What my internet looks like, after researching online fake news for six years

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The “unspoken truth” phenomenon has been around since the early 2000s, with people believing in conspiracies and unverifiable facts without ever asking the question: how do you know? Giordano Bruno wrote about this in 1580, saying ‘se non è vero, è molto ben trovato!’ (‘If it is not true, it is very well found/invented!’). In other words, sometimes the truth of a story matters less than how it lines up with the audiences’ beliefs and desires. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, have further enabled this manipulation of reality, by allowing political campaigns to reach millions of people without being transparent about their paid boosted posts. Read full article here

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To curb drug deaths, communities turn to Reddit, texts and wastewater

With drug overdose deaths on the rise, authorities are attempting to curb the epidemic by tracking and sharing information in real time. In one unique effort, a nonprofit in New York City is using drug-testing equipment and stamping or marking habits of dealers to identify drug batches that may endanger users. Other approaches are also being used, such as monitoring drug-related chatter on Reddit and analyzing local wastewater for opioid and other drug levels. With the combination of these efforts, researchers hope to put a dent in the opioid crisis and reduce overdose deaths. Read full article here


A look inside the lab building mushroom computers

The Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of the West of England is pushing the boundaries of computing, working to see if mushrooms can be used to carry out computing and sensing functions. By stimulating the mycelium—the branching, web-like root structure of the fungus—researchers can get it to produce electrical activity and see if it can be used to create complex, multi-dimensional functions that are more precise than traditional computers. This could lead to a whole new world of possibilities, such as using mushrooms to create fault-tolerant, energy-efficient computers and even mapping neural networks. It’s truly a fascinating field of study – and one that could shape the future of computing. Read full article here

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