Lavabit, an encrypted email service reportedly used by former government contractor Edward Snowden, ceased operations yesterday. In a message to users, the owner of Lavabit hinted that the company was the target of a request for information about customers from the federal government. He said he chose to shut down his service instead of becoming "complicit in crimes against the American people." Later in the day, another secure email service, called Silent Circle, also shuttered itself.
Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 5:43 pm
Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog, and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.
Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 10:26 am
When winemakers crush the juice from grapes, what's left is a goopy pile of seeds, stems and skins called pomace. Until several years ago, these remains were more than likely destined for the dump.
"The pomace pile was one of the largest problems that the wine industry had with sustainability," says Paul Novak, general manager for WholeVine Products, a sister company to winemaker Kendall-Jackson in Northern California.
Reporting in Science, researchers write of an intravenous vaccine that offered complete protection against malaria in a small clinical trial — but only after five doses. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discusses steps needed to turn this early success into a practical vaccine.
Resilin is a protein found in insects that allows them to jump long distances and beat their wings quickly. The material stores and releases energy due to its unique structure. Biomedical engineer Kristi Kiick is researching how to use these pliable proteins for medical purposes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual "State of the Climate" assessment. Deke Arndt, an editor of the report, discusses warming temperatures and other climate trends from 2012. Plus, Sol Hsiang, who studies climate and violence, discusses his research connecting rising temperatures to increases in human conflict.
Dutch scientists cooked up the first hamburger made from laboratory-grown meat. Researcher Nicholas Genovese, who is studying stem cell lines for in vitro meat, and journalist Josh Schonwald, who ate the burger, give us their review.
"People get really interested in learning about where they came from. It's genealogy writ large," says paleoanthropologist Tim White about evolutionary history. When White isn't hunting for remains of our human ancestors in Africa, he's stationed in his museum-like office at the University of California, Berkeley, where he's director of the Human Evolution Research Center.
The annual Perseid meteor shower, produced by remnants of the Swift-Tuttle comet, is back. Dean Regas, outreach astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory, says the best time to see streaks will be in the early morning hours of August 12.