SciTech Briefs

Violence goes on YouTube

YouTube has been grappling with issues of free speech and censorship following a deadly school shooting in Finland that left nine people dead on Wednesday.

Pekka-Eric Auvinen, the alleged shooter, had posted a video showing a photo of Jokela High School that transitioned to a man pointing a gun at the camera.

YouTube responded quickly to this by removing the videosand profile page of Auvinen’s username “Sturmgeist89.”

YouTube’s term of use agreement bans “pornography, obscene, or defamatory material” but the site still contains material espousing violence and white supremacy.


Facebook shows Advertisements

Facebook, the social networking website with 50 million active users, will begin selling advertisements that can associate a user’s profile picture with products and brands.

If the user chooses to sign up as a fan of a certain product, the user’s profile picture will be displayed next to a commercial message. This message will be announced to all of the user’s “friends,” regardless of the friends’ preferences.

Facebook will also allow companies to access information that users provide about themselves, including their interests, political views, and education.

Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, insists that users’ account information is not given out to marketers.

Source: The New York Times

Discovery lands safely

The Discovery shuttle returned to Florida last Wednesday after traveling to the International Space Station (ISS). On its mission, the crew brought a new module, Harmony, to the space station.

Harmony will allow science laboratories to be added to the existing space station. The European Columbus laboratory will be fitted to this node.

During one of the four spacewalks, the Discovery crew found a rip in a wing of the solar array. The damaged unit was repaired by Scott Parazynski, who bound the split solar panels together.

Discovery also captured film of the space station after the completion of its mission.

Source: BBC News

Planet discovered in constellation

Astronomers have found another planet that orbits the star called 55 Cancri, making 5 planets total. This system of planets looks similar to our solar system — it has four smaller planets orbiting close to the star and a larger planet orbiting farther away.

The planet circles 55 Cancri from around 70 million miles away, which is approximately the distance of Venus from the Sun. The planet takes 260 days to orbit the star.

Researchers suspect that the planet is similar to Neptune or Saturn. Thus, it would not be able to support any kind of life.

On the other hand, the planet could have rocky moons that would have the same temperatures as Earth. However, these moons would need to be as large as Mars to maintain the presence of water.

Source: The New York Times