TIME viral

Watch Driving Instructors Get Pranked by a Pro Racer

They think she doesn't know how to drive

Driving tests are supposed to be nerve-racking for new students, but one Malaysian driving school flipped the script and absolutely terrified their rookie instructors.

To prank employees on their first day of work, the school hired Leona Chin, a professional rally-racing driver, to be the unlucky tutors’ first pupil.

Chin, dressed up in a nerdy-looking outfit, spends the first half of the video pretending she’s a hopeless learner. Then, just as instructors are getting frustrated, Chin reveals her true talents—and the reactions are priceless.

“The 3 employees you saw at the end loved it and laughed it off, but the guy in the blue shirt was not too happy. That’s why we didn’t have footage of him smiling,” Izmir Mujab, CEO of the media company behind the video, told TIME.

Read next: Watch Mariah Carey Kill at Car Karaoke on The Late Late Show

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TIME Companies

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Has Plans to Give Away All His Wealth

Apple CEO Tim Cook attends an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, on March 9, 2015
Stephen Lam—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook attends an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, on March 9, 2015

“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change”

After paying for his 10-year-old nephew’s college tuition, Apple CEO Tim Cook says, he plans on leaving all his wealth — which today amounts to $120 million — to good causes.

But he won’t simply be writing checks. In an in-depth profile piece featured in the April 1 issue of Fortune magazine, Cook says he wants to approach philanthropy with a coherent, thoughtful, game plan.

“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change,” he told Fortune.

To read the entire profile of Tim Cook, click here.

TIME technology

3 Things Ted Cruz Could Learn From Taylor Swift

Left: Ted Cruz; right: Taylor Swift
Getty Images; AP Left: Ted Cruz; right: Taylor Swift

Eddy Badrina is the co-founder of the digital marketing agency Buzzshift.

So haters don't 'hate hate hate' so much

Two Internet domain stories about high-profile people came out this week. In one, Sen. Ted Cruz, who had just announced he was running for president, had to face the reality that tedcruz.com is owned by somebody who is using it to support President Barack Obama. (Cruz’s campaign uses tedcruz.org.) In the other, Taylor Swift made news by proactively buying up “TaylorSwift.porn” and “TaylorSwift.adult,” domains that would otherwise become available for anyone to purchase come June 1.

The contrast between the two stories highlights how politicians like Cruz, who are in the business of promoting their personal brands, could learn a few things from the tech-savvy marketing of Swift and other young celebrities. In particular, there are three basic principles that public figures should follow:

  1. Start early: Whether you intend to run for city council or you’re content with being a voting citizen, you should have your own domain name. Think about it: For just the price of three lattes, you can secure insertyourownnamehere.com for one year. Even if you never intend to put a blog or website on it, about $14 a year is a pittance to pay to ensure no one else can own your name online.
  1. Think strategically: If you’re a politician, you shouldn’t limit your URL buying to just one domain. See if you can get your last name .com, if it is available, along with your first name. Buy up the .org, .net, and .info domains as well. Look to claim common political slogans, too, such as yourname2016.com, yournameforamerica.com, etc. With more than 1,000 new top-level domains coming out, the older .coms and .nets are likely going to be even more valuable and authoritative in the eyes of end users. And don’t forget your social outposts. Social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are already crucial ways of communicating with voters, and they will only get more important as the platforms mature. In addition, these platforms almost always pop up in the first page of search-engine results. As people search for your personal brand, you want to own as much real estate as you can in those search results. Swift has done a great job of the “land grab” game on social media, not only because her fans are on the cutting edge of new platforms, but also because she and her team are actively promoting her there.
  1. Pick your battles: Politicians need to identify the platforms where they want to talk to potential voters and constituents, and where it is an uphill battle that is not worth the effort. For example, one Canadian would-be politician made the mistake of doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything, and it turned into a miserable PR failure. Open forums are essential to public debate, but politicians need to be fully prepared to give honest answers without getting defensive and divisive.By contrast, Taylor Swift says she doesn’t even read articles that she knows will upset her. “Is it important to my life?” she asks. “If the answer is no, then I just don’t click.” As a celebrity or politician, there are going to always be people, news media, or commenters that say things just for attention, or who will never change their minds. And they just aren’t worth engaging.

Politicians need to be thinking strategically about these reputation-management and online-identity issues. For everyone else, it’s never too late, or too trivial a task, to establish your online presence.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Family

Now Mothers Have a Third Shift—on Facebook

taking-photo-family
Getty Images

How do parents figure out what to post about their children on social media?

One evening while perusing Facebook, Christine encountered a profile with a public cover image that depicted her two-year-old son sitting in a pile of leaves. The profile belonged to Christine’s babysitter, and Christine hadn’t seen the picture before. (The names of parents in this article are pseudonyms.)

Initially, Christine felt uncomfortable. She told her husband, and they wondered what to do. Should they send the babysitter a Facebook Friend request? Talk to her directly about the photo?

Ultimately, they did nothing. They figured the babysitter posted the picture because she loved their son, and having a babysitter who cared about their child was more important to them than trying to control his presence on social media. Plus, Christine didn’t want the babysitter to think they were spying on her.

This exchange — the negotiation between parents, the consideration of a child’s digital footprint, and the time and effort that went into making this decision — illustrates the emergence of a “third shift” of work that parents take on to manage the online identities of their children. The concept extends sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s seminal work on family life, which described the “second shift” of homemaking work that occurs in addition to paid labor (the “first shift,” if you will). This “third shift,” which encompasses the work that goes into presenting family life on social media and other online platforms, extends debates about divisions of labor into the digital era.

Over the past two years, University of Michigan School of Information PhD student Tawfiq Ammari and I interviewed more than 100 mothers and fathers from around the country about their social media use. Working with professors Sarita Schoenebeck and Cliff Lampe, experts in social computing, our team discovered that while both parents participate in the third shift, mothers typically take the lead. Tensions emerge when one parent posts a picture that the other parent prefers not to be shared, or when extended family does the same.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that the task of managing family photos, a type of domestic labor that seeks to preserve memories of home life, typically falls to women. Our research suggests the same is true in this age of Facebook and Instagram, with mothers generally taking the initiative to negotiate sharing policies with partners, decide what pictures to share, and post them online. We call this work parental disclosure management.

Disclosure management is what you and I do when we think, “Do I really want to post this? Would I want my parent/boss/student/high school frenemy to see it?” For those who use social media often, these may be semi-conscious thoughts or reflexes. But layered beneath these questions lies a complex decision process where your brain weighs the benefits of posting with the potential drawbacks.

When parents go through this process, they’re often deciding to reveal information about themselves as well as their children, who might not be old enough to make or respond to that decision themselves. At its core, parenting requires making decisions on behalf of someone who doesn’t know how to do so herself. But throw the World Wide Web into the mix and you have information that spreads easily, is visible to a much broader audience, and is nearly impossible to control. If the Web resembles a megaphone, what do parents feel comfortable sharing with it?

We examined this question and learned that mothers and fathers share different types of pictures. Typically, mothers of young children post pictures that are cute, funny, depict a milestone, or show their children with family or friends. Many fathers, on the other hand, post pictures that showcase activities in which their children participate, especially athletics. Mothers of young children typically hesitate to post pictures that portray nudity or negativity (e.g., crying). Fathers are particularly wary of posting images of children, especially daughters, that could be interpreted as sexually suggestive.

And here, things get murky, because parents — however blindly or haphazardly — try to anticipate how others will respond to what they share. One father we interviewed avoided posting pictures of his daughter at gymnastics, where she wore tights. Another father said he wouldn’t share a picture of his ten-year-old daughter wearing too-short shorts or making a duck lip face. He nearly unfriended one of his Facebook friends after that friend made a sexually suggestive comment about a picture the father had posted of his daughter perched on one foot. Rather than take the picture down or cut off online contact with his friend, the father posted a sarcastic comment in response. He injected humor into the conversation while still signaling his disapproval of the friend’s inappropriate comment.

This father’s experience underscores the difficulty of trying to control the presentation of a child’s identity online. Parents can control their own actions, but not others’ actions or reactions. This lack of control online frustrates parents, just as it does in the classroom or on the playground, where they want to have say in what their child learns or how high she climbs on the jungle gym. According to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of Facebook users with kids under age 18 strongly dislike when people share pictures of their children on Facebook without permission.

Rather than brood in silence about their frustrations, parents we spoke to used a variety of strategies to address them. Preventative approaches included e-mailing announcements to extended family about their preferences for sharing information about children online, using different social media sites than the ones they used for themselves to share information about children, or creating separate social media profiles for children. When problems did arise, parents typically decided to laugh them off, ignore them (like Christine did with the babysitter’s picture), or ask people directly to remove the images or information.

These are promising strategies. Yet this research reminds us that while the digital landscape offers new tools to share information, it presents parents and children with similar decision-making challenges as the analog world — difficulties that never have one-size-fits-all solutions. Parents tackle countless daily decisions that affect their children, and figuring out what to post on social media may feel trivial. But when parents decide what pictures of their children to share or how to describe their children’s mannerisms, they shape how the world views their children. Confidentiality becomes a real concern, especially when sharing information about taboo subjects, such as medical crises or mental health issues. These disclosures can help parents find social support, but they can also compromise the child’s privacy.

Parents may also disagree about how best to manage their children’s lives online. Divorce or separation can complicate efforts to negotiate sharing practices. One father’s ex-wife preferred not to share information about their child online, while he worried that he would never see pictures of their son except during in-person visits. Another father who was separated from his child’s mother could only see pictures through his father’s Facebook friendship with his ex-partner, since she unfriended him.

This third shift also poses challenges for children, who are destined to grow up and develop their own opinions and privacy preferences for social media engagement. Though it’s impossible to know what the social media terrain will look like in a generation, recent legislative actions seek to account for these children’s rights. One such California law known as the “eraser bill” requires websites to allow children under 18 to delete content they post. The movement to pass such measures indicates a growing public appetite to give minors greater autonomy and control over their digital footprints.

In addition to individual negotiations and government interventions, social platforms themselves can help families navigate third shift challenges. For example, the ability to create shared accounts on social media sites could help parents jointly control privacy settings or manage information. Parents could also use “silent tagging” which would store information in a profile that a child could eventually review and decide whether to share more widely online. Social media companies that are looking to the future would do well to integrate robust identity management features that help people respond to their already existing online life.

Today’s parents had the chance to shape their own digital footprints, while their children will inherit the digital footprints their parents create for them. As our social and economic lives increasingly intersect with digital technology, we must continue to study the scope and stakes of “third shift” labor for both parents and children.

Priya Kumar is a program associate with the Ranking Digital Rights project. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

It’s 1815 All Over Again: The Troubling Tale of the Chappaqua Email Server

Congress of Vienna
Culture Club / Getty Images Congress of Vienna, 1814, after painting by J B Isabey

There are protestations that the HRC files were unclassified. But, the history of the Congress of Vienna shows, every bit can be exploited

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Keyboards are aflutter over the revelation that former U.S. Secretary of State and presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) bypassed the State Department and outsourced her email management to a server located at the Clinton family home in Chappaqua, NY. It is a brewing storm in search of a scandalous name. Hillar-email-ageddon? Chappaqua-servergate?

Put aside for the moment the propriety of a Cabinet official engaging in these practices and let us explore why this cyber kerfuffle created potentially easy pickings for determined nation-state actors and put national security at risk.

Does anyone care about seemingly uninteresting tidbits from the world’s most powerful foreign minister? After all, as HRC has noted, the emails were not classified. Simple. Countries want to know the plans and intentions of friends and enemies, and they will take any scraps they can get.

To illustrate, let us wind the clock back to a time when one world power had no compunction about breaching protocol and spying on everyone’s diplomatic correspondence in a concerted effort to protect the security of the state and further its own political agenda.

Exactly two hundred years ago, the European powers gathered at the Congress of Vienna to redraw the map of the Continent. The French Revolution had collapsed after a head-chopping reign of terror. Napoleon’s gallivanting across Europe was over. The aristocrats were back in the catbird seat and they were ready to party. For nine months from the official opening in October 1814 until June 1815, greater and lesser powers jockeyed for position as territories changed hands.

The secret police of the Austro-Hungarian Empire had been preparing for months for the delegates’ arrival. As the diplomats negotiated at the Congress or whiled away the evenings at fancy dinners and galas, the Austrian surveillance state was hard at work, following their every move. Secret police transcripts from the time run in the thousands of pages. No grain of information, however mundane, escaped notice and was dutifully transmitted to the Emperor’s desk.

The backbone of the Austrian spying program was reading diplomatic correspondence as delegates reported progress back to their countries (and threw in the odd bit of palace gossip and intrigue.)

Some diplomats tried to take precautions by sealing the envelopes with distinctive wax seals bearing their royal crests. Today we might call this using a weak password because the Austrian secret police could break the seals without leaving a trace. In secret bureaus, operatives employed special smokeless candles to pry loose the seals and, using metal putty, create perfect counterfeit replicas. The mail could be read, a new seal put in place, and the mail sent on its way as if it had traveled unmolested. Just like a man-in-the-middle attack works today for third parties who want to read your email and leave you none the wiser.

This worked until the nobles used new seals, which would be like changing your password to something easily guessable, and presented only a minor inconvenience to Austrian intelligence until new fake seals could be fabricated.

Some royals were too clever by half. Princess Theresa of Saxony tried to fool the watchers by giving the major diplomatic players nicknames in her letters home. The French foreign minister became “Krumpholz” and the Austrian was “Krautfeld”. Let’s call this very weak encryption, because with a little bit of work, a trained eye could engage in word substitution and figure out the puzzle.

Others went farther, writing in invisible ink between the lines of more innocuous letters. This is like strong encryption, but can still be broken with enough technical know-how. Prepared as ever, the secret police had chemical solutions to reveal the hidden text.

The Secretary of State’s email is like the diplomatic correspondence of two hundred years ago. As the Austrians had figured out, the connection of many innocuous seeming details could tell a story and provide indicators of an adversary’s intentions.

Imagine you intercepted a one-line HRC email to a staff aide: “Purchase Urdu phrase book by Fri” (not a real example). Might this indicate that a trip to Pakistan was imminent, signaling a change in U.S. foreign policy? India would certainly care about this, as would others with interests in the region.

Back at the Congress of Vienna, closely watching friend and foe soon overwhelmed the secret police. In addition to the four major political powers of the day, hundreds of advisors, courtesans, hangers-on and special interest groups had descended on the capital.

The surveillance net had grown too wide. It was impossible to shadow everyone and the decryption bureau was getting behind in transcribing letters, leading higher-ups to complain that the mail was being delayed. The intelligence service had what we might call a Big Data problem, and they had not yet evolved the analytical capabilities to make sense of all the information that poured in daily. Modern governments have many more resources at their disposal and can leverage technology to separate the wheat from the chaff, quickly doing the work that legions of clerks once did by hand, so vacuuming up all the data doesn’t necessarily create an undue burden.

Not everyone had his proverbial pockets picked at the Congress. One shining beacon of good information security practices emerges. The British Foreign Secretary, Viscount Castlereagh, though under the watchful eye of the Austrian surveillance state, frustrated their efforts to penetrate his information cocoon. In their internal reports the secret police privately complain that they cannot obtain any useful information. Castlereagh hired his own household servants, thwarting efforts to infiltrate his milieu with local agents. He further had his diplomatic correspondence hand-carried back to London and he ensured that all notes were completely burned in the fireplace.

Castlereagh’s good example from two hundred years ago shows us how these common-sense practices can still resonate today in the digital age, notably not sending sensitive information via unprotected channels and using electronic document shredding to erase proprietary information.

It is doubtful that the Chappaqua server had encryption to the standards of State Department diplomatic security. Yes, the HRC email server was behind a locked door. But information flowed in and out. As SecState, HRC was a million-plus mile flyer. Thus, of the tens of thousands of emails she penned while in office, we must reasonably assume that a significant number were sent from overseas before being routed via Chappaqua. From the WiFi hotspot at the airport VIP lounge in Beijing or Moscow perhaps? Who sits atop these access points to the information highway and sniffs the messages passing through? Answer: whoever wants to.

There are protestations that the HRC files were unclassified. But, as has been shown from the point of view of a two-century-old intelligence service (that didn’t even have the benefit of electricity), every bit can be part of a larger mosaic and exploited for all the wrong reasons. This tale of snooping during the Congress of Vienna would be an amusing bit of waltz-till-dawn diplomatic history if it weren’t such a stark reminder that in the digital age a country with enough resources and ill intent can use time-honored practices to exploit weaknesses in communications practices, read the mail, and make calculated adjustments based on what it learns. And that is why this episode has such disturbing implications.

Greg Cullison is an independent researcher and Founder & CEO of ProVerity, Inc., a security and risk analysis firm headquartered near Washington, D.C.

TIME technology

There Are Now Martini Glasses Designed for Space Travel

The designs for a space-friendly cocktail glass and drinking glass are seen from the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project kickstarter campaign.
Cosmic Lifestyle Corp The design for a space-friendly cocktail glass and drinking glass are seen from the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project kickstarter campaign

Houston, we have stemware

For the stylish space voyager, sucking liquids through a straw out of a foil bag is never going to cut it. But a new Kickstarter venture hopes to smarten things up by raising money to produce a zero-gravity-friendly martini glass.

Created under the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project, the glass is designed with a series of grooves that prevent the liquid inside from forming into a floating blob and instead guide it neatly towards the mouth.

“The glass is a stepping-stone to say that, Hey, this is possible, you can create these things for space,” Samuel Coniglio, COO of Cosmic Lifestyle Corp., the company designing the glass, says in a promotional video.

Cosmic Lifestyle is hoping that this new product can be the beginning of a wider project to create a lifestyle brand for anyone wanting to travel to space in style.

Presumably a zero-gravity cocktail shaker is on the drawing board next, or else nobody is going to get served their cosmic martini any time soon.

TIME technology

This Is What Happens When You Drop an iPhone 6 Into a Lava Lamp

It lasts for a surprisingly long time

Tech blogger and popular YouTube channel TechRax recently put an iPhone 6 inside a giant lava lamp just for fun. To see how long the device will keep functioning after it is submerged in the goop, the mischief-maker plays a music video on the phone. The music appears to keep playing for about 40 seconds before a menu with notification alerts drops down and the screen turns black.

His past stunts include boiling an iPhone 6 in Coca-Cola or pouring molten aluminum over the device.

TIME technology

See How a Celebrated Photographer Plans to Use Snapchat

Alec Soth, a Minnesota artist, in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 24, 2015.
Jenn Ackermann—The New York Times/Redux Alec Soth, a Minnesota artist, in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 24, 2015.

Magnum Photos member Alec Soth will share images that disappear after 10 seconds

Alec Soth has, over his years as a photographer, developed a reputation for experimentation within his craft.

In 2010, when he was invited by the Brighton Photo Festival in the U.K. to produce a new series of images about the coastal town, he found himself in an immigration quagmire that kept him from shooting any photographs. Instead, he gave the camera to his daughter, who produced the images for him.

Now, his latest experiment is once again linked to his relationship with his daughter, now a teenager and an avid user of the photo-sharing app Snapchat.

“Like a lot of middle-aged people I didn’t have a clue as to what Snapchat was about,” Soth tells TIME. “I heard about that sexting stereotype, and I just didn’t understand it.”

But Soth remembered that he felt the same way when Twitter launched in 2006 and gained popularity in 2010, and with Instagram when it took the world of photography by storm. “I was very anti-Instagram for a long time,” he says. “And then the pressure to get into it became too strong. That’s when I realized that it was fascinating.”

With Snapchat, where any images and videos shared disappear forever after 10 seconds, Soth was curious to explore how it had become a communication platform for his daughter and many of her peers. “My experience on Snapchat is very different to my experience on Instagram,” he says. “Snapchat seems best suited for direct communication, and because I’m a middle-aged man, it was hard to use in that way. I didn’t have friends on it.”

But, as he started testing the service, he felt a sense of liberation, he tells TIME. “On Instagram, I’m identified as a photographer, so I felt this pressure that I’m supposed to make photographs, serious photographs. With Snapchat, I felt kind of relieved that I could be like anyone else and show glimpses of my life.”

“There’s this desire to do that, to share fleeting moments of one’s life,” he continues. “People mock this: why photograph your breakfast. But I don’t put it down. It’s an impulse, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad one. It fundamentally doesn’t seem different from an art impulse.”

Now, Soth is taking it one step further. He’s partnered with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., as part of the cultural institution’s Intangibles pop-up shop, which sells original and curated art works.

For $100, visitors can buy an interactive Snapchat conversation with Soth. “The idea is that they will get a minimum of 25 pictures from me,” he says. “Ideally, I’ll see it as a conversation: What do you want me to photograph?” The goal, Soth explains, is to talk with pictures, similarly to what his daughter already does with her friends on Snapchat.

Once the conversation is over, the Walker Art Center will interview the buyers and “publish a non-visual documentation of their experience,” the Center says.

The work, called Disappear With Me, has already sold out.

For Soth, the experiment is about his own curiosity, he says. “I’m just trying to figure out how this works, learn from it, and see where technology goes from there.”

As for his daughter, she finds the experiment ridiculous, Soth says. “Just yesterday my daughter found out about this. She thought it was the most absurd thing in the world that someone would pay money [for images that disappear]. She said, Maybe if you’re Ariana Grande. But, otherwise, why on Earth?”

Alec Soth is a photographer born and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is represented by Magnum Photos.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

TIME technology

Angry Birds Maker Rovio Sees Profits Fall 73% in 2014

"Angry Birds" merchandise displayed in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012.
Romeo Gacad—AFP/Getty Images "Angry Birds" merchandise displayed in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012.

The maker of the game is hoping that the upcoming Angry Birds film will help bolster a plunge in revenue.

The maker of the Angry Birds franchise said Thursday that profits were down last year as new games overtook its mainstay in popularity.

Finnish developer Rovio said its 2014 revenue dropped to 158.3 million euros ($169 million) from 173.5 million euros a year earlier and profits fell 73% to 10 million euros, the Wall Street Journal reports. Merchandise sales plummeted to 41.4 million euros from 73.1 million euros.

Angry Birds, launched in 2009 at the price of $0.99, has been surpassed in popularity by free-to-download alternatives. King Digital Entertainment, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, pulled in $2.26 billion last year.

In an effort the help rejuvenate the company, Rovio is releasing an animated film, Angry Birds, in May 2016. The 3D film is being developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, and will star Jason Sudeikis, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and Peter Dinklage.

[Wall Street Journal]

TIME Infectious Disease

A New Blood Test Could Stop Doctors From Overprescribing Antibiotics

In this image provided by Duke University, lab research analyst Marshall Nichols does research relating to a new blood test on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, in Durham, N.C.
Shawn Rocco—AP In this image provided by Duke University, lab-research analyst Marshall Nichols does research relating to a new blood test on Sept. 17, 2013, in Durham, N.C.

The procedure distinguishes between viral and bacterial infections

Scientists claim to have established a new blood test that can help doctors quickly distinguish between bacterial and viral infections, giving physicians the ability to prescribe antibiotics more accurately. That’s according to a study published by PLOS One on Wednesday.

Israeli-based company MeMed, along with researchers from other institutes, says that they examined over 1,000 patients and found that their ImmunoXpert blood test could distinguish between immune responses to bacterial or viral infections. The procedure is reportedly fast, taking only hours to complete when alternatives often require days.

“Antibiotic misuse is a pressing public health concern, with devastating healthcare and economic consequences,” stated MeMed CEO Eran Eden in a release to media. “Unlike most traditional diagnostics, this approach builds on an exquisitely informative system crafted by nature — the human immune system.”

While still in the laboratory stage, the test could be important because doctors have long struggled to identify the root causes of infections, meaning that antibiotics, which only attack bacteria, are often prescribed unnecessarily.

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