Category: World

5 corrupt reasons why people deny the climate crisis


The fossil fuel industry, political lobbyists, media moguls, and individuals have spent the past 30 years sowing doubt about the reality of climate change – where none exists. The latest estimate is that the world’s five largest publicly-owned oil and gas companies spend about US$200 million a year on lobbying to control, delay or block binding climate policy. Their hold on the public seems to be waning. Two recent polls suggested over 75 percent of Americans think humans are causing climate change. School climate strikes, Extinction Rebellion protests, national governments declaring a climate emergency, improved media coverage of climate change…

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Why China’s ‘military AI budget’ is irrelevant (spoiler: all AI is military AI)


A recently published study from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a think-tank at Georgetown University, indicates commonly held perceptions about China‘s supposed AI spending may be grossly off-base. Key takeaways suggest the PRC spends much less than the US on ‘military‘ and ‘defense‘ AI. Here’s a hot take: All AI is military AI. Let’s start with the study. You can read it here, but to briefly sum up, the authors write: We assess with low to moderate confidence that China’s public investment in AI R&D was on the order of a few billion dollars in 2018. With…

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Horrible Chinese game asks players to beat up Hong Kong protestors


There have been plenty of games and apps that have sprung up as a result of Hong Kong protests. Now, a rather distasteful game called Everyone Hit the Traitors is being circulated in China, Abacus reports. The propaganda game lets you hit black-clad Hong Kong protestors with a bat – almost like whack-a-mole. The objective is to stop the bunch of protestors from cross the line. The game is set up on a Hong Kong street and it initially tells you a number of “traitors” are conspiring with western powers in form of a protest. The free-to-play web game also portrays some…

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Dopamine fasting: an expert reviews the latest craze in Silicon Valley


It’s the latest fad in Silicon Valley. By reducing the brain’s feel-good chemical known as dopamine – cutting back on things like food, sex, alcohol, social media, and technology – followers believe that they can “reset” the brain to be more effective and appreciate simple things more easily. Some even go so far as avoiding all social activities and even eye contact. The exercise, dubbed “dopamine fasting” by San Francisco psychologist Dr. Cameron Sepah, is now getting increasing international attention. But what exactly is it? And does it work? As someone who studies the brain’s reward system, I’d like to…

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These new technologies will soon answer our biggest questions about the universe


In 1900, so the story goes, prominent physicist Lord Kelvin addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science with these words: “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now.” How wrong he was. The following century completely turned physics on its head. A huge number of theoretical and experimental discoveries have transformed our understanding of the universe, and our place within it. Don’t expect the next century to be any different. The universe has many mysteries that still remain to be uncovered – and new technologies will help us to solve them over the next 50 years.…

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Vladmir Putin is extricating Russia from the world-wide-web


Tonight, if you live in Russia, it’s time to party like it’s not yet 1989. Soviet KGB agent  President Vladmir Putin is on the brink of unveiling a wall. Some might call it the most beautiful wall the world’s ever seen. It’ll be huge. It’ll cover every square-centimeter of Russian border and, unlike the ridiculous fence we’re building here in the US, his will actually be effective: it keeps ideas out. Reuters today reported that Putin will execute a plan to “replace” Wikipedia with a state-run online encyclopedia. Per the report, the government will spend about $30 million (US) on the…

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Scientists are underestimating the threat of invisible pollutants to wildlife


Sometimes, pollution is blatantly obvious: the iridescent slick of an oil spill, goopy algae washing up on a beach or black smoke belching from a smokestack. But, more often than not, pollution is more inconspicuous. Our air, water, land, and wildlife are tainted with thousands of chemicals that we cannot see, smell or touch. It may not come as a surprise then, that this unnoticed pollution isn’t considered an important threat to wildlife that it should be. The planet has entered the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, according to scientists, and Canada is not immune. More than half…

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Scientists were wrong, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is not dying


In the last 10 years, but in the last five months in particular, the press has reported dire warnings that the Great Red Spot of Jupiter is dying. However, some astronomers believe, to paraphrase Mark Twain, that the reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, or at least premature. Robert Hooke, an early British physicist who discovered cells, first described the Great Red Spot in 1665. In 1979, when two Voyager spacecraft flew close by Jupiter, images showed that the spot was a red cloud that rotated as part of a huge vortex several times larger than the Earth. Concerns…

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Amazon fires are melting glaciers in the Andes even faster


If you have turned on a TV or read the news during the past few months, you have probably heard of the widespread fires that wrought havoc on the Amazon rainforest this year. Fires occur in the rainforest every year, but the past 11 months saw the number of fires increase by more than 70 percent when compared with 2018, indicating a major acceleration in land-clearing by the country’s logging and farming industries. The smoke from the fires rose high into the atmosphere and could be seen from space. Some regions of Brazil became covered in thick smoke that closed…

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China introduces mandatory face scans for new SIM card purchases


The Chinese government loves face recognition and including it in various services for authentication. In its the latest move, it has made it mandatory for people in China to scan their face when signing up for a new mobile or mobile data connection contract. The new rule, first announced in September by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, took effect from Sunday (December 1). Prior to the law, folks in China just had to provide a copy of their ID card to get a new cellular contract.  The Chinese government said in the notice that it took the step to…

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