Tag Archives: Cybersecurity

Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of August 22, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of August 22, 2022.

Global News

A team of researchers at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts are developing a targeted cancer vaccine based on mRNA technology.

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A research team from the University of Cambridge has developed a learning algorithm to help automated 3-D printers identify and correct errors and even print new materials.

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Five plants that could help the world’s food supply better adapt to climate change.

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Americas

Canada’s highest court may soon have the country’s first Indigenous court judge with the nomination of Michelle O’Bonsawin

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds a 12 percent lead on Jair Bolsonaro.

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Human traffickers are using Facebook and WhatsApp to spread misinformation and advertise in Latin America.

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Africa

The Ethiopian government has proposed a peace plan to end the war against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and end the violence in Tigray. But the TPLF does not trust the government to keep their word.

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More than 1,400 delegates from various political, civil and military groups met in N’Djamena on Saturday to debate a new government for the nation of Chad. However, two of the biggest rebel groups and a large political coalition did not participate in the talks.

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In Nigeria, a virus that infects 100,000 to 300,000 people in Africa a year, is raging. The Lassa virus could become a major threat outside of Africa and currently has no cure.

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Europe

Droughts in Europe could worsen the cost of living as water stress increases costs of shipping, food, water and sanitation with 60 percent of the continent affected.

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Russian-state communications watchdog organization Roskomnadzor is imposing fines and other punishment against foreign IT companies like TikTok and Pinterest for alleged violations of Russian law regarding the removal of “illegal” content.

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Explainer: What is causing the recent tensions between Serbia and Kosovo?

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Middle East

Israel and Turkey are reestablishing diplomatic relations with ambassadors to be exchanged.

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Explainer: The Iran nuclear deal maybe closer to agreement, but how close is it?

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Asia

Newly elected Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is taking aim at critics in the media.

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Slavery allegations in Xinjiang, China, are credible according to a United Nations expert on the subject. In the cited report, other nations have been spotlighted for forced domestic servitude and forced and child marriages.

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After failing to curb resistance to military rule, Myanmar, military government chief Min Aung Hlaing is targeting government and business elites. Some analysts see this as consolidation of power by Hlaing and potentially a sign of fragile leadership.

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Filed under Agriculture, Climate Change, Cybersecurity, International Conflict, International Development, Medicine, News, Russia, Technology and Proto Types, Water

Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of June 19, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of June 19, 2022.

Global News

The World Health Organization is creating a vaccine-sharing program with nations in Africa and 30 countries outside the continent to combat Monkeypox. However, the program might draw away vaccines from the continent to richer countries where the cases of Monkeypox are mostly mild whereas the ailment is endemic in Central and Western Africa.

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Explainer: The Russian war against Ukraine is causing a global food shortage and raising global food prices.

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While not published last week, here is a guide for making one’s garden into a carbon sink.

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Americas

Columbia has elected their first leftist president in former rebel Gustavo Petro. Several other Latin American countries have also elected more progressive and leftist presidents, but in Columbia there was a mood of who the electorate wanted least in power.

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Puerto Rican politicians are pushing to hold a vote on the future of the island as either a commonwealth, independent or the 51st State of the United States of America.

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Juneteenth celebration in America, commemorating the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas June 19, 1865, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in Texas.

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Africa

Explainer: The tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo goes back decades and is currently flaring again.

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Facebook moderators failed to remove extremist content from Jihadist groups such as Islamic State and al-Shabab according to a study by Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

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Explainer: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and “Farmgate”, which could see the president facing criminal charges.

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Europe

Dutch authorities stopped a GRU operative from infiltrating the International Criminal Court in the Hauge. The ICC is currently investigating war crimes allegations against Russia in Ukraine.

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The United Kingdom and European Union are in a row over a unilateral change to the Brexit agreement made by the UK government regarding trade on the Northern Ireland border.

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The EU will fine tech companies that fail to consistently deal with deepfakes with fines up to 6% of global turnover.

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Middle East

Israel and Egypt signed a deal with the EU to export natural gas and oil in exchange for the EU’s assistance with energy exploration in the two nations’ territorial waters.

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The EU has unfrozen aid for the Palestinian Authority.

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In Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, the head of the Sadrist movement and ordered 73 politicians from his movement to resign from the government.

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Asia

Bank customers in Henan, China found their COVID tracker apps turning red when they entered the city to withdrawal money from troubled rural banks, denying them access to public services like trains and entry into buildings. 

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China launches the Type 003 “Fujian” carrier on Friday.

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Islamic State launched an attack on the Sikh community in Afghanistan, killing one and wounding seven in Kabul.

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Filed under Climate Change, Cybersecurity, International Conflict, News, Russia, Technology and Proto Types

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of May 31, 2022.

Global News

The tobacco industry is a major polluter and climate change according to the World Health Organization.

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Chinese disinformation and misinformation are especially prominent in Google News. CCP propaganda showing up in 88% of new searches on search engines like Bing and Google.

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Chinese foreign lending often targets the home providence of incumbent political leadership, favoring projects in the home city or providence of a sitting head of state. However, this effect disappears when the incumbent is out of power. This also means that China is at risk of backlash from projects that serve little or no benefit to the borrowing country and the debt for these projects become a debt burden.

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Americas

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree increase the fine amount for individuals who provide false information in order to gain logging license applications or forest concessions. Environmental activists point out that the legislation doesn’t really address the core problems related to illegal logging or that fines can expire if not paid.

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Cyber criminals launched a ransomware attack on Costa Rica’s public health agency computer systems, causing the government to shut down the system.

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The Summit of the Americas will be held in the United States of America for the first time since 1994, but Mexico might not attend. Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela had not been invited to the summit.

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Africa

Protests are taking place in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo over alleged Rwandan support for M-23, a rebel force that clashed with the Congolese military in Northern Kivu, which borders Rwanda.

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The war in Ukraine is causing food shortages in Africa. Both Ukraine and Russia are major food and fertilizer exporters, with Africa being a recipient of more than 40% of grain and wheat exports from Russia in the past few years.

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The United Nations Security Council passed unanimously a resolution condemning armed robbery, hostage-taking and piracy off the Gulf of Guinea. Piracy in the region costs coastal states around 2 billion USD a year while piracy in the region remains high despite global decline of piracy.

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Europe

Turkey and Russia in discussions over incursions in Northern Syria.

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The European Union will embargo 90% of Russian oil exports by December. Poland and Germany are also planning on phasing out Russian oil as well by the end of the year.

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After being sworn in for a second term on Tuesday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will seek European Union membership for the country, but not join NATO.

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Middle East

 Israel and the United Arab Emirates have signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, a free trade deal that is potentially worth more than 10 billion USD, according to the UAE.

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Lebanon has re-elected Nabih Berri for a seventh term as Speaker of Parliament.

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Oxfam is calling on warring sides of the Yemeni war to renew the ceasefire struck in April, citing the need for humanitarian aid and assistance to millions at risk of starvation.

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Asia

China’s attempt to sign comprehensive security and regional coordination over fisheries and other issues, ended up falling short as the 10 Polynesian nations approached by Beijing had refused to sign on.

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 The Bai Lan attitude, or “let it rot”, reflects a growing disillusionment in Chinese youth. The lack of economic opportunities and uncertainty for the future are driving the attitude. However, it’s not unique to China.

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A leak of alleged documents and photos from a database in Xinjiang provides more evidence of abuses and involuntary detention of Uighurs in the internment camps. Beijing denies the claims despite this being the second data leak since 2019 showing abuses.

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The Department of Foreign Affairs is protesting Beijing’s imposition of a unilateral moratorium of fishing in disputed and Filipino territorial waters, an act that is illegal according to a ruling by the  Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016.

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Filed under Climate Change, Cybersecurity, International Conflict, News, Russia

Global Tech Stories (April 5, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

A fungal spray that can fight soil degradation and air pollution has been developed in India.

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Zyxel, a hardware company, has released a patch for the CVE-2022-0342 flaw. The flaw affected VPNs and Firewalls due to an authentication bypass vulnerability in the common gateway interface of a device.

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Twitter and Elon Musk reached a deal to allow Musk onto the board but limited to 14.9% common stock. This deal would prevent a buyout of the company’s stock.

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Darknet site Hydra, the largest cybercrime forum globally, has been shut down by German authorities.

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According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there are five things we can do to fight climate change effectively with current technology and tools.

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Deeper dive on the IPCC report.

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Filed under Agriculture, Climate Change, Cybersecurity, News, Technology and Proto Types, Water

Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of March 27, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of March 27, 2022.

Global News

Two state-backed North Korean hacker groups exploited a vulnerability in Chrome to launch a zero-day attack. The vulnerability, CVE-2022-0609, has been patched but the primarily means to actually target people was a complex social engineering operation that involved either compromising legitimate sites or creating fake profiles and sites to lure potential targets in various industries.

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The deep ocean current is impacted by global temperature and carbon, and it’s getting faster with more carbon. This could have a major impact on future sequestration of carbon and on ocean life.

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A new lithium battery that can stretch and flex. This could one day lead to clothing that can recharge and power electronics.

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Americas

Canadian Indigenous delegations will be meeting with Pope Francis this week to ask for a formal apology from the Catholic Church for abuses and crimes against Indigenous communities due to the residential schools that operated between the early 19th Century and 20th Century.

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El Salvador is moving forward with trying to popularize bitcoin as a legal tender, including the release of bitcoin-backed bond for the treasury. While the president and crypto enthusiasts love the idea, many Salvadorans are not using the currency and critics, such as the International Monetary Fund, point to the risks and volatility of the digital currency as threat to the economy.

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Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Organization of American States, Arturo McFields, resigned on Wednesday after accusing president Daniel Ortega and his government of suppressing freedoms and attacking opposition parties.  

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Africa

A court in Uganda issued an arrest warrant for Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, an author and critic of the government who fled the country for Germany after he was allegedly tortured by government agents. He is the second critic to flee the country.

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A ceasefire and truce were have taken hold yesterday in Ethiopia between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. First initiated unilaterally by the government, the TPLF has agreed to the truce, which could help deliver humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands living in the Tigray region and possibly lead to an end of the conflict.

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The NGO Big Ship is mobilizing communities in Mombasa, Kenya, use plastic waste to fight both marine plastic pollution and deforestation. They accomplish this by using yoghut cups to replant mangrove seedlings. With a survival rate of 95% for the mangrove seedlings, these communities reforest critical swampland in Tudor Creek while taking hundreds of thousands of plastic cups out of the marine and mangrove environment.

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Europe

According to General Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Ministry of Defence’s Intelligence Directorate in Ukraine, Putin is attempting to cut the country into two and install a pro-Kremlin government in Russian-occupied territory.

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Explainer- What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, why does it exist, and what it’s doing to help Ukraine?

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Russia’s anti-war protestors and activists are still operating despite massive repression by Putin’s government and over 15,000 arrests and sentences of more than 15 years in prison for individuals protesting the Ukrainian war. While opposition to the war keeps some in Russia, others fear being unable to come back should they leave.

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Middle East

The Houthi movement and the Yemeni government agreed to a prisoner swap on Sunday. The swap will be 1,400 Houthi prisoners in return for 823 prisoners, including the brother of the Yemeni president, according to the Houthis’ national committee for prisoner affairs, however the Yemeni government has not reached a final agreement with the Houthis yet.

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Qatar’s state fund for development will be going into a 50-50 partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help farmers adapt to climate change. The total promised investment is 200 million dollars, and will focus on projects to help low-income farmers in Africa adapt agricultural practices and technologies to better prepare for the changes brought on by climate change.

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The LGBTQ+ community in Iraq faces persecution from state-backed authorities such as the police, and disorganized private groups according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

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Asia

North Korea tested new intercontinental ballistic missiles last week. While promising future tests and greater military capabilities, some analysts see this as both part of the typical activity marking the anniversary of the founder of North Korea’s birthday, Kim Il-Sung, on April 15.

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The United States, U.K. and Canada are launching targeted sanctions on the Myanmar military and government and arms dealers.

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Thousands are heading to Islamabad to rally as embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan potentially faces a no-confidence vote.

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Global Tech Stories (March 22, 2022)

Returning from our break, we have more tech stories for this Tuesday!

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

The renewable energy produced by wind energy could have already replaced coal in Texas. Yet the energy grid is a mess.

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The Lapsus$ hacking gang compromised a super user account in Okta, a password management platform responsible for using multiple services securely without using a password for each service.

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Researchers at John Hopkins University in Maryland are working on an autonomous medical robot.

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A new way to phish passwords that anyone can use.

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Scientists developed a way to repel dust and even moisture from solar panels in the desert.

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Global Tech Stories (February 15, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

Explainer: What is the Ethereum Swarm?

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The BlackByte group launched attacks that penetrated at least three critical infrastructure sectors and several US and foreign businesses last year.

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In 2021, 74% of all revenue from ransomware attacks went to Russian-affiliated hacker groups.

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The James Webb Space Telescope has taken its first pictures in space. The object was of the star HD 84406 in the constellation of Ursa Major.

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After testing bionic implants to improve eyesight for sheep, Researchers in Australia came one step closer to bionic eyes for humans.

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Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan developed a way to produce hydrogen using cobalt and manganese.

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Filed under Climate Change, Cybersecurity, News, Technology and Proto Types

Global Tech Stories (January 25, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

Social Media company Meta plans on developing a powerful AI supercomputer by mid-2022. Meta plans to use this super computer to train their systems, such as content moderation and machine learning.

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A new firmware-based implant malware has been discovered recently by Kaspersky. This malware is the most advanced of its variety so far discovered.

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Researchers at the University of Michigan and Northeastern University developed a topological optimization algorithm that promises not only to cut down time and resources in finding the best designs for architecture, but to reshape the world.

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Self-powered soft temperature sensors have been developed and can lead to the development of smart clothing and soft robotics.

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Banana peels and apple cores may one day fuel your car, fertilize crops and create valuable components to electrical devices. A way to make biofuel, fertilizer, and electrodes out of organic waste material has been created.

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An atomic level layer of graphene could provide protection for next-generation accelerators.

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Filed under Climate Change, Technology and Proto Types

Global Tech Stories (January 11, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

Raspberry Pi doesn’t need to upload software to scanned devices, it reads unique electromagnetic fields generated by viruses and malware when they are active.

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Tufts University created a model to trace the spread of misinformation and disinformation that reflects more realistic spreads of false news and conspiracy theories.

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The Metaverse provides opportunities for terrorists and criminals.

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Explainer – 5G according to an electrical engineer.

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The future of robotic coordination and communication could lay with concurrent transmission.

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Organic micro pollutants can be removed from water in milliseconds with a new process using light. This is a possible solution to microplastics in the ocean and rivers.

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Global Tech Stories (December 14, 2021)

Here’s what’s going on in the world of technology for this Tuesday.

Goldman Sachs’s Eric Sheridan gives predictions on what he expects will come with the Metaverse. Great predictions that make the stuff of science fiction sound more plausible like interacting in real-time across the globe with avatars and many new ways to interact with the Internet.

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The National Science Foundation and Brave Software have developed an open-source tool to fight privacy invasive scripts. SugarCoat, targets scripts that harm privacy, such as tracking scripts, and replaces them with scripts that mirror the original scripts minus the privacy invasive properties. It was designed to be integrated with privacy focused browsers, like Firefox, Tor, and Brave as well as browser extensions such as uBlick Origin.

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From iPhones to the Mars Rover, these programs are in everything. Yet there is a new and dangerous flaw discovered in the LOG4J, a Java open-source library. Even if a patch is made, the ubiquity of this program will make this a vulnerability for a long time.

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Green Hydrogen could be the missing link for renewable energy and making the world carbon neutral. Here’s how.

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An Israeli firm developed a way to store solar energy and power homes at night. The secret lies with the use of air.

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Japanese company is creating power suits that move with the body and detects where the body needs assistance.

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