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first_imgElections run on local county officials. The DHS is focusing its efforts on county officials to secure the vote in 2020. Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian hacking and collusion with the Trump campaign ends, the Department of Homeland Security is gearing up to prevent a repeat for the 2020 US presidential election. The federal agency, which formed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency last November, said that it’s “doubling down” on its efforts, calling election security for 2020 a top priority. It hopes to do that by focusing on local election officials, Matt Masterson, a DHS senior adviser on election security, said in an interview with CNET. The emphasis on local represents a new tact as the DHS tries to shut down foreign interference in the US elections. While the agency worked with all 50 states during the 2018 midterm elections, security experts said the outreach needs to zoom in on a county level. There are about 8,800 county election officials across the US, and they are the people responsible for your voting machines, your polling place’s security and handling vote auditing. “It may actually be the most important part of the entire infrastructure, these local county officials,” said Jake Braun, executive director of the University of Chicago’s Cyber Policy Initiative and co-founder of the Defcon Voting Machine Hacking Village. Before the election in 2016, the DHS didn’t have an established network of election officials to work with on security issues. It wasn’t until hacking threats became a national concern during the last presidential election that the DHS ramped up its efforts. A real threatUS Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report stated that up to 26 Russian nationals were behind hacking efforts and disinformation campaigns during the 2016 presidential election. These cyberattacks included hacks against the Democratic National Committee and access to voter registration databases.  Since then, the DHS has provided state election officials with resources like penetration testing, weekly reports on vulnerabilities and sensors that could detect hacking attempts. Most of that outreach has been for high-level election officials in each state, but the DHS is now focusing on individual counties.”We’ve done a good job reaching them, but we have a lot of area for growth there,” Masterson said. To do that, the DHS hired election security experts like Noah Praetz, the former director of elections in Cook County, Illinois. He’s seen what county officials needed during the 2018 elections and has been addressing the DHS’s gap with local election security since February. Braun said Praetz has been traveling to meet with local election officials and addressing security concerns and explaining how the DHS can help. Social disinformation awarenessThe DHS is also hoping to train local election officials to help counter disinformation from social media. That was one of the agency’s biggest concerns on Election Day in 2018, that people would spread lies on Facebook and Twitter to dissuade people from voting. Masterson said the DHS is connecting social media companies with local election officials to help them identify disinformation online and prevent it from spreading. A Twitter spokesperson pointed at its efforts for the 2018 midterm elections, and said it will continue those efforts for the 2020 election. Facebook said it worked closely with the DHS in 2018 and intends to continue working with local election officials in 2020.The social media giant said it set up a way for local election officials to contact Facebook directly if they see disinformation spreading.”It really is about empowering the trusted messengers in that community to talk with the voters,” Masterson said. “The county officials are directly engaged in the process, which is really important.” Resources lackingDespite the hyperlocal outreach, both the DHS and local election officials are still challenged by a lack of resources. Masterson said the agency hopes to have 100 percent auditable systems by 2020, but a major roadblock is funding. In 2018, Congress set aside $380 million for election security funds, which Masterson said was an “important first step” but not nearly enough to upgrade voting systems across the US. “There’s so many systems that support elections that need investments and upgrades,” Masterson said. “Money remains a challenge, resources remain a challenge.”Lawmakers have proposed legislation that would direct $1.5 billion to county election officials to buy new voting technology. The For the People Act passed in the House but hasn’t come up for a vote in the Senate. “It’s great to do an assessment and know where your vulnerabilities are, it’s another to actually fix them,” Braun said. “Congress has to pass this bill or no one is actually going to be able to implement the mitigation program.” States also aren’t required to spend money on election security — as it’s currently a voluntary standard. Last June, a group of lawmakers introduced the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act, which would require paper ballots and audits on federal elections.”The cybersecurity experts are clear: the most secure and cost-effective method of voting is hand-marked paper ballots,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon and one of the lawmakers behind the bill. “Anything else creates unnecessary risk while gouging taxpayers in order to enrich politically-connected voting machine manufacturers.” But until it’s mandatory, local counties aren’t working with much funding, and the federal agency wants to make sure that every cent is wisely spent.The DHS has been working to help county election officials, advising them last June on how to spend the $380 million election security funds.”We are so focused on doing anything we can to support that,” Masterson said. “It’s not just based on a ‘wouldn’t-it-be-nice,’ it’s informed by risks we’ve seen out in the field.” Politics Security Tags 0center_img Share your voice Post a commentlast_img read more

first_img 17 Photos 1 Review • Apple Music offers smart musical suggestions with a human touch News • Apple Music is now available on Amazon Fire TV Apple Music It’s time to get orchestral. Spotify Final Fantasy has been criticized for a lot over the years — the melodramatic characters, complicated storylines, costumes with too many belts — but one thing you never hear people ragging on is the music in the franchise.That’s because the soundtracks are all awesome.And as of now you can stream the soundtracks from almost every Final Fantasy game on both Spotify and Apple Music. Note: You’ll have to type in “Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack,” as just typing in “Final Fantasy,” at least on Spotify, will direct you to fan-made playlists. The soundtrack to every main Final Fantasy game is there, though some spin-offs, like X-2, are absent. Many of the tracks are listed in Japanese characters, meaning it might take some trial and error before you find your favorite tunes.Final Fantasy soundtracks have often come with a separate piano collection, but these collections have not yet appeared on the streaming services. Hopefully they, as well as music from Kingdom Hearts, will arrive soon.If you’re longing for a more substantial Final Fantasy fix, look forward to E3. That where we’re likely to see more of the mythical Final Fantasy VII Remake. Spotifycenter_img Tags E3 2019: The most anticipated games of gaming’s most anticipated show Comment Share your voice Video Games Digital Media How To • Apple Music vs. Apple Podcast vs. Apple TV: What’s the difference?last_img read more

Are Profits Killing Youth Sports

September 2, 2019 | aqidxjti | No Comments

first_img Listen Share 00:00 /04:03 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: FlickrMany parents are spending a lot of hours and a lot of money, to give their kids the best shot at doing well, in sports.But some athletes think things are getting out of hand, that kids are being pushed too hard and given false hopes about their chances to make it big. One of those athletes, who made it very big lives right here in Houston.Carl Lewis is often considered one of the greatest Olympic athletes of the twentieth century. Now, as a track coach at the University of Houston he says there’s no comparing when he was growing up, to youth sports today.“Sports has gone from something that was important for kids to have; PE was important, health, and diet, and nutrition, participating, those were all important things. And it’s gone from that to pay to play,” Lewis says.Lewis worries that some sports, like baseball, have simply become too expensive to play for some kids.Jenea Bender would probably agree. As a full-time teacher and driver who shuttles to practices and games a middle school aged son and daughter, she says her family is busy with youth sports typically five to six days a week. But time is not the only cost. “Her stuff itself is around $300.00 a month. My son’s baseball, probably $200.00 a month,” Bender says as she describes the financial commitment the family makes for their children. Bender says that monthly cost for baseball practices and games doesn’t include the $1,000-plus they’ve spent on equipment, or the thousands it can cost for a child to compete in an out-of-town tournament, or camp.And tournaments and camps have become a big business. So big in fact, that the majority of these elite camps and club teams have become the gateway to future participation and success.“You don’t use your high school sport anymore, if you’re that good to get recruited to college except for football, everything’s club. Why is there so many clubs? Well, it’s a business, you can make money,” says Meredith Walton. She played tennis in college and professionally, before coaching on the college level and now locally. She thinks profits are altering goals.“I think youth sports have gotten away from what’s in the best interest of kids development. You get into, you know hey if I open up an indoor sports center, how much money can I make? So the more leagues I run, the more tournaments I run, the more programs I run, I’m going to make more money,” she says.Walton also worries that the financial opportunities for clubs and youth leagues results in unneeded pressure. “I think parents feel the pressure that if their kids not doing it, they’re gonna miss out. I mean there’s no doubt like in baseball, and I hear it all the time. As soon as their kid doesn’t play season of select, they’re not going to go back to that team.” Carl Lewis says while it’s great to dream of what could be, parents and their kids have to be careful when a coach starts talking about a “college scholarship,” or “going pro.”“If they show any aptitude at any level, they’ll say, “Oh my God, they can be a pro one day, and they can be professional.” People just get completely discombobulated and jaded to this, to these facts and they invest, invest, invest. And then when you’re in a youth sports, “Oh your kid is really good, my God he’s great!” Freeze! Okay he’s nine, you know. There’s no correlation between a nine year old great one and an adult. It just isn’t,” Lewis says.There’s something else to consider: the toll of taking sports too seriously at any early age. Dr. Alfred Mansour is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Memorial Hermann.“It’s almost a society’s unintended consequence. You want your kids to still be able to participate, and so you get a private lesson. And then everyone else is doing two private lessons and so you get a third private lesson. And it’s really the snowball, crazy unsustainable cycle where everybody is maxing out what they think they can do at the level when their bodies aren’t really built to handle that at this age. Kids are made to play,” says Dr. Mansour.Doctors say specializing in one sport can raise the risk of over-use injuries. Mansour sees injuries that used to occur only in older kids, is now becoming more commonplace in kids under ten.And when it comes to kids choosing one sport to specialize in, Lewis says it could have been a big mistake for him had he specialized too early. “If I was coming up now, around thirteen or fourteen I was clearly more advanced in soccer than I was in track. So I probably would’ve been told, to stop track and go for soccer all year long,” says Lewis.Instead, he kept he kept doing both sports through his junior year of high school, and went on to win ten Olympic medals for track in four different Olympic Games. X last_img read more

first_imgSchematic representation of a double spin domain system coupled to a single reservoir. Here we denote the first spin domain containing N1 spins as D1 where the spins are shown as red arrows, the second spin domain 2 with N2 spins is labelled as D2 with the spins represented by the blue arrows. In both domains, each spin couples with the bosonic reservoir (at temperature T ) with the coupling constant g. Credit: arXiv:1612.08963 [quant-ph] Citation: When collective spins in a double domain system relax towards a negative-temperature state (2018, February 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-domain-negative-temperature-state.html The concept of temperature has evolved over a very long period of time, from descriptions of simple sensations to theoretical states of physical systems. In their paper, the researchers with this new effort describe their investigation of relaxation in dual collective spins in a double domain system and some configurations that can result under certain extreme circumstances. Of particular interest are situations involving spin domains in antiparallel configurations, which, when unbalanced, can wind up relaxing toward a negative temperature state. At first glance, such an occurrence would seem impossible, because it suggests there is a circumstance in which some bit of material could be cooled below absolute zero, which, of course, goes against current understanding—but theory suggests it is possible.The idea of a negative temperature state is used by the researchers as an explanation of an occurrence in the real world—population inversion, in which atoms are pushed from a lower energy level to a higher energy level and are then allowed to fall back, resulting in light emission. This is how laser pointers work. When physicists discovered such a property was possible, they took another look at spin, which gives atoms their magnetic properties, and found that spin systems could be coaxed into behaving in more ways than was thought possible—some have even been found to become inverted, which could lead to a system that flows naturally upward in energy levels. In this new effort, the researchers report the possibility of pockets of atoms, two in this case, to have spins that share a reservoir, and which have a fixed temperature. When the two pockets are the same size, the math showed, half of the spins wind up in a higher state, and the other half in the lower state. But when the pockets are different sizes, the spins wind up flowing toward the higher state, making one pocket more inverted than the other, leading to the idea of negative temperatures. Explore further Researchers observe dynamical quantum phase transitions in an interacting many-body system This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Yusuke Hama et al. Relaxation to Negative Temperatures in Double Domain Systems, Physical Review Letters (2018). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.060403 , On Arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.08963ABSTRACTThe engineering of quantum systems and their environments has led to our ability now to design composite or complex systems with the properties one desires. In fact, this allows us to couple two or more distinct systems to the same environment where potentially unusual behavior and dynamics can be exhibited. In this Letter we investigate the relaxation of two giant spins or collective spin ensembles individually coupled to the same reservoir. We find that, depending on the configuration of the two individual spin ensembles, the steady state of the composite system does not necessarily reach the ground state of the individual systems, unlike what one would expect for independent environments. Further, when the size of one individual spin ensemble is much larger than the second, collective relaxation can drive the second system to an excited steady state even when it starts in the ground state; that is, the second spin ensemble relaxes towards a negative-temperature steady state. © 2018 Phys.org Journal information: Physical Review Letters A team of researchers from several institutions in Japan has described a physical system that can be described as existing above “absolute hot” and also below absolute zero. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group outlines their ideas on collective spins in double domain systems and the interesting situations that can occur within them. , arXivlast_img read more