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The Nuclear Reactors of the Future Have a Russia Problem

Say you want to make nuclear fuel: Take some uranium, and with molecular wizardry, transform this heavy metallic element into a gas. Then put it in a centrifuge and whirl it around in a radioactive tornado, until the lightest particles cluster towards the center. Those are the molecules containing the uranium isotope 235. That’s the isotope for you, because it can produce energy when it’s split. Do this again and again in a series of centrifuges known as a cascade, siphoning off the U-235 each time, and pretty soon you’ll…

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Conti Leaks Reveal the Ransomware Group’s Links to Russia

For years, Russia’s cybercrime groups have acted with relative impunity. The Kremlin and local law enforcement have largely turned a blind eye to disruptive ransomware attacks as long as they didn’t target Russian companies. Despite direct pressure on Vladimir Putin to tackle ransomware groups, they’re still intimately tied to Russia’s interests. A recent leak from one of the most notorious such groups provides a glimpse into the nature of those ties—and just how tenuous they may be. A cache of 60,000 leaked chat messages and files from the notorious Conti…

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Big Pharma’s Ethical Dilemma: Should They Keep Selling to Russia?

Tadhg Ó Laoghaire, a researcher in economic ethics at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, echoes Gillard: “They don’t have legal obligations to continue to provide goods to people.” But if they are not technically legally obliged, it’s still the moral thing to do, he continues. Pharmaceutical companies play a very niche role—“it’s not like someone else can just step in and fill these human rights.” If they choose to supply essential pharmaceutical goods to Russia, and then pull them away, that’s not just letting human rights violations happen, says Ó…

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How Russia Sent Ukraine Racing Into the “Energy Eurozone”

Similar mismatches in supply and demand contributed to massive cascading blackouts in August 2003 in the northeastern United States and Canada, in July 2012 in India, and in March 2019 in Venezuela. The situation is unlikely to get better anytime soon, for three reasons. First, as countries everywhere move to decarbonize, the electrification of transportation, heating, and other sectors will cause electricity demand to soar. Second, conventional coal and nuclear plants are being retired for economic and policy reasons, removing stable sources from the grid. And third, while wind and…

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A Developer Altered Open Source Software to Wipe Files in Russia

The developer of a popular open source package has been caught adding malicious code to it, leading to wiped files on computers located in Russia and Belarus. The move was part of a protest that has enraged many users and raised concerns about the safety of free and open source software. The application, node.ipc, adds remote interprocess communication and neural networking capabilities to other open source code libraries. As a dependency, node.ipc is automatically downloaded and incorporated into other libraries, including ones like Vue.js CLI, which has more than 1…

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Russia blocks Instagram as part of its online censorship spree

The Russian government said it would block Instagram, expanding its social media crackdown that had already cut off access to Facebook and restricted Twitter for the tens of millions of people in the country who use these apps daily. On Friday, the Russian government’s communication agency announced it would block Instagram in Russia beginning on March 14, saying it was in response to Facebook’s decision to temporarily allow users in some countries to call for violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers, in the context of the invasion.…

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Is booking Airbnbs a good way to help Ukrainians in the war with Russia?

Booking an Airbnb in the middle of a war zone is not the average person’s idea of a good vacation plan. But as the Russian war on Ukraine enters its third week, with more than 2 million Ukrainians having fled the country and nearly that many internally displaced, ordinary people around the world are looking for ways to show solidarity with and support of the Ukrainian people. One novel method gaining popularity is booking Airbnbs in major Ukrainian cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Lviv — without any intention of…

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