“COVID-19 Took A Toll On My Family”: The Virus Killed This Costco Worker, Her Sister, And Her Mother

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One of their survivors is anguished over her employer's decision to make workers come into the office during a pandemic.

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Source: “COVID-19 Took A Toll On My Family”: The Virus Killed This Costco Worker, Her Sister, And Her Mother

Best new board game apps of 2020

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Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

The 2020 global pandemic might seem like an ideal time for new board game app releases, but the increasing development time for more complex games means we're going longer between initial announcements and final releases than we have before. Below, I’ve ranked my nine best new board game apps of 2020 based on app quality, play experience, and purchase price. I'll give a quick honorable mention to Lorenzo il Magnifico, which I tested out a year ago when it was still in beta on Steam and of which I thought highly—but which I haven't gotten to try in its newest version.

9. Viticulture (Digidiced)

The first game from designer Jamey Stegmaier (Scythe, Charterstone) gets the app treatment from Digidiced, whose apps all have the same general look and feel. You're running a vineyard and placing workers in spring or in winter to plant vines, build up your farm, and run tours for money. It's a relatively complex economic game at heart, and the app works well, but the tutorial here isn't detailed enough; it might be better if you have some familiarity with the physical game.

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Source: Best new board game apps of 2020

Wedding Dress Designer Hayley Paige Says She's Lost The Right To Her Instagram And Own Name In Court

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In a tearful announcement, the designer told fans she is being sued by her old parent company, which alleges it owns everything she built.

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Source: Wedding Dress Designer Hayley Paige Says She's Lost The Right To Her Instagram And Own Name In Court

The US Government Says Facebook Needs To Sell Instagram And WhatsApp

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Forty-eight attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against the company Wednesday.

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Source: The US Government Says Facebook Needs To Sell Instagram And WhatsApp

A better kind of cybersecurity strategy

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During the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics, held in PyeongChang, South Korea, Russian hackers launched a cyberattack that disrupted television and internet systems at the games. The incident was resolved quickly, but because Russia used North Korean IP addresses for the attack, the source of the disruption was unclear in the event’s immediate aftermath.

There is a lesson in that attack, and others like it, at a time when hostilities between countries increasingly occur online. In contrast to conventional national security thinking, such skirmishes call for a new strategic outlook, according to a new paper co-authored by an MIT professor.

The core of the matter involves deterrence and retaliation. In conventional warfare, deterrence usually consists of potential retaliatory military strikes against enemies. But in cybersecurity, this is more complicated. If identifying cyberattackers is difficult, then retaliating too quickly or too often, on the basis of limited information such as the location of certain IP addresses, can be counterproductive. Indeed, it can embolden other countries to launch their own attacks, by leading them to think they will not be blamed.

“If one country becomes more aggressive, then the equilibrium response is that all countries are going to end up becoming more aggressive,” says Alexander Wolitzky, an MIT economist who specializes in game theory. “If after every cyberattack my first instinct is to retaliate against Russia and China, this gives North Korea and Iran impunity to engage in cyberattacks.”

But Wolitzky and his colleagues do think there is a viable new approach, involving a more judicious and well-informed use of selective retaliation.

“Imperfect attribution makes deterrence multilateral,” Wolitzky says. “You have to think about everybody’s incentives together. Focusing your attention on the most likely culprits could be a big mistake.”

The paper, “Deterrence with Imperfect Attribution,” appears in the latest issue of the American Political Science Review. In addition to Wolitzky, the authors are Sandeep Baliga, the John L. and Helen Kellogg Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; and Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, the Sydney Stein Professor and deputy dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

The study is a joint project, in which Baliga added to the research team by contacting Wolitzky, whose own work applies game theory to a wide variety of situations, including war, international affairs, network behavior, labor relations, and even technology adoption.

“In some sense this is a canonical kind of question for game theorists to think about,” Wolitzky says, noting that the development of game theory as an intellectual field stems from the study of nuclear deterrence during the Cold War. “We were interested in what’s different about cyberdeterrence, in contrast to conventional or nuclear deterrence. And of course there are a lot of differences, but one thing that we settled on pretty early is this attribution problem.” In their paper, the authors note that, as former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn once put it, “Whereas a missile comes with a return address, a computer virus generally does not.”

In some cases, countries are not even aware of major cyberattacks against them; Iran only belatedly realized it had been attacked by the Stuxnet worm over a period of years, damaging centrifuges being used in the country’s nuclear weapons program.

In the paper, the scholars largely examined scenarios where countries are aware of cyberattacks against them but have imperfect information about the attacks and attackers. After modeling these events extensively, the researchers determined that the multilateral nature of cybersecurity today makes it markedly different than conventional security. There is a much higher chance in multilateral conditions that retaliation can backfire, generating additional attacks from multiple sources.

“You don’t necessarily want to commit to be more aggressive after every signal,” Wolitzky says.

What does work, however, is simultaneously improving detection of attacks and gathering more information about the identity of the attackers, so that a country can pinpoint the other nations they could meaningfully retaliate against.

But even gathering more information to inform strategic decisions is a tricky process, as the scholars show. Detecting more attacks while being unable to identify the attackers does not clarify specific decisions, for instance. And gathering more information but having “too much certainty in attribution” can lead a country straight back into the problem of lashing out against some states, even as others are continuing to plan and commit attacks.

“The optimal doctrine in this case in some sense will commit you to retaliate more after the clearest signals, the most unambiguous signals,” Wolitzky says. “If you blindly commit yourself more to retaliate after every attack, you increase the risk you’re going to be retaliating after false alarms.”

Wolitzky points out that the paper’s model can apply to issues beyond cybersecurity. The problem of stopping pollution can have the same dynamics. If, for instance, numerous firms are polluting a river, singling just one out for punishment can embolden the others to continue.

Still, the authors do hope the paper will generate discussion in the foreign-policy community, with cyberattacks continuing to be a significant source of national security concern.

“People thought the possibility of failing to detect or attribute a cyberattack mattered, but there hadn’t [necessarily] been a recognition of the multilateral implications of this,” Wolitzky says. “I do think there is interest in thinking about the applications of that.”

The research was supported, in part, by the Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.  

Source: A better kind of cybersecurity strategy

This Fired Worker Said Amazon Retaliated Against Her. Now The Company Is Facing Charges

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One of the half-dozen Amazon employees fired following worker protests during the height of the coronavirus pandemic will get a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board.

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Source: This Fired Worker Said Amazon Retaliated Against Her. Now The Company Is Facing Charges

Airlines In The US Can Now Ban Emotional Support Animals From Flights

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Only dogs will be considered as legitimate "service animals" on flights, according to a new US rule.

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Source: Airlines In The US Can Now Ban Emotional Support Animals From Flights

Lincoln Laboratory is designing a payload to integrate on Japanese satellites

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According to Space-Track.org, approximately 21,000 objects of human origin are orbiting Earth, and about 1,500 of these objects are in or near geosynchronous orbit (GEO). Satellites in GEO support critical services, including commercial and military communications, weather forecasting, and missile launch warnings. The number of satellites and debris objects in the GEO belt is growing as launch rates increase and more countries gain access to space. These sensors will support the comprehensive space domain awareness (SDA) tracking efforts that provide for warning of impending collisions.   

Over the past 30 years, the United States has developed an extensive network of optical and radar sensors that provide observations to enable SDA. As other countries build up their SDA capabilities, sharing SDA data could be a cost-effective way for nations to broaden coverage of the space environment. An example of such data sharing is a current collaboration between the United States and Japan. Because the United States and Japan have similar interests in space security, particularly for space assets over the western Pacific, a partnership arose under a program called SĀCHI (Situational Awareness Camera Hosted Instrument), in which the United States would provide sensors to be hosted on board regional navigation satellites that Japan is developing. These satellites will join an existing constellation, the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), which works with the U.S. global positioning satellite constellation to enhance navigation and timing services for users in Japan and the western Pacific.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory became involved with the U.S.-Japanese partnership in 2019 after the U.S. Air Force approached the laboratory with the concept of developing two identical SDA payloads that would be hosted on separate Japanese satellites. The laboratory is working with the Japanese National Space Policy Secretariat and Mitsubishi Electric Company to integrate state-of-the-art sensors on the newest satellites in the QZSS constellation, QZS-6 and QZS-7, which are scheduled for launch in 2023 and 2024, respectively. The observations of objects in GEO from the SĀCHI sensors will be relayed via secure link for inclusion in the existing U.S. SDA database maintained at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. Observations will be made available to Japan via data-sharing agreements.

"This program will allow the United States to monitor satellite behavior within the GEO belt over a very interesting part of the world. The data collected by these platforms will be utilized operationally by the National Space Defense Center and National Air and Space Intelligence Center, and will also be used to further develop and support several ongoing data processing and analytics efforts at the laboratory," says Mark Huber, a technical staff member in Lincoln Laboratory's Space Systems and Technology Division. "It is also a pathfinder in several ways. The U.S. team is blueprinting methods to allow sensitive data sharing between the United States and Japan," he adds.  

The Space Systems and Technology Division was engaged to lead this program because of its extensive experience in SDA sensor development and, in particular, its development of the ORS-5/SensorSat satellite, currently operating in low Earth orbit (LEO). SensorSat, launched into LEO in 2017, monitors space activity in the GEO belt, roughly 35,800 kilometers above Earth. This small satellite takes advantage of a unique viewing geometry to allow for high-sensitivity collections from a small optical aperture, thus reducing the cost of the satellite considerably when compared with other approaches.

"This project [with Japan] takes our SensorSat technology out to the GEO belt to provide a different dataset to augment SensorSat's mission," says Linda Fuhrman of the laboratory's Engineering Division, which is participating in the build of the payloads.

While the SĀCHI program heavily leverages the SensorSat development, there are some very important differences. The SĀCHI payload is simpler than a fully autonomous satellite in that it does not need to generate its own power (e.g., solar cells, battery) and also does not require guidance, navigation, and control capability. However, the payload must withstand a much harsher radiation environment in GEO orbit than SensorSat faces in LEO.

Another difference is that the SĀCHI payloads will rely upon the Japan radio-frequency (RF) communication link to the ground. "Japan is only able to allot 2 kilobits per second for downlink for the payload, whereas SensorSat utilizes 7.5 megabits per second through a dedicated link to the Air Force Space Control Network of ground receivers. Therefore, a significantly different approach is required for getting mission data to the ground," says Mark Bury, program manager for the SĀCHI development. "A significant amount of the processing of the images will have to be performed onboard the payload, sending target tracks and observations to the ground," he explains. In contrast, SensorSat sends raw compressed images to the ground station for processing.

Finally, SensorSat performs its autonomous search mission inherently as this LEO satellite rotates around the Earth, viewing the GEO belt once every 100 minutes. Because of the Japanese satellites' collocation within the GEO belt, they would have a very narrow view of other satellites in the belt. To enable a larger overall field of regard, a two-axis scan mirror was added to the design to improve mission utility with the same basic system from the SensorSat program.

The SĀCHI program was tasked with providing the payloads in 2022. Similar to SensorSat, SĀCHI has a rapid development timeline, made more challenging because of the additional complexity of collaborating with a foreign partner for the interface development, planning, and ultimate integration and launch of the payloads. Lincoln Laboratory completed critical design reviews of the payload with the Air Force in mid-2020. During late 2020, the laboratory team will focus on building and testing the engineering development units, and in 2021, the flight units will undergo build and test.

"While it is a challenge to design, build, and test the SĀCHI payload on a rapid development schedule, we envision that the new onboard processing capability will be a unique enabling technology that can be leveraged for future space domain awareness systems," says Bury.

Source: Lincoln Laboratory is designing a payload to integrate on Japanese satellites

Thanksgiving dinner foods you can and can't get through TSA

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Holidays, especially the Thanksgiving holiday, are some of the most popular times of the year for Americans to travel.

Families and individuals travel by car, bus, cruise ship and planes year after year during the most popular holiday weekend for trips.

Traveling can be taxing enough as it is, especially on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Traffic is a nightmare as millions of people are fleeing metropolitan areas at the same time.


While it's much easier to travel alone, families tend to plan their trips while school is out for break and work is winding down for the long weekend. Making sure the whole family is packed with everything you need prior to travel day is a must.

You'll need the essentials including clothes, comfy shoes, hygiene products, electronics and more — but you might also want to consider packing food for your trip.

Whether you're loading up the necessities for nursing babies, filling your bag with edible gifts for your hosts, or even considering taking leftovers home — especially on a short flight, you'll need to be aware of what foods and drinks you can and can't bring through TSA.

The Transportation Security Administration has a general overview of foods and drinks you can take with you on your plane ride via their website. The six-page list of permitted food items is available on the TSA’s dedicated "What Can I Bring?" webpage tool.


Travelers can also type their items into the search bar to find out which foods can be carried on or need to be checked in.

But you might be mostly curious about Thanksgiving themed foods, which to bring with you, and which to leave behind.

"Whether first-run foods or leftovers, the same rules apply," the TSA said in a statement to Fox News. 

"If you are planning to travel with special foods to contribute to a Thanksgiving meal or travel with leftovers, be sure you follow this simple rule to ensure your food can travel with you: If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it and it is in a quantity greater than 3.4 ounces, pack it in a checked bag," the TSA added.

"For example, jams, jellies, cranberry sauce, gravy or beverages in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces should go in a checked bag. Cakes, cookies, pies, meats, casseroles and other solids can travel in carry-on luggage in unlimited quantities."

Each airline passenger is allowed to pack a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in a single carry-on bag; however, individual containers cannot exceed 3.4 ounces. 

This rule extends to beverages, spreads and cooking sprays.

The TSA recommends packing away any liquid-like substance in a bag that will checked-in. 

If travelers manage to find a liquid cooking essential that fits under the 3.4-ounce container threshold, it can be placed inside a clear quart-sized resalable bag within a carry-on bag.

Alcoholic beverages containing an alcohol content of more than 70% (more than 140 proof) are forbidden in carry-on and checked baggage, according to the TSA and Federal Aviation Administration, a TSA spokesperson told Fox News.

Almost every solid food item is permissible as a carry-on or checked article, including cooked, uncooked, or store-bought meals and powders. 

For foods that require refrigeration or freezing to prevent foodborne illness, ice packs are allowed, but they must be frozen solid and not melted by the time you reach a TSA checkpoint.


On longer flights, dry ice can be used — but it cannot exceed 5.5 pounds per passenger and the packaging should be clearly marked and vented according to FAA procedures, the TSA’s spokesperson told Fox News.


Flammable items are not permitted in carry-on or checked baggage for safety reasons. 

Cake sparklers are not allowed on flights, either, which fall under the same category as fireworks, according to the FAA.

Last but not least, to ensure you have an easier time getting your Thanksgiving food through checkpoints, the TSA recommends using clear plastics bags and similar containers.

That way, items can be safely removed from carry-on bags when inspection time comes.

Source: Thanksgiving dinner foods you can and can't get through TSA

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