Questions set the scientific method in motion. Without that initial curiosity, that “I wonder…”, that “What if…”, we would not have the technology, the medicine, nor the knowledge that we have today.
But not all questions have readily attainable answers. Despite our formidable advances in probing reality over the years, there are some things we are still incapable of concretely knowing. One day, that could change, but for these topics it’s currently hard to fathom how. Here are four questions that humans may never know the answers to:
Do You See Red Like I See Red? Read More
Facebook blocked Dr. Carol Swain’s ad account, claiming her ads had violated their policies on “deceptive or misleading practices.” Swain had posted an ad for a virtual law enforcement appreciation event.
Swain told The Tennessee Star that she’d directed the woman who runs her social media to submit the ad. Facebook informed Swain that she’d have to change the ad or submit new paperwork to describe the ad as “political.” Read More
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is co-sponsoring a reform bill tackling Big Tech’s censorship and “fact-checking” policies. The bill, “Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act,” is a reform of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA). Read More
Section 230 hasn’t been updated in nearly 25 years. The goal of the reform is to “clarify the original intent of the law and examine Big Tech’s content moderation practices.”
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) defended Dr. Anthony Fauci’s COVID-19 advice after President Donald Trump’s remarks. Read More
The senator also stated that people weren’t doing enough to counteract the spread of the virus.
New research from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that excess, non-COVID-19 deaths increased over the course of the pandemic. The authors theorized that the pandemic caused “disruptions” that led to these deaths.
Non-COVID deaths accounted for over thirty percent of the overall excess deaths. The most significant non-COVID causes of death were heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and dementia. Read More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks. Read More
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.
Virgin Hyperloop One will build a certification center in West Virginia for the high-speed transportation concept that uses enclosed pods to zip passengers underground at over 600 mph (960 km/h).
The company had received bids from more than a dozen states in the past year to build a 6-mile (9.7-kilometer) testing track and other safety facilities over hundreds of acres for the electromagnetic levitation transportation technology. Read More
Metro Public Health Department will officially resume an updated version of the controversial COVID-19 patient database for the benefit of first responders. This follows Metro Department of Communications (DEC) weeks-long interim testing for the database. Read More
The Metro Board of Health discontinued the first version of the system in June due to privacy concerns. About two months later, the board decided to resume the database. The members discussed an interim database that would take six weeks to develop. This following database will serve as the more permanent solution.
The Virginia government will reportedly have spent over $1.7 million for the COVID-19 exposure reporting app COVIDWISE, which 13.5% of cell phone users have downloaded. Approximately $1.5 million was spent on marketing alone. Read More
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and SpringML Inc. received $229,000 in CARES federal emergency funding to co-develop and launch COVIDWISE. The app allows users to upload their positive test results, which allows other users to receive exposure notifications. Users will only be notified if they have been within a 6 foot vicinity for over 15 minutes.
U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines. Read More
Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.
Governor Walz lifted the restrictions on access to hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been in use for decades to treat a wide variety of illnesses – including SARS-type infections – that some say may be an effective therapeutic for COVID-19. The removal of limitations on the drug were outlined in Walz’s latest executive order issued last week.
Walz did not give an explanation for the reversal of his order on the drug. Read More
The Pentagon plans to free up a big chunk of its military airwaves in the U.S. for high-speed internet service, part of a broader push to get ahead of China in the deployment of 5G wireless technology.
The Trump administration announced Monday that it has identified radio spectrum used for radar defense systems that can be shared with commercial telecommunications providers without compromising national security. Read More
The University of Minnesota released a report Thursday in which all 500 Twin Cities healthcare workers tested in their study were negative for COVID-19. Their test subjects were the healthcare workers who have been tending to patients for months.
Considering the recent surge of cases, this is good news for the frontlines. Read More
Two days after President Trump told reporters that he plans to ban TikTok from the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested in an interview with Fox News that executive action may soon be taken against many other apps owned by Chinese firms.
Trump remarked to journalists aboard Air Force One on Friday that he could ban TikTok “with an executive order,” suggesting that the president has made up his mind about the popular short video platform. TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance, has been at the center of a months-long debate over whether the data that it collects from American users could be exploited by China’s government. Read More
A Kodak moment for the books: the former film giant flipped to pharma in a move aimed to rejuvenate the company after nearly two decades of hardship. Several reports state that Kodak branched out to offset the large-scale loss of its film business – punctuated by a bankruptcy in 2012 after the concept of the digital camera that it invented rendered many of its product offerings obsolete.
Initial talks of Kodak’s new active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) division, branded “Kodak Pharmaceuticals,” began as early as a few months ago according to Kodak CEO Jim Continenza. He says the move shouldn’t be all that surprising. Read More
With eight successful Mars landings, NASA is upping the ante with its newest rover.
The spacecraft Perseverance — set for liftoff this week — is NASA’s biggest and brainiest Martian rover yet.
It sports the latest landing tech, plus the most cameras and microphones ever assembled to capture the sights and sounds of Mars. Its super-sanitized sample return tubes — for rocks that could hold evidence of past Martian life — are the cleanest items ever bound for space. A helicopter is even tagging along for an otherworldly test flight. Read More
Friday’s widespread crashes of popular apps running on the iPhone’s iOS operating system — including Tinder, Spotify and Pinterest — serve as a reminder that Facebook is still tracking you through your phone using sophisticated software, even if you’re not browsing the social network.
Early Friday, users of the apps reported crashes when they tried to open them up. Facebook attributed the problem, which was quickly fixed, to a bug in its software development kit, or SDK, a tool developers use to integrate their apps with Facebook. Read More
Machine and human intelligences bring different strengths to the table. Researchers like me are working to understand how algorithms can complement human skills while at the same time minimizing the liabilities of relying on machine intelligence. As a machine learning expert, I predict there will soon be a new balance between human and machine intelligence, a shift that humanity hasn’t encountered before.
Such changes often elicit fear of the unknown, and in this case, one of the unknowns is how machines make decisions. This is especially so when it comes to fairness. Can machines be fair in a way that people understand? Read More
Northrop Grumman donated a Sabreliner jet to a Maryland high school this week to help it launch the state’s first high school aviation program. Read More
Thomas Alva Edison, born February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, was fired from two jobs before the age of 18 for causing explosions in his places of work. Read More
A new form of drug drastically improves survival rates of pre-menopausal women with the most common type of breast cancer, researchers said on Saturday, citing the results of an international clinical trial. The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, showed… Read More
by Elizabeth Lee New discoveries about what is inside the body are making scientists rethink what makes a person human and what makes people sick or healthy. Less than half of the cells in the body are human. The rest belong to microorganisms that affect the health, mood and whether… Read More
President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he spoke with General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who said GM will sell the vacant Lordstown factory to Workhorse, an electric truck manufacturer. The president also mentioned that GM is going to invest $700 million into three separate locations in Ohio. Trump expressed his support… Read More
Scientists say images of craters taken by European and American space probes show there likely once was a planet-wide system of underground lakes on Mars. Data collected by NASA and ESA probes orbiting the red planet provide the first geological evidence for an ancient Martian groundwater system, according to a… Read More
by Robert Romano At the Feb. 13 hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the proposed merger of T-Mobile U.S., Inc. and Sprint Corporation was considered by members of Congress, with T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure testifying. By the far… Read More
Just 33 minutes into the New Year, NASA’s New Horizons probe made space exploration history, flying by the most distant body ever visited by a spacecraft from earth. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which built and operates the spacecraft, said Tuesday it had “zipped past” the object known… Read More
by Kane Farabaugh You don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, unless, of course, you’re one of the world’s most popular dinosaurs. “It’s a different profile, a much more impressive profile in many ways, a pretty scary large animal, as opposed to a lighter, swifter… Read More
New research strengthens the case that people used the chocolate ingredient cacao in South America 5,400 years ago, underscoring the seed’s radical transformation into today’s Twix bars and M&M candies. Tests indicate traces of cacao on artifacts from an archaeological site in Ecuador, according to a study published Monday. That’s… Read More
by Sam Bocetta From an early age, the adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has been drilled into our psyches and ingrained in our culture. Diversification, in all of its many forms, has become a cornerstone of American economic philosophy and a guiding principle we follow… Read More
by Eric Leiberman Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook are teaming up to provide users with the capability of transferring data across platforms and services, the latter two social media giants announced Friday morning. After heightened concerns over data utilization (even exploitation and manipulation), companies appear to be trying to… Read More
Reuters Billionaire Bill Gates and Estée Lauder Cos chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder on Tuesday said they will award $30 million over three years to encourage development of new tests for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. For Microsoft co-founder Gates, launch of the Diagnostics Accelerator program follows an announcement in November of a… Read More
Bradford Smith, a NASA astronomer who acted as planetary tour guide to the public with his interpretations of stunning images beamed back from Voyager missions, has died. Smith’s wife, Diane McGregor, said he died Tuesday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, of complications from myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune… Read More
by Joseph Sunde Given the breakneck pace of improvements in automation and artificial intelligence, fears about job loss and human obsolescence continue to consume the cultural imagination. The question looms: What is the future of human work in a technological age? Innovators such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates have done their share… Read More
by James D. Agresti and Rachel McCutcheon Politico claims that deadly insect-borne diseases are “on the rise” in the U.S. due to “warming global temperatures.” Although disease-carrying insect populations have increased greatly over the past several decades, there is no reliable evidence that climate change is the reason. Instead, the surge… Read More
by Sadie Witkowski Since the 1800s, scientists have marveled at how spiders can take flight using their webbing. Charles Darwin remarked on the behavior when tiny spiders landed on the HMS Beagle, trailing lines of silk. He thought the arachnids might be using heat-generated updrafts to take to the sky, but… Read More
Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space. Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s… Read More
by Thomas Stace The technology that allowed Marty McFly to travel back in time in the 1985 movie Back to the Future was the mythical flux capacitor, designed by inventor Doc Brown. We’ve now developed our own kind of flux capacitor, as detailed recently in Physical Review Letters. While we can’t send… Read More
An accident, a stroke, or a disease can leave someone paralyzed and unable to walk. That happens to more than 15 million people around the world each year. But new technological advances and physical therapy could help some of them walk again. Among the most promising is the use of… Read More
by Samuel Redman In 1912, Charles Dawson, an amateur archaeologist in England, claimed he’d made one of the most important fossil discoveries ever. Ultimately, however, his “Piltdown Man” proved to be a hoax. By cleverly pairing a human skull with an orangutan’s jaw – stained to match and give the… Read More
by Kyle Perisic An anti-virus company has discovered malware comes pre-installed on Android phones, including on ZTE phones — a Chinese phone company with ties to the Chinese government. “Thousands of users are affected” by the ad-related malware, or adware, according to Avast, the Czech anti-virus company, in its… Read More
Reuters Archaeologists using drones have discovered more than 25 geoglyphs etched into a swath of coastal desert in southern Peru near the Nazca Lines, a culture ministry official said Monday. Most of the newly found geoglyphs, which include figures of a killer whale and a woman dancing, appear to… Read More
A jury has decided Samsung must pay Apple $539 million in damages for illegally copying some of the iPhone’s features to lure people into buying its competing products. The verdict reached Thursday is the latest twist in a legal battle that began in 2011. Apple contends Samsung wouldn’t have emerged… Read More
by Michael Liccione The prestige of science in our culture is well-earned. That scientists discover truths (or at least serviceable approximations to truths) is undeniable. The evidence for that is how successfully scientific findings have been applied for centuries as technology, which has improved life greatly for countless people. Sound… Read More
by Ginny Montalbano President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a space policy directive, calling for “updating and refocusing” those policies in a bid to promote innovation and modernize American commercial space policy. The White House said the move “reforms America’s commercial space regulatory framework, ensuring our place as a leader in space… Read More
If Tennessee voters send former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen to the U.S. Senate this fall then Bredesen will step down as chair Silicon Ranch, a company he founded that has ethics problems. Silicon Ranch Corporation helps finance the construction of solar arrays. According to the Tennessean, Silicon Ranch owns or… Read More
by Julie Taboh Edison did it. Eastman did it. And so did Steve Jobs. They invented products that changed our lives. But for every well-known inventor there are many other, less recognizable individuals whose innovative products have greatly impacted our world. Fifteen of those trailblazing men and women —… Read More
by Eric Lieberman Two senators from either side of the political aisle introduced legislation Tuesday that would force companies like Google and Facebook to further disclose what they are doing with people’s data. Known as the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Right Act, the bill’s authors are Democratic Sen.… Read More
by Printus LeBlanc Every day, the federal government puts out new regulations, updates old ones, or eliminates them all together. This is done in the Federal Register and is published every morning. What most people don’t know is a great amount of the rules and regulations published in the Federal Register were… Read More
It’s like having Siri listen to your internal commands. Arnav Kapur and the AlterEgo device. Lorrie Lejeune/MIT Students from MIT have created a prototype device, dubbed AlterEgo, that can recognize the words you mouth when silently talking to yourself—and then take action based on what it thinks you’re saying. Read More
by Hannah Christensen Modern weather forecasts rely on complex computer simulators. These simulators use all the physics equations that describe the atmosphere, including the movement of air, the sun’s warmth, and the formation of clouds and rain. Incremental improvements in forecasts over time mean that modern five-day weather forecasts are as skillful… Read More