Science, Technology and Innovation

UK and US accuse Russia of cyber attack that compromised global networks

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Washington and London have detailed how Russian-backed hackers have been compromising network devices around the world since 2015. Alexander Pearson (with Reuters and AFP) – DW The announcement has come amid heightened tensions between the two countries and Russia. The US and Britain warned on Monday of a Russian government-sponsored cyber attack against internet network infrastructure around the world. Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, the US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint statement on the attack, which ... Read More »

WA health minister launches plan to ease access to medicinal cannabis

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Sick West Australians who have been prescribed medicinal cannabis by a doctor will be able to get access within 48 hours under a plan agreed to by Health Minister Roger Cook. Phoebe Wearne The West Australian At the Council of Australian Governments health council meeting in Sydney yesterday, Mr Cook and his State and Territory counterparts gave the nod to having a single approval process for all… The deal means patients will no longer have to apply to both State ... Read More »

Secrets of the sea bed: Hunt for Stone Age site in North Sea

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British and Belgian scientists are exploring the sea bed off Norfolk hoping to find evidence that Stone Age people lived there when it was still dry land. Laurence Peter BBC In recent years, some trawler crews and researchers have found prehistoric animal bones and basic stone tools in North Sea sediment. The team on the Belgian ship RV Belgica aims to map the Brown Bank area, a sand ridge about 30km (19 miles) long. Mesolithic people are thought to have ... Read More »

‘Cartel deal’ legal challenge against internet ad ban grows

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The Russian, Chinese and Korean battle against the Google, Twitter, Facebook and Yandex crypto-related advertisement ban has now been joined by groups in Switzerland, Armenia and Kazakhstan. Asia Times The legal challenge against Google, Twitter, Facebook and Yandex for not allowing crypto-related ads is growing. Initially, three organizations – the Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RACIB), the Korea Venture Business Associations, and LCBT, a Chinese association of crypto investors – created the Eurasian Association of Blockchain in March to ... Read More »

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

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On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

Medical cannabis is legal. That does not mean it works

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These days, when Deb Lynch reads that medical cannabis is legal, she just laughs and laughs. “We used to get annoyed about that,” she says. Liam Mannix The Canberra Times “Not any more.” Ms Lynch expected legalisation would mean she could access the drug to treat her autoimmune disease. But, like many, she has been knocked back and told there is no evidence it would help her. For medical cannabis, some experts believe the hype has surged way past the ... Read More »

Antipsychotics used to manage autism and intellectual disability behaviour can have serious side effects – new study

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Antipsychotic medication is typically licensed in the UK for people with serious mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia. Sinead Brophy The Conversation But in recent years, some antipsychotic drugs have been prescribed more and more “off label”. That is, for a condition for which they do not have approval from the medicines regulatory agency to treat. Off label prescribing can be done under certain circumstances, such as when the prescriber believes it is in a patient’s best interests. For example, ... Read More »

Crucial Ingredient of Life Might Not Exist Across Universe, Scientists Discover

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If you were going grocery shopping with plans to whip up life, you’d know to stock up on the equivalent of a chocolate chip cookie recipe’s eggs and chocolate chips: It’s easy to remember you need water and carbon. Meghan Bartels Newsweek But just as you may forget to check your supply of baking soda, the less obvious ingredients of life—like phosphorus—may slip your mind. Phosphorus is a crucial piece of DNA and the compounds that store energy. A cookie without baking soda doesn’t ... Read More »

Space war is coming — and the U.S. is not ready

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‘We are now approaching a point where “Star Wars” is not just a movie,’ one government adviser warns. By BRYAN BENDER and JACQUELINE KLIMAS Politico War is coming to outer space, and the Pentagon warns it is not yet ready, following years of underinvesting while the military focused on a host of threats on Earth. Russia and China are years ahead of the United States in developing the means to destroy or disable satellites that the U.S. military depends on for everything from ... Read More »

Europe struggles to face down Big Pharma

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Knocking down drug prices requires more than bargaining as a group. Belgium and the Netherlands teamed up three years ago to negotiate cheaper drugs in the hopes of forming a new front against Big Pharma’s high prices. Carmen Paun Politico It was an attractive idea: Banding together, EU health ministries would wield bargaining power against pharma companies based on their bigger patient pool. Luxembourg, Austria and Ireland agreed with the logic and signed on, stung into action as drug prices reached eye-popping highs. Hepatitis ... Read More »

Cryptocurrencies have become terrorist tool, says Russian security chief

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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

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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

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‘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

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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?

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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

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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 »