PBS NewsHour


Can you be hacked by the world around you?

PBS NewsHour

As someone who researches 3-D modeling, including assessing 3-D printed objects to be sure they meet quality standards, I'm aware of being vulnerable to methods of storing malicious computer code in the physical world. Researchers at the University of Washington tested another possibility recently, embedding a computer virus in DNA. Closer to home, when you scan a QR code, your computer or phone processes the data in the code and takes some action – perhaps sending an email or going to a specified URL. For example, to prevent the infection of our 3-D printing quality sensing system by a conventional attack, we proposed placing it on another computer, one disconnected from the internet and other sources of potential cyberattacks.


A mother uses a similar tone with babies, no matter the language

PBS NewsHour

"We usually Skype with my parents," was one phrase spoken to an adult interviewer, while another phrase spoken to an infant was, "Let's not eat the kitty cat." It deciphers the strength of audio frequencies while taking into account how the human ear hears sounds. This consistent pattern across languages was picked up by their algorithm even when the training data set only had English phrases. "Previous studies have shown that babies can perceive timbre differences between musical instruments," she said.


Why some doctors are questioning Trump's new birth control rules

PBS NewsHour

The Trump administration's new birth control rule is raising questions among some doctors and researchers. WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration's new birth control rule is raising questions among some doctors and researchers, who say it overlooks known benefits of contraception while selectively citing data that raise doubts about effectiveness and safety. Here's a look at examples from the Trump administration's birth control rules that are raising questions: Emergency contraception is birth control for use after unprotected sex, often called the "morning-after pill." The Trump administration's rule takes issue with the science behind the Obama-era decision to require most employers to cover birth control as preventive care.


Trump: If Tillerson called me a moron, we should 'compare IQ tests'

PBS NewsHour

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump suggested he's smarter than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, saying in an interview published Tuesday that if Tillerson did call him a moron, as reported, the two should "compare IQ tests." Still, last week Trump told reporters he has "total confidence" in his secretary of state. "I'm not undermining," Trump told Forbes. As for Tillerson's reported "moron" 'comment, the president said, "I think it's fake news.


Reviews of Clinton's memoir were deleted for violating company guidelines, Amazon says

PBS NewsHour

Tommy Noonan, founder of product review analysis site ReviewMeta, says concerns that Amazon's deletions serve as a cover-up of negative press is false, according to his data. In the case of Clinton's book, most of the unverified reviews flagged for removal happened to be negative. After a deeper investigation into similar cases, Noonan says "review brigades" were probably at work. According to research by Eric Anderson from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and Duncan Simester at MIT Sloan School of Management, reviews by unverified users are twice as likely to receive a one-star review.


Are big tech companies trying to control our lives?

PBS NewsHour

FRANKLIN FOER, Author, "World Without Mind": Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple are among the most powerful monopolies in the history of humanity. PAUL SOLMAN: The most powerful gatekeepers ever, Foer calls them, the first, second, fourth and fifth most valuable companies on the U.S. stock market. And even though I'm somebody who likes to read conservatives, likes to read people on the far left, it's essentially only giving me screeds against Donald Trump, because that's what, based on my data, it thinks that I want. PAUL SOLMAN: You use the word pander several times in the book, pander to our taste.


How online graduate programs offer degrees at significant savings

PBS NewsHour

HARI SREENIVASAN: It's graduation day, and these two students are earning their computer science master's degree from a top 10 program in the country. NICA MONTFORD, Online Graduate Student, Georgia Teach: Every GM employee gets $8,500 to spend in higher education every year, and so it falls well within the $8,500 that we get. EBONI BELL, Online Graduate Student, Georgia Teach: I knew I wanted to get my master's, and I also knew that I wanted to have a company that paid for it, because I didn't want to go into even more student loan debt. A professor of computer and cognitive science, Goel created an artificial intelligence tool to help answer questions for the 4,500 online master's degree students.


Are we on the brink of a jobless future?

PBS NewsHour

PAUL SOLMAN: In Silicon Valley, author Vivek Wadhwa says he already lives in the future. PAUL SOLMAN: Scary, because, while automation is the very definition of productivity -- more output per unit of labor -- as Oxford's Carl Frey points out: CARL FREY: Sadly, since the 1980s, quite a few workers have had a bad experience from automation, and I think that is what is determining much of the resurgence in populism that we see now. JERRY KAPLAN, Author, "Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know": There's more people employed today than there ever have been. For the PBS NewsHour, economics correspondent Paul Solman reporting -- don't do that again -- somewhat anxiously from El Camino Real in Palo Alto.


In the Persian Gulf, Iran's drones pose rising threat to U.S.

PBS NewsHour

ABOARD THE USS NIMITZ -- High above the Persian Gulf, an Iranian drone crosses the path of American fighter jets lining up to land on the USS Nimitz. From the Nimitz alone, U.S. fighter jets flew missions resulting in at least 350 bombs being dropped on IS militants just in the last month. Iran has routinely challenged U.S. ships and aircraft across the Gulf, asserting at times that the entire waterway is its territory. Dave Kurtz, the Nimitz's executive officer, Iranian drones fly over the carrier strike group almost daily.


Mayweather will beat McGregor, neuroscience predicts

PBS NewsHour

In Las Vegas, on August 26, the unbeaten American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr and the immensely popular Irishman Conor McGregor will face off in a boxing ring, where only striking with hands while standing is allowed. Once the ball is in the air, the brain needs time to process the ball's trajectory and prepare an appropriate course of action, but by the time the body actually executes the required movements in response to these mental processes, the racket will do no more than slice the air, as the ball will have already passed by. The positioning and movements of feet, knees, shoulders and the serving hand in tennis give away clues about the direction and power of a tennis serve. This is illustrated by another unofficial cross-discipline event that occurred 50 years ago between the legendary Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown, National Football League (NFL) legend.