Instagram Keeps Accidentally Flagging Fish Photos as Offensive

British fishmonger Rex Goldsmith found that Instagram was censoring his photos for featuring

False Flag

British fishmonger Rex Goldsmith likes to post photos of his available seafood on Instagram.

“I can put a video or photo up of a particular fish,” he told BBC News, “and I’ll often get direct messages or phone calls saying ‘save one for me’ — it’s a good connector.”

But twice in two weeks, he found his photos mistakenly censored by Instagram as featuring “offensive content” — a bizarre example of social networks’ current inability to effectively police their content.

Something’s Fishy

A spokesperson for Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, apologized for the mistake in a statement, noting that Goldsmith’s “content was marked as sensitive in error and has now been reinstated.”

Still, with not one but two posts censored — and whispers of butchers facing similar censorship, according to the BBC — Goldsmith suspects he and his meat-slinging colleagues might be the victims of vegan trolls.

“I think it’s a bit ridiculous really,” he told The Telegraph. “I don’t know whether the post has been reported by vegans or whether Instagram censored it as they thought it would be offensive to vegans. I have no idea why a vegan would follow a vegan would follow a fishmonger on social media in the first place.”

READ MORE: Instagram apologises after censoring London fishmonger [BBC News]

More on censorship: Facebook Needs Humans *and* Algorithms to Filter Hate Speech

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MIT Community Horrified by Famed Researcher’s Epstein Outburst

Computer scientist Richard Stallman sent an email seemingly defending an MIT professor accused of assaulting one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.

Since the July arrest of Jeffrey Epstein on charges of sex trafficking, a number of huge names in the world of tech — from Bill Gates to Elon Musk — have attempted to defend or deny any inkling of a relationship with the financier.

But one prominent computer scientist is seemingly going out of his way to insert himself into the scandal: MIT Visiting Scientist Richard Stallman.

MIT accepted millions of dollars in funding from Epstein, prompting one student group to organize a protest calling for the resignation of any senior MIT administrators who knew about the donations.

In the details of the Facebook event for that protest, the students noted that late MIT professor Marvin Minsky “is accused of assaulting one of Epstein’s victims.” They included a link to a story by The Verge that cited the deposition of a woman who said that she was forced to have sex with Minsky at Epstein’s compound when she was 17 and the MIT professor was in his seventies.

On Thursday, MIT graduate Selam Jie Gano published a Medium post including excerpts from an email that Stallman reportedly sent to an MIT CSAIL mailing list in response to the protest.

“The word ‘assaulting’ presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way,” Stallman wrote in the email, “but the article itself says no such thing. Only that they had sex.”

Had Stallman checked the legal definition of sexual assault prior to penning his email, he would know that the Department of Justice defines it as “a nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.”

As a 17-year-old in the Virgin Islands, Minsky’s alleged victim automatically lacked that capacity to consent — hence, sexual assault.

After that, Stallman went on to say the member of “Epstein’s harem” likely presented herself to Minsky as “entirely willing.”

Gano takes Stallman to task for his tone-deaf defense of the sexual assault accusations against Minsky in her post — then calls on MIT to “remove men like Richard Stallman” from its ranks.

“This behavior cannot go unchecked, simply because someone is seen as a ‘genius,'” Gano wrote. “Simply because they are powerful, influential, or have friends in high places. Those are the same forces that allowed Jeffrey Epstein to rape and traffick children for so long.”

“Remove everyone, if we must,” she later adds, “and let something much better be built from the ashes.”

READ MORE: Remove Richard Stallman [Medium]

More on Epstein: Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein Obsessed With Eugenics, Cryogenics

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Unlike MIT, Harvard Cut Off Epstein Donations After Conviction

Over the course of nine years, Harvard University accepted about $9 million in donations from child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Go Crimson!

The latest twist in the saga of financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with of sex trafficking before dying by suicide in jail: Harvard University accepted about $8.9 million from him — but refused to accept more donations after Epstein’s 2008 conviction for underage prostitution.

Most of the Epstein money is gone now, according to CBS News, but Harvard plans to donate the remaining $186,000 or so to organizations that support sexual assault and human trafficking victims — a move that stands in stark contrast to MIT, which continued to solicit and hide funding from Epstein after his pattern of sex abuse was widely known.

Damage Control

In a letter to the Harvard Community, university President Lawrence Bacow explained how Epstein’s last gift to the university came in 2007, before his 2008 conviction.

After that, Bacow says the university turned Epstein down when he tried to donate more, perhaps in an attempt to differentiate Harvard from MIT and moneyed folks — including Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos — who maintained ties with the sex criminal.

Second Look

To prevent future scandals, Bacow said he plans to launch a new group to more closely scrutinize would-be donors.

“Epstein’s behavior, not just at Harvard, but elsewhere, raises significant questions about how institutions like ours review and vet donors,” Bacow wrote in the letter. “I will be convening a group here at Harvard to review how we prevent these situations in the future.”

READ MORE: Jeffrey Epstein gave nearly $9 million to Harvard [CBS News]

More on Epstein: Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein Obsessed With Eugenics, Cryogenics

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Watch a Tesla Model X Blast Through Deep Flood Waters

A news reporter caught a Tesla Model X plowing its way down a flooded street in South Dakota, exiting the water seemingly no worse for wear.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

On Thursday, local news reporter Colton Molesky took to the streets of Mitchell, South Dakota, to report on the city’s dangerous flooding for the station KSFY.

While Molesky was filming his segment, a white Tesla Model X appeared down the street — and then plowed its way through the headlight-covering water, exiting the flooded street seemingly no worse for wear.

What NOT to do! This car in Mitchell tries to drive down a flooded street as @CMolesky reports LIVE. pic.twitter.com/Tv00CLUDYT

— Kamie Roesler (@KamieRoeslerTC) September 12, 2019

Bad Idea

This isn’t the first time a Tesla has been filmed in high water — in 2016, footage of a Model S owner in Kazakhstan using their car to float through a flooded tunnel hit the internet.

At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he definitely did not recommend that drivers use their Teslas as boats — and Molesky was quick to discourage others from following the South Dakota Tesla owner’s lead.

“We encourage people don’t do this,” he said in the clip. “Don’t do what you see right there. Very dangerous.”

READ MORE: Tesla Model X shows water-wading abilities by driving across deeply-flooded street [Teslarati]

More on the Model X: Watch a Tesla Model X Pull a Semi Truck Through Snow

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Horrifying Study: Corpses Thrash Around For a Year After Death

After photographing dead bodies for 17 months, scientists at a body farm made a greusome discovery: decomposing corpses wriggle around as they dry up.

People spinning in their graves is actually quite common, according to gruesome new scientific research.

As bodies decompose, they tend to slowly-but-surely writhe around for a year or longer, according to Agence France-Presse. This disturbing factoid comes courtesy of scientists at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research — a “body farm” where human corpses are made available for scientific research — and it could have far-reaching implications for forensic investigators.

To determine how corpses wriggle around over time, Australian scientists photographed a man’s corpse — donated to the body farm for study — every half hour for 17 months, according to research published last month in a new journal called Forensic Science International: Synergy.

Troublingly, the body’s arms started down along its sides — but ended up outstretched.

“We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition, as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out,” Central Queensland University scientist Alyson Wilson told AFP.

Wilson told AFP that she hopes her discovery can help improve forensic investigators interact with bodies at crime scenes. Time-lapse photography is already a commonly-used practice to monitor decomposition and calculate the time of death, but understanding how bodies move over time could make those calculations more accurate.

“Once I observed a movement in a previous study, I started researching and couldn’t find anywhere in the world that looks at quantifying the movement,” Wilson told AFP, “so I thought ‘OK, I’m going to do this.'”

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French Gov Official Warns Facebook: Libra Is Not Welcome Here

France's Minister of the Economy and Finance said that Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency will be barred from the country if it's released as planned.

Hard Pass

The French Minister of the Economy and Finance just warned that Libra, Facebook’s controversial cryptocurrency, won’t be permitted in France if it’s launched as planned next year.

The minister, Bruno Le Maire, railed against Libra at a crypto conference on Thursday, according to Vice News. He told the crowd that he would do what he could to not only stop Libra from being developed on French soil, but also from being used in the country if it’s launched.

No Uncertain Terms

Le Maire told the crowd that Libra threatened to undermine the euro and destabilize the entire French economy — and he has no interest in playing ball with Facebook’s plan. He also shared concerns that if the economy took a hit, people could make matters worse by abandoning government-sanctioned currencies in favor of Facebook’s Libra, Vice reports.

“The monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake [from] possible privatization of money by a sole actor with more than 2 billion users on the planet,” Le Maire said, per Vice. “All these concerns around Libra are serious. So I want to say this with a lot of clarity: In these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil.”

READ MORE: France Took One Look at Facebook’s Cryptocurrency and Said, ‘Hell, Non’ [Vice News]

More on Libra: Backers for Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency May Jump Ship

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This AI Gives Other AIs Names Like “Ass Federation” And “Hot Pie” Because Robots Can Be Weird Too

Research scientist Janelle Shane trained a naming AI to conjure up new monikers for self-aware spaceships like those in author Iain M. Banks' Culture books.

Ship Shape

Scottish author Iain M. Banks populated his sci-fi Culture book series with humanoid robots, alien races, and artificially intelligent spaceships that chose their own names.

So: Research scientist Janelle Shane thought it would be fun to use those ship names to train a real neural network to — what else? — conjure up new names for self-aware spaceships. The results? Hilarious. Puzzling. Generally? Great.

Name Game

Shane is the same scientist responsible for creating the neural network that bestowed awesome names like “Peanutbutterjiggles” and “Bones of the Master” upon shelter kittens.

This new naming AI is a variation on that one, but instead of training the base neural network, OpenAI’s GPT-2, on cat names, she used a list of 236 spaceship names from Banks’ Culture series.

Ass Federation

Shane lists dozens of the names churned out by the AI on her website, so you’ll have to head there to check them all out, but some of our favorites:

– Friendly Head Crusher
– Mini Cactus Cake Fight
– Happy to Groom Any Animals You Want

But if we’re naming a self-aware spaceship, it’d be hard to pass up the opportunity to go with the complete head-scratcher that is Someone Did Save Your Best Cookie By Post-Apocalyptic Means.

READ MORE: This AI is so goddamn smart, it can name other AIs [The Next Web]

More on naming AI: This Neural Network Gives Kittens A+ Names Like “Mr Sinister”

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Here’s How You Can Watch Today’s Total Solar Eclipse

California's Exploratorium has teamed up with NASA to broadcast a livestream of the total solar eclipse over parts of South America.

Heads up: For approximately four minutes this afternoon, the Moon will block out the Sun over parts of South America — but you don’t need to be in Chile or Argentina to see the stunning spectacle.

California’s Exploratorium has teamed up with NASA to broadcast a livestream of the eclipse via the video linked below. The coverage will begin at 3 p.m. ET, with the eclipse expected to take place between 4:38 p.m. and 4:44 p.m. ET.

If you happen to live within the eclipse’s path, make sure you fight the urge to look directly at the Sun during it as doing so could permanently damage your eyes. Which, yes, happens to people. Quite a bit.

Instead, you’ll want to use your lunch break today to procure a pair of special eclipse glasses. But if that’s not possible, a sheet of paper with a pinhole poked through it is, of course, an acceptable DIY alternative.

READ MORE: Watch Today’s Total Solar Eclipse Right Here [Gizmodo]

More on eclipses: Watch: What Happened to Solar Power in the US During the Eclipse

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World’s Smallest MRI Machine Means We Can Now Scan Individual Atoms

Researchers have created a version of an MRI machine that's so scaled down, it can capture detailed images of individual atoms.

MRI for Ants Atoms

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are great for creating detailed images of a person’s internal organs and tissues.

Using magnets and radio waves, the machines temporarily change how the billions of protons in the person’s body spin. Then they measure and image energy released by these protons once they return to their normal state.

Now, researchers have created a version of an MRI machine that’s so scaled down, it images individual atoms — and the device could help usher in the era of quantum computing.

Honey, I Shrunk the MRI

For their study, which was published on Monday in the journal Nature Physics, researchers from the United States and South Korea attached magnetized iron atoms to the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, a device used to image and probe individual atoms.

They then swept the microscope’s tip over iron and titanium atoms they’d placed on a magnesium oxide surface. This subjected the atoms to a magnetic field that disrupted their electrons. The team then hit the atoms with a radio wave pulse, and the system imaged the energy the electrons subsequently released.

Unprecedented View

The researchers believe this new nanoscale imaging technique could lead to the development of new materials and drugs, as well as the creation of better quantum computing systems.

“We can now see something that we couldn’t see before,” researcher Christopher Lutz told The New York Times. “So our imagination can go to a whole bunch of new ideas that we can test out with this technology.”

READ MORE: World’s smallest MRI performed on single atoms [Institute for Basic Science]

More on quantum computing: Russian Scientists Used a Quantum Computer to Turn Back Time

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NASA’s Orion Crew Capsule Aced Its Abort System Test

NASA tested its Orion spacecraft's Launch Abort System (LAS) on Tuesday — and it seems the astronaut escape plan worked exactly as hoped.

Orion Exit Strategy

Before NASA can attempt to send astronauts back to the Moon, it needs to know they have a way to GTFO of harm’s way if something goes wrong during the trip.

To that end, the space agency tested its Orion spacecraft’s Launch Abort System (LAS) on Tuesday — and it seems NASA’s astronaut escape plan works exactly as hoped.

Mission Aborted

To start the three-minute-long Ascent Abort-2 test, NASA launched an Orion crew module on a modified Peacekeeper missile built by Northrop Grumman.

Once the pair reached an altitude of about 9.6 kilometers (6 miles), the abort sequence triggered. This sent the crew module blasting away from the rocket and on its journey to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean.

Moving Forward

NASA’s now rounding up the 12 data recorders the crew capsule ejected during its descent so it can analyze the data to confirm that everything went as planned.

At first glance, however, it appears we’re now one step closer to returning humans to the Moon.

“It was a very smooth liftoff,” Orion Program Manager Mark Kirasich said in a press release. “By all first accounts, it was magnificent.”

READ MORE: NASA performs successful test of Orion spacecraft launch abort crew escape system [TechCrunch]

More on Orion: Congress Denies NASA Request for More Moon Mission Money

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What Do a Toy Store and a Tech Accelerator Have in Common? Cloud-Based Tech.

Your Clouds Can (YCC) 2019 was an immersive experience unlike any conference. Its purpose? To understand how seemingly traditional businesses can utilize data and cloud based technology to reimagine themselves and grow.

On June 5th, Futurism and IBM took attendees on a journey – but, unlike traditional conferences, they brought the audience members directly to the speakers’ headquarters. They immersed the attendees into the culture, attitudes, and atmospheres of these innovative companies to give them a deeper understanding of these tools, and how they can be applied to attendees’ businesses.

Attendees and hosts alike enjoyed conversations, not presentations, and dialogues, not monologues. On-site and hands-on, attendees went behind the curtain at each stop on this innovation tour to fully investigate and discover exactly how each of these companies are leveraging data and technology for growth.

YCC attendees were guided through experiences and discussions at four NYC companies actively innovating and changing the landscape of their industries. The first stop and breakfast was at CAMP, a brand new retail venture at the cross section of toy stores and playgrounds. CAMP uses technology and data to improve the speed and accuracy of merchandising decisions, allowing them to transform their retail environment three to four times a year based on the interests of their customers and cultural trends.

Next, guests toured BuzzFeed and learned how they leverage data-driven insights generated from their millions of readers to develop brand new products and campaigns for clients. Jake Bronstein, VP of Innovation at BuzzFeed, spoke about their unique sprint process with their editorial and data teams: “We have a big preference for test and learn, there’s no one model,” Bronstein said. “What does our audience need? How do we make that happen?”

Afterwards guests visited LivePerson, and learned how their AI-powered conversational platform is transforming customer engagement into a source of competitive advantage. As pioneers in live chat, LivePerson gave an inside look at how companies like GEICO and The Cosmopolitan are communicating with their customers using AI to create meaningful differentiated experiences.  

Finally, the day concluded at Betaworks, a tenacious tech company running accelerators and designing communities at their new membership club in NYC’s Meatpacking District.  Here a panel of start-up veterans and leaders discussed how to scale innovative ideas faster through cloud and other technologies. To close the day, Krissi Xenakis, Design Lead for the IBM Garage, explained how IBM teaches companies to iterate, experiment, build, and develop, using a design thinking approach that fosters the type of innovation seen at CAMP, BuzzFeed and LivePerson.  “What’s the smallest thing we can build that tests the greatest risk of our innovation? We need to test that the assumptions about our user are accurate and meaningful.” she said.

Through out the day, attendees were able to have breakout sessions in transit between locations to collectively digest and discuss what they had learned.. Make no mistake, this was not awkward attempts at networking. This was natural conversation, fun and insightful, made casual through the immersive, traveling nature of the conference itself.

The vibe of learning and discussion is palpably different when caravaning from location to location, company to company. Vlad Shenderovich, Director of Operations, LOLI Beauty agreed, saying, “it breaks the traditional format. I like that it’s interactive, focuses on the audience and not just the panelists so you’re able to see, interact, engage and ask questions.” 

That is what makes YCC unique and rewarding. Not everyone gets to enjoy lunch on BuzzFeed’s terrace or tour Betaworks Studios’ private membership club. It’s more than just access, it’s an insider’s peek into the technology, ideas and culture that drive the business innovation and success. 

Visit YourCloudsCan.com to see videos of what you missed and sign up to be the first to know about future events. Will you join us for the ride at the next YCC?

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with IBM, who sponsored this post. They help us keep the lights on. This post does not reflect the views or the endorsement of the Futurism.com editorial staff.

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White Paper: These 12 Principles Are Shaping the Future of Autonomous Cars

Eleven companies have teamed up to create

As nice as it’d be to have the option of catching up on some reading — or sleep — while an autonomous vehicle drives you to work, the real draw of self-driving cars is the idea that they’ll be safer drivers than whoever just cut you off in the exit lane with inches to spare. After all, if the vast majority of traffic accidents are caused by human error, taking humans out of the equation should save lives, right?

In theory, sure. But in practice? Only if we can build autonomous vehicles safer than, well, the average driver. And right now, the entire auto industry is approaching that same goal from countless directions, and no one even knows what the measure of success is — or should — be.

To bring some orderliness to this currently chaotic situation, a group of 11 companies, including Intel, Audi, and Volkswagen, teamed up to publish a white paper titled “Safety First for Automated Driving,” an exhaustive guide to developing safe autonomous vehicles.

The 146-page-long document’s centerpiece are twelve guiding principles detailing the various capabilities a self-driving car must have before it can be considered “safe.” Here’s a quick primer on each of them.

Safe Operation: An autonomous vehicle must be able to cope with the loss of any of its critical components.

Safety Layer: The self-driving car must know its own limits and understand when it’s safe to return control to the human driver.

Operational Design Domain (ODD): The autonomous vehicle must be prepared to assess the risks of typical driving situations.

Behavior in Traffic: The car’s behavior needs to be predictable to other drivers on the road, and it needs to act according to traffic rules.

User Responsibility: The vehicle needs to be able to recognize a driver’s state of alertness and communicate to them any tasks for which they are responsible.

Vehicle-Initiated Handover: Autonomous vehicles must be able to let drivers know when they need to takeover and make it easy for them to do so. If a takeover request is ignored, the vehicle also needs to have a way to cope with the situation while minimizing risk.

Driver-Initiated Handover: The driver needs to have a way to explicitly ask to take over operation of the self-driving car.

Effects of Automation: An autonomous vehicle must consider how automation could affect the driver even directly after the period of automated driving is over.

Safety Assessment: There needs to be a consistent way to verify and validate the autonomous vehicle’s ability to meet safety goals.

Data Recording: If the self-driving car recognizes an event or incident, it needs to be able to record relevant data in a way that doesn’t violate applicable data privacy laws.

Security: Safe autonomous vehicles will need to have some protection against security threats.

Passive Safety: The self-driving car needs to be prepared for any crash scenarios that might be unique to vehicle automation.

This all sounds well and good. Accomplishing all — let alone most, or even a majority — of these goals is going to be another matter.

Notably, a few major companies and tech players are missing from the list of people who assembled this list (i.e., Tesla, Waymo, et al). Hard not to wonder why: Maybe these companies, all of whom are seemingly behind in the race for self-driving vehicles, are looking to assemble some common ground to edge their behemoth competition out of (or maybe they simply have other ideas about safety).

Whatever the case may be, the autonomous road race won’t be won by anybody who doesn’t adhere to these concepts if they become law — in other words, consider this just another in a long series of shots in the war to earn pole position.

READ MORE: 11 companies propose guiding principles for self-driving vehicles [VentureBeat]

More on autonomous vehicles: This Guide Could Dictate How Cops Handle Autonomous Car Crashes

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This Room-Sized Device Could Create Artificial Gravity in Space

Researchers built a device small room-sized device that spins willing participants on a giant platform to mimic the effect of Earth-like gravity in space.

Weight Gain

You’ve probably seen one featured in a science fiction movie, including “2001: A Space Odyssey” — massive centrifuge-like space stations that spin around a center point to create the sensation of artificial gravity for off-world travelers.

While we have yet to build such a large system in open space, researchers from University of Colorado at Boulder have decided to miniaturize the effect instead, with a device small enough to fit inside a room that spins participants to mimic the effect of Earth-like gravity.

Spin Zone

Creating the illusion of gravity could be of great benefit to astronauts struggling with the not-yet-fully-understood effects of microgravity for months at a time.

“The point of our work is to try to get more people to think that maybe artificial gravity isn’t so crazy,” Kathrine Bretl, a graduate student involved in the project said according to a statement. “Maybe it has a place outside of science fiction.”

Vomit Comet

Unfortunately, motion sickness is still as much of a thing here on Earth as it is in space — one of the reasons why scientists have shied away from the idea in the past. The team decided to put that to the test and invite volunteers to spin on their centrifuge for 10 vomit-inducing sessions.

The results were promising: at 17 revolutions per minute, the effect became tolerable over time.

“As far as we can tell, essentially anyone can adapt to this stimulus,” aerospace engineer Torin Clark, who led the team said.

READ MORE: Artificial gravity breaks free from science fiction [University of Colorado at Boulder]

More on the effects of microgravity: Zero Gravity Causes Worrisome Changes In Astronauts’ Brains

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Facebook Is Finally Fighting Its Pseudoscience “Miracle Cure” Content Problem

Facebooks is changing how it ranks

There’s an entire spectrum of lies on social media. On one side, there’s the generally inane: Pokémon was designed for Satanists or FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tried to date a porn star.

And then there are lies that have the potential to literally kill.

Falling into this latter category are the spammy “miracle cures” for everything from cancer to autism that spread like wildfire on sites like Facebook. These “treatments” are ineffective at best and deadly at worst. Now, Facebook is finally trying to do something about them.

On Tuesday, Facebook published a blog post regarding the bogus health content that is now pervasive on the site.

“People come together on Facebook to talk about, advocate for, and connect around things like nutrition, fitness, and health issues,” Facebook Product Manager Travis Yeh wrote in the post. “But in order to help people get accurate health information and the support they need, it’s imperative that we minimize health content that is sensational or misleading.”

To that end, the company updated its ranking algorithms to place two kinds of content lower in people’s News Feeds:

– Sensationalist health posts that make misleading claims or tout “miracle cures,” and

– Posts that use health-related claims to promote products or services, such as weight-loss pills.

As far as sensationalist health posts go, ones hawking bogus weight-loss pills fall on the relatively benign end of the spectrum. But Facebook’s also rife with posts encouraging people to forgo proven cancer treatments in favor of worthless home remedies. Incredibly dangerous “autism cures” advising parents to force their children to drink chlorine dioxide, which is essentially industrial bleach, are also popular with Facebook’s users.

[Yeah, you read that correctly: Drinking bleach.]

And do we really need to mention the countless anti-vaccine posts and groups that are contributing to outbreaks of diseases like measles worldwide?

Given the far-reaching implications of this shady health content, Facebook is now under increasing pressure to do something about it — meaning if its newly announced ranking changes can’t effectively stem the medical misinformation tide, it’s going to need to find something else (or someone else) that can.

READ MORE: Facebook, YouTube Overrun With Bogus Cancer-Treatment Claims [The Wall Street Journal]

More on Facebook: Congress Is Deciding Whether to Break up Facebook, Google

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Russian Sub That Caught Fire Possibly Sent to Cut Internet Cables

A Russian sub caught fire on Monday, killing 14 sailors — and Russia won't say what kind of sub it was or what it was doing near the ocean floor.

Fire Down Below

On Monday, a Russian submarine caught fire during a mission, killing 14 sailors on board.

But the public didn’t find out about the incident until the next day, when Russia finally released a statement about the accident — though two days after the event, the nation still wouldn’t say exactly what kind of sub caught fire or whether it was nuclear-powered.

A possible reason for Russia’s caginess? Multiple sources are now claiming the sub was an AS-12 “Losharik,” a nuclear-powered submarine some speculate was designed to cut the undersea cables that deliver internet to the world.

Spy Mission

Russian media outlets RBC and Novaya Gazeta have both cited anonymous sources who claim the submarine was a Losharik, and while the sub has been in operation since 2003, Russia has never come out and declared its official purpose.

That hasn’t stopped the U.S. and other Western officials from conjecturing about it, though.

For years, they’ve warned that Russia has been surveying undersea cables, and experts have called out the Losharik by name as possibly playing a role in future missions to disrupt those cables.

Radiation Situation

Of course, there’s another possible reason for Russia’s lack of openness about Monday’s incident: if the Russian sub was a Losharik, that means a nuclear-powered craft just caught fire.

On Tuesday, Norwegian authorities reported that they hadn’t detected any abnormal radiation in the area of the fire. But the fact that Russia itself hasn’t released a similar statement is cause for serious concern, according to Russian news site The Bell.

“Nearly a day without information about the accident in a nuclear facility and the need to look out for Norwegian statements about the level of radiation should have given a shudder to those who remember the Chernobyl nuclear power station,” the site wrote about the fire, according to Reuters.

READ MORE: Russia accused of cover-up over lethal submarine fire [Reuters]

More on undersea cables: Google’s Next Subsea Internet Cable to Connect Africa and Europe

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Russian Sub That Caught Fire Possibly Sent to Cut Internet Cables

CRISPR Helps Scientists Cure HIV In Living Animals For First Time

Using a combination of CRISPR and antiretroviral therapy, researcher eliminated the HIV virus from the genomes of mice engineered to produce human T cells.

One-Two Combo

For the first time, researchers have eliminated HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from the genomes of living animals — a major accomplishment along the path to freeing the world of this deadly disease.

For the study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center started by engineering mice to produce human T cells susceptible to HIV infection.

After they infected the mice, they used a therapeutic strategy known as long-acting slow-effective release antiretroviral therapy (LASER ART) to suppress HIV replication within the animals.

Finally, the researchers used CRISPR to remove HIV DNA from the infected cells.

From Mice to Humans

When the researchers later analyzed the mice, they found that about one-third of the animals showed no signs of HIV.

They are now eager to test their combination LASER ART/CRISPR therapy in non-human primates — and if those trials go well, human trials could kick off within the year, researcher Kamel Khalili said in a press release.

However, while the team is optimistic, it’s also aware that it has a lot of ground to cover between mice and humans.

“Things that work in mice, may not work in men,” researcher Howard Gendelman told CNBC. “The limitations of any mouse work have to do with the species, how the drug is administered, the distribution, which is a lot easier than a man or a woman.”

READ MORE: Researchers say they’re closer to finding cure for HIV after using CRISPR technology to eliminate disease in live mice for the first time [CNBC]

More on HIV: First-of-Its-Kind HIV Therapy Draws out the Virus, Then Kills It

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CRISPR Helps Scientists Cure HIV In Living Animals For First Time

Billionaires Are Dead Serious About Moving Factories to Space

To some, collecting resources from other planets or asteroids instead of using up the Earth could be the key to ensuring that we — and our planet — survive.

Space Industries

It sounds like science fiction, but the idea of moving heavy industries off Earth seems far less far-fetched ever before.

Collecting resources from other planets or asteroids instead of using up what little we have left on Earth could be the key to ensuring that human beings survive, Discover Magazine reports.

“The solar system can support a billion times greater industry than we have on Earth,” Phil Metzger, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida, told Discover. “When you go to vastly larger scales of civilization, beyond the scale that a planet can support, then the types of things that civilization can do are incomprehensible to us.”

Investing in Space

As Earth-based resources dwindle, the population increases — and something has to give. At least, that’s the argument behind a new school of companies that have cropped up over the last decade or so, trying to become pioneers of space resource gathering.

For instance, Planetary Resources Inc. has collected tens of millions in funding to develop asteroid mining technologies. But financial troubles meant that the company had to delay its first asteroid prospecting mission indefinitely.

Billionaire Blue Origin and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is all-in as well.

“The reason we’ve got to go to space, in my view, is to save the Earth,” Bezos said during the announcement of his space company’s lunar lander last month.

“A very fundamental long-range problem is that we will run out of energy on Earth,” Bezos said at the event. “This is just arithmetic. It will happen.”

Even NASA has recently chosen to invest millions of dollars in tech concepts that could help us explore lunar crates and mining asteroids.

Not only physical resources could become the solution for an overburdened planet. Solar power stations in space could beam near-limitless energy back to Earth — a plan that China is already working to put into action.

Greenpeace 2.0

But not everybody is of the same mind: a group of scientists came together to sign a proposal calling for more than 85 percent of the solar system to be protected from human development.

“If we don’t think about this now, we will go ahead as we always have, and in a few hundred years we will face an extreme crisis, much worse than we have on Earth now,” Martin Elvis, senior astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and lead author of the proposal told The Guardian. “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”

Baby Steps

Before space manufacturing and mining become reality, there’s still a lot of work to be done as scientists have only made incremental steps towards that future so far. Just five years ago, California-based startup Made In Space became the first company to 3D print an object in zero gravity.

The same company scored a major contract with NASA in 2018 to develop a “hybrid metal manufacturing system for space exploration.” The idea is to print parts using aerospace-grade metals like titanium and aluminum.

And Japanese space agency JAXA recently managed to land its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on a tiny asteroid, even shooting a bulletand dropping a bomb — at its surface to collect samples.

These efforts however are still a far cry from a future in which asteroid mining could support human civilizations in deep space. We haven’t even figured out which nation will get to call those resources their own — an issue that’s bound to conjure up some political uneasiness.

But time is running out — climate change and rapidly-depleting resources are forcing us to look beyond our home planet. Hopefully we can make the transition before it’s too late.

READ MORE: Made in Space: Why Earth’s Industries Might One Day Leave Our Planet [Discover Magazine]

More on space mining: NASA Funds $2M Study to See if We Could Live in Moon Pits

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Billionaires Are Dead Serious About Moving Factories to Space

Possible Alien Radio Signals Way More Common Than Believed

Astronomers have detected over ten radio bursts from distant galaxies in the last week. The sudden frequency could help us figure out what's causing them.

Spam Calls

Last week, astronomers managed to trace a mysterious, fleeting radio signal back to a distant galaxy. Since then, teams from around the world have tracked down ten more.

The latest was spotted by a team at CalTech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory on Tuesday, according to CNET. Astronomers aren’t positive what’s causing these so-called “Fast Radio Bursts” — there are several plausible non-extraterrestrial-life-related explanations. But these recent signals are a sign that intergalactic radio broadcasts are far more common than scientists previously thought.

Roaming Charges

The radio burst detected at CalTech originated from a galaxy 8 billion light-years away from our own according to research published in the journal Nature — that’s twice the distance that the first radio burst detected last week traveled.

That means that whatever gave off the signal, whether it was activity within a neutron star or potentially some sort of alien life, did so billions of years before our planet even formed. But because these signals are popping up more frequently than ever, astronomers believe they could finally find the culprit.

“Astronomers have been chasing FRBs for a decade now, and we’re finally drawing a bead on them,” CalTech astronomer Vikram Ravi told CNET. “Now we have a chance of figuring out just what these exotic objects might be.”

READ MORE: Another mysterious deep space signal traced to the other side of the universe [CNET]

More on galactic signals: Astronomers Traced a Mysterious Radio Burst to a Distant Galaxy

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Possible Alien Radio Signals Way More Common Than Believed

The Pentagon Wants Its Own Orbital Space Station, Like a Death Star, But Not, Okay?

The Pentagon wants its own dedicated space station in orbit around the Earth for both scientific research and military operations.

Reaching Out

The U.S. military is in the early stages of sending a self-supporting, autonomous space station into orbit around the Earth.

In its earliest stages, the space station will be small and (literally) inhospitable — the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) wants a dedicated orbital platform from which to conduct scientific experiments, reports Breaking Defense. But in the long run, the DIU has tentative plans to upgrade the station so it can support life, which would give the government the unsettling ability to keep militarized crews operating in space.

Building Blocks

According to the DIU’s call for contractors to design the space station, the orbital outpost needs to be entirely self-sufficient, and employ artificial intelligence to operate and steer itself in space.

But the solicitation also calls for a minimum internal volume of one cubic meter and the capability to endure zero to one atmospheres of pressure — not exactly the specs of the Death Star.


The director of DIU’s Space Portfolio, Col. Steve Butow, told Breaking Defense that the organization is more interested in laying out the basic groundwork of a dedicated orbital platform for the Pentagon — upgrades for specific military applications can always come later.

“In short, we are casting a wide net for commercial solutions that can meet the basic needs described in the first part of the solicitation (autonomous/robotic, etc),” Butow emailed to Breaking Defense. Here’s hoping whichever contractor gets the job remembers to cover up those pesky exhaust ports.

READ MORE: Pentagon Eyes Military Space Station [Breaking Defense]

More on space warfare: India Just Announced That It’s Developing Space Weapons

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The Pentagon Wants Its Own Orbital Space Station, Like a Death Star, But Not, Okay?

We May Never Know When That Third CRISPR Baby Is Born

A third CRISPR baby was expected to be due in late June or early July, but the Chinese government is keeping quiet about the gene-hacking controversy.

Save The Date

In November, Chinese scientist He Jiankui shocked the world when he announced that he had brought CRISPR-edited human babies into the world. But the Chinese government has kept quiet in the face of news that a third CRISPR birth is expected soon, according to MIT Technology Review.

In January, Stanford bioethicist William Hurlbut announced that He had gene-hacked a third embryo and that the child would be born right around late June or early July. Late June’s come and gone, and now we find ourselves in early July. So either there’s no news to report, or the Chinese government is closely controlling the information surrounding the massive scientific controversy.

Closed Doors

Shortly after He’s work first became public knowledge, the Chinese government condemned the experiments and worked to expand its regulations for scientific research.

There’s little that can be done to stop people from using widely-accessible CRISPR technology to edit more humans, but governments and universities can work to prevent their scientists from doing so. To that end, the Chinese government’s secrecy around the gene-hacking controversy has become a point of contention among prominent scientists, according to MIT Tech Review.

“If you look at the big picture, there is a concerted effort by the Chinese government to change the regulatory framework. So why would they keep it secret?” University of Miami bioethicist Rosario Isasi told MIT Tech Review. “But they can if they want, and the world will never know. The Chinese government owes it to the international community to live up to the accountability they have promised.”

READ MORE: A third CRISPR baby may have already been born in China [MIT Technology Review]

More on gene-hacking: Third Gene-Hacked Baby’s Impending Birth Has Scientists Scrambling

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We May Never Know When That Third CRISPR Baby Is Born