, but if you find it on sale, it would make a great upgrade to an old-fashioned alarm clock. Read the CNET review of the Lenovo Smart Clock.See it on Lenovo’s site Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) Aug 30 • iRobot Roomba S9 Plus vs. Neato Botvac D7 Connected reading • Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub, Facebook Portal and more: How to pick the best smart display in 2019 Smart Home The battle for the best smart display: Google Home Hub… 14 Photos Smart displays let Amazon, Facebook, Google show you answers to your questions Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected • Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house Google Assistant Alexa Amazon Facebook Google
Starting with Brexit, the future course of world events will only add more glitter to gold as the safest asset to hoard, reported PTI. Geo political tensions, the U.S. elections and the volatility in the currency markets will all drive the yellow metal price up, it added.Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, research director at Commtrendz, told PTI that by December end gold is expected to touch $1475 an ounce in the international market and Rs. 33,500 per ten gram in India.On June 24, as Brexit (Britain leaving the European Union) became a reality, gold soared by 8.2 percent to touch $1,319 an ounce, and in India it touched Rs. 30,875 per 10 gm, more than Rs. 1000 up from the previous day close. On Monday, it was $1325 an ounce internationally, and Rs. 31,590 per 10 gm in India.In reaction to Brexit, many central banks led by Britain’s Bank of England unleashed liquidity measures. Thiagarajan points out that this would actually put more money into peoples’ hands and again prompt them to look at gold as safety asset against the current global volatilities. As banks bring down their interest rates to keep their economies upbeat, the money will flow towards unproductive dead but safe assets like gold, reported the Business Standard.The daily, citing a World Gold Council report, noted that such monetary easing has already capped the gain in other safe haven assets, thereby increasing the attractiveness of gold.As Britain’s actual exit is expected to be a two year long eventuality, other near-term global actualities like the U.S. presidential election and China’s growing debt are bound to make gold bullish.”Weaker US dollar, which is negatively co-related with gold, is likely to make it an attractive asset class. In the short term, gold may hold at Rs. 31,500-32,500 levels, and in the international markets it is likely to be at $1,400 levels,” Naveen Mathur, associate director of Angel Broking, told PTI.Citing the Shanghai Gold Exchange data, the Business Standard highlighted that the growing appetite for gold in China was evident in the spike in volumes in spot gold trade. It noted that on the Brexit day it increased to 346 tonnes as against the usual 100 tonnes a day in volume.Vandhana Bharti, commodity researcher at SMC Global Securities, while trying to predict a range for gold prices said the upper and lower side for gold in the international market would remain $1440 to $1220 by the year end. “In rupee terms, we are expecting gold to be at Rs. 34,000-35,000 on the upper range and it will not fall below Rs. 28,000,” she added.India, with a strong economy, good monsoonal rains promising a positive consumer benefit and sentiments boosted by festive season, will have reasons aligned to keep its craving for gold jewellery going, and thereby the gold prices.
Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences This image shows a 0.1 x 0.03 inch (2.5 x 0.8 mm) small Drosophila melanogaster fly. Image: Wikimedia Commons (Phys.org) —Researchers from the University of California working with a team at Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Virginia, have discovered how it is that fruit flies are able to lay their eggs in rotting fruit that has just the right amount of ethanol in it to promote healthy young. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how they found clusters of neurons in the adult flies’ brains that responded differently to different levels of ethanol. © 2013 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Alcoholic fly larvae need fix for learning More information: Competing dopamine neurons drive oviposition choice for ethanol in Drosophila, PNAS, Published online before print December 9, 2013, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1320208110AbstractThe neural circuits that mediate behavioral choice evaluate and integrate information from the environment with internal demands and then initiate a behavioral response. Even circuits that support simple decisions remain poorly understood. In Drosophila melanogaster, oviposition on a substrate containing ethanol enhances fitness; however, little is known about the neural mechanisms mediating this important choice behavior. Here, we characterize the neural modulation of this simple choice and show that distinct subsets of dopaminergic neurons compete to either enhance or inhibit egg-laying preference for ethanol-containing food. Moreover, activity in α′β′ neurons of the mushroom body and a subset of ellipsoid body ring neurons (R2) is required for this choice. We propose a model where competing dopaminergic systems modulate oviposition preference to adjust to changes in natural oviposition substrates. Citation: Study unlocks secret of how fruit flies choose fruit with just the right amount of ethanol (2013, December 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-12-secret-fruit-flies-amount-ethanol.html Fruit fllies are notorious for showing up just as fruit begins to rot. Prior research has found they are able to smell the ethanol from a great distance and that the flies both eat the rotting fruit and use it as a repository for their eggs. In this new effort, the researchers have found that the flies are also able to determine the level of ethanol in the fruit and to move on if it’s not just right for the best development of their offspring. Too little ethanol, the researchers report, results in too-heavy offspring that have difficulty flying. Too much ethanol causes a delay in development which reduces their chances of reproducing. The right amount is apparently 5%—about the same as beer.To ascertain if the fruit is right for rearing little ones, the adult female relies on clusters of neurons in its brain, the team found, that actually work against one another. All of the neurons release dopamine, but the types of neurons differ in response to ethanol. One type causes the fly to seek it out, the other to avoid it—or at least too much of it. Thus, one group of neurons cause the mom–to-be to seek out fruit with ethanol in it, while another causes her to keep on moving if the stimulation is too strong. When the level is just right, she lays her eggs.As a follow-up, the research team also traced the path of brain stimulation as ethanol was breathed in. They found that some regions of the brain that responded to stimulation got busy, while at the same time other regions that are believed to be involved in decision-making and memory lit up as well. This suggests that the flies were drawn in by the pleasurable aroma of ethanol, but then used logic to decide if the levels were right for baby-raising.
‘The Changing Mood of the Lotus Pond and Insignificant Incarnations’, a distinctive exhibition of paintings and drawings by A Ramachandran is being organised by Vadehra Art Gallery. The exhibition showcases the artist’s brilliant visual language.Curated by Manisha Gera Baswani, the exhibition will be open for public view until December 2 at the Shridharani Art Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. The seven large paintings of the lotus ponds are a distillation of Ramachandran’s aquatic locations scattered around the Udaipur countryside. Through the decades, the artist has painted several facets of the lotus ponds and each time he has brought to the surface some special aspect of the visual drama offered by the lotus pools. The collection of paintings being shown highlights the life cycle of these beautiful plants. Ramachandran explores their sensuous beauty, their complex forms and perceives them as a subject for displaying his magical mastery over visual language. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIf the paintings of lotus ponds offer an enchanted vision, then the suite of ten drawings, Insignificant Incarnations evokes its own sense of poetry. Ramachandran often uses the same element in the creation of his mythic spaces. These elements include a luxuriant, vegetal world abuzz with insects, birds, animal life, a woman who is the embodiment of an energising life force, fantastic rock formations, a water pot and the artist, who is present as both as an observer and a participant. Even though Ramachandran is a great colourist, his powerful command over lines and his witty, lively, lyrical imagination are so unique that we do not miss his rich play of colours in these drawings. Born in 1935, Ramachandran studied art at Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan. He lives and works in Delhi.
On Friday, DockerHub informed its users of a security breach in its database, via email written by Kent Lamb, Director of Docker Support. The breach exposed sensitive information including some usernames and hashed passwords, as well as tokens for GitHub and Bitbucket repositories, for approximately 190K users. The company said this number is only five percent of DockerHub’s entire user base. Lamb highlighted that the security incident which took place a day prior, i.e. on April 25, where the company discovered unauthorized access to a single Hub database storing a subset of non-financial user data. “For users with autobuilds that may have been impacted, we have revoked GitHub tokens and access keys, and ask that you reconnect to your repositories and check security logs to see if any unexpected actions have taken place,” Lamb said in his email. The GitHub and Bitbucket access tokens stored in Docker Hub allow developers to modify their project’s code and also help in auto building the images on Docker Hub. In cases where a third-party gains access to these tokens would allow them to gain access to code within the private repositories. They can also easily modify it depending on the permissions stored in the token. Misusing these tokens to modify code and deploy compromised images can lead to serious supply-chain attacks as Docker Hub images are commonly utilized in server configurations and applications. “A vast majority of Docker Hub users are employees inside large companies, who may be using their accounts to auto-build containers that they then deploy in live production environments. A user who fails to change his account password and may have their accounts autobuilds modified to include malware”, ZDNet reports. Meanwhile, the company has asked users to change their password on Docker Hub and any other accounts that shared this password. For users with autobuilds that may have been impacted, the company has revoked GitHub tokens and access keys, and asked the users to reconnect to their repositories and check security logs to see if any unexpected actions have taken place. Mentioning DockerHub’s security exposure, a post on Microsoft website mentions, “While initial information led people to believe the hashes of the accounts could lead to image:tags being updated with vulnerabilities, including official and microsoft/ org images, this was not the case. Microsoft has confirmed that the official Microsoft images hosted in Docker Hub have not been compromised.” Docker said that it is enhancing the overall security processes and also that it is still investigating the incident and will share details when available. A user on HackerNews commented, “I find it frustrating that they are not stating when exactly did the breach occur. The message implies that they know, due to the “brief period” claim, but they are not explicitly stating one of the most important facts. No mention in the FAQ either. I’m guessing that they are either not quite certain about the exact timing and duration, or that the brief period was actually embarrassingly long.” To know more about this news, head over to the official DockerHub post. Read Next Hacker destroys Iranian cyber-espionage data; leaks source code of APT34’s hacking tools on Telegram Liz Fong-Jones on how to secure SSH with Two Factor Authentication (2FA) WannaCry hero, Marcus Hutchins pleads guilty to malware charges; may face upto 10 years in prison