smartphones, older technology, rising popularity, privacy
Photo credit: Kārlis Dambrāns / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Not Smart But Clever? The Return of ‘Dumbphones’ (Maria)

The author writes, “Five years ago, Przemek Olejniczak, a psychologist, swapped his smartphone for a Nokia 3310, initially because of the longer-lasting battery. However, he soon realized that there were other benefits. ‘Before, I would always be stuck to the phone, checking anything and everything, browsing Facebook or the news, or other facts I didn’t need to know,’ he says. ‘Now I have more time for my family and me. A huge benefit is that I’m not addicted to liking, sharing, commenting, or describing my life to other people. Now I have more privacy.’ … Tech expert Prof Sandra Wachter, a senior research fellow in artificial intelligence at Oxford University, says it is understandable that some of us are looking for simpler mobile phones. ‘One can reasonably say that nowadays a smart phone’s ability to connect calls and send short messages is almost a side feature,’ she explains.”

The Alarming Rise of Complex Genetic Testing in Human Embryo Selection (Sean)

From Nature: “Researchers are right to be concerned. The selection of embryos on the basis of these predictions is not yet supported by science. Moreover, the societal implications of using complex genetic tests to choose embryos has not yet been fully considered. Some scientists are completely opposed to the practice, whereas others recognize that, as more data accrue, there might be benefits, but realize that it must be carefully regulated. A study published in Nature Medicine1 on 21 March that explains some of the methodology behind the determination of what are called polygenic risk scores draws attention to the practice — but does not allay scientists’ fears.”

Oregon Invests $15 Million to Prepare for Fallout of Idaho Anti-Abortion Legislation (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “With Idaho poised to enact one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, Oregon is shoring up access to abortion. Idaho’s measure would disallow abortion after six weeks and let family members of rapists sue abortion providers. According to the New York Times, a similar law in Texas resulted in a 60 percent drop in abortions in Texas and as much as an 800 percent increase in demand for abortions in clinics in neighboring states. Oregon is getting ready for a similar wave, and a possible end to Roe v. Wade, by passing legislation to fund support for those hardest hit by an end to reproductive health care, according to Christel Allen, executive director of Pro-Choice Oregon.”

China Plane Crash: No Survivors Found in Wreckage of China Eastern Flight 5735 (Carina)

From Euronews: “Rescue workers have found no survivors in the wreckage of China Eastern flight 5735, which crashed on Monday. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft went down in the remote Chinese mountainside with 123 passengers and nine crew members on board. The plane crashed outside the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region while flying from Kunming to Guangzhou. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, all the passengers are believed to be Chinese. The cause of the plane crash has not yet been revealed.”

Scientists Discover How to 3D Print Testicular Cells (Mili)

The author writes, “‘We’re 3D printing these cells into a very specific structure that mimics human anatomy, which we think is our best shot at stimulating sperm production. If successful, this could open the door to new fertility treatments for couples who currently have no other options.’ … For the recent study, the researchers performed a biopsy to collect stem cells from the testicles of a patient living with NOA. The cells were then grown and 3D printed onto a petri dish into a hollow tubular structure that resembles the sperm-producing seminiferous tubules.”


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