Trump’s data pimps kept Facebook info they said was deleted

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, a data-analysis firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, over allegations that it held onto improperly obtained user data after telling Facebook it had deleted the information.

…Facebook said, Cambridge Analytica received user data from a Facebook app that purported to be a psychological research tool, though the firm wasn’t authorized to have that information. Roughly 270,000 people downloaded the app and shared their personal details with it…

Cambridge Analytica later certified in 2015 that it had destroyed the information that it received, according to Facebook, although the social network said it received reports “several days ago” that not all the data was deleted.

❝ While it investigates the matter, Facebook has also suspended the access of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, Strategic Communication Laboratories; the academic who created the app in question, a University of Cambridge psychology professor named Aleksandr Kogan; and another individual, Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, who also allegedly received the user data from the app.

Many big, successful geeky firms pride themselves on high standards, privacy protection. Some are as sleazy as the worst of the creeps populating corporate admin. Going to spend much time online – in a world where the fastest communications and info are Web-dependent – better learn who you should trust and shouldn’t.

VW is tooling up 16 plants to build electric autos by 2022

Click to enlarge

❝ Volkswagen AG secured 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in battery supplies to underpin an aggressive push into electric cars in the coming years, ramping up pressure on Tesla Inc. as it struggles with production issues for the mainstream Model 3.

The world’s largest carmaker will equip 16 factories to produce electric vehicles by the end of 2022, compared with three currently, Volkswagen said Tuesday in Berlin. The German manufacturer’s plans to build as many as 3 million of the cars a year by 2025 is backstopped by deals with suppliers including Samsung SDI Co., LG Chem Ltd. and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. for batteries in Europe and China.

❝ With the powerpack deliveries secured for its two biggest markets, a deal for North America will follow shortly, Volkswagen said. In total, the Wolfsburg-based automaker has said it plans to purchase about 50 billion euros in batteries as part of its electric-car push, which includes three new models in 2018 with dozens more following.

Can’t happen soon enough for me. We haven’t even narrowed down style for the next new car in our household. Leaders on spec right now are the Tesla pickup and the VW Mini-Micro. Electric-only folks.

Apple Watch sales beats entire Swiss watch industry in Q4

More Apple Watches shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017 than the entire Swiss watch industry, a report claims, showing the Apple-produced wearable device is still growing in popularity, though analysis also indicates the Apple Watch still has some way to go before it can outpace Swiss watches on an annual basis…

❝ The chart reveals the Apple Watch shipped an estimated 8 million units during the fourth quarter of 2017, more than the 6.8 million Swiss watch shipments over the same period. It is also noted that the Apple Watch saw a year-on-year increase of 2 million shipments, representing growth of 33 percent, while Swiss shipments slightly contracted from 7 million in Q4 2016.

Across the entire year, Swiss watches continue to outsell the Apple Watch by a wide margin.

Guess the Swiss really aren’t supposed to worry, eh?

Suicide is More Common in High-Altitude Counties

❝ Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. In the next 20 years, it’s expected to cause more than 2 million deaths per year worldwide, ranking 14th in the world as a cause of death.

❝ There are many factors known to affect an individual’s risk for suicide. For example, people who are older, male, white, divorced, low-income, isolated or who abuse substances are all at higher risk. Psychiatric illness, mood disorders and lack of social support are also recognized risk factors.

Several studies have demonstrated geographic variations in suicide patterns in the U.S., with higher suicide rates in western states. Our ongoing research expands on those findings, showing that Americans who live in higher-altitude counties are at a higher risk for suicide…

❝ Previous studies have reported a significant association between suicide and altitude. One study showed a strong positive relationship between average state altitude and suicide rate. For example, in Utah, the average geographic altitude is about 6,000 feet, and the rate of suicide is 70 percent higher than average.

The article opens many interesting avenues of research, especially into hypoxia.

I live in a valley which lies at 6300′ altitude. The nearby city of Santa Fe is at 7000′. And the first thing that comes to my mind is hypoxia, of course. As a sleep apnea “sufferer” who hardly ever suffers, blood oxygen saturation is a problem easily solved. CPAP machines get cheaper and quieter every year. If you’re an old geek like me, you’re already on Medicaid + Medigap. And like, me, you sleep fine waking up refreshed by a slightly compressed feed of bedroom air pressed into your lungs.

It’s just another market for tech solutions, folks. No need to stay away or add another worry to your life. Just need the feds to authorize the prescription.

Trump’s “model American manufacturer” – Harley-Davidson – closing Kansas City plant

Chicago Tribune

❝ A deepening slump in U.S. motorcycle demand is spurring more job cuts and a plant closure at Harley-Davidson Inc., a company President Donald Trump has cast as a model American manufacturer.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker will close its factory in Kansas City, Missouri, and consolidate production in York, Pennsylvania…The restructuring will eliminate about 260 U.S. jobs, Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich said on a conference call. Trump praised the company last year as a “great example” of a business creating jobs and building factories in the country.

In closing the Kansas City plant, Harley will eliminate about 800 jobs; it will add 450 in York, a mix of full-time, part-time and contract positions.

❝ “They didn’t even give us a call ahead of time,” Joe Capra, directing business agent for Local 778 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers…“It is real devastation for these people who work here and work hard in the Kansas City area.”

Dunno if their problems are intrinsic to quality control or not. Since one of their biggest competitors in the Hog market – Polaris’ Victory – is shutting down, too, I expect their design team is simply as out of date as Trump.

Know any politicians who’ve noticed China becoming a global innovator?

❝ China has achieved much since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping initiated the transition to a market economy. In terms of headline economic progress, the pace of China’s transformation over the past 40 years is unprecedented. The country’s GDP grew by nearly 10 percent per year on average, while reshaping global trade patterns and becoming the second-largest economy in the world. This success lifted 800 million people out of poverty, and the mortality rate of children under five years old was halved between 2006 and 2015.

The question now is whether China, well positioned to become the world’s innovation leader, will realize that opportunity in 2018 — or soon after

❝ Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook declared that, “China stopped being a low-labor-cost country many years ago, and that is not the reason to come to China.” The country’s manufacturing strengths now lie in its advanced production know-how and strong supply-chain networks. Understandably, China’s leadership wants to increase productivity and continue to move further up the value chain.

I suggest you read the article. Even though your representatives in Congress will (1) probably act surprised by this and (2) stamp their little feet in anger and fear – fact remains that international trade usually is a cooperative affair and the political maundering is only for that telenovela called electoral politics.

Extinct cave lion cub in perfect condition found in Siberia

❝ The pre-historic animal was found in permafrost on the bank of Tirekhtykh River of the Abyisky district of Yakutia by a local resident Boris Berezhnov.

Excited scientists unveiled the discovery – its facial features clearly visible – in Yakutsk…

❝ The animal was aged around one and a half to two months old when it perished. It is not yet clear whether the cub was male or female.

Expert Dr Albert Protopopov said: ‘It is a perfectly preserved lion cub, all the limbs have survived. There are no traces of external injuries on the skin.’

❝ The preservation is so good that it raises hopes of cloning the species back to life, he said.

RTFA. Terrific photographs. The concept appears to be realistic – but, only research and investigation will tell.

Chandra Gives Us the Elementary Nature of Cassiopeia A

❝ Where do most of the elements essential for life on Earth come from? The answer: inside the furnaces of stars and the explosions that mark the end of some stars’ lives.

❝ X-ray telescopes such as Chandra are important to study supernova remnants and the elements they produce because these events generate extremely high temperatures — millions of degrees — even thousands of years after the explosion. This means that many supernova remnants, including Cas A, glow most strongly at X-ray wavelengths that are undetectable with other types of telescopes.