18% of Americans Know They've Had Personal Information Stolen Online

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1. Pew says roughly a fifth of US Internet users have had an account compromised or personal information stolen. Yeesh

"18% of online adults have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information. That’s an increase from the 11% who reported personal information theft in July 2013. 21% of online adults said they had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over without their permission.The same number reported this experience in a July 2013 survey."

 

2. Biological parenthood will be more complex this century than it was in the last

"U.S. health officials are weighing whether to approve trials of a pioneering in vitro fertilization technique using DNA from three people in an attempt to prevent illnesses like muscular dystrophy and respiratory problems. The proposed treatment would allow a woman to have a baby without passing on diseases of the mitochondria, the 'powerhouses' that drive cells."

+ The details from the late February FDA committee meeting [PDF]. 

 

3. At this point, people seem to be banking on how exciting a verb we think 'print' is... 

"Suzhou-based construction-materials firm Winsun New Materials says it has built 10 200-square-meter homes using a gigantic 3-D printer that it spent 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) and 12 years developing... Winsun’s 3-D printer is 6.6 meters (22 feet) tall, 10 meters wide and 150 meters long, the firm said, and the “ink” it uses is created from a combination of cement and glass fibers."

 

4. A historian recreates a hip drug from the 17th century.

"The verdict: cinchona bark tea is the bitterest thing I've ever encountered - so acrid that it acquires an entirely different sensation on the tongue, a transcendent state of bitterness evoking flavours of turpentine, bile, and crude petroleum. But does it actually have a physiological effect? Yes and no. I don't have malaria, so I couldn't test cinchona's legendary efficacy as a fever cure. But cinchona's active ingredient, quinine, is also known for provoking uniquely vivid dreams and serving as a mild muscle relaxant. I can attest to both of these effects: in particular, the cinchona tea seemed to loosen up my back muscles. It also gave me crazy dreams - of glowing undersea creatures made of jewels, for instance."

 

5. Where bankrupt comes from.

"Once upon a time, for instance, all that you needed to start a bank was a bench. You put your bench up in a square in medieval Italy and sat down behind it to do business. The Italian for bench is banca, and hence our modern word bank. Sometimes, of course, bankers would run out of money, and when they did — in an age before the invention of TARP, bailouts and Ben Bernanke — their bench would be ceremonially smashed in front of them. It was then a 'broken bench' or 'banca rotta' or 'bankrupt.'"

 

Today's 1957 American English Usage Tip

barbarism, barbarity, barbarousness. The three nouns all belong to the adj. barbarous, but the first two are now (putting aside intentional archaism & metaphor) clearly distinguished. Barbarism means uncivilized condition, grossly uncultivated taste, or an illiterate expression; barbarity means grossly cruel conduct or treatment, or a grossly cruel act; barbarousness may be substituted for either of the others where the sense quality or degree is to be given unmistakably. 

 

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Glowing Undersea Creatures Made of Jewels, For Instance

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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