Oil refineries (representational image) | Commons
Oil refineries (representational image) | Commons
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Massachusetts sues Exxon Mobil over climate messaging

The state of Massachusetts in the US has sued oil company Exxon Mobil for its decades-long use of news daily New York Times for “advertorials” — editorial-style ads — to mislead the public and shift their perception of the seriousness of climate change. The lawsuit said the company’s use of NYT editorial section “was among the most significant and longest regular uses of media to influence public and stakeholder opinion in modern U.S. history”. Exxon Mobil is infamous for stifling information about climate change that its own scientists predicted accurately back in the early 1980s. More on The Intercept.

AI outranks 99.8% of human StarCraft players

Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind Technologies has announced that its AI, AlphaStar, outranks most human players (99.8%) of galactic-warfare video game StarCraft, and its algorithm has a repeatable ability to “strategise on the fly”. StarCraft is a highly complex and popular real-time strategy video game with 10^26 choices for every move. There are no definitive strategies for winning this game, making AlphaStar’s feat even more impressive. More on MIT Technology Review.

Seven snorkeling grandmothers discover deadly sea snake population

Calling themselves the “Fantastic Grandmothers”, a group of seven snorkeling grandmothers in New Caledonia helped researchers discover a new population of deadly sea snakes. While snorkelling, they identified over 249 individual sea snakes, observed their breeding habits, and helped shed light on their living ecosystem. More on Mental Floss.

Measles wipes out immune system’s memory

Scientists have discovered that measles causes long-term damage to the immune system, making affected children vulnerable to diseases they earlier had protection from. Two studies in the Netherlands have found that measles wipes out memories of previous illnesses, making children’s bodies unequipped to fight off new infections. The amount of antibody memories eliminated ranges from 11 per cent to 73 per cent, the studies have found. Today, measles affects more than 7 million each year around the world. More on The Guardian.

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