Earth’s space junk problem is getting worse. And there’s an explosive component.

Before humans first started sending objects into Earth orbit, the pocket of space around our planet was clear and clean. But the launch of Sputnik 1 in October of 1957 changed everything. Since then, the space debris has been accumulating, with the amount of useless, defunct satellites vastly outnumbering the operational objects in our orbit.

A new annual report from the European Space Agency (ESA) has found that while we have become aware of the problem and taken steps in recent years to mitigate it, those steps are currently not keeping up with the sheer scale of space junk.

All spacefaring nations have contributed to the problem, which is significant: as more and more defunct objects populate near-Earth space, the risk of collision rises – which, as objects crash and shatter, produces even more space debris.

The hazards have been prominent in the last year. We have not only watched

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The Technology 202: The Michigan kidnapping plot highlights Silicon Valley’s problem with extremism

Social media trails like these are becoming a recurrent feature in violent events ranging from synagogue massacres to bombing plots. 

“Before they become real, they percolate online, courtesy of a social media ecosystem that is ubiquitous, barely moderated and well suited to helping aggrieved people find each other,” my colleagues write. 

Experts in online extremism say the plot exposed by federal and state officials this week highlights the stakes for social media companies to address violent posts on their platform. 

“Social media companies have been allowing these communities to build and grow, ignoring the mounting evidence that memes, posts and images encouraging violence can and do translate into actual violence,” Cindy Otis, a former CIA analyst and vice president of analysis for the Alethea Group, which tracks online threats, told my colleagues. “Not only have many of these Michigan pages and groups been on Facebook for years, the Facebook algorithm

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Rocket problem prompts NASA and SpaceX to delay next launch of astronauts

“We have a strong working relationship with our SpaceX partner,” Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s human exploration and operations mission directorate, said in the post. “With the high cadence of missions SpaceX performs, it really gives us incredible insight into this commercial system and helps us make informed decisions about the status of our missions. The teams are actively working this finding on the engines, and we should be a lot smarter within the coming week.”

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.

The mission, which had previously been scheduled for Oct. 31, would launch NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover as well as Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the space station for a stay of about six months.

It would be SpaceX’s first operational mission of flying full crews for extended stays after it successfully completed a shorter test mission with two astronauts in

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A new study is one of the first to measure the problem of underemployment among female surgeons in the United States — ScienceDaily

Female surgeons at a large academic medical center perform less complex surgical procedures than their male counterparts, according to a new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). This study, published in Annals of Surgery, is one of the first to measure the problem of underemployment among female surgeons in the United States, which can affect compensation, career advancement and job satisfaction.

Only about one in five surgeons practicing in U.S. is female. Unemployment is virtually nonexistent among surgeons, but many female surgeons, as well as professional women in other fields, experience underemployment — the underuse of skills — according to the Federal Reserve Bank. “Women in surgery talk among themselves about how they may be perceived as less confident or competent, and for those reasons they may have less opportunity to do exciting and challenging cases,” says Cassandra Kelleher, MD, a pediatric surgeon at MGH and senior

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The Real Problem Wasn’t Cambridge Analytica, But The Data Brokers That Outlived It

Cambridge Analytica, the disgraced and now closed political-consulting firm that got caught staging a heist of tens of millions of Facebook users’ data, now looks to be suffering a final indignity: being seen as not that special of a villain after all. 

Two days after the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office released a lengthy report that found Cambridge Analytica’s work did not influence the Brexit referendum, one of that British firm’s foremost American critics argued that Cambridge’s death was meaningless because the underlying privacy problem remains very much alive. 

David Carroll, an associate professor of media design at The New School’s Parsons School of Design in New York, made this case by walking an online audience through his own Cambridge Analytica file—for which he pursued a

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Apple’s Surprising MacBook Pro Problem

Security researchers are reporting a significant flaw in Apple’s T2 security chip that has a wide-ranging impact on the MacOS platform, especially the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro machines. With the issue located in the read-only memory portion of the T2, the flaw is effectively unpatchable, leaving user data exposed.

As first described by Belgian security firm IronPeak, it is possible to gain control over the

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Study documents a persistent, dangerous problem — ScienceDaily

As many as 800 million children have dangerously high lead values in their blood. The neurotoxin can cause permanent brain damage.

The huge international numbers come from a new report from Pure Earth and UNICEF. Pure Earth works to solve pollution problems that can be harmful to humans.

“A child’s earliest years of life are characterized by rapid growth and brain development. This makes children particularly vulnerable to harmful substances in the environment,” says Kam Sripada, a postdoc at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) who has contributed to the report.

Sripada collaborates with international organizations to research social health inequalities, especially among children.

“Exposure to lead during pregnancy and early in life can lead to a child never reaching his or her potential,” she says.

Sripada works at NTNU’s Center for Global Health Inequalities Research (CHAIN) in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and UNICEF.

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Google throws $1 billion at the news media problem

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Google has announced an initial $1 billion commitment that will be used to build partnerships with news publishers and invest in the “future of news”.

The first initiative is Google News Showcase, pitched by the company as a new product that will benefit both publishers and readers.

In a blog post penned by CEO Sundar Pichai, the platform was explained as paying publishers to “create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience”.

“It features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences,” he said.

News Showcase is made up of story panels. Pichai said these panels would give participating publishers the ability to package the stories that appear within Google’s news products, “providing deeper storytelling and more context through features like timelines, bullets and related

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The Nobel Prizes Have a Diversity Problem Worse Than the Scientific Fields They Honor | Best Countries

In 2007, I served as a consultant for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ deliberations about the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. As a result, I was invited to attend the Nobel ceremonies. Staying at the Grand Hotel with all the awardees, I got to see how scientists – excellent but largely unknown outside their fields – suddenly became superstars.

As soon as they’re announced annually in early October, Nobel laureates become role models who are invited to give seminars all around the world. In Stockholm for the awards, these scientists were interviewed on radio and television and hobnobbed with Swedish royalty. Swedish television aired the events of Nobel week live.

As a chemist who has also investigated how science is done, seeing scientists and their research jump to the top of the public’s consciousness thanks to all the Nobel hoopla is gratifying. But in the 119 years since the Nobel

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Serious Google Photos Problem Impacts Millions Of Users

Google Photos is a great place to keep a backup of all your smartphone pictures, but some Samsung users have recently discovered that the service can no-longer be trusted to keep their images safe.

MORE FROM FORBESGoogle’s Pixel Smartphones Have Serious New Problems

According to a report by Android Police, images created in Samsung’s Motion Photos format are no-longer saving correctly on Google Photos, causing data to be lost. 

Motion Photos enhance regular still shots by adding a short video clip, and sometimes audio, each time the shutter is clicked. Unfortunately, these audio and video elements are apparently being stripped out by Google Photos, leaving only the still image.

It’s not clear at this point whether Google Photos is simply failing to display the video content or whether it hasn’t been saved at all. This means Samsung users can’t currently trust

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