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Exclusive: New York’s attorney general calls out Verizon for spreading Legionnaires’ disease

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New York’s attorney general calls out Verizon for spreading Legionnaires’ disease

#Yorks #attorney #general #calls #Verizon #spreading #Legionnaires #disease

When you think about potential vectors for disease, Verizon probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But this week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings of a three-year investigation into cooling towers on buildings throughout the state. It did not look good for Verizon.

“Verizon failed to maintain its cooling towers on buildings across New York City, causing the towers to spread Legionnaires’ disease, a dangerous and lethal form of pneumonia,” James said in a tweet.

The announcement of the findings, which reviewed Verizon’s cooling tower maintenance record starting in 2017, arrives amid two new clusters of Legionnaires’ disease in the US, including an outbreak in the Bronx that has so far killed two people and infected at least 24 others. The New York City Health Department has now connected these cases to four specific cooling towers in the Bronx’s Highbridge area, where the bacteria was found growing. The Health Department did not say who was responsible for monitoring the towers. The Covid-19 pandemic may have contributed to an uptick in these kinds of outbreaks, since the unexpected closure of buildings may have made it easier for bacteria to grow in water and plumbing systems.

Cooling towers like the ones used by Verizon are often placed on rooftops, and are typically used to cool down machinery, like air conditioning systems and telecommunications equipment. There are many types of infrastructure like this that private companies install in and around densely populated areas. Companies operating this kind of equipment are supposed to follow best practices to make sure their equipment doesn’t become a safety hazard. But when this infrastructure isn’t carefully maintained — and regulators don’t catch violations — it can become dangerous, and even lead to public health problems.

Legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by Legionella bacteria, is just one of them. The illness got its name after there was an outbreak of the disease at a convention for the American Legion, a veterans organization, in 1976. Although it’s often found in natural water sources, such as ponds, streams, and lakes, this bacteria becomes problematic when it finds its way into water systems that are built by humans, like hot tubs, sinks, and plumbing.

Once the bacteria starts growing inside these fixtures, it can spread through tiny drops of water, which, if inhaled, can infect a person’s lungs and cause pneumonia. Legionnaires’ disease can usually be treated with antibiotics, and the illness’s symptoms are generally hard to distinguish from other infections. The disease can be dangerous, however, for people with certain risk factors or conditions, including people over the age of 50 or people with cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about one of every 10 people who catch Legionnaires’ disease die from complications. The disease is not transmitted from person to person.

Here’s where Verizon’s cooling towers come in: A cooling tower can spray into the air the water it’s using to cool the equipment. If that water includes Legionella bacteria, that bacteria can enter the air, too, where it can infect nearby people. These cooling towers are particularly concerning because they can operate at temperatures that are ideal for this bacteria’s growth, especially during the summer. These cooling towers are also everywhere, since they’re used to cool off everything from air cooling systems to machinery used for industrial processes and energy production.

“Electronic equipment puts out a ton of heat and they have to keep it at a cool temperature to work,” Brian Labus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Public Health. “Any time you have computer systems, which is what these places have, there is a ton of heat being produced, and they [have] to get rid of the heat — otherwise they’ll melt all their equipment.”

Buildings and companies that operate these cooling towers are supposed to take a range of steps to stop bacteria from growing, including repeatedly monitoring their equipment for potential infections. New York, for instance, passed state and local laws to regulate these towers more aggressively after 138 people were diagnosed with — and 16 people died from — Legionnaires’ disease during a 2015 outbreak in the Bronx.

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After those laws were passed, the state attorney general’s office started investigating the owners of cooling towers to make sure they were following New York’s requirements.

According to the attorney general’s investigation, Verizon — which hires other companies to manage its towers — failed to regularly inspect its cooling towers, and failed to disinfect those cooling towers effectively after the bacteria was discovered. Overall, the company has racked up at least 225 violations at around 45 different locations throughout New York. Now, Verizon must pay a $118,000 penalty and adopt several new procedures to make sure it’s maintaining these towers safely. The company told Recode that it has admitted no wrongdoing.

“Legionnaires’ disease remains a deadly presence in areas across our state, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color,” James said in a statement on Thursday. “It is essential that companies such as Verizon are taking the necessary actions to avoid the spread of this preventable and lethal disease.”

Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease remain a concern throughout the United States. In addition to the recent cluster of cases in the Bronx, New Jersey health officials linked a cluster of Legionnaires’ cases last month to a Hampton Inn, and in 2019, Georgia’s health department connected an outbreak that probably caused nearly 80 cases of the disease to the hotel’s cooling tower. Legionella bacteria has also repeatedly popped up in unexpected places, like a beverage processing plant, hot water tanks used in a Ford manufacturing facility, a GlaxoSmithKline site, and a cooling tower used by Disneyland.

But inevitably, the results of New York’s investigation serve as a warning to the many companies building out or using infrastructure in cities and towns across the country — especially those that rely on water to cool it down.

“As a tech company, you probably wouldn’t think about infecting somebody with something [that’s] running your equipment,” Labus said. “It does show the importance of paying attention to your systems and providing the appropriate levels of preventative maintenance and making sure that you don’t get to the point where you can spread disease to others.”


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Exclusive: Xiaomi 12S Ultra uses a 1-inch Sony camera sensor. Here’s why it is a massive moment for smartphone photography – TalkOfNews.com

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Xiaomi 12S Ultra uses a 1-inch Sony camera sensor. Here’s why it is a massive moment for smartphone photography

#Xiaomi #12S #Ultra #1inch #Sony #camera #sensor #Heres #massive #moment #smartphone #photography

Sony has some of the best camera sensors in the market. That is the reason why most smartphone manufacturers use sensors from Sony in their smartphones. While Xiaomi’s upcoming flagship smartphone, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra has been developed in a collaboration with Leica, the smartphone manufacturer has decided to go for a camera sensor that was developed by Sony.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra will be using Sony IMX 989, the same sensor that Sony uses in their RX100 Mk 7 point-and-shoot cameras. The RX100 Mk 7 is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras in the market right now and is massively popular among budding YouTube celebrities and content creators.

Xiaomi’s decision to use a properly developed, large camera sensor for their upcoming flagship is a huge moment for smartphone photography, provided they calibrate the sensor properly. Here’s why.

More data to play with
Most smartphone camera sensors are barely half the size of a 1-inch sensor. It does not matter how many pixels a manufacturer shoves inside a sensor. Samsung’s 200MP camera sensor may sound impressive on paper, but had it not used some sort of pixel binning to group the individual pixels and make a larger pixel, images taken on the ISOCELL HP1 or HP3 sensors would have a lot of artefacts and noise, thus making the image grainy and ultimately unusable.

More than the number of pixels, it is the size of pixels that matter. A larger pixel will be able to capture more light and therefore more data. This means that a camera’s processor has more data to work with and will eventually be able to put out a better image.

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This is one of the reasons why, for a long time, smartphone cameras have been almost as good as proper full frame cameras, but also lacked some basic functionalities that professional photographers rely heavily on. If Xiaomi calibrates the sensor properly and uses quality glass elements for lenses, photos and videos taken in the dark should be phenomenal. This is where Xiaomi messed up with their Mi 11 ultra, which had a 1/1.2-inch camera sensor.

A better dynamic range
Another advantage of having a bigger sensor is that the camera has a naturally larger or better dynamic range. 

Dynamic range basically refers to the ratio between the maximum and minimum signal that is acquired by the sensor. At the upper limit, pixels appear to be white for every higher value of intensity (saturation), while pixels appear black at the lower limit and below. 

What this means is that in the same photo or video, the sensor is able to handle a varied level of brightness and darkness in such a manner that there is very little or preferably no distortion of the colours.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra uses a 1-inch Sony camera sensor. Here’s why it is a massive moment for smartphone photography

Better depth of field or bokeh
The most visible difference that a large sensor makes for amateur photographers is the bokeh or “blur” in a photo. Smartphone camera sensores have always been little, because of which no matter how wide an aperture you use, there simply isn’t enough space for background and foreground separation. That is why smartphone cameras have had to process their images and create a fake bokeh effect. This won’t be a problem with a larger sensor.

Having said all of this, it really depends on how Xiaomi and Leica have calibrated the Sony sensor. Also, it would be foolish for anyone to say that smartphone cameras have become better than proper, full frame or medium format cameras; they haven’t, and for the foreseeable future, they won’t at least for a couple of decades. What Sony and Samsung with their sensors have been able to do, is pushing smartphone manufacturers ever so close to the ultimate goal that they all have been aiming for, by some distance. 


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Exclusive: Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows files for bankruptcy – TalkOfNews.com

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Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows files for bankruptcy

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Cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in a bid to protect its US assets from creditors in the country, as reported earlier by Bloomberg and CNBC. Representatives for the Singapore-based company made the filing in a Southern District New York court on Friday, which legally protects the US assets of insolvent foreign debtors from creditors in the US.

Founded in 2012 by Kyle Davis and Su Zhu, 3AC managed about $10 billion in assets as recently as March, later sinking to $3 billion in April. Like several other crypto firms, including the lending giants Celcius and Babel Finance, 3AC’s turn in fortunes is part of the so-called crypto “winter” that’s brought down stablecoins and sent Bitcoin’s value plunging.

Earlier this week, reports emerged that 3AC failed to pay a $670 million loan provided by crypto broker Voyager Digital, which has since halted all trades, deposits, and withdrawals as a result. Sky News later reported that a court in the British Virgin Islands has ordered 3AC’s liquidation and that the firm is reportedly working with business consulting company Teneo to oversee the process.

In May, Davies and Zhu admitted in an interview with the WSJ that the company lost out on a $200 million investment following the crash of Luna and its sister coin TerraUSD. At the time, the two remained optimistic about the prospects of crypto, telling the WSJ that they’ve “always been crypto believers” and “still are.”

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Exclusive: 'Doctor Strange 2': Post-Credits Scenes' Cameo and Classic Sam Raimi Nod Explained – CNET – TalkOfNews.com

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'Doctor Strange 2': Post-Credits Scenes' Cameo, Sam Raimi Nod Explained     - CNET

#039Doctor #Strange #PostCredits #Scenes039 #Cameo #Classic #Sam #Raimi #Nod #Explained #CNET

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which became available to stream on Disney Plus last month after landing in theaters in May, sends the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s charmingly grumpy sorcerer on an adventure that spans multiple realities. The 28th MCU movie brings director Sam Raimi back to Marvel for the first time since 2007’s Spider-Man 3 and leans hard into his signature horror style, with one of the two post-credits scenes riffing on a moment from early in his career.

The movie takes place after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which saw Strange offering Peter Parker some magical help as the teen dealt with the entire world knowing his secret identity.

Let’s step into a portal and explore a universe full of SPOILERS. We also have a separate ending explainer, a deep dive into the Illuminati and a list of WTF questions the movie left us with.

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Another sorcerer

In a mid-credits scene, Strange is happily strolling through Manhattan’s streets, having seemingly accepted the corruption caused by his use of the Darkhold. He’s intercepted by a blonde sorcerer in a purple and pink costume (Charlize Theron). She opens a portal to the Dark Dimension, the hellish reality ruled by 2016 Doctor Strange big bad Dormammu.

Clea give Doctor Strange an intense look in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Charlize Theron makes her MCU debut as Clea.


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“You created an incursion and we’re gonna fix it… unless you’re afraid?” she says.

“Not in the least,” he responds, his Darkhold-induced third eye opening.

Doctor Strange 14 cover

Clea has been among Doctor Strange’s most reliable allies in the comics.


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What does it mean?

She isn’t named until the credits start rolling after this scene, but Theron’s character is Clea — a Dark Dimension magic wielder who’s been in the comics since the ’60s.

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She’s the daughter of Dormammu’s sister Umar and Dark Dimension Prince Orini, and became fascinated by Strange during one of his early adventures in that reality. Their paths have crossed many times in the years since, with Clea becoming Strange’s student and later his wife.

Following the events of 2021’s Death of Doctor Strange miniseries (you can imagine the premise), Clea replaced Strange as Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Stephen will undoubtedly be resurrected and return to the role soon though, since status quo shifts like this seldom last long in the comics.

You might have been too busy reeling or screaming with joy when Reed Richards (John Krasinski) explained what incursions were earlier in the movie, but they’re catastrophic events that occur when a multiversal reality crashes into another. In the comics, this happened in 2015 event Secret Wars.

It’s unclear how Strange caused an incursion — he jumped through a whole bunch of realities in Multiverse of Madness — or what this means for the MCU, but it could see elements from a different cinematic universe crossing into this one.

Such a crossover already created a dangerous scenario (filled with delightful cameos) in No Way Home, so it’s possible we’ll see characters from Fox’s X-Men reality next. The presence of Professor X (Patrick Stewart) may have been foreshadowing this.

Or maybe that’s just more wishful thinking.

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Bruce Campbell’s cameo pays homage to his iconic Evil Dead character Ash Williams.


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Poppa Pizza returns

In an alternate reality’s Manhattan, rude street vendor Pizza Poppa (Bruce Campbell) earlier accused America Chavez of stealing his precious dough balls. Strange hit the poor guy with a spell to get him off their backs, and they left him to be attacked by his own hand.

The post-credits scene brings us back to Pizza Poppa just as his meat hook’s campaign of violence ends.

“It’s over!” he says joyously.

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What does it mean?

This scene is unlikely to have any MCU-scattering implications, since it’s more of an homage to Campbell and Raimi’s relationship. The pair have been friends since high school, and the actor played hero Ash Williams in Raimi’s 1981 breakout feature The Evil Dead. In that movie’s 1987 sequel, Ash’s hand is bitten by one of the undead, becomes possessed and tries to kill him.

Unlike Pizza Poppa, he tries to solve the problem by severing his hand and replacing it with a chainsaw (which is extremely metal). His former hand stalks him for the rest of the movie.

Campbell also shows up in Raimi’s non-MCU Spider-Man trilogy, seemingly playing three different characters. He was a wrestling announcer in the first movie, a snooty usher in the sequel and a French maître d’ in the third. If the scrapped Spider-Man 4 had come to fruition, the actor could have played Mysterio, Raimi confirmed to Rolling Stone.


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