Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for November 25, 2019


New report says that AI will disrupt white collar jobs more than blue collar; Galaxy cluster with star formation in center contrasts with previously observed galaxy clusters; A Steem essay describing recent, terrestrial, observations of a massive gamma-ray burst; Separating hype from reality for the Yellowstone caldera; and a run down of recent cyber-security incidents


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  1. AI will disrupt white-collar workers the most, predicts a new report - A new analysis by the Brookings Institution contradicts conventional wisdom, finding that white collar jobs are being disrupted more by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) than blue collar. The analysis was performed by looking at AI patents, looking at the job descriptions in online job postings, and then identifying areas of overlap. The analysis found significant areas of overlap in "managers, supervisors, and analysts", and impacts in traditional white-collar fields "from law firms, marketing roles, and publishers to computer programming." The report also noted, however, that white collar workers may have an easier time with retraining or finding alternative roles. Another report also notes that so far, despite the hype, "AI has not been widely adopted by businesses."

  2. Strange galaxy cluster ignores massive black hole, forms stars - Normally, the super-massive black holes in the central galaxies of galaxy clusters heat up the surrounding gases to a degree that it prevents stars from forming. A new paper in The Astrophysical Journal, however, finds that this is not happening in the center of the Phoenix Cluster, which has been studied by Michael McDonald and his collaborators since 2012. Why this galaxy cluster is different from others is unknown, but McDonald says that a possible explanation for this is that in the recent past, the black hole may not have been putting out enough energy to prevent star formation. If so, he says this raises the question of whether this is a regular phase that galaxy clusters pass through. h/t RealClear Science

  3. STEEM Record-Breaking Monstrous Gamma-Ray Photons Detected - In this post, @kralizec discusses the recent successes by astronomers at capturing Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) from terrestrial locations. Scientists still don't know the source of GRBs, but they have been trying to observe them from terrestrial locations, with the first success coming on July 20, 2018 and the second success on January 14, 2019. The bursts were first detected by the space-based gamma observatories, and those were able to alert ground-based systems in time for them to also capture the bursts (It took 57 seconds, in the case of the second burst.) The January 14 observation captured photons "with energies of 200 billion to 1 trillion electronvolts or 0.2 to 1 TeV, which was the highest energy level ever captured, roughly 200 to 1,000 times the energy of visible light, and twice as energetic as the previous maximum. The first ground based observation was weaker, but was also interesting because the sensors detected a sort of afterglow more than10 hours after the initial burst. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @kralizec.)

  4. Will Yellowstone Erupt Soon and Kill Us All? - According to Dana Hunter, Yellowstone may erupt again soon, but it most likely won't be a large eruption, and - despite the frequent hype in the popular media - even it it is one of the major eruptions, it won't destroy the American continent, or even the American west. Civilization will survive. We know, because the "super-explosion experiment" has already happened twice. At present, according to the USGS threat assessment, the top-3 volcanic safety threats are "Kilauea (Hawaii), Mount St. Helens (Washington), and Mount Rainier (Washington)", and Yellowstone is ranked at #21. Hunter also notes that the caldera (not super-volcano) is closely monitored, and scientists will be able to give plenty of notice if the magma chamber fills to super-eruption capacity.

  5. T-Mobile US hacked, Monero wallet app infected, public info records on 1.2bn people leak from database... - I wonder if this has anything to do with John Legere's resignation... On November 22, T-Mobile admitted that they had been compromised by hackers, and that customer's personal information had been exposed. The company also says that no bank card information was exposed. The information that was leaked, however, could be useful for sim-swapping attacks. In other news, the article links to a Google review of the Android security flaw known as "Bad Binder", discusses the ransomware attack in Louisiana, notes a recent intrusion into the official download site for Monero that left visitors exposed to malicious software masquerading as the official mining software, and covers about eight other recent cyber-security incidents..


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