Facebook Experiments With Being Less Awful, Says Not to Get Used to It or Anything

Illustration for article titled Facebook Experiments With Being Less Awful, Says Not to Get Used to It or Anything

Photo: Bill Clark-Pool (Getty Images)

Has Facebook learned jack shit from the past few nightmare years? Not really, per a report in the New York Times on Tuesday. Facebook only started giving more weight to reputable publishers in the News Feed days after the 2020 election and doesn’t plan on making that a long-term thing. Executives on its policy team also blocked or sought to water down changes that would limit content the company defined as “bad for the world” or “hate bait,” as well as shot down a feature that would warn users if they fell for hoaxes.

According to the Times, CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed days after the election to tweak the Facebook news feed to emphasize “news ecosystem quality” (NEQ), a “secret internal ranking it assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism,” because of rampant misinformation spread by

Read More

Ultrafast laser experiments pave way to better industrial catalysts — ScienceDaily

Arizona State University’s Scott Sayres and his team have recently published an ultrafast laser study on uncharged iron oxide clusters, which could ultimately lead to the development of new and less-expensive industrial catalysts. It might also contribute to a better understanding of the universe since iron oxides are observed in the emission spectra of stars.

Sayres is an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences and a faculty member in the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery.

Most chemical industries utilize catalysts to enhance the rate of reaction and selectivity in obtaining their desired products. For example, catalytic converters in the exhausts of our vehicles commonly use platinum, palladium and rhodium to help break down pollutants.

All three of these metals are significantly more expensive than gold, which is in turn a lot more costly than iron. On average a catalytic converter costs $1,000 but can be as

Read More

Virgin Galactic aims to fly its first human mission from Spaceport America in November, and NASA’s sending some science experiments along for the ride

a large airplane flying high up in the air: SpaceShipTwo, or VSS Unity, launches toward the edge of space on December 13, 2018. Virgin Galactic; MarsScientific.com/Trumbull Studios

© Virgin Galactic; MarsScientific.com/Trumbull Studios
SpaceShipTwo, or VSS Unity, launches toward the edge of space on December 13, 2018. Virgin Galactic; MarsScientific.com/Trumbull Studios

  • Virgin Galactic plans to run its first human test flight from Spaceport America between November 19 and 23, according to a company press release. 
  • Assuming the flight is successful, Virgin will be one step closer to flying its billionaire founder, Richard Branson, past the edge of space.
  • Following Branson’s successful flight, the company says it will resume selling tickets aboard its luxe VSS Unity spaceship. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Virgin Galactic expects to launch its a human mission from Spaceport America between November 19 and 23, according to a press release issued by the company on Thursday.

The flight wouldn’t be Virgin Galactic’s first with crew: The company has twice launched employees on up-and-down suborbital flights, in December 2018 and in February 2019, from

Read More

To predict how crops cope with changing climate, 30 years of experiments simulate future — ScienceDaily

Five years ago, the United Nations committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. Since then, however, world hunger has continued to rise. Nearly 9 percent of our global population is now undernourished, according to a 2020 report from the FAO, and climate variability is a leading factor driving us off course.

Over the past 30 years, a network of 14 long-term research facilities spanning five continents has simulated future levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) to forecast the impact on crops. Importantly, these ‘Free-Air Concentration Enrichment’ (FACE) experiments are conducted outside in real-world field conditions to capture the complex environmental factors that impact crop growth and yield.

Today, a review published in Global Change Biology synthesizes 30 years of FACE data to grasp how global crop production may be impacted by rising CO2 levels and other factors. The study portends a less optimistic

Read More

Need some re-leaf? Try these tree-tastic science experiments to keep kids busy this fall.

“Why do leaves change color?”

a close up of a tree: None

© Photograph by Davidgn / Dreamstime

It’s a question parents might dread more than “Why is the sky blue?” But the answer will not only make you look like a genius, it’ll inspire curiosity, outdoor exploration, and scientific discovery in your child. And when combined with fun leaf activities, kids can develop their creative muscles as well.

a close up of a flower: None

© Photograph by Ruth A. Musgrave

Revealing the secret life of leaves to kids

Plants produce green, yellow, red, and orange pigments in their leaves. The green pigment is called chlorophyll. In the spring and summer, plants produce a lot of it to capture energy from the sun to produce food. (You remember photosynthesis from eighth grade, right?) Other pigments also help with photosynthesis, but there’s so much chlorophyll that you can’t see those colors.

In the fall, reduced light and cooler temperatures decrease the

Read More

This app lets you run experiments using your smartphone’s sensors

Motion sensor, GPS sensor, magnetic compass, pedometer, brightness sensor and more: Your smartphone is packed with sensor technology that apps can access when needed.

Usually, though, users remain in the dark about what the sensors can do together with the phone’s built-in cameras, loudspeakers, microphones and wireless interfaces.

These mysteries can be revealed using a free app called Phyphox (Android/iOS) developed at a university in Germany, RWTH Aachen. It uses the integrated technology and the data that’s collected to make physical forces visible.

Some are pretty familiar from everyday life, while others can be used in the classroom or when conducting your own experiments at home.

Phyphox is an abbreviation for Physical Phone Experiments, and its makers say that your phone is a mobile lab for your own research.

One helpful feature is that the app on the smartphone can be remotely controlled and monitored from a browser on any

Read More

In rodent experiments modeled to mimic real-life circumstances, scientists revealed brain mechanisms that could lead to targeted treatments. — ScienceDaily

Through intricate experiments designed to account for sex-specific differences, scientists at Scripps Research have collaborated to zero in on certain changes in the brain that may be responsible for driving alcohol abuse among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

In studies with rodents, researchers found that males and females exhibit their own distinct symptoms and brain features of PTSD and alcohol use disorder. Such differences are not typically accounted for in laboratory-based studies yet could lead to more successful clinical treatments.

The findings, published in Molecular Psychiatry, also present a new model for identifying biomarkers that may indicate a person with PTSD is more likely to develop alcohol use disorder.

“Having PTSD significantly increases the risk of developing alcohol use disorder, as individuals use alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety. Yet the underlying biology of comorbid disorders is generally not well understood,” says Dean Kirson, PhD, a

Read More

Adobe’s latest AI experiments will melt your brain

Adobe’s biggest week of the year is its Adobe MAX conference. And while the company always announces new products, the most compelling part of the event is often unrelated to anything that actually ships.

I’m referring to Adobe’s “Sneaks,” or the UX experiments that Adobe Research is working on that aren’t quite ready to be put into real products yet. These are often powered by Adobe’s reality-altering AI platform called Sensei.

“About 60% of the concepts presented in the history of Adobe Sneaks have made their way into our products,” says Gavin Miller, VP and head of Adobe Research. “The goal of MAX Sneaks is to get real, immediate feedback from our customers and community about what those innovations mean to them—what’s useful, what can be improved, and what can be more impactful to creatives in their daily lives.”

Assuming Adobe gets enough interest in a Sneak, it might make

Read More