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Japan’s doing to Samsung what the US did to Huawei. But why?

Global Development Quartz

The roots of this spat go back to World War II.
'Japan and South Korea, two of the US’s closest allies in Asia, are locked in a trade dispute that threatens both crown jewel Samsung Electronics and the global smartphone supply chain. On July 1, citing national security concerns, Japan placed restrictions on exports to South Korea of three chemical materials crucial for the manufacture of semiconductors and screens used in smartphones and televisions. That poses a huge headache for companies like Samsung, SK Hynix and LG Display, which rely heavily on Japan, the most important source for the chemicals globally. Tokyo’s official statement said that some South Korean companies weren’t properly managing the chemicals, while a Japanese report said some supplies may have ended up with North Korea. Seoul disputes that, and says it has enforced trade restrictions on sensitive materials and on North Korea. The dispute could escalate next week, when Japan is due to make an announcement on whether it’s removing South Korea from a list of the country’s preferred trading partners , which would require Japanese firms to obtain additional export verifications on hundreds of products before selling them to Korean companies. The US has said it has no plans to mediate between its two allies , vital to its aims of balancing China and addressing the threat from North Korea, and called for them to “sit down and talk.” But bilateral talks have failed to yield progress and yesterday (July 16) Seoul rejected Tokyo’s proposal of third-party arbitration. So now that South Korea and Japan ain't friends at the mo and there's an active boycott of all things Japanese/travel to Japan in reaction to trade spat, even Kyobo Bookstore is adding little Taegukgi flags on stationary to indicate country of origin. https://t.co/g2xD8E1pEO — Raphael Rashid (@koryodynasty) July 15, 2019 In the short term, Japan’s move hasn’t hurt the companies’ share prices—in fact investors are hopeful the spat could reduce the oversupply of chips (paywall) that has been driving down chip prices and earnings for Samsung and others. Since the companies have some inventory of the materials on hand, it could take a few months for the impact on customers of South Korean chips and screens, such as Apple and Huawei, to become clearer. Japan’s actions parallel US moves to restrict Huawei’s access to its supply chain, by blocking American companies from doing business with the Chinese smartphone and telecom equipment maker in May, also citing national security concerns. That move was relaxed (paywall) after presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the G20 summit hosted by Japan, and agreed to restart trade talks to address their tensions. The roots of this spat, though, are far older than the US-China economic rivalry or security concerns, and the relationship between Korea and Japan is a complex one, weighed down by their 20th century history. South Korea’s rancor relating to the occupation by Japan from 1910-1945, and wartime oppression that included forcing Koreans into prostitution and to work in factories in Japan, remains deep, and many feel Japan hasn’t atoned enough for the past. Those wounds fester in spite of contemporary ties that have seen Korean TV shows, pop stars, and beauty trends become hugely popular in Japan, while Korea sends the most tourists to Japan , after China. Relations have spiraled downward since a South Korean Supreme Court ruling last year ordering Nippon Steel, Japan’s largest steelmaker, to pay nearly $90,000 to a surviving worker, and to the families of three other Koreans forced into labor during World War II. Other judgments against Japanese companies for forced labor claims have followed, and more cases are in South Korean courts. Tokyo’s stance is that the issue of compensation was addressed with a 1965 treaty that normalized the relationship between the two countries, and saw Japan give hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and loans. A notice at a Seoul store urges shoppers to boycott Japanese products. Then, Japan Times, the oldest English-language newspaper in the country, sparked outrage late last year when it announced it would replace the term of “forced labour” with “wartime laborers,” a move that critics say aligns the paper with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s agenda of reshaping wartime history. South Korean president Moon Jae-in has described the situation as “ an unprecedented emergency, ” and though South Korean companies say they are looking for alternate supplies, the two countries’ technology sectors are closely intertwined. “I am unsure how Korea will be able to replace Japan’s inputs for their finished products,” said Bryan Mercurio, an expert on international trade law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “Likewise, I can’t see an easy export replacement for Japanese products, and do not believe domestic companies will be able to absorb all the components.”'

The families of fallen Chinese officials and oligarchs are taking to Twitter to seek justice

Global Development Quartz

Some are calling it a new form of 'petitioning,' an ancient Chinese practice where aggrieved citizens skirt the legal system to appeal directly to their leaders.
'Petitioning is an ancient practice in China where ordinary citizens who believe they cannot get justice through the legal system travel to the capital in the hopes of appealing directly to the emperor or leader. Now, members of China’s elite are adopting the tradition to to seek justice on an unlikely platform—Twitter. In recent months, the families or allies of fallen giants such as Wu Xiaohui , the former chairman of insurance giant Anbang Group who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud last year, and Zhou Yongkang, the former security czar who was charged with corruption in 2015, have aired their grievances on the social network, which is blocked in China. It’s a rare show of defiance from China’s privileged class, long seen to be immune from the sorts of injustices that afflict ordinary citizens because of their close connections to the government. However, since president Xi Jinping launched an aggressive campaign to root out corruption in the Communist party—seen by many as a way for him to purge enemies—China’s elite increasingly believe that their privilege does not offer them the same protections as it once did. One example is a user claiming to be the mother of the former Anbang boss. “Where is justice?” says the account’s bio. The account details how authorities have repeatedly barred her and lawyers from visiting Wu since he was imprisoned in a Shanghai jail last May. 24次拒绝安邦吴小晖律师会见和家属探监,究竟是为什么 ? https://t.co/GzHjDJXK7u pic.twitter.com/Ssh816V7Cv — 安邦吴小晖母亲 (@ABlinxiangmei) July 11, 2019 “Who is preventing a mother from meeting her son? This is a crying petition from a mother weeping blood!” said one tweet posted on July 7. 谁在阻挡我们母子俩见面?——一位母亲的泣血哀告! https://t.co/AAVOuiyqLt — 安邦吴小晖母亲 (@ABlinxiangmei) July 7, 2019 Wu, whose third marriage was with Deng Zhuorui, the granddaughter of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, was at one point the symbol of ultimate power and wealth in China. Under his leadership, Anbang transformed from a small car insurance business to a giant conglomerate with more than $300 billion in assets and ambitious overseas acquisitions including New York’s Waldorf Astoria . Yaxue Cao, founder of US-based human rights advocacy group China Change, called Twitter the “new petition bureau for fallen members of China’s privileged class.” “Where have they taken my son?” Twitter is becoming the new petition bureau for the fallen members of China’s privileged class: welcome mother of ex-son-in-law of Deng Xiaoping’s granddaughter. It’s the embattled human rights lawyers who are taking risk to help them. https://t.co/wqEIzBQIPi — Yaxue Cao (@YaxueCao) July 9, 2019 Neither the Twitter account purporting to be Wu’s mother nor a lawyer hired by Wu’s family to defend him replied to requests for comment from Quartz. Before venturing onto Twitter, Chinese citizens used Weibo, the country’s largest social network, to vent injustices. So many ordinary citizens were treating Weibo as a “petition bureau” to discuss mistreatment by the government that it gave birth to a new term called “ Weibo Governance ” (link in Chinese). But Weibo, like almost all other corners of the Chinese internet, has been subjected to increasingly tight censorship in recent years, making petitioning on the platform almost impossible. That’s forcing some people to use Twitter instead. The network, though unavailable inside China without the use of a virtual private network (VPN), provides “petitioners” with exposure to international media as well as a more readily receptive audience. Yaqiu Wang, a Chinese researcher with advocacy group Human Rights Watch, said that people who are already active on Twitter include “Chinese activists, writers, and human rights lawyers as well as non-Chinese scholars and journalists” who are “more likely to speak up for those who have fallen victim to China’s opaque and abusive justice system.” In the case of Zhou Yongkang—who is the most senior Chinese official to be prosecuted for graft in decades—his daughter-in-law, Huang Wan, has taken to Twitter to voice her complaints about not being able to leave China as an American citizen. Huang has been placed under an exit ban (paywall) by Beijing due to an ongoing legal dispute about a lease, according to China’s foreign ministry. Huang’s husband Zhou Bin was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2016 for taking bribes, and his stepmother—Zhou Yongkang’s second wife—was also given a prison sentence. Huang did not reply to a request for comment. “I would like to apologize to all the citizens who suffered unfair treatment under Zhou Yongkang,” Huang wrote in a tweet in February. “I know how many obstacles there must be during the process of petitioning your grievances, and now I’ve also embarked on such a journey. Please, to all Chinese officials, do you think your’ve got greater power than what Zhou had back then? Even he could not protect his family, so how can you protect yours if similar things happen to you?” 我作为周永康的家属,我要对所有在周永康执掌政法委期间遭受不公平待遇的公民说声道歉,你们维权的路上异常艰难,我也踏上了这条路。我呼吁所有中国在职的官员,你们想一想,你们的官位是否能大过周永康,他尚且无法保护家人,有一天轮到你们的时候能保护吗?法制的健全和执行才能保护所有公民的权利! — Wan Huang (@WanHuang2) February 1, 2019'

Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial protesters are crowdfunding everything from doctors to legal fees

Global Development Quartz

They've pooled millions of Hong Kong dollars and a broad range of expertise to support the movement.
'As Hong Kong enters its seventh week of protests, all signs are pointing to a long summer of demonstrations ahead. They’ll be sustained not only by the protesters’ unflagging energy, but also by the large amounts of money that people are donating to keep the movement going. Across the city, all sorts of grassroots initiatives have popped up to support the protests in different ways—including raising funds for lawyers to represent arrested protesters and to pay medical bills (link in Chinese), or to fund research and publicity—with people who may previously never have attended a protest tapping into their respective fields of expertise to help in their own small ways. “There are a lot of creative ways to support the movement,” said L., a co-founder of HKProtect , a website selling protective gear to protesters, who didn’t want to be identified. “Everyone is using their profession to contribute,” he said, noting that architects have drawn up floor plans of protest sites with escape routes clearly marked, and graphic designers have created countless posters. The protests began in opposition to a reviled extradition bill that would have made it possible to extradite suspects to mainland China to face trial. After the bill was suspended on June 15, they have broadened to encompass growing fears over Hong Kong’s autonomy from China, and longstanding grievances over the lack of electoral democracy . L. and four other friends, all of whom work full-time jobs, decided to launch HKProtect after seeing demonstrators endure tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons from police during protests on June 12—the day lawmakers were supposed to meet to move the bill forward. They poured in HK$100,000 ($12,800) from their own pockets, and got the business up and running within two weeks. While they sell the goods at a small markup to cover storage costs, they have since broken even and plan on donating gear to upcoming protests, L. said, adding that all their products are defensive in nature: “We don’t support violence, but we want to provide the necessary equipment so that protesters can get out, escape, and stay safe.” HKProtect stocks protective gear for protesters. According to L., a co-founder, the products are more robust than those found in neighborhood stores. A recent post on a local online forum captured the spirit animating the donations: “There is no lawsuit that cannot be won, only lawyers who cannot be afforded. There is no injury that cannot be cured, only medical fees that cannot be afforded,” it read in part (link in Chinese), urging people to give. “What Hong Kongers have the most of is money, and money can buy justice.” Already, several crowdfunding campaigns launched on sites like GoGetFunding since the wave of protests began in early June have blown past records within days, sometimes within mere hours. A fund set up soon after the June 12 demonstrations raised more than HK$1.2 million ($153,000) within days for medical, legal, and psychological assistance to protesters. Crowdfunded money is going toward covering medical fees for injured protesters as some have come to distrust the city’s public hospitals after it was revealed that a loophole in the government-run Hospital Authority’s data management system could have allowed police to access patient information . Police arrested several protesters as they were in hospital receiving medical treatment, raising suspicions that the Hospital Authority was leaking data to law enforcement officers —an accusation that the authority has denied . Still, in a bid to safeguard injured protesters’ confidentiality, groups were set up to help protesters sidestep the public medical system by directing them to private clinics. [2006 HKT] If you would like to seek help from private clinics instead of going to a public hospital, please contact @angelhelp on Telegram. They have doctors from Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology and Psychology. Don't worry about the cost for now, it has been taken care of. — antiELAB (@anti_elab) July 1, 2019 A crowdfunding campaign that launched in late June to raise money to take out full-page advertisements in international newspapers around the world ahead of the G20 summit amassed HK$5.5 million in a single morning, and ads were eventually placed in 19 publications around the world , including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Guardian. The world is watching our #antiELAB movement! During Day 1 of #G20 Osaka Summit, we reached out to all North American readers in @washingtonpost @NYTimes and @globeandmail with our #FreedomHK open letter! pic.twitter.com/zGvnCLBOZo — Freedom HK (@FreedomHKG) June 29, 2019 “Hongkongers don’t pull any punches when it comes to money,” said Crystal Tong, a 25-year-old student who donated to the advertising campaign. Other crowdfunding campaigns established in recent weeks include one from the Hong Kong Journalists Association in support of press freedom, amid reports of police misconduct against journalists during the recent protests. It has raised over HK$2.4 million as of today (July 17), just two days after its launch. A crowdfunding campaign set up by the Hong Kong Journalists Association to provide financial assistance to any member of the press in Hong Kong. Another, set up by a nonprofit organization co-founded by former top Hong Kong official Anson Chan, hopes to raise HK$1 million to fund a study of the extradition bill controversy. Separately, the newly established Public Opinion Research Institute , which conducts regular polls on a range of issues like democracy, identity, and approval ratings of public officials, has raised more than HK$4.1 million since beginning operations in May. “We talk about climbing mountains together, and I want to do my part,” said S., another co-founder of HKProtect, the online store selling protective gear. She describes herself as moderate and pro-democracy, and said that she rarely ever took part in marches. But seeing the police beat up young protesters on June 12 made her want to help, even if she wasn’t on the frontlines herself. “The power of the small and many, when collected together, is formidable.”'

“Mad Scientist” Mom Turns Autistic Son Into a “Cyborg”

Global Development Futurism

Theoretical neuroscientist Vivienne Ming has focused her professional career on exploring ways to use tech to maximize human potential — but in a fascinating new Quartz story, she details the time she channeled her inner “mad scientist” for a
'Engineered Superpower Theoretical neuroscientist Vivienne Ming has focused her professional career on exploring ways to use tech to maximize human potential — but in a fascinating new Quartz   essay , she details how she has also channeled her inner “mad scientist” for an intensely personal reason.According to Ming, after her son was diagnosed with autism, she put her expertise to work to build a face- and expression-recognition system for Google Glass designed to interpret others’ facial expressions in real-time.That’s a skill most neurotypical people are born with, but that may seem like a “superpower” to someone with autism — and in her Quartz piece, Ming raises provocative questions about the impact the tech has had on her son’s humanity. “I’ve chosen to turn my son into a cyborg and change the definition of what it means to be human,” she wrote. “But do my son’s engineered superpowers make him more human, or less?” Cyborgs Among Us There’s no question that using tech to augment human biology is no longer some sci-fi fantasy — today, people with cochlear implants , bionic eyes , and mind-controlled prosthetic limbs walk among us.Those devices may differ wildly in their specific purposes, but in general, they all work toward the same goal: make someone who’s “different” more like the average human.The system Ming built for her son falls into this same category.But what happens when we use neuroprosthetics not to level the playing field, so to speak, but to start putting some people on a higher plane?What happens when tech that makes people arguably better than the average human is widely available?Designer Humans Ming wrestles with that question in her Quartz piece, and the conclusion she reaches isn’t particularly encouraging. “In theory, anyone might have access to new neurotechnologies,” Ming writes. “But in reality, those most able to take advantage of them are likely to be the ones who need them the least.” In other words, the first people to have access to the latest cyborg tech will likely be those who can afford it, leading Ming to conclude that augmentation could “become a tool to entrench inequality even more firmly.” Add in the very real possibility that those same economically privileged humans will soon be able to give their offspring a biological advantage before they’re even born thanks to gene-editing tech , and it’s hard to imagine a future in which technology doesn’t create a wider chasm between the haves and the have nots.Avoiding Dystopia Essentially, by the time Ming asks readers “What happens when we all want to become superhuman?” in the final line of the Quartz piece, she’s already shared her answer to the question — and it ain’t pretty.Of course, global institutions could —and, some experts argue, should — regulate the use of these superpower-granting technologies, designing rules that ensure we all benefit from them equally.But it’ll be far easier to tell people they can’t enhance themselves or their offspring before the ability to do so is widely available  — and given the pace the tech is advancing, the window for putting those regulations in place is closing.Fast.READ MORE: Why I’m turning my son into a cyborg [ Quartz ] More on cyborgs: The Cyborgs Are Here: Researchers Put Living Cells In A Robotic Finger . The post “Mad Scientist” Mom Turns Autistic Son Into a “Cyborg” appeared first on Futurism .'

Native Hawaiians Protest at New Observatory’s Construction Site

Global Development Futurism

Hundreds of Hawaiian protesters blocked construction vehicles from beginning work on the Thirty Meter Telescope, an observatory expected to be built on the summit of Mauna Kea, a culturally-significant volcanic peak.
'Peaceful Demonstration Hundreds of Hawaiian protesters blocked construction vehicles from commencing work on the Thirty Meter Telescope , an observatory expected to be built on the summit of Mauna Kea, a culturally-significant volcanic peak.The Hawaiian Supreme Court approved the plan in an October ruling and the observatory has all its permits in order, per NBC . But activist leaders at Monday’s protest told the Associated Press  they’re prepared for a “prolonged struggle” against the project.It’s a harrowing reminder that scientific progress and cultural values can sometimes stand in stark opposition to each other.Getting Crowded The Thirty Meter Telescope would be the largest visible-light telescope in the world and would be used in the hunt for more exoplanets . Mauna Kea’s peak would provide a clear view of space with little obstruction from clouds or light pollution, according to the AP . The view is so good that roughly a dozen other telescopes are already there. “Located above approximately 40 percent of Earth’s atmosphere, [Mauna Kea] has a climate that is particularly stable, dry, and cold; all of which are important characteristics for capturing the sharpest images and producing the best science,” reads a TMT International Observatory statement reviewed by NPR . At What Cost The nonviolent protesters blocked construction vehicles from reaching the site for the planned groundbreaking in order to protect the volcano’s religious altars and burial grounds, according to NPR . “It was a test of our fortitude,” activist Walter Ritte told the AP. “This mountain is like our last stand.” READ MORE: Hawaii protesters vow ‘prolonged struggle’ against telescope [ The Associated Press ] More on the observatory: The Latest Super Telescopes Will Let You See Space Like Never Before . The post Native Hawaiians Protest at New Observatory’s Construction Site appeared first on Futurism .'

Scientists Spot Distant Gas Giant Still Forming New Moons

Global Development Futurism

For the first time, astronomers caught a glimpse of a distant gas giant planet that’s in process of forming new moons.
'Gassy Boy For the first time, astronomers have caught a glimpse of a distant gas giant planet in process of forming new moons.The planet, located 370 light-years away in the PDS 70 star system, is currently creating new moons out of a ring of dust and gas trapped in orbit around it — the same mechanism through which Jupiter is thought to have formed its moons, according to research published last week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters . Seeing the process happen in real-time could help scientists understand how our own solar system came to be.Taking Shape Most circumplanetary disks, as those dusty rings are formally known, disappear within 10 million years, per a Rice University press release on the finding.That means that our chances to study those that probably formed our solar system’s gas giants and their moons are long gone.But Rice University astronomers using the ALMA telescope in Chile are making up for lost time by analyzing the newly forming planets and their infant moons. “There’s much that we don’t understand about how planets form,” Rice astronomer Andrea Isella said in the press release, “and we now finally have the instruments to make direct observations and begin answering questions about how our solar system formed and how other planets might form.” READ MORE: Moon-forming disk discovered around distant planet [Rice University via Phys.org ] More on gas giant planets: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is Dying . The post Scientists Spot Distant Gas Giant Still Forming New Moons appeared first on Futurism .'

Grimes Uses Deprivation Tank to “Astro-Glide to Other Dimensions”

Global Development Futurism


'She Appreciates Power In a post uploaded to her Instagram account, Grimes elaborated on her extremely unusual training regiment — and it’s straight out of a bad science fiction novel.The Canadian pop star takes a bunch of supplements — and also reportedly spends two to four hours in her deprivation tank to allow her to “‘astro-glide’ to other dimensions — past, present, and future.” View this post on Instagram ADIDAS: Tell us about ur training regiment ? GRIMES: My training is a 360 approach.I first maintain a healthy cellular routine where I maximize the function of my mitochondria with supplements such as NAD+, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Magnesium, etc.This helps promote ATP and it’s incredibly visceral.From that point I spend 2-4 hours in my deprivation tank, this allows me to “astro-glide” to other dimensions – past, present, and future.In the afternoons I do a 1-2 hour sword fighting session with my trainer, James Lew, we go over the fundamentals that work the obliques, core stabilizes, and triceps as well as a few tricks.To wind down from this I spend 30-45 minutes on an inclined hike at roughly 4-4.5 miles per hour, arguably the most efficient workout.I then spend 45 minutes stretching before heading into the studio where my mind and body are functioning at peak level, with a neuroplastic goal between 57.5 and 71.5 AphC’s (which is my preferred range for my blood type). I’ve outfitted my studio with the highest grade of red light.It is pretty much 1000 sqf IR Sauna.Hana then comes over and we do a screaming session for 20-25 minutes while I slow boil the honey tea that maximizes vocal proficiency.I have also eliminated all blue light from my vision through an experimental surgery that removes the top film of my eyeball and replaces it with an orange ultra-flex polymer that my friend and I made in the lab this past winter as a means to cure seasonal depression.I go to bed with a humidifier on. #asmc #adidasparley #createdwithadidas #gentrifymordor A post shared by MISS ANTHROPOCENE (@grimes) on Jul 15, 2019 at 4:33pm PDT Pilled to the Gills “I first maintain a healthy cellular routine where I maximize the function of my mitochondria with supplements such as NAD+, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Magnesium, etc.,” she wrote in the caption of an image showing her wearing Adidas’ latest footwear offering.Those obscure supplements are an effort to “promote ATP” — the primary energy carrier inside living cells.The jury is still out whether it’s a worthwhile habit.Studies have shown that doing exactly that could have positive effects on cognitive function, while other studies didn’t notice any positive effects at all.Orange Vision Grimes doesn’t even shy away from body modification.According to the post, she “eliminated all blue light from my vision through an experimental surgery that removes the top film of my eyeball and replaces it with an orange ultra-flex polymer.” The surgery allegedly is meant to “cure seasonal depression.” Her preferred choice of sport is sword fighting of course — one to two hours in the afternoon.Whether we should take her by her word is not entirely certain.Her post includes the hashtag #GentrifyMordor after all — perhaps a reference to her Gollum-like stance.READ MORE: We Appreciate Wellness: A Breakdown of Grimes’ Bonkers Fitness Routine [ Rolling Stone ] More on Grimes: Tesla Investors May Subpoena Grimes and Others over Musk’s Tweets . The post Grimes Uses Deprivation Tank to “Astro-Glide to Other Dimensions” appeared first on Futurism .'

Will There Be a 'Big Little Lies' Season 3? Here's What HBO Had to Say

Global Development SheKnows

With the season 2 finale rapidly approaching (this Sunday!), fans are more anxious than ever to find out if there will even be a Big Little Lies season 3. The future of this favorite Monterey mama drama has been murky at best, thanks largely to the
'With the season 2 finale rapidly approaching (this Sunday!), fans are more anxious than ever to find out if there will even be a  Big Little Lies season 3 . The future of this favorite Monterey mama drama has been murky at best, thanks largely to the fact it was originally planned as a one-and-done miniseries. But since it beat the odds and got a second installment, there’s still hope for another, right? Well, according to HBO president Casey Bloys, probably not. Before you start blasting HBO’s Twitter feed with angry face emojis, consider this: Bloys seems to have the stars’ best interest at heart. As reported by People, Bloys addressed a possible third season with TVLine earlier this year. “I love this group of people — I would do anything with them,” the HBO exec said of series stars Reese Witherspoon , Nicole Kidman , Shailene Woodley , Meryl Streep, Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern . “But the reality is, they are some of the busiest actresses working in Hollywood. We have deals with some of them — Nicole is doing her next show [The Undoing] with us. I just think it’s not realistic.” Welp, that’s that. Or, is it? Bloys did joke that there’s always a chance. “Look, if they all came to me and said, ‘We worked out all of our schedules!’ — then sure. But I just don’t think it’s realistic,” he said, adding, “Season 2 was a chance for everyone involved to end [the franchise] in a way that feels satisfying.” GIF: HBO/Giphy . As for how satisfying it will feel to fans, that remains to be seen. With the public opinion hanging on this week’s finale , it seems like the general consensus could go either way. There are still a lot of loose ends that need to be addressed for it to feel like every arc has come to its natural and satisfying conclusion, if you ask us. Some part of us has been hoping BLL is holding onto a few storylines in the event there is a third season. Still, it’s probably best in this scenario to expect the worst but hope for the best. When show writer David E. Kelley insisted at the Television Critics Association tour earlier in the year that season 2 “will probably be it,” the stars served him a friendly reminder. “That’s what you said last time!” Kidman exclaimed, with Witherspoon chiming in, “Yeah, you sat there and said the same thing!” Plus, Kidman pointed out that — although they don’t currently have plans for a third season — season 2 happened primarily due to “enormous demand from the audience.” So, what’s to say that won’t happen once more? Stay tuned, fandom.'

Uber and Lyft paid drivers to protest the bill that could make them employees

Global Development Quartz

A California bill could mean major changes for gig-economy employers.
'Gig companies are feeling the heat. A bill in California that has already passed the state assembly could make it harder for companies like Uber to classify their workers as independent contractors. That change could destroy the business models of these companies, which rely on contractors to supply on-demand labor for their services. Uber and Lyft have already encouraged drivers to contact their legislators to oppose the bill, via in-app messages and even a petition. In a sign that the issue is escalating, the ride-hail companies also paid drivers last week to protest the bill, known as AB5, in Sacramento. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that drivers who attended the July 9 rally in Sacramento were promised $25 to $100 to cover their “travel, parking, and time,” to be paid within five days of the event. The money came from the I’m Independent Coalition—a group funded by the California Chamber of Commerce, several other professional and trade groups, as well as companies—which also helped organize the rally, according to the paper. The coalition confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that it paid gig workers including Uber and Lyft drivers up to $100 toward travel and expenses to appear at the rally. Separate from the coalition’s payments, Uber offered drivers a $15 lunch voucher via an in-app notification. Lyft offered to chip in $25 toward parking costs if needed, a company spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times. Gig companies have warned workers they would lose the flexibility they are used to if AB5 is signed into law, and likely render many of them employees. In June, the top executives of Uber and Lyft published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle noting that drivers say they choose Uber and Lyft for the flexibility. The op-ed contrasted the “freedom and flexibility” of gig work (in this case, ride-hailing) to the “forced schedules and rigid hourly shifts of traditional employment.” On the other hand, were gig workers found to be employees, they would be eligible for job protections reserved for traditional employees, like a minimum wage and unemployment insurance. They would also be able to form a union, a right not granted to contractors, though companies seem to have no trouble organizing collective action by gig workers on their behalf.'

New Hubble Data Breaks Scientists’ Understanding of the Universe

Global Development Futurism

There may be fundamental flaws with our understanding of the universe.The problem came to light as scientists tried to calculate and measure a value called the Hubble Constant, which represents how rapidly the universe is expanding outward.The value
'There may be fundamental flaws with our understanding of the universe.The problem came to light as scientists tried to calculate and measure a value called the Hubble Constant, which represents how rapidly the universe is expanding outward.The value was first calculated by astronomer Edwin Hubble in the 1920s.But since then, astronomers observing and measuring the universe’s expansion have arrived at different values of the Hubble Constant, none of which seem to agree with one another.The discrepancy calls into question not only our idea of how old the universe is, but also our ability to fundamentally understand the physics that drive its behavior. “Naturally, questions arise as to whether the discrepancy is coming from some aspect that astronomers don’t yet understand about the stars we’re measuring, or whether our cosmological model of the universe is still incomplete,” University of Chicago astronomer Wendy Freedman said in a NASA press release . “Or maybe both need to be improved upon.” Freedman is responsible for the latest measurement of the Hubble Constant, which she calculated using a different kind of cosmic landmark from previous experiments.Her team measured the brightness of red giant stars in distant galaxies.Because these stars reach uniform size and brightness, their distance from Earth can more readily be calculated than some other stars.Freedman’s work, which has been accepted but not yet published by The Astrophysical Journal , found that the universe is expanding at 69.8 kilometers per second per megaparsec, per the press release.That’s a slower rate of expansion than was calculated in another recent study that focused on a different kind of star but a faster rate than was calculated in yet another study that measured light leftover from the big bang called the Cosmic Microwave Background.Freedman originally hoped her research would serve as a tie-breaker between those other two studies — but instead it added yet another, possible value for the Hubble Constant for astronomers to reconcile. “The Hubble constant is the cosmological parameter that sets the absolute scale, size and age of the universe; it is one of the most direct ways we have of quantifying how the universe evolves,” Freedman said in the press release. “The discrepancy that we saw before has not gone away, but this new evidence suggests that the jury is still out on whether there is an immediate and compelling reason to believe that there is something fundamentally flawed in our current model of the universe.” Further complicating the issue, statistical analysis validates both of those two previous studies, according to a New Scientist article published last week, before Freedman’s study was announced.There’s just a one-in-3.5 million chance that their findings came from random chance.In the middle of the next decade, NASA hopes to launch the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope into orbit, at which point scientists will be able to more precisely measure the distance of celestial objects, per the press release.When that happens, there’s a chance that astronomers will be able to reconcile their various Hubble Constant values. “The Hubble constant is the biggest problem in cosmology that we have access to right now, and the hope is that this crack in our understanding is going to lead us to some even bigger cracks like dark energy and dark matter,” Duke University astronomer Daniel Scolnic told New Scientist. “ We just have to chase the crack.” READ MORE: NEW HUBBLE CONSTANT MEASUREMENT ADDS TO MYSTERY OF UNIVERSE’S EXPANSION RATE [NASA] More on the Hubble Constant: Figuring out How Fast the Universe Is Expanding Might Require a New Type of Physics . The post New Hubble Data Breaks Scientists’ Understanding of the Universe appeared first on Futurism .'

Congress to DoD: Are Disease-Carrying Insects Escaped Bioweapons?

Global Development Futurism

If the military wants its money, it may have to answer some questions about bugs first.On July 11, the U.S.
'Insidious Insects If the military wants its money, it may have to answer some questions about bugs first.Before the U.S.House of Representatives approved the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill on July 12, it added an amendment that would force the Department of Defense inspector general to investigate whether the military experimented with weaponizing ticks and other insects between 1950 and 1975 — and then released the critters into the wild.Oops, I Released the Bioweapons According to a new Roll Call story , if the DoD’s oversight agency finds that the military did conduct these experiments, it must deliver a report on them to the House and Senate Armed Services committees.That report must note “whether any ticks or insects used in such experiments were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design.” The Senate’s version of the bill doesn’t include this provision, so it’ll be up to House and Senate negotiators to decide whether or not to include it in the final draft that goes to President Donald Trump for approval.Growing Threat Rumors that the military may have infected insects with diseases to test their potential as bioweapons have circulated for years . However, a recently published book has brought new attention to them — and given the growing threat of tick-born diseases in the U.S., there’s really no better time than the present to find out the truth, especially if it could help combat the spread of the diseases.As Lyme Disease Association President Pat Smith told Roll Call , “We need answers and we need them now.” READ MORE: House orders Pentagon to say if it weaponized ticks and released them [ Roll Call ] More on bioweapons: Synthetic Biological Weapons May Be Coming.Here’s How To Fight Them. . The post Congress to DoD: Are Disease-Carrying Insects Escaped Bioweapons? appeared first on Futurism .'