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Engineering News

Engineering Ethics Blog: Our Unelected Big-Tech Overlords

  Last week I blogged about how Twitter kicked off @realDonaldTrump, and how decisions like that give the lie to Twitter’s claim of common-carrier-like protection against lawsuits granted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  Normally I like to change topics every week, but this week is an exception.    A week ago today, on Jan. 10, Amazon Web Services shut down its web-hosting services for the social-media network Parler, taking it off the Internet and capping a series…

Scientists reveal mechanism that causes irritable bowel syndrome — ScienceDaily

KU Leuven researchers have identified the biological mechanism that explains why some people experience abdominal pain when they eat certain foods. The finding paves the way for more efficient treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and other food intolerances. The study, carried out in mice and humans, was published in Nature. Up to 20% of the world’s population suffers from the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which causes stomach pain or severe discomfort after eating. This affects their quality of life. Gluten-free…

Group says enhancements to the observing system are urgently needed with the accelerating pace of climatic and oceanic change — ScienceDaily

A group of more than 60 scientists have provided recommendations to improve the Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS), a basin-wide monitoring system to better understand the impacts of human-caused climate change in a region that has been warming faster than any other ocean. The group, led by Lisa Beal, professor of ocean sciences at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, provides a road map for an enhanced IndOOS to better meet the scientific and…

UC Berkeley conservationist discovers the first evidence of visual communication among tropical glass frogs — ScienceDaily

Most frogs emit a characteristic croak to attract the attention of a potential mate. But a few frog species that call near loud streams — where the noise may obscure those crucial love songs — add to their calls by visually showing off with the flap of a hand, a wave of a foot or a bob of the head. Frogs who “dance” near rushing streams have been documented in the rainforests of India, Borneo, Brazil and, now, Ecuador. Conservation…

Conductive nature in crystal structures revealed at magnification of 10 million times — ScienceDaily

In groundbreaking materials research, a team led by University of Minnesota Professor K. Andre Mkhoyan has made a discovery that blends the best of two sought-after qualities for touchscreens and smart windows — transparency and conductivity. The researchers are the first to observe metallic lines in a perovskite crystal. Perovskites abound in the Earth’s center, and barium stannate (BaSnO3) is one such crystal. However, it has not been studied extensively for metallic properties because of the prevalence of more conductive…

Tool to distribute limited vaccines equitably — ScienceDaily

The demand for COVID-19 vaccines continues to outpace supply, forcing public health officials to decide who should be first in line for a shot, even among those in the same pool of eligible vaccine recipients. To assist these efforts, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health have developed a tool (https://www.hipxchange.org/COVIDvaccine) that incorporates a person’s age and socioeconomic status to prioritize vaccine distribution among people who otherwise share similar risks due to…

Uganda’s January 13, 2021 Internet Shut Down

Two days ago, through its communications regulator, Uganda’s government ordered the “Suspension Of The Operation Of Internet Gateways” the day before the country’s general election. This action was confirmed by several users and journalists who got access to the letter sent to Internet providers. In other words, the government effectively cut off Internet access from the population to the rest of the world. Ahead of tomorrow’s election the Internet has been shutdown in Uganda (confirmed by a few friends in…

Oruche Receives Stipend from Koerner Family Foundation

A Mizzou Engineering student has received a $10,000 supplemental stipend from the Koerner Family Foundation. And for Roland Oruche, the funding could not have come at a better time. Now in his second year of the PhD program in computer science, Oruche was facing financial problems following COVID-19. The virus’s economic fallout impacted his educational funding stream. And it hindered his family’s ability to help. Both of Oruche’s parents are small business owners. “For a lot of us, COVID-19 has…

KEMTLS: Post-quantum TLS without signatures

The Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS), which secures most Internet connections, has mainly been a protocol consisting of a key exchange authenticated by digital signatures used to encrypt data at transport[1]. Even though it has undergone major changes since 1994, when SSL 1.0 was introduced by Netscape, its main mechanism has remained the same. The key exchange was first based on RSA, and later on traditional Diffie-Hellman (DH) and Elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH). The signatures used for authentication have almost always…