What the EU Gets Right—and the US Gets Wrong—About Antitrust

from Wired THERE’S A GROWING bipartisan consensus in the US to rein in the massive power accumulated by dominant tech firms. From state capitals to Congress, officials have launched multiple investigations of whether the big four of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are now forces more for harm than good and whether their size and scale demand government action to curtail them or potentially break them up. US regulators have not yet shown all their cards, but they should pause before arguing that too big equals anticompetitive, or seeking to break up or substantially restructure the tech giants. Instead, they […]

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2 Companies Say Their Vaccines Are 95% Effective. What Does That Mean?

from NYTs The front-runners in the vaccine race seem to be working far better than anyone expected: Pfizer and BioNTech announced this week that their vaccine had an efficacy rate of 95 percent. Moderna put the figure for its vaccine at 94.5 percent. In Russia, the makers of the Sputnik vaccine claimed their efficacy rate was over 90 percent. “These are game changers,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, a vaccine researcher at the Mayo Clinic. “We were all expecting 50 to 70 percent.” Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration had said it would consider granting emergency approval for vaccines that showed […]

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How To Mitigate The Harmful Effects Of Zoom Burnout

from Forbes During the pandemic, the amount of screen time for many people working and learning from home as well as binge-watching TV has sharply increased. And prolonged screen time is leaving a series of maladies in its wake. Researchers at Arizona State University published a study showing that heavy screen users—defined as those who use screens an average of 17.5 hours per day—reported the least healthful dietary patterns and the poorest health-related characteristics compared with moderate and light users, who averaged roughly 11.3 and 7 hours of screen use per day, respectively. More here.

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Breakthrough Covid Vaccine Tech Could Help Defeat Other Diseases

from Reuters Breakthrough technology that transforms the body into a virus-zapping vaccine factory is poised to revolutionise the fight against COVID-19 but future pandemics and even cancer could be next, scientists say. The initial success of so-called messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines in late-stage trials by Moderna as well as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is the first proof the concept works. Both experimental vaccines had efficacy rates above 90% based on interim findings, which was far higher than expected and well above the 50% threshold U.S. regulators insist upon for vaccines. Now scientists say the technology, a slow-motion […]

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Design Of Hiring Algorithms Can Double Diversity In Firms

from Fast Company We know that algorithms can outperform humans across an expanding range of settings, from medical diagnosis and image recognition to crime prediction. However, an ongoing concern is the potential for automated approaches to codify existing human biases to the detriment of candidates from underrepresented groups. For example, hiring algorithms use information on workers they have previously hired in order to predict which job applicants they should now select. In many cases, relying on algorithms that predict future success based on past success will lead firms to favor applicants from groups that have traditionally been successful. But this […]

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The President’s Daily Brief and Presidents-Elect: A Primer

from Lawfare Incoming U.S. presidents inherit institutions to help them gain insight into the capabilities and intentions of global competitors. These tools include the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB, which contains the nation’s most sensitive intelligence reporting and analysis. The president-elect’s toolkit overlaps with that of the president. For more than 50 years, components of the intelligence community have delivered the top-secret PDB to the commander in chief every working day. Along with other support, the PDB helps the president remain the world’s best-informed person on a wide range of national security challenges. A president-elect is normally brought into this […]

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A Covid-Fighting Tool Is Buried In Your Phone. Turn It On.

from WaPo Here’s a phone alert you wouldn’t want to miss: “You have likely been exposed.” The coronavirus surge is upon us, and your phone might be able to help. About 100 million Americans now have the ability to get pop-up notifications from local health authorities when they’ve personally spent time near someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. But exposure notifications only work if you and the people around you turn them on. Yes, you! There’s early evidence this anonymous smartphone technology works — but so far isn’t helping very many Americans. In August, I wrote about the […]

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Government Surveillance By Data

from NYTs This is the ultimate example of what’s broken in digital life: The locations of people who used apps to pray and hang their shelves wound up in U.S. military databases. Vice’s Motherboard publication this week reported that data on people’s movements collected by seemingly innocuous apps passed through multiple hands before being bought by U.S. defense contractors and military agencies. It’s not clear what the military is doing with the information. This isn’t an isolated case of government authorities buying commercially available databases containing the movements of millions of people. U.S. law enforcement agencies and the Internal Revenue […]

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The iOS COVID-19 App Ecosystem Has Become A Privacy Minefield

from ars technica When the notion of enlisting smartphones to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic first surfaced last spring, it sparked a months-long debate: should apps collect location data, which could help with contact tracing but potentially reveal sensitive information? Or should they take a more limited approach, only measuring Bluetooth-based proximity to other phones? Now, a broad survey of hundreds of COVID-19-related apps reveals that the answer is all of the above. And that has made the COVID-19 app ecosystem a kind of wild, sprawling landscape, full of potential privacy pitfalls. Late last month, Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital […]

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How the Space Station Became a Base to Launch Humanity’s Future

from NYTs For the International Space Station, Leroy Chiao was, in a sense, there before the beginning. In October 2000, he was one of seven astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery, which brought pieces of the nascent space station to orbit. Construction had begun a couple of years earlier. But no one was living there yet. Much of the work on Dr. Chiao’s flight was done outside the space station, during spacewalks. But the astronauts also got to go inside briefly. “It had that new-car smell,” Dr. Chiao recalled. It was a runt of a space station then. The habitable […]

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Zoom Finally Has End-to-End Encryption.

from Wired ZOOM HAS GONE from startup to verb in record time, by now the de facto video call service for work-from-home meetings and cross-country happy hours alike. But while there was already plenty you could do to keep your Zoom sessions private and secure, the startup has until now lacked the most important ingredient in a truly safe online interaction: end-to-end encryption. Here’s how to use it, now that you can, and why in many cases you may not actually want to. It’s been a long road to get here. This spring, as Zoom rode the pandemic to video […]

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What Happens When China Leads the World

from The Atlantic What kind of superpower will China be? That’s the question of the 21st century. According to American leaders such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, China will bea rapacious authoritarian nightmare, intent on destroying democracy itself. Beijing, needless to say, doesn’t quite agree. Fortunately for those of us seeking answers to this question, China was a major power for long stretches of history, and the foreign policies and practices of its great dynasties can offer us insights into how modern Chinese leaders may wield their widening power now and in the future. Of course, Chinese society today […]

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Dear Congress: Platform Accountability Should Not Threaten Online Expression

from ACLU Tomorrow, the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing entitled “Does Section 230 Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” This is just the latest attempt by Congress and the Trump administration to amend, reinterpret, or eliminate Section 230, a key provision of federal law that generally ensures online platforms, including social media, can’t be held liable for the speech and content their users post on these platforms. This law means Yelp can’t be held legally responsible every time one of its users posts a false negative review. The Bed Bug Registry doesn’t have to visit every hotel with a […]

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Boston Dynamics’ Robots Won’t Take Our Jobs … Yet

from Wired IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO talk about Boston Dynamics robots without acknowledging two things: They’re a marvel of modern engineering, and their agility can be incredibly unnerving. A 46-second video of Spot the robot “dog” opening a door has more than 56 million views on YouTube. Atlas, the company’s headless humanoid robot, can go for a jog or do parkour. And just last week, the company released new footage of Spot the robot recharging on its own. (If it sounds like a Black Mirror episode, well, that’s because it sort of is.) But even as many observers joke about a […]

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The Top 10 Communication Lessons An Entrepreneur Can Learn

from Forbes Every successful business leader needs to know how to communicate effectively. Both written and verbal communication skills are crucial if you want to build and maintain strong relationships with your employees, customers and partners. These essential communications insights are often learned throughout an entrepreneur’s journey, and sometimes they can come to you through unexpected career situations. That’s why we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share the best communication lessons they’ve learned during their careers so far. Here are their top 10 lessons and why each was so impactful. More here.

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Big Business vs. Small Business

from Seth’s Blog Small companies create almost all the jobs. They are the insurgents, the agents of change. Big companies are a backbone, reliable providers of goods and services. Big companies operate at a scale that most of us can’t even imagine. The two points of view often conflict. And each can learn from the other. Net neutrality is an argument between freedom of innovation by small business vs. control from big business. Campaign finance reform is an argument against big companies and their leaders buying the outcomes of elections. It’s not always about capitalism vs. the alternative. It’s often […]

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Hiring Remotely Is The New Reality. Here’s How To Do It With Speed

from Fast Company In some ways, growing businesses are akin to children: They will go through periods of rapid and transformative growth spurts. Short times of accelerated sales and growing customer bases are often accompanied by growing pains, during which the business must get accustomed to a new pace. While these periods are exciting, as they are typically a sign of success, it is also extremely challenging because that success will only last as long as you’re able to adequately support it. During such periods of growth, an expanded team is a critical component to sustaining and supporting new demand. […]

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Study Shows Which Messengers Leak Your Data, Drain Your Battery, And More

from ars technica Link previews are a ubiquitous feature found in just about every chat and messaging app, and with good reason. They make online conversations easier by providing images and text associated with the file that’s being linked. Unfortunately, they can also leak our sensitive data, consume our limited bandwidth, drain our batteries, and, in one case, expose links in chats that are supposed to be end-to-end encrypted. Among the worst offenders, according to research published on Monday, were messengers from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Line. More about that shortly. First a brief discussion of previews. More here.

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Amy Coney Barrett’s Judicial Philosophy Doesn’t Hold Up to Scrutiny

from The Atlantic During her confirmation hearings, Amy Coney Barrett argued that the judicial philosophy known as “originalism” should guide judges in their interpretation and application of constitutional principles. Most famously associated with the late Justice Antonin Scalia (for whom Judge Barrett clerked), this idea sounds simple and sensible: In determining what the Constitution permits, a judge must first look to the plain meaning of the text, and if that isn’t clear, then apply what was in the minds of the 55 men who wrote it in 1787. Period. Anything else is “judicial lawmaking.” In some cases, interpreting the Constitution […]

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