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Science, Technology, and Social Media

News on scientific discoveries, science happenings, new technology, tech entertainment and social media. From space exploration to video games, this is the science and tech news you want.

Here’s How The Government Shutdown Could Create More Headaches For Facebook

The government shutdown is threatening to derail a Federal Trade Commission investigation into Facebook’s use of people’s private information, The Washington Post reported Friday, citing former government officials. The FTC has been investigating whether the company violated a consent order it made in 2011 promising to notify people when their private information is handled by outside parties. Funding for the ...

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Report Details Nature Of Facebook’s Secret Rulebook Governing Global Speech

Facebook’s secretive rule book regulating how employees censor certain forms of expression contains numerous biases and outright errors, according to internal documents The New York Times obtained Friday. The nearly 1,400 page document shows the Silicon Valley company’s guidebook is riddled with mistakes and is not nimble enough to handle cultural nuance, the report notes. The guidelines censor mainstream speech ...

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A New Study Could Spell Trouble For The Future Of Wind Energy

Wind energy resources have been in sharp decline in regions all across the world, according to a study conducted by Chinese researchers. After analyzing data from over 1,000 weather stations around the world, a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that 67 percent had witnessed an extensive decrease in wind power potential over the course of nearly ...

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Facebook Dings Dem Operatives Who Pulled A Fast One During Alabama Election

Facebook suspended several accounts linked to Democratic operatives who orchestrated a ruse to fool Alabama voters into believing that Russian bots were fueling Republican Roy Moore’s failed senatorial bid. The move comes after The New York Times reported Dec. 19 that the operatives created thousands of Twitter accounts posing as Russian bots to boost the election-year chances of Democratic Sen. ...

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What on Earth is the Global Positioning System?

GPS is everywhere—on your phone, in your car, even on your wrist—but what the heck even is it and how does it work? GPS is short for Global Positioning System. It’s a satellite-based navigation system that helps people find their precise location on Earth. Before GPS, navigation involved paper maps or very specialized tools like sextants and chronometers. Now, satellites ...

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Amazon’s Alexa Goes Haywire, Tells Customer To ‘Kill’ Your Foster Parents’

Amazon Alexa

One of Amazon’s newest projects is researching ways to make Alexa a more human-like communicator for customers, but sometimes the virtual assistant’s language comes as creepy and offensive. New research is making Alexa better mimic human response, Reuters reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. The research sometimes results in awkward moments for people who frequently interact with the ...

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This Drone Seamlessly Transitions Between Swimming and Flying

By David Pring-Mill It isn’t unreasonable to think of drones as pesky technological nuisances. Our modern digital ecosystem regularly infringes on traditional notions of privacy and bombards our limited attention spans with stimuli. A swarm of drones hovering overhead seems like the physical manifestation of these intrusions and distractions. But we shouldn’t swat them away just yet. Drones still have ...

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Reaching out to touch virtual reality

By Matthew Hutson, Knowable Magazine In Steven Spielberg’s 2018 film Ready Player One, based on the 2011 book by Ernest Cline, people enter an immersive world of virtual reality called the OASIS. What was most gripping about the futuristic tech in this sci-fi movie was not the VR goggles, which don’t seem so far off from the headsets currently sold by ...

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Facebook Gave AI Control Of A Crucial Personal Data Collection Tool

Facebook ceded control of a critical pillar of the company’s personal data collection tools to artificial intelligence after it became too large for employees to manage, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The Silicon Valley company began forming data partnerships with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo. The tool allowed Facebook to adhere itself to multiple social media platforms while insulating ...

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Google’s Secret Chinese Censorship Project Effectively Ends After Employees Revolted

Google abandoned a program aimed at developing a censored search engine for China after employees complained that the plan was not being publicly disclosed, The Intercept reported Monday night. The internal fighting has effectively ended work on the so-called Dragonfly, a search engine the company was creating to comport with China’s censorship laws, the report notes, citing two unnamed sources. CEO Sundar Pichai ...

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NASA Begins America’s New Moon to Mars Exploration Approach in 2018

NASA welcomed a new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, deputy administrator, Jim Morhard, and chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit, in 2018. Their focus is on firmly establishing the groundwork to send Americans back to the Moon sustainably, with plans to use the agency’s lunar experience to prepare to send astronauts to Mars. “Our agency’s accomplishments in 2018 are breathtaking. We’ve inspired the world and created ...

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In praise of parasites

By Kenneth R. Weiss, Knowable Magazine Kevin Lafferty gets more than his share of intimate disclosures from strangers about their anatomy and bodily functions. Graphic details and pictures arrive steadily via email, from people all over the world — a prison inmate in Florida, a social psychologist in Romania, a Californian afraid he picked up a nasty worm in Vietnam ...

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Buddies No More? Enviros At Sierra Club Could Sabotage Their Relationship With Musk

Tesla employees seek to unionize the company’s Buffalo plant as the automaker attempts to meet crucial hiring promises at the facility. Sierra Club’s decision to support an effort to unionize a Tesla plant in New York could put a crimp in the group’s relationship with CEO Elon Musk. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s past successful staving off unions might come to ...

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China Bans World’s Most Popular Video Games

The Chinese government reportedly banned or penalized 20 popular video games Wednesday, with industry giants like Fortnite and World of Warcraft among them. China’s Online Games Ethics Committee (OGEC) reportedly began evaluating a list of 20 games in early December, requesting that 11 make changes before being sold in China and outright banning nine more, according to Business Insider. A ...

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The Internet As We Know It Supposedly Ended A Year Ago, According To CNN And Other Outlets

CNN Media Bias Logo

The media joined Democrats in campaigning against repealing net neutrality. A number of outlets told the public that the internet would fundamentally changed unless the FCC was stopped. One year later, there’s no evidence of any changes. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai received numerous death threats because of his decision to lead the vote.  U.S. internet speeds have actually increased over the ...

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