Science, Technology and Innovation

NIST urges caution in use of courtroom evidence presentation method

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Courtroom use of ‘Likelihood Ratio’ not consistently supported by scientific reasoning approach, say NIST experts EurekAlert! Two experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are calling into question a method of presenting evidence in courtrooms, arguing that it risks allowing personal preference to creep into expert testimony and potentially distorts evidence for a jury. The method involves the use of Likelihood Ratio (LR), a statistical tool that gives experts a shorthand way to communicate their assessment of ... Read More »

UK scientists told: in no-deal Brexit scenario they will have to leave EU research projects

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The Commission has for the first time made clear the position of UK grantees after Brexit, in a sign the EU is laying the ground for the UK to leave without a deal Éanna Kelly Science|Business  The EU Commission has for the first time laid out how it will handle its scientific relationships with the UK after the country leaves in 2019, in a sign that Brussels has begun thinking about emergency steps should Brexit negotiations fail. In a notice ... Read More »

Mr. Trump Nails Shut the Coffin on Climate Relief

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The Trump administration formally proposed on Tuesday to roll back yet another of President Barack Obama’s efforts to position the United States as a global leader in the fight against climate change The Editorial Board The New York Times  The move, though widely anticipated, was deeply disheartening. In March Mr. Trump ordered Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which was aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Mr. ... Read More »

Old sites, new visions: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus

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Over the past two decades Australian archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the World Heritage-listed ancient theatre site at Paphos in Cyprus. Craig Barker  Diana Wood Conroy The Conversation The Hellenistic-Roman period theatre was used for performance for over six centuries from around 300 BC to the late fourth century AD. There is also considerable evidence of activity on the site after the theatre was destroyed, particularly during the Crusader era. The excavation of the site, and of the architectural remains ... Read More »

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

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A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Here’s why you may not be able to bypass paywalls through web search anymore

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The era of using a Google search to bypass a news website’s paywall may be coming to an end Google has announced that subscription news websites will no longer have to provide users three free articles per day under its ‘Google first click free… ABC The move has been welcomed by media giants such as News Corp, which have paywalls in place and have long complained that the policy essentially forced them to give their content away for free if ... Read More »

Diesel cars help drive Australia’s energy emissions to highest level, report shows

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Exclusive Australia’s love affair with diesel cars has helped push the nation’s energy emissions to a record high, new analysis shows, in a warning that road transport rivals electricity as the most pressing energy challenge facing the… Nicole Hasham The Age Respected energy analyst Hugh Saddler compiled the disturbing report on behalf of progressive think tank The Australia… Dr Saddler said the failure of successive governments to invest in efficient transport infrastructure, such as rail, has allowed transport fuel emissions to keep rising – ... Read More »

Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook

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Responding to President Trump’s tweet this week that “Facebook was always anti-Trump,” Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, defended the company by noting that Mr. Trump’s opponents also criticize it — as having aided Mr. Trump. Zeynep Tufecki The New York Times If everyone is upset with you, Mr. Zuckerberg suggested, you must be doing something right. “Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “That’s what running a platform ... Read More »

Australia launches $10m satellite program to help spy planes detect warships, asylum seeker boats

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Australia is building three new satellites that will conduct audio and visual surveillance for the Defence Force The Federal Government has given $10 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra space team to complete the project. By political reporter Stephanie Borys ABC Work on the first satellite is already underway and is scheduled for lift-off next year. The device, which is known as a Cubesat, is the size of a loaf of bread and weighs about four ... Read More »

Monsanto banned from European parliament

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MEPs withdraw parliamentary access after the firm shunned a hearing into allegations that it unduly influenced studies into the safety of glyphosate used in its RoundUp weedkiller Arthur Nelsen The Guardian Monsanto lobbyists have been banned from entering the European parliament after the multinational refused to attend a parliamentary hearing into allegations of regulatory interference. It is the first time MEPs have used new rules to withdraw parliamentary access for firms that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or ... Read More »

Vegetative-state patient responds to therapy

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A man in France has regained some degree of consciousness after being in a vegetative state for 15 years Doctors treated the 35-year-old, injured in a car accident, with an experimental therapy that involved implanting a nerve stimulator into his chest. Michelle Roberts BBC Within a month, he could respond to simple instructions, turning his head and following an object with his eyes. Experts say the results are potentially very exciting, but need repeating. Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) may not work as ... Read More »

China’s audacious and inventive new generation of entrepreneurs

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Industries and consumers around the world will soon feel their impact “NEW era, new revolution. I am a MAKER, for the hearts of the dream.” The Economist So goes a rallying cry carved in giant letters on the wall of a warehouse in Shekou, a seaside enclave near Hong Kong. Many of China’s most promising entrepreneurs flocked there recently for a conference organised by TechCrunch, a technology publisher from Silicon Valley. Yet Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—established Chinese internet giants collectively ... Read More »

Cassini crashes into Saturn — but could still deliver big discoveries

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Data from spacecraft could help determine the age of Saturn’s rings and the persistence of its magnetic field Alexandra Witze Nature At 4:55 a.m. California time on 15 September, hundreds of scientists watched their life’s work go up in flames. The Cassini spacecraft disintegrated in Saturn’s atmosphere in a mission-ending move meant to keep the probe from contaminating the planet’s moons, including Titan and Enceladus, that could harbor signs of… Cassini’s final images, transmitted in the hours before its death, included ... Read More »

Hebrew U tech chief seeks balance between academia and industry

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Yaron Daniely, the new head of Hebrew University’s tech transfer unit, wants technology created in the academic world to get a fair chance to market Shoshanna Solomon The Times of Israel Yaron Daniely, the Hebrew University’s newest pick to spearhead the commercialization of technologies developed within its ivory towers, is taking the reins at a delicate time. Israeli academia has come under public scrutiny for missing out on royalties on technologies developed by their researchers: earlier this month, the Israeli ... Read More »

Conservatives, liberals unite against Silicon Valley

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The fading of the tech industry’s bipartisan glow in Washington puts it at risk for tighter regulations. NANCY SCOLA Politico The days of unqualified praise from Washington are over for the country’s biggest tech companies, whose size and power are increasingly drawing attacks from both the left and the right. Democrats are condemning Facebook for allowing “fake news” and Russia-linked ads during the election, while conservatives accuse Google of silencing right-leaning viewpoints. President Donald Trump routinely accuses Amazon of dodging ... Read More »

Pope Francis slams ‘stupid’ climate change deniers

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Pontiff calls on politicians to take scientists’ advice as he raises alarm over global warming after major storms. Al Jazeera and news agencies Pope Francis has sharply criticised climate change deniers as “stupid” in the wake of a spate of powerful hurricanes that have wreaked havoc in the US, Mexico and the Caribbean. “Those who deny it [climate change] should go to the scientists and ask them,” the pontiff said on Monday during an in-flight press conference on the return leg of ... Read More »