Apologies for the absence, folks

Blame the usual villain in Northern New Mexico communications. Xfinity…still, best known as Comcrap.

Yesterday, they attempted a brief update to their system. Should only take an hour or two. Finally, I got up at 1:30AM to find the system was finally back up and running. Running being the operative word because it ran like crap. I went back to bed.

Up as usual, this morning at 6AM…it’s only taken an hour+ to get the “updated” interface to work. Now, we can access TV and the Interwebitubes. Breakfast is over. 2nd cuppa consumed.

Posting, commenting, etc. resumes.

Eideard

* Here’s the cause of the outage. Followed by the carnival clown show described above. Fiber comm lines in the open strung between telephone poles! Welcome to New Mexico.

Some white evangelicals immune to good sense about vaccination


Bob Enyart, anti-vax Christian, lied about COVID, died of COVID

White evangelical Christians have resisted getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at higher rates than other religious groups in the United States. A new study by Yale researchers provides evidence that persuading these vaccine holdouts to get their shots has only gotten more difficult.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, combines two survey experiments testing the effectiveness of various persuasive messages in shifting white evangelicals’ attitudes about vaccination. The first survey was conducted in October 2020, while Donald Trump was president and before the COVID-19 vaccines were approved for use in the United States, and the second occurred in May 2021, several months after people started getting jabs.

The initial survey, fielded on a nationally representative sample of 855 white evangelicals, gauged how various messages affected white evangelicals’ intentions to get vaccinated, their willingness to advise a friend to get the shots, and their judgments of people who refuse the vaccine…However, the same message(s) proved ineffective in the second survey, which was performed on a nationally representative sample of 2,419 unvaccinated white evangelicals.

Neither survey showed that values-based messaging was successful at persuading white evangelicals to get vaccinated, contrasting with prior research that has found that values-consistent messaging increased positive attitudes towards masking among members of the same group.

RTFA. Sad, but, true! An in-depth article is published this coming weekend in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

At most, 7% of the human genome is unique to our species


Will Oliver/PA Images

No more than 7% of the human genome is unique to Homo sapiens, according to a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances.

We share the remaining chunks of our genetic material with other human ancestors, or hominins, including our Neanderthal cousins and the Denisovans first discovered in east Asia.

“The evolutionary family tree shows there are regions of our genome that make us uniquely human,” Richard Green, director of the paleogenomics lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-author of the new study, told Insider. “Now we have a catalog of those, and it’s a surprisingly small fraction of the genome…”

“More or less everywhere we look, admixture is not the exception at all, but rather the rule,” Green said.

Of course I find the research fascinating. Not that the admixture of Neanderthal and Denisovan genes [and others] diminishes or alters the Homo Sapiens characteristics. Still, I reflect upon what colors my emotions and judgement from my Neanderthal ancestors. I have 3% directly identifiable genetic material from that stream of evolution.

Working remotely…


freelancernews.co.uk

In the past three decades, a series of quiet revolutions in design have changed the way offices are used, erasing former hierarchies of walls and cubicles and incorporating workplace methodologies from the technology industry into team-based, open-plan layouts. At the same time, digital tools such as e-mail, Excel, Google Docs, video conferencing, virtual whiteboarding, and chat channels like Slack have made a worker’s presence in those offices less essential. The pandemic has collapsed these divergent trends into an existential question: What’s an office for? Is it a place for newbies to learn from experienced colleagues? A way for bosses to oversee shirkers? A platform for collaboration? A source of friends and social life? A respite from the family? A reason to leave the house? It turns out that work, which is what the office was supposed to be for, is possible to do from somewhere else.

The article presents a case history of one example. Thoroughly, including alternatives. A worthwhile read.

I suggest – reading all articles of this type – you ignore any existential questions about whether or not you are qualified and capable of such a change. The honchos at home base are going to make those decisions with or without your participation. A question of corporate style, I’d say.

Articles like this are useful if you’re looking ahead and working for a firm that’s thoughtful about the future and willing to make the changes to implement a changeover like this. I went through it when I took my first position as a wholesale rep almost 40 years ago. That company was ready to grow from servicing retailers in three adjacent states – to servicing the whole East Coast. Eventually, their success story led to a complete nationwide presence. Top-shelf ranking for performance, service and profitability.

I was hired in that first wave of expansion. Though I wandered astray a time or two – tempted by offers from non-competing firms growing into the same markets – I ended up back with the same folks for a couple of decades. For me, the change to remote digital sales management, communications, was a piece of cake.

BTW, I still have my original Tandy TRS80 Model 100 laptop. The tech that kicked-off consideration of expansion, digital tech beyond/beside a corporate mainframe to build a business. Scary, successful, groundbreaking and very satisfying.

Sunglider high altitude test flight

HAPSMobile Inc…successfully reached an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above sea level during a 20-hour test flight of the Sunglider™ solar-powered high-altitude platform station (HAPS) at Spaceport America. This is the second successful test flight of the Sunglider at Spaceport America since the company began operations at the site in May 2020.

The test flight began on September 21 at 5:16am (MT) and concluded just after 1:00am (MT) on September 22 following the successful achievement of a series of major test objectives and maneuvers. Sunglider reached an altitude of 62,500 feet (approximately 19 kilometers) and demonstrated the world’s first successful delivery of LTE connectivity from a fixed-wing HAPS autonomous aircraft in the stratosphere. The success of this stratospheric test flight is a major step forward for HAPSMobile as it continues to pursue its mission of bridging the digital divide by building its business in the stratosphere, a new frontier for humankind. HAPSMobile will continue to work to revolutionize mobile networks by leveraging HAPS.

Known as a “cell-tower in the sky,” Sunglider aims to provide better communications to under-served areas, including rural communities. The success of this stratospheric test flight is a major step forward in this mission.

Check out the video up top. This solar-powered drone flew on battery-electric power, recharging from solar panel wing surfaces. Way cool. A classic New Mexico test project. 🙂


Earlier testing in July

Another Flunky Takes Over Another Agency


Thank you for the radio handbook translated into English.

The man appointed by Donald Trump to head the US global media agency that oversees Voice of America and other state-funded broadcasters has carried out a purge of career officials at the top levels of the organisation and installed Trump loyalists.

The action by Michael Pack appeared to confirm fears that Trump wanted to turn the US Agency for Global Media into a loyal state broadcaster of the kind normally found in authoritarian societies.

Pack, a conservative film-maker and ally of right-wing ideologue Stephen Bannon, fired the heads of Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Open Technology Fund according to CNN, which quoted an official as calling the dismissals the “Wednesday night massacre”. The head of VOA resigned after Pack won Senate confirmation.

Pack has installed Emily Newman, a former adviser to the Department of Homeland Security, as the new chief of staff, according to CNBC.

Newman issued an all-staff memo announcing the new hierarchy and telling them: “Until further notice, no actions are to be taken, and no external communications are to be made, without explicit approval” of the new executives.

Trumpo will borrow “experts” from his buddy Vlad to help rearrange priorities for the new Voice of Fearless Leader.

US Navy wants robot ships to talk


Turn Left and Follow Me!

Concerned that the advent of unmanned surface ships can result in collisions with manned vessels, the Navy wants technology that will enable robot ships that talk like humans…The goal is to enable human bridge crews to converse with robot ships using normal speech over VHF radio.

“The nautical rules of the road (COLREGS) provide clear guidance for encounters between two vessels, but they do not directly specify what should happen when three or more vessels come in close proximity to each other at nearly the same time,”…“Mariners commonly deal with such situations by communicating via VHF Bridge-to-Bridge radio. Current Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) have COLREGS reasoning engines, but they cannot incorporate information from Bridge-to-Bridge conversations, nor can they reply to simple maneuver proposals.”

“The Navy seeks an integrated solution that will enable a USV to act much like a human mariner,”…“In particular, the USV should be able to understand secure Bridge-to-Bridge radio transmissions, incorporate their meaning into its world model, develop appropriate maneuvering plans, and respond via voice on the Bridge-to-Bridge radio.”

Well, duh! Of course.

FCC Chair killed rules which would have helped Hurricane victims


Ajit Pai listening to Trump

❝ The Federal Communications Commission chairman slammed wireless carriers…for failing to quickly restore phone service in Florida after Hurricane Michael, calling the delay “completely unacceptable.”

But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement ignored his agency’s deregulatory blitz that left consumers without protections designed to ensure restoration of service after disasters, according to longtime telecom attorney and consumer advocate Harold Feld.

The Obama-era FCC wrote new regulations to protect consumers after Verizon tried to avoid rebuilding wireline phone infrastructure in Fire Island, New York, after Hurricane Sandy hit the area in October 2012. But Pai repealed those rules, claiming that they prevented carriers from upgrading old copper networks to fiber. Pai’s repeal order makes zero mentions of Fire Island and makes reference to Verizon’s response to Hurricane Sandy only once, in a footnote.

Part of the function of good journalism is exposing corrupt practices – whether justified by ignorance or just plain stupid ideology. The Republican Party specializes in both and more – which is how we got to this footdragging on aid for hurricane victims’ communications.