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Today, 17 September,marks the 133rd birth anniversary of Michiyo Tsujimura, who was a Japanese scientist, and worked extensively on decoding the nutritional value of green tea.
Tsujimura spent her early career as a science teacher. And, in 1920, she chased her dream of becoming a scientific researcher at the Hokkaido Imperial University, where she began to analyse the nutritional properties of Japanese silkworms, in which she was very much interested.
After a few years, Tsujimura transferred to the Tokyo Imperial University, and began researching the biochemistry of green tea alongside Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, who is well known for his discovery of vitamin B1.
In their joint research in this area, it was revealed that green tea contained significant amount of vitamin C, which is the first of many, yet unknown molecular compounds in green tea.
Later on, in 1929, Tsujimura isolated catechin, which is bitter ingredient of tea. Then, the next year, she isolated tannin, which is an even more bitter compound. All these findings formed the foundation for her doctoral thesis– "On the Chemical Components of Green Tea", and through all this hard work, she graduated as Japan's first woman doctor of agriculture in the year 1932.
Moreover, Tsujimura also made history as an educator when she became the first ever Dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at the Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School in the year 1950.
Even today, a stone memorial in honor of Dr. Michiyo Tsujimura’s achievements can be found in her birthplace of Okegawa City.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - Apple released a critical software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers said could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any user action.
Researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said the security issue was exploited to plant spyware on a Saudi activist's iPhone. They said they had high confidence that the world's most infamous hacker-for-hire firm, Israel's NSO Group, was behind that attack.
The previously unknown vulnerability affected all major Apple devices — iPhones, Macs and Apple Watches — the researchers said. NSO Group responded with a one-sentence statement saying it will continue providing tools for fighting "terror and crime."
It was the first time a so-called "zero-click" exploit — one that doesn't require users to click on suspect links or open infected files — has been caught and analyzed, the researchers said. They found the malicious code on September 7 and immediately alerted Apple. The targeted activist asked to remain anonymous, they said.
"We're not necessarily attributing this attack to the Saudi government," said researcher Bill Marczak.
Citizen Lab previously found evidence of zero-click exploits being used to hack into the phones of Al-Jazeera journalists and other targets but hasn't previously seen the malicious code itself.
Although security experts say that average iPhone, iPad and Mac user generally need not worry — such attacks tend to be limited to specific targets — the discovery still alarmed security professionals.
Malicious image files were transmitted to the activist's phone via the iMessage instant-messaging app before it was hacked with NSO's Pegasus spyware, which opens a phone to eavesdropping and remote data theft, Marczak said. It was discovered during a second examination of the phone, which forensics showed had been infected in March. He said the malicious file causes devices to crash.
Citizen Lab says the case reveals, once again, that NSO Group is allowing its spyware to be used against ordinary civilians.
In a blog post, Apple said it was issuing a security update for iPhones and iPads because a "maliciously crafted" PDF file could lead to them being hacked. It said it was aware that the issue may have been exploited and cited Citizen Lab.
In a subsequent statement, Apple security chief Ivan Krstić commended Citizen Lab and said such exploits "are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users." He noted, as he has in the past, that such exploits typically cost millions of dollars to develop and often have a short shelf life.
In a blog post, Apple said it was issuing a security update for iPhones and iPads because a "maliciously crafted" PDF file could lead to them being hacked. Image source: wikimedia commons
Apple didn't respond to questions regarding whether this was the first time it had patched a zero-click vulnerability.
Users should get alerts on their iPhones prompting them to update the phone's iOS software. Those who want to jump the gun can go into the phone settings, click "General" then "Software Update," and trigger the patch update directly.
Citizen Lab called the iMessage exploit FORCEDENTRY and said it was effective against Apple iOS, MacOS and WatchOS devices. It urged people to immediately install security updates.
Researcher John Scott-Railton said the news highlights the importance of securing popular messaging apps against such attacks.
"Chat apps are increasingly becoming a major way that nation-states and mercenary hackers are gaining access to phones," he said. "And, it's why it's so important that companies focus on making sure that they are as locked down as possible."
The researchers said it also undermines NSO Group's claims that it only sells its spyware to law enforcement officials for use against criminals and terrorists and audits its customers to ensure it's not abused.
"If Pegasus was only being used against criminals and terrorists, we never would have found this stuff," said Marczak.
Facebook's WhatsApp also was allegedly targeted by an NSO zero-click exploit. In October 2019, Facebook sued NSO in U.S. federal court for allegedly targeting some 1,400 users of the encrypted messaging service with spyware.
In July, a global media consortium published a damning report on how clients of NSO Group have been spying for years on journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents, and people close to them, with the hacker-for-hire group directly involved in the targeting.
Amnesty International said it confirmed 37 successful Pegasus infections based on a leaked targeting list whose origin was not disclosed.
Apple didn't respond to questions regarding whether this was the first time it had patched a zero-click vulnerability. Image source: wikimedia commons
One case involved the fiancee of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi just four days after he was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The CIA attributed the murder to the Saudi government.
The recent revelations also prompted calls for an investigation into whether Hungary's right-wing government used Pegasus to secretly monitor critical journalists, lawyers and business figures. India's parliament also erupted in protests as opposition lawmakers accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of using NSO Groups' product to spy on political opponents and others.
France also is trying to get to the bottom of allegations that President Emmanuel Macron and members of his government may have been targeted in 2019 by an unidentified Moroccan security service using Pegasus.
Morocco, a key French ally, denied those reports and is taking legal action to counter allegations implicating the North African kingdom in the spyware scandal. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Apple, Pegasus, Spyware, Saudi governement, Morocco, France, Hacks
WASHINGTON - Four people are set to become the world's first all-civilian crew to fly into Earth orbit when they blast off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Wednesday as space tourism takes its biggest leap yet.
Weather conditions are 70% favorable for Wednesday night's scheduled launch of Americans Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Sian Proctor from the U.S. spaceport's historic Launch Pad 39A, which was used for the Apollo moon missions during the 1960s and 70s.
The four-member crew will fly into space aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft built by SpaceX, the privately-run company which has begun sending astronauts to the International Space Station. The fully automated Crew Dragon spacecraft will take the crew to an altitude of 575 kilometers above the Earth's surface, just above the current positions of both the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope.
SpaceX said the four space tourists will "conduct scientific research designed to advance human health on Earth and during future long-duration spaceflights" before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean near the Florida coast three days later.
The mission, dubbed Inspiration4, will be led by the 38-year-old Isaacman, a billionaire technology entrepreneur and founder of an online payment-processing company who is said to have paid SpaceX several million dollars for the flight. The 29-year-old Arceneaux is a childhood bone cancer survivor who has a titanium rod in her leg, which makes her the first person to fly in space with a prosthesis. Sembroski is a 42-year-old retired U.S. Air Force ballistic missile maintenance engineer who now works in the aviation industry, while 51-year-old Proctor is a geoscientist and community college professor who was a NASA astronaut finalist in 2009.
Sembroski and Proctor were selected through a nationwide search contest, while Arceneaux is flying as a representative of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was treated during her battle with cancer and now works as a physician's assistant. Isaacman is using the flight to raise $100 million for St. Jude, and has pledged $100 million of his own money to the hospital.
Isaacman's flight will far exceed those of fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, who each took brief non-orbital flights to the edge of space aboard their own self-financed vehicles — Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, respectively — earlier this year.
Keywords: SpaceX, Falcon, Civilian Orbital, NASA, Kennedy Space Center
Among the cranes and containers of the port of Rotterdam is a surreal sight: a herd of cows peacefully feeding on board what calls itself the world's first floating farm.
In the low-lying Netherlands where land is scarce and climate change is a daily threat, the three-story glass and steel platform aims to show the "future of breeding".
The buoyant bovines live on the top floor, while their milk is turned into cheese, yogurt and butter on the middle level, and the cheese is matured at the bottom.
"The world is under pressure," says Minke van Wingerden, 60, who runs the farm with her husband Peter.
"We want the farm to be as durable and self-sufficient as possible."
The cows are a sharp contrast to the huge ships and the smoke from the refineries of Europe's biggest seaport, which accounts for 13.5 percent of the country's emissions.
With their floating farm, which opened in 2019, Peter and Minke say they wanted to "bring the countryside into the town", boost consumer awareness and create agricultural space.
The Dutch are no strangers to advanced farming methods, using a network of huge greenhouses in particular to become the world's second biggest agricultural exporter after the United States.
But that has come at a cost.
'Moves with the tide'
The Netherlands is one of Europe's largest per capita emitters of climate change gases and faces a major problem with agricultural emissions, particularly in the dairy sector which produces large amounts of methane from cows.
Those emissions in turn fuel the rising waters that threaten to swamp the country, a third of which lies below sea-level, and further reduce the land in one of the most densely populated nations on Earth.
The floating farm therefore aims to keep its cows' feet dry in both the long-term, by being sustainable, and the short-term, by, well, floating.
"We are on the water, so the farm moves with the tide -- we rise and fall up to two meters. So in case of flooding, we can continue to produce," says Minke van Wingerden.
The buoyant bovines live on the top floor, while their milk is turned into cheese, yoghurt, and butter on the middle level, and the cheese is matured at the bottom Image source: voavoa
In terms of sustainability, the farm's cows are fed on a mixture of food including grapes from a foodbank, grain from a local brewery, and grass from local golf courses and from Rotterdam's famed Feyenoord football club -- saving on waste as well as the emissions that would be required to create commercial feed for the animals.
Their manure is turned into garden pellets -- a process that helps further cut emissions by reducing methane -- and their urine is purified and recycled into drinking water for the cows, whose stable is lined with dozens of solar panels that produce enough electricity for the farm's needs.
'Cows don't get seasick'
The farm is run by a salaried farmer but the red and white cows, from the Dutch-German Meuse-Rhin-Yssel breed, are milked by robots.
The cheeses, yogurts and pellets are sold at a roadside shop alongside fare from local producers.
The products are also sold to restaurants in town by electric vehicles.
"I was immediately seduced by the concept," says Bram den Braber, 67, one of 40 volunteers at the farm, as he fills bottles of milk behind the counter of the store.
"It's not blood running through my veins, it's milk."
The idea of the farm is also to make farming "more agreeable, interesting and sexy", and not just to be environmentally friendly, says Minke van Wingerden.
When she and her husband first approached port authorities with the idea to build a floating farm, they said "are you nuts?", she recalls.
But the farm is set to turn a profit for the first time at the end of 2021, with consumers apparently ready to pay the 1.80 euro ($2.12) a liter for milk produced there, compared to around one euro at a supermarket.
They are also aiming to build a second floating farm to grow vegetables, and to export their idea, with a project already under way in the island nation of Singapore.
Most importantly, while farming goes greener, the animals don't.
"No, the cows don't get seasick," says van Wingerden. "The water moves only a little bit, it's like you were on a cruise ship." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Cow farm, Dutch cows, Floating farm, Climate Change