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The law is closing in on Facebook and the 'digital gangsters'

For social media and search engines, the law is back in town.

Prompted by privacy invasions, the spread of misinformation, a crisis in news funding and potential interference in elections, regulators in several countries now propose a range of interventions to curb the power of digital platforms.

A newly published UK report is part of this building global momentum.

Originally published in The Conversation.

All publicly funded research could soon be free for you, the taxpayer, to read

The new 'Plan S' initiative focuses on making all publicly funded research immediately fully and freely available by open access publication.

Originally published in The Conversation.

'I think we should be very concerned': A cyber crime expert on this week's hack and what needs to happen next

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this week that a “sophisticated state actor” had targeted the big Australian political parties in a major cyber attack, the revelation threw up more questions than answers.

Who did it and how? What data did they get their hands on? How vulnerable is our data – and our democracy?

Originally published in The Conversation.

How the dinosaurs went extinct: asteroid collision triggered potentially deadly volcanic eruptions

An artist's impression of an asteroid about to hit Earth: it's what happens next that could have helped wipe out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Shutterstock/Mopic

It’s almost 40 years since scientists discovered what wiped out the dinosaurs: an asteroid hitting Earth near modern-day Mex

Originally published in The Conversation.

We've been hacked – so will the data be weaponised to influence election 2019? Here’s what to look for

Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently said both the Australian Parliament and its major political parties were hacked by a “sophisticated state actor.”

This raises concerns that a foreign adversary may be intending to weaponise, or strategically release documents, with an eye towards altering the 2019 election outcome.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Super-recognisers accurately pick out a face in a crowd – but can this skill be taught?

One of these people is on a wanted list for theft. A super-recogniser may pick them at a glance.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Curious Kids: are robots smarter than humans?

Some computers are extremely powerful and can do things better than humans. The Conversation.

Rock art shows early contact with US whalers on Australia's remote northwest coast

Detail of the Connecticut Inscription, with image enhancement. Centre for Rock Art Research and Management database, Author provided

Rock inscriptions made by crews from two North American whaleships in the early 19th century were found superimposed over earlier Aboriginal

Originally published in The Conversation.

Life quickly finds a way: the surprisingly swift end to evolution's big bang

A modern arthropod (the centipede _Cormocephalus_) crawls over its Cambrian 'flatmate' (the trilobite _Estaingia_).

Originally published in The Conversation.

What we risk as humans if we allow gene-edited babies: a philosopher's view

Should parents be allowed to build their babies by design? Shutterstock/cjmacer

A second woman is said to be pregnant with a gene-edited baby in China, according to reports thi

Originally published in The Conversation.