‘Ready Player One’ sequel goes deeper into technology’s dark side

The sequel to the beloved sci-fi novel, “Ready Player One,” was at last released last week.

WBUR reports that the novel’s author, Ernest Cline, takes readers deeper into a bleak, dystopian future plagued by technology’s darker side. This time around, however, the evil that threatens protagonist Wade Watts and the world he lives in is far more sinister than OASIS.

As a quick refresher, the plot of “Ready Player One” focuses on a hopeless world that’s consumed by a virtual reality simulator, OASIS, which was created by the eccentric scientist James Halliday. When Halliday dies, it is announced that the ownership of the entire OASIS is up for grabs by the player who can find a mysterious Easter Egg. Suddenly, Wade finds himself involved in corporate intrigue as he rushes to find the Easter Egg before anyone else does. Luckily, he wins, freeing the population from greedy overlords and a

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How Archaeologists Are Using Deep Learning to Dig Deeper

Finding the tomb of an ancient king full of golden artifacts, weapons and elaborate clothing seems like any archaeologist’s fantasy. But searching for them, Gino Caspari can tell you, is incredibly tedious.

Dr. Caspari, a research archaeologist with the Swiss National Science Foundation, studies the ancient Scythians, a nomadic culture whose horse-riding warriors terrorized the plains of Asia 3,000 years ago. The tombs of Scythian royalty contained much of the fabulous wealth they had looted from their neighbors. From the moment the bodies were interred, these tombs were popular targets for robbers; Dr. Caspari estimates that more than 90 percent of them have been destroyed.

He suspects that thousands of tombs are spread across the Eurasian steppes, which extend for millions of square miles. He had spent hours mapping burials using Google Earth images of territory in what is now Russia, Mongolia and Western China’s Xinjiang province. “It’s essentially a

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Senate committee to delve deeper in its Aussie fintech and regtech probe

The Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology handed down its interim report on the state of fintech and regtech in Australia in September, proposing 32 recommendations to the government on how to ensure a thriving and innovative ecosystem down under.

In his foreword, committee chair, Senator Andrew Bragg, said he was hopeful the report would be seen as a “series of quick wins”. It covered the research and development (R&D) tax incentive, Australia’s Consumer Data Right (CDR), the digital identity work underway by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), as well as competition and regulation fixes.

On Monday, the committee announced it would be undertaking further consultations on Australian fintech and regtech before delivering a final report with additional recommendations in April 2021.

“The committee looks forward to receiving a formal government response to the recommendations in due course. However, it notes that a number of recommendations are

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Chinese minister calls for deeper int’l sci-tech cooperation

BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) — A Chinese sci-tech official has called for deeper and wider international cooperation in science and technology.

China not only benefits from and takes part in sci-tech opening up and cooperation, but also contributes to and pushes forward international sci-tech progress to the benefit of mankind, Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology, said Wednesday.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, China has been planning and promoting innovation with a global vision and blended into the global innovation network, Wang said.

The country has pushed sci-tech exchanges and cooperation between scientists in China and across the world in the fields of basic research and global issues to enhance public knowledge and collective wisdom of human society, he said.

Wang urged the development of a comprehensive, deep and wide sci-tech opening up and cooperation pattern to strengthen intergovernmental bilateral and multilateral sci-tech exchanges and cooperation.

In sci-tech,

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Melding biology and physical sciences yields deeper understanding of cancer — ScienceDaily

An evolving understanding of cancer that incorporates the physical properties of tumors and their surrounding tissues into existing biologic and genetic models can direct cancer researchers down previously uncharted avenues, potentially leading to new drugs and new treatment strategies, say investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Ludwig Center at HMS.

“We believe that progress in cancer research relies on close collaboration between cancer biologists, oncologists, physical scientists and engineers. A comprehensive understanding of the physical hallmarks of cancer requires a rigorous and broad perspective spanning the physical and biological sciences,” says Rakesh K. Jain, PhD, an investigator in the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories in the Department of Radiation Oncology at MGH and HMS.

In a review published in the journal Science, Jain and Steele Laboratories colleagues Hadi T. Nia, PhD, and Lance L. Munn, PhD, describe four distinct physical hallmarks of cancer that

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