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Renting the Wrong Place Could Be Hazardous What BU students should know about living off campus

Binland Lee, a BU senior studying marine biology, had fallen to sleep in the wee hours after a Saturday night party. She awoke after dawn to a housemate’s warning scream: the apartment house they occupied with seven other students in Allston was aflame. Trapped in her attic room by impenetrable black billows in the hall and a 26-foot jump to the lawn below her window, Lee (CAS’13) died from smoke inhalation that April morning last year.

These details come from a Boston Globe investigation into dangerous student housing. “Heedless landlords, scant oversight, and intense demand for student housing would turn 87 Linden into a case study of the city’s broken student rental housing system,” the report said of Lee’s building. Among the housing violations cited in the report were the number of tenants—nine (the city permits no more than four undergraduates to live full-time in a house) and only one exit from the floor below Lee’s room. Lee’s family, alleging the apartment was in illegal condition, is suing the landlord and the real estate brokerage company that rented the apartment to Lee.

Spurred by the Globe investigation, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has secured area colleges’ agreement to disclose addresses of students living off campus, which Walsh deems essential if the city is to stop overcrowding in apartments. (BU had already provided its students’ addresses following Lee’s death.) Walsh’s administration says it’s trying to inspect 30,000 rental units this year.

BU students living off campus are beyond the purview of the University’s rigorous fire safety plan, and federal statistics show 86 percent of college fire deaths since 2000 happened in off-campus housing. The University and the city of Boston provide online resources to help protect against such tragedies as Lee’s.

The Boston Fire Department has a web page of home fire safety tips, and the city has a web page with a home safety checklist. Every tenant should make sure that smoke detectors are working and notify the landlord immediately if they’re not. (Three quarters of residential fire deaths occur in homes without a working smoke detector.)

Even simple, commonsense precautions can save life and property. Not using candles is one: wax-with-wicks are the most common fire-starters among college students. That’s why BU dorms ban candles, as well as incense, open flames, and smoking. The US Fire Administration’s safety tip sheet notes five common factors in fires in off-campus student housing: lack of fire sprinklers; missing or disabled smoke alarms (do not disable smoke alarms, no matter how annoying the occasional cooking-triggered blast); haphazard disposal of cigarettes; tenant drunkenness leading to misjudgments; and combustible upholstered deck and porch furniture.

Other highlights from these various safety experts:

Don’t overload electrical outlets.

Have a fire extinguisher within easy reach. Know where it is. Also purchase flashlights and extra smoke detectors and batteries for both. The University is working to have local stores, including Barnes & Noble at BU, stock these items and fire safety information sheets.

Have an escape route planned and make sure it’s always free of debris.

Whenever an alarm sounds, assume it’s for a reason and get out.

Make sure there is a smoke detector outside each sleeping area in the apartment.

Have a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the house.

Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your place; it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you grill, watch where you do it. Boston and Brookline ban charcoal grills on wooden porches. And make sure you put out the embers with water when you’re finished. As for gas grills, state law forbids their use or storage anywhere inside or above the first floor of any residence.

BU’s Environmental Health and Safety website includes information that is also distributed to students at housing fairs on both campuses, typically in April and May, says Bob Whitfield, director of campus and clinical safety. That information includes a fire safety checklist, emergency preparedness kits, fire safety questions to ask before signing a lease or moving into an apartment, how to host safe parties, and more, Whitfield says.

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Tiktok Could Be Banned In The Us – Here’s How

The proposed law would empower the Secretary of Commerce to restrict use of software and hardware manufactured by entities in countries antagonistic to the U.S. – notably, China.

The proposed law would empower the Secretary of Commerce to restrict use of software and hardware manufactured by entities in countries antagonistic to the U.S. – notably, China. Image: Forbes

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced new bipartisan legislation Tuesday that could be used to ban TikTok and other technology products that were made in countries that pose a threat to American national security interests.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., Warner and 11 other senators, including Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), put forward a new piece of legislation known as the “RESTRICT Act,” whose aim, according to a summary released by his office, is to “identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.”

The bill does not specify what intermediate steps could be taken, but Rachel Cohen, a spokesperson for Senator Warner, explained by email that some examples short of a ban could include “data security requirements, content disclaimers, corporate transparency, third party code review requirements.” If TikTok itself were outright banned, it could argue in court that such a restriction was legally improper.

Warner pointed out that the bill isn’t specifically targeted at TikTok. However, he noted that 100 million Americans use TikTok for an average of 90 minutes a day, and the company is what “everybody is talking about.”

The bill comes as lawmakers debate the best way to handle rising fears that TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance could be providing user data to the Chinese government or be influencing what Americans see in the app at Beijing’s behest. In December 2023, Senator Marco Rubio introduced a similar TikTok ban bill, which has not yet garnered as much support as Warner’s bill. Others have called for TikTok to be pulled from American app stores.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) talks to reporters to introduce the Restrict Act at the U.S. Capitol on March 07, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Getty Images

TikTok has been negotiating with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) since 2023, but the deal has not yet been finalized.

After Forbes revealed that the company had spied on its journalists, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) pushed the Treasury Department, which oversees CFIUS, to conclude the negotiations and “impose strict structural restrictions between TikTok’s American operations and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, including potentially separating the companies.”

Warner’s bill is designed to address general concerns about foreign companies operating in the U.S., and in the press conference he pointed out that other foreign companies have been scrutinized by the American government over the past decade.

“Before TikTok, there was Huawei and ZTE and before that there was Kaspersky Labs,” Warner said. “Whether that comes in the form of software, or hardware like Huawei equipment. These risks are not going away.”

The White House also endorsed the new proposed legislation.

In response, Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokesperson, emailed Forbes to say that “additional authority from Congress” is unneeded, and that legislators should stick to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process that has been under negotiation for months.

“We appreciate that some members of Congress remain willing to explore options for addressing national security concerns that don’t have the effect of censoring millions of Americans,” she wrote in a statement. “A U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide.”

While Congress decides if it will step in to regulate TikTok, other parts of the government are moving forward with smaller scale bans. On February 28, the Office of Management and Budget wrote in a memorandum that all executive agencies must delete TikTok from all “federal devices” within 30 days. More than half of all 50 states have implemented similar bans from devices in use by state government employees.

In a nod to the incongruity of elder legislators regulating an app overwhelmingly popular with Gen-Z Americans, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) readily admitted: “I can’t say I know a whole lot about TikTok.”

Manchin said that while his granddaughters are avid users of the social media app, he was very cautious about TikTok, and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

“They’re not going to have our best interests at heart,” he said. “It will come back sooner or later to bite us.”

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Fix: The Password You Entered Could Not Be Set In Itunes • Mactips

FiX: The password you entered could not be set in iTunes

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Many users reported The password you entered to protect your iPhone backup could not be set message in iTunes when trying to set an encryption password for iPhone. This can be a problem, but today we’re going to show you how to fix it properly.

How can I fix The password you entered could not be set error? 1. Make sure that your phone is connected with a USB cable

According to users, Password can not be set message appears when your iPhone is connected to iTunes via Wi-Fi network. To fix this problem, disconnect from the Wi-Fi and connect your phone with your Mac using the USB cable.

After doing that, try to encrypt the phone again.

2. Make sure that the phone is properly connected

To fix the Password can not be set error message, you need to make sure that your iPhone is properly connected. You can do that by following these steps:

Quit iTunes and disconnect the iPhone from the computer and the USB cable. Also, disconnect the USB cable from your Mac.

Connect the Lightning USB cable to your Mac.

Now connect the iPhone to the other end of the USB cable.

Start iTunes.

Go to the Summary tab and set the password.

3. Wait for the backup process to finish

Once the backup process is finished, try to encrypt your iPhone again and it should work.

4. Try using your passkey or any other password

Several users reported that using a 4-digit passkey that they created work, so you might want to try that. In addition, few users reported that using your old password, computer password or iTunes password worked, so be sure to try that as well.

Password can not be set error in iTunes can be annoying, but we hope that you managed to fix it using one of our solutions.

FAQ: Learn more about iTunes

Is my Apple ID the same as my iTunes password?

No, your Apple ID is not the same as your iTunes password. Use the ID recovery tool to find it.

What is the default password for iTunes backup?

The default password for your iTunes backup is most likely a simple key combination like 0000, or 1234.

How do I unlock my iPhone if I forgot my pin?

If you forgot your pin number, then you will need to restore your device by using the last computer you used to sync your iPhone.

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Airpods Adaptive Audio Could Be The Future Of Hearing Protection At Gigs

AirPods Adaptive Audio is Apple’s latest take on active noise cancellation and transparency modes. The idea is that it allows in the external sounds you’re likely to want to hear, like someone speaking to you, while blocking unwanted noise (like vacuum cleaners or Coldplay albums).

But as well as improving your music listening experience when walking down the street, or sitting on a plane, Adaptive Audio could well prove the best solution when listening to live music …

Live concerts can cause permanent hearing loss

Many of us love attending live music gigs. There’s something really special about being surrounded by thousands of others there to enjoy the same music, as well as hearing a performance that is genuinely unique to that night.

But volume levels at big music concerts frequently reach levels that can cause both temporary and permanent hearing damage. Here’s what the CDC has to say:

After leaving a very loud event, such as a concert or football game, you may notice that you don’t hear as well as before. You might not hear whispers, sound might seem muffled, or you may hear ringing in your ears. Normal hearing usually returns within a few hours to a few days. This is because the hair cells, similar to blades of grass, will bend more if the sound is louder. But they will become straight again after a recovery period.

However, if loud noise damaged too many of the hair cells, some of them will die. Repeated exposures to loud noises will over time destroy many hair cells. This can gradually reduce your ability to understand speech in noisy places. Eventually, if hearing loss continues, it can become hard to understand speech even in quieter places.

In some cases, hearing loss can be temporary. However, it can become permanent when vital parts of the ear have been damaged beyond repair.

Earplugs aren’t a great solution

Some wear earplugs to concerts – especially when seated close to the stage – to reduce sound volume to a safe level. The problem with this, however, is that it muffles the sound, reducing the clarity as well as the volume.

AirPods Adaptive Audio mode could be a better option

Musicians playing on stage tend to wear noise-isolating in-ear monitors, usually ones that are custom-molded to their ears. These block most of the direct sound, while allowing them to hear the music at a comfortable level.

Using AirPods in Adaptive Audio mode could offer similar benefits.

Kate Kozuch from Tom’s Guide tried the existing Adaptive Transparency mode at a recent concert.

Once the concert started, it took my Apple Watch Ultra less than 5 minutes to buzz my wrist with a “Loud Environment” warning. Exposure to sound levels that hit or surpass 95 decibels for even just 10 minutes can cause temporary hearing loss, so I didn’t hesitate to pop my AirPods Pro 2 in.

The Apple Watch is able to reflect the noise level exposure I’m experiencing instead of the environmental noise level when connected to AirPods. So, I could see that my noise exposure lowered to the 75-to-85 decibel range thanks to Adaptive Transparency, which is safer for long-term listening.

She said there were still some 90dB spikes, but overall it was a success. A concert photographer who spoke to us a couple of months ago said that he too was seeing promising early signs.

You can noticeably tell a difference between your naked ears and wearing your AirPods. It’s quite strange because your brain is telling you it should sound incredibly loud, but you’re hearing sound that is completely bearable.

Adaptive Audio ought to be an improvement, offering the same level of protection, but likely providing greater sound clarity.

The feature is coming to AirPods Pro 2 later this year, as a free firmware update.

Photo: Tijs van Leur/Unsplash

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The Uk Just Lost Its Measles Elimination Status. We Could Be Next.

Public Health England confirmed on Monday that the UK has lost its “measles-free” status. The country had eliminated measles by World Health Organization standards in 2023 (based on data from 2014-2024), but an uptick in cases in recent months led to the reneging of that status.

What does it mean for a country to eliminate measles?

WHO defines “elimination” as the absence of circulating measles—meaning continuing transmission of the disease within the country—for more than 12 months. Countries that are measles-free can still see cases of the disease, and can even host large outbreaks: The U.S. has been officially measles-free for nearly two decades, but has had anywhere from dozens to hundreds of cases each year since then. 2023 cases have already topped 1,200 across 30 states. The elimination of endemic measles just means the disease has to come in by way of international travel.

Why is this happening?

You don’t eliminate endemic measles by keeping certain people in or out of the country. You do it by increasing herd immunity. If enough people are vaccinated, it becomes extremely unlikely for any errant cases of the disease to turn into outbreaks.

The measles virus infects nearly everyone it comes in contact with, so our main protection from it comes from herd immunity—you need upwards of 95 percent of a population to be vaccinated against it to avoid harboring pockets of the virus. Unfortunately, vaccination rates haven’t been high enough in many parts of the world for years now, even declining in some areas. Public Health England reports that at least 95 percent of five-year-olds in the UK have received one dose of the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella, which meets the WHO’s herd immunity benchmark. But only 87.4 percent of kids in that group have gotten the second dose, which is required for full protection.

Is the U.S. going to lose its status too?

Maybe. The United States has so far reported its highest measles case count in 25 years, and the Centers for Disease Control has already gone so far as to warn that endemic measles could make a comeback. We’re dangerously close to failing the WHO’s standards for measles elimination: outbreaks in Rockland County, NY and New York City—fueled by anti-vaccination sentiments among religious communities there—have persisted for some 10 months. Technically, once we hit the one-year mark, we’ll have endemic measles there.

What does this mean?

UK health officials are optimistic, reminding residents that the country’s measles infection rates are still much lower than pre-vaccine days. Improvements in the spread of information about MMR vaccines (especially with regards to the importance of the second dose) could quickly remedy the situation. But measles is making a comeback in Europe as a whole, so the UK will have to maintain excellent vaccination rates—above 95%—to keep this from happening again.

Why is measles worth worrying about?

The so-called return of measles doesn’t mean a country with an almost-high-enough vaccination rate will suddenly return to the dark ages, but it does put citizens too young or immunocompromised for vaccination at unnecessary risk. And darker days could be ahead: in April, World Health Organization medical epidemiologist Katrina Kretsinger told PopSci that measles is a sort of canary in the coal mine. “Measles is so infectious it’s going to be the first disease that shows up,” she said. “But it’s not just a problem with measles.”

The problem isn’t just that international travel has increased and that anti-vaccination conspiracies have new platforms on which to spread. It’s also that we never really reached the vaccination levels we need to keep infectious diseases at bay, so even a plateau in inoculation rates could prove disastrous. Measles infects 90 percent of the unvaccinated people that come into contact with it, so it’s going to be the first one to spark fiery outbreaks. It won’t be the last. “I’m concerned that there are progressively more countries which have had many years of insufficient vaccine implementation,” Kretsinger said. “It’s hard to predict what will be next.”

We Could Be Living On The Moon In 10 Years Or Less

Mining lunar water could pave the way to human colonies on the moon and Mars . But is the Space Act of 2024 up to the task?.

“You are here to help humanity become a spacefaring species.”

So said the opening line of a brochure for a workshop that took place in August 2014. It was a meeting of some of the greatest scientists and professionals in the space business and beyond, including gene editing maverick George Church and Peter Diamandis from the XPrize Foundation. The workshop’s goal: to explore and develop low-cost options for building a human settlement on the moon.

“You are here to make this moonshot a reality,” said the brochure.

One giant expense for mankind

The history-making Apollo missions would have cost $150 billion by today’s standards. With new ways of thinking, it might be possible to set up a lunar station for $10 billion.

NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay helped organize the meeting, and then he edited a special issue in the journal New Space to publish the papers that came out of the workshop. Those papers just came online this morning, and Popular Science had exclusive pre-publication access. Together, the 9 papers help to build momentum for an idea that’s growing throughout the planetary science and commercial space communities. The details differ between papers, they all say roughly the same thing: that we can set up a permanent, inhabited base on the moon, soon, and without breaking the bank.

Of course, this isn’t the first time scientists have talked about returning to the moon.

“The reason all the previous plans for going back to the moon have failed is that they’re just way too expensive,” says McKay. “The space program is living in a delusion of unlimited budgets, which traces back to Apollo.”

The Apollo program that put the first men on the moon would have cost $150 billion by today’s standards. For reference, NASA’s entire budget for the year of 2024 is $19.3 billion.

“The space program is living in a delusion of unlimited budgets, which traces back to Apollo.”

The New Space papers, by contrast, conclude that we could set up a small lunar base for $10 billion or less, and we could do it by 2023.

“The big takeaway,” says McKay, “is that new technologies, some of which have nothing to do with space–like self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets–are going to be incredibly useful in space, and are driving down the cost of a moon base to the point where it might be easy to do.”

Why go back to the moon?

Currently, NASA has no plans to send humans back to the moon–instead it’s focusing on getting to Mars in the 2030s. But McKay and others think we can’t possibly go hiking on Mars if we don’t first learn to camp in our own backyard.

“My interest is not the moon. To me the moon is as dull as a ball of concrete,” says the astrobiologist. “But we’re not going to have a research base on Mars until we can learn how to do it on the Moon first. The moon provides a blueprint to Mars.”

A lunar base would provide a valuable opportunity to test out new propulsion systems, habitats, communications, and life support systems before astronauts bring them to Mars–a 9-month trip away, versus just a few days to the moon.

The trouble is, NASA tends to think it can only afford to go to either the moon, or Mars. If McKay and his colleagues are right, we can afford to do both–it just takes a new way of thinking about it.

“The moon provides a blueprint to Mars.”

There are other reasons to go back. We’ve explored only a tiny portion of the lunar surface, and a permanent base would certainly fuel some interesting science.

Mine on the moon

Extracting water from the moon and breaking it apart into hydrogen and oxygen–i.e. rocket fuel–could turn a moon base into a profitable investment.

Plus, everyone else is doing it. China, Russia, and the European Space Agency have all expressed interest in setting up a base on the moon. Instead of getting left behind, cooperating with other nations on building a lunar station would lower NASA’s costs, much like in building the International Space Station.

Private space companies are also ready and raring to go back to the moon. Many hope to extract water from the moon and split it into hydrogen and oxygen–i.e. rocket fuel–that can be used to top off the gas tanks of spacecraft headed for Mars. Lunar tourism could also become a hot market.

“And if private industry goes, NASA’s going to go just to establish the rule of law,” says McKay. “The fastest way to get NASA to the moon is to get other people to go.”

How do we do it?

The exact strategy for building a lunar base differs depending on who you ask.

After the habitat modules arrive, robotic “Lunar Surface Mules” could help set them up so they’ll be ready when the humans arrive.

Home sweet home?

Another artist concept of a moon base.

Human occupation of the moon would likely begin slowly, with a few short stays by a small crew. The missions would get longer and larger over time, until you have a permanently occupied station, much like the International Space Station. Eventually the station could evolve into a complex, multi-use settlement with hundreds of people, and their children, living there permanently.

Some teams imagine the lunar station as a scientific base, while others picture it evolving into something more commercial.

“Some of the possible export options include: water from the permanently shadowed craters, precious metals from asteroid impact sites, and even [helium-3] that could fuel a pollution-free terrestrial civilization for many centuries,” writes one team. “As transportation to and from the Moon becomes more frequent and cheaper, the lunar tourism mark should begin to emerge and could become a significant source of income in the future.”

What technologies do we need to survive?

At a basic level, we already know how to survive on the Moon, because humans have been living on the International Space Station for years.

“PLSS technologies have been proved in space for the past 14 years on the International Space Station,” writes one group, referring to the life support system that recycles the water on the space station and balances out the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. “[W]e have access to sufficient life support technologies to support implementation of the first human settlement on the Moon today.”

With those essentials taken care of, the team estimates that at today’s launch prices, SpaceX could deliver the rest of the food and essential supplies for a crew of 10 for $350 million or less per year.

“Self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets are driving down the cost of a moon base to the point where it might be easy to do.”

Other technologies could be adapted to lower the costs of a moon base. Virtual reality, for example, could aid in the planning efforts.

3D printing could replace small components that break on the lunar station, shaving down launch costs.

The era of NASA’s spinoff technologies may be coming to an end. Instead of developing highly specialized (and expensive) technologies for spaceflight that later turn out to be everyday products, everyday products could be adapted for spaceflight, says McKay. “One of my favorites is the Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.” The program encourages new ways to clean human waste and recycle it into energy, clean water, and nutrients that could be used in farming.

“NASA could spend billions developing a space-rated toilet,” says McKay, “or we could just buy the blue toilet developed by the Gates Foundation.”

Next generation technologies

Many of the proposals for an affordable moon base rely on technologies that don’t quite exist yet. But neither are they far from reality.

Inflatable Habitat

Bigelow Aerospace’s BA-330 inflatable habitat could one day provide lodgings on the moon. In 2024, a smaller version of the habitat will be tested on the International Space Station.

Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatable habitat is a top contender for future moon lodgings. These flexible living modules could be folded up to fit in a rocket’s cargo bay, then expand like a pop-up tent on the lunar surface. The company plans to launch a test version of the habitat to the International Space Station this year. However, the larger, pill-shaped “BA-330” modules won’t launch until 2023. And since Bigelow is mainly focused on using these habitats to set up commercial space stations in Earth orbit, the design might have to be adapted to operate on the moon, where radiation levels are considerably higher.

Where should we live on the moon?

There are four fundamental things to consider when choosing real estate on the moon, according to one paper: power availability; communications; proximity to resources; and surface mobility.

The sun will likely be the primary source of power for future lunar stations. Trouble is, most places on the moon have “nights” that are 354 hours (about 15 days) long. That’s a long time to rely on battery power. By comparison, the poles receive much more sunlight, with nights lasting closer to 100 hours (4 days). So the first lunar station will probably have to be at one of the poles.

Communications would be easier from the moon’s near-side, which constantly faces Earth, compared to the poles, but a relay station on the moon or in orbit should provide a reliable connection.

And it’s lucky the poles receive so much sunlight, because they’re also expected to contain large amounts of frozen water in their deep, dark craters. That water could be extracted to provide water and oxygen to the lunar station, or to turn into rocket fuel for a profit.

“The cost is getting so low, maybe we don’t even need to think of NASA doing it.”

And although the lunar north and the south poles receive similar amounts of light, the north pole came out ahead of the south in this survey because it has a smoother terrain that’s easier to travel across.

In particular, the paper singles out the rim of Peary crater as being the top spot to develop a low-cost lunar station. Radar and remote sensing indicate it may contain water or other hydrogen-bearing molecules, and it has a relatively smooth floor, making it easier for robots to roll through its icy depths to extract resources.

Some upcoming missions–including NASA’s Lunar Flashlight and IceCube aim to map the distribution of water on the moon, which could help to further refine the lunar real estate options.

How much would it cost?

Overall the consensus in these papers is that NASA could build a lunar base for $10 billion, with upkeep costs of about $2 billion or less per year, which is about as much as NASA puts toward the International Space Station every year. These are estimates that, with a little rearranging, could fit inside NASA’s current budget.

And NASA wouldn’t have to foot the bill alone.

“The cost is getting so low, maybe we don’t even need to think of NASA doing it,” says McKay. “It could be a private company.”

A study from last year estimated that if water exists in large deposits on the moon, a base could pay for itself, generating $40 billion in rocket propellant per year.

What’s more, such a base could potentially be up and running within the next decade.

Actually making it happen will certainly take longer than that, requiring political changes and technological developments. But McKay thinks the psychological barrier is the most significant.

“The biggest obstacle is getting everybody together, and getting a vision of a low-cost base as the starting point. If people think it’s going to kill the budget, that just stops the conversation and brainstorming. If we can change the mindset, that starts the conversation and gets people thinking about how to make it a reality.”

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