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Category: #CoronaVirus (Page 1 of 2)

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This AI spots local COVID-19 outbreaks before they’ve spun out of control

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Researchers have developed a new machine learning-based tool that detects potential COVID-19 outbreaks in individual US counties. The system makes its assessments by analyzing reported COVID-19 cases and deaths, rates of positive tests, face mask rules, social distancing policies, and changes in testing. It also incorporates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, which assesses how individual communities are prepared for hazardous events based on factors including poverty and population density. It then predicts how fast the virus is spreading by estimating how many days it will take for the number of cases to double. The forecasts are displayed on an interactive heat…

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Source: https://thenextweb.com/neural/2020/09/16/this-ai-spots-local-covid-19-outbreaks-before-theyve-spun-out-of-control/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Thomas Macaulay

Facebook has removed 7 million posts for coronavirus misinformation

a757cfc0-8b17-11ea-9fc7-806d45708f3aIf it seems like there’s a lot of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic on Facebook, that’s because there is: Between April and June, the social network says it removed 7 million posts for spreading harmful misinformation about COVID-19. It a…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-coronavirus-misinformation-takedowns-184146592.html
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As COVID-19 surges, 3D printing is having a moment

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COVID-19 will be remembered for many things — most undoubtedly negative. There are, however, some silver linings among the horrors of the deadliest pandemic in recent memory. Among them, if the sort of human ingenuity that shines whenever the world is faced with a similar crisis.

The simple truth of the matter is the world wasn’t prepared for a virus of this magnitude. It’s something that’s played out in country after country, as the novel coronavirus has continued to devastate communities across borders.

In spite of early warning signs, many nations — the U.S. certainly included — were caught off-guard, lacking the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessities required to battle the virus for a prolonged stretch. For many, taking on COVID-19 has required improvisation and resourcefulness — both, thankfully, qualities found in good volumes among the maker community that helped give rise to 3D printing technology.

If you’ve followed the technology even in passing over the last decade, you’re no doubt aware how much time evangelists spend justifying the usefulness of 3D printing beyond the the confines of desktop hobbyists. The defensiveness is certainly understandable. Consumer 3D printing has all of the trapping of an overhyped boom and bust. The truth of the matter is that it simply wasn’t ready for the mainstream moment many investors and members of the press were ready to thrust upon it.

But even as desktop 3D printing companies begun to scale back or shutter at an alarming rate, the industry has continued to have success stories among those who have further innovated and targeted the right market. Formlabs jumps out amongst the desktop market, with Carbon presenting a success story on the industrial side of the fence. What unites both beyond innovation is a focus on real-world case uses.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/07/06/as-covid-19-surges-3d-printing-is-having-a-moment/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brian Heater

The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a new wave of fraud

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Criminals are getting busy — and creative — with an onslaught of new frauds preying on people’s fears and anxieties about the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Desperate people are finding their unemployment checks and stimulus payments stolen. They’re also being bombarded with offers for fake cures, fake work-at-home offers and messages asking for personal financial information.


In perhaps the most widespread scam, criminals are filing fake unemployment claims on behalf of real people who haven’t lost their jobs, hitting one state after another.

  • The rush to get relief money in people’s hands has introduced new vulnerabilities to unemployment systems — state agencies and corporate human-resources departments alike are quick to approve claims without requiring much proof.
  • A Nigerian crime ring called “Scattered Canary” may be responsible for a lot of this fraud, which is made more attractive by the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits Congress enacted.
  • Washington state — an early locus of coronavirus in the U.S. — seems to have been hit hardest, with hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits siphoned off, per the Seattle Times.

Where it stands: The Federal Trade Commission says consumers have reported about $50 million in losses to the agency.

  • TransUnion, the credit bureau, runs a weekly survey that shows that 29% of consumers say they’ve been targets of digital fraud related to COVID-19.

“Some of the really pernicious stuff that we were seeing were about people ordering P.P.E.-type materials — face masks, hand sanitizer — and then it never arrives,” Monica Vaca of the FTC tells Axios.

“Fraud is big business, and it runs just like every other corporation out there,” Will LaSala of OneSpan, which sells antifraud software, tells Axios.

  • Misinformation about COVID-19 — plus runs on items like soap and toilet paper —  prompted a lot of people to try to buy things on merchant websites that turned out to be fake, or to click on phishing offers.
  • Fraudsters dangled lures like “check your $1,200 stimulus pay status” to get people to divulge information via email, phone and text.
  • Other scams include fake charity websites, false offers of Small Business Administration loans; sham work-at-home schemes that get people to pay money up front, and calls from a local area code that purport to be from a person’s doctor.

Official-looking notices claiming to be from the government might say you’ve been overpaid in stimulus or unemployment benefits and need to return the money immediately.

  • “A lot of times, they’ll say you have to do it right now or you’ll be arrested — and, oh, by the way, put it on an Apple gift card,” Paul Stephens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse tells Axios.

Then there are W-2 scams, in which a hacker spoofs the email address of a CEO and asks the H.R. department for a list of employees’ tax information.

  • “When we were working from offices, there were firewalls in place that really blocked a lot of this, but now that we’re working from home, we don’t have those safeguards in place,” LaSala says. “That really led to a lot of these attacks.”

Who’s scammin’ whom: While the elderly are frequent victims, more unexpected are millennials (who are at the prime age to be home, online, idle and jittery) and college students, who are nervous about their academic future and tuition status.

  • “They pretend that they’re from the school’s financial department and they’re giving you choices,” Paige Hanson, chief of cyber safety education at NortonLifeLock, tells Axios. “They’ll say, ‘click on this link to verify your personal information.’ It will go to a fake landing page” where criminals collect the information they need to take advantage of the student.

Even if only a tiny percentage of these fraud attempts works, “the payoff is significant,” Crane Hassold, senior director of cyber intelligence at the email security firm Agari, tells Axios.

  • “Some of these attackers are working 40 hours a week. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated, more realistic.”

Experts offered some advice to try to protect yourself:

  • “Be suspicious of any unsolicited phone call email or text message you might receive from anyone, unless you initiated the contact with that person,” Stephens said. If in doubt, call back to a number you know is legit.
  • Talk to someone before taking action. “Tell a friend, tell your sibling or somebody,” Hanson said. “Even though you’re in that moment and you want to react, they might know about this scam.”

Source: https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-fraud-is-everywhere-b3e7122f-67d2-4a0d-bed4-d5ddb492b0ad.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jennifer A. Kingson

How to Turn Off COVID-19 Exposure Tracking and Notifications on Android

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In conjunction with Apple, Google has released an Exposure Notification API that health officials can use (with your voluntary permission) for COVID-19 contact tracing. If you want to verify that the feature is disabled on your phone, here’s how to turn off exposure logging and notifications on Android.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/677100/how-to-turn-off-covid-19-exposure-tracking-and-notifications-on-android/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Justin Duino

Google Maps updates help you travel in the COVID-19 era

d5ced2d0-a9a9-11ea-89de-0bd68f996c02Google has rolled out two new features for its Maps app meant to help users get around safely in the time of COVID-19, according to a new post on the Google blog. The app now shows alerts informing you of any coronavirus-related travel restrictions a…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/google-maps-updates-help-travel-covid-19-era-173308596.html
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How to Set Up an Office in the Garden or Backyard to Maintain Your Sanity

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If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space where you live, setting up shop in the garden or backyard can make working from home more bearable. You can top up your daily dose of vitamin D, get closer to the natural (or urban) world around you, escape from the rest of the family, and get all your work done all at…

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Source: https://gizmodo.com/how-to-set-up-an-office-in-the-garden-or-backyard-to-ma-1843463249
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The Article Was Written/Published By: David Nield

The best video games to play during lockdown, from Animal Crossing to The Sims 4

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Louis Chilton picks 17 of the best games to help keep you entertained while self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/games/feature/video-games-best-self-isolating-play-animal-crossing-death-stranding-last-of-us-a9424936.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Louis Chilton

US video game sales have record quarter, as consumers stay at home

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New numbers from NPD confirm what we’ve known for a while: the first quarter of 2020 was a very good one for gaming companies. The new report notes that sales hit a record $10.86 billion in the States between January and March of this year, marking a 9% increase over a year prior. $9.58 billion of that figure was from video game content.

The primary driver is, you guessed it, COVID-19. As stay at home orders have been enacted on the federal and state levels, people are coping with the on-going daily horror that is life in 2020 by playing video games. Lots and lots of video games.

Here’s NPD’s Mat Piscatella further confirming our suspicions, “Video Games have brought comfort and connection to millions during this challenging time. As people have stayed at home more, they’ve utilized gaming not only as a diversion and an escape, but also as a means of staying connected with family and friends. Whether it was on console or mobile, PC or virtual reality, gaming experienced play and sales growth during the first quarter.”

According to NPD’s Q1 2020 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report, overall total industry consumer spending on #videogaming in the U.S. reached a record $10.86 billion in the first quarter of 2020 (Jan. – Mar.), an increase of 9 percent compared to the same time period last year.

— NPD Games (@npdgames) May 15, 2020

That last bit is, in part, key to many consumers’ choice of game titles. As already noted by the firm, Animal Crossing: New Horizons had its own record setting first quarter. That, in turn, helped drive Switch sales, in spite of Nintendo’s well documented supply issues. The title arrived just in the nick of time for stay at home orders in the U.S., delivering a kind of front-facing social experience that much of the competition lacks. Also, turnips.

Matter of fact, the Switch’s success actually helped supplement losses of other platforms. Microsoft and Sony will no doubt make up gains at the end of the year with their next gen consoles. For now, however, many consumers are likely holding out until their holiday arrives to invest in Xbox or Playstation hardware, in spite of the pandemic. The U.S.’s soaring unemployment rate no doubt also had an impact on the industry’s bottom line.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/15/us-video-game-sales-have-record-quarter-as-consumers-stay-at-home/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brian Heater

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