Facebook Messenger Adds Safety Alerts—Even in Encrypted Chats

Facebook Messenger Adds Safety Alerts—Even in Encrypted Chats

Facebook today announced new features for Messenger that will alert you when messages appear to come from financial scammers or potential child abusers, displaying warnings in the Messenger app that provide tips and suggest you block the offenders.

How Apple and Google's Social Distancing Maps Work

How Apple and Google's Social Distancing Maps Work

In other words, it counts how many times people request driving, walking, or transit directions during a day, and then plots the number of those requests on a chart.

TikTok Has a Pro-Anorexia Problem

TikTok Has a Pro-Anorexia Problem

So it’s no surprise that, as Buzzfeed reported last month, some TikTok users have found disturbing pro-ana content on their For You page, a personalized section of the platform that displays videos users are likely to enjoy.

What Is a Coronavirus?

What Is a Coronavirus?

Like MERS and SARS, the 2019 novel coronavirus appears to have originated in bats, but it’s not clear how the virus jumped from bats to humans or where the first infections occurred.

Digital IDs Make Systemic Bias Worse

Digital IDs Make Systemic Bias Worse

If you belong to one of those tribes, you end up waiting months to appear in front of a vetting committee.Ziya applied for an ID in 2013 and received an appointment with the vetting committee in 2014.

Pop Culture May Evolve at the Same Rate as Birds and Bugs

Pop Culture May Evolve at the Same Rate as Birds and Bugs

That’s the conclusion of a new study by a group of British researchers who analyzed rates of change for popular songs, English literature, scientific papers, and car design.

Australia Is Blazing Into the Pyrocene—the Age of Fire

Australia Is Blazing Into the Pyrocene—the Age of Fire

And just as fast-moving flames swallowed up Paradise in 2018 , fires are moving so quickly, they’re overwhelming whole Australian towns.

Melting Ski Resorts Have a Snow Machine Problem

Melting Ski Resorts Have a Snow Machine Problem

At one resort in the Swiss Alps, for example, snow depth during the winter is now roughly 40 percent lower on average than it was in the period from 1909 to 1988.More than 60 percent of the world’s ski slopes are currently supplemented by snowmaking machines, according to industry analyst Laurent Vanat.

Researchers Want Guardrails to Help Prevent Bias in AI

Researchers Want Guardrails to Help Prevent Bias in AI

“We need to make sure that it's easy to use a machine learning algorithm responsibly, to avoid unsafe or unfair behavior,” says Philip Thomas, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who also worked on the project.

The EPA's Anti-Science ‘Transparency’ Rule Has a Long History

The EPA's Anti-Science ‘Transparency’ Rule Has a Long History

Although Orme-Zavaleta has spent 38 years at the agency and is its top scientist, she isn’t reviewing the new rule and couldn’t answer many questions from the congressional panel.

The Internet Archive Is Making Wikipedia More Reliable

The Internet Archive Is Making Wikipedia More Reliable

The organization eventually hopes to allow users to view and borrow every book cited by Wikipedia, with the ultimate goal being to digitize every book ever published.“Our goal is to be a library that’s useful and reachable by more people,” says Mark Graham, director of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine service.

Computers Are Learning to Read—But They're Still Not So Smart

Computers Are Learning to Read—But They're Still Not So Smart

In an April 2018 paper coauthored with collaborators from the University of Washington and DeepMind, the Google-owned artificial intelligence company, Bowman introduced a battery of nine reading-comprehension tasks for computers called GLUE (General Language Understanding Evaluation).

On Roku and Amazon Fire TV, Channels Are Watching You

On Roku and Amazon Fire TV, Channels Are Watching You

They found that 89 percent of Amazon Fire TV channels and 69 percent of Roku channels contained easily spottable trackers that collected information about a viewing habits and preferences, along with unique identifiers like device serial numbers and IDs, Wi-Fi network names, and the Wi-Fi identifiers known as MAC addresses.

The Myth of Technophobia

The Myth of Technophobia

Written more than 2,300 years before the invention of the iPhone , Plato’s The Phaedrus includes what has become one of the most weaponized examples of reactionary techno-skepticism.

What Are Zero-Knowledge Proofs?

What Are Zero-Knowledge Proofs?

For example, zero-knowledge proofs can be used to validate cryptocurrency transactions managed on a blockchain and combat fraud without revealing data about which wallet a payment came from, where it was sent, or how much currency changed hands.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If People Could Vote on the Blockchain?

Wouldn’t It Be Great If People Could Vote on the Blockchain?

Mobile voting could indeed increase voter participation, but it’s plagued by security issues in search of a solution.But it depends on people, with all their flaws, and on connections to older, not totally secure technologies, like the internet.

Trump’s Trade War Isn’t Just a US–China Problem

Trump’s Trade War Isn’t Just a US–China Problem

The $9.9 billion trade deficit between the US and Mexico, in Mexico's favor, for the month of June this year was the largest monthly imbalance on record between the two countries, according to the Census Bureau.

We’re Eating This Planet to Death

We’re Eating This Planet to Death

“We can reduce our demand, or we can increase the amount of land we grow stuff on and the number of animals that produce food,” says Van Eenennaam.

The Meaning of All Caps—in Texting and in Life

The Meaning of All Caps—in Texting and in Life

Emphatic caps feel like the quintessential example of internet tone of voice, and sure enough, they’ve been around since the very early days online: Linguist Ben Zimmer found people in old Usenet groups explaining that all caps meant yelling as far back as 1984.

California Lawmakers Move to Protect Gig-Economy Workers

California Lawmakers Move to Protect Gig-Economy Workers

The California Assembly passed legislation on Wednesday that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of workers by requiring companies like Uber , Postmates, Amazon Flex, and others to recognize much of their workforce as employees entitled to labor protections and benefits.

This AI Uses Echolocation to Identify What You're Doing

This AI Uses Echolocation to Identify What You're Doing

Based at the Wuhan University of Technology, in China, Guo’s team has tested its microphone array on four different college students and found that they can identify whether the person is sitting, standing, walking, or falling, with complete accuracy, they report in a paper published today in Applied Physics Letters . Some work with sound data, like Guo; others are developing better image recognition algorithms.

Technology That Could End Humanity—and How to Stop It

Technology That Could End Humanity—and How to Stop It

His latest paper, The Vulnerable World Hypothesis , widens the lens to look at other ways technology could ultimately devastate civilization, and how humanity might try to avoid that fate.

Inclusive resilience: Are we building resilience for all?

Inclusive resilience: Are we building resilience for all?

Led by the World Bank’s South Asia unit, with support from Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) , the pilot aims to create a set of recommendations summarizing possible entry points – project-specific social inclusion ideas – that are practically replicable to similar projects in other countries and localities based on the DRM activity.

Hacktivists Are on the Rise—but Less Effective Than Ever

Hacktivists Are on the Rise—but Less Effective Than Ever

For example, Crowdstrike observed hacktivist mainstay group Anonymous launching a DDoS attack against the Office of the Presidency in Sudan on March 1, and conducting website defacements—and more DDoS attacks—against a wide array of targets throughout the month including the Ministry of Labor, the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Sudan National Police, two media outlets, and five local government sites.

Community MPAs Fail to Protect Important Reef Fish

Community MPAs Fail to Protect Important Reef Fish

Published in Coral Reefs , this research evaluates the effectiveness of locally-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Community-based management fails to halt declines of bumphead parrotfish and humphead wrasse in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands.

Coding Is for Everyone—as Long as You Speak English

Coding Is for Everyone—as Long as You Speak English

When you put translating code in terms of the billions of the people in the world who don't speak English, access to high-paying jobs and the ability to tinker with your own device is no longer a hypothetical benefit.

Scientists Reveal Ancient Social Networks Using AI—and X-Rays

Scientists Reveal Ancient Social Networks Using AI—and X-Rays

The project is part of a recent trend in the last few years, where more historians have been trying to use data science to mine new information out of old texts.

Forget Growing Weed—Make Yeast Spit Out CBD and THC Instead

Forget Growing Weed—Make Yeast Spit Out CBD and THC Instead

Now researchers have turned to yeast to do something more improbable: manufacturing the cannabis compounds CBD and THC. The reason researchers and cannabis companies are interested in alternative ways of producing cannabinoids is that working with the original plant is messy and complicated.

Get Ready For Gravitational Waves All Day, Every Day

Get Ready For Gravitational Waves All Day, Every Day

For example, multiple signals of the same gravitational wave allow you to pinpoint more precisely where it originated, much like GPS uses multiple satellites to locate your position, says Jo van den Brand of VU Amsterdam, who leads an Italy-based gravitational wave observatory known as Virgo.

What Happens If Russia Cuts Itself Off From the Internet

What Happens If Russia Cuts Itself Off From the Internet

“In short, Russia would need to do two things: Ensure that the content Russians seek to access is actually located somewhere in the country, and ensure that routing and exchanges could all occur domestically,” says Nicole Starosielski a professor at New York University and author of The Undersea Network .