David Andress - University of Portsmouth
David Garrioch - Monash University, Australia
Colin Jones - Queen Mary University of London
Peter McPhee - University of Melbourne
Mark Jones Source: European Review of History
Cynthia A. Bouton Source: American Historical Review
Ian Coller Source: French History
Michael P. Fitzsimmons Source: The Journal of Modern History
Bookmark synchronization has become a standard feature in modern browsers: It gives Internet users a way to ensure that the changes they make to bookmarks on a single device take effect simultaneously across all their devices. However, it turns out that this same helpful browser functionality also gives cybercriminals a handy attack path.
To wit: Bookmarks can be abused to siphon out reams of stolen data from an enterprise environment, or to sneak in attack tools and malicious payloads, with little risk of being detected.
David Prefer, an academic researcher at the SANS Technology Institute, made the discovery as part of broader research into how attackers can abuse browser functionality to smuggle data out from a compromised environment and carry out other malicious functionality.
In a recent technical paper, Prefer described the process as "bruggling" — a portmanteau of browser and smuggling. It's a novel data exfiltration vector that he demonstrated with a proof-of-concept (PoC) PowerShell script called "Brugglemark" that he developed for the purpose.
"There's no weakness or vulnerability that is being exploited with the synchronization process," Prefer stresses. "What this paper hones in on is the ability to name bookmarks whatever you want, and then synchronize them to other signed-in devices, and how that very convenient, helpful functionality can be twisted and misused in an unintended way."
An adversary would already need access — either remote or physical — to the environment and would have already infiltrated it and collected the data they want to exfiltrate. They could then either use stolen browser synchronization credentials from a legitimate user in the environment or create their own browser profile, then access those bookmarks on another system where they've been synchronized to access and save the data, Prefer says. An attacker could use the same technique to sneak malicious payloads and attack tools into an environment.
The benefit of the technique is, put simply, stealth.
Johannes Ullrich, dean of research at the SANS Institute, says data exfiltration via bookmark syncing gives attackers a way to bypass most host and network-based detection tools. To most detection tools, the traffic would appear as normal browser synch traffic to Google or any other browser maker. "Unless the tools look at the volume of the traffic, they will not see it," Ullrich says. "All traffic is also encrypted, so it is a bit like DNS over HTTPs or other 'living off the cloud' techniques," he says.
In terms of how an attack might be carried out in the real world, Prefer points to an example where an attacker might have compromised an enterprise environment and accessed sensitive documents. To exfiltrate the data via bookmark synching, the attacker would first need to put the data into a form that can be stored as bookmarks. To do this, the adversary could simply encode the data into base64 format and then split the text into separate chunks and save each of those chunks as individual bookmarks.
Prefer discovered — through trial and error — that modern browsers allow a considerable number of characters to be stored as single bookmarks. The genuine number varied with each browser. With the Brave browser, for example, Prefer discovered he could synchronize, very quickly, the entirety of the book Brave New World using just two bookmarks. Doing the same with Chrome required 59 bookmarks. Prefer also discovered during testing that browser profiles could synchronize as many as 200,000 bookmarks at a time.
Once the text has been saved as bookmarks and synchronized, all that the attacker would need to do is sign into the browser from another device to access the content, reassemble it, and decode it from base64 back into the original text.
"As for what kind of data could be exfiltrated via this technique, I think that's up to the creativity of an adversary," Prefer says.
Prefer's research was primarily focused on browser market share leader Google Chrome — and to a lesser extent on other browsers such as Edge, Brave, and Opera, which are all based on the same open source Chromium project that Chrome is built upon. But there's no reason why bruggling won't work with other browsers such as Firefox and Safari, he notes.
Significantly, bookmark syncing is not the only browser function that can be abused this way, Prefer says. "There are plenty of other browser features that are used in synchronization that could be misused in a similar way, but would require research to investigate," he says. As examples, he points to autofills, extensions, browser history, stored passwords, preferences, and themes, which can all be synchronized. "With a bit of research, it might turn out that they can also be abused," Prefer says.
Ullrich says Prefer's paper was inspired by earlier research that showed how browser extension syncing could be used for data exfiltration and command and control. With that method, however, a victim would have been required to install a malicious browser extension, he says.
Prefer says organizations can mitigate the risk of data exfiltration by disabling bookmark syncing using Group Policy. Another option would be to limit the number of email domains that are allowed to sign in for syncing, so attackers would not be able to use their own account to do it.
"[Data loss protection] DLP monitoring that an organization already performs can be applied here as well," he says.
Bookmark syncing would not work very well if the syncing happened at a slower speed, Ullrich says. "But being able to sync 200,000+ bookmarks, and only seeing some speed throttling after 20,000 or 30,000 bookmarks makes this [very] valuable," he says.
Thus, browser makers can make things harder for attackers for instance by dynamically throttling bookmark syncing based on factors like the age of an account or logins from a new geographic location. Similarly, bookmarks that contain base64 encoding could be prevented from syncing, as well as bookmarks with excessive names and URLs, Prefer says.
The CMA will exhibit six installations representing the work of seven contemporary artists in its galleries beginning on July 16.
CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video is from a previous, unrelated story about the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is participating in the return of a free, public, contemporary art exhibition taking place this summer and fall across 30 venues in three Northeast Ohio cities.
The CMA, beginning on July 16, will exhibit six installations representing the work of seven contemporary artists in its galleries as part of the 2022 presentation of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. FRONT International is the result of efforts by several community partners showcasing the work of over 100 regional, national and international artists working in multiple disciplines across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin.
“The exhibition suggests ways that art-making can speak with power: showing people how to recognize and reimagine the invisible structures that govern contemporary life,” the CMA said in a press release. “The exhibition features more than 100 regional, national and international artists working across painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, photography, video, text, performance and other media, demonstrating how aesthetic pleasure—sharing joy through movement, music, craft and color—can bridge differences between people to bring them together.”
As part of the project, the CMA's presentations include artists' work in several mediums such as painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and live performance. Five exhibits will run from July 16 through various dates in the upcoming fall or winter, while a live performative art piece by artist Maria Hassabi will be shown on Sept. 16 and 17.
This will be the second iteration of FRONT International after the inaugural exhibition, which was produced in 2018. This year’s edition is titled “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows” after Langston Hughes’ 1957 poem “Two Somewhat Different Epigrams.”
“A tender, brutal and provocative prayer, the poem meditates on the inseparability of joy and suffering,” the CMA said. “Expanding on Hughes’s invocation, FRONT 2022 explores how art making offers the possibility to transform and heal people—as individuals, as groups and as a society.”
Read more information on the upcoming exhibitions from the CMA below:
About the Exhibitions at the CMA
July 16 through November 13, 2022
Julia and Larry Pollock Focus Gallery | Gallery 010
Julie Mehretu: Portals offers a fresh perspective on the Cleveland Museum of Art’s encyclopedic collection through an artist’s eyes. This exhibition, the first of its kind at the CMA, integrates paintings by Julie Mehretu with works from the museum’s permanent collection that Mehretu has selected and curated within the gallery. Spanning a range of cultures, histories and mediums, the works she has chosen reflect images and ideas that inspire her own artistic practice and process.
Firelei Báez: the vast ocean of all possibilities (19°36'16.9"N 72°13'07.0"W, 41°30'32.3"N 81°36'41.7"W)
July 16, 2022, through January 15, 2023
Betty T. and David M. Schneider Gallery of European Sculpture | Gallery 218
Firelei Báez: the vast ocean of all possibilities is part of an ongoing series in which the artist reimagines the archaeological ruins of the Sans-Souci Palace in northern Haiti, underscoring its position as an enduring symbol of healing and resistance. The work’s painted surfaces are adorned with reproductions of traditional West African indigo printing (later used in the American South) and marine plants native to Caribbean waters. In this work, the ruins of the San-Souci Palace appear to travel through both time and place to burst through the gallery’s floor, dripping with brightly colored sea life and the pieces of modern urban waste that now carpet our ocean floors.
Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, with support from the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation and James Cohan Gallery, New York.
Nicole Eisenman: A Decade of Printing
July 16 through December 31, 2022
James and Hanna Bartlett Prints and Drawings Gallery | 101
Nicole Eisenman: A Decade of Printing presents works made by the artist at three New York-based printshops: 10 Grand, Harlan & Weaver and Jungle Press. In close collaboration with master printers there, Eisenman has experimented with a range of printmaking techniques—including monotype, woodcut, etching and lithography—exploring the unique traits of each. Drawn from the collections of the artist and their collaborators, the works on view reveal how printmaking has emerged as a primary vehicle for Eisenman to explore foundational themes and ideas, considering and translating them inventively across media.
Yoshitomo Nara: Recent Work
July 16 through October 2, 2022
Toby’s Gallery of Contemporary Art | Gallery 229A
Yoshitomo Nara: Recent Work highlights two essential directions within Nara’s art practice. This presentation will include a painting of a child, belonging to a series of work for which the artist is best-known, and a ceramic vessel, which represents a more recent endeavor by the artist, in which he brings together his interests in painted imagery, sculptural form, and language.
Matt Eich and Tyler Mitchell: Sunlight, Shadow, and A Rainbow
July 16 through November 6, 2022
Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz Photography Galleries │Gallery 230
Matt Eich and Tyler Mitchell: Sunlight, Shadow, and A Rainbow uses lighting, color and point of view to transform mundane occurrences into magical moments, whether candid or posed. The works evoke sensations and emotions—the wonder of a child discovering nature or a dip into a chilly river on a hot afternoon. Eich and Mitchell set joyful scenes of relaxation, languor and personal contentment into the Southern landscape. Both artists use photography, most often associated with recording fact, to suggest the possibilities of transformation, a delight in the senses and the engaging mystery of the transitory.
Friday and Saturday, September 16–17, 2022
Making its debut at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Maria Hassabi’s performative work CANCELLED considers womanhood from perspectives that cross generations. Four female performers move within a vivid soundscape. Their choreography is composed of individual solos that display poses historically associated with women based on everyday mannerisms throughout history and rooted in Hassabi’s signature style of stillness and deceleration. The use of verticality, and its resistance to gravity, is interspersed with more fluid movements that become central to the work. CANCELLED is meticulously crafted, with every action and every look subject to counts and cues.
CANCELLED was produced by the LUMA Foundation and premiered at LUMA ARLES as a result of the Artist-in-Residency Program. Co-commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, produced in partnership with VIA Art Fund.
ORLANDO, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — An army of Knights is among the researchers charging their way into final frontier with innovative projects shaping the future of space travel.
Perhaps it's unsurprising due to the University of Central Florida's history tied to the American space program. As the need for more aerospace engineers rose, the "space university" opened its doors to education in 1968 — the same year the Apollo 8 mission took humans into the moon's orbit.
Since then, students and professors have taken full advantage of being only 35 miles from Kennedy Space Center collaborating with NASA, developing new technologies and techniques straight out of science fiction. In the last 18 months, UCF has had 71 space-related research projects approved and awarded with grants exceeding $10 million, according to UCF spokeswoman Zenaida Kotala.
Some of the research projects include:
—3-D printed sensors for astronauts to monitor ship's integrity
—A device that would create a landing pad for a rocket as it lands
—Developing cost-effective and logistically feasible way to mine lunar ice
The projects' vary widely but nearly half of them, 31, are moon-research related.
Most recently, UCF's Kawai Kwok was one of eight UCF recipients to receive the NSF Career award for his research proposal of examining flexible yet strong material capable of performing as a satellite solar sail, and then being able to roll up from the satellite's base as easily as measuring tape.
Shape changing structures
It's called "snapping instability structures" Kwok said and his idea all started with a stroll through his garden.
Kwok was admiring a ladybug as it flew by. The gentle insect landed on a flower, compacted its wings and nimbly navigated its surroundings. Other than achieving flight, insect wings will conform to the body as the organism sees fit. If it needs to soar, the wings expand. If it needs to crawl under a window, the wings will contract and allow the bug to take on a slimmer form.
"That's exactly the kind of behavior we have been looking for many years in the engineering community. How do we have a structure that can drastically change the shapes?" said Kwok, a 38-year-old assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
For the last six years, Kwok has been researching composite lightweight structures for aerospace applications.
His most recent idea of exploring "snap instability" is what earned him a $500,486 NSF CAREER grant, which will allow Kwok and some of his select students to explore different applications of carbon fiber composites — or other lightweight material — that might be able to mimic the behavior of insect wings.
Although, creating material that is both thin and a very strong isn't easy.
Currently, Kwok and his students are working on a .5-meter-long propeller made of a carbon fiber composite. So far, the light and bendable propeller can maintain integrity spinning at 3,000 RPM. Next Kwok wants to move up to a 1-meter-long propeller — the results of which could benefit drone technology. The U.S. Navy has already expressed interest in Kwok's work.
"I guess (the) dream would be (to) design propellers or wings that unfold from a drone. The Navy (would like) to be able to launch a swarm of drones in compact in small tubes," Kwok said.
For the time being, the research is in its early stages and may not end up using carbon fiber, which is cooked up in a small lab at the UCF Engineering Building
"We're not just looking at carbon fiber composites. We're trying to see if we can mix a larger variety of materials with different functions and properties," he said.
Ideally, Kwok's snap instability structures would take on similar characteristics to that of measuring tape, being able to expand greatly while also maintaining structural integrity for technologies such as solar sails for solar-powered space travel. It's an idea that's hasn't truly moved beyond that of science fiction. One of the reason solar sails are hard to create is because they need to be large enough to capture an area of about 20 to 40 meters, to capture photons from the sun, but also maintain an extremely light weight.
"How to fold them into in a way that can can be structurally sound in space? Hopefully, we'll find that answer," Kwok said.
When it comes to the moon UCF shines with its lunar geological expert and planetary scientist Kerri Donaldson Hanna, who has her hands full with numerous moon-related research projects. First, there's project Lunar Trailblazer, which is a satellite capable of scanning and producing high-resolution maps of water on the moon. Donaldson Hanna and her team of students are creating spectral instruments for the NASA satellite.
Water has been long suspected on the moon since the Lunar Prospector probe first detected a high level of hydrogen in the north and south poles in 1999. It is speculated that water-ice exists in the permanent shadows of lunar craters, but there are few genuine detections of frozen water. Trailblazer seeks to change that by scanning as low as crater floors and as high as mountain peaks using powerful instruments — capable of measuring all the way down to 3.6 microns — and creating a large database of water sites for future colonization.
Donaldson Hanna's work in Trailblazer has a foundation in two other critical projects she worked on that furthered scientific understanding of lunar geology: NASA's Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment and Moon Mineralogy Mapper. The latter flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 and discovered water.
Furthering the goal of finding water, Donaldson Hanna is also working as co-investigator on the Lunar Compact InfraRed Imaging System project. She along with an undergraduate student, Adam Bedel, are selecting filters for a thermal camera onboard the XELENE lunar lander, designed by aerospace manufacturer Masten Space Systems. Their work will be used to help make thermal maps of the south polar region of the moon. The images provided by XELENE should give scientists a better understanding of which regions are cold enough to retain water.
Additionally, NASA announced earlier in June that Donaldson Hanna and another UCF planetary scientist, Adrienne Dove, will be exploring an unknown and mysterious region of the moon — Gruithuisen Domes. The area is found on the western part of the moon and appears to be the result of a rare form of volcanic eruption. But that's left NASA scientists confused as such geological structures on Earth require oceans of liquid water and plate tectonics to form.
Enter Donaldson Hanna and Dove who will lead a $35 million mission that would land a spacecraft over the Gruithuisen Domes and provide answers.
"There's potentially a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be discovered, which will not only help us inform future robotic and human exploration of the moon, but may also help us better understand the history of our own planet as well as other planets in the solar system," Donaldson Hanna told the Orlando Sentinel in June.
UCF's medical campus is the closest med school to Kennedy Space Center, putting it in a unique spot of scientific opportunity. As a result, UCF Health has arranged a partnership with Axiom Space supporting human research studies in future flights including the Axiom 2 mission slated for next year.
UCF professors partnered with Israeli researchers to study four private astronauts to better understand microgravity's effect on the human body, specifically studying changes to the astronauts' eyes and brains.
Currently, researchers are analyzing data from the April launch that saw a SpaceX Crew Dragon contracted by Axiom Space fly up for a stay on board the International Space Station.
UCF's Dr. Ali Rizvi and Dr. Joyce Paulson are analyzing the microgravity environment's effect on the "blood-brain barrier," or the coated protection around a brain that filters out harmful toxins. Scientists have looked at ways around this barrier since it acts as an obstacle to delivering certain medications that need to reach the central nervous system. The end goal is to to treat degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or dementia. Previous research has shown the blood barrier can be changed in a microgravity or zero-gravity environments creating larger pores in the barrier and possibly allowing medication to reach the nervous system.
UCF Health professors are collaborating with Israeli researchers to better understand the human body in a microgravity environment by studying the four space participants.
Additionally, another group of UCF scientists is examining the astronauts' eyes and how microgravity may affect the fluid within an ocular structure in a phenomenon known as "spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome" or SANS. Previous studies have focused on SANS but UCF's research has a new tool at its disposal.
UCF professor Dr. Mehul Patel along with researchers at Israel's Rabin Medical Center are using a new imaging device that will shed light on the structure of the eyes, blood flow and how spaceflight might change them.
After the 17-day trip in space, the astronauts were evaluated within 48 hours of their return. Currently, scientists are reviewing the data for any possible changes.
"This is one of the exciting parts of doing the study," Patel said. "We're going to be able to see microscopic changes, perhaps, for the first time ever, in someone that has left Earth."
©2022 Orlando Sentinel.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
An old threat is new again — or never really went away.
As governments and other players increasingly turn to the cloud, malicious actors are following, adding "living off the cloud" attacks back into their repertoires.
Living off the land ploys see hackers use phishing or other methods to gain access to a victims' networks, then use the victims' own tools and services for malicious purposes. These attacks are particularly subtle and date back to at least 2013, according to cybersecurity firm Darktrace.
A newer subset of this is living off the cloud, which uses victims' cloud services.
According to cybersecurity firm LogRhythm, the attack's name comes from the physical world lifestyle of living off the land, in which practitioners rely on the food and other resources they harvest from surrounding nature. The cybersecurity equivalent is hackers relying on tools found in the victim's environment.
For example, bad actors could use the Windows Certutil tool — designed to let users get files from the Internet — to get malware, according to Johannes Ullrich, dean of research at the SANS Technology Institute. Hackers can fly under the radar by using the tool the way it was designed to function.
"To the defender, it looks just like a normal tool that's valid, that's good, being used to do things it's supposed to do," Ullrich told Government Technology.
Both criminally motivated and nation state perpetrators use living off the land techniques, Ullrich said, and it's been deployed both for indiscriminate attacks and those targeting specific victims. Hackers often used the method for espionage or to extort money by threatening to leak data.
Why hackers do it
Victims may find it easier to discover malicious code deployed on their networks than detect when a legitimate tool is used for harmful purposes.
Ullrich gave another example during an RSA Conference panel on new attack techniques: A malicious party might direct victims' backup solutions to also make copies to a storage destination owned by the hacker.
Attackers also might use cloud services to host malware, and send phishing links from web domains that users trust.
For example, cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks announced this week that the criminal group behind the SolarWinds attack has been hosting malware on popular cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox. The hackers then send phishing emails with URLs, which will get malware from the cloud hosting and onto victims' systems if clicked.
"This is a new tactic for this actor and one that proves challenging to detect due to the ubiquitous nature of these services and the fact that they are trusted by millions of customers worldwide," Palo Alto wrote.
Victims also can't simply block domains or infrastructure from cloud services they still need for conducting business, said Katie Nickels, cybersecurity firm Red Canary's director of intelligence, during the RSA panel.
Cheap and subtle?
Perpetrators may also find living off the land attacks to be easier and more cost-effective, states LogRhythm. Hackers can skip building their own tools if they just use victims'. And using software their targets expect to see spares bad actors from needing to design programs capable of avoiding detection.
"Attackers that use already existing tooling avoid the need to build, test, and QA tools. They don't have to worry about compatibility, dependencies, and so forth," states LogRhythm.
The approach also may give attackers some camouflage if they are detected. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike states that, "If everyone is using similar tools, it's more difficult to distinguish one group from another," making attacks difficult to attribute.
How well can we catch it?
Defenders can monitor for unusual patterns of behaviour to detect living off the land attacks, and Darktrace recommends using AI-powered tools to identify "subtle deviations" in activities. Ullrich said organisations would particularly want to examine patterns in data volume and files being sent to cloud services.
"But again, since pretty much anything is legitimately now using these cloud services, it can be very difficult to impossible to really distinguish the malicious use from the normal use of all these tools," he said. Attackers can also learn to keep their data exfiltration below the thresholds that would trigger warnings.
Another complication: hackers may linger on systems long after compromising them, all the while quietly collecting victims' data. Entities trying to establish what normal behaviour looks like on their systems — and thus, what, in comparison, is abnormal — must find a time before the compromise occurred. But they may find it challenging to determine how far back they need to look.
According to CrowdStrike "many sophisticated adversaries spend months and years in their victims' networks without being detected." Organisations thus must analyse past activities to identify if and when infiltrations may have occurred.
Endpoint detection and limiting opportunities
Endpoint monitoring can help detect misbehaviour after something has gone wrong, but trends like the shift to remote work have caused the number of endpoints to balloon, and organisations often rely on their cloud providers for help seeing what's happening. Those insights often aren't detailed enough to easily distinguish legitimate and nefarious activity, Ullrich said.
"Now, often, you rely on whatever monitoring these cloud providers built in. But that doesn't exist at the granularity of such where you could get a list of all your users, what files they uploaded and downloaded," Ullrich said.
Organisations may reduce their exposure to living off the cloud attacks by limiting how many cloud services they use — after all, malicious actors can't hack what isn't there. But of course, there's only so far governments can trim down on cloud use if they still want to serve their residents well.
Local governments offer a variety of digital services, which necessitates a level of cloud use, Ullrich acknowledged. And small governments that lack in-house IT staff often fill their technology needs by purchasing software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, he added.
"It's hard. It's one problem that isn't quite solved yet," Ullrich said. "Commercial as well as government organisations are struggling with how much cloud to use, where to use it, and then also how to monitor that activity." – Government Technology/Tribune News Service
The study was conducted at four health centers in the rural health district of Madarounfa, Niger. All children presenting to the study centers who were candidates for outpatient treatment of severe acute malnutrition were eligible for inclusion if they lived within 15 km of the center, were available for the 12-week study period, had not been admitted to a nutritional program within the previous 3 months or received any antibiotic within the previous 7 days, had no clinical complications requiring antibiotic treatment, and had no congenital abnormalities. Written informed consent was obtained from each child’s parent or legal guardian. The criteria for outpatient treatment of severe acute malnutrition were an age between 6 and 59 months; a weight-for-height z score of less than −3 according to the 2006 WHO Growth Standards, a mid-upper-arm circumference of less than 115 mm, or both; sufficient appetite according to a test feeding of RUTF; and an absence of clinical complications requiring hospitalization, including bipedal edema. Detailed descriptions of the study population and methods are provided in the Supplementary Appendix and protocol, available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org.
The study protocol was approved by the Comité Consultatif National d’Éthique, Niger, and Comité de Protection des Personnes, Île-de-France XI, Paris. An independent data and safety monitoring board reviewed study progress and safety events. All authors vouch for the accuracy and completeness of the data and analyses reported. The first, third, and last authors vouch for the fidelity of the study to the protocol.
This study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with the primary aim of examining the effect of routine antibiotic use, as compared with placebo, on nutritional recovery from uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition. Amoxicillin was chosen as the active study medication in accordance with current national guidelines in Niger.
Children were randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio and in computer-generated blocks of six, to receive amoxicillin (80 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, divided into two daily doses) or placebo for 7 days. The randomization codes were created with a computerized random-number generator according to site; kept inside opaque, sealed, consecutively numbered envelopes; and opened by a study physician in numerical order. A study nurse administered the first dose of the study medication at the health center and instructed the caregiver in administration of the remaining doses at home. Adherence was evaluated at the first weekly visit through direct questioning of the caregiver and review of a pictorial calendar recording home administration of the study medication. Amoxicillin and placebo (obtained at cost from the Investigational Drug Service, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania) were indistinguishable in color and packaging. All clinical and research staff members were unaware of the treatment assignments.
All children received standard care for outpatient treatment of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition, as specified in the guidelines of Médecins sans Frontières and the government of Niger. In brief, at the time of admission to the nutritional program, children received RUTF (170 kcal per kilogram per day; Plumpy’Nut, Nutriset) and routine medicines. Follow-up in the nutritional program was conducted weekly at the health center for a minimum of 3 weeks. During these visits, a medical history was obtained, and a physical examination and anthropometric assessment were performed.16 Children were transferred to inpatient care if they had any clinical complication requiring inpatient management, weight loss of more than 5%, or both between two consecutive visits or if they had no weight gain after 2 weeks. Weekly follow-up data were censored at the time of transfer to inpatient care, but vital status was assessed 2 weeks and 4 weeks after the date of transfer. Children were seen at the study health centers at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after study enrollment, regardless of their status in the nutritional program; physical examination, history taking, and anthropometric assessment were repeated at these follow-up visits.
We collected stool, urine, and blood samples at admission to the nutritional program. In light of the low prevalence of bacterial infection and the relatively high burden of biologic sampling among young children, the data and safety monitoring board recommended obtaining samples from a subset of 1000 children over a period of 12 months. Samples were transported to the Epicenter laboratory in Maradi, Niger, and plated on culture medium for incubation on the day of collection.17 Pathogenic bacteria were identified with the use of standard biochemical techniques, and antimicrobial susceptibility was assessed by means of disk diffusion.18 Bacteremia and bacteriuria were defined as positive blood and urine cultures, respectively. Bacterial gastroenteritis was defined as a stool culture that was positive for a known pathogen and diarrhea. Results of confirmed bacteremia or bacteriuria were made available to the clinical teams within 1 to 3 days. A home visit was made the same day or the next day to determine the clinical status of the child, and appropriate treatment was provided.
The primary outcome was nutritional recovery by 8 weeks. Nutritional recovery was documented at or after 3 weeks if a child had a weight-for-height z score of −2 or higher on two consecutive visits and a mid-upper-arm circumference of 115 mm or greater; if there was no acute complication or edema for at least 7 days; and if the child had completed all antibiotic and antimalarial treatments at the time of discharge from the nutritional program.
Secondary outcomes included nonresponse at 8 weeks, death from any cause, default (defined as three or more consecutive missed weekly visits), and transfer to inpatient care. Nonresponse was documented if a child did not meet the criteria for nutritional recovery at 8 weeks.
We calculated that a sample of 1005 children in each group would provide the study with 80% power at a two-sided alpha level of 0.05 to detect a between-group difference in nutritional recovery of at least 5%, assuming an 80% likelihood of nutritional recovery in the amoxicillin group. Allowing for a 20% rate of loss to follow-up, we estimated that we would need to include 1206 children in each group. With an observed likelihood of recovery of 63%, the study had 73% power to detect a 5% difference between groups. All analyses were based on the intention-to-treat principle.
Risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals for each secondary outcome were calculated by means of unadjusted log-binomial regression.19 Between-group comparisons of time to recovery, transfer to inpatient care, and death among children without a response were performed with the use of t-tests. We assumed that the pharmacologic effect of amoxicillin would be greatest in the first 2 weeks after administration and therefore calculated the intervention effect on the likelihood of nutritional recovery and transfer to inpatient care within 2 weeks after admission to the nutritional program. We also assumed that the pharmacologic effect of amoxicillin would be greatest among children with bacterial infection at admission to the nutritional program; therefore, we calculated the intervention effect on the likelihood of nutritional recovery and transfer to inpatient care among children with laboratory-confirmed infection. In additional post hoc analyses, we used a likelihood-ratio test to determine whether the intervention effect varied according to age at baseline (<24 months vs. ≥24 months) and sex. Intervention effects on additional secondary outcomes, including individual signs of infection and gains in weight, height, and mid-upper-arm circumference, were assessed at weeks 1 and 2. Signs of infection included diarrhea (≥3 loose stools in the previous 24 hours), vomiting, fever (axillary temperature >38.5°C), cough, tachypnea, and malaria with fever. We estimated average differences between the groups for gains from baseline (i.e., admission to the nutritional program) in weight, height, and mid-upper-arm circumference at weeks 1, 2, and 4 and at the time of discharge from the nutritional program. The intervention effect was compared between groups with the use of a t-test for weight gain; linear regression, adjusted for baseline anthropometric data, for gains in height and mid-upper-arm circumference; and unadjusted binomial regression for signs of infection. Intention-to-treat analyses were used; all tests were two-sided, with no adjustments for multiple comparisons.
Days can be spent exploring Boston’s art museums for the treasures contained within. They’ll still be there when the weather turns cold. Make hay while the sun shines by discovering the city’s most compelling artworks this summer, all of which can be found outside of museum walls.
Start on the front lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with its Garden for Boston project where local artists and activists Ekua Holmes (African American, born 1955) and Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag, born 1973) are taking on Cyrus Dallin’s Appeal to the Great Spirit (1909) statue, the focal point of the MFA’s main entrance for more than a century.
James-Perry was searching for the appropriate platform to express her anger and frustration about the traumas of 2020 when contacted by MFA curator Ethan Lasser about transforming the front of the museum, doing so in a way that reckoned with the Dallin statue. For years now, the MFA has efforted to recontextualize Appeal to the Great Spirit—a depiction of a Native American man astride a horse with his arms outstretched and dressed in a mix of Lakota- and Diné-syle regalia. Today, MFA interpretation recognizes that the sculpture is based on an inaccurate accumulation of Native symbols and ultimately capitalized on the degrading myth of the “vanishing race,” which portrayed Indigenous peoples as disappearing in the face of modern civilization—both appropriating and misrepresenting Native American culture.
“2020 started odd and got a whole lot worse beginning with the 400-year celebration of the Mayflower–que the Aquinnah Wampanoag artist; I received a lot of what I refer to as 'Posable Pocahontas' opportunities, like, ‘be in an IMAX film opposite Christopher Lloyd and tell us how poor the soil is in New England Miss Perry,’–hard pass,” James-Perry told Forbes.com. “Discuss Sovereignty? Not so much. Our detailed quillwork, wampum shell carving, or Native regalia? Nope. And zero traction talking about the hundreds of years of environmental change in a meaningful way, about how drastic changes have strained and retrained life here.”
Those appeals stopped when the pandemic started.
“Everything stopped, except for suffering,” James-Perry remembers. “Folks changed things up quickly–marching, demonstrating in number, I no longer felt it was just my lone voice in the weeds anymore, speaking out against systemic racism made especially obvious by the pandemic, and senseless killings.”
Summer of 2021 would be the right time for her message. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s lawn, the right place.
“Questions revolved around evolving the fortress-like museum façade–my description–and irritating, stagnant statue–also my words–to become a more welcoming space, and here I mean welcoming by demonstrating diverse viewpoints about history and the present,” James-Perry said. “The curators did not try to control how I expressed my heritage as an Aquinnah Wampanoag artist.”
James-Perry’s installation, Raven Reshapes Boston: A Native Corn Garden at the MFA, draws on planting techniques that have been used by local Indigenous people for thousands of years, centering reciprocal relationships between humans and the land. The artist and her collaborators created a field of corn, beans and sedges—grown in mounds using a traditional Woodlands Native American method—in the shape of a horseshoe crab and framed by crushed quahog shells. Over time, the corn will surround Dallin’s Appeal to the Great Spirit—made by a white artist for white audiences—emphasizing continued Native presence and serving as a counterproposal to the misrepresentations and erasures embodied by the sculpture.
“Raven Reshapes Boston is a nod to the eastern Native story about the traditional knowledge keeper, Raven, who brought corn to the region for Native women to grow and sustain their families,” James-Perry said. “The horseshoe crab shape, along with the white quahog shell border, connects the planting to my coastal identity. It recalls rich sea harvests and coastal feasts, and is a reminder of the shell middens once ubiquitous in what is now a concrete cityscape. The garden is a reclamation of Boston as Indigenous land.”
Holmes’ installation, Radiant Community, features some 3,000 sunflowers of four varieties, planted in collaboration with United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury Community Gardens. The planting, on the east side of the MFA’s Huntington Avenue lawn, is an extension of Holmes’ ongoing “Roxbury Sunflower Project,” which uses sunflowers to spread beauty and hope throughout the historically Black Boston neighborhood where the artist has lived since childhood.
Both installations will be on view into September.
What does Jones-Perry see when looking at the Dallin sculpture?
“Probably not what the artist intended,” she said.
Neither will anyone else after having experienced Garden for Boston.
That’s the point.
In summer 2018, the Institute of Contemporary Art opened to the public its new ICA Watershed, expanding artistic and educational programming on both sides of Boston Harbor—the Seaport and East Boston. Located in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, the ICA Watershed transformed a 15,000-square-foot, formerly condemned space, into a vast and welcoming space to see and experience large-scale art.
The ICA Watershed presently features a newly commissioned, monumental sculpture by artist Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic). In her largest sculptural installation to date, the artist reimagines the archeological ruins of the Sans-Souci Palace in Haiti as if they were emerging from Boston Harbor’s sea floor. The Watershed’s location—in a working shipyard and as a trade site and point of entry and home for immigrants over decades—provides a pivotal point of reference.
The work’s intricately painted architectural surfaces include symbols of healing and resistance, patterning drawn from West African indigo printing traditions (later used in the American South), and sea growths native to Caribbean waters. Báez’s sculpture points to the centuries-long exchanges of ideas and influence between Europe, the African continent, and the Americas.
Báez’s sculpture, on view through September 6, is adapted from the Sans-Souci Palace in Milot, Haiti, built between 1810 and 1813 for the revolutionary leader and first King of Haiti, Henri Christophe I. The Haitian Revolution, led by self-liberated enslaved people against the French colonial government, was an early precursor to the abolition movements of the United States. Once a space of splendor, since an 1842 earthquake, the castle has been an archeological ruin.
“Growing up, I was always told–especially after coming to the United States–that the Caribbean was this ahistoric space, essentially the place I came from, because of the many hurricanes that erased architecture, the fact that many of us came from the Atlantic Slave Trade, that we didn’t have family histories to go back on and recreate our past,” Báez said of the installation’s inspiration.
Accompanied by an undulating blue expanse overhead—evoking both water and the night sky—this immersive sculptural installation includes a soundscape created from recordings of Boston Harbor and the Caribbean, featuring sounds of the sea and maritime bustling, as well as personal stories of migration. In addition, a large-scale mural created by the artist for the Watershed—featuring a seascape populated by Ciguapa, a mythological creature from Dominican folklore—creates a multi-textured viewer experience. These elements weave together various histories and stories, setting the stage for visitors to be transported into new realms.
Lastly, directly across a Harbor channel from the Watershed, at the New England Aquarium, artist Shepard Fairey, known for his ‘HOPE’ portrait of President Obama, has painted a large-scale mural. Fairey’s will be one of 11 new murals going up throughout East Boston as part of the “Sea Walls: Artists for Change” program, an ocean advocacy group using murals to increase interest and engagement in marine stewardship within the community.
What the first six hearings have already accomplished is noteworthy: They offered millions of people a narrative of the insurrection based on facts, documentary images and eyewitness testimony given under oath rather than the alternative account Trump and his allies have promulgated through right-wing media.
At or near the top of the list of media and political accomplishments is the way the committee and its adviser, former ABC News President James Goldston, have offered a template for adapting congressional hearings and perhaps other government proceedings to the new media reality of fragmented audiences and short attention spans. They have managed to make the hearings more compelling without dumbing them down, using made-for-TV storytelling techniques to offer a highly engaging mass-audience civics lesson to a nation that no longer teaches civics in too many of its classrooms.
None of those numbers count the audiences for all the reruns and prime time recap programs of the hearings on platforms like MSNBC and PBS. And what makes the audience size even more impressive are all the other major news stories with which the hearings are competing. The hearings and the TV cameras have kept what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 on the front burner of public consciousness as they shape a shared memory of the attempt to overthrow the results of an election.
"Most importantly, the organizers designed the hearings for the viewer, not (as is usually the case) for the politicians, who had to forego the sound of their own voices and let the witnesses and the evidence hold the stage," Heyward added, stressing that he watched as a "citizen" rather than media analyst.
Betsy Fischer Martin, former longtime executive producer of NBC's "Meet the Press," said of the hearings production, "There's no doubt this has set a new standard for congressional investigations."
Describing the production as being "in many ways more a telling than a hearing," Fischer Martin, who is now executive director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, said, "They are making a case and telling the story of that fateful day: how it came about, what happened and who was responsible."
Instead of the kind of long-winded and self-serving remarks lawmakers disguise as questions that sometimes characterize televised Congressional hearings, she said of the January 6 hearings, "Members themselves are the storytellers and their tools are the first-hand accounts of the witnesses, key snippets of depositions, and previously unseen video of the attack on the Capitol. All these tools are deployed in a well thought out manner so that the audience can stay engaged and follow along."
In the complicated relationship among media, politics, image and culture, the hearings also appear to have damaged Trump's media image, if not Trump himself. The success of the hearings in doing that is perhaps best suggested by the former president's repeated complaints about what he sees as the unfairness of the hearings ("Kangaroo Court") and what he alleged were lies of Republican witnesses like Hutchinson ("A Total Phony!!!").
Tom Bettag, former executive producer of "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" and ABC News "Nightline," said one of the primary reasons for the success of the hearings is the "brilliant work" of Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the Republican members of the committee.
As Bettag explained it, one of the ways to stand out and be successful on TV is "to be doing what other people are not doing." Cheney, he said, is doing that and then some.
"What she stands out for, what's different, is one, the tone that she has. In a world where people always talk too long, she stands out for her brevity. Two, she carries herself with a certain dignity in a world where people do not talk much about dignity. And three, she treats witnesses with respect. Between brevity, dignity, and respect, she's doing what we haven't see in a very long time, and it works," said Bettag who now teaches at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Given the advanced state of media fragmentation, political polarization and the power of a right-wing media machine working overtime to discredit the hearings, no one is predicting the work of the January 6th committee will ultimately have an impact on the level of the Watergate hearings in 1973, which resulted in the resignation of a sitting president.
But the committee is laying down an account of the insurrection that is attracting tens of millions of viewers this summer. The work its members have already done will serve not only as a template for how to stage future congressional hearings, but also a repository of eye-witness testimony and fact for future historians who want to get at the truth of that horrible day.
The bodies -- one of which was found in a corroding barrel with a gunshot wound -- could have been submerged in the lake's depths decades ago, leaving the three sets of remains in advanced stages of decomposition and making it increasingly difficult to extract DNA. But officials have already discovered key details, which they revealed to CNN, including confirmation that the gunshot victim's death was a homicide.
When police arrived at the lake's Hemenway Harbor on May 1 to investigate the discovery of a set of remains in a barrel, investigators immediately treated it as a homicide investigation, not waiting to get a confirmation from the coroner, Lt. Jason Johansson of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police homicide unit told CNN. The gunshot wound was obvious, he said, and the circumstances clearly suspicious.
Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse has since preliminarily ruled the cause and manner of death was homicide by gunshot and also said her office is submitting specimens from the remains to try to extract DNA. If DNA is found, it will also be sent to the FBI, which is assisting in the case, she said.
Police previously announced they placed the Hemenway Harbor Doe's approximate time of death as sometime in the mid-'70s to early '80s, based on the victim's clothes and shoes. Johansson told CNN that the clothing was so well preserved in the freshwater environment that investigators were still able to read the clothing labels.
But without an ID, investigators are extremely limited. And the more time passes, the harder it will be to identify aging witnesses and potential suspects.
"If you think about what the age of who your witnesses or anybody related to this case would be, many of them are getting older every day. And they're at an age where you have to worry, are they even alive? And so I would say that's probably our biggest concern right now," Johansson said.
Rouse has preliminarily determined that the age of the person in the second set of remains -- found on May 7 at Calville Bay -- is approximately between 23 and 37 years old. While she couldn't confidently determine how the person died -- meaning the preliminary cause of death is undetermined -- the coroner's office is sending specimens to be examined for any potential DNA.
The Calville Bay remains are more skeletal than the other two sets, Rouse said, which both still have organ tissue available for examination, despite being immersed in the lake. The cooler underwater temperatures would cause a body to decompose more slowly than if it were baking under the desert sun, she explained.
The final remains were found at the lake's Swim Beach on July 25 and the examination is still at an early stage, Rouse said. Unlike the other two, these are only partial remains and Rouse is still processing them to determine what can even be examined based on their condition, she said.
The remains are undergoing toxicology and other testing before a cause and manner of death can be determined, the coroner said.
Police are not investigating the other two sets of remains because there is so far no sign of foul play or suspicious circumstances in the deaths, Johansson said, but he has no doubt the circumstances of the Hemenway Harbor Doe's death are nefarious.
"Anytime you have a body in a barrel, clearly there was somebody else involved," he said.
Theories of mob involvement in the Hemenway Harbor Doe's death began to swirl as soon as details emerged that the remains were found inside a barrel. Those ideas were fueled even more when police announced the victim was likely killed at a time when organized crime had a strong grasp on Las Vegas.
But those ideas are "mere speculation" at this point in the investigation, Johansson said, denying that there is any solid evidence to support mob theories.
"Yes, Vegas does have a history in the past where we had a connection to violent crime, to organized crime back in the '60s, the 70s," he said. "However, right now, there's nothing in this investigation that is directly tying it organized crime."
One possible scenario for the second two remains is that they belong to people who previously drowned at the lake when water levels were high, a National Parks Service spokesperson told CNN. Recovery divers are limited on how deep they can go, so some drowning victims' remains do not get recovered, they said.
"The lake has drained dramatically over the last 15 years," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said in May. "It's likely that we will find additional bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead" as the water level drops further.
In addition to traditional autopsies, examiners at the Clark County coroner's office have a number of techniques they can use to uncover details about a body, including X-rays, fingerprinting, forensic dentistry and analysis by forensic anthropologists, Rouse said.
"In cases where we are limited [on identification methods], we would also conduct DNA analysis," she said, noting that method may not be ideal for some extremely decomposed remains.
For the two sets of Lake Mead remains from which the office is trying to extract DNA, those specimens would have to be sent to a lab, she said.
The condition of the body is essential in the examination process, she said, because more degraded remains may not be able to be fingerprinted or provide dental information. The coroner's office was able to perform forensic dentistry on the first two sets of Lake Mead remains, she said.
Examiners then compare the dental information to a dental records database, she said, so it's especially important to investigators that a person's dental records were submitted to the database. Otherwise, there will be no match.
The coroner's office is sharing its findings with law enforcement, she said, including the FBI in the case of the homicide victim.
CNN's Michelle Watson, Rachel Ramirez, Jenn Selva, Gregory Ramos and Stephanie Elam contributed to this report.