Best of Last Week – Bitcoin pushing global warming, browser history at risk and cell phones causing cancer in rats
It was a big week for planetary news as an international team led by the University of Queensland found that the world's last wilderness may vanish—because such areas are disappearing so rapidly. In more positive news, a team with members from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology achieved a breakthrough in a process to produce hydrogen fuel—a chemical mechanism that will allow for the development of a more efficient photochemical process. And a team led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology announced that they had developed a robust fuel cell that runs on methane at practical temperatures—perhaps paving the way towards an inexpensive fuel cell option. Also, a team at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, calculated that Bitcoin could push global warming above 2° C in a couple decades—because it has heavy hardware requirements that could result in enough emissions to raise global temperatures.
In technology news, a team with members from UC San Diego and Stanford University announced that they had discovered new techniques that could expose your browsing history to attackers—they found four new vulnerabilities in browser software. And NASA made headlines when the agency announced that the Kepler telescope is dead after finding thousands of worlds—it ran out of fuel. Also, a team at the State University of New York in Korea reported that they are working toward detecting fake face images created by both humans and machines using ensemble methods to detect images created by generative adversarial networks.
In other news, a team with members from Université de Montréal and the University of Windsor reported on the scents of taking action—how smell and behavior are linked. They found a link between an inhibitory circuit that releases a neurotransmitter into the olfactory bulb strongly modulating behavioral responses to odors in lampreys. Also, a team in the U.K. discovered that drug side effects in the lungs are "more widespread than thought"—they found that many drugs prescribed for a variety of purposes can have a toxic effect on the lungs.
And finally, if you are one of the millions around the world who use a cell phone, you might want to take notice of a study done by the National Toxicology Program—they found evidence suggesting high exposure to radio frequency radiation was associated with cancer in male rats—the kind of high frequency radiation emitted by 2G and 3G cell phones.
Explore further: Detecting fake face images created by both humans and machines
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