Court Finds Algorithm Bias Studies Don't Violate US Anti-Hacking Law

"A federal court in D.C. has ruled in a lawsuit against Attorney General William Barr that studies aimed at detecting discrimination in online algorithms don't violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act," reports Engadget: The government argued that the Act made it illegal to violate a site's terms of service through some investigative methods (such… Read More »

Posted on 30 March 2020 | 6:34 am

What Happens When Epidemiologists are Undermined By Politics?

Earlier this month Slashdot covered the Imperial College in London forecast of "what happens if the U.S. does absolutely nothing to combat COVID-19," which predicted 2.2 million deaths just in the U.S. and another 510,000 in Great Britain. The paper was co-written by Neil Ferguson, one of the world's leading epidemiologists, and "launched leaders… Read More »

Posted on 30 March 2020 | 2:34 am

Ask Slashdot: Should the Internet Be A Public Utility?

The pandemic has "proven conclusively that the internet should be a public utility," argues Quartz. "It's a basic necessity in the 21st century, like running water, gas, and electricity. Indeed, the United Nations in 2016 declared that internet access is a human right." Sure, you could theoretically survive without it, just as you might light your… Read More »

Posted on 29 March 2020 | 11:34 pm

Was Magellan's Voyage Riskier Than Sending Humans to Mars?

A Portuguese historian argues that Magellan's famous trip around the world in 1522 was much harder than sending humans to Mars: Tens of guys died making this crossing; of 250 crew, only 18 returned, Henrique Leitao, a historian at the University of Lisbon, told me... [O]nce NASA or other space agencies or private entities actually launch humans on… Read More »

Posted on 29 March 2020 | 8:44 pm

America's FDA Eases Restrictions on Mask-Sterilizing Technology Amid Coronavirus Shortages

USA Today reports: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Sunday afternoon said federal officials have promised to ease restrictions on a technology to clean and reuse the masks deemed the safest for healthcare workers and first responders in the coronavirus outbreak.... Officials are scrambling for the N95 masks and other protective equipment for health… Read More »

Posted on 29 March 2020 | 6:47 pm

Black Hole Photo May Also Have Captured Light From Around the Universe

"When you point a telescope at a black hole, it turns out you don't just see the swirling sizzling doughnut of doom formed by matter falling in," reports the New York Times. "You can also see the whole universe." Light from an infinite array of distant stars and galaxies can wrap around the black hole like ribbons around a maypole, again and… Read More »

Posted on 29 March 2020 | 5:51 pm