In The News

Sam Shead June 2, 2020
Social media platforms are highly automated, and when errors occur, fixes can take months – unless a high-profile user complains. For months, YouTube’s automated comment filters were set to delete comments containing Chinese phrases, “communist bandit” and “50-cent party” – phrases mostly linked to criticism of the Chinese Communist Party, though the platform deleted positive comments using those...
Ed Stannard and Justin Papp May 28, 2020
Analysis of human waste could become a Covid-19 surveillance tool, providing early warnings about increases in cases and hotspots. An analysis of solid waste from a New Haven waste-treatment facility over 40 days shows that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 found in samples correlates with testing totals and hospitalizations, reports a multidisciplinary team of researchers with Yale University and the...
Lars Paulsson and Rachel Morison May 10, 2020
As electricity demand declined across the world due to Covid-19 lockdowns and economic contraction, renewable energies have taken a bigger share of the global energy market after many nations decided to give green technologies priority on the grid. The pandemic worsened the outlook for nuclear power stations, already struggling to break even. For many years, atomic reactors in Europe coexisted...
Ed Targett April 19, 2020
Microsoft is launching a program, Planetary Computer, to aggregate environmental data – mapping trillions of data points to monitor the Earth’s biodiversity, water tables, forestry data, carbon and waste to provide a searchable dataset. “The move is the company’s latest major environmental push, after promising in January to become “carbon negative” by the end of this decade,” reports Ed Targett...
Michael J. D. Vermeer, Evan D. Peet April 14, 2020
Analysts anticipate that quantum computers will readily break encryptions of any type within the next 15 years, and RAND researchers urge government action to develop standardized post-quantum cryptography and review archives of encrypted materials. “If adequate implementation of PQC has not taken place by the time capable quantum computers are developed, it may become impossible to ensure secure...
Beth Mole April 5, 2020
East Asia quickly endorsed masks to fight spread of COVID-19, while the United States and Europe, following the lead of the World Health Organization, initially urged reserving such equipment for health providers. That thinking evolved, with health experts recommending cloth masks for citizens while maintaining social distance, washing hands, avoiding crowds and keeping a distance of six feet in...
Kurt Schlosser March 5, 2020
A new coronavirus for China emerged in early January, and a 17-year-old student in Mercer Island, Washington, worried about misinformation. Before the disease spread from China, Avi Schiffmann set out make a one-stop website that compiles official data. “The site’s simple homepage consists of quick facts that are updated every 10 minutes, including total confirmed cases, total deaths, countries...