Odds and Ends 

Causes of Death: Google vs Media vs Reality

Click image to see larger version In a recent post on reddit, a group of students at UCSD published a series of fascinating charts comparing the actual causes of death in the United States versus what people searched on Google and what was discussed most in mainstream media. Using data from the CDC (199-2016), Google Trends search volume (2004-2016), The Guardian’s article database and The New York Times’ article database; authors Owen Shen, Hasan Al-Jamaly, Maximillian Siemers, and Nicole Stone created the charts seen below. The updated work was inspired…

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Headlines 

A Georgia Hacking Bill Gets Cybersecurity All Wrong

In March, the Georgia State General Assembly passed a bill that would make it illegal to access a computer or network "without authority." Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has until Tuesday to decide whether to sign it into law or veto it. The 40-day limbo has morphed from a bureaucratic formality, though, into a heated debate with national implications. In just 43 lines, the bill raises fundamental questions about how to establish boundaries in cyberspace without hindering vital security research and, crucially, the ethics of "hacking back," in which institutions that…

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Headlines 

As Scientists March, Federal Researchers Weather Trump Storm

Attendance at this weekend’s March for Science is expected to be lower than last year's, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the country to protest the Trump administration and its science policies. Many anti-Trump protesters say their attention is now focused on other forms of action, such as filing lawsuits to overturn new rules, or recruiting scientists to run for office in local, state, and congressional offices. “Part of what we wanted to see from the march last year was to take the anger and…

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Odds and Ends 

Dropping Ice Down a 90m Borehole in Antarctica Makes a Very Unexpected Sound

Glaciologist and climate scientist, Dr. Peter Neff of the University of Rochester, shared this quirky little clip on Twitter, documenting the unexpected sound made when a chunk of ice is dropped down a 90m (295 ft) long borehole in Antarctica. While this was just a fun experiment after Neff and his team had completed their research, the goal of their expedition was to study ancient ice (up to 800,000 years old) to track ways global warming is affecting the Earth. You can read more about their expedition and findings here…

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Headlines 

The CDC Can’t Fund Gun Research. What if that Changed?

America doesn't have good data on guns. Blame the Dickey amendment. First introduced in 1996, the legislation didn't ban gun investigations explicitly (it forbade the use of federal dollars in the advocacy or promotion of gun control), but Congress that year also cut the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the exact amount it had previously devoted to firearm research. It's had a chilling effect on the field ever since. (While some states and private foundations are conducting peer reviewed studies on gun violence, the federal…

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Headlines 

Mind the Gap: This Researcher Steals Data With Noise, Light, and Magnets

The field of cybersecurity is obsessed with preventing and detecting breaches, finding every possible strategy to keep hackers from infiltrating your digital inner sanctum. But Mordechai Guri has spent the last four years fixated instead on exfiltration: How spies pull information out once they've gotten in. Specifically, he focuses on stealing secrets sensitive enough to be stored on an air-gapped computer, one that's disconnected from all networks and sometimes even shielded from radio waves. Which makes Guri something like an information escape artist. More, perhaps, than any single researcher outside…

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