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INSTAGRAM BUG AFFECTING FOLLOWER COUNTS

February 17, 2019 — A new bug is affecting follower counts on Instagram, the Facebook-owned social networking platform. Users who noticed the bug assumed that the fall in follower counts was the result of Instagram's effort at removing inactive and fake accounts, but Instagram later confirmed that it was a bug. A recent Twitter bug also led to incorrect Like counts on tweets. Read more here.

RUSSIA CONSIDERING BRIEF DISCONNECTION FROM THE INTERNET

February 16, 2019 — Russia is considering whether to briefly disconnect from the global Internet as part of its cyber-defense test. During the test, the data of Russian citizens and organizations will stay within Russia rather than being routed internationally. The test is expected to happen before April. Russia has also introduced a draft law in its parliament that requires Russia's Internet Service Providers to ensure that the country's network can operate even if foreign powers attempt to isolate the country online. Read more here.

SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING ADOPTING BLOCKCHAIN

February 9, 2019 — ScienceMatters, an open-access publishing platform, is developing a peer-review process based on blockchain. A blockchain is a public, tamper-proof, and distributed database. A number of new scientific tools are offering blockchain simple ways to manage collaborations, establish precedence, and publish early results. ScienceMatters plans to use blockchain to promote transparency. It is adopting a triple-blind peer-review process called Eureka, which is powered by Ethereum, a popular blockchain platform. Read more here.

APPLE TO ISSUE UPDATE FIXING FACETIME PRIVACY BUG

February 7, 2019 — Apple said that it has fixed the bug that allowed users to hear the audio of a person they were calling before the person answered the call. The company had turned off the FaceTime group chat feature as its engineers worked to fix the issue. The issue has been fixed on Apple's servers and will be turned on for users soon. Read more here.

APPLE'S AIRPODS 2 TO SUPPORT HANDS-FREE SIRI VOICE COMMANDS

January 30, 2019 — Apple's next AirPods will support 'Hey Siri' voice commands. The recently released iOS 12.2 beta includes a setup interface for 'Hey Siri' commands on AirPods. According to some reports, the newer AirPods will also come with health-monitoring features, noise cancellation, water resistance, and extended wireless range. Read more here.

FACEBOOK TO INTEGRATE WHATSAPP, INSTAGRAM, AND MESSENGER

January 29, 2019 — Facebook plans to integrate its messaging services on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. All three services will be linked such that messages can travel between the different services. Facebook has already started to work on the integration, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 or early 2020. Read more here.

FIRST PLANT ON MOON DEAD

January 26, 2019 — The cotton plants, grown by China's Chang'e 4 lander on the Moon, have died. The Chinse space agency had managed to grow cotton sprouts inside a container as a part of the lunar mini-biosphere experiment aboard the lander. The plants were grown in a container that was specifically designed to maintain humidity, air, water and nutrient levels for plant growth. After about 213 hours since the experiment begun, the plants died as they were not able to survive the freezing temperatures on the lunar surface. Read more here.

SAN DIEGO'S SMART STREETLIGHT NETWORK BEGINS DATA GATHERING

January 23, 2019 — San Diego has been rolling out a network of smart streetlights since early 2018. The city has already set up 2,000 sensor-laden streetlights that are designed to capture images, sounds, and pedestrian and traffic data. The collected data will be used to improve city design and traffic flow management. Officials are also exploring possibilities such as using the streetlights to locate gunshots, track airport noise, or monitor air quality. Read more here. 

RESEARCHERS DEVELOP POCKET-SIZED FOOD SCANNER

January 11, 2019 — Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, the System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB, the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, the Deggendorf Institute of Technology and the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences have developed a prototype of a pocket-sized food scanner that enables estimation of food shelf life. The scanner uses small and low-cast near-infrared sensors to measure the ripeness of the food and identify its composition. But, the scanner can only evaluate the quality of homogenous foods. Read more here. 

GERMAN POLITICIANS' DATA LEAKED

January 8, 2019 — In a massive data leak, personal data and documents of German public figures, including Chancellor Angela Merkel's, have been published online. According to the German government, the breach was a result of wrongful use of log-in information on online accounts and no government computer system was compromised. The data was published on a Twitter account and included addresses, personal letters, and copies of identity cards. Read more here. 

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