In the spotlight
Startup targets cryptocurrency crime – but will the big banks come on board?
Witness the stormy weather that is currently being encountered by Facebook as it presses ahead with plans for its Libra project. Earlier this month, Visa, Mastercard and eBay announced their intention to walk away from the association of companies and institutions that originally agreed to develop and support the new virtual currency.
Smart cities must be cyber-smart cities
You’ve probably heard the term “smart cities” that is, the idea that extensive use of ICT to monitor energy, utilities and transportation infrastructure can lead to cost savings, reduction of environmental impact and faster fault resolution. The benefits are obvious. If a street lamp fails, and can tell you so, you can replace it more quickly.
Deepfakes’ creep from ‘celebrity’ nudes to politics could upend election, experts warn
Politicians, high-tech firms and the media have sounded the alarm about deepfake videos as a primary threat to the democratic process.But the vast majority of digitally altered videos that have been produced and distributed feature pornographic images of celebrities, even as political parties and internet firms are developing ways to counter the technology.
Emerging risk: virtual societal warfare
The evolution of advanced information environments is rapidly creating a new category of possible cyberaggression which involves efforts to manipulate or disrupt the information foundations of the effective functioning of economic and social systems. Researchers are calling this growing threat “virtual societal warfare”.
Agriculture & Environment
UCI scientists analyze first direct images of dissolved organic carbon from the ocean
This image of a small marine dissolved organic carbon molecule was obtained by UCI, IBM Research-Zurich, University of Zurich and UC Santa Cruz researchers using atomic force microscopy, a technique developed by IBM in 2009.
Researchers unravel chemical makeup and origin of dunes in Saturn’s moon Titan
Scientists have found the chemical composition of organic dust dunes present on Saturn’s moon Titan, an advance that sheds more light on the mechanism by which carbon-based structures form in extreme cold environments in space.
Cities and looming climatic changes
Twenty first century is a century of cities and it is obvious from world’s urbanization pace that global landscape is urbanizing expeditiously. According to UN Habitat, presently 55 percent of the global population is residing in urban settlements and it is projected to be 68 percent in 2050.
Transport & Energy
Study: tradeoffs between commute time, safety
Urban commuters may be less likely to encounter automobile accidents if they are willing to increase trip time, researchers report. A new study from the University of Illinois introduces a tool that helps quantify the connection between traffic accidents and city road networks.
Making shipping sustainable
Maritime shipping is particularly vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. Just this year, the Panama Canal – the main nexus of trade between the Atlantic and Pacific – has suffered the worst drought in its 115-year history.
India joins global alliance on responsible use of smart city technologies
India has joined the league of 15 of the world’s leading city networks and technology governance organisations that will work towards advancing the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies. The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance will create global norms and policy standards for the use of connected devices in public spaces, a World Economic Forum (WEF) release said.
Palo Alto: 70 percent Asia-Pacific enterprises have misplaced confidence that Cloud Providers’ Security is sufficient
Palo Alto Networks, the global cybersecurity leader, today released a report that uncovers the truth about the state of cloud security among large enterprises across Asia-Pacific, including many cases where perception doesn’t match the reality of professionals who know best.
Google claims beachhead in race for quantum supremacy
In 200 seconds – the time it takes to poach an egg – a quantum processor has performed a numerical task faster than any known computer system on Earth. Exactly how much faster is up for debate, but the breakthrough achievement led by researchers at Google AI in Mountain View, Calif., is the most convincing demostration yet of a feat referred to as ‘quantum supremacy’.
Facebook’s libra charm offensive meets bombardment on Capitol Hill
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House financial services committee in Washington, DC about Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency libra, how his company will handle false and misleading information by political leaders during the 2020 campaign.
China’s cryptocurrency plan has a powerful partner: Big Brother
When Facebook announced plans this year for a cryptocurrency called Libra, it said its goal was to reinvent money for the internet age. What the company probably didn’t imagine was that its efforts might spur China to get there first.
Food & Health
Retailers move to reassure consumers over chicken safety after drug seizure
Retailers and the poultry industry have attempted to reassure consumers on the safety of chicken, after a seizure of Chinese antibiotics suspected to be destined for unregulated use on a poultry farm in Northern Ireland.
Mapping international drug use by looking at wastewater
Wastewater-based epidemiology is a rapidly developing scientific discipline with the potential for monitoring close to real-time, population-level trends in illicit drug use. By sampling a known source of wastewater, such as a sewage influent to a wastewater treatment plant, scientists can estimate the quantity of drugs used in a community from the measured levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites excreted in urine.
Can we reverse antibiotic resistance? Scientists are aiming to re-sensitise bacteria to antibiotics
‘This is a sustainable and straightforward approach to the problem of antibiotic resistance,’ said Fredrik Almqvist, professor of organic chemistry at Umeå University in Sweden. ‘New antibiotics take a huge amount of money to develop. We are developing compounds that boost the antibiotics we already have, which is much more cost effective.’
Vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids may help children with autism
Children with autism who take supplements of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids may have fewer symptoms than kids who don’t, a research review suggests. Researchers examined data from 27 trials involving a total of 1,028 children with autism spectrum disorder.
Science policy & Communication
Facebook will reportedly launch a ‘news’ tab on Friday – CNET
Facebook will reportedly launch a ‘news’ tab on Friday. Social networking giant had previously tried to shift its news feed focus to emphasize personal posts. Facebook may be finding a place for news again.
Head fake: MIT work shows fake news detection isn’t quite there yet
How far does the world have to go to detect fake, computer-generated writing? Quite a bit farther, if recent research by MIT scientists is correct. Fake detection requires a lot of reliance by artificial intelligence on statistical patterns, patterns that themselves can be faked.
Society is rejecting facts; medical researchers can help
One study says coffee is good for you, while another study says that it’s not. They’re both right, within context. This dichotomy together with an environment of distrust spurred by anecdotes, fake news, and to a large extent, social media, has created a skeptical and misinformed public.
Mueller was right again – this time it’s Russian election interference with social media
The US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence just released Volume 2 of its report on Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election. This one looks at how the Russians used social media to influence the US presidential election. The GOP-led Senate report screams about as loudly and directly as a report can scream.
At a Glance – What if technologies replaced humans in elderly care? – PE 634.449 – Unit for Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA)
Europeans are ageing. In 2016, there were 3.3 people of working-age for each citizen over 65 years. By 2070, this will fall to only two. As the population lives longer, our care needs grow, but fewer people will be available to deliver them. Could assistive technologies (ATs) help us to meet the challenges of elderly care?
Around the world to fight hunger
This World Food Day, October 16, Kraft Heinz will hold a 24-hour global meal-packing relay race in partnership with Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief non-profit organization.
Clean beauty gets personal as machines learn to ‘read’ your face
If you’ve ever forked out a small fortune for the latest miracle cream, only to discover it does nothing for your skin, or worse, made you break out in hives, there’s a new beauty start-up that might help. Called Yours, it uses a sophisticated form of technology known as “machine learning” to diagnose the specific requirements of your skin.