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Priorities | The Job of the Researcher

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Nov. 9, 2015

Priorities <B>|</B> The Job of the Researcher

PlayStations and Xboxes, However, State-of-the-Art: A New York University Center for Justice study released in September warned that, unless major upgrades are made quickly, 43 states will conduct 2016 elections on electronic voting machines at least 10 years old and woefully suspect. Those states use machines no longer made or poorly supported, and those in 14 states are more than 15 years old. There are apprehensions over antiquated security (risking miscounts, potential for hacking), but also fear of election-day breakdowns causing long lines at the polls, depressing turnout and dampening confidence in the overall fairness of the process. The NYU center estimated the costs of upgrading at greater than $1 billion. [Politico, 9-15-2015]

Scientists at North Carolina State and Wake Forest universities have developed a machine that vomits, realistically, enabling the study of "aerosolization" of dangerous norovirus. "Vomiting Larry" can replicate the process of retching, including the pressure at which particles are expelled (which, along with volume and "other vomit metrics," can teach the extent of the virus' threat in large populations). The researchers must use a harmless stand-in "bacteriophage" for the studies -- because norovirus is highly infectious even in the laboratory. [NPR, 8-19-2015]

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