Science, Technology and Innovation

Cryptocurrencies have become terrorist tool, says Russian security chief

International terrorist groups are skilled at using modern technology, recruit hackers into their ranks and actively finance their activities with cryptocurrencies, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has… RT “We are not talking only about aggressive propaganda and recruitment on the internet, which currently has over 10,000 [terrorist-related] websites and hundreds of thousands of their accounts on social… I am talking about large-scale use of various means of encrypted communication, electronic banking and cryptocurrencies, schemes of remote management ... Read More »

Defence Department scientist had separate role with China-linked firm

The Defence Department is reviewing business dealings between one of its senior scientists and the Chinese government’s missile development agency amid ongoing concerns about Beijing’s effort to… By Alex Joske, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker & Angus Grigg The Age In a separate development, Fairfax Media can also reveal that Australia’s peak scientific research agency, the CSIRO, spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading its cyber-security and information systems after a… The man disappeared after the apparent breach in November… Defence ... Read More »

Salisbury poisoning: UK experts cannot prove novichok nerve agent used on Skripals came from Russia, MoD says

‘We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions’ Kim Sengupta Independent Accusations and recriminations between Britain and Russia are set to escalate with the news that scientists at the Porton Downmilitary research facility have been unable to establish exactly where the novichok nerve agent used to carry out the… The admission comes the day before Moscow convenes an emergency meeting of the… Salisbury poisoning: UK… Read More »

Hitman threats and high-quality drugs: Journalist reveals dark web investigation

Investigative journalist Eileen Ormsby has spent the past five years wading through the deep, dark depths of the internet’s “evil twin”. Amy Mitchell-Whittington Brisbane Times The 48-year-old has chatted to hackers and was the target of a hitman and will later this month share her experiences in Brisbane at the launch of her latest book The Darkest Web. She said the idea of exploring the dark web came to her after researching Silk Road, an online black market platform used to ... Read More »

What if we have got it wrong on Alzheimer’s?

Science is about getting it wrong, until you get it right. What if we’re refusing to admit we’re wrong about a horrifying disease? Liam Mannix The Sydney Morning Herald “The hard but just rule is that if the ideas don’t work, you must throw them away,” wrote astronomer Carl Sagan. But when your career and everything you’ve ever worked for is on the line, admitting you might be wrong is very hard to do. Despite decades and billions of dollars ... Read More »

The people owned the web, tech giants stole it. This is how we take it back

Social media gave the powerless a weapon but it was wrenched away by firms such as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica I blame the T-shirts. Jonathan Freedland The Guardian The casual wear favoured by those founding wunderkinds of tech – Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and the rest – lulled us into a false sense of security. Even after they’d begun making serious money, too many of us took the aversion to a collar and tie to mean the likes ... Read More »

EU plans tougher consumer laws for Facebook, Gmail

The European Union is planning to apply tougher consumer laws to social media networks and email providers like Facebook and Google’s Gmail as scrutiny of data protection grows in the wake of an outcry over Facebook’s handling of data. BRUSSELS – Reuters Hurriyet Under the draft proposal first considered last year, authorities could levy fines of at least 4 percent of turnover. Currently, EU consumer authorities can only levy small fines and some lack power to sanction companies at all ... Read More »

Machine Learning, Big Data and the Future of Higher Ed

These new technologies have much to offer colleges and their students, but if we are not careful how we incorporate them, the risks may outweigh the gains, Vincent Del Casino Jr. writes. Inside Higher Ed If you ask, many people will say we are in a new era of higher education, one where machine learning and big data analytics­­ are driving rapid change. From the influx of adaptive learning technologies to the automated student support services and predictive analytics models driving ... Read More »

Facebook, Uber and the end of the Great American Tech Delusion

Tech Bubble Part II has arrived in America but China will probably navigate around it thanks to a culture of innovation By SPENGLER Asia Times We’ve been there before, in the crash of the dot-com bubble of 2000, when we believed that downloading pop music and porn would drive the economy of the future. We’ve done it again: We made another tech bubble on the premise that Americans would write the apps and Asians would make the hardware, and the miracle ... Read More »

The Challenge of Defending Subsea Cables

For centuries, the sea has enabled trade between nations. Shipping continues to underpin international commerce today. Pete Barker CIMSEC The Maritime Executive But there is another unseen contribution that the oceans make to the current global order. Deep below the waters, travelling at millions of miles per hour, flickers of light relay incredible quantities of information across the world, powering the exchange of data that forms the internet. From urgent stock market transactions to endless videos of cats, undersea cables support ... Read More »

Cambridge Analytica: Warrant sought to inspect company

The UK’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says she will seek a warrant to look at the databases and servers used by British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. BBC The firm is accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook members, amassed via a personality quiz app created by an academic. Former employee Christopher Wylie claims the company used the data to influence the US presidential election. The firm denies the allegations. Ms Denham had demanded access to Cambridge ... Read More »

Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Sclerosis May Revolutionize Care for One Million Americans

Updated | People with multiple sclerosis may be able to “reset” their immune system and potentially reverse their symptoms with an infusion of blood-based stem cells. Kate Sheridan Newsweek The finding is based on a randomized clinical trial with 110 patients who’d been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. According to the data, stem cell transplant may be an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). The study built on work by Dr. Richard Burt, a stem cell specialist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, ... Read More »

Renowned author and archaeologist Jacqueline Karageorghis dies aged 85

Internationally renowned French archaeologist Jacqueline Girard Karageorghis has died, it was announced on Saturday. She was 85. CyprusMail Karageorghis moved to Cyprus in the 1950s after completing her studies at the University of Lyon. She married to the former director of the department of antiquities, Vassos Karageorghis in 1953 and together they had two children, Cleo and Andreas. During her long and multifaceted professional career, she taught French, between 1963 and 1986, and was deputy education attaché at the French ... Read More »

Servant or partner? The role of expertise and knowledge in democracy

Should expert knowledge be limited to providing a servant role in democracies, or elevated to that of a partner? Darrin Durant The Conversation Most of us respond with ambivalence to this question. We desire expert input into democratic deliberation and decision-making, but not so much as to dominate the discussion. As a result, most of us are tempted by the quest for a Goldilocks principle that establishes “just enough” expertise. But it can be unclear whether the servant or the ... Read More »

Sensory aspects of speech linked to language issues in autism

Children with autism pay just as much attention to speech that doesn’t match lip movements as to speech in which sight and sound are coordinated, according to a new study1. Hannah Furfaro Spectrum Typical children prefer speech in which the sensory cues are in sync. Some people with autism have trouble learning to speak and understand words. Some people with the condition have minimal verbal skills or don’t speak at all. The new work suggests that these problems may be partially rooted ... Read More »

Close up: the government’s facial recognition plan could reveal more than just your identity

A Bill to set up the federal government’s biometric identity system is currently going through Parliament. Jake Goldenfein The Conversation But there are concerns over just how much information the system would be allowed to gather, and how that might be used to establish more than just the identity of a person. Strongly based on the FBI model in the United States, the Identity Matching Services Bill and its Explanatory Memoranda prescribe what data can be collected, shared and processed, ... Read More »