Contract health workers arrive in Montana to help

HELENA, Mont. — The Montana governor’s office says more than 100 contracted medical staff have arrived in the state to assist hospitals in responding to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

The 110 health care workers are part of an anticipated total of 200 to be deployed in the state before Thanksgiving and who will remain until the end of the year.

The workers, including registered nurses and respiratory therapists, will aid hospitals that are at or near capacity as part of a contract between the state and NuWest, which provides traveling health care workers.

State health officials reported 677 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing total confirmed cases to more than 56,000.



— AstraZeneca says late-stage trials show it s vaccine with Oxford University is “highly effective,” does not need the deep cold storage that rival vaccines do

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Strategy Analytics: Largest Smartphones will Drive Holiday Shopping

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, consumers are choosing smartphones with the largest sized displays in 2020. New super-large display smartphones from Samsung and Apple will supercharge holiday smartphone buying this year.

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “More than 900 million superphablets with displays 6.0 to 6.99 inches will be shipped globally in 2020. These super-large display smartphones have overtaken every other size category and will continue to expand their share in future years.”

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Smaller sized smartphones, with displays under-five (5) inches are steadily losing ground to larger-display smartphones. The Apple iPhone SE 2020 edition, with a 4.7 inch display, briefly boosted the category, but at just 7% of all smartphones shipped in 2020, the under-five inch category is steadily shrinking and by 2025 will have effectively disappeared.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy

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Astronomers Crack the Case of the Blue Ring Nebula | Smart News

About 6,200 lightyears from Earth, a mysterious star appears surrounded by a doughnut of foggy blue light. It’s an old-looking star sitting in a young star’s dust cloud, and scientists have been trying to figure out how it formed since they first spotted it in 2004. Now, a team of astronomers says they’ve cracked the case, Monica Young reports for Sky & Telescope.

In a paper published on November 18 in the journal Nature, the research team explains how a collision of two stars several thousand years ago would create the structure observed today. It’s currently the only known example of a two-star collision that’s in the middle of transitioning from its debris-strewn initial stage to the late stage when the debris would become invisible.

“It’s kind of unique—one of a kind right now,” said Carnegie Institution for Science astrophysicist Mark Seibert of the Carnegie Institution for Science at

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New Seattle Metro Chamber CEO; Salesforce’s data chief joins Microsoft; and more

— The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announced Rachel Smith as the business association’s new CEO. She starts in January.

a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Rachel Smith. (Seattle Metro Chamber Photo)

© Provided by Geekwire
Rachel Smith. (Seattle Metro Chamber Photo)

“The jobs, prosperity, and community solutions that our region’s employers bring are more important than ever as we focus on post-pandemic economic recovery,” said Smith.


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Smith is currently King County’s deputy executive and chief of staff for King County Executive Dow Constantine. Following Smith’s appointment, Constantine named April Putney as his new chief of staff.

Prior to joining the King County administration, Smith was the government and community relations officer for Sound Transit and Climate Action Now coordinator for City of Seattle.

Smith succeeds Marilyn Strickland, former mayor of Tacoma, who stepped down in January to run for Congress. Strickland won Washington’s 10th Congressional District seat in November.

— Microsoft hired Hernán Asorey as corporate vice president and

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Ditch the soundbar with new Amazon Echo speakers

Besides sporting a new round look, Amazon’s updated fourth generation Echo speakers have something else going for them. Buy a pair for $200 and they make fabulous TV speakers.

Amazon's Echo speaker used for TV sound

© Jefferson Graham
Amazon’s Echo speaker used for TV sound

Without wires spread across the room from the TV.


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TV’s have gotten way thinner and cheaper over the years, and a big casualty has been the tinny speaker, sending many consumers to soundbars that fit near the TV and connect directly. 

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The advantages to two Echo speakers instead are huge. Instead of paying anywhere from $100 to as much as $1,800 (which includes a multi-speaker soundbar setup) and having the sound coming from the other side of the room, you can put the little Amazon devices in your bedroom by the bed, and have

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The crabs of PC gaming, ranked

PC Gamer Ranked are our ridiculously comprehensive lists of the best, worst, and everything in-between from every corner of PC gaming.

Crabs! In games, crabs come in many forms, from a tasty ingredient in your stew to a challenging foe on the battlefield to a nigh-unbeatable endgame boss. These many-legged monstrosities, like armored spiders from the sea, can be found across all genres—a looming mechanical unit in a strategy game, a dungeon terror in a hack-and-slash, or something that simply crawls into your underpants in an pixelated adventure.

Why has it taken so long for us to rank the crabs of PC gaming? Well, due to quirks in maritime law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it was previously illegal to put a bunch of videogame crabs on a numbered list and judge them. 

But thanks to the tireless work of our lawyers, millions of dollars spent on political lobbying,

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REFILE-EXCLUSIVE-In latest China jab, U.S. drafts list of 89 firms with military ties

(Fixes typo 3rd par to “respond” and adds PIX to slug)

Nov 22 (Reuters) – The Trump administration is close to declaring that 89 Chinese aerospace and other companies have military ties, restricting them from buying a range of U.S. goods and technology, according to a draft copy of the list seen by Reuters.

The list, if published, could further escalate trade tensions with Beijing and hurt U.S. companies that sell civil aviation parts and components to China, among other industries.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Commerce, which produced the list, declined to comment. The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC), which is spearheading Chinese efforts to compete with Boeing and Airbus, is on the list, as is Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and 10 of its related entities.

The list is included in

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Identifying compound classes through machine learning — ScienceDaily

Everything that lives has metabolites, produces metabolites and consumes metabolites. These molecules arise as intermediate and end products from chemical processes in an organism’s metabolism. Therefore, they not only have huge significance for our lives, but they also provide valuable information about the condition of a living being or an environment. For example, metabolites can be used to detect diseases or, in the field of environmental technology, to examine drinking water samples. However, the diversity of these chemical compounds causes difficulties in scientific research. To date, only few molecules and their properties are known. If a sample is analysed in the laboratory, only a relatively small proportion of it can be identified, while the majority of molecules remain unknown.

Bioinformaticians at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany together with colleagues from Finland and the USA, have now developed a unique method with which all metabolites in a sample can be taken

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The science of windy cities — ScienceDaily

Global population and urbanization have boomed over the last few decades. With them came scores of new tall buildings, drones, more energy-efficient ventilation systems, and planned air taxis by Uber and other companies. But these technological advancements must contend with a natural physical phenomenon: wind.

Scientists presented the latest findings on modeling and predicting urban airflow — in the hope of building better buildings, cities, and transportation — at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics.

The urban skies of the future could teem with autonomous aircraft: air taxis, drones, and other self-flying systems. A team from Oklahoma State University has developed techniques to model environmental hazards these vehicles might encounter so they can safely navigate cities.

“Urban environments present enormous challenges for drone and urban air mobility platforms,” said researcher Jamey Jacob, who led the team. “In addition to the challenges of traffic

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Google and Disney team up for a Mandalorian AR experience

Google and Disney have teamed up for a new AR experience featuring The Mandalorian and yes, Baby Yoda is involved. The Mandalorian AR experience “puts you in the shoes of a bounty hunter following the trail of Mando himself, Din Djarin, and The Child,” according to a blog post by Matthieu Lorrain, head of creative, AR partnerships at Google. Players can interact with the characters in AR and capture scenes from the app for sharing.

The Mandalorian is scanning your kitchen

The app is built on ARCore, Google’s developer platform for building augmented reality experiences, and uses its ARCore Depth API, which enables occlusion — when an AR object is blocked from view by other real objects in a scene (handy if the Mandalorian jetpacks in and your cat strolls into the scene).

Google worked with Disney and Lucasfilm to build models and animations based mostly on the hit

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