iONiUM writes: A study (abstract) investigates the ability of Google to influence an election and the results are surprising. From the article: "Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more—up to 80 percent in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated..." This research was conducted during the last, and very heated, Indian election which concluded "Given how powerful this effect is, it’s possible that Google decided the winner of the Indian election." What's even more surprising is that the small number of people who did know they were being fed bias results ended up shifting even more than those who didn't. Considering there's currently no insight into Google's search algorithm, and considering Google's donation history to political parties, there is some cause for concern.
iONiUM writes: From the article: "For the first time, aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths." Specifically, this is done by triggering production of the protein PLEKHA7 which in turn levels off the microRNA levels in the cells. So far this has only been done in human cells in a lab.
iONiUM writes: A new study (abstract) investigates the ability of Google to influence an election and the results are rather astounding. From the article: "Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more—up to 80 percent in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated..." This research was conducted during the last, and very heated, Indian election which concluded "Given how powerful this effect is, it’s possible that Google decided the winner of the Indian election." Considering there's currently no insight into Google's search algorithm, and considering Google's donation history to political parties, there is some cause for concern.
iONiUM writes: From the article: "The world is expected to add another billion people within the next 15 years, bringing the total global population from 7.3 billion in mid-2015 to 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100, according to new estimates from the UN."
Some interesting points include: Africa's population expected to grow from 16.2% of the world's population to 39.2% with Nigeria expected to overtake the US' population by 2050. India expected to overtake China by 2030.
The estimates don't appear to take into consideration war, famine, and food shortages that may hamper such extreme growth in third world countries, not to mention the mass-immigration and cultural shifts that would occur due to this scenario in places like Europe and North America.
iONiUM writes: From the economist: "Pollution is sky-high everywhere in China. Some 83% of Chinese are exposed to air that, in America, would be deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency either to be unhealthy or unhealthy for sensitive groups. Almost half the population of China experiences levels of PM2.5 that are above America’s highest threshold. That is even worse than the satellite data had suggested."
They go on to say "Berkeley Earth’s scientific director, Richard Muller, says breathing Beijing’s air is the equivalent of smoking almost 40 cigarettes a day and calculates that air pollution causes 1.6m deaths a year in China, or 17% of the total. A previous estimate, based on a study of pollution in the Huai river basin (which lies between the Yellow and Yangzi rivers), put the toll at 1.2m deaths a year—still high."
iONiUM writes: An article today claims that there is no longer any Honeybee crises, and that the deaths of the Honeybees previously was a one-off, or possibly non-cyclical occurance (caused by neonics or nature — the debate is still out). The data used is that from Stats Canada which claims "the number of honeybee colonies is at a record high [in Canada]." Globally, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization says that "worldwide bee populations have rebounded to a record high." However, many corporations and pro-environment groups have much to gain by creating a panic about Honeybee deaths, and as such continue to publish stories claiming the situation is dire.
iONiUM writes: Today the Bell Media president claimed that Canadians are 'stealing' US Netflix, saying the practice is “stealing just like stealing anything else.” She went on to say that it is socially unacceptable behaviour, and “It has to become socially unacceptable to admit to another human being that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix. Like throwing garbage out of your car window, you just don’t do it. We have to get engaged and tell people they’re stealing." Of course, I'm sure the fact that Bell Media profits from Canadian content has nothing to do with these remarks...
iONiUM writes: After the recent article on Slashdot talking about Adblock Plus's new fork of Firefox for mobile, you would think some non-tech media outlets would also pick up this story. However, as is often the case with news which makes media uncomfortable, so far only 2 state-run news agencies have picked it up: the CBC, and the BBC.
It amazes me that news agencies are able to show such a strong bias with their news selection, and yet nobody appears to say anything or care. Where are the articles on CNN, Fox, Reuters, or even TechCrunch, Engadget or WIRED?
iONiUM writes: From the article: "Oceans are warming at an accelerated pace — forcing scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to re-scale its heat chart to account for the warming that occurred in 2014."
It goes on to say: "Dr Abraham says this is the “clearest nail in the coffin” that there has been no let up in global warming."
iONiUM writes: From the article: 'Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij, known to hackers as TiAMO, was detained in the north-eastern Thai town of Nong Khai. He was subject to an international warrant after he was convicted in 2009 of aiding copyright infringement.' He has fled Sweden while on bail after a sentence of a one-year sentence and being ordered to pay $3.6m in damages.
The article goes on to say: 'Neij had been living in Laos since 2012 and travelled nearly 30 times to Thailand, where he has a house on the resort island of Phukat, Maj Gen Eimsaeng added.'
iONiUM writes: The UN released a new climate change report which concludes that it is indeed happening, and it's almost entirely man's fault. From the article: 'The IPCC was set up in 1988 to assess global warming and its impacts. The report released Sunday caps its latest assessment, a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95-percent certainty that nearly all warming seen since the 1950s is man-made.'
However, the report isn't entirely dire. It goes on to say: 'To get a good chance of staying below 2C, the report's scenarios show that world emissions would have to fall by between 40 and 70 percent by 2050 from current levels and to "near zero or below in 2100".'
Below zero of course means mining existing CO2 out of the atmopshere somehow.
iONiUM writes: According to a few news articles, the general public has taken notice of all the recent security breaches in open source software. From the article: 'Hackers have shaken the free-software movement that once symbolized the Web’s idealism. Several high-profile attacks in recent months exploited security flaws found in the “open-source” software created by volunteers collaborating online, building off each other’s work.'
While it's true that open source means you can review the actual code to ensure there's no data-theft, loggers, or glaring security holes, that idealism doesn't really help out most people who simply don't have time, or the knowledge, to do it. As such, the trust is left to the open source community, and is that really so different than leaving it to a corporation with closed source?
iONiUM writes: As reported by manynews articles, the total routing table for the internet exceeded 512k on Tuesday. This caused many older routers to fail, and resulted in major websites being very slow, or completely inaccessible. Hopefully the lack of access to cat pictures woke people up to the preparation and work needed to keep the internet functioning, and the need to ensure IPv6 is working, although somehow I doubt it.
iONiUM writes: As per the MSDN article, the long proposed user request for SIMD support has finally been answered. A NuGet package preview is available here. From the article: "You may think that task-based programming or offloading work to threads is already the answer. While multi-threading is certainly a critical part, it’s important to realize that it’s still important to optimize the code that runs on each core. SIMD is a technology that employs data parallelization at the CPU level. Multi-threading and SIMD complement each other: multi-threading allows parallelizing work over multiple cores while SIMD allows parallelizing work within a single core."