by on 21 hours ago
Is there anything robots can’t do? They can perform our jobs, get periods and now . . . grow human organs. Scientists at the University of Washington School of Medicine have developed an automated system that uses robots to produce human mini-organs from stem cells. According to Science Daily, the ability to mass produce “organoids” promises to expand the use of mini-organs in basic research and drug discovery. “This is a new ‘secret weapon’ in our fight against disease,” the universit...
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by on May 14, 2018
It’s taken months to pull together a vote to save net neutrality from the FCC guillotine, but the moment is finally upon us. Senate Democrats announced today that they’ll force a vote to keep net neutrality protections in place on Wednesday, May 16. Support in the chamber is just one vote shy of passing the resolution, but Democrats see a win no matter what the outcome. Last December, the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Title II protections that preserv...
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by on May 12, 2018
With constant surveillance and technological advances, could the U.S. see the rise of an omnipresent social credit system? It’s one of those Black Mirror episodes that blurred the lines between fact and conjecture. “Nosedive,” the season three premiere of the popular sci-fi TV series, follows Lacie, a prim, proper woman who’s obsessed with how the world views her, as she struggles to maintain her social rating. In her society’s social scoring system, each pleasant personal interacti...
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by on May 5, 2018
Cell tower interceptors, often called "stingrays" or "dirtboxes," mimic traditional cell towers. A coalition of civil rights and immigrant advocacy groups has penned a letter in support of a state bill that would force California police and sheriff agencies to disclose all of their surveillance gear, as Oakland this week approved similar requirements through what may be the strongest city surveillance ordinance in the country. Supporters say they believe the legislation will propel oth...
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by on April 6, 2018
  In today’s installment of "I’m Not Terrified, You Are," Bloomberg Law reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject “Media Monitoring Services.” The details of the attached Request for Information, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press i...
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by on March 22, 2018
Robert Mueller’s team has taken over the investigation of Guccifer 2.0, who communicated with (and was defended by) longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. Guccifer 2.0, the “lone hacker” who took credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, was in fact an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU), The Daily Beast has learned. It’s an attribution that resulted from a fleeting but critical slip-up in GRU tradecraft. That foren...
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by on March 20, 2018
Facebook is having to face the music both in the United States and the United Kingdom after The New York Times and The Observer of London revealed Cambridge Analytica received and employed data harvested from 50 million of the social network's users without their permission. The Federal Trade Commission is launching an investigation.  NYT:  The F.T.C. investigation is connected to a settlement the agency reached with Facebook in 2011. The agency had accused the company of deceivin...
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by on March 6, 2018
There's a fly in the ointment of 'smart government': The emerging problem of biased algorithms. Politicians are struggling to catch up. Late last year, a St. Louis tech executive named Emre Şarbak noticed something strange about Google Translate. He was translating phrases from Turkish -- a language that uses a single gender-neutral pronoun “o” instead of “he” or “she.” But when he asked Google’s tool to turn the sentences into English, they seemed to read like a children’s book out of th...
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by on March 5, 2018
Building on methods they used to assess the impact of hurricanes such as Katrina, Gustav, and Rita on forests and tree mortality, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have produced a rapid mapping of the disturbance intensity across Puerto Rico’s forests with the help of Google Earth Engine. Battered by two intensely powerful storms with sustained wind gusts of more than 150 miles per hour last year – first by Hurricane Irma and then by...
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by on March 5, 2018
Etsy, Foursquare and Kickstarter are among the latest companies going to court over the FCC's decision to roll back the rules for an open internet. People demonstrated in December at FCC headquarters in Washington, DC, against the proposed repeal of net neutrality.  Another half dozen tech companies are jumping into the legal battle over the FCC's decision to undo net neutrality rules. Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Shutterstock, Automattic and Expa filed a petition Monday in a US C...
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by on March 1, 2018
The board also called upon the city to set zoning protections that would prevent overdevelopment Last night, Community Board 3 voted to approve a land use application that would allow for the creation of the proposed Union Square Tech Training Center at 124 East 14th Street, where a P.C. Richard & Son store once resided, reports the Lo-Down. The vote follows a February 9th vote where the board’s land use and economic development subcommittees voted to approve the 21-story commerc...
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by on February 28, 2018
After days of external pressure, YouTube has banned the channel of Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi group tied to multiple killings. As Motherboard reported today, both Atomwaffen’s primary and backup YouTube channels have been banned for “multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy prohibiting hate speech,” according to a site message. The Daily Beastpreviously reported that YouTube planned to keep the videos online, simply demonetizing them and adding a warning about offensive content. Atomwaff...
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