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Sidewire, a website and app meant to elevate sophisticated conversation on the internet, is adding new features, hoping to better engage readers with credentialed experts.

The platform is adding four new buttons: An exclamation point, a question mark, a happy face and a sad face. The question mark will be used for readers to submit questions to experts who can chose to answes, helping to further engage users with expert conversations. Jonathan Allen, Sidewire's head of community & content, tells Axios that use of the exclamation point will be a wildcard, while the other buttons have obvious use cases.

Why it matters: Currently, Sidewire approves a list of people to engage in text-based conversation on its platform around political or tech issues. Anyone can observe the conversations, but until now, users couldn't engage with them other than by choosing to "like" conversations though a button.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 hours ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.