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Science & Technology

Suez Canal container ship accident is a worst-case scenario for global trade

Rory Hopcraft, University of Plymouth; Kevin Jones, University of Plymouth, and Kimberly Tam, University of Plymouth It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s trade is transported by sea. As consumers, we rarely give much thought to how the things we buy make their way across the planet and into our homes. That is, until an incident like the recent grounding …

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Suez Canal blockage: what it takes to unwedge a megaship

Suez Canal Authority Stephen Turnock, University of Southampton One of the world’s largest container ships, named Ever Given, has been wedged across the Suez Canal since it was blown off course by high winds in the early hours of March 23, blocking one of the busiest maritime trade corridors in the world. The incident has created a logjam of hundreds …

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Too much social media can be harmful, but it’s not addictive like drugs

Too much social media can be harmful. Shutterstock/RoBird Bev John, University of South Wales and Martin Graff, University of South Wales If you spend hours of the day on your phone checking social media, you’re not unusual. The average internet user spends two hours a day on various social media sites. But does your habit of checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter …

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Singularity: how governments can halt the rise of unfriendly, unstoppable super-AI

SWEvil Wim Naudé, United Nations University The invention of an artificial super-intelligence has been a central theme in science fiction since at least the 19th century. From E.M. Forster’s short story The Machine Stops (1909) to the recent HBO television series Westworld, writers have tended to portray this possibility as an unmitigated disaster. But this issue is no longer one …

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AI developers often ignore safety in the pursuit of a breakthrough – so how do we regulate them without blocking progress?

bettervector/Shutterstock The Anh Han, Teesside University; Luís Moniz Pereira, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and Tom Lenaerts, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) Ever since artificial intelligence (AI) made the transition from theory to reality, research and development centres across the world have been rushing to come up with the next big AI breakthrough. This competition is sometimes called the “AI race”. …

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We street-proof our kids. Why aren’t we data-proofing them?

It’s time to start data-proofing our children. (Shutterstock) Siobhan O’Flynn, University of Toronto Google recently agreed to pay a US$170 million fine for illegally gathering children’s personal data on YouTube without parental consent, which is a violation under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The United States Federal Trade Commission and the New York State Attorney General — who …

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We street-proof our kids. Why aren’t we data-proofing them?

It’s time to start data-proofing our children. (Shutterstock) Siobhan O’Flynn, University of Toronto Google recently agreed to pay a US$170 million fine for illegally gathering children’s personal data on YouTube without parental consent, which is a violation under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The United States Federal Trade Commission and the New York State Attorney General — who …

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Google’s scrapping third-party cookies – but invasive targeted advertising will live on

Ink Drop/Shutterstock Eerke Boiten, De Montfort University Google has announced plans to stop using tracking cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022, replacing them with a group profiling system in a move the company says will plot “a course towards a more privacy-friendly web”. The change is significant. Chrome commands some two-thirds of the web browser market. Third-party tracking cookies, …

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St James, ‘brother’ of Jesus: it turns out his ancient remains belong to someone else

Saint James the Lesser is believed to have been martyred in AD 70. Wikicommons Kaare Lund Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark and Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta, University of Groningen Hunched innocuously in the shadow of Rome’s mighty Piazza Venezia, just a stone’s throw from one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, the Santi Apostoli church might be forgiven for having more respect …

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Why is celebrity abuse on Twitter so bad? It might be a problem with our empathy

rafapress/Shutterstock Christopher Hand, Glasgow Caledonian University Stories of celebrities suffering abuse and harassment on Twitter are a constant feature in today’s news. Footballers and rugby players are ritually abused if their teams lose. Politicians and journalists are abused for doing their jobs – and that abuse is far worse for women. Even Captain Sir Tom Moore was subjected to a …

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