Could Apple be launching a new mixed reality headset later this year? Some news reports are calling it the company’s next big bet and a possible new major product category since the Apple Watch came along. More on this below and other updates from the world of science and technology.
Twitter’s new ‘crisis misinformation policy’: Earlier this week, social media website Twitter introduced a new ‘crisis misinformation policy’ that would help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by the platform during times of crises. Starting Thursday, Twitter will no longer automatically recommend or emphasize posts that make misleading claims about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including material that mischaracterizes conditions in conflict zones or makes false allegations of war crimes or atrocities against civilians, an Associated Press report said.
Under this new policy, Twitter will also add warning labels to debunked claims about ongoing humanitarian crises. Users won’t be able to like, forward or respond to posts that violate the new rules, the report adds.
Yoel Roth, head of safety & integrity at Twitter, said in a blog post that teams at Twitter have been working to develop a crisis misinformation framework since last year – drawing on key input from global experts and human rights organizations. For the purposes of this global policy, Twitter defines crises as situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence. Roth added that this first iteration of the policy is focused on international armed conflict, starting with the war in Ukraine, the platform plans to update and expand the policy to include additional forms of crisis in the future.
Let’s not forget about pollution: Amid the ongoing tensions around the covid-19 pandemic, it is quite possible that many of us have lost track of another silent killer that is lurking in the air: pollution. A new study published earlier this week revealed that premature deaths from common pollution sources have risen by two-thirds globally since 2000. More than 90% of the deaths have occurred in rapidly developing low- and middle-income countries, according to research published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal. While most deaths were attributed to air pollution (around 6.7 million), lead and other chemicals are responsible for at least 1.8 million deaths each year, the study explained.
According to a Bloomberg report on the study, a little less than two-thirds of the premature deaths come from fine particulate matter. The number of men whose deaths were attributable to this form of pollution was 44% higher than the number of women, who were slightly more susceptible to water pollution.
Apple’s next big bet a mixed reality headset?
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple Inc executives previewed its upcoming mixed-reality headset to the company’s board last week in a private meeting. In recent weeks, Apple has also ramped up development of rOS – or reality operating system – the software that will run on the headset, the report said. “That progress, coupled with the board presentation, suggests that the product’s debut could potentially come within the next several months,” the report added. The mixed reality headset, which combines elements of virtual and augmented reality, is Apple’s next big bet and represents the company’s first major new product category since the Apple Watch in 2015. The Bloomberg report cited people - who remained anonymous - with knowledge of the matter.
Curtains for Nasa’s InSight Mars lander: US space agency Nasa’s InSight Mars lander will likely run out of power later this year. The reason? Dust that has accumulated on its solar panels. The space agency said earlier this week that it will keep using the spacecraft’s seismometer to register marsquakes until the power peters out, likely in July. Then flight controllers will monitor InSight until the end of this year, before calling everything off, an AP report explains. The robotic lander Insight – designed to study the deep interior of Mars – was launched in May 2018 and landed at Elysium Planitia on 26 November 2018.
Since landing on Mars, InSight has detected more than 1,300 ‘marsquakes’, the AP report explains. It will be Nasa’s second Mars lander lost to dust: a global dust storm took out Opportunity in 2018. Meanwhile, the space agency’s two other functioning spacecraft on the red planet — rovers Curiosity and Perseverance — are still functioning thanks to nuclear power, the report adds.
– Compiled by Nitin Sreedhar