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The EU is launching a market for personal data. Here’s what that means for privacy.

The European Union has long been a trendsetter in privacy regulation. Its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and stringent antitrust laws have inspired new legislation around the world. For decades, the EU has codified protections on personal data and fought against what it viewed as commercial exploitation of private information, proudly positioning its regulations in contrast to the...

Population immunity is slowing down the pandemic in parts of the US

The large number of people already infected with the coronavirus in the US has begun to act as a brake on the spread of the disease in hard-hit states. Millions of US residents have been infected by the virus that causes covid-19, and at least 160,000 are dead. One effect is that the pool of susceptible individuals has been depleted in many areas. After infection, it’s believed, people become...

Russia says it has a covid vaccine called “Sputnik-V”

Russia has cleared a vaccine against covid-19 for emergency use on health-care workers this fall. Fast advance:  Russian president Vladimir Putin said during a meeting on Tuesday that the newly registered vaccine “has passed all the necessary tests” and that one of his daughters had received the inoculation.   “She has taken part in the experiment,” Putin said, according to...

The dwarf planet Ceres might be home to an underground ocean of water

Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system, seems to have liquid water seeping onto its surface, according to a new paper in Nature Astronomy. Data from NASA’s Dawn orbiter, the study suggests, show signs that it may be harboring an ocean deep underground.  The background: Ceres, a dwarf planet located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, was studied intensely by the Dawn...


MONDAY 10. AUGUST 2020


Is a successful contact tracing app possible? These countries think so.

If contact tracing apps are following Gartner’s famous hype cycle, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion they are now firmly in the “trough of disillusionment.” Initial excitement that they could be a crucial part of the arsenal against covid-19 has given way to fears it could all come to nothing, despite large investments of money and time. Country after country has seen low take-up, and in...


FRIDAY 7. AUGUST 2020


Mars may not have been the warm, wet planet we thought it was

Mars today is a cold, dry wasteland—but things were likely much different billions of years ago. Since we started launching robotic missions to Mars in the 1970s, scientists have collected evidence that points to a warmer, wetter past for the Red Planet, where the surface was teeming with lakes and oceans that could have been home to life of some kind. It’s part of the reason NASA built and...

Software that monitors students during tests perpetuates inequality and violates their privacy

The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for the test proctoring industry. About half a dozen companies in the US claim their software can accurately detect and prevent cheating in online tests. Examity, HonorLock, Proctorio, ProctorU, Respondus and others have rapidly grown since colleges and universities switched to remote classes. While there’s no official tally, it’s reasonable to say...

How falling solar costs have renewed clean hydrogen hopes

The world is increasingly banking on green hydrogen fuel to fill some of the critical missing pieces in the clean-energy puzzle. US presidential candidate Joe Biden’s climate plan calls for a research program to produce a clean form of the gas that’s cheap enough to fuel power plants within a decade. Likewise, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union have all...


THURSDAY 6. AUGUST 2020


The pandemic has changed how criminals hide their cash—and AI tools are trying to sniff it out

When economies across the world shut down earlier this year, it wasn’t only business owners and consumers who had to adapt. Criminals suddenly had a problem on their hands. How to move their money? Profits from organized crime are typically passed through legitimate businesses, often exchanging hands several times and crossing borders, until there is no clear trail back to its source—a...