Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands

Enlarge (credit: Robin Utrecht | Abaca Press | Alamy) When Susan Schaap, 61, travels from her Dutch hometown of Zeewolde to the nearest city of Leylystad, the 30-minute drive takes her through vast tulip fields, interrupted only by wind turbines and sometimes sheep. But if Facebook parent company Meta’s plans are… [Read More...]

To see proteins change in a quadrillionth of a second, use AI

Enlarge (credit: Westend61 | Getty Images) Have you ever had an otherwise perfect photo ruined by someone who moved too quickly and caused a blur? Scientists have the same issue while recording images of proteins that change their structure in response to light. This process is common in nature, so… [Read More...]

The movement to hold AI accountable gains more steam

Enlarge (credit: MirageC | Getty Images) Algorithms play a growing role in our lives, even as their flaws are becoming more apparent: a Michigan man wrongly accused of fraud had to file for bankruptcy; automated screening tools disproportionately harm people of color who want to buy a home or rent… [Read More...]

Why the chip shortage drags on and on… and on

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images) The semiconductor industry lives at the cutting edge of technological progress. So why can’t it churn out enough chips to keep the world moving? Nearly two years into pandemic-caused disruptions, a severe shortage of computer chips—the components at the heart of smartphones, laptops… [Read More...]

How to transfer save data from one Nintendo Switch to another

Enlarge / The new OLED Switch above its predecessor. (credit: Sam Machkovech) Your Nintendo Switch is loaded up with precious game save data, not to mention your prized screenshots and gripping gameplay recordings. You don’t need to upgrade to the new Switch OLED, but if you are—or you just need to… [Read More...]

Fire weather is getting worse in the American West

Enlarge (credit: Kyle Monoon | Mercury News | Getty) California is famous for its beach weather, but it’s also growing increasingly infamous for its “fire weather,” which is when high temperatures, strong winds, and low humidity combine to prime the landscape to burn. It’s no accident that you’ve been… [Read More...]

A new app helps Iranians hide messages in plain sight

Enlarge / An anti-government graffiti that reads in Farsi “Death to the dictator” is sprayed at a wall north of Tehran on September 30, 2009. (credit: Getty Images) Amid ever-increasing government Internet control, surveillance, and censorship in Iran, a new Android app aims to give Iranians a way to speak freely… [Read More...]

As COVID cases rise, so do hospital-related infections

Enlarge (credit: Francine Orr | Getty Images) Last month, a 46-year-old military veteran in Houston died of pancreatitis, an urgent but treatable condition, while waiting to be admitted to a hospital overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID patients. Last week, the governor of Hawaii signed an executive order releasing the state’s… [Read More...]

Twitch sues users over alleged “hate raids” against streamers

Enlarge (credit: MikkelWilliam | Getty Images) Since early August, Twitch has been wrestling with an epidemic of harassment, known as “hate raids,” against marginalized streamers. These attacks spam streamers’ chats with hateful and bigoted language, amplified dozens of times a minute by bots. On Thursday, after a month trying… [Read More...]

Why the password isn’t dead quite yet

Not exactly a 25-character, randomized string of numbers, letters, cases, and symbols. (credit: Dan Goodin) There are certain sci-fi promises the future is supposed to hold: jetpacks, flying cars, a Mars colony. But there are also some seemingly more attainable goals that somehow also always feel just on the… [Read More...]

The humble shrub that’s predicting a terrible fire season

Enlarge (credit: Bryant Baker, Los Padres ForestWatch) If you’re kind of judgmental when it comes to plants, you might describe the chamise plant as “meh.” Technically it’s a shrub, which in the hierarchy of plant types barely outranks a weed. Chamise grows up to a dozen feet tall and… [Read More...]

New York lawmaker wants to ban police use of armed robots

Enlarge (credit: Michael Cohen | Getty Images) New York City councilmember Ben Kallos says he “watched in horror” last month when city police responded to a hostage situation in the Bronx using Boston Dynamics’ Digidog, a remotely operated robotic dog equipped with surveillance cameras. Pictures of the Digidog went viral… [Read More...]

The local politics of AirBNB’s ban on DC rentals

Enlarge / Airbnb said it will refund guests who had booked stays in DC next week and reimburse hosts for lost income. (credit: Bonnie Jo Mount | Washington Post | Getty Images) On January 9—three days after supporters of President Trump started a riot at the US Capitol—Sean Evans decided it… [Read More...]

Fancy Bear imposters are on a hacking extortion spree

Enlarge Ransomware attacks that tear through corporate networks can bring massive organizations to their knees. But even as these hacks reach new popularity highs—and new ethical lows—among attackers, it’s not the only technique criminals are using to shake down corporate victims. A new wave of attacks relies instead on digital… [Read More...]

New Mac ransomware is even more sinister than it appears

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images) The threat of ransomware may seem ubiquitous, but there haven’t been too many strains tailored specifically to infect Apple’s Mac computers since the first full-fledged Mac ransomware surfaced only four years ago. So when Dinesh Devadoss, a malware researcher at the firm K7 Lab, published… [Read More...]