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What If There Is No Winner on Election Night? A BU Expert Explains

The White House could be ground zero in a crisis typical of unstable nations if President Trump loses on November 3 and refuses to leave office, says Robert Tsai, an incoming BU School of Law professor.

Presidential Election

What If There Is No Winner on Election Night? A BU Expert Explains Constitutional law expert Robert Tsai analyzes five possible crises after the vote

When a US Supreme Court nominee refuses to say that a president should peacefully relinquish power if he loses reelection, we’re in new territory. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s answer to that question during her confirmation hearing—“To the extent that this is a political controversy right now, as a judge I want to stay out of it”—referenced President Trump’s hints that he might not leave office willingly should he lose to Democrat Joe Biden on November 3.

What would follow that unprecedented step? Or how will America deal with any of the other pitfalls posited by pundits—voter suppression, an undecided outcome on election night, or voting irregularities? We asked Robert Tsai, who will join Boston University’s School of Law faculty in January as a professor of law. Tsai, who comes to BU from American University’s Washington College of Law, specializes in constitutional law and law and government, among other areas.

Q

&

A With Robert Tsai

BU Today:

What if there is no winner decided on election night?

Robert Tsai:  If we don’t have a clear Electoral College winner on election night, we will enter what elections experts call “overtime.” It will mean one or more states are too close to call, and it may take some time for enough of the ballots to be counted before someone is declared the victor and the results are officially certified by a state. Each campaign then must decide where, if at all, to contest the results. During the 2000 presidential election, George Bush and Al Gore were dueling in a handful of counties in Florida because they were tied in the Electoral College, and the outcome in Florida would decide the presidential election. The Florida Supreme Court had agreed with some of Gore’s arguments under state law and ordered a recount in certain counties, but the US Supreme Court, on a close vote, overturned the state supreme court, saying that the US Constitution’s equal protection clause would be violated by the recount. This extraordinary intervention under federal constitutional principles determined the winner of the presidential election and short-circuited a political process that had been set up to resolve contested elections of this sort. 

BU Today:

What if mail-in ballots are not all counted on election night?

BU Today:

What if there are voting irregularities or concerns?

BU Today:

What if Trump loses and refuses to accept the results?

 Ever since the first peaceful changeover in 1801, when Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in a close election for the presidency, we have been lucky to enjoy mostly peaceful transitions of power. That’s including the incredibly controversial Hayes-Tilden contest in 1876 that was resolved through a compromise by a congressional commission, as well as the Bush v. Gore controversy, after Gore conceded once the US Supreme Court ruled against him.

BU Today:

What if Trump wins and Democrats raise concerns about voter suppression?

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Expert Explains: What Is Thefile?

If you use a PC running any current version of Windows you may have noticed small files called chúng tôi popping up on your system. What is it, what do they do, what did I do to create them? Relax, they’re harmless. Here’s what chúng tôi files are for.

Thumbs.db generates a quick image based preview of files inside a folder when using the Icon or Thumbnail mode in Windows. By creating the preview before the folder is accessed saves time rendering a visual thumbnail. Doing this on the fly might not slow your computer down dramatically. However, for folders with many files or folders hosted on storage with a slow connection, chúng tôi can help give you a visual representation without waiting to connect to the folder.

By selecting this option, Windows will no longer generate chúng tôi files to show a quick visual representation of what’s in the folder you are accessing.

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Is There A Test To Know If Your Iphone Has Been Hacked?

Is your iPhone exhibiting suspicious or unusual behavior lately? It’s normal to think it’s been hacked. Unlike Android, iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) are less susceptible to malware infections or hacks. But they aren’t immune to malware attacks.

This guide will show you some warning signs that a hacked iPhone displays. You’ll also learn how to improve your device’s security. If your iPhone exhibits any of the symptoms below, it’s probably been hacked.

Table of Contents

What Are the Signs of Your iPhone Being Hacked?

iPhone hacks exist in different forms, and there’s no one way to test for them all. You have to manually look out for specific symptoms or abnormalities like the ones below:

Unrecognized Apps or Incessant Pop-Ups: A malware hack or infection could cause your iPhone to display incessant pop-ups and install unwanted apps without your knowledge.

Battery Drainage Issues: Does your iPhone battery die faster than usual? It could be due to increased background activity of malicious software.

Performance Lag: Rogue apps will overwork your iPhone’s CPU and consume excessive memory space, resulting in performance lag and other issues.

High Data Usage: Some malicious software exchanges information with their developers round-the-clock over the internet. Hence, a sudden spike in mobile day usage is a valid indicator of a phone hack.

Suspicious Phone Calls, Text Messages, and Notifications: Does your iPhone send automated text messages to unknown phone numbers? Are there random outgoing calls in your call log? That’s a clear indication that your iPhone is hacked.

How Do iPhones Get Hacked?

The primary purpose of a hack is to access data on your device. Hackers typically employ malicious software (viruses, spyware, etc.) to obtain information from your iPhone fraudulently.

Apple does a great job of preventing fraudulent developers from uploading malicious apps to the App Store. So, it’s almost impossible to install malware from the App Store. However, the following activities can expose your iPhone to security threats and invasions:

Jailbreaking Your iPhone: If you download apps outside the Apple App Store on a jailbroken iPhone, the chances of malware infection are much higher.

Using Public Wi-Fi: Cybercriminals often exploit public Wi-Fi networks to spread malware, infiltrate people’s devices, and steal sensitive data. If you don’t want to get hacked, staying away from public Wi-Fi is an excellent place to start.

Running Outdated Operating System: Failure to install software patches or updates exposes your iPhone to new security threats.

Poor iCloud Security: If hackers get hold of your Apple ID account login information, they have direct and indirect access to your iPhone. They can change your account password, access your iCloud backup, or remotely erase your iPhone.

What to Do When iPhone Has Been Hacked

Here are some tips to end an ongoing hack and prevent its reoccurrence in the future.

1. Disable Data Usage for Suspicious Apps

A lot of malware runs quietly in the background, sending personal data to the hacker or developer from your iPhone. Some malware even install spyware and other types of malware on your device.

Malware activities are often data-intensive. If you exhaust your limited data plan faster than usual, or there’s a sudden spike in your phone bill, check your iPhone’s data usage for unfamiliar apps responsible for the problem.

Apps are arranged in descending order of data consumption. Disable cellular data access for unrecognized or phony apps and monitor your iPhone’s data usage and behavior afterward.

If data usage remains unusually high, refer to our guide on reducing data on iPhone for more troubleshooting tips. Additionally, confirm that your iPhone doesn’t have any spyware.

2. Check CPU and RAM Usage

Excessive CPU and memory usage by rogue apps will overheat your iPhone and slow its performance. These apps often run constantly in the background, using up system resources and overworking your iPhone.

There’s no native method to check your iPhone’s CPU usage. However, reliable third-party apps (free and paid) in the App Store can get the job done. Refer to our tutorial on monitoring RAM and CPU on iPhones for more details.

If no unrecognized apps are using your iPhone’s CPU or RAM, try other known tricks that can help cool down your device. Remove your phone case, disable background app refresh, unplug your charger, reduce the screen brightness, etc.

We also recommend reading this article that highlights 15 maintenance tips to keep your iPhone running smoothly. The recommendations in the article can speed up your iPhone’s performance tremendously.

3. Check Your Battery Usage

Background malware activity can also result in increased battery drainage and other battery-related issues. Luckily, iOS analyzes the amount of battery power each app uses on your iPhone. So, it’s easy to trace any malware responsible for the battery drain problem.

Tap Show Activity above the first app to view each app’s on-screen and background activities instead.

Go through the list carefully and note any unrecognized or strange apps with high background activity and battery usage. Jump to the next section to learn how to remove the suspicious apps from your iPhone.

4. Uninstall Suspicious Apps

Delete any unrecognized app with an insane amount of data consumption, battery usage, or high background activity—especially if it’s an app you barely use.

Alternatively, long-press the app on the Home Screen, tap Remove App and select Delete App on the confirmation prompt.

5. Restart Your iPhone

A simple device reboot might eliminate temporary glitches that seem like a hack or malware attack. For example, if your iPhone dies quickly, but there’s no suspicious app in the battery usage report. A reboot could fix the problem.

6. Update Your iPhone

Apple and some third-party security companies spot vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit and (Apple) release security patches to block them. That highlights the importance of updating your iPhone.

Open the Settings app, select General, tap Software Update, and tap Download and Install to update your iPhone.

7. Avoid Public Wi-Fi Network

Public Wi-Fi networks barely have solid security systems. That makes it easy for a hacker to intercept exchanges on websites you visit while using the network. Some hackers even set up fake public Wi-Fi networks that mimic genuine networks.

Joining such Wi-Fi networks allows hackers to access your internet traffic personal data like credit card information, passwords, etc. If you have to use public Wi-Fi, do so with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs will secure your connection by masking your IP address and encrypting data exchanged on the network.

8. Secure iCloud with Two-Factor Verification

If hackers gain access to your iCloud account, they have everything you’ve uploaded from your iPhone to iCloud. In addition to using a strong password, secure your Apple ID account with two-factor authentication.

9. Factory Reset Your iPhone

Erase your iPhone and reset it to factory default if it continues to exhibit signs of malware hack.

Keep Your iPhone Hack-Proof

Usb Error There Is No Media In The Specified Device

Are you experiencing “There is no media in the specified device” error when trying to format your USB drive? Many users have complained of getting this error while formatting their USB drive using Windows built-in Diskpart or the Format UI tool.

One of the affected users says:

I tried to reformat my USB drive with HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, but it says that there is no media in the specified device. It doesn’t even display total size and the free size of the USB. Then, I tried two other software that could reformat USB but the other one couldn’t even see the USB and the other one couldn’t reformat it. What do I do now?

If you are one of the affected users getting the same error, this guide is for you. In this post, we are going to show you fixes that will help you get rid of the “There is no media in the specified device” error. Several affected users were able to fix the error using these solutions. And, they might work for you as well. So, let us check out the solutions.

What causes the There is no media in the specified device error?

Here are the potential causes of the There is no media in the specified device error:

It can be caused due to some temporary glitches like too many USB drivers connected to your PC, USB port, etc.

The problem might also be caused by out-of-date, corrupted, or faulty USB drivers. Hence, if the scenario is applicable, you can try updating or reinstalling the USB device driver to fix the error.

It could also be caused due to bad sectors or file system errors. So, you can try running the Windows built-in disk error-checking tool or the CHKDSK command to fix the file system errors on your USB drive.

A damaged Master Boot Record (MBR) can be another reason for the “There is no media in the specified device” error. Hence, you can try repairing MBR using Windows built-in tool to fix the error.

Now that you know the scenarios that might trigger the error at hand, you can try a suitable fix to resolve the error.

USB error: There is no media in the specified device

Here is how to fix the USB error – There is no media in the specified device on your Windows 11/10 computer:

Try some basic troubleshooting methods.

Update or Reinstall USB Device Driver.

Rebuild MBR.

Run Windows built-in disk error-checking tool.

Run the CHKDSK command to fix the file system errors.

1] Try some basic troubleshooting methods 2] Update or Reinstall USB Device Driver

You can try updating your USB device driver and see if it works or not. For some users, this method was able to fix the error and might just work for you as well. Here’s how you can do that:

Firstly, press Windows+X and then select Device Manager to open the app.

Now, expand the Disk drives drop-down menu option.

After that, follow the prompted instructions to update the driver. Windows will now attempt to update your USB driver.

Once done, try reconnecting your USB and see if the error is gone or not.

If updating the driver doesn’t help, try uninstalling the USB device driver and then reinstalling it. This might fix the error for you.

Read: Diskpart Virtual Disk Service error, The specified disk is not convertible.

3] Rebuild MBR

This error could result from a damaged Master Boot Record (MBR). Hence, if the scenario is applicable, you can repair or rebuild MBR using Windows inbuilt feature. When the process is complete, check whether or not the error is resolved. If the error is still not fixed, you can try the next potential fix to resolve it.

4] Run Windows built-in disk error-checking tool

There is no media in the specified device error might occur if there are file system errors, bad sectors, or storage media corruption on your USB driver. Hence if the scenario is applicable, you can try fixing the file system errors using the Windows built-in disk error-checking tool. Here’s how you can do that:

Next, move to the Tools tab and press the Check button.

Once all the logical errors, bad sectors, or any other file system errors are fixed on the USB drive, check if the error is resolved.

If the error persists, go ahead and try the next potential fix.

See: Diskpart error, The device does not recognize the command.

5] Run the CHKDSK command to fix the file system errors

If the above fix is unable to repair disk errors, you can try running the command-line tool called Check Disk Utility (CHKDSK). You just need to enter a specific command to fix disk errors if there are any. Here are the steps you can follow:

Firstly, plug your USB drive into your PC.

Now, launch the Command Prompt, and type the below command in CMD: chkdsk G: /f /r /x

In the above command, in place of the G letter, write your USB drive/pen drive/SD card drive letter.

After typing the command, press the Enter button to execute the command. It will now check for all possible file system errors on your USB drive and try to fix them.

Once the process is done, you can reboot your computer and check if the “There is no media in the specified device” error is resolved or not.

I hope this helped.

Read: A device which does not exist was specified Disk error

How do you fix There is no media in the specified device?

If you are getting the USB error There is no media in the specified device, you can try connecting the USB device to another USB port and see if it works. If that doesn’t work, try updating the USB device driver or reinstalling the driver. Apart from that, you can repair MBR, fix the logical file system errors, or run the CHKDSK command to fix the error. We have mentioned these fixes in detail above.

Read:

How can I fix my external hard drive without media?

If your USB drive is showing 0 bytes or no media, you can try removing extra USB drives if there are any. Apart from that, you need to make sure that the data is not hidden. You can also try fixing file system errors and repairing bad sectors on your USB drive using the CHKDSK command. Besides that, fix Master Boot Record (MBR) for the problematic USB flash drive or create a partition in Disk Management. If that doesn’t help, try formatting the 0 bytes USB drive.

That’s it! Hope, this guide helps you fix the “There is no media in the specified device” error.

Now read: Can’t format USB Drive in Windows 11.

What Is Umami? No, Really.

PopSci is spending September relearning how to eat. As intuitive as our love of chowing down is, a lot stands between us and optimal eating. This month, we’ll break down diet myths, unlock delicious kitchen hacks, and explore our most common misconceptions about our grub.

How would you describe the flavor of parmesan cheese? What about the aftertaste of a rich beef broth, or the earthy tones of fresh mushrooms? You can almost place it, it’s just at the tip of your tongue … ah, umami. This millennia-old flavor was identified in only the last 120 years, and entered Western lexicon even more recently. The Japanese word translates to “pleasant, savory taste” or “mouthfulness,” and has its place alongside sweet, salty, bitter, and sour as the basic gustations.

The core of the umami flavor comes from two non-essential amino acids: aspartic acids and glutamic acids, or glutamates. Aspartic acid occurs naturally in vegetables like asparagus, while glutamates are found in a myriad of ingredients, including ripe tomatoes, cured meats, aged cheeses, soy sauce, and kelp. The glutamate you’re probably most familiar with is monosodium glutamate (MSG).

In fact, the story of MSG’s mass production dates back to the century-old knowledge of umami. As legend has it, Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda was dining with his family when he noticed that the dashi broth that his wife Tei made had a striking flavor. This flavor reminded him of the unique taste in tomatoes, meat, and cheese. Tei had used kelp in the broth, so Kikunae embarked on understanding the plant’s composition. A year later, he isolated glutamate in kelp as the source of the savoriness. A year after that, he developed and patented the process to extract MSG as a salt. These days, about three million tons of MSG get cranked out by food manufacturers each year.

How our bodies understand umami

But how does the brain even know when umami, or any flavor, is in a dish? On the tongue, bundles of taste receptor cells form taste buds. While all different receptors are spread over the tongue, the particular family of receptors that clock umami flavors are called G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Within the GPCR family are a group of siblings, so to speak, called T1R1, T1T2, and T1R3. All the T1R siblings have similar large structures to collect information from their environment. When the glutamates in umami-rich foods bind to these receptors, the cells kick into action.

The T1R receptors are also present all throughout the digestive tract, where they play another crucial role: They train your brain to crave protein-rich foods. “The glutamate receptors signal to the brain that what you just ate had protein in it,” says Linda Bartoshuk, a University of Florida professor who studies the psychophysics of taste. “And the brain is wired to make you like protein. So the brain produces what’s called a ‘condition preference’ for the sensory characteristics of the food that came with the glutamate.” That means when you eat cheese or meat, the glutamate receptors in your gut tell your brain to associate those tastes with protein and make you want to crave those foods more.

Flavor scientists still have plenty of questions on how and why the glutamate receptors function. A study out of China from January 2023 used a simulation to examine the compound effects of MSG, umami peptides, and the T1R1/T1R3 receptors to look at their chemical interactions. Meanwhile, this past July, researchers in Italy created the first 3D models of these taste receptors. These tools will be a great help to researchers who want to get a deeper understanding of what sets off the flood of umami flavors on the tongue—and in the brain.

“If we want to think about virtual taste experiences, or taste prosthetics, we actually need to understand the molecules that produce this experience for us to simulate that,” says Joost Maier, a neurobiologist at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

There’s also evidence that other animals sense umami. Hummingbirds, for example, love sweet nectar, but they lack the T1R2 receptor that’s typically connected to the flavor. Instead, they use T1R1 and T1R3 to detect sugary sensations, along with some savory ones.

The umami mystery continues

As delicious as umami-rich foods may be, there’s no consensus on whether it’s actually a core taste like sweet, salty, and so on. That’s not to say that umami isn’t a real flavor—there’s just contention over how prominent its sensory role is.

“Basic taste has no real definition,” Bartoshuk says, pointing to less-used descriptors like metallic and acidic. She believes the idea of umami being a core taste arose in the 1940s from companies that produce MSG-rich foods. “They thought they could call it something like a basic taste it would sell better,” she notes.

Maier has a different perspective; he says basic taste is a common experience that we can agree upon. “Salty has a certain experience that we can communicate to other people that makes sense to everybody,” he explains.

[Related: Learn the science to food pairing here]

One potential reason umami hasn’t been wholly welcomed into the taste family could be because glutamate receptors were discovered only recently, Maier says. US biologist Nirupa Chaudhari published the first paper on them in 1996.

“I don’t think [glutamates] play as big a role in the flavor of things like tomato and cheese as people claim,” Bartoshuk says. “I think that’s exaggerated, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a natural component of foods, and that’s fine.”

It’s also important to mention that glutamates work best in bringing out other tastes. MSG dissolved in water, for example, isn’t so appetizing—but in a broth or paired with other flavorings, you can have a Ratatouille moment.

In a nutshell, umami is the sophisticated sibling among its taste posse. While it might be tough to explain at first, it becomes one of those sensations where you know it when you taste it. After that, you won’t be able to get enough.

Correction September 23, 2023: Joost Maier’s last name was previously misspelled throughout the story. It has now been corrected.

Doj Tells Judge That There Is No Active At&T Deal With T

The U.S. Department of Justice will file a motion to stay or dismiss its lawsuit to block AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA because the agency believes there’s no deal pending, a lawyer for the DOJ said Friday.

The DOJ will file the motion on Tuesday in response to AT&T’s decision in November to withdraw its application at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for the transfer of T-Mobile’s spectrum licenses to AT&T, said Joseph Wayland, the DOJ’s lead attorney in the case. “It’s not a real transaction until they file with the FCC,” Wayland said during a scheduling hearing in the antitrust case.

AT&T withdrew its license transfer application after the FCC announced in November that staff there had found the transaction to be contrary to the public interest. The FCC had planned to send the application to a hearing before an administrative law judge, but AT&T instead withdrew the application.

Wayland told Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that the DOJ would proceed with its case after AT&T refiles its application at the FCC. Huvelle has scheduled a hearing on the DOJ’s motion to stay or dismiss the case for Thursday.

AT&T lawyer Mark Hansen, facing a skeptical Huvelle, said nothing has changed from the company’s perspective. AT&T plans to move forward with the US$39 billion deal, and it will refile an application with the FCC at some point, he said.

Huvelle should move forward with the DOJ trial, scheduled to begin Feb. 13, he said. With a Huvelle ruling in hand, the company can then go back to the FCC with the antitrust issues resolved and work out the remaining concerns there, he said.

Hansen urged Huvelle to move forward quickly and to reject requests by AT&T competitors Sprint Nextel and Cellular South, now called C Spire Wireless, to join the DOJ case. AT&T has until Sept. 20 to complete the deal or pay T-Mobile a $4 billion breakup fee.

But Huvelle questioned why she should move forward quickly when AT&T has withdrawn its application at the FCC. “I find it a little unsettling to be told I have to decide by a certain date because of your agreement” with T-Mobile, she said.

AT&T seems to be acting “presumptuous” by expecting the court to move forward quickly and the FCC to abide by Huvelle’s decision, she said. Huvelle questioned whether the FCC would have to abide by her ruling on the antitrust issues, noting that the agency must also consider whether the merger is in the public interest.

Huvelle also questioned if the FCC could finish its deliberations in a couple of months after her likely midsummer ruling. “We have no confidence that we’re not being spun,” she said.

AT&T made a “perfectly appropriate decision” to withdraw its application at the FCC and not fright two antitrust cases at once, Hansen said. Huvelle should not allow the DOJ to “pocket veto” the deal by dragging out the process, he added.

Without a speedy court case, the deal is dead, Hansen said. “It’s either a trial on our timetable, or there’s no trial at all,” he added.

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