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The prosecutor’s office of Paris opened a criminal case over air quality in the subway | Paris



The Paris prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case on charges that pollution in the metropolitan metro endangers the lives of travelers.

The subway operator, RATP, is under investigation for possible fraud and unintentional injury after it was alleged to have intentionally downplayed pollution levels and failed to inform passengers of the dangers.

“The time has come to lift the veil of silence and the RATP is telling the users the truth,” Tony Renucci, head of the Respire (Breathe) campaign group, said in a statement on Wednesday announcing the opening of a criminal investigation, which was confirmed by the Paris prosecutor’s office.

The clean air charity filed the lawsuit in 2021 following two separate monitoring investigations.

He accused the RATP of being aware of pollution problems over the past two decades.

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The RATP vehemently denied Respire’s allegations and said it was “constantly and scrupulously” monitoring air quality and taking steps to maintain it.

Last June, the French public health service Anses concluded that the levels of toxic fine particulate matter in the metro are on average three times higher than outside.

Braking particles were of particular concern, Anses said, while pollution was only monitored at three stations across a network of 309 stops.

The RATP said air quality is a “priority” and has an “ambitious action plan” to combat pollution, including installing high-performance fans and electric braking systems to reduce pollution.

According to public health data, about 40,000 premature deaths occur annually in France due to air pollution.

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These consulting companies have been leaking patient data to advertisers for years



Online alcohol recovery services Monument and Tempest have admitted to sharing private patient information with advertisers for years. as previously reported TechCrunch. IN information disclosure filed with Attorney General of CaliforniaMonument (which acquired Temple in 2022) says the tracking tools used on both services “could share” names, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, insurance information and more with advertisers.

Monument and Tempest, which provide resources for patients struggling with alcohol addiction, say the leak could also include patients’ self-reported responses to their drinking habits, something similar. speaks clearly “protected” and only used by his care teams. The companies are accused of violating the pixel tracking tools they have placed on their websites for promotional purposes.

Monument says it has reconsidered the use of tracking pixels after the US government issued guidelines for their use to healthcare companies in late 2022. bulletin published The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agency is warning healthcare companies that they could be held liable for violating patient privacy using pixel tracking tools.

The Monument and Tempest cases are remarkably similar to recent data breaches involving online healthcare services.

Pixel trackers are code snippets created by companies such as Meta, Google, TikTok, and Pinterest, which are often embedded in ads, websites, or emails. They track information about what the user clicks on or what forms they fill out, which is then used by both parties to create tailored ads or better understand their user base.

As noted in the disclosure, Monument discovered that its pixel-tracking tools had been exposing user information on the Monument site since January 2020, and on Tempest as early as November 2017. Monument says it stopped using “most” tracking tools at the end of 2022 and “completely removed them from Monument sites by February 23, 2023.

In the case of Monument, the amount of information leaked varies from user to user; according to the company, this depends on “the actions you have taken on the site of the monument, the configuration of the tracking technologies”, as well as the configuration of the web browser that accessed the site. Monument says, however, that the leak did not include social security numbers or credit card information and may have affected just over 100,000 people.

“Protecting the privacy of our patients is a top priority,” Monument CEO Mike Russell said in an emailed statement. edge. “We have implemented strong security measures and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure data security. In addition, we have terminated relationships with third party advertisers who do not agree to comply with our contractual requirements and applicable laws.”

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British scientists have found one of the largest black holes ever discovered



British astronomers have discovered one of the largest black holes ever discovered.

A team led by Durham University used gravitational lensing to find a supermassive black hole.

Gravitational lensing occurs when a celestial object has such a massive gravitational pull that it bends time and space around it, bending light from a more distant object and magnifying it.

They also used supercomputer simulations on the DiRAC integrated supercomputer facility, which allowed the researchers to study how light is bent by a black hole inside a galaxy hundreds of millions of light-years away.


Artist’s impression of a black hole, where the black hole’s strong gravitational field distorts the space around it. This distorts the background light images almost directly behind it into sharp, circular rings. This gravitational “lensing” effect offers an observational method to infer the presence of black holes and measure their mass based on how large the deflection of light is. The Hubble Space Telescope is targeting distant galaxies whose light travels very close to the centers of intermediate foreground galaxies, which are expected to host supermassive black holes a billion times the mass of the Sun. (ESA/Hubble, Digitized Sky Survey, Nick Reisinger (, N. Bartmann)

A university release says the group has simulated light traveling through the universe hundreds of thousands of times, with each simulation involving a black hole of a different mass that changes the light’s path to Earth.

By including a supermassive black hole in one of their simulations, they found that the path traveled by light from the galaxy to Earth matches what is seen in real images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

They discovered a supermassive black hole in the foreground galaxy, an object with a mass more than 30 billion times that of the Sun.


Astronaut aboard a spaceship

An astronaut aboard the Atlantis spacecraft took this image from the Hubble Space Telescope on May 19, 2009. (NASA)

Durham University said it was the first black hole discovered using gravitational lensing. Durham University astronomer Professor Alastair Edge first noticed the giant arc of the gravitational lens while looking through images of the galaxy in 2004.

“Most of the largest black holes we know of are in an active state, when matter pulled close to the black hole heats up and releases energy in the form of light, X-rays and other radiation,” says lead author Dr. This is stated in a statement by James Nightingale.

Massive galaxy cluster RX J2129 is captured in this observation by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.  Due to gravitational lensing, this observation contains three different images of the same supernova galaxy, which you can see here in more detail.  Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body causes enough space-time curvature to bend the path of light passing by or through it, almost like an enormous lens.  Gravitational lensing can cause background objects to appear strangely distorted, as seen in the concentric arcs of light in the upper right corner of this image.

Massive galaxy cluster RX J2129 is captured in this observation by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. Due to gravitational lensing, this observation contains three different images of the same supernova galaxy, which you can see here in more detail. Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body causes enough space-time curvature to bend the path of light passing by or through it, almost like an enormous lens. Gravitational lensing can cause background objects to appear strangely distorted, as seen in the concentric arcs of light in the upper right corner of this image. (ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, P Kelly)

“However, gravitational lensing makes it possible to study inactive black holes, which is currently not possible in distant galaxies. This approach could allow us to detect many more black holes outside of our local universe and show how these exotic objects have evolved in cosmic time.” — said the professor of the physics department.


The results were published in a study also involving the Max Planck Institute in Germany, in a journal. Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices.

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Study finds vaccines and trust are key to preventing death from COVID



The United States has the dubious honor of suffering the highest COVID-19 death rate of any high-income country in the world. But that national average — 372 deaths per 100,000 people as of last summer — obscures the fact that pandemic outcomes have varied greatly from state to state.

In a comparison that took into account demographic differences between states, Arizona’s COVID-19 death rate of 581 deaths per 100,000 residents was almost four times higher than Hawaii’s, which had 147 deaths per 100,000 residents. The death rate in the hardest-hit US states resembled the death rate in countries with no health infrastructure at all. The top-performing states were on par with countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, which have been working hard to keep the death toll from the pandemic low.

What explains these huge differences? New research offers some intriguing answers.

The researchers found that race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic factors were the strongest predictors of the state’s COVID-19 death toll. The higher the proportion of residents who identified themselves as black or Hispanic, the higher the poverty rate, the higher the proportion of residents without health insurance, and the lower the level of adult education, the more deaths per capita.

This may not be a big surprise. But the researchers also found that the more people in a state trust each other, the lower their collective risk of dying from COVID-19. This result highlights how growing divisions in America have made us especially vulnerable during the pandemic.

“How do we feel about another issue,” said the political scientist Thomas J. Bollyk, one of the lead authors of the study. “Solidarity between people—the feeling that others will do the right thing, and you don’t take advantage of it—is an important factor in your willingness to adopt defensive behavior.”

The report, published last week in the Lancet medical journal, is based on a dataset of the US pandemic from January 2020 to July 2022. Bollike called the event “the most comprehensive statement to date on the factors influencing pandemic outcomes.”

Dozens of researchers across the country have pulled data on state demographics before the pandemic, looking for ways in which their behavior and policies have diverged as the pandemic has evolved. To make direct comparisons across states, they created standardized infection and death rates that accounted for differences in factors associated with COVID, such as age and underlying health conditions of residents.

A map comparing cumulative COVID-19 death rates by state, standardized for differences in residents’ ages and underlying health conditions.

(Bolliki et al., The Lancet)

For example, California’s unadjusted COVID-19 death rate of 291 cases per 100,000 residents was lower than all but 11 states. But once studies took into account that the state has a relatively young population with a low prevalence of conditions that make people vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19, the death rate has risen to 418 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The authors of the study found that only 15 states fared worse.

Demographics told only part of the story. Political decisions also mattered.

Most states adopted some sort of mask-wearing and social distancing requirements early in the pandemic, but there were wide variations in how strict they were and how long they lasted. When the researchers assigned each state a “mandate propensity,” they found that states that scored high for implementing public health measures had lower rates of coronavirus infection.

California had the highest propensity for mandates, while Oklahoma had the lowest. The researchers calculated that if Oklahoma implemented masking and social distancing restrictions to the same extent as California, Oklahoma would have 32% fewer cases of coronavirus infection.

However, more aggressive public health measures have not resulted in a reduction in the death rate. The authors suggest that this is likely due to the fact that many elderly and sick people who are most likely to die if infected have taken steps to protect themselves, whether or not their state governments issued strict regulations.

The researchers also found that a state’s propensity to mandate had no effect on the health of its economy, as measured by its major domestic product. States with less mask use and fewer restaurants closed did have higher employment rates, but this additional economic activity came at a cost: every percentage point of increase in state employment was associated with 143 additional deaths per 100,000 residents.

No single factor was more important than “vaccinated man-days” – a measure of how the population of the state was vaccinatedand how early. The researchers estimate that if Alabama, which scores the lowest on this measure, achieved the vaccination coverage seen in Vermont, the highest-ranked state, there would have been 30% fewer infections and 35% fewer COVID deaths during the study period. -19. .

Another noteworthy finding, the authors write, is that vaccination requirements for civil servants, which have caused a lot of legal trouble, have been “distinguished” by their association with lower infection rates and fewer deaths.

Map comparing cumulative coronavirus infection rates by state.

Map comparing cumulative coronavirus infection rates by state, standardized to account for population differences.

(Bolliki et al., The Lancet)

The study highlights the tangible loss of the country’s “us versus them” mentality, which came to full fruition during the debate about mask-wearing in schools and vaccination requirements for government employees. We don’t really trust each other, which makes us less likely to do things to protect each other.

“Interpersonal trust” has been measured since the 1950s, and since the early 1990s, levels of this positive feeling towards others have dropped dramatically in the United States, said Bollike, head of the research center. Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. This trend was driven by deteriorating economic conditions for low-income people with higher education. It is especially low among black Americans and among those who voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Trust in the federal government and trust in science have not been reported as major contributors to COVID-19 deaths. But trust in fellow citizens is strongly ingrained, Bollike said.

The links found during the study clearly indicate that the strengths and weaknesses that states use in a national emergency, as well as some of the policies they adopt to respond to a crisis, matter a lot, he said. Lawrence Gostinexpert in public health law at Georgetown University.

“This is strong evidence that governments have taken COVID seriously, used science and mitigated health inequalities,” Gostin said. “Much of the political rhetoric — that mandates don’t work and that justice isn’t important — has turned out to be wrong.”

According to him, the results of the study can be used to save lives long before the next pandemic. Dr. Stephen Wolfresearcher at Virginia Commonwealth University who tracks the health of Americans.

“Many of the same factors are affecting health right now,” Wolfe said.

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