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. 

Futurology ~ New products and processes, lasers, smarter glass, robot homes, three HIV cures, vaccine benefits, new Orca, elixir of immortality,ancient tattoos


A rare photo of a newly-identified ‘type D’ species of Orca between South America and Antarctica shows the whales’ blunt heads and tiny white eye patches. (JP Sylvestre)

Laser passes through fog or white paint — It’s not quite seeing through walls, but scientists are working to engineer light beams so they can pass through an opaque medium without scattering, according to a new paper.
~ It’s all about tailoring light beams. 

Robot-built house produces more power than it needs — The world’s first home designed, planned, and built with mainly digital processes just opened its doors in Switzerland. Developed by eight ETH Zurich professors, DFAB House is a pilot project showcasing futuristic building technologies that may someday work their way into our homes. It’s topped with a solar array that generates 1.5 times more energy than the unit needs (intelligent control eliminates the risk of load peaks), and it has waste heat recovery systems – one recycles heat from shower trays back into the boiler.
~ I like that one of the processes uses wood rather than concrete.

Smarter windows — Windows that filter out atmospheric particulate matter (PM) while allowing indoor light intensity to be adjusted could soon be a reality with the invention of a silver (Ag)-nylon mesh by scientists in China. The invention allows the light intensity of commercial buildings to be tuned to maintain thermal comfort.
~ So, pollute like crazy as your windows will keep your home safe? 

Welding metal to glass — Researchers at Edinburgh, Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University have developed a process called “ultrafast laser microwelding,” which uses very, very short pulses of infrared laser light to fuse two dissimilar materials together. The Heriot-Watt system tested the method on quartz, borosilicate glass, sapphire and aluminium, titanium and stainless steel. Being able to directly weld panels of glass and aluminium could open up many interesting possibilities for auto design and manufacturing.
~ Goodness’s gracious, tiny balls of lightning.

Third person ‘cured’ of HIV — A man in the UK has been free of HIV since his cancer treatment, and now a similar case has been reported by researchers who treated a patient in Germany. Together, they add to evidence that it may be possible to cure HIV.
~ This has been such a long time coming. 

Unintended benefits of vaccines — A new study shows that vaccination with a weakened strain of salmonella not only protects against typhoid fever but also seems to rev up the immune system to fight off other problems, like influenza and yeast infection.
~ More strength to the anti-anti-vaxxers.

‘New’ orca — Scientists have found a mysterious type of killer whale they’ve been searching for for years. It lives in parts of the ocean near Antarctica.
The notion there might be some unusual kind of killer whale emerged in 1955 when photos from New Zealand showed a bunch of whales stranded on a beach. This was a very different-looking group of killer whales, with blunter noses and smaller white eye-patches.
~ This is probably the largest animal to have remained unidentified by biologists.

Chinese elixir of immortality is 2000 years old —A yellowish liquid found in a bronze pot dating back some 2,000 years is not wine, as Chinese archaeologists initially thought. It’s actually an “elixir of immortality” concocted during ancient times. It’s most likely a mixture of potassium nitrate and alunite.
~ Lucky it lasted so long …

American tattoo kit 2000 years old — A 2000-year-old wooden implement with black-tipped cactus spines is now the oldest example of a tattoo tool in western North America, a discovery that’s shedding important new light on this ancient practice. The 10cm-long device was, created over 1400 years prior to the arrival of European colonists.
~ Incredibly, the relic might have never been discovered had it not been for an inventory check.

Tongan tattoo tools 2700 years old — Tattooing goes back millennia and spans cultures, as evidenced by mummified remains, yet many details of the body modification’s origins have been shrouded in mystery. Now an ancient bone tattoo kit from the Pacific island nation of Tonga is providing researchers with more than an inkling into the rich history of Polynesian body art.
~ Two of the tools were made of bird bone and two are ‘probably’ of human bone.

The Apocalypticon ~ Send in the clouds, people tracking, hacking, relentless robotisation, various dangers, some good news


Send in the clouds — Cloud change climate change: People  are freaking out about how climate change is finally coming for the clouds, and silvering clouds could help defeat climate change (but would that mean people would stop bothering trying to change their damaging ways?)
Climates of stupidity:  The US Senate has confirmed Andrew Wheeler, former coal industry lobbyist, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. This in a 52-47 vote primarily along party lines. Wheeler, also a former Republican Senate aide on environmental issues, has been acting administrator since July, when former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid a host of ethics controversies. [Now we get the ‘mental’ part in ‘Environmental’.]
Climate change skeptic added to White House staff — Happer is back in the White House, still fighting against what he considers unfounded claims that our globe is in danger. But this time, his cause is backed by the man in the Oval Office.
First time Cat 5 — Cyclone Wutip the first Category 5 storm of any kind ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere in February.
Drug-filled rivers — Medicines including antibiotics and epilepsy drugs are increasingly being found in the world’s rivers at concentrations that can damage ecosystems.
Government climate policy does work — Renewable energy use and reduced energy use overall have helped carbon emissions remain flat or below average as the global economy continued to grow over the years. But, as new research has found, government policy also appears to play a large role.
And for you, eating to save the planet — It’s also about what you don’t eat.

People, privacy, tracking — Canada tracking citizens: Police, social services, and health workers in Canada are using shared databases to track the behaviour of vulnerable people including minors and people experiencing homelessness. And there’s little oversight and often no consent.
China to track the way people walk — You can tell a lot of things from the way someone walks. Chinese artificial intelligence start-up Watrix says its softwares can identify a person from 50 metres away, even if they have covered their face or have their back to a camera.
Congresswoman destroys Equifax CEO over data breach — In a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) asked whether Equifax CEO Mark Begor would be willing to share his address, birth date, and Social Security number publicly at the hearing. Begor declined, citing the risk of “identity theft,” letting Porter criticise Equifax’s legal response to the 2017 security breach that exposed almost 150 million people’s data of that sort to an unknown intruder. [Hah hah, Begor.]
User passwords emailed in plain text — An anonymous independent security researcher noticed their power company’s website was offering to email – not reset! – lost account passwords to forgetful users. Startled, X fed the online form the utility account number and the last four phone number digits it was asking for. Sure enough, a few minutes later the account password, in plain text, was sitting in X’s inbox. In this day and age! The companies service 15 million clients …
PDFs not so secure — Academics from the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany say they’ve managed to break the digital signing system and create fake signatures on 21 of 22 desktop PDF viewer apps and five out of seven online PDF digital signing services.
Privacy in theory and in practice — A new privacy survey from IBM’s Institute for Business Value found that 81% of consumers say they’ve become more concerned about how companies use their data, while 87% think companies should be more heavily regulated on personal data management. So you’d think people would take actions in response to companies losing or misusing their data, but they’re not.
Have you heard the mantra ‘update your software to stay secure’? Many US cities are still running on 1980s software.

PepsiCo is ‘relentlessly’ automating — PepsiCo is spending $US2.5 billion ($3.5 billion) on a plan to restructure that involves laying off an untold number of its workers. Pepsi’s new CEO, Ramon Laguarta had said in an earnings call last week that Pepsi was already “relentlessly automating and merging the best of our optimised business models with the best new thinking and technologies”.

Starbucks might consider this, since robots don’t care about the music — You may not give a second thought to the tunes spinning on a constant loop at your favourite cafe or coffee shop, but one writer and podcaster who had to listen to repetitive music for years while working in bars and restaurants argues it’s a serious workers’ rights issue. Adam Johnson told The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti “I’m not suggesting that working at Applebee’s is the same as being at Guantanamo, but the principle’s the same.”
US companies installed more robots last year than ever before — Cheaper and more flexible machines put them within reach of businesses of all sizes and in more corners of the economy beyond their traditional foothold in car plants.
Those decent-paying oil jobs that help justify the industry? They’re getting automated, too.

Menagerie of dangers — Pedestrian deaths in the US reach 28-year high: the Governors Highway Safety Association has found the number of pedestrian deaths in the US has reached a 28-year high.
What happens to left over aid supplies? FEMA is planning to sell off hundreds of surplus trailer homes in Texas through a General Services Administration auction. [Ya know, coz they’ll never need those again!] But this does pose the question, what does happen to unused aid supplies?
Microsoft defends military work — Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is defending the company’s $479 million contract with the Pentagon to supply augmented reality headsets to the US military. [Ya know coz it makes money, basically.]
Drunk Russian captain sails massive ship into huge bridge — The ship hit the bridge and caused some damage to itself and the lower part of the bridge, though thankfully nobody was injured.

Good news? Despite the skeptics and powerful lobbying that seemed to all came from the same position of ‘what about the profits?!’, a new study found that the drinking habits of Berkeley residents got better and stayed better over the three years after a 2014 soft drink tax was passed.
And anger can be contagious, but you can stop the spread. For example, if you start to become happier with your life, a friend living close by has a 25% higher chance of becoming happy too. Yay!

Futurology ~ Building blocks of life, self-learning robo-hand, meat physics, room superconductor, uranium soaker, youngster reactor, 10x zoom, all-season fabric, Stonehenge


Freaky 8-letter DNA could be the stuff aliens are made of — Conventional DNA is comprised of the familiar A, C, G and T base pairs, but a newly created genetic system is packed with eight, thus doubling the number of letters normally found in self-replicating molecules. Intriguingly, the new system model, dubbed ‘hachimoji’, could resemble the building blocks of extraterrestrial life.
~ Gah! I always thought DNA was a 3-letter thing! The main point is, our accepted model of DNA-RNA may not be the only model that works.

NASA explores the building blocks of live in ancientEarth recreation — NASA researchers showed that systems with specific kinds of iron dissolved in water, which could have been common on the early Earth seafloor, could have assisted in the creation of the molecules that turned into life. Understanding these reactions could be important in understanding the emergence of life on our own planet – or even the potential for alien life beneath the ice of certain moons around Saturn and Jupiter.
~ Another triumph by the beaker people. 

New robot hand learns how to hold and manipulate — In a split second before you reach to pick up an object, your brain pre-calculates all the movements needed to safely reach and grasp it securely. This subconscious approach results from years of childhood development and learning, and now robotics researchers are using the method for their own creations.
Festo’s new BionicSoftHand is not only remarkably dextrous, but using AI, it figures out how to properly hold and manipulate an object before it makes any actual movements.
~ Self learning robots means even faster automation. 

Meatball collider — A team of particle physicists wanted “to unveil the deepest secrets of the Universe — and of Swedish cuisine”. So they built a Swedish meatball collider.
The MEAL, or MEatball AcceLerator collaboration, could answer important questions such as why we’re made of meatballs, rather than anti-meatballs, or whether we can create dark meatballs. The proof-of-concept experiment was a success.
~ But what about the critical question? What spices did they use …

US Nav scientist maybe invents room temperature superconductor — A scientist working for the US Navy has filed for a patent on a room-temperature superconductor, representing a potential paradigm shift in energy transmission and computer systems.
~ Cool!

New material soaks up uranium from seawater — The world’s oceans contain some 4 billion metric tons of dissolved uranium. That’s roughly 1000 times as much as all known terrestrial sources combined, and enough to fuel the global nuclear power industry for centuries. But the oceans are so vast, and uranium’s concentration in seawater so low, extracting it remains a formidable challenge. H2BHT’s high selectivity and uranium uptake capacity, coupled with molecular insights from the team’s analyses, may lead to improved methods for recovering uranium from seawater.
~ Coz the world needs more nuclear power. 

14-year-old creates nuclear reactor — An American 14-year-old has reportedly become the world’s youngest known person to create a successful nuclear reaction. The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium, a hobbyist group, has recognised the achievement by Jackson Oswalt, from Memphis, Tennessee, when he was aged 12 in January 2018.
~ Coz, you know, most youngsters have ‘playrooms’ capable of this.

10x lossless camera zoom — OPPO has been showing off  a 10x lossless zoom smartphone camera. This involves a triple-lens setup at the rear and includes a 48MP main camera, a periscope telephoto camera and a 120-degree ultra wide-angle camera.
~ 48MP camera in a smartphone?!

All-season fabric heats and cools — A simple piece of fabric, developed by researchers at the University of Maryland, could help someday replace your seasonal wardrobes with clothing that keeps you either warm or cool all year round. Basically, the gaps between fibres expand when it’s hot, and contract to keep heat in when it’s cold.
~ Perhaps it can even, one day, be used as home insulation. 

Stonehenge rocks debunked? A team of 12 geologists and archaeologists from across the United Kingdom unveiled research this month that traces some of the prehistoric monument’s smaller stones to two quarries in western Wales. The team also found evidence of prehistoric tools, stone wedges and digging activity in those quarries, tracing them to around 3000 BC, the era when Stonehenge’s first stage was constructed.
~ This is rock-solid evidence.