USPS rejects Biden’s plea to buy more electric mail trucks

‘The process needs to keep moving forward’

The United States Postal Service authorized the replacement of its mail truck fleet with nearly all gasoline-powered vehicles, rejecting a plea from President Joe Biden to include more electric vehicles in its purchase.

The move, which was announced Wednesday, signals the independent agency’s decision to move forward with a controversial plan to purchase 165,000 next-generation mail trucks, only 10 percent of which will be battery-electric vehicles (BEV). The USPS determined there was no legal reason to delay its plans.

In a statement, Postmaster Louis DeJoy said the agency would consider adding more EVs to its fleet sometime in the future. “[W]e will continue to pursue the acquisition of additional BEV as additional funding — from either internal or congressional sources — becomes available,” DeJoy said. “But the process needs to keep moving forward.”

Following a years-long bidding process, the USPS unveiled its next-generation mail truck in February 2021. The vehicles will be manufactured by defense contractor Oshkosh for $500 million by 2023. They will replace the current mail trucks that have been in service for more than two decades, which were built by defense contractor Grumman.

犬を飼うと介護リスク半減、一方で猫は… 日本の高齢者1万人調査

日本の高齢者1万人以上を対象にした調査で、犬を飼っている人は飼ったことがない人に比べ、介護が必要になったり、亡くなったりするリスクが半減することがわかった。飼い犬との散歩や飼い主たちとの交流が、お年寄りの健康維持に役立つことが裏付けられた形だ。国立環境研究所や東京都健康長寿医療センターの研究チームが23日、科学誌プロスワンに発表した。

国環研の谷口優主任研究員らは、住民基本台帳から無作為に選んだ東京都内の65~84歳の男女1万人以上に対し、郵送アンケートで犬猫の飼育の有無などを聞いた。さらに、介護保険などのデータを照らし合わせて、新型コロナウイルスの感染拡大前にあたる2016年6月から20年1月まで約3年半の健康状態を追跡した。

調査開始時点で介護が必要な状態ではなかった1万1233人のデータを統計学的に分析。過去に一度も犬を飼ったことがない高齢者が自立喪失(介護が必要な状態や死亡)の状態になるリスクを1とすると、犬を飼っている高齢者のリスクは、0・54倍と大幅に低くなることを突き止めた。

過去に犬を飼っていた高齢者についてもリスクが減る傾向があり、一度も飼っていない人に比べて2割ほど低かった。

山梨のコロナ対策支える「シンゲン」 医療DXの先行事例

新型コロナウイルスの変異株「オミクロン株」による感染拡大で、山梨県の隣接5都県全てが蔓延(まんえん)防止等重点措置の適用となった。だが28日現在、山梨県は重点措置適用は申請せず、飲食店の時短営業や酒類提供禁止などの措置はとっていない。店舗での感染対策と同時に、医療提供体制を強化しているためで、その鍵を握るのが感染者の症状把握ITシステムだ。コロナ対策の医療版デジタルトランスフォーメーション(DX)の先行事例で、医療崩壊を防ぎつつ、経済活動を継続する「山梨モデル」を支える縁の下の力持ちだ。

地元の英雄にちなむ
「東京や他県では自宅療養といってはいるが、必ずしも医療の手が入っておらず、実際には医療放棄だ。山梨は自宅でも病院と同じように、医師と常に連絡が取れる状態にしてあり、決定的な差がある」

山梨大の島田真路学長は、同大が開発し県内で運用しているコロナ感染患者の情報を一元管理するシステムの効果を強調する。名称は「シンゲン(SHINGEN=Smart Health INformation Gathering & Evaluation Network)」。山梨の英雄、武田信玄公にちなんだ。

Robot dogs could patrol the US-Mexico border

The photos look like a scene out of science fiction: Robot dogs patrolling the US-Mexico border, climbing over harsh terrain to search for threats and contraband.

But these images are real.
The Department of Homeland Security recently released them as it revealed details about how it’s testing the technology.
Officials praised the robots’ potential as a “force multiplier” that could boost Border Patrol agents’ safety by reducing their exposure to life-threatening hazards. An article touting the tests on the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s website notes that someday the dogs, officially known as Automated Ground Surveillance Vehicles, could become “a CBP agent or officer’s best friend.”
“Don’t be surprised,” it says, “if in the future we see robot ‘Fido’ out in the field, walking side-by-side with CBP personnel.”
But the details about the testing did seem to catch some people by surprise, sparking a flurry of reactions on social media comparing the images to dystopian scenes from sci-fi shows like “Black Mirror.”

Google and Mozilla are ready for Chrome and Firefox version 100 to break some websites

Developers have been getting ready for months

Chrome, Firefox, and Edge are about to hit version 100, in a triple release that could break some websites. The move to version 100 in the coming weeks could result in bugs or compatibility issues on some websites not ready to read triple-digit user-agent strings. Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft are busy trying preempt any big issues.

Mozilla, Google, and Microsoft have been warning about the upcoming version 100 release for months, which is about to drop in March for both Chrome and Edge, followed by Firefox in May. Mozilla and Google have both been running experiments to test websites and report breakages. There’s a running list of issues, which is fairly small right now, and Engadget notes that the notable sites affected include HBO Go, Bethesda, and Yahoo.

“When browsers first reached version 10 a little over 12 years ago, many issues were discovered with User-Agent parsing libraries as the major version number went from one digit to two,” explains a team of web developers in a Mozilla blog. Much like the infamous Y2K bug that made the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900 for some computers, browsers have different formats for user-agent strings, and “it’s possible that some parsing libraries may have hard-coded assumptions or bugs that don’t take into account three-digit major version numbers.”