An algorithm stops paleontologists from saying “bone,” Trump’s Twitter password and other bizarre stories.
Profanity Filter Halts Paleontologist Conference
A virtual paleontology conference was interrupted when an automatic censor began to filter out words like “bone” and “pubic.”
The Guardian reports that the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) held its annual meeting virtually to follow social distancing guidelines. But the conference was quickly thrown into disarray when the online platform used by organizers began to auto-detect and filter out words like “bone,” “pubic,” “stream” and “beaver.”
Convey Services, the platform that hosted the conference, uses a “naughty-word filter” to block a pre-selected list of offensive words that includes: ball, stroke, pubis, jerk, knob, stroke, stream, erection, crack and enlargement.
“Words like ‘bone,’ ‘pubic’ and ‘stream’ are frankly ridiculous to ban in a field where we regularly find pubic bones in streams,” master’s student in biology Brigid Christison told reporters.
In a Reddit thread created for the conference, organizers apologized for the confusion. “After getting a good belly laugh out of the way on the first day and some creative wording (my personal favorite was Heck Creek for Hell Creek), some of us reached out to the business office, and they’ve been un-banning words as we stumble across them,” an SVP member wrote.
President’s Twitter Hacked
President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was hacked last week when a security expert guessed that the password was “maga2020!”
Tech Crunch reports that Victor Gevers, a security researcher at the GDI Foundation and chair of the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure—an organization that finds and reports security vulnerabilities—claimed that he successfully guessed the account’s password on his fifth attempt. The account was reportedly not protected by two-factor authentication.
Gevers reported the security breach to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a division of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). The account’s Twitter password has reportedly changed.
This is the second time Gevers has accessed President Trump’s Twitter account. In 2016 the security expert was part of a team that cracked Trump’s password from the 2012 LinkedIn security breach—“yourefired”—and discovered that Trump used the same phrase for his Twitter account’s password. At the time Gevers suggested Trump should change the password to “maga2020!”
Gevers said he was surprised that the password hadn’t changed.
Thief Steals Newspapers Covering Theft Story
An Iowa businessman was caught stealing an election sign in September. When his local newspaper covered the story, his attempt to steal all copies of the publication ultimately brought national attention to the incident.
According to NWest Iowa Peter De Yager’s name appeared on the third page of the Sept. 2 edition of the Dickinson County News after the business owner was caught stealing a Joe Biden election sign from a person’s yard. The crime—to which De Yager pleaded guilty—was mentioned as part of a small story on local crimes.
Mysteriously that edition of the newspaper was reported stolen at a number of drop-off locations in the area. Many of the stores reviewed their security camera footage and discovered that the thefts were being committed by the same man. A Jiffy station in Spirit Lake, Iowa pressed charges against De Yager. The man was seen on security camera footage tucking the store’s entire supply of the newspaper into a free publication and leaving without paying. De Yager was charged with theft and pleaded guilty. Iowa Third Judicial Associate Judge David Larson ordered him to pay a $105 fine.
According to a recent interview, Dickinson County News staff said they never expected a national story to develop out of the theft of a lawn sign. “When the newspapers started disappearing, well, then it kind of became a stranger issue,” said staff writer Seth Boyes.
Teen’s Science Project Could Treat COVID
A 14-year-old girl has made a discovery that could lead to a treatment for COVID-19.
According to CNN Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old from Frisco, Texas, recently won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for discovering a new method to treat the novel coronavirus.
“The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon,” said Chebrolu. “After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think that I was actually living through something like this.”
Chebrolu discovered a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But the project was originally meant to treat influenza. “Because of the immense severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the teen told reporters. She says her next goal is to find a way to use her discovery to develop an actual treatment for the virus. “How I develop this molecule further with the help of virologists and drug development specialists will determine the success of these efforts.”Chebrolu was awarded a $25,000 prize and the title of Top Young Scientist for those efforts. When not looking for ways to save humanity, she says she likes to practice dancing.