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Textual Analysis Of More Than 1 million Books By Scholars: Reveals A Growth Of Cursing In Books Since the 1950’s

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The study found that “motherF………” was used 678 times more often in the mid-2000s than the early 1950s, occurrences of “s..t” multiplied 69 times, and “f..k” was 168 times more frequent.

Led by Jean Twenge, author and psychology professor at San Diego State University, the team analysed the titles making up the Google Books corpus of American English books published between 1950 and 2008, looking for uses of the words “s..t”, “”, “f..k”, “c..t”, “c……r”, “motherfr”, and other curse words”.

Overall, they found that writers were “significantly more likely to use swearwords in the years since 1950”, with books published in 2005-2008 28 times more likely to include swearwords than books published in the early 1950s. The paper that was publishefd“American culture increasingly values individual self-expression and weaker social taboos, and these trends are manifested in the increasing use of swearwords.”

Twenge and her fellow authors, graduate student Hannah Van Landingham and University of Georgia psychology professor W Keith Campbell, link the rise of profanities in US literature to the increasingly individualistic nature of the country’s culture, as well as the relaxation of societal taboos.

They’re Now Editing Embryos Here In America

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MIT Technology Review has learned that the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon.

The experiment, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China. None of the embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few days—and they claim that there was never any intention of implanting them into a womb—

Scientists claim their objective is to show that they can eradicate or correct genes that cause inherited disease, like the blood condition beta-thalassemia. The process is termed “germline engineering” because any genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations via their own germ cells—the egg and sperm.

Some critics say germline experiments could open the floodgates to a brave new world of “designer babies” engineered with genetic enhancements—a prospect bitterly opposed by a range of religious organizations, civil society groups, and biotech companies.The U.S. intelligence community last year called CRISPR a potential “weapon of mass destruction.”

Shoukhrat Mitalipov is the first U.S.-based scientist known to have edited the DNA of human embryos.

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A person familiar with the research says “many tens” of human IVF embryos were created for the experiment using the donated sperm of men carrying inherited disease mutations.

Mitalipov’s group appears to have overcome earlier difficulties by “getting in early” and injecting CRISPR into the eggs at the same time they were fertilized with sperm.

Tony Perry of Bath University, Successfully edited the mouse gene for coat color, changing the fur of the offspring from the expected brown to white.

Somewhat prophetically, Perry’s paper on the research, published at the end of 2014, said, “This or analogous approaches may one day enable human genome targeting or editing during very early development.”

Mitalipov was Born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the former Soviet Union. In 2007, he unveiled the world’s first cloned monkeys. Then, in 2013, he created human embryos through cloning, as a way of creating patient-specific stem cells.

His team’s move into embryo editing coincides with a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in February that was widely seen as providing a green light for lab research on germline modification.

The report also offered qualified support for the use of CRISPR for making gene-edited babies, but only if it were deployed for the elimination of serious diseases.

The advisory committee drew a red line at genetic enhancements—like higher intelligence. “Genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people,” said Alta Charo, co-chair of the NAS’s study committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In the U.S., any effort to turn an edited IVF embryo into a baby has been blocked by Congress, which added language to the Department of Health and Human Services funding bill forbidding it from approving clinical trials of the concept.

 

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Security Company ZeroFOX Located Nearly 90,000 Accounts On Twitter In A Porn Spam Bot Network

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Researchers that tracked hundreds of thousands of bots on Twitter named the spam Siren after Greek mythology. 

Spammers on social media create botnets, which are collections of accounts controlled by a central command. A bot is any account that is controlled not by an organic user but by some form of automation. Although the vast majority of individual bots are benign, they can be coordinated as botnets and weaponized to distribute despicable links such as phishing campaigns, malware, ransomware, fraudulent surveys, spamruns, malicious apps that hijack control of the victim’s accounts, and spam websites that pay for clicks.

 Botnet attacks used to be confined to emails, with individual victims, but now it’s a free-for-all on social media. With 2 billion people on Facebook, spammers are seeing social networks as the next target. Unlike with emails, when spam gets posted on Facebook or Twitter, it’s publicly available for everyone else to see, not just the recipient.

The Siren bots would work around anti-spam measures by disguising the URLs through some link laundering: First, the URL would get shortened through Twitter, giving the spammer a t.co link. That short link would then get redirected to a goo.gl URL and was able to bypass Twitter and Google’s anti-spam detection

FBI Alerts Parents On Toys With Cloud Backed Features

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The FBI say, many toys sporting cloud-backed features such as speech recognition or online content hosting “could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed.

“Security safeguards for these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use,” the FBI warns. “Consumers should perform online research of these products for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in consumer reports.”

This comes after a number of kids’ toys were found to be indirectly spying on kids by collecting and storing data, including audio conversations and personal information, without parents’ knowledge.

My Friend Cayla and i-Que robot

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, has banned Genesis Toys’ Cayla doll as an illegal surveillance device.

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According To Recent Study, Women Of Color Feel Unsafe Working In The Science Field.

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Among astronomers, some 28% of women of color reported feeling unsafe in their workplace due to their race, and about 40% reported feeling unsafe because of their gender. Women of color face more harassment than any other group, according to a new study published on Monday.

The online survey of 474 astronomers and planetary scientists found that 28% of the women of color who responded reported feeling unsafe in their workplace due to their race, and that about 40% reported feeling unsafe because of their gender. Women of color were also more likely than men to experience verbal harassment related to their race.

Eighteen percent of women of color — as well as 12% of white women — said they’d skipped at least one class, meeting, fieldwork opportunity, or professional event because they were worried about their safety. Although the number of white women faculty members has increased across science fields, the number of women of color has decreased.

The study also outlined several remedies in addressing the problem, including creating a code of conduct, diversity and cultural awareness training, and hiring many more women of color.

Kathryn Clancy, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois and lead author of the paper, says”You can’t keep putting women of color in the position of being an only, or being in such low numbers that they’re tokenized.”

Clancy also stressed that while professional societies could do a lot to foster culture change and make demands on their memberships, universities need to have swifter consequences for discrimination, and make it easier for victims to discuss these issues both formally and informally.

 

Microsoft Research Developing Classroom Technology To Assess Children’s Reading Ability

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Microsoft Research is developing technology which may end up in the next version Microsoft’s classroom software. In a recent publication, Microsoft Research describes an AI-driven system which could help teachers automatically assess reading performance for students, saving them time and allowing more individual attention to students who need it the most. Their research paper, “Automatic Evaluation of Children Reading Aloud on Sentences and Pseudo words,” automatically predicts the overall reading aloud ability of primary school children (6-10 years old), based on the reading of sentences and pseudo words.

 

Researchers Study Inequality & Twitter

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Johnnatan Messias at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil and a few pals began the study began by filtering the Twitter stream during the three months to September 2016. In total, they collected 341,457,982 tweets posted by 50,270,310 users.

They filtered this by time zone, geolocation, and those with a profile picture to leave them with 1.6 million users based in the U.S. They then fed the pictures through a state-of-the-art face recognition application called Face++, which reports the sex and race (black, white, or Asian) of each user. The overall makeup  of the group revealed that  53 percent were women and 47 percent men. It also revealed the race breakdown, which was 18 percent Asian, 14 percent black, and 68 percent white. Messias and co began by looking at the ratios of men and women who had the most followers on Twitter. Of the top 1 percent of Twitter users with the most followers, 57 percent were male and 43 percent female. Researchers say inequalities surfaced when the group studied the distribution of races among the most popular Twitter users. “At the highest levels of [Twitter] visibility, users perceived to be White come out on top position.”

The most privileged group turns out to be white males, who are overrepresented by 20 percent among popular Twitter users. White females are also more privileged albeit to much lesser extent, just 3 percent. The most underprivileged groups are Asian females and black females, who are underrepresented by 31 percent.

Moreover, The study reveals that there are significant biases in the way genders and races link to each other. This is an effect known as “homophily”—the tendency of people to seek out others like themselves.  White people tend to follow more white people than expected by a margin of 16 percent. Black people tend to follow more black people than expected by a very significant margin of over 200 percent. However, Asian people tend to follow fewer Asian people than expected by a margin of 10 percent.

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