When to Take Conspiracies Seriously | Fighting Fire with Fire | Tech-Savvy Chinese Propaganda, and more

States Brace for Long-Term Flood Fight as Damages Mount (David A. Lieb, AP)
After devastating flooding this year, Iowa funneled $15 million into a special fund to help local governments recover and guard against future floods. Missouri budgeted more money to fight rising waters, including $2 million to help buy a moveable floodwall for a historic Mississippi River town that has faced flooding in all but one of the past 20 years.

Goal of Fighting Fire with Fire Faces Hurdles in U.S. West (Brian Melley, AP)
Prescribed burn—a low-intensity, closely managed fire—was intended to clear out undergrowth and protect the heart of Kings Canyon National Park from future wildfires that are growing larger and more frequent amid climate change.
The tactic is considered one of the best ways to prevent the kind of catastrophic destruction that has become common from wildfires, but its use falls woefully short of goals in the U.S. West. A study published in the journal Fire in April found prescribed burns on federal land in the last 20 years across the West has stayed level or fallen despite calls for more.

Tape, glasses allow researchers to bypass Face ID (Nancy Cohen , Tech Xplore)
In September 2018, a tech watcher was admirably candid: If you are a normal person, Apple FaceID is basically safe, she said. But then this tech watcher, Rachel Kraus, wrote in Mashable that “as I sized up the arguments for and against, I’ve begrudgingly come to the conclusion that my fear of Face ID is just the teensiest bit irrational….But no way in hell does that mean I’m going to use it.”
She was well aware of the plus points that had Apple and Apple fans stoked but she admitted she could not budge. “Face ID may be convenient, and is probably safe…But when it comes to protecting our phones, our identities, and our lives, probably just isn’t good enough.”
In 2019, you still find hesitant people who wonder whether the new technology will create increased security or a new attack opening, and Tencent researchers find cause to think about that a bit harder.

Chinese Propaganda Goes Tech-Savvy to Reach a New Generation (Wanning Sun, The Conversation)
Earlier this year, a new app was launched in China to put the patriotism of Chinese citizens to the test.
Named “
Study Xi to Strengthen the Nation”, the app quizzes users on all things related to President Xi Jinping – his policies, activities, achievements, theories and thoughts. Users can earn points and win prizes for correct answers and compete with colleagues and friends to see who knows the most about China’s leader.
The app is the latest example of a rethink by the Communist Party when it comes to its propaganda efforts and how best to justify the legitimacy of its one-party rule, extol the virtues of the party, and promote patriotism to an audience of young, tech-savvy Chinese.

Phishing Tricksters Nab the Warm Fuzzies, Smiles (Nancy Cohen , Tech Xplore)
Phishing is the most common form of cyberattack and still growing. Yet, in a survey of Internet users, it was found that 45 percent of those surveyed did not understand what phishing was or the risk associated with it.