Wednesday briefing: Drugs that kill senescent cells reduce signs of ageing in mice

Drug treatments to kill damaged cells can increase the health and lifespans of mice, the Information Commissioner's Office has fined Facebook and will begin criminal proceedings over the Cambridge Analytica data syphoning scandal

Your WIRED daily briefing. Today, drug treatments to kill damaged cells can increase the health and lifespans of mice, the Information Commissioner's Office has fined Facebook and will begin criminal proceedings over the Cambridge Analytica data syphoning scandal, Tesla has announced its first Chinese factory and more.

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A new study has found that the signs and symptoms of aging in mice can be reduced if senescent cells – those that have become damaged over time and cease dividing – are killed off using a drug treatment (Ars Technica). The researchers found that, rather than simply ceasing to divide while carrying out normal functions, senescent cells actively contribute to the deterioration of bodily health. But, when the animals were treated with a combination of quercetin, a dietary chemical found in bitter plants, and chemotherapy drug dasatinib, the energy, endurance and lifespan of ageing mice were increased.

The Information Commissioner's Office has announced that it will issue Facebook with its maximum fine for breaching the Data Protection Act and it intends to pursue a criminal prosecution against Cambridge Analytica parent company SCL Elections (WIRED). Although both Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections declared themselves insolvent in May, the ICO says it will be prosecuting the firms – and possibly their directors – over SCL's failure to comply with a demand made under UK law to give a US academic the information it holds on him. For its part in enabling Cambridge Analytica's data syphoning practices, Facebook will have to pay £500,000 – the maximum fine allowable, but a pittance relative to its $5 billion income last quarter.

Tesla's first electric car factory outside the USA is to be in Shanghai, CEO Elon Musk has announced (The Guardian). The car plant, which Tesla hopes will begin production in two years with a target of 500,000 vehicles per year, was welcomed by Shanghai's municipal government, which says it will "fully support the construction of the Tesla factory". The announcement comes in the wake of a 25 per cent price hike on Teslas sold in China due to new import tariffs imposed in response to a US increase in duties on Chinese goods.

The scorching weather that has been sweeping the UK for weeks has uncovered the ghost-like remains of ancient settlements across the Welsh countryside, as parched earth has made visible deeper furrows beneath (WIRED). Hot and very dry weather has led to the emergence of these crop marks: drought-like conditions cause crops and grasses to become parched and singed by the Sun. "Then, very occasionally, what you see on these images, is the darker green that comes through," says archaeologist Louise Barker from The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. This darker green tells of a site that was once above ground, and, having fallen into disuse over centuries, leaves trenches and rivulets where the site's ditches and foundations were once laid.

Nathalie Lawhead's Cyberpet Graveyard invites you to visit the remains of unwanted cyberpets, buried among the software relics of the early 2000s (Rock, Paper, Shotgun). It's a quirky, artistic and humorously glitchy gallery of folders to explore and strange programs to run. Cyberpet Graveyard is out now on a pay-what-you-want basis from itch.io and Game Jolt.

Have you recently noticed kids making weird dance moves anywhere and everywhere – on the bus, on the street, in shopping malls? Called emotes, they are the latest craze, thanks to the huge success of Fortnite Battle Royale – a computer game by Epic Games that has (seemingly) taken over the world, both digital and physical. Fortnite runs in “seasons”, and the fifth instalment is imminent, with gamers on tenterhooks to launch themselves into a new world on Thursday, July 12 at 09:00 BST.

WIRED 07.18 is out now. This month, we go inside WeWork, one of the most hyped startups in the world, to try and make sense of its lofty valuation. And we investigate the high-stakes lawsuit that could fundamentally change not just Uber, but the entire gig economy. Subscribe now and save.

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