NASA’s aircraft will elevate the hunt for critical minerals in the US

The ER-2 high-altitude aircraft parked outside of a NASA building.
A photo of a NASA ER-2 high-altitude aircraft with the AVIRIS instrument installed. | Image: NASA

NASA and the US Geological Survey plan to deploy aircraft to spot critical minerals buried across the southwest US. They’ll take to the skies to map the minerals, which are crucial to the Biden administration’s plans to build up American clean energy industries.

GEMx is the name of the joint research effort, which will launch with $16 million in funding made possible through the bipartisan infrastructure law, which passed last year. Over the next five years, NASA’s ER-2 and Gulfstream V aircraft will fly over parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico to collect data that could point to where critical mineral resources are most abundant.

Both aircraft will carry a powerful instrument, NASA’s Airborne Visible / Infrared Imaging…

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How to turn off case sound effects on Apple’s second-gen AirPods Pro

An illustration of Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro with various tech gadgets in the background.
Samar Haddad / The Verge

Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro have more powerful noise cancellation and better sound quality than the original pair, but the company has also made significant improvements to the charging case. Aside from the new lanyard loop, the case itself now contains a speaker that can emit sounds when you’re trying to track it down using Apple’s Find My app.

By default, the case also plays sound effects when you plug it in for charging. Inevitably, some people won’t be a fan of that feature, but thankfully it’s fairly easy to turn off the extra sounds and use the speaker purely for location tracking purposes.

How to disable charging sounds

  • With your AirPods Pro connected to your iPhone, open the Settings app.
  • Tap on the AirPods shortcut…

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A data-sharing agreement between the US and UK is now in effect

As of today, a data-sharing pact between the US and the UK is in effect, five years after it was first floated. The two sides claim that the Data Access Agreement, which was authorized by the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act in the US, will help law enforcement to combat serious crimes in both countries. The Department of Justice called the initiative the first of its kind, adding that it would enable investigators “to gain better access to vital data” to fight serious crimes in a manner that’s “consistent with privacy and civil liberties standards.”

Under the agreement, authorities in one country can request data from ISPs in the other country, as long as it’s related to preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting serious crimes including terrorism, transnational organized crime and child exploitation. US officials can’t submit data requests targeting people in the UK and vice-versa — presumably the requests can either be used to assist domestic investigations or investigations into foreign nationals. Authorities also need to adhere to certain requirements, limitations and conditions when they access and use data.

The UK Home Office’s Investigatory Powers Unit will oversee the Data Access Agreement in the UK, while the DOJ’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) will handle matters in the US. The OIA has put together a CLOUD team that will review and certify orders on behalf of federal, state, local and territorial authorities. It will directly submit orders to ISPs in the UK and ensure data is transferred to authorities who requested it.

Privacy advocates have blasted the initiative and the CLOUD Act. In 2018, just after the bill was introduced, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said it “creates a dangerous precedent for other countries who may want to access information stored outside their own borders, including data stored in the United States.” Fight for the Future argued that it would threaten user privacy.

The US is looking to forge pacts with other countries under the CLOUD Act. It signed a deal with Australia last December and entered negotiations with Canada earlier this year.

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