86% of Stablecoin Issuer Tether Was Controlled By 4 People As of 2018: WSJ

Four men owned 86% of Tether as of 2018, according to investigatory documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal. CoinDesk reports: The documents from 2021 probes of Tether by the New York Attorney General and the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission reveal the previously unknown ownership structure of the secretive issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin. Tether’s USDT stablecoin is a key piece of infrastructure in the crypto world, easing the movement of money in the industry. Yet, the people behind it have not always been forthcoming about how they operate.

Tether began from separate companies led by ex-plastic surgeon Giancarlo Devasini and former child actor Brock Pierce. Devasini, who helped develop crypto exchange Bitfinex and is now its chief financial officer, owned about 43% of Tether in 2018, according to the documents seen by the Journal. Two other executives of both Bitfinex and Tether, CEO Jean-Louis van Der Velde and Chief Counsel Stuart Hoegner, each owned roughly 15% of Tether in 2018, the documents revealed. The fourth major owner as of 2018 was a businessman with British and Thai citizenship known as Christopher Harborne in the U.K. and Chakrit Sakunkrit in Thailand. He controlled about 13% of Tether. Together, the four men owned approximately 86% of Tether through their own holdings and another related company.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – 86% of Stablecoin Issuer Tether Was Controlled By 4 People As of 2018: WSJ

Amazon Reports Its First Unprofitable Year Since 2014

Amazon is reporting its first unprofitable year since 2014. NPR reports: Amazon lost $2.7 billion last year, the company said on Thursday. This was despite holiday-season sales growing 9%. Amazon’s shares fell in after hours trading. By far, the biggest culprit for Amazon’s losses over the year was the company’s hefty investment in the electric automaker Rivian whose value plummeted last year and ate into Amazon’s bottom line.

Amazon had taken a 20% stake in Rivian and has begun rolling out the carmaker’s electric delivery vans. Rivian wanted to replicate Tesla’s success and held one of the largest initial public offerings in U.S. history. But last year, the exuberance faded, the carmaker made pricing missteps and it fell short of growth targets. Its stock price dropped 82%. For Amazon, the loss on its investment comes right when it contends with the need to recalibrate after a pandemic-era upsurge.

During the pandemic, the appetite for online shopping seemed to promise exponential growth, and many believed the habit changes could be permanent. Amazon couldn’t hire and built warehouses fast enough; its profits doubled and kept growing. But then people returned to physical stores, switched from cocooning to travel and outings, and eventually got more hesitant to spend as inflation rose. Last month, Amazon announced it expected to cut 18,000 jobs, or about 5% of the corporate workforce. CEO Andy Jassy, in a blog post, referenced “the uncertain economy” and the company’s pandemic-era hiring spree. At the peak, in late 2021-early 2022, Amazon employed more than 1.6 million part-time and full-time workers globally. Thursday’s financial report shows that number is now down to 1.5 million.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Amazon Reports Its First Unprofitable Year Since 2014

Back At Google Again, Cofounder Sergey Brin Just Filed His First Code Request In Years

After years of day-to-day absence, Google cofounder Sergey Brin filed a request for access to code related to the company’s natural language chatbot, LaMDA. Forbes reports: Two sources said the request was related to LaMDA, Google’s natural language chatbot — a project initially announced in 2021, but which has recently garnered increased attention as Google tries to fend off rival OpenAI, which released the popular ChatGPT bot in November. Brin filed a “CL,” short for “changelist,” to gain access to the data that trains LaMDA, one person who saw the request said. It was a two line change to a configuration file to add his username to the code, that person said. Several dozen engineers gave the request LGTM approval, short for “looks good to me.” Some of the approvals came from workers outside of that team, seemingly just eager to be able to say they gave code review approval to the company cofounder, that person added.

The move was a small technical change, but underscores how seriously the company is taking the looming threat from OpenAI and other competitors. Brin and cofounder Larry Page have been largely absent from the company since 2019, when Page handed the reins over to Sundar Pichai to become CEO of Google parent Alphabet. But Pichai has recently called in the company founders to review the company’s AI strategy and help form a response to ChatGPT, according to the New York Times. Brin’s tinkering highlights the level of involvement the cofounders have taken.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Back At Google Again, Cofounder Sergey Brin Just Filed His First Code Request In Years

Anker Finally Comes Clean About Its Eufy Security Cameras

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: First, Anker told us it was impossible. Then, it covered its tracks. It repeatedly deflected while utterly ignoring our emails. So shortly before Christmas, we gave the company an ultimatum: if Anker wouldn’t answer why its supposedly always-encrypted Eufy cameras were producing unencrypted streams — among other questions — we would publish a story about the company’s lack of answers. It worked.

In a series of emails to The Verge, Anker has finally admitted its Eufy security cameras are not natively end-to-end encrypted — they can and did produce unencrypted video streams for Eufy’s web portal, like the ones we accessed from across the United States using an ordinary media player. But Anker says that’s now largely fixed. Every video stream request originating from Eufy’s web portal will now be end-to-end encrypted — like they are with Eufy’s app — and the company says it’s updating every single Eufy camera to use WebRTC, which is encrypted by default. Reading between the lines, though, it seems that these cameras could still produce unencrypted footage upon request.

That’s not all Anker is disclosing today. The company has apologized for the lack of communication and promised to do better, confirming it’s bringing in outside security and penetration testing companies to audit Eufy’s practices, is in talks with a “leading and well-known security expert” to produce an independent report, is promising to create an official bug bounty program, and will launch a microsite in February to explain how its security works in more detail. Those independent audits and reports may be critical for Eufy to regain trust because of how the company has handled the findings of security researchers and journalists. It’s a little hard to take the company at its word! But we also think Anker Eufy customers, security researchers and journalists deserve to read and weigh those words, particularly after so little initial communication from the company. That’s why we’re publishing Anker’s full responses [here]. As highlighted by Ars Technica, some of the notable statements include:
– Its web portal now prohibits users from entering “debug mode.”
– Video stream content is encrypted and inaccessible outside the portal.
– While “only 0.1 percent” of current daily users access the portal, it “had some issues,” which have been resolved.
– Eufy is pushing WebRTC to all of its security devices as the end-to-end encrypted stream protocol.
– Facial recognition images were uploaded to the cloud to aid in replacing/resetting/adding doorbells with existing image sets, but has been discontinued. No recognition data was included with images sent to the cloud.
– Outside of the “recent issue with the web portal,” all other video uses end-to-end encryption.
– A “leading and well-known security expert” will produce a report about Eufy’s systems.
– “Several new security consulting, certification, and penetration testing” firms will be brought in for risk assessment.
– A “Eufy Security bounty program” will be established.
– The company promises to “provide more timely updates in our community (and to the media!).”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Anker Finally Comes Clean About Its Eufy Security Cameras

Shell's Actual Spending on Renewables is Fraction of What It Claims, Group Alleges

Shell has misleadingly overstated how much it is spending on renewable energy and should be investigated and potentially fined by the US financial regulator, according to a non-profit group which has lodged a complaint against the oil giant. From a report: The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been urged to act over Shell’s most recent annual report in which it stated 12% of its capital expenditure was funneled into a division called Renewables and Energy Solutions in 2021. The division’s webpage, which is adorned with pictures of wind turbines and solar panels, says it is working to invest in “wind, solar, electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, and more.” However, Global Witness, the activist group that has lodged the new complaint with the SEC, argues that just 1.5% of Shell’s capital expenditure has been used to develop genuine renewables, such as wind and solar, with much of the rest of the division’s resources devoted to gas, which is a fossil fuel.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Shell’s Actual Spending on Renewables is Fraction of What It Claims, Group Alleges

Razer Debuts Its Lightest Gaming Mouse Ever

Razer announced its lightest gaming mouse today, the Viper Mini Signature Edition. From a report: It only weighs 49g, making it 16 percent lighter than the company’s Viper V2 Pro and one of the most lightweight mice we’ve seen from a large company. The mouse uses a magnesium alloy exoskeleton with a semi-hollow interior (bearing a slight resemblance to the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless). “We wanted to push beyond the traditional honeycomb design, and this required a material with an outstanding strength-to-weight ratio,” said Razer’s Head of Industrial Design, Charlie Bolton. “After evaluating plastics, carbon fiber and even titanium, we ultimately chose magnesium alloy for its exceptional properties.” Razer says the mouse uses its fastest wireless tech and will be among its best-performing wireless mice. Price: $280.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Razer Debuts Its Lightest Gaming Mouse Ever

A Proud Ship Turned Into a Giant Recycling Problem. So Brazil Plans To Sink It.

A decommissioned aircraft carrier, packed with an undetermined amount of asbestos, is being towed in circles off the coast of Brazil after it was refused permission to dock in Turkey for recycling. The problem? No government wants anything to do with it. From a report: Now, the Brazilian Navy says it plans to just sink the ship, the Sao Paulo, a Clemenceau-class carrier purchased from France in 2000 for $12 million, planes and helicopters not included. Environmentalists say doing so would cause irreparable environmental damage and could be a violation of international law. It would be “completely unexplainable and irrational” to sink the ship, said Jim Puckett, director of the Basel Action Network, an environmental nonprofit group based in Seattle that focuses on the global trade in toxic substances.

The story of Sao Paulo’s demise started when a Turkish company called Sok Denizcilik bought the ship for just over $1.8 million in an auction in 2021. Its goal was to recycle the vessel, disposing of any waste responsibly while making a profit salvaging and selling the tons of nontoxic metals it contained. But the Turkish company’s plans were met with protests from environmental groups that said the ship was carrying a lot more dangerous material than the company had disclosed. The 873-foot vessel, which served in the French Navy under the name Foch from 1963 until it was sold in 2000, hadn’t been in service for roughly a decade. Some of its compartments have accumulated so much dangerous gas that it is now unsafe to enter them, inspectors said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – A Proud Ship Turned Into a Giant Recycling Problem. So Brazil Plans To Sink It.

EU Lawmakers Launch Tips Hotline To Catch Big Tech's 'Shady' Lobbying

An anonymous reader shares a report: ‘Astroturfing’ and other non-transparent lobbying tactics used to target digital policymakers in the European Union in recent years — including during a blitz of spending aimed at influencing major new pan-EU rules like the Digital Services Act (DSA) — have inspired a group of MEPs and NGOs to fight back by launching a hotline for reporting attempts at indirectly influencing the bloc’s tech policy agenda. The new tips line, which was first reported by the Guardian, is being called LobbyLeaks.

The office of one of the MEPs co-leading the effort, Paul Tang of the S&D Group, said the idea is to gather data on underhand lobbying efforts that may be targeting the EU’s digital policymaking — such as the use of third party ‘industry associations’ or consultancies without clear disclosures, or even academics being quietly funded to author favorable research — in order that they can be studied and called out. They also want to ensure EU lawmakers are better informed about the myriad ways tech giants may be seeking to influence them as they work on shaping the rules platform giants will have to play by.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – EU Lawmakers Launch Tips Hotline To Catch Big Tech’s ‘Shady’ Lobbying

'Less Clumpy' Universe May Suggest Existence of Mysterious Forces

One of the most precise surveys of the structure of the universe has suggested it is “less clumpy” than expected, in findings that could indicate the existence of mysterious forces at work. From a report: The observations by the Dark Energy Survey and the South Pole Telescope chart the distribution of matter with the aim of understanding the competing forces that shaped the evolution of the universe and govern its ultimate fate. The extraordinarily detailed analysis adds to a body of evidence that suggests there may be a crucial component missing from the so-called standard model of physics.

“It seems like there is slightly less [clumpiness] in the current universe than we would predict assuming our standard cosmological model anchored to the early universe,” said Eric Baxter, an astrophysicist at the University of Hawaii and co-author of the study. The results did not pass the statistical threshold that scientists consider to be ironclad enough to claim a discovery, but they do come after similar findings from previous surveys that hint a crack could be opening up between theoretical predictions and what is actually going on in the universe. “If the finding stands up it’s very exciting,” said Dr Chihway Chang, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and a lead author. “The whole point of physics is to test models and break them. The best scenario is it helps us understand more about the nature of dark matter and dark energy.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – ‘Less Clumpy’ Universe May Suggest Existence of Mysterious Forces

America Failing To Prepare Gen Z To Enter the Workforce Due To 'Glaring' Gap in Tech Skills

Computer classes for Gen Z aren’t cutting it anymore. From a report: More than a third (37%) of Gen Zers feel their school education didn’t prepare them with the digital skills they need to propel their career, according to Dell Technologies’ international survey of more than 15,000 adults ages 18 to 26 across 15 countries. A majority (56%) of this generation added that they had very basic to no digital skills education. It’s all led to some warranted skepticism regarding the future of work: Many Gen Zers are unsure what the digital economy will look like, and 33% have little to no confidence that the government’s investments in a digital future will be successful in 10 years. Forty-four percent think that schools and businesses should work together to address the digital skills gap. The findings back up past research that found nearly half of the Class of 2022 felt the top skill they were underprepared for was technical skills.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – America Failing To Prepare Gen Z To Enter the Workforce Due To ‘Glaring’ Gap in Tech Skills

Antartica's Only EV Had To Be Redesigned Because of Climate Change

Most electric vehicles get upgrades to boost performance or range, but Antarctica’s one and only EV has received a tune-up due to the realities of climate change. From a report: Venturi has revealed that it upgraded its Venturi Antarctica electric explorer early last year due to warmer conditions on the continent. The original machine was designed to operate in winter temperatures of -58F, but the southern polar region is now comparatively balmy at 14F — and that affected both crews and performance.

The company has added a ventilation system and air intakes to the front of the Antarctica to prevent overheating in the cockpit, while additional intakes keep the power electronics from cooking. Redesigned wheel sprockets were also necessary to maximize the tracked EV’s capabilities. The warmer snow was sticking to the sprockets, creating vibrations as it compacted and hardened. Future upgrades will help restore range lost to changing snow consistency. The Antarctica is built to cover 31 miles, but scientists have been limiting that to 25 miles.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Antartica’s Only EV Had To Be Redesigned Because of Climate Change

Google Expands Open Source Bounties, Will Soon Support Javascript Fuzzing Too

Google has expanded OSS-Fuzz Reward Program to offer rewards of up to $30,000 for researchers who find security flaws in open source programs. From a report: The expanded scope of the program now means the total rewards possible per project integration rise from $20,000 to $30,000. The purpose of OSS-Fuzz is to support open source projects adopt fuzz testing and the new categories of rewards support those who create more ways of integrating new projects.

Google created two new reward categories that reward wider improvements across all OSS-Fuzz projects. It offers up to $11,337 available per category. It’s also offering rewards for notable FuzzBench fuzzer integrations, and for integrating new sanitizers or ‘bug detectors’ that help find vulnerabilities. “We hope to accelerate the integration of critical open source projects into OSS-Fuzz by providing stronger incentives to security researchers and open source maintainers,” explains Oliver Chang of Google’s OSS-Fuzz team.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Google Expands Open Source Bounties, Will Soon Support Javascript Fuzzing Too

Microsoft Will Use OpenAI Tech To Write Emails For Busy Salespeople

Microsoft is adding artificial intelligence capabilities from ChatGPT maker OpenAI to another of its products — this time a customer-relationship app that’s meant to help win revenue from Salesforce. From a report: Viva Sales, which connects Microsoft’s Office and video conferencing programs with customer relations management software, will be able to generate email replies to clients using OpenAI’s product for creating text. The AI tools, which include OpenAI’s GPT 3.5 — the system that is the basis for the ChatGPT chatbot — will cull data from customer records and Office email software. That information will then be used to generate emails containing personalized text, pricing details and promotions. The Viva Sales app was initially released in October and works with Microsoft’s Dynamics customer management program and that of rival Salesforce. It’s free for users who sign up for the premium versions of Dynamics and $40 per user per month for Salesforce customers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Microsoft Will Use OpenAI Tech To Write Emails For Busy Salespeople

Senator Urges Apple, Google To Remove TikTok From App Stores

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) wrote to Google and Apple on Thursday, urging both companies to remove TikTok from their app stores. From a report: In a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Bennet urges both leaders to boot TikTok immediately, calling the popular video-sharing app “an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States.” Bennet’s letter marks the first time a member of Congress has suggested TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, should not be available for download via the Google Play or Apple App store. “No company subject to [Chinese Communist Party] dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population,” Bennet wrote in the letter.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Senator Urges Apple, Google To Remove TikTok From App Stores

ChromeOS and Microsoft 365 Will Start Playing Nicer With Each Other This Year

An anonymous reader shares a report: Google and Microsoft don’t always take pains to make sure their products work great together — Google originally declared Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser “not supported” by the Google Drive web apps; Microsoft is always trying to make you use Bing — but it looks like Google’s ChromeOS will start working a bit better with the Microsoft 365 service later this year. Google says ChromeOS will add a “new integration” for Microsoft 365, making it easier to install the app and adding built-in support for OneDrive in ChromeOS’ native Files app.

This should allow users to search for and access OneDrive files the same way they get to local files, or files stored in their Google Drive account. The integration will be added in “the coming months,” and users in ChromeOS’ dev and beta channels will be able to access it before it rolls out to all ChromeOS users later this year. ChromeOS users can currently access OneDrive and other Microsoft 365 services through their web interfaces or Android apps installed via the Google Play Store, but they don’t integrate with the built-in ChromeOS Files app the way that Google Drive does. This integration will help close that gap for people who, for example, use Google products at home but Microsoft products at work or vice versa.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – ChromeOS and Microsoft 365 Will Start Playing Nicer With Each Other This Year

Dangerous Fungi Are Spreading Across US as Temperatures Rise

Dangerous fungal infections are on the rise, and a growing body of research suggests warmer temperatures might be a culprit. From a report: The human body’s average temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit has long been too hot for most fungi to thrive, infectious-disease specialists say. But as temperatures have risen globally, some fungi might be adapting to endure more heat stress, including conditions within the human body, research suggests. Climate change might also be creating conditions for some disease-causing fungi to expand their geographical range, research shows.

“As fungi are exposed to more consistent elevated temperatures, there’s a real possibility that certain fungi that were previously harmless suddenly become potential pathogens,” said Peter Pappas, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Deaths from fungal infections are increasing, due in part to growing populations of people with weakened immune systems who are more vulnerable to severe fungal disease, public-health experts said. At least 7,000 people died in the U.S. from fungal infections in 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, up from hundreds of people each year around 1970. There are few effective and nontoxic medications to treat such infections, they said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Dangerous Fungi Are Spreading Across US as Temperatures Rise

Netflix Made an Anime Using AI Due To a 'Labor Shortage,' and Fans Are Pissed

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Netflix created an anime that uses AI-generated artwork to paint its backgrounds — and people on social media are pissed. In a tweet, Netflix Japan claimed that the project, a short called he Dog & The Boy uses AI generated art in response to labor shortages in the anime industry. “As an experimental effort to help the anime industry, which has a labor shortage, we used image generation technology for the background images of all three-minute video cuts!” the streaming platform wrote in a tweet.

The tweet drew instant criticism and outrage from commenters who felt that Netflix was using AI to avoid paying human artists. This has been a central tension since image-generation AI took off last year, as many artists see the tools as unethical — due to being trained on masses of human-made art scraped from the internet — and cudgels to further cut costs and devalue workers. Netflix Japan’s claim that the AI was used to fill a supposed labor gap hit the bullseye on these widespread concerns. According to a press release, the short film was created by Netflix Anime Creators Base — a Tokyo-based hub the company created to bolster its anime output with new tools and methods — in collaboration with Rinna Inc., an AI-generated artwork company, and production company WIT Studio, which produced the first three seasons of Attack on Titan. “Demand for new anime productions has skyrocketed in recent years, but the industry has long been fraught with labor abuses and poor wages,” notes Motherboard’s Samantha Cole. “In 2017, an illustrator died while working, allegedly of a stress-induced heart attack and stroke; in 2021, the reported salary of low-rung anime illustrators was as little as $200 a month, forcing some to reconsider the career as a sustainable way to earn a living while having a life outside work, buying a home, or supporting children.

“Even top animators reportedly earn just $1,400 to $3,800 a month — as the anime industry itself boomed during the pandemic amid a renewed interest in at-home streaming. In 2021, the industry hit an all-time revenue high of $18.4 billion.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Netflix Made an Anime Using AI Due To a ‘Labor Shortage,’ and Fans Are Pissed

ChatGPT Sets Record For Fastest-Growing User Base

ChatGPT, the popular chatbot from OpenAI, is estimated to have reached 100 million monthly active users in January, just two months after launch, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history, according to a UBS study on Wednesday. Reuters reports: The report, citing data from analytics firm Similar Web, said about 13 million unique visitors used ChatGPT per day in January, more than double the levels in December. “In 20 years following the internet space, we cannot recall a faster ramp in a consumer internet app,” UBS analysts wrote in the note.

OpenAI, a private company backed by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), launched ChatGPT in late November. It took TikTok about nine months after its global launch to add 100 million users and it took Instagram 2-1/2 years, according to data from Sensor Tower. […] Analysts believe the viral launch of ChatGPT will give OpenAI a first-mover advantage against other AI companies. The growing usage, while adding up to a substantial amount of computing cost, has also provided valuable feedback to help train the chatbot’s responses. While ChatGPT is currently free to use, the company on Wednesday launched a new pilot subscription plan for the chatbot called ChatGPT Plus. It starts at $20 per month and includes access to ChatGPT even during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – ChatGPT Sets Record For Fastest-Growing User Base

Physicists Observe Rare Resonance In Molecules For the First Time

Physicists at MIT have for the very first time observed a resonance between two colliding ultracold molecules. The findings have been published in the journal Nature. From the report: They found that a cloud of super-cooled sodium-lithium (NaLi) molecules disappeared 100 times faster than normal when exposed to a very specific magnetic field. The molecules’ rapid disappearance is a sign that the magnetic field tuned the particles into a resonance, driving them to react more quickly than they normally would. The findings shed light on the mysterious forces that drive molecules to chemically react. They also suggest that scientists could one day harness particles’ natural resonances to steer and control certain chemical reactions.

Overall, the discovery provides a deeper understanding of molecular dynamics and chemistry. While the team does not anticipate scientists being able to stimulate resonance, and steer reactions, at the level of organic chemistry, it could one day be possible to do so at the quantum scale. “One of the main themes of quantum science is studying systems of increasing complexity, especially when quantum control is potentially in the offing,” says John Doyle, professor of physics at Harvard University, who was not involved in the group’s research. “These kind of resonances, first seen in simple atoms and then more complicated ones, led to amazing advances in atomic physics. Now that this is seen in molecules, we should first understand it in detail, and then let the imagination wander and think what it might be good for, perhaps constructing larger ultracold molecules, perhaps studying interesting states of matter.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Physicists Observe Rare Resonance In Molecules For the First Time

Study Reveals Links Between UK Air Pollution and Mental Ill-Health

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Long-term exposure to even comparatively low levels of air pollution could cause depression and anxiety, according to a study exploring the links between air quality and mental ill-health. Tracking the incidence of depression and anxiety in almost 500,000 UK adults over 11 years, researchers found that those living in areas with higher pollution were more likely to suffer episodes, even when air quality was within official limits. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, the researchers, from the universities of Oxford and Beijing and Imperial College London, said their findings suggested a need for stricter standards or regulations for air pollution control.

The researchers drew on the data of 389,185 participants from the UK Biobank, modeling and giving a score to the air pollution, including PM2.5 and PM10, nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide for the areas in which they lived. They found 13,131 cases of depression and 15,835 of anxiety were identified among their sample within a follow-up period of about 11 years. As air pollution increased, the researchers found, so did cases of depression and anxiety. Exposure-response curves were non-linear, however, with steeper slopes at lower levels and plateauing trends at higher exposure, suggesting that long-term exposure to low levels of pollution were just just as likely to lead to diagnoses as exposure to higher levels. “Considering that many countries’ air quality standards are still well above the latest World Health Organization global air quality guidelines 2021, stricter standards or regulations for air pollution control should be implemented in the future policy making,” the researchers wrote.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Study Reveals Links Between UK Air Pollution and Mental Ill-Health