Hard Numbers

72: Although trust in specific technology and social media companies is falling, 72 percent of Americans polled still say technology has a net positive effect on society, according to a new survey by our friends at Axios. Is there an algorithm that separates babies from bathwater?


10: The Malaysian government has proposed a 10-year jail term for publishing “fake news,” and the law covers articles published abroad. As elections approach — in which Prime Minister Najib Razak is keen to avoid reminders of the massive corruption allegations against him — the proposal has raised fears of a press crackdown ahead of the vote.

6: Since 1979, only six cabinet-level US officials, and no sitting presidents, have visited Taiwan, out of respect for Beijing’s “One China” policy. But that number could rise now that Trump has signed a bill meant to boost high-level exchanges with the island. China isn’t pleased.

3.3: There are currently about 3.3 billion people living under political systems considered autocratic, according to the latest annual report by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, a research institution. That’s the highest number registered since they began regular surveys in 2006. Still, 4.2 billion people live in democracies.

0: The number of tweets that @realdonaldtrump has written about Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2006. Well, my spiritual adviser Willis Sparks pointed out that the only people Donald Trump is afraid of offending are Vladimir Putin and a porn star. So there’s that.

Scientists, engineers and technologists are turning to nature in search of solutions to climate change. Biomimicry is now being applied in the energy sector, medicine, architecture, communications, transport and agriculture in a bid to make human life on this planet more sustainable and limit the impacts of global warming. New inventions have been inspired by humpback whales, kingfishers and mosquitoes.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

The drumbeat for regulating artificial intelligence (AI) is growing louder. Earlier this week, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, became the latest high-profile Silicon Valley figure to call for governments to put guardrails around technologies that use huge amounts of (sometimes personal) data to teach computers how to identify faces, make decisions about mortgage applications, and myriad other tasks that previously relied on human brainpower.

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January 27 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp. But even as some 40 heads of state gathered in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the six million Jews who were killed, a recent Pew survey revealed that many American adults don't know basic facts about the ethnic cleansing of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Fewer than half of those polled knew how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and close to a third didn't know when it actually happened. Here's a look at some of the numbers.

1: The Greek parliament has elected a woman president for the first time since the country's independence some 200 years ago. A political outsider, Katerina Sakellaropoulou is a high court judge with no known party affiliation. "Our country enters the third decade of the 21st century with more optimism," Greece's prime minister said.

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A quarantine in China– Local authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak of a new and potentially deadly respiratory virus that, as of Thursday morning, had infected more than 540 people in at least six countries. Other nearby cities were also hit by travel restrictions. Rail and air traffic out of Wuhan has been halted. Public transportation is shut, and local officials are urging everyone to stay put unless they have a special need to travel. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, many of whom were about to travel for the Chinese New Year. We're watching to see whether these extraordinary measures help stem the outbreak, but also to see how the people affected respond to the clampdown.

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