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How France is persuading its citizens to get vaccinated

One in three French people think vaccines are unsafe, but across the country vaccine coverage is rising. Alex Whiting looks at how France is fighting back against vaccine scepticism. In February this year, a holiday in paradise turned into a nightmare for one French family. Soon after their arrival in Costa Rica, their unvaccinated five-year-old son developed measles, the country’s first case since 2014. The parents, also unvaccinated, tested positive for the virus too. They were believed to have brought it from France. The family were swiftly quarantined, and the Costa Rican authorities contacted people at risk. A few weeks later, two American children – again, unvaccinated – also developed measles in the country. Again, the authorities had to act…

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How the decision to paywall NZ’s largest newspaper will affect other media

To put the current situation into context, in 2018 Stuff had a unique audience of 2.1 million and the NZ Herald 1.7 million. According to SimilarWeb data, in the first quarter of 2019, Stuff had 34 million monthly visits compared to the NZ Herald’s 27 million.

For several years, NZME and Stuff pursued a proposal to merge. But when ruling against the merger in 2017, the Commerce Commission observed:

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WhatsApp hacked and bugs in Intel chips: what you need to know to protect yourself

First there was news the popular WhatsApp messenger app was hacked. Updated versions of WhatsApp have been released, which you should install if you’re one of the more than one billion people who use the app.

There was also news of several security flaws in the majority of Intel processors, found in many of the world’s desktop, laptop and server computers.

Software patches to prevent exploitation of these hardware flaws have been released by several vendors, including Microsoft. You should install security updates from vendors promptly, including these.

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Boeing 737 Max: The FAA wanted a safe plane – but didn’t want to hurt America’s biggest exporter either

Even before the crashes of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, there were concerns that the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was delegating too much safety oversight to Boeing itself.

The FAA allowed Boeing to handle much of the safety certification process, and Congress supported doing so – though recent events may be prompting lawmakers to change their tune. Reports have suggested that Boeing even excluded FAA technical experts from some of those decisions.

In addition, recent analyses suggest that Boeing made several misjudgments when it designed MCAS, the automated correction system, and hasn’t been fully forthcoming with both the FAA and airlines about how it worked. The airline has also been accused of providing inadequate training for pilots.

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How social media is helping Big Tobacco hook a new generation of smokers

Our research has not only helped shine a light on Big Tobacco’s unchecked use of social media, it has also informed a recent petition to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission requesting it to investigate and enforce these novel forms of cigarette advertising. Although it might be difficult for governments to keep on top of media in these rapidly changing times, they must do so if they hope to prevent global smoking rates and their consequent health problems from rising once again.

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Alone together: how mobile devices have changed family time

There is increasing evidence that the mere presence of a phone negatively affects face-to-face interactions. This may go some way then to explain parents’ perceptions of decreasing family cohesion and time together with their children, reported in earlier studies. But what is clear, is that although a rise in “alone together” time means families now spend more time at home, it is not necessarily in a way that feels like quality time.

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The psychology of fear and hate, and what each of us can do to stop it

First, how families talk about minorities and immigrants is critical. In work that we conducted in Finland, we found prejudicial opinions of Finns toward Russian immigrants are largely shaped during adolescence. It’s incumbent upon parents to be role models for their children and adolescents and to promote tolerance and mutual respect early.

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Always connected with thousands of friends – yet feeling all alone

Loneliness, with its well-documented ill effects on health, has been called an epidemic and a public health threat, especially among the elderly. But now experts are finding that the always connected social media mavens in America’s younger generations report being lonely.

“Younger people are genuinely surprised to ever feel lonely and are really overwhelmed by it,” said Dawn Fallik, an associate professor at the University of Delaware in Newark who’s working on a book about loneliness.

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Why NZ needs to follow weapons ban with broad review of security laws

With a certain class of license, military style semi-automatic weapons (in unlimited numbers) could be acquired legally. Some 14,000 of these weapons are thought to be legally owned in New Zealand.

Loop holes in current legislation abound. These make it possible to modify weapons and obtain large magazines, and even to buy armour-piercing bullets. Why, in a peaceful, democratic and open society, does anyone need a military-style automatic weapon and armour piercing ammunition?

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New Zealand gun owners invoke NRA-style tropes in response to fast-tracked law change

Media have examined the influence of the American National Rifle Association (NRA) in New Zealand. But there is an aggressive home-grown gun culture online.

The comment sections on a range of New Zealand firearms community Facebook pages reveal that the culture of many gun users is more extreme than the gun lobby wants us to believe. There are disturbing norms operating in local gun culture

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Can the world’s megacities survive the digital age?

Today, megacities have become synonymous with economic growth. In both developing and developed countries, cities with populations of 10 million or more account for one-third to one-half of their gross domestic product. Many analysts and policymakers think this trend is here to stay…As technology researchers, however, we see a less rosy urban future.

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Why we see hope for the future of science journalism

Our decision-making and conduct is influenced by what we read, see or hear. And many parts of our lives, from the food we eat to our quality of sleep, can in some way be linked back to scientific research. The media — aiming to inform or engage — can end up peppering readers with sensationalism, hype or inaccurate science stories that shape our day-to-day lives and how we perceive the value of science. But this could be avoided if science journalists update the way they report stories.

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Journalism needs to practice transparency in a different way to rebuild credibility

Public trust in media continues to hover near all-time lows, driven by perceptions that the news industry is partisan and peddles inaccurate information (“fake news”), as well as ambivalence about news from social media.

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TB doesn’t only attack the lungs — other organs are also vulnerable

A key risk factor for developing extrapulmonary TB is a compromised immune system which is why it is more common in patients infected with HIV. It can also occur in people with diabetes, cancer, low body weight and chronic kidney disease. Smoking and the use of drugs that can suppress the immune system also increase the risk of extrapulmonary TB.

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Livestreamed massacre means it’s time to shut down Facebook Live

When word broke that the massacre in New Zealand was livestreamed on Facebook, I immediately thought of Robert Godwin Sr. In 2017, Godwin was murdered in Cleveland, Ohio, and initial reports indicated that the attacker streamed it on Facebook Live, at the time a relatively new feature of the social network. Facebook later clarified that the graphic video was uploaded after the event, but the incident called public attention to the risks of livestreaming violence.

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How to take care of your mental health after the Christchurch attacks

For people in the community who hear about such events or witness them on television, the news may be distressing but these feelings will typically abate in the following days and weeks. However, some people who watch these events unfold may be more affected because they trigger memories of past traumatic experiences in their own lives.

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Four lessons we must take away from the Christchurch terror attack

There has undoubtedly been a tendency in some quarters of New Zealand politics to assume we are living in a largely benign international environment. This is part of a troubling isolationist tendency in New Zealand politics that contributes to us not taking security seriously and investing in it accordingly. The Christchurch attacks have shattered these illusions.

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Why News Outlets Should Think Twice About Republishing the New Zealand Mosque Shooter’s Livestream

Sharing this material can be highly problematic. In some past incidences of terrorism and hate crime, pictures of the wrong people have been published around the world on social and in mainstream media.

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Christchurch mosque shootings must end New Zealand’s innocence about right-wing terrorism

We tend not to think too much about the presence of racist and white supremacist groups, until there is some public incident like the desecration of Jewish graves or a march of black-shirted men (they are mostly men) asserting their “right to be white”. Perhaps, we are comfortable in thinking, as the prime minister has said, they are not part of our nation.

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University of California’s break with the biggest academic publisher could shake up scholarly publishing for good

It was not just the clash-of-the-titans drama between the University of California, whose scholars produce nearly 10 percent of the nation’s research publications, and Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of academic research.

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The Catalyst for Unsung Science

In 2016 Google Doddle paid homage to Mary Seacole.  Until then, I had no idea who she was, or her contribution to history. But I quickly found it. Born in 1805 in Kingston, Jamaica, Seacole was a brave pioneering nurse during the Crimean War who helped care for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. She was known to have personally risked her life on the frontline to tend to the sick and the injured. Her reputation in her day rivaled that of Florence Nightingale.  Mary Seacole’s life story inspired me to start a short-lived blog called Unsung Science. I wrote about little known stories and personalities whose contribution to science and medicine had been overlooked. In each case, their achievements had…

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Tuesday 22 February 2011: Christchurch earthquake

The magnitude of the work ahead hits. Evacuation routes for critical patients when there’s a no fly zone imposed on the South Island and the roads and infrastructure is so badly damaged or destroyed…The people in the room respond with a dedication and commitment that makes me proud and humbled to be part of New Zealand’s emergency response.

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Is your VPN secure?

Most people – including VPN customers – don’t have the skills to double-check that they’re getting what they paid for. A group of researchers I was part of do have those skills, and our examination of the services provided by 200 VPN companies found that many of them mislead customers about key aspects of their user protections.

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Why journalists should engage with their readers: a view from Slovakia

Simon Smith, Charles University What happens when journalists join in the discussion in the often-frightening comments section below their articles? That’s one of the questions I sought to answer in my book, Discussing the News: the uneasy alliance of participatory journalists and the critical public, published earlier this year. In traditional newspaper culture, journalists do not often engage with their readers. So, as a researcher I jumped at the chance of witnessing an attempt to foster a more conversational relationship between journalists and the public at the newly-founded Slovak daily, Denník N. The newspaper is based in the Slovakian capital Bratislava. It was set up by the senior editors of Slovakia’s second-most read daily, SME, who walked out in protest…

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Reflections from a Nobel winner: Scientists need time to make discoveries.

It is understandable that people want to know how it affects them. But as a scientist, I would hope society would be equally interested in fundamental science. After all, you can’t have the applications without the curiosity-driven research behind it. Learning more about science — science for science’s sake — is worth supporting.

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Developing An Idea

…developing an innovative idea doesn’t require genius. What’s required are skills that many professionals already have—the ability to ask good questions, to challenge assumptions, and to listen to your gut instinct that alerts you when the rest of the world is overlooking something.”

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Why hurricane forecasters can’t ‘politicize’ storm warnings even if they wanted to

Every forecaster I have ever worked with – military or civilian – wants to get predictions right. And even if they wanted to shade the forecast one way or another to support some agenda, it would be impossible to do it in today’s networked world.

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‘Silent victims’: royal commission recommends better protections for child victims of family violence

Children’s experiences of violence have been overlooked for too long. If we seek to change the narrative that devalues women then we must also tackle the cultures of silence and secrecy that allow for the domination of children.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has indicated that cultures of secrecy function to minimise or conceal violence against children. The family violence royal commission has now found that the violence endured by children in the home has been dealt with only marginally.

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In memory of Poland’s sorrow, April 2010

At first, I struggled with how I would share his life in this writing. Plus, I thought, what did it really have to do with what happened at Katyn in 1939 and 1940? Let alone last week’s tragedy.And then, unexpectedly, the information came. I uncovered details and connections of those who died, among them soldiers,whom my friend would have felt a very unique sense of gratitude for. Because among Poland’s dead last week are those who guarded and supported the sacred and tragic memories that people like my Polish friend, and his family went through, during World War II.

Explainer: how a royal commission will investigate Christchurch shootings

Royal commission of inquiry, to be led by the senior judge, Justice William Young, and an as yet unannounced second person, will look into the specific circumstances leading up to the shootings on March 15 that left, as of now, 51 people dead. The commission will investigate whether police or intelligence services could have done more to prevent the atrocity, but its terms of reference do not allow it to look into the role of social media.

Islamic State: the ‘caliphate’ is off the map for now, but will evolve in dangerous ways

The so-called Islamic State (IS) recently lost its last remnant of territory in Syria, but observers were quick to remind the world that the war against the organisation is far from over. What then does this loss of territorial control actually mean for IS?

At its height, the self-proclaimed “caliphate” controlled an estimated 34,000 square miles across Syria and Iraq, so its defeat on the ground is clearly a severe blow for it. Nevertheless, IS is now expected to evolve. Its networks will disperse into virtual, online spaces and become largely invisible. It will focus on insurgency tactics and terror attacks with a wider reach.