Friday Futures: a posse is onto pandemics, and graphene is really cool

Image credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to Friday Futures, our weekly guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: The hunt for pandemics ramps up; Facebook’s woes; US Border Patrol can’t verify your data; how the moon was formed and take a trip in a self-driving car.

Global initiative to hunt down unknown viruses (and prevent a pandemic)

Scientists believe there are more than 1.6 million viruses in birds and mammals that we haven’t discovered yet. Approximately half of those viruses could potentially infect and cause illnesses in humans. All it would take is one to unleash the next global pandemic. Read more…

Are Facebook’s woes a mirror for society?

One day in late February of 2016, Mark Zuckerberg sent a memo to all of Facebook’s employees to address some troubling behavior in the ranks. His message pertained to some walls at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters where staffers are encouraged to scribble notes and signatures. Read more…

US Border Patrol can’t verify your data (and hasn’t been able to for years)

And while e-Passports also store a cryptographic signature to prevent tampering or forgeries, it turns out that despite having over a decade to do so, US Customs and Border Protection hasn’t deployed the software needed to actually verify it. Read more…

The moon might have formed in a seething, boiling synestia

A new explanation for the Moon’s origin has it forming inside the Earth when our planet was a seething, spinning cloud of vaporized rock, called a synestia. The new model resolves several problems in lunar formation. Read more…

Are drones the future of agriculture?

Hands Free Hectare is an experimental farm run by researchers from Harper Adams University, United Kingdom. Its aim is to sow, grow and harvest crops of spring barley using only unmanned vehicles. The project offers a glimpse of what the future of agriculture may be like. Read more…

Graphene can filter dirty water – easily

Researchers at CSIRO have developed a water filter made of graphene that can clean dirty water with a single pass. The team is looking to scale up the project for practical use. Read more…

Meanwhile, here’s what it is like to ride in a self-driving car

Ahead of Waymo launching its self-driving car service this year, the company has released a new 360 degree video that conveys everything their self-driving cars see while on the road. Watch now…

But don’t take it to the car wash, it stops working

It turns out self-driving vehicles need to stay out of automatic car washes because the heavy brushes and soap rinse could damage their navigation sensors. Read more…

Friday Futures is compiled by Alex Leslie and edited by John C. Tanner.

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