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US Election 2020: Google shares poll and ballot drop box locations

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us election 2020 google shares poll and ballot drop box locations

The 2020 election is said to be ‘the most important election in our lifetime’ and Google wants to help the 150 million Americans projected to vote get to the polls.

The tech giant has rolled out new tools to Search and Maps that shows exact locations for in person voting and ballot drop boxes.

When users look up information for ‘early voting’ or ‘ballot drop boxes near me,’ they will be shown details for specific places, along with hours of operation.

The tech giant also announced its virtual assistant will ‘soon’ be able to provide citizens with information – with just saying, ‘Hey Google, where can I vote?’

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Users just type 'where to vote' in the search box to access different voting needs and locations

Users just type 'where to vote' in the search box to access different voting needs and locations

Google will then ask for your location in order to share places in your area

Google will then ask for your location in order to share places in your area

Google has rolled out new tools to Search and Maps that shows exact locations for in person voting and ballot drop boxes.

Yunhan Xu, Google product manager, shared in the announcement: ‘This year, searches for ‘how to vote’ in the U.S. are higher than ever before.

‘To make it easier to find information about how and where to vote—regardless of your preferred voting method—we’ve launched election-related features with information from trusted and authoritative organizations in Google Search.’

‘Starting today, when you go to Google Search and Maps for information on where to vote, you’ll find helpful features that show the voting locations closest to you.’

To find voting information, users type in ‘where to vote’ in Google Search, then their address and the system will display a number of locations in the area that provide the specific service – whether in person voting or a mail-in ballot drop box.

Search provides different options, such as 'early voting' and 'drop boxes,' allowing users to find what they need

Search provides different options, such as 'early voting' and 'drop boxes,' allowing users to find what they need

Search will display specific locations, which users can find using Maps

Search will display specific locations, which users can find using Maps

Search provides different options, such as ‘early voting’ and ‘drop boxes,’ allowing users to find what they need.  Search will display specific locations, which users can find using Maps

Google Maps will also show the locations and provide directions for users.

‘Just as easily, you’ll soon be able to ask, ‘Hey Google, where do I vote?’ and Google Assistant will share details on where to vote nearby on your Assistant-enabled phone, smart speaker or Smart Display,’ Xu shared.

The announcement also notes that the official information pulls from Voting Information, a partnership of Democracy Works and the states to provide official information to voters about where to vote.

‘Through the Voting Information Project, we plan to have more than 200,000 voting locations available across the country,’ Xu explained.

‘For places where voting locations are not yet available, we’ll surface state and local election websites.

‘As more locations become available, or if there are changes, we’ll continue to update the information provided across Google Search, Assistant and Maps.’

The tech giant also announced its virtual assistant will 'soon' be able to provide citizens with information - with just saying, 'Hey Google, where can I vote'

The tech giant also announced its virtual assistant will 'soon' be able to provide citizens with information - with just saying, 'Hey Google, where can I vote'

The tech giant also announced its virtual assistant will ‘soon’ be able to provide citizens with information – with just saying, ‘Hey Google, where can I vote’

Google is one of the many online powerhouses that has developed new tools and policies ahead of the election.

The firm is set to block ads related to the US presidential election after polls close on November 3.

The tech giant will implement its sensitive event policy, which is rolled out during fast moving events in order to avoid confusion among the public.

In the email to advertisers, Google states it will not allow ads ‘referencing candidates, the election, or its outcome, given that an unprecedented amount of votes will be counted after election day this year.’

Facebook recently followed Google’s lead and is also pulling the plug on new political ads once the polls close.

The temporary ban is, according to the firm, aimed at limiting confusion, misinformation and abuse of its services days following the event.

Along with ads, the social media giant says it is removing posts that call for people to tune into the polls that contain militaristic or intimidating language.

Facebook executives noted that the policies apply to everyone, including President Donald Trump and other politicians.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Birth control hormone is making its way into streams and hindering fish’s ability to reproduce

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birth control hormone is making its way into streams and hindering fishs ability to reproduce

Water polluted with even tiny amounts of human hormones can impact marine life, according to a new study that found freshwater fish exposed to estrogen produced fewer offspring.

Synthetic estrogen from oral contraceptives has been found in waterways near sewage treatment plants.

Biologists looking to see if those hormones affect fish exposed them to trace amounts of a synthetic version of Ethinylestradiol, used in most birth control pills.

They found less than a tenth of the concentration of Ethinylestradiol found in some streams was enough to lead to smaller populations and fewer male offsprings.

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Estrogen has been detected in streams, lakes and even drinking water. To determine its effect, researchers exposed killifish to synthetic Ethinylestradiol, found in most birth control pills. They found the number of offspring reduced and more females born than males.

Estrogen has been detected in streams, lakes and even drinking water. To determine its effect, researchers exposed killifish to synthetic Ethinylestradiol, found in most birth control pills. They found the number of offspring reduced and more females born than males.

Estrogen has been detected in streams, lakes and even drinking water. To determine its effect, researchers exposed killifish to synthetic Ethinylestradiol, found in most birth control pills. They found the number of offspring reduced and more females born than males.

According to a study in the journal Aquatic Toxicology, fish exposed to even 5 nanograms per liter of synthetic Ethinylestradiol produced fewer offspring than those that weren’t and gave birth to more females than males.

Ethinylestradiol has been found in streams at levels higher than 60 nanograms per liter.

In addition to birth control, it’s used as menopausal hormone therapy, to prevent osteoporosis and as a palliative treatment for breast cancer.

Our bodies generally only absorb a small amount of the medication we ingest, the rest – up to 90 percent – gets flushed down the toilet when we go to the bathroom.

'When women on birth control or hormone therapy go to the bathroom, it gets flushed into wastewater treatment plants,' said biologist Latonya Jackson (right)

'When women on birth control or hormone therapy go to the bathroom, it gets flushed into wastewater treatment plants,' said biologist Latonya Jackson (right)

‘When women on birth control or hormone therapy go to the bathroom, it gets flushed into wastewater treatment plants,’ said biologist Latonya Jackson (right) 

‘Our wastewater treatment systems are good at removing a lot of things, but they weren’t designed to remove pharmaceuticals,’ said lead author Latonya Jackson, a biologist at the University of Cincinnati. ‘So when women on birth control or hormone therapy go to the bathroom, it gets flushed into wastewater treatment plants.’

For her experiments, Jackson used least killifish, a relative of the guppy.

Killifish are common, tiny and easy to catch, making them easy to study without taking up a lot of space.

They’re a popular target for predators, which they make up for by giving birth frequently, about every 28 days.

Least killifish produced fewer offspring after being exposed to less than a tenth of the estrogen concentration found in some streams near sewage plants

Least killifish produced fewer offspring after being exposed to less than a tenth of the estrogen concentration found in some streams near sewage plants

Least killifish produced fewer offspring after being exposed to less than a tenth of the estrogen concentration found in some streams near sewage plants 

They’re also rare for fish in that they have a placenta and give birth to live young.

Jackson’s team found that chronic exposure to Ethinylestradiol led to smaller populations and a gender ratio of more females than males.

Next she’ll be working with the Environmental Protection Agency to see if the hormones affected the genetics of the fish’s offspring.

Around 15 million women regularly take birth-control pills in the US alone, most of them using Ethinylestradiol. 

‘Our wastewater treatment systems are good at removing a lot of things, but they weren’t designed to remove pharmaceuticals,’ Jackson said. ‘So when women on birth control or hormone therapy go to the bathroom, it gets flushed into wastewater treatment plants.’ 

While a 2010 study found birth-control pills accounted for less than one percent of the estrogen found in US drinking water, local water systems don’t test for Ethinylestradiol.

And estrogen enters the waterways from other sources, like livestock and dairy products. 

Previous studies have found estrogen in rivers and lakes leads male fish to develop ovaries and other female characteristics. 

A 2015 study from Washington State University found a link between Ethinylestradiol and the growing decline in sperm counts, which have plummeted up to 38 percent in a decade. 

‘There’s every reason to believe that estrogen and the pharmaceutical compounds that we’re ingesting in micro-quantities are having an effect,’ activist Seth Siegel told Business Insider.

‘Why wouldn’t it be possible that a newborn or fetus, or a 3-year-old getting an irregular dosage, might not see some effect on their brain function or brain development?’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Reckless tourists get too close to a herd of bison Yellowstone Park, sparking a stampede

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reckless tourists get too close to a herd of bison yellowstone park sparking a stampede

Tourists in Yellowstone National Park caused a dangerous stampede by getting too close to a herd of bison. 

The giant creatures were caught on video approaching a river before breaking into a stampede that kicked up dust and threatened to steamroll right over bystanders.

A witness said tourists kept inching closer to the herd, despite their grunting and hoof-stomping – and warnings from others to get away.

According to Yellowstone guidelines, park visitors should remain 25 yards from bison at all times.

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Tourists near a river in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley were filmed inching dangerously close to a herd of bison. Several of the giant beasts plowed passed the visitors as they crossed the river to join the rest of the herd

Tourists near a river in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley were filmed inching dangerously close to a herd of bison. Several of the giant beasts plowed passed the visitors as they crossed the river to join the rest of the herd

Tourists near a river in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley were filmed inching dangerously close to a herd of bison. Several of the giant beasts plowed passed the visitors as they crossed the river to join the rest of the herd

Lisa Stewart filmed the scene near Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, where a cluster of tourists had gathered near a river.

At first she assumed it was a wolf sighting, but she soon realized the foolhardy visitors were approaching a herd of buffalo.

‘The people saw them and started walking closer and closer toward the bison,’ Stewart told USA Today.

The animals ‘kept getting more agitated by the minute,’ she added, grunting and stomping the ground with their hooves as they moved down the hill.

Eventually they broke into a stampede, only narrowly avoiding the onlookers as they galloped into the water to join the herd on the other side of the river.

Bystanders warned the tourists to get out of the way, Stewart said, and told them how stupid they were for walking toward the massive beasts.

‘You only see about four to six people on the video, but there were more in the same spot the bison came running from,’ she recalled. ‘It was amazing that they didn’t heed the warning of grunting, snorting and stomping feet!’ 

Stewart said she stopped filming, afraid someone was hurt, and was actually shaking a bit from fear.

‘I could feel the earth rumbling under my feet when it was happening,’ she told USA Today. ‘It was one of those moments your stomach turns over at the split moment you think disaster is about to happen.’ 

There are just under 5,000 bison living in Yellowstone National Park, the largest population on public land. 

It’s not unusual for visitors to see them, though such violent encounters are rarer. 

Last month, KTMF reporter Rachel Louise Just filmed dozens of bison stampeding through traffic in the park.

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Dozens of buffalo stampeding through traffic last month in Yellowstone National Park

Dozens of buffalo stampeding through traffic last month in Yellowstone National Park

Dozens of buffalo stampeding through traffic last month in Yellowstone National Park

The incident happened the weekend of September 17, but Just shared it on YouTube last week.

‘Bison are my favorite animal so this was one of the coolest things I’ve EVER seen!’ she tweeted. ‘No idea what prompted the stampede but WOW.’ 

According to the National Park Service website, bison cause more injuries than any other animal in Yellowstone.

They’re agile, unpredictable and can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. 

Since Yellowstone lifted its coronavirus lockdown in May, two people have been injured by bison, including a woman who was knocked to the ground the second day the park was reopened. 

Also known as American buffalo, bison are the largest land-dwelling mammals in North America, with bulls weighing up to 2,000 pounds and cows about half that.

Before the arrival of Europeans, there were an estimated 30 to 60 million bison in North America.

By the turn of the 20th century, hunting and targeting killing nearly wiped them out, leaving barely 2,000 on the continent.

Eventually a dedicated effort helped restore their numbers, though Yellowstone is the only place in the US where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.

Because they’re genetically pure, and not hybrids, the park’s herds behave like their ancient ancestors, according to the NPS, ‘congregating during the breeding season to compete for mates, as well as migration and exploration that result in the use of new habitat areas.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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SpaceX aims to build a Starlink mega constellation around MARS

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spacex aims to build a starlink mega constellation around mars

Elon Musk has an ambitious plan to build a city of one million people on Mars and believes SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will play a key role in the mission.

The company’s president and COO Gwynee Shotwell recently shared details with TIMEmagazine about bringing this technology to the Red Planet.

‘Once we take people to Mars, they are going to need a capability to communicate,’ says Shotwell.

‘In fact, I think it will be even more critical to have a constellation like Starlink around Mars.’

Not only will the satellites beam internet to those living on Mars, but the team will act as a bridge for the planet to communicate with Earth.

Although SpaceX has its sights set on Mars, Shotwell said they are not giving up one Earth – it is to give ‘humanity another shot in case there were to be some horrible event’ on our planet.

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Elon Musk has an ambitious plan to build a city of one million people on Mars (pictured) and believes SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will play a key role in the mission

Elon Musk has an ambitious plan to build a city of one million people on Mars (pictured) and believes SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will play a key role in the mission

‘Elon founded this company with the entire purpose of building a space transportation capability that would allow humans to move to other planets,’ Shotwell says in the interview.

‘I remember when I was interviewing with Elon in 2002 and he had such an ambitious goal, it sounded absolutely insane at the time.’

‘Now almost 20 years later, it doesn’t actually sound that insane. Well at least not to the insiders.’

Musk has had his heart set on colonizing Mars for many years and is not shy about how he plans to make it happen.

This past January, he was aiming to put a million people on the Red Planet by 2050. He planned for three flights a day – or 1,000 flights a year – with 100 people on each one.

And in 2017, the tech tycoon had the idea to send two cargo ships to Mars in 2022, followed by four other vessels – two with cargo and two with human settlers in 2024.

‘I want you to understand that we are not giving up on Earth when we talk about building capability to move humanity to other planets,’ Shotwell explains in the interview.

‘It’s not giving up on Earth, it’s actually just giving humanity another shot in case there were to be some horrible event.’

Along with Starlink, SpaceX’s Starship rocket is also a key player in humans becoming an inter-planetary species.

Not only will the satellites beam internet to those living on Mars, but the team will act as a bridge for the planet to communicate with Earth (pictured is a concept image of the Starlink constellation around Earth)

Not only will the satellites beam internet to those living on Mars, but the team will act as a bridge for the planet to communicate with Earth (pictured is a concept image of the Starlink constellation around Earth)

Musk has had his heart set on colonizing Mars for many years and is not shy about how he plans to make it happen. This past January, he was aiming to put a million people on the Red Planet by 2050. He planned for three flights a day - or 1,000 flights a year - with 100 people on each one

Musk has had his heart set on colonizing Mars for many years and is not shy about how he plans to make it happen. This past January, he was aiming to put a million people on the Red Planet by 2050. He planned for three flights a day – or 1,000 flights a year – with 100 people on each one

Musk shared the craft’s progress during the virtual Humans to Mars Summit last month, saying the rocket ‘is making progresses,’ but also raised concerns about building a base on the planet.

Musk suggested constructing a self-sustaining city will be ‘difficult’ and there will be a number of dangers settlers may face while developing the galactic civilization.

‘I want to emphasize, this is a very hard and dangerous and difficult thing,’ Musk said.

Along with Starlink, SpaceX’s Starship rocket is also a key player in humans becoming an inter-planetary species

Along with Starlink, SpaceX’s Starship rocket is also a key player in humans becoming an inter-planetary species

‘Not for the faint of heart. Good chance you’ll die. And it’s going to be tough, tough going, but it’ll be pretty glorious if it works out.’

Although Musk has painted a picture of humans on Mars, he has stated in the past that he himself may never make it due to SpaceX’s lack of progress.

‘We’ve got to improve our rate of innovation or, based on past trends, I am definitely going to be dead before Mars,’ Musk said during a discussion in March.

ELON MUSK’S SPACEX SET TO BRING BROADBAND INTERNET TO THE WORLD WITH ITS STARLINK CONSTELLATION OF SATELLITES

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched the fifth batch of its ‘Starlink’ space internet satellites – taking the total to 300.

They form a constellation of thousands of satellites, designed to provide low-cost broadband internet service from low Earth orbit.

The constellation, informally known as Starlink, and under development at SpaceX’s facilities in Redmond, Washington.

Its goal is to beam superfast internet into your home from space.

While satellite internet has been around for a while, it has suffered from high latency and unreliable connections.

Starlink is different. SpaceX says putting a ‘constellation’ of satellites in low earth orbit would provide high-speed, cable-like internet all over the world.

The billionaire’s company wants to create the global system to help it generate more cash.

Musk has previously said the venture could give three billion people who currently do not have access to the internet a cheap way of getting online.

It could also help fund a future city on Mars.

Helping humanity reach the red planet is one of Musk’s long-stated aims and was what inspired him to start SpaceX.

The company recently filed plans with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 4,425 satellites into orbit above the Earth – three times as many that are currently in operation.

‘Once fully deployed, the SpaceX system will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service,’ the firm said.

‘Every point on the Earth’s surface will see, at all times, a SpaceX satellite.’

The network will provide internet access to the US and the rest of the world, it added.

It is expected to take more than five years and $9.8 billion (£7.1bn) of investment, although satellite internet has proved an expensive market in the past and analysts expect the final bill will be higher.

Musk compared the project to ‘rebuilding the internet in space’, as it would reduce reliance on the existing network of undersea fibre-optic cables which criss-cross the planet.

In the US, the FCC welcomed the scheme as a way to provide internet connections to more people.

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