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  • The Know Daily - Monday 29 April 2024

The Know Daily - Monday 29 April 2024

🛜 New laws on easy-to-guess passwords, nature conservation works + Scotland’s first minister considers resigning.

Read in 5m 24s Listening to Cults 

🛜 New laws to make smart devices more secure

👏 Landmark trials for a melanoma vaccine 

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Humza Yousaf considers resigning as first minister

A new study has found that nature conservation works - and we’re getting much better at it. 👏 Researchers spent a decade looking at measures to reduce biodiversity loss - from managing invasive species to breeding Chinook salmon - and found they had a positive effect in two out of every three cases. 

🛜 Smart device security

Tech that comes with easy-to-guess passwords such as “admin” is being banned in the UK, under new laws requiring manufacturers of smart devices to make them more secure.

Go on…
The number of internet-linked devices in UK homes has boomed in recent years, from broadband routers and televisions to doorbells, baby monitors and even fridges. But hackers can use these smart devices to steal private data - and now, the government is introducing world-first laws aimed at reducing this risk.

What do the laws involve, exactly?
Manufacturers will have to make sure any devices that come with pre-set passwords aren’t left blank or easy-to-guess, with users prompted to change any common passwords (so no more “12345”). They will also have to publish information on when they will end support and security updates for older models.

If manufacturers don’t meet these new requirements, they could face fines.

Just how popular is smart tech?
Very popular. According to the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT), 99% of UK adults now own at least one smart device, with UK households owning an average of nine connected devices. This means that the security risks have “ballooned” in recent years, said the BBC, with the government saying the new laws should give consumers “peace of mind”. 

If you own a couple of smart devices, Which? offers great advice on keeping them as secure as possible.


How many time zones does Russia have?

A) 5
B) 7
C) 11

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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👏 A landmark trial

Hundreds of patients are set to benefit from the world’s first personalised mRNA cancer vaccine for melanoma.

Tell me more. 
Surgery is currently the main treatment for melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. But in a landmark trial, a new vaccine - which uses the same technology as current Covid jabs - is being given to patients to prevent the cancer from returning. 

As The Guardian explains, the jabs work by triggering a patient’s immune system so it can recognise and wipe out any remaining cancer cells. Crucially, each jab is custom-built for each patient, to ensure the most effective response.

That sounds like a pretty big deal.
It is! An earlier trial found the vaccine dramatically reduces the risk of melanoma returning - and this final trial aims to confirm these results on a wider range of patients. Researchers plan to recruit about 1,100 people, with the UK part of the international trial looking to recruit at least 60 patients from across the country.

What’s the bigger picture?
Dr Heather Shaw, national coordinating investigator for the trial, pointed out that the personalised jabs are also being tested in other cancers, including lung, bladder and kidney. She said the therapy appeared to have “relatively tolerable side effects”, the BBC reported, adding to hopes that it could be a “gamechanger”.

📣 Want to help a fellow reader - and make The Know even better? A university researcher is looking into what we like about newsletters and why they’re growing in popularity - and he’s looking for readers to interview! If you’d like to help, please reach out to Charles Lambert here 📣

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland politics: Humza Yousaf is reportedly considering resigning as first minister, ahead of a key no confidence vote later this week. 

🗣️ Assisted dying debate: MPs are set to debate assisted dying for the first time in two years, triggered by a petition which gained more than 200,000 signatures.

🎰 Abandoning ads: The online casino company 888.com is set to withdraw ads from London’s transport network, following criticism over their tone

👏 Important exhibition: An artist from Brighton is raising awareness of vaginismus, saying she hoped her photography would “fill in the gaps missing from women’s health and education”. 

🤔 Flying start: A 101-year-old frequent flyer keeps getting mistaken for a baby because an airline’s booking system cannot compute her date of birth.

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Trivia answer:  C) Russia spans 11 different time zones - but that’s not even the most of any country. 

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