In England they need a new law forcing care homes to allow visitors for their residents

[…] The care minister Helen Whately said stopping relatives from visiting loved ones in care homes as a precaution against the spread of Covid-19 showed “a lack of humanity”. Legislation is being planned to give care home residents and hospital patients the legal right to see guests, according to the Times, prompting fury from the Read more about In England they need a new law forcing care homes to allow visitors for their residents[…]

Scientists grow human brain cells to play Pong

Researchers have succeeded in growing brain cells in a lab and hooking them up to electronic connectors proving they can learn to play the seminal console game Pong. Led by Brett Kagan, chief scientific officer at Cortical Labs, the researchers showed that by integrating neurons into digital systems they could harness “the inherent adaptive computation Read more about Scientists grow human brain cells to play Pong[…]

AI’s Recommendations Can Shape Your Preferences

Many of the things we watch, read, and buy enter our awareness through recommender systems on sites including YouTube, Twitter, and Amazon. […] Recommender systems might not only tailor to our most regrettable preferences, but actually shape what we like, making preferences even more regrettable. New research suggests a way to measure—and reduce—such manipulation. […] Read more about AI’s Recommendations Can Shape Your Preferences[…]

economic and fiscal effects on the United States from reduced numbers of refugees and asylum seekers – around $11.1 billion per year

International migrants who seek protection also participate in the economy. Thus the policy of the United States to drastically reduce refugee and asylum-seeker arrivals from 2017 to 2020 might have substantial and ongoing economic consequences. This paper places conservative bounds on those effects by critically reviewing the research literature. It goes beyond prior estimates by Read more about economic and fiscal effects on the United States from reduced numbers of refugees and asylum seekers – around $11.1 billion per year[…]

Stiff, achy knees? Lab-made cartilage gel outperforms the real thing

[…] Writing in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, a Duke University-led team says they have created the first gel-based cartilage substitute that is even stronger and more durable than the real thing. Mechanical testing reveals that the Duke team’s hydrogel—a material made of water-absorbing polymers—can be pressed and pulled with more force than natural cartilage, Read more about Stiff, achy knees? Lab-made cartilage gel outperforms the real thing[…]

Scaling the cost of government programs using a cost-per-person price tag improves comprehension by the general public

Government policies often are presented with hefty price tags, but people often zone out as more zeros are added to the total cost. A new study from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that rescaling the cost of programs can increase a person’s understanding of funding choices, which may improve how people participate in the policy debate. Read more about Scaling the cost of government programs using a cost-per-person price tag improves comprehension by the general public[…]

A few months in space leads to decades worth of bone loss

Abstract Determining the extent of bone recovery after prolonged spaceflight is important for understanding risks to astronaut long-term skeletal health. We examined bone strength, density, and microarchitecture in seventeen astronauts (14 males; mean 47 years) using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT; 61 μm). We imaged the tibia and radius before spaceflight, at return to Read more about A few months in space leads to decades worth of bone loss[…]

It’s alive! Quit a few people believe their AI chatbot is sentient – and maltreated

AI chatbot company Replika, which offers customers bespoke avatars that talk and listen to them, says it receives a handful of messages almost every day from users who believe their online friend is sentient. “We’re not talking about crazy people or people who are hallucinating or having delusions,” said Chief Executive Eugenia Kuyda. “They talk Read more about It’s alive! Quit a few people believe their AI chatbot is sentient – and maltreated[…]

‘Toxic’ open source GitHub discussions analyzed in study

Toxic discussions on open-source GitHub projects tend to involve entitlement, subtle insults, and arrogance, according to an academic study. That contrasts with the toxic behavior – typically bad language, hate speech, and harassment – found on other corners of the web. Whether that seems obvious or not, it’s an interesting point to consider because, for Read more about ‘Toxic’ open source GitHub discussions analyzed in study[…]

The 10 Best Illusions of the Year 2021

the finalists of this year’s Best Illusion of the Year Contest aren’t going to leave your brain feeling any less raddled, confused, or exhausted as we quickly approach the new year. As they do every year, a group of talented neurologists, visual scientists, ophthalmologists, and artists have come together to create and celebrate the best Read more about The 10 Best Illusions of the Year 2021[…]

Microplastics found deep in lungs of 11/13 tested living people for first time

Microplastic pollution has been discovered lodged deep in the lungs of living people for the first time. The particles were found in almost all the samples analysed. The scientists said microplastic pollution was now ubiquitous across the planet, making human exposure unavoidable and meaning “there is an increasing concern regarding the hazards” to health. Samples Read more about Microplastics found deep in lungs of 11/13 tested living people for first time[…]

Scientists find microplastics in blood for first time

Scientists have discovered microplastics in human blood for the first time, warning that the ubiquitous particles could also be making their way into organs. The tiny pieces of mostly invisible plastic have already been found almost everywhere else on Earth, from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains as well as in the air, soil Read more about Scientists find microplastics in blood for first time[…]

Airbnb Hides Guest First Names in Oregon to Stop Discrimination

[…] Beginning on Jan. 31, hosts will only see the initials of guests’ first names until they confirm a booking request, Airbnb announced in a December news announcement spotted by the Verge. After a host confirms the booking, the guest’s full name will appear. The change to how names are displaced will be in place Read more about Airbnb Hides Guest First Names in Oregon to Stop Discrimination[…]

How We Determined Predictive Policing Software Disproportionately Targeted Low-Income, Black, and Latino Neighborhoods

[…] One of the first, and reportedly most widely used, is PredPol, its name an amalgamation of the words “predictive policing.” The software was derived from an algorithm used to predict earthquake aftershocks that was developed by professors at UCLA and released in 2011. By sending officers to patrol these algorithmically predicted hot spots, these Read more about How We Determined Predictive Policing Software Disproportionately Targeted Low-Income, Black, and Latino Neighborhoods[…]

Clear These Recalled Cancer Causing Antiperspirants From Your Home

If you’re a fan of aerosol spray antiperspirants and deodorants, you’re going to want to check to see whether the one you use is part of a voluntary recall issued by Procter & Gamble (P&G). The recall comes after a citizen’s petition filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month that claims Read more about Clear These Recalled Cancer Causing Antiperspirants From Your Home[…]

Short of Suspension: How Suspension Warnings Can Reduce Hate Speech on Twitter

Debates around the effectiveness of high-profile Twitter account suspensions and similar bans on abusive users across social media platforms abound. Yet we know little about the effectiveness of warning a user about the possibility of suspending their account as opposed to outright suspensions in reducing hate speech. With a pre-registered experiment, we provide causal evidence Read more about Short of Suspension: How Suspension Warnings Can Reduce Hate Speech on Twitter[…]

Something Awful Founder Richard Lowtax Kyanka Has Reportedly Died

A GoFundMe is collecting money to put toward the wellbeing of the three daughters Kyanka left behind. Here is the corresponding thread on Something Awful. Original story continues below. Longtime Something Awful forum administrator Fragmaster posted that site founder Richard “Lowtax” Kyanka has died. “I guess I should preface this by saying this isn’t a joke especially Read more about Something Awful Founder Richard Lowtax Kyanka Has Reportedly Died[…]

5-Day Brain Stimulation Treatment Highly Effective Against Depression, Stanford Researchers Find

Stanford researchers think they’ve devised an effective and quick-acting way to treat difficult cases of depression, by improving on an already approved form of brain stimulation. In a new trial published this week, the researchers found that almost 80% of patients improved after going through treatment—a far higher rate than those who were given a Read more about 5-Day Brain Stimulation Treatment Highly Effective Against Depression, Stanford Researchers Find[…]

Missouri governor demands prosecution for data breach report – in HTML source code of state website

A Missouri politician has been relentlessly mocked on Twitter after demanding the prosecution of a journalist who found and responsibly reported a vulnerability in a state website. Mike Parson, governor of Missouri, described reporters for local newspaper the St Louis Post Dispatch (SLPD) as “hackers” after they discovered a web app for the state’s Department Read more about Missouri governor demands prosecution for data breach report – in HTML source code of state website[…]

The Beauty Of Dance, Seen Through The Power Of Touch

It’s nothing short of amazing what trained dancers can do with their bodies, and a real shame that visually-impaired people can’t enjoy the experience of, say, ballet. For this year’s Hackaday Prize, [Shi Yun] is working on a way for visually-impaired people to experience dance performances via haptic feedback on a special device. This platform, Read more about The Beauty Of Dance, Seen Through The Power Of Touch[…]

Texas abortion: Judge temporarily blocks enforcement of law

A US judge has temporarily blocked a new law in Texas that effectively bans women from having an abortion. District Judge Robert Pitman granted a request by the Biden administration to prevent any enforcement of the law while its legality is being challenged. The law, which prohibits women in Texas from obtaining an abortion after Read more about Texas abortion: Judge temporarily blocks enforcement of law[…]

Just How Much Time Do We Spend On Our Phones?

Just How Much Time Do We Spend On Our Phones? Phones have become so essential that it’s become tough to imagine our lives without them. What’s funny about this is that most people alive today can remember a time when we didn’t have cell phones, let alone smartphones. Even so, it’s difficult to recall exactly Read more about Just How Much Time Do We Spend On Our Phones?[…]

China to have insight into and regulate web giants’ algorithms using governance model

China’s authorities have called for internet companies to create a governance system for their algorithms. A set of guiding opinions on algorithms, issued overnight by nine government agencies, explains that algorithms play a big role in disseminating information online and enabling growth of the digital economy. But the guiding opinions also point out that algorithms Read more about China to have insight into and regulate web giants’ algorithms using governance model[…]