The Apocalypticon ~ Climate, Plasticapocalypse, dirt on Trump, Facebook, racist China, UK surveillance, Bots and hackers, Ebola,


Climate — Anticipating accelerating climate change-fuelled disasters in the coming decades, telecommunications giant AT&T recently partnered with Argonne National Labs to build a three-decade model called a Climate Change Analysis Tool to help forecast the devastating impact of climate change on the company’s infrastructure and business on a level that details down to the individual neighbourhood.
Hurricane Maria was the rainiest storm known to have hit Puerto Rico, and climate change is partly to blame, according to a new study.
Snow power — Winters are only going to get more severe, but there’s at least one silver lining as researchers from UCLA have come up with a way to harness electricity from all that snow.

Plasticapocalypse — Amid the rugged peaks of the Vicdessos region of the French Pyrenees, the only visible signs of a human presence are a smattering of villages and the odd hiker or skier; it is considered a pristine environment. But even here, scientists have detected tiny pieces of plastic falling out of the air:  artificial dust.
Planet’s ocean-plastics problem detailed in 60-year data set —Scientists have uncovered the first strong evidence that the amount of plastic polluting the oceans has risen vastly in recent decades — by analysing 60 years of log books for plankton-tracking vessels.
Nestlé has come under fire what advocates say is an outsized contribution to the plastic crisis — So Greenpeace activists hauled a 4.57m-tall heap of garbage, artfully crafted to resemble one of those deep sea fish that’s about 90% jowl, in front of the Nestlé’s US headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

Dirt on Trump — Mueller Report: The Justice Department has released a redacted copy (c400-page PDF) of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Militia messing with US town — Arivaca, Arizona is a tiny village, population about 700, with an outsize problem. Just 18kms (11 miles) from the US-Mexico border, it has become a magnet for self-styled militia groups from out of state that say they want to patrol the border and stop migrants. Their presence has strained the town that has long prided itself on its live-and-let-live, cooperative spirit.

AI to racially profile in China — According to a report from the New York Times, the Chinese government is using facial recognition to track Uighurs, the country’s Muslim minority. The technology reportedly targets this population based on their physical appearance.
And England has surveillance kiosks — A telecommunications company, free Wi-Fi service, police departments and local councils in the UK have developed and deployed a new system that aims to identify suspicious behaviour on free Wi-Fi kiosks in the nation and then automatically block related calls.

Faecesbook — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data, according to about 4000 pages of leaked company documents largely spanning 2011 to 2015 and obtained by NBC News. All the while, Facebook was formulating a strategy to publicly frame these moves as a way of protecting user privacy…

Bots and hackers — Bots, in general, are estimated to make up roughly 37.9% of all Internet traffic. In 2018, one in five website requests – 20.4% – of traffic was generated by bad bots alone.
Hackers have stolen data from “several FBI-affiliated websites.” Now details on “thousands of federal agents and law enforcement officers” are floating around on the web.

Latest Ebola not a global health crisis … yet — The outbreak started in August of 2018 and is so far the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. As of today, 1206 people have been infected and 764 people have been killed.
It’s the 10th Ebola outbreak in the DRC in the past 40 years and a startling 29% of cases have been in kids under the age of 18.

Good news: will exercise prolong your life? Well, what do you think? High levels of physical activity and longer telomeres do not guarantee a longer life, they definitely increase the likelihood, and runners live on average 3 years longer than non-runners.
And ‘new’ cereals like this might help save the planet.

Futurology ~ Wormhole travel, AI invents game, better water filter, human monkeys, reanimated pigs, U2 archaeology


AI has invented a sport for us, and it’s called Speedgate. Um, gee, thanks AI.

Travel through wormholes is possible, but slow — A Harvard physicist has shown that wormholes can exist: tunnels in curved space-time, connecting two distant places, through which travel is possible.
But it’s probably not useful for humans to travel through, said Daniel Jafferis, from Harvard University, the author of the study written in collaboration with Ping Gao, also from Harvard and Aron Wall from Stanford University: it takes longer to get through these wormholes than to go directly.
~ Well, you know, maybe it’s more scenic. 

AI invents a sport — The game, Speedgate, combines elements of several existing sports including Rugby, Soccer, and Handball, and can be customised to suit large or small fields. Players pass a ball (a size four Rugby training ball is currently used until the official Speedgate ball hits the market) to teammates by tossing, kicking, or punting it. The full rules and regulations for Speedgate are available on a website.
~ And it easily looks as crazy as all the human-invented ones. 

Nanowires improve water filtration — Combining nanowires with natural plant fibres, a team of scientists in China has found a way to purify water efficiently using water purification filter paper made from ultralong hydroxyapatite nanowires combined with natural plant fibres.
~ And when it breaks down, will add it to the plastic apocalypse?

Human genes ‘improve’ monkeys — A research group in China has introduced a human gene regulating brain development into monkeys, resulting in transgenic nonhuman primates that exhibited improved working memory and shorter reaction times.
~ Now how about we reintroduce them into humans? 

Pigs reanimated — In a study that raises profound questions about the line between life and death, researchers have restored some cellular activity to brains removed from slaughtered pigs.
~ It should help work out what kinds of brain functions could be restored after, say, a stroke. 

Declassified U2 spy pix show hidden archaeological sites — Inspired by a Chinese researcher who used the U2 images to view historical aerial imagery of his hometown, Emily Hammer and Jason Ur decided to see if the copious amounts of declassified data had any scientific worth. Much of the landscape in Europe, the Middle East, and central eastern Asia has changed since the Cold War, making these aerial records both historically and archaeologically important.
~ For example, they found the historical Aleppo from before the massive destruction wrought in the ongoing civil war; ancient stone animal-trapping ‘kites’; Marsh Arab settlements; ancient waterworks. 

The Apocalypticon ~ Face-plant, tech woes, online extremism, the world of pain, climate change, schadenfreude


Tech execs in the gun — In the wake of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand last month, Australia is putting major pressure on Big Tech to prevent the spread of hateful and violent content on their platforms, with a new law that threatens major fines and imprisonment.
Microsoft’s culture of sexual discrimination — An internal Microsoft email chain, first reported by Quartz, reportedly details a litany of egregious acts of sexual harassment and discrimination experienced by women at the company.
Facebook paying for better press — Facebook is paying British newspaper the Daily Telegraph to run a series of sponsored articles called “Being human in the information age” defending it against claims it is encouraging the spread of misinformation, aiding in the spread of hate speech, violating privacy, and generally ruining society in myriad other ways. [So weird that new media is paying old media to make it look better! I hope it costs Facebook a lot before getting it nowhere.]
Meanwhile, in the US, the ABC network did the same — ABC News aired an exclusive interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Good Morning America, but instead of asking Zuckerberg tough questions, interviewer George Stephanopoulos lobbed softball after softball so Zuck could deliver his prepared talking points.
Facebook is still not doing enough to prevent the ongoing promotion of violence and hate in Myanmar on its social network, according to a member of the United Nations team.
Researchers uncovered more than 70 Facebook groups openly selling black-market cyberfraud services, some of which they say had been running for up to eight years.
Google’s ‘ethics’ — Vox and other outlets reported that Google’s newly-created AI ethics board was falling apart amid controversy over several of the board members.
Youtube’s extreme videos — Facing criticism over the videos it recommends to users, YouTube seems to have a new favourite talking point, one that might surprise anyone who has spent time online: extreme content, the company claims, just doesn’t do that well on the site. Yet even a cursory review of YouTube shows that the most shocking and inflammatory videos are regularly among news outlets’ most viewed content.

Around the world of pain — Donald Trump claimed wind turbines cause cancer with their noise This may be because the president has a grudge against wind power, or because he is a complete and total idiot, but it is a patently ridiculous claim that it would be more or less a total waste of our time to debunk. The claim has no scientific support whatsoever, yet his flunkies still pretended the President’s words weren’t idiotic.
Brunei now stones people — Brunei’s interpretation of Islamic law now imposes death by stoning as a punishment for sex between men and adultery, as well as amputation of limbs for theft. Lesbian sex can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in jail. [Um, peace be with you?]
South Korean wildfires — South Korea is using its military to contain a large forest fire that spread quickly after igniting in Gangwon Province, along the country’s east coast. Strong winds have moved the blaze from city to city.
Venezuela is in the midst of “a major, major emergencywhen it comes to health.
Proper procedure did not help crashing plane — The pilots of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 followed proper procedures before the March 10 flight that killed 157 people, according to a preliminary report by the Ethiopian government.
Job-changing in China can drop your social credit — Lots of things can hurt your social credit in China. Failing to repay your debts, plagiarizing academic articles and building a debt-laden tech empire and then fleeing to another country, to name a few. One province now wants to add another “discredited behavior” that seems much more harmless: switching jobs too often. [If only we could stop China’s atrophied leadership from watching Black Mirror and thinking all its concepts are good ideas.]
Chinese autism rates are the same — Around one in a hundred people in China has autism spectrum conditions – a proportion similar to that of the West
Russian military talking to dolphins — A journal published by Russia’s Ministry of Defence became the subject of mockery after publishing claims “Russian specialists” have communicated with dolphins, crashed computer programs and even looked into safes using the power of telepathy.
US strips visa from International Criminal Court prosecutor after they infer US war crimes in Afghanistan — The US has revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor just weeks after warning it would take such an action against anyone from the ICC who is investigating allegations that US personnel may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
In the US, three-quarters of a million people would likely lose their food stamps later this year under a new proposal by the Trump administration. The goal is to encourage able-bodied adults to go to work and get off government aid. But opponents predict people would go hungry instead, if the rule goes into effect.

Climate — Great Barrier is not regenerating: Successive ocean heat waves are not only damaging Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, they are compromising its ability to recover, raising the risk of “widespread ecological collapse,” a new study has found.
Canada warming twice as fast — Canada is, on average, experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, with Northern Canada heating up at almost three times the global average, according to a new government report.
Nebraskan flooding disaster — The byzantine networks of rivers and streams that drain the Midwest is facing a flooding crisis of historic proportions.
UK Labour declares climate emergency — The Labour Party declared a climate emergency. It likely marks the first major party declaring a climate emergency at the national level anywhere in the world, in yet another sign that climate politics are rapidly shifting.

Schadenfreude — Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has accused Julian Assange of violating the terms of his asylum and leaking private photos of Moreno’s family and friends online in the latest dust-up between the WikiLeaks founder and his increasingly frustrated hosts.
So-called ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli is now in solitary. Shkerli earned the eternal ire of the public when he was the CEO of a company called Turing Pharmaceuticals, which he bought the rights to the life-saving drug Daraprim then jacked the price from US$19 to $1052 a pill. He was caught still running one of his companies from inside.

Any good news? Coffee may limit prostate cancer: A research group in Japan has identified compounds found in coffee which may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer.

Futurology ~ Better encryption, better batteries, better pesto, post menopause, better movement, Pole trees, new Mammoths, 4-legged whale


Remnants of a previously unknown, 42.6-million-year-old quadrupedal whale has been discovered along the coast of Peru

Un-decryptable — set of computer scientists has taken a major step toward this goal with the release today of EverCrypt, a set of digital cryptography tools. The researchers were able to prove ( in the sense that you can prove the Pythagorean theorem) that their approach to online security is completely invulnerable to the main types of hacking attacks that have felled other programs in the past.
~ But did they only achieve this by very strictly limiting the operational parameters? 

Better solid-state batteries — Scientists in Japan have developed a complex hydride lithium superionic conductor that could result in all-solid-state batteries with the highest energy density to date.
All-solid-state batteries incorporating a lithium metal anode have the potential to address the energy density issues of conventional lithium-ion batteries. But until now, their use in practical cells has been limited by the high resistance of lithium ion transfer within anode materials.
~This should open up new fields in solid electrolyte materials.

Better pesto — Machine learning has been used to create basil plants that are extra-delicious. The effort reflects a broader trend that involves using data science and machine learning to improve agriculture.
~ I’ll wait till the machine learning learns to harvest my basil and make the pesto.

Bone loss mechanisms in post-menopausal women — Japanese researchers have found that blood serum levels of Sema3A decrease in premenopausal women as they get older and drop even further once women reach menopause, linked to oestrogen loss, and this appears to be the mechanism for weakened bones.
~ See how I didn’t use ‘Osteoporosis breakthrough’?

Even an hour of walking a week can help older adults with ailing knees — Researchers looked at data from an earlier project studying thousands of middle-aged and elderly Americans with knee osteoarthritis, the Osteoarthritis Initiative, which began in 2004. Exercise helps prevent conditions of knee osteoarthritis and improve symptoms, reduces pain, and slows down the disease’s progression.
~ I’ve always been of fan of ‘more movement, less worrying about food’.

‘New’ Californian mammoths — Mammut pacificus, a new species of mastodon specific to a small segment of the North American West, is the first new mastodon species to be recognised in 50 years.
~ There have been known examples, just not recognised as distinctive.

Four-legged Peruvian whale — The discovery of a fossilised, 42-million-year-old, four-legged whale is shedding new light on the evolution and geographical spread of these aquatic mammals.
~ The ancestors of modern whales and dolphins evolved from a small, four-limbed hoofed animal that lived in south Asia around 50 million years ago during the Eocene.

Trees almost at the Pole — Using sedimentary records and plant fossils, researchers have found that temperatures near the South Pole were about 20C higher than now in the Pliocene epoch, from 5.3m to 2.6m years ago. Then, a variety of beech and possibly conifer trees grew at Oliver Bluffs, 300 miles from the South Pole.
~ So plants may colonise that area again, at current rates. 

Th Apocalypticon ~ The right, Trump, ridiculoUS, China sin, around the world of pain, stupidity, complacence and inequality


Resurgence of the right — JM Berger, an author who studies extremist movements, says “We’re seeing a resurgence [of white nationalism] in various countries. It’s a worldwide phenomenon.” Berger studies the online activity of extremists. He notes the New Zealand shooter praised US President Trump as “as a symbol of renewed white identity” in a 74-page document he published before the massacre. [Holy crap,  Trump constantly underlines how far from any kind of supremacy a white male can possibly be!]
Trump Tweet spike — There has been a spike in tweets about ’embarrassment’ under Trump. Scientists analysed millions of US Twitter posts to find a 45% rise in references in 13 months.
Trump can’t block his Twitter haters — Last year, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that Donald Trump (a man whose tweeting has ranged from boosting neo-Nazi propaganda and slamming critics to worrying the military about nuclear war) could not block critics on Twitter: his feed is a public forum and blocking his haters amounted to a violation of the First Amendment. Well, he’s still fighting that ruling. [Of course he is.]
Personnel money diverted to Trump’s stupid wall — The Department of Defense is shifting $1 billion from a military personnel account to build a 57-mile fence at the southern US border, saying the funds were freed up after some service branches fell short of their recruiting goals.
US airbases under water — The US Air Force says it needs $4.9 billion in new funding over the next two and a half years to cover the costs of rebuilding two air bases hit by natural disasters. [You know, those  disasters Trump thinks aren’t caused by climate change.]

Still in the US — The US Department of Housing and Urban Development is suing Facebook for allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act. HUD accuses Facebook of unlawfully discriminating against people based on race, religion, familial status, disability and other characteristics that closely align with the 1968 Fair House Act’s protected classes.
Gun ‘enthusiasts’ fail in bump-stock concessions — The US Supreme Court officially denied an appeal from gun rights advocates seeking to stop a Trump administration ban on bump stocks, the gun add-ons that can dramatically increase rates of fire. The ban went into effect on Tuesday. [But they’re so much better for murdering large groups of people!]
Anti-vaxx rabbit holes — Social media giants crackdown and Facebook says it will make changes to stop anti-vaxx content, but Instagram’s recommendation engine makes it exceptionally easy to come across a waterfall of anti-vaccine accounts.
New York suburb declares Measles emergency — In a move aimed at getting the public’s attention, officials in New York’s Rockland County have declared a state of emergency in response to an ongoing measles outbreak. Among the measures is a 30-day ban on any unvaccinated people under the age of 18 from being in public places.
Pot User — Pot use, especially with edibles, can sometimes cause health problems serious enough to prompt a trip to the hospital. It found that people in Colorado have increasingly sought emergency care for cannabis-related symptoms.
Intel back doors — Researchers have discovered new undocumented features in Intel chipsets that can be abused.
Biometric drivers licence a ‘human rights issue’ — Phillip Hudok claims the state of West Virginia is violating his religious beliefs by requiring him to get a biometric drivers licence.
The Christian West Virginia man garnered local attention on Monday afternoon when he arrived at the Elkins Department of Motor Vehicles wearing Native American attire. [Apparently, his cultural misappropriation did not clash with his supposedly deeply held religious beliefs.]

The China sin-drome — Former Interpol boss on charges: Meng Hongwei, president of Interpol when he was reported missing in China last year, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China and will be prosecuted on bribery charges. [Serves him right for having his own thoughts! And phooey to the international policing body!]
China Grindr — Beijing Kunlun Tech, the parent company of dating app Grindr, is planning to sell the service after a national security committee in the US found its acquisition of the dating app last year posed a national security risk.
Chinese Macs have Taiwanese flag deleted — Following Monday’s release of macOS 10.14.4, Macs sold in China are reportedly no longer displaying the Taiwanese flag emoji. [China is an amazing super power. That apparently doesn’t stop it being petty and ridiculous.]

Around the whirled — Italian government malware in Google Play Store: Hackers working for a surveillance company infected hundreds of people with several malicious Android apps that were hosted on the official Google Play Store in Italy for months.
Fukushima contaminants went a long way — Radioactive contamination from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant hit by a tsunami in 2011 has drifted as far north as waters off a remote Alaska island in the Bering Strait.
Aquaculture elevates greenhouse gases — An international team of scientists has determined that the adoption of industrial-scale aquaculture is linked to rapid increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
Automation threatens 1.5 million English jobs — About 1.5 million workers in Britain are at high risk of losing their jobs to automation, according to government estimates, with women and those in part-time work most affected.
Australia threatens social media giants — Following the live-streamed New Zealand mosque shooting that left 50 dead in Christchurch, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to crack down on extremist content on social media.
Morrison will meet with Australian executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google to discuss extremist content legislation that would punish these companies’ executives with jail time. Local internet service providers will also be present at the meeting. [Lock them up! Lock them up…]

Good news: The European Union is taking the lead in saving the world — The EU parliament has voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, plastic cotton swabs, straws, and coffee stirrers as part of a sweeping law aimed at fighting the plastic waste that pollutes oceans and beaches.
Glacier reverses decline — Jakobshavn Isbrae has been the single largest source of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet over the last 20 years. During that time, it has been retreating, accelerating and thinning. Airborne altimetry and satellite imagery has shown, though, that since 2016 Jakobshavn has been re-advancing, slowing and thickening.

Futurology ~ CERN antimatter, ancient flare, twisted graphene, tiny Bluetooth, tiny circuits, silk microelectronics, old brains new cells, no hangover, self-heal plastic, online AI


South Korean scientists have invented a method to fabricate silk-based microelectronics

Popping corks at CERN — Scientists have announced the observation of “CP violation in a D0 meson” at CERN, a discovery that will appear in physics textbooks for years to come. So?
The universe is full of regular matter. There’s also antimatter, which exists even here on Earth, but there’s much less of it. This new observation is important on its own, but it also takes physicists another step closer to explaining where all the antimatter has disappeared to.
~ D0, a Meson, a CP violation, Ray, a …

Kazakhstan meteorite hid evidence of ancient solar super flare — Scientists found evidence of an ancient solar “superflare” hidden in a meteorite first found in Kazakhstan in 1962. Meteorites can be useful for telling the story the Solar System’s history through the elements they contain. By analysing the Efremovka meteorite, a pair of researchers determined a superflare that occurred around 500,000 years after the Sun’s birth could have emitted as many x-rays as the largest solar flare each second, but for perhaps an entire year.
~ On the bright, well very bright, side: free X-Rays.

Twisted graphene is exciting stuff — Carbon sheets only a single atom thick, called graphene, take on a pair of important physical properties when they are twisted at just the right ‘magic’ angle relative to one another.
If the atmosphere this month at the world’s largest physics conference was any indication, twisted graphene has now spawned an entirely new field of physics research.
~ But is it recyclable? 

Teeny-tiny Bluetooth transmitters — Battery-powered and energy-harvesting millimeter-scale sensors are meant to last for years without needing replacement, but their radios can’t muster the energy needed to communicate using even the lowest energy version of Bluetooth, called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). But now engineers at the University of Michigan have built the first millimetre-scale stand-alone device that speaks BLE. Consuming just 0.6 milliwatts during transmission, it would broadcast for 11 years using a typical 5.8-millimeter coin battery.
~ Teeny-tiny trackers, in other words. 

Silk-based microelectronics — A research group from South Korea has invented a method to fabricate silk-based microelectronics. They published their method in ACS Advanced Materials & Interfaces. Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at: https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/03/in-the-lab/silk-fibroin-pattern-microelectronics/

Old human brains still make new cells — Humans can make fresh brain cells well into their 90s, but the production of new neurons falls in those with Alzheimer’s, even when the disease has recently taken hold, scientists have found. The findings may help doctors to diagnose Alzheimer’s at an earlier stage.
~ OK, brain, make me some new ones right now. 

Booze without the bad effects — Alcarelle, a synthetic alcohol that should provide the relaxing and socially lubricating qualities of alcohol without the hangovers, health issues and the risk of getting paralytic, is starting to look like a possibility.
~ Cheers to that.

Gene editing record — Using a modified version of CRISPR, a team of geneticists has successfully triggered 13,200 genetic changes to a single human cell. That’s a new record, and by a long shot. This sweeping new editing process could eventually be used to strip DNA of useless or dangerous genetic information – or create entirely new kinds of life.
~ Oh, wait, will we get singe-cell humans? Lol. 

Corn-starch plastic heals itself with a blast of heat — Researchers from the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken, Germany, and from the nearby Saarland University, turned to corn starch to help develop a new lacquer coating that can bounce back from minor damage.
~ Boom-shacka-lacquer, oh yeah!

Five AI experiences you can try now in a browser — It can be hard to get your head around exactly what AI does and how it can be deployed though, which is why we present to you these five fun online experiments — all you need is a web browser and a few minutes to see some of the party tricks AI is already capable of.
~ Hmm, yeah. 

The Apocalypticon ~ Reprehensible Facebook, data breaches, underhand Uber, Zoomy, Russian Brexit, Putin, Venezuela, iTunes, cyclone Idai, temperatures rise, Jacinda Ardern


Facebook can’t be all profit and no responsibility — In my 101st Apocalpyticon, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, gave a powerful speech expressing solidarity with the victims of Friday’s terrorist attack that left 50 dead and dozens injured. Ardern also had strong words for the social media companies that enabled the shooter to broadcast his massacre around the world. [But isn’t ‘all profit, no responsibility’ the American dream?]
The gunman explained he targeted New Zealand because Muslims feel safe here and explicitly mentioned President Donald Trump.
Arden has also called for a global fight against racism. [If I am bigoted against racists, what then am I?]
Facebook at first said only 200 people had seen the video the Christchurch gunman streamed, but later admitted it was seen at least 4000 times[I wonder how viewing that affected people’s ad algorithms?]
Of course, countless more views occurred in the hours afterward, as copies of the video proliferated online.
Facebook also recently admitted it was concerned about Cambridge Analytica well before it had previously admitted knowing about it. [Have I not been warning about Facebook for ages, now, along with many others?] The new information could suggest Facebook has consistently misled British lawmakers about what it knew and when about Cambridge Analytica. [Surprise!]
Facebook caves on discriminatory ads, then tries to sell it as a ‘triumph’ — After an 18-month court battle and years of fierce criticism, Facebook says it will stop allowing housing, jobs, and credit advertisers to show ads to only users of specific races, genders, or age groups.
Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg went on to thank the groups that sued Facebook for “showing leadership” … [Gah!]

But wait, there’s more —  It’s scary how much personal data people leave on old devices. A recent experiment by Josh Frantz, a senior security consultant at Rapid7, suggests users are taking few if any steps to protect their private information before releasing their used devices back out into the wild.
Underhand Uber — Uber used a secret spyware program, codenamed Surfcam, to steal drivers from an Australian competitor with the aim of putting that company out of business. [I won’t use Uber, I use Zoomy, a NZ startup that pays its drivers better.]
Russian collusion on Brexit — Arron Banks was a British businessman who funded the most extreme end of the pro-Brexit Leave campaign, and he possibly did so with help from Russia. [Coz Russia benefits from a destabilised Europe and a destabilised US.]
President Vladimir Putin recently tightened his grip on the Russian internet by signing two censorship bills into law. One bans ‘fake news’ [except for his, anyway] while the other makes it illegal to insult public officials. [Vlad, maybe it’s time to grow that little moustache you’ve been dreaming of, hey?]
Venezuelan soldiers escape over the border — Over the past month, nearly 1000 Venezuelan troops have fled to Colombia to avoid arrest back home, according to the Colombian Foreign Ministry, which recognises Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president.
Crashed Boeings had safety features available — but you had to purchase them as extras! The recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight and a Lion Air flight may have been a result of two missing safety features that Boeing charged airlines extra for. [OK, I have to admit that’s as cynical as Facebook.]
Apple’s encryption for iTunes Store hacked — All 24 movies from the iTunes exclusive 4K James Bond Collection have leaked online,  further evidence suggesting pirates have found a way to decrypt 4K source files from the iTunes store. [Gold…finger …]

Cyclone Idai crashed into Mozambique and caused dramatic flooding

Natural disasters — Flash! Bang! Meteor! A meteor explosion over the Bering Sea late last year unleashed 10 times as much energy as the Hiroshima atomic bomb, scientists have revealed.
And again — The second-largest asteroid to hit Earth in the last 30 years went undetected, until now. Measuring several metres in size, the space rock exploded 25.6km above the Earth’s surface with an impact energy of 173 kilotons (about 40% of the above meteor).
Sharp and potentially devastating temperature rises of 3C to 5C in the Arctic are now inevitable even if the world succeeds in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement.
Africa’s Cyclone Idai — Rescue workers are continuing the search for survivors of Cyclone Idai, which swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe last week, destroying towns and villages in its path. Floods of up to six metres (19ft) deep caused incredible devastation over a huge area of Mozambique.

And the good news? New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown other world leaders how to lead, with love and understanding and firm resolution.
Thank goodness I am a citizen of her country!

Futurology ~ 83 Black Holes, space superbugs, invisibility, blue wake-up, animal magnetism, Irish dirt


Bacteria in some Irish dirt killed four of the top six organisms that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA

Loads of ‘new’ super-massive Black Holes — A team of international astronomers has been hunting for ancient, supermassive black holes and discovered 83 previously unknown quasars.
~ OK, just try not to upset them.

New tools against superbugs in space — For years, scientists have sounded the alarm about a potential nightmare for astronauts on the International Space Station: antibiotic-resistant superbugs that could be even more dangerous in space than they are on Earth. This week, research say they’ve found a way to better prevent such hardy bacteria from growing on surfaces of the ISS.
The magical property is called AGXX, a mix of silver and ruthenium. Its developers claim AGXX can more effectively kill off bacteria and other microbes like fungi than conventional silver, while having a lower risk of depositing silver in the environment. The chemical makeup of AGXX even allows the coating to self-regenerate, ensuring that its effects last longer.
~ Did you think the secret was Janola? Or magical Irish dirt? (See below.)

Kevlar invisibility cloak — Chinese researchers fabricated an aerogel film made of DuPont Kevlar fibres. By itself, the aerogel turned out to be a good thermal insulator, but the researchers enhanced its capabilities by coating its fibres with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and a protective waterproof layer.
~ It’s actually invisible to heat detectors rather than eye sight.

Wake-up blue — A team of scientists in South Korea has demonstrated that blue-enriched light can effectively help people overcome morning drowsiness.
~ Seems obvious to me: if you shouldn’t have blue light at night coz it keeps you awake, then …

Humans feel the magnetic field — A new study from researchers at the California Institute of Technology suggests that humans can sense the Earth’s magnetic field, although the strength of the response varied hugely among participants.
~ ItAnimal magnetism, indeed. 

Magical Irish dirt kills bacteria — Old timers insisted that the dirt in the vicinity of a nearly 1500-year-old church in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, an area once occupied by the Druids, had almost miraculous curative powers. So microbiologist Gerry Quinn and his team decided to focus on the Irish soil, they narrowed their search to a specific type of bacteria, called Streptomyces, because other strains of this bacteria have led to the development of 75% of existing antibiotics.
~ This is important as in the United States at least 23,000 people die every year from an antibiotic resistant infection.

Apple says ‘AirPods, the World’s Most Popular Wireless Headphones, are Getting Even Better’


New AirPods Are Powered by the New H1 Chip feature 50% more talk time, hands-free “Hey Siri” and the option of a Wireless Charging Case — Apple today announced new AirPods, the second generation of the world’s most popular wireless headphones. AirPods revolutionised the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love. The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free “Hey Siri.” AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new Wireless Charging Case for convenient charging at home and on the go. The new AirPods and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are available to order on apple.com/nz and the Apple Store app starting today, and in Apple Stores beginning next week.

The new Apple-designed H1 chip features custom audio architecture to create a revolutionary audio experience and improved synchronisation. H1 allows AirPods to deliver up to 50% more talk time compared to first generation AirPods. Switching between devices while listening to music on iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad is more seamless than ever with two times faster connect times. For the first time, AirPods now feature the convenience of “Hey Siri” making it easier to change songs, make a call, adjust the volume or get directions simply by saying, “Hey Siri.”

The new AirPods come with either the standard charging case or the new Wireless Charging Case. Each case holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of total listening time, ensuring AirPods are charged and ready to go whenever you are. The Wireless Charging Case is designed to offer the freedom of wireless charging with Qi-compatible charging solutions. An LED light indicator located on the front of the case conveniently shows the charge status with just a glance. Existing AirPods customers can purchase the standalone Wireless Charging Case.

NZ Pricing and Availability – AirPods with standard charging case will be available for RRP NZ$279 inc. GST and are available to order on apple.com/nz and the Apple Store app starting today, and in Apple Stores starting next week.
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case will be available for RRP NZ$349 inc. GST and are available to order on apple.com/nz and the Apple Store app starting today, and in Apple Stores starting next week.
Customers can order the standalone Wireless Charging Case for RRP NZ$139 inc. GST on apple.com/nz and the Apple Store app starting today, and in Apple Stores starting next week.
New for AirPods, customers can add a personal engraving to the AirPods with standard charging case and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case for free during checkout on apple.com/nz and the Apple Store app.

All-New iPad Air and iPad mini Deliver Dramatic Power and Capability


Apple has just introduced the all-new iPad Air in an ultra-thin 10.5-inch design, offering the latest innovations including Apple Pencil®1 support and high-end performance at a breakthrough price. With the A12 Bionic chip with Apple’s Neural Engine, the new iPad Air delivers a 70 percent boost in performance and twice the graphics capability, and the advanced Retina® display with True Tone® technology is nearly 20 percent larger with over half a million more pixels. 2
Apple today also introduced the new 7.9-inch iPad mini, a major upgrade for iPad mini fans who love a compact, ultra-portable design packed with the latest technology. With the A12 Bionic chip, the new iPad mini is a powerful multi-tasking machine, delivering three times the performance and nine times faster graphics.3 The advanced Retina display with True Tone technology and wide colour support is 25 percent brighter3 and has the highest pixel density of any iPad®, delivering an immersive visual experience in any setting. And with Apple Pencil1 support, the new iPad mini is the perfect take-anywhere notepad for sketching and jotting down thoughts on the go. The new iPads are available to order starting today and in stores next week.
Apple Pencil and iPad — The Perfect Pair: Apple Pencil opens up new creativity and productivity possibilities for iPad mini and iPad Air users, from drawing and writing down thoughts to marking up documents and retouching photos. The must-have tool among students, professionals and creatives delivers a remarkably fluid and natural drawing experience and provides pixel-perfect accuracy and low latency for activities within popular apps including Procreate, Notability, Pixelmator Photo (coming soon) and Microsoft Office.
Power Meets Portability with the A12 Bionic Chip — The Apple-designed Neural Engine of the A12 Bionic chip powers the next generation of apps and iPad workflows using advanced machine learning and Core ML® for engaging AR experiences, photo-realistic effects in 3D games and stunning graphics performance within apps.
Staying connected is now easier and faster with iPad mini and iPad Air, featuring the same great Wi-Fi performance and Gigabit‑class LTE connectivity4 built into the most advanced iPad Pro models. With eSIM technology built in, users can easily connect to wireless data plans right from iPad when traveling in more than 180 countries around the world.5 
Advanced Cameras for Stunning Photos and Videos — With advanced front- and back-facing cameras, iPad mini and iPad Air take gorgeous photos and capture clear and stable 1080p HD videos. The upgraded cameras with exceptional low-light performance and HD video recording are great for document scanning and connecting with friends and family on Group FaceTime® calls, and with advanced sensors, help enable immersive AR experiences.
More Than a Million Apps Just for iPad — The App Store® is the best place to discover more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for iPad7 — from journaling with Apple Pencil to managing schedules and finances, editing photos, learning, connecting with friends and family, and playing games. Unlike stretched-out phone apps on other platforms, apps designed for iPad run and look great on every iPad.
iOS on iPad — iPad Air and iPad mini are perfect for staying productive on the go with iOS, helping users get things done faster with features like Siri® Shortcuts, photo search and Voice Memos. The Dock provides quick access to frequently used apps and documents from any screen, and multitasking is easy with Split View and Slide Over. Drag and Drop makes moving images, text and files between apps easier than ever, and managing documents in the Files app is seamless and easy on iPad and across Apple devices.
Apple today announced an upcoming update to iWork® for iOS, available next week, with enhanced integration of Apple Pencil including new animation options in Keynote® that let users draw an animation path for any object, and an all-new user interface that enables easy implementation of build effects, including move, rotate and scale.
The Best, Most Complete iPad Lineup Ever — The new iPad Air and iPad mini join the most affordable 9.7-inch iPad and the most advanced iPad Pro® models, offering the best, most innovative iPad lineup ever. The complete lineup now includes Apple Pencil support, best-in-class performance, advanced displays and all-day battery life6 for an experience unmatched by any other device. Whether customers prioritise portability, screen size, power or price, there’s an iPad for everyone. Learn more about the iPad family at apple.com/nz/ipad/compare.
Pricing and Availability
  • The new iPad mini and iPad Air come in silver, space grey and gold finishes in 64GB and 256GB configurations. The new iPad mini starts at RRP NZ$679 inc. GST for the Wi-Fi model and RRP NZ$899 inc. GST for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model and the 10.5-inch iPad Air starts at RRP NZ$849 inc. GST for the Wi-Fi model and RRP NZ$1069 inc. GST for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model from apple.com/nz, in the Apple Store app, and is also available through Apple Authorised Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary).
  • The new iPad models are available to order starting today from apple.com/nz and in the Apple Store app in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, UK and US. Starting next week, the new iPad models will be available in those countries and regions, as well as in China (Wi-Fi models only), Macau (Wi-Fi models only) and Mexico with more countries and regions to follow soon, including Colombia, Greece, India, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand (Wi-Fi models only) and Turkey. 
  • Apple Pencil (1st generation) is available for purchase separately for RRP NZ$159 inc. GST. The Smart Keyboard for the 10.5-inch iPad Air is available for purchase separately for RRP NZ$259 inc. GST with layouts for over 30 languages, including simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
  • Polyurethane Smart Covers are available for RRP NZ$75 inc. GST for iPad mini and RRP NZ$95 inc. GST for iPad Air in charcoal grey, white, pink sand and a new papaya, with additional Leather Smart Covers available for iPad Air for RRP NZ$129 inc. GST in black, saddle brown, midnight blue and red.
  • Trade in your eligible device for credit toward your next purchase, or get an Apple Store Gift Card you can use any time.8 If your device isn’t eligible for credit, Apple will recycle it for free.
  • Every customer who buys iPad from Apple can enjoy free Personal Setup online and receive guidance on how to customise their iPad, set up email, find new apps from the App Store and more.
1 The first-generation Apple Pencil sold separately.
2 When compared to the 9.7-inch iPad. 
3 When compared to the previous generation iPad mini.
4 Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks.
5 Not all carriers support eSIM or Apple SIM. See your carrier for details. Not available in China. 
6 Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results may vary. 
7 App count refers to the total number of apps worldwide.
8 Trade-in values vary based on the condition, year and configuration of your trade-in device, and may also vary between online and in-store trade-in. You must be at least 18 years old. In-store trade-in requires presentation of a valid, government-issued photo ID (local law may require saving this information). Additional terms from Apple or Apple’s trade-in partners may apply.

The Apocalypticon ~ New Zealand mosque shooting, diseases, Mueller, Russia, corrupt Putin, the corrupt rich, flip the bird, Android malware, Arctic unravelling, Death Metal


It is with great distress that I have to accept that this happened in ‘clean, green, safe and multicultural’ New Zealand: ‘One Of New Zealand’s Darkest Days’: Shootings At Mosques Kill At Least 49‘ I have just returned from the vigil at Aotea Square in Auckland which was attended, in my estimation, by 5000-6000 people. Look, I’ll be honest: I think the Muslim faith is nuts … as nuts as all the others. But if we all killed each other for our odd beliefs, well, none of us would be here. Aroha, people, and my heartfelt condolences to all those families torn apart by this terrible crime. I am so, so sad this happened in our country of refuge. Jacinda Adern is going to change the gun law, and if there’s anything at all to thank any god for, in this mostly secular country at least, maybe it’s that. You have to wonder why 26,000 guns were imported to New Zealand last year when our Army strength is under 9000, so just what in hell is going on?
Want to help? You can be supportive to Muslims [come on, think now how frightened NZ Muslims must feel at the moment].
Facebook, YouTube both promised to remove footage of New Zealand mosque massacres, which the gunman live-streamed from a Go Pro. [You know, a nipple on a picture of a breast disappears in 2 seconds but it takes hours to remove a  video of someone murdering people. Go Facebook, go Facebook …]

Diseases — Measles: Amid two ongoing measles outbreaks on both sides of the United States, New York City health officials say an unvaccinated student attending school was linked to 21 other cases of the virus. Dozens of people have been infected since last fall in the city’s ongoing outbreak, one of particular magnitude. (It’s happening in New Zealand too.) [I have to wonder though: if someone with measles goes to school, aren’t they only infecting the others who didn’t have the vaccine?]
And here’s the harrowing story of a child in Oregon who contracted tetanus because he wasn’t vaccinated. This illness could have been prevented with five doses of the tetanus vaccine, for US$150. Instead, the ordeal cost US$811,929. [Bargain, then.]
Italian schools have begun turning away children who have not received mandatory vaccinations. The New York Times reported that at least 300 children were told they could not attend kindergarten in the city of Bologna this week.

Mulling Mueller —In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives has called for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to be made public when it is completed. [Hear, here!] The Mueller investigation has resulted in criminal charges against more than 30 individuals and entities already, including multiple aides and associates of President Trump.

Around the world of craziness — Russia blocks encrypted email: Russia has told internet providers to enforce a block against encrypted email provider ProtonMail. [So you won’t be able to email stuff like ‘Putin’s a corrupt fascist arsehole’ any more. Yes, I wrote Putin’s a corrupt fascist arsehole. Decrypt that.]
Here’s what a ‘very likely’ sequel to California’s 1862 megastorm would look like. No, it’s not fun.
Yeah, everyone loves rich people. [Newsflash: I don’t.] Federal officials have charged dozens of well-heeled parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in what the Justice Department says was a multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat college admissions standards.
But in California you can flip the bird at cops — If you’ve ever been tempted to make a rude gesture at a police officer, you can rest assured that the Constitution protects your right to do so, a federal appeals court says.
Google Android anti-virus apps are bullshit — Austrian antivirus-testing lab AV-Comparatives tested 250 antivirus apps in Google Play against 2000 malware samples. They found that only 80 (32%) of the apps could stop even a minimal amount of malware.

The Arctic is unravelling — Even if carbon pollution magically stopped tomorrow, the region’s winters would still warm an astonishing 5° Celsius by century’s end. Meeting the Paris Agreement pledges — which do not get us to the 2° warming goal — would lead to that level of warming by midcentury and up to 9° Celsius by 2100, along the way unravelling one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet and displacing people who have done very little to cause the disruption.

Any good news at all? Death Metal actually makes people happy. [Well, that’s a relief.]
Also, this is the 100th Apocalypticon. Wow!

Futurology ~ Mercury closest, sound discoveries, nano-threading, new gripper, burry still video, Stonehenge pork, Greenland solar storm, Woolly Mammoth mice


Scientists have devised a shape that blocks all sound.

Planetary reshuffle — A team of scientists has just demonstrated that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth on average. The researchers presented their results this week in an article in the magazine Physics Today. They explained that other methods of calculating which planet is ‘the closest’ has been oversimplifying the matter.
~ Further, Mercury is the closest neighbour, on average, to each of the other seven planets in the solar system!

Sound waves carry mass — Surprising new research shows there are still secrets waiting to be found, hidden in plain sight—or, at least in this case, within earshot.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, a group of scientists theorised that sound waves possess mass, meaning sounds would be directly affected by gravity. They suggest phonons, particle-like collective excitations responsible for transporting sound waves across a medium, might exhibit a tiny amount of mass in a gravitational field.
~ So, you really can get a sound stuck in your head!

Shape blocks almost all sound — A team of Boston University researchers recently stuck a loudspeaker into one end of a PVC pipe. They cranked it up loud. What did they hear? Nothing.
The pipe was actually left open save for a small, 3D-printed ring placed around the rim. That ring cut 94% of the sound blasting from the speaker: enough to make it inaudible to the human ear.
The implications for architecture and interior design are remarkable, because these metamaterials could be applied to the built environment in many different ways. For instance, they could be stacked to build soundproof ,yet transparent, walls.
~ It’s an ‘acoustic meta material’.

Nano-threading plants to modify DNA — Modifying the genetics of a plant requires getting DNA into its cells. That’s fairly easy to do with animal cells, but with plants it’s a different matter thanks to their cell-membrane walls. UC Berkeley researcher Markita Landry found a way to do it using carbon nanotubes: tiny long stiff tubes of carbon.
~ So can we now modify plants to pick and cook themselves?. 

Origami inspires better grippers — Robotic hands have a tough time getting a grip on pliable objects as rigid pincers aren’t designed for precision grasping. Now researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Harvard describe a novel gripper design that’s capable of lifting items in a range of weights, shapes, and sizes.
The team’s hollow, cone-shaped gripper comprises three parts — a 3D-printed, 16-piece silicone rubber skeleton with a gripper-to-mount connector encased by an airtight skin — that together collapse in on objects as opposed to clutching them.
~ Collapso-Grab!

Blurry still images become video frames — Researchers from Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s (EPFL) Engineering Mechanics of Soft Interfaces Laboratory worked with another team from Harvard University’s SMRLab to develop a way to analyse blurry photos and generate step-by- step frames representing detailed slices of the original motion that previously appeared to be frozen in time.
~ And this tech could be coming to smartphones soon.

Ancient British pork-rests at Stonehenge — Prehistoric Britons travelled impressive distances to attend celebrations at monumental sites like Stonehenge, according to new research. Incredibly, many of them brought their pigs along with them for the journey – an impressive feat considering some participants came from hundreds of miles away. They brought their locally raised pigs with them, which were then slaughtered and served at these mass gatherings.
~ Scientists have realised they can analyse pig bones as proxies for human bones to reconstruct human movements. 

Greenland ice preserves solar stem relics — Traces of an enormous solar storm that battered the atmosphere and showered Earth in radioactive particles more than 2500 years ago (in 660 BC) have been discovered under the Greenland ice sheet.
~ That explains those ancient complaints about bad cell phone reception.

Mammoth cells ‘reawakened’ in mice — Cells from a woolly mammoth that died more than 28,000 years ago have been partially reactivated inside mouse egg cells.
~ So, learn to fear the massive woolly mouse!

The Apocalypticon ~ Bad Chinese, data, crypto-creep, Police fraud, Chrome, Vaxxing, MMR, trash, Antarctic humans, Faceyuck, garlic, onions, sleep


Driving a car in 1909? Carry a gun — Life wasn’t easy for women in the early 20th century and race car driver and motorist Dorothy Levitt knew that for a fact, so published The Woman and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook for all Women who Motor or Who Want to Motor in 1909. It tells women how to take care of themselves and their cars, and reminds them to always carry a gun.
‘Bad’ Chinese can’t use the train — China’s dystopian ‘social credit’ system penalises citizens found to have engaged in some type of misconduct by imposing a number of restrictions on their activities. This has already resulted in tens of millions of rejected attempts to purchase plane or train tickets. [All praise Xi Jinping.]
On data — Security researchers Bob Diachenko and Vinny Troia discovered an unprotected MongoDB database  belonging to an email verification service containing 150GB of detailed, plaintext marketing data, including hundreds of millions of unique email addresses.
Winnipeg police update their devices with fraudulent data — Winnipeg police have arrested a manager with the city for allegedly updating police radios with fraudulent software he got from a person considered to be a security threat by the US Department of Homeland Security. [Doh! But hey, he saved his department some money.]
Chrome meltdown — Google said this week that a Chrome zero-day the company patched last week was actually used together with a second one, a zero-day impacting the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.
Artificial AI — Two-fifths of Europe’s AI startups do not use any AI programs in their products, according to a report that highlights the hype around the technology.
Crypto-wallets finally unlocked, but proved empty — The money was there, it was just locked away. At least that’s what the QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange had been saying, before an auditor revealed it had finally accessed digital wallets set up by Quadriga’s late CEO Gerald Cotten, and that instead of holding US$137 million, the wallets were empty, drained in 2018. [Don’t invest in things you don’t understand.]

Trash talking — Gizmodo has reached out to a number of experts in geography, paleobiology, environmental science, engineering and more to figure out the absolute worst trash that humans produce. [I will stick with Donald Trump, but Xi Iinping, you’re up there.]
Microplastics host ocean-borne toxic bacteria — Plastic pollutants in the ocean serve as platforms for the growth of toxic bacteria, say scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS). 
Human footprint surprisingly big in Antarctica — Antarctica is huge, stretching nearly 5,633km at its widest extent. Despite its enormous size, however, the frozen continent features a paltry amount of habitable space: a limited resource humans have claimed to the potential detriment of the local wildlife, as new research points out.
Nature strikes back! That’s the shared theme of these 10 eco-horror movies Gizmodo has compiled in honour of Garbage Week, all tales of terrible punishments that transpire when the environment lashes out against evil, wasteful, and destructive humans.
Deflecting asteroids … not easy! According to new asteroid collision models designed by scientists at Johns Hopkins University, deflecting a large rock headed for Earth will be harder than previously thought.
US Army reckons war robots won’t murder people [OK, two words: war robots.]

MMR does not increase autism risk — The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of autism even among kids who are at high risk because they have a sibling with the disorder, a Danish study suggests.
Adult son of anti-vaccination parents furious after contracting measles —Joshua Nerius of Chicago, Illinois, had no idea he wasn’t vaccinated until he came down with the highly contagious disease in 2016. But Facebook reckons it’s working on dealing with anti-vax poropganda.

Faceyuck — All the bad press about Facebook might be catching up to the company. New numbers from Edison Research show an an estimated 15 million fewer users in the United States compared to 2017, with the biggest drop is in the very desirable 12- to 34-year-old group. [Maybe Facebook should just rename itself ‘Faceplant’.]

Good news: The consumption of onions and garlic is associated with lower colorectal cancer risk, according to researchers in China. [Presumably, these researchers are allowed to get the train.]
And broken DNA is repaired while you sleep — Scientists have discovered that broken DNA builds up in brain cells in the daytime and repair work reverses the damage only during sleep. For an act so universal, sleep has enormous benefits: it restores the body and helps learning and memory. In the calm hours of sleep, the repair mechanisms at a neuron level have a chance to get on top of the job. 

Apple Mac, iPhone & iPad news for New Zealanders

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