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Wildfires in California could mean consumers will sip smoky-tasting wine , say experts

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wildfires in california could mean consumers will sip smoky tasting wine say

Wildfires have been blazing in California since August and the intense smoke is not just filling the air, but is making its way into grapes used to produce wine.

As wood burns during these fires, it releases aromatic compounds that permeate the grape’s skin and bonds with sugars inside.

Because the blazes were so intense this season, experts say consumers can expect to sip on smoky flavored wine for years to come.

Wine industry expert Burak Kazaz said: ‘There are ways that winemakers can attempt to ‘mask’ the smoky taste, but it’s literally permeated everything from the grapes themselves to the wooden crates and barrels used to store grapes and the finished wine product.’

Wildfires have been blazing in California since August and the intense smoke is not just filling the air, but is making its way into grapes used to make wine

Wildfires have been blazing in California since August and the intense smoke is not just filling the air, but is making its way into grapes used to make wine

Winemakers have been very concerned about smoke taint over the past few years, as experts warn climate change will only contribute to the number of wildfires each year.

A number of wineries across the world have already been hit hard, with Chile suffering the worst in 2017 that damaged more than 100 vineyards, Wine Spectator reports.

Wildfires have become more common in California and the seasons are starting sooner each year and ending later, which is tainting the state’s prized grapes.

Smoke taint of grapes occurs when wood release compounds called volatile phenols that are capable of breaking into a grape’s cuticle and bonding with sugars inside to form glycosides.

As wood burns during these fires, it releases aromatic compounds that permeate the grape’s skin and bonds with sugars inside. Because the blazes were so intense this season, experts say consumers can expect to sip on smoky flavored wine for years to come

As wood burns during these fires, it releases aromatic compounds that permeate the grape’s skin and bonds with sugars inside. Because the blazes were so intense this season, experts say consumers can expect to sip on smoky flavored wine for years to come

And the entire process goes undetected – the only way vintners know the grapes have been compromised is when tasting the finished wine.

‘Heavy smoke and a burnt flavor is hard to remove, and the effect is cumulative as the state has been hit hard by wildfires for the past few years,’ Kazaz explained. 

Experts suggest monitoring smoke density and how long it lingers in an area to predict whether or not it will happen.

Kerry Wilkinson, a leading researcher in smoke taint at the University of Adelaide in Australia, told Wine Spectator: ‘If you are close to the fire but the smoke is blown away from you quickly, the risk of smoke taint is less.’

Wine industry expert Burak Kazaz said: ‘There are ways that winemakers can attempt to 'mask' the smoky taste, but it's literally permeated everything from the grapes themselves to the wooden crates and barrels used to store grapes and the finished wine product

Wine industry expert Burak Kazaz said: ‘There are ways that winemakers can attempt to ‘mask’ the smoky taste, but it’s literally permeated everything from the grapes themselves to the wooden crates and barrels used to store grapes and the finished wine product

‘Whereas you could be farther away from the fire, but if the smoke drifts in and lingers in your vineyard, then the risk will increase.’

Researchers at the University of British Colombia unveiled a new innovation in February – a spray that could protect grapes from smoke taint.

The team found that applying an agricultural spray composed of phospholipids — typically used to prevent cracking in cherries — to wine grapes one week before exposing them to simulated forest fire smoke significantly reduced the levels of volatile phenols measured in smoke-exposed grapes at commercial maturity.

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COVID-19: Cough clouds of coronavirus particles are up to 23 TIMES smaller when wearing a mask

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covid 19 cough clouds of coronavirus particles are up to 23 times smaller when wearing a mask

Wearing a face mask reduces the size of the clouds of infectious coronavirus particles created by a cough by up to 23 times, a study has found.

Researchers from India calculated how cough clouds evolve as they spread out — and how much various forms of covering can control their spread.

The team found that a surgical facemask lowered the cloud volume by seven times compared with without — while an N95 respirator cut the volume 23-fold.

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Researchers found a surgical facemask lowered the cloud volume by seven times (green line) compared with no mask (red line)— while an N95 respirator cut the volume 23-fold (blue line)

Researchers found a surgical facemask lowered the cloud volume by seven times (green line) compared with no mask (red line)— while an N95 respirator cut the volume 23-fold (blue line)

Researchers found a surgical facemask lowered the cloud volume by seven times (green line) compared with no mask (red line)— while an N95 respirator cut the volume 23-fold (blue line)

Researchers say there are certain things which can reduce the spread of cough droplets, such as wearing face masks, using handkerchiefs and coughing into one's elbow (stock)

Researchers say there are certain things which can reduce the spread of cough droplets, such as wearing face masks, using handkerchiefs and coughing into one's elbow (stock)

Researchers say there are certain things which can reduce the spread of cough droplets, such as wearing face masks, using handkerchiefs and coughing into one’s elbow (stock)

‘We found that anything that reduces the distance travelled by the cloud… should greatly reduce the region over which the droplets disperse upon coughing,’ said paper author and engineer Rajneesh Bhardwaj of the Indian Institute of Technology.

This, he added, in turn therefore greatly reduces ‘the chances of infection.’ 

According to the team, practices that can lower the distance the cloud travels include wearing face masks, using handkerchiefs and coughing into one’s elbow.

Researchers from India calculated how cough clouds evolve as they spread out and how much various forms of covering can control their spread — including surgical-style masks, pictured

Researchers from India calculated how cough clouds evolve as they spread out and how much various forms of covering can control their spread — including surgical-style masks, pictured

Researchers from India calculated how cough clouds evolve as they spread out and how much various forms of covering can control their spread — including  N95 respirators, pictured

Researchers from India calculated how cough clouds evolve as they spread out and how much various forms of covering can control their spread — including  N95 respirators, pictured

Researchers from India calculated how cough clouds evolve as they spread out and how much various forms of covering can control their spread — including surgical-style masks, left, and N95 respirators, right

Previous studies have typically focused on the properties of the air — and coughed-out droplets — close to the mouth, considering such factors as the cloud volume, temperature, droplet distribution and humidity.

In their research, however, Professor Bhardwaj and fellow engineer Amit Agrawal set out to determine how these properties change as the cough cloud travels.

By using an analysis based in so-called jet theory, the duo found that the first 5–8 seconds following a cough are vital for suspending infectious droplets in the air — and therefore in the potential to spread coronavirus to other individuals.

After this point, they explained, the cloud tends to disperse.

Alongside the significant reduction in expelled cloud volume brought about by wearing face masks, the researchers also found — surprisingly — that how hard a mask-less person coughs does not affect the volume of the cloud they release.

However, it was important when you wear a mask, they said. Coughing harder leads to faster-travelling droplets as well as more of them.   

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Physics of Fluids.

FACE MASK POLICY IN THE UK

Face masks must be worn on public transport and in many indoor spaces, including shops, shopping centres, indoor transport hubs, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries. 

It is currently the law for passengers to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles, in hospitality venues, like restaurants and bars, other than when you are eating and drinking. Staff in retail and hospitality settings are also legally required to wear face coverings. 

If necessary, the police and Transport for London (TfL) officers have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £200 (halving to £100 if paid within 14 days).

It comes after the World Health Organisation and numerous studies suggested they are beneficial.

As announced, the Government will bring forward changes to mean that for repeat offenders these fines would double at each offence up to a maximum value of £6,400.  

The Prime Minister has also announced tougher enforcement measures, with businesses facing fines or closure for failing to comply with coronavirus rules, meaning there will be consequences for pubs that try to serve you at the bar.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: ‘Individuals, businesses and households all have a responsibility to ensure the virus is suppressed and police will play their part in supporting the public to navigate the measures in place for our safety.

‘Our approach of engaging with people and explaining the regulations in place will remain. The vast majority of situations are resolved following those two stages, with little need for further encouragement or enforcement action to be taken,’ he said.

‘Police will continue to work with their communities and only issue fines as a last resort.

‘Chiefs will be stepping up patrols in high-risk areas and will proactively work with businesses, licensing authorities and local authorities to ensure the rules are being followed.

‘If members of the public are concerned that the law is being broken or they are experiencing anti-social behaviour, they can report this to the police, who will consider the most appropriate response and will target the most problematic behaviour.’  

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Singletons who use dating apps to have sex are more likely to have an STI and not use protection

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singletons who use dating apps to have sex are more likely to have an sti and not use protection

People using dating apps to ‘hook up’ are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection and not use protection than those who meet in other ways, a study finds.

The increasing popularity of dating apps means that finding a new sexual partner is as easy as a few swipes on a screen – but researchers found this comes with risks.

A team from the Public Health Agency of Sweden surveyed more than 14,500 men and women aged 16 to 84 about the sexual behaviour, online dating and health. 

They didn’t ask which apps or services people used, but found those turning to digital dating tools were more likely to have an STI and less likely to use a condom. 

People using dating apps to 'hook up' are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection and not use protection than those who meet in other ways, study finds. Stock image

People using dating apps to 'hook up' are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection and not use protection than those who meet in other ways, study finds. Stock image

People using dating apps to ‘hook up’ are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection and not use protection than those who meet in other ways, study finds. Stock image

The goal of the study was to explore the extent to which finding sexual partners online was associated with risky behaviours, including unprotected sex. 

Young people and men between the ages of 30 and 44 were the most likely to turn to dating apps to meet someone for a temporary ‘hook up’, the data revealed. 

The team also discovered that regardless of age or gender, people using dating apps were also more likely to pay for or receive money as a compensation for sex.

Lead author, Charlotte Deogan, said campaigns to raise awareness of sexual health may be particularly important for men aged 30 to 44.

‘They’re less likely to attend sexual health clinics and more likely to engage in sexually risky behaviours with partners found online,’ she explained.

Of the 14,500 people surveyed by the team, 11 per cent of men said they’d used the internet to meet sexual partners and 7 per cent of women. 

Among the questions on the survey, the team asked about sexual orientation, and found a higher proportion of LGBTQ+ people used dating apps than heterosexuals.

‘The highest proportion (67 per cent) of men having used the internet to meet sexual partners was reported by gay men 30–44 years of age,’ the team explained.

A team from the Public Health Agency of Sweden surveyed more than 14,500 men and women aged 16 to 84 about the sexual behaviour, online dating and health. Stock image

A team from the Public Health Agency of Sweden surveyed more than 14,500 men and women aged 16 to 84 about the sexual behaviour, online dating and health. Stock image

A team from the Public Health Agency of Sweden surveyed more than 14,500 men and women aged 16 to 84 about the sexual behaviour, online dating and health. Stock image

There was also a link to education, with university-educated women four times less likely to look to dating apps to find a partner than those without a degree. 

Sweden makes for an interesting case study in the use of digital services for dating, according to the authors, as 99 per cent of adults use the web daily.  

‘Online arenas may facilitate sexual encounters, but to what extent meeting partners online is associated with sexual risk behaviors and sexual health outcomes is still not fully explored among the Swedish general population,’ authors wrote.  

There were limitations to the study, authors explained. This included the fact the survey only asked if people had ever used the internet to find a date, not how recent.

They also had no way to tell whether those responding were just as likely to engage in risky unprotected sex with partners they meet online as those they meet offline.

‘It remains unclear whether the Internet use is the cause or a marker for increased sexual risk,’ the team wrote.

HOW DID ONLINE DATING BECOME SO POPULAR?

The first ever incarnation of a dating app can be traced back to 1995 when Match.com was first launched.

The website allowed single people to upload a profile, a picture and chat to people online.

The app was intended to allow people looking for long-term relationships to meet.

eHarmony was developed in 2000 and two years later Ashley Madison, a site dedicated to infidelity and cheating, was first launched.

A plethora of other dating sites with a unique target demographic were set up in the next 10-15 years including: OKCupid (2004), Plenty of Fish (2006), Grindr (2009) and Happn (2013).

In 2012, Tinder was launched and was the first ‘swipe’ based dating platform. 

After its initial launch it’s usage snowballed and by March 2014 there were one billion matches a day, worldwide.

In 2014, co-founder of Tinder, Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble, a dating app that empowered women by only allowing females to send the first message.

The popularity of mobile dating apps such as Tinder, Badoo and more recently Bumble is attributable to a growing amount of younger users with a busy schedule.

In the 1990s, there was a stigma attached to online dating as it was considered a last-ditch and desperate attempt to find love.

This belief has dissipated and now around one third of marriages are between couples who met online.

A survey from 2014 found that 84 per cent of dating app users were using online dating services to look for a romantic relationship.

Twenty-four per cent stated that that they used online dating apps explicitly for sexual encounters.

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Facebook has taken down more than 120,000 posts for trying to ‘obstruct voting’

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facebook has taken down more than 120000 posts for trying to obstruct voting

Facebook took down more than 120,000 posts since March for violating its voter-interference policies, the company said  

Warnings were attached to an additional 150 million native posts touting claims debunked by third-party fact-checkers, according to former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, now Facebook’s VP of global affairs and communications.

Facebook’s use of artificial intelligence has ‘made it possible to delete billions of posts and fake accounts, even before they are reported by users,’ Clegg said. 

Since March, some 2.2 million ads submitted to both Facebook and Instagram were rejected for targeting the US without completing the company’s authorization process.

According to Facebook, ‘ads related to the US 2020 census and voting around the November 3, 2020 election are subject to additional prohibitions.’

The company is also refusing to accept new ads about social issues, politics or the election the week before Election Day. 

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Facebook announced that it's already registered 2.5 million new voters in advance of Election Day, part of its ongoing crusade against voter misinformation and disenfranchisement

Facebook announced that it's already registered 2.5 million new voters in advance of Election Day, part of its ongoing crusade against voter misinformation and disenfranchisement

Facebook announced that it’s already registered 2.5 million new voters in advance of Election Day, part of its ongoing crusade against voter misinformation and disenfranchisement 

The social media platform began working to defuse misinformation and voter manipulation efforts almost immediately after the 2016 election, when it was criticized for allowing coordinated campaigns to drive confusion among voters.

‘Thirty-five thousand employees take care of the security of our platforms and contribute for elections,’ Clegg told Agence France-Presse. ‘We have established partnerships with 70 specialized media, including five in France, on the verification of information.’

Facebook reports it identified and removed 30 networks it said were ‘engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, including foreign or government interference.’

On October 6, Facebook announced it would take down any accounts representing the conspiracy group QAnon, ‘even if they contain no violent content.’ 

Former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, now Facebook's VP for global affairs and communications, says the platform rejected 2.2 million ads for 'interfering with voting' and slapped warnings on 150 million organic posts

Former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, now Facebook's VP for global affairs and communications, says the platform rejected 2.2 million ads for 'interfering with voting' and slapped warnings on 150 million organic posts

Former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, now Facebook’s VP for global affairs and communications, says the platform rejected 2.2 million ads for ‘interfering with voting’ and slapped warnings on 150 million organic posts

More than 120,000 posts to Facebook and Instagram have been removed for violating voter interference policies, and over 150 million pieces of content received warnings after being debunked by fact checkers

More than 120,000 posts to Facebook and Instagram have been removed for violating voter interference policies, and over 150 million pieces of content received warnings after being debunked by fact checkers

More than 120,000 posts to Facebook and Instagram have been removed for violating voter interference policies, and over 150 million pieces of content received warnings after being debunked by fact checkers

It’s also worked to remove calls by groups like the Proud Boys ‘for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters,’ the company said.

What is Facebook doing to protect the election process? 

 

Screenshots from Facebook's voting information hub.

Screenshots from Facebook's voting information hub.

Screenshots from Facebook’s voting information hub.

• All new political ads on Facebook and Instagram banned a week from November 3 – but existing ones can stay be reused and  re-targeted 

• Posts with misinformation about voting or ‘implicit’ voter suppression are being removed

• Group forwarding on Facebook Messenger is suspended so users can only forward five messages at a time.  

• Facebook’s voting info center will tell people ‘there is nothing illegitimate about not having a result on election night.’

• Anyone claiming election victory before it has been called by Reuters will have their post flagged with a link to the official results. 

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Not everyone appreciates the effort.

Last week, President Trump criticized Facebook for limiting the reach of a New York Post article alleging Hunter Biden arranged a meeting between Ukrainian energy officials and his father, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

A Facebook spokesman said it was ‘reducing’ the story’s distribution on the platform while a third-party fact-checker verified its allegations.

Progressives have also criticized the site for censoring news stories.  

Mark Zuckerberg gave the okay to alter Facebook’s news feed algorithm to reduce the presence of stories by left-leaning sites like Mother Jones, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to trying to stymie efforts at misinformation and intimidation, Facebook has been proactive in voter registration and education.

The company announced it September it had already registered more than 2.5 million Americans to vote.

It’s pinned voting information at the top of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and launched poll-worker recruitment drives to address shortages because of the pandemic .

New political ads will be banned between October 27 and November 3, though existing ones can stay be reused and re-targeted .

And anyone claiming victory before a race been called by Reuters will have their post flagged with a link to the official results.

‘This election is not going to be business as usual,’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said. 

‘We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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