Corn Ethanol Was Supposed To Help The Climate. Instead, Its Production May Have Made Things Worse.

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The Renewable Fuel Standard is a program passed by the US Congress mandating that oil refiners mix corn ethanol into gasoline, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, a recent study reveals that the RFS may have exacerbated emissions instead. The increased incentive to plant corn for ethanol caused widespread land use changes that converted large swathes of grasslands and forests into farmland. Clearing these areas released greenhouse gases that were trapped in the flora, possibly nullifying or reversing the reduced emissions the RFS had hoped to achieve. Read full article here

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Societal Issues

AI Predicts Crime A Week In Advance With 90 Per Cent Accuracy

An artificial intelligence model built by Ishanu Chattopadhyay and his colleagues analysed crime data in Chicago from 2014 to 2016 and managed to predict future levels of crime down to the nearest 300 metres, a week before they actually happened. While extremely useful, this artificial intelligence has been shown to expose racial prejudice in law enforcement. Hopefully, as the study’s data and methodology have been made available for others to evaluate, these prejudices can be avoided in the next iteration. Read full article here

Technology

Automated Identification Of Chicken Distress

Did you know that chickens make distinct sounds when they’re stressed? Chicken raisers painstakingly identify these calls manually to figure out how their chickens are faring—a sort of state of the chicknation, if you will. However, those days of manual identification might be nearing an end after a group of researchers developed an AI primed to identify stressed chicken noises. Called light-VGG11, the AI seems like a promising solution for those with large flocks of chickens after it accurately identified chicken distress calls among other recorded chicken calls. Read full article here

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