Tag Archives: coffee

The Apocalypticon ~ The world, climate damage, insects, coffee, water wars, Germany, Trump’s US, curbing Facebook, your Apple data, sunlight and germs, cooperation


New research shows microplastics in 90%tyde of the table salt brands sampled worldwide — Of 39 salt brands tested, 36 had microplastics in them, according to a new analysis by researchers in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia. Salt samples from 21 countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia were analysed. The three brands that did not contain microplastics are from Taiwan (refined sea salt), China (refined rock salt), and France (unrefined sea salt produced by solar evaporation). The study was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Killing the world’s biggest organism — The heaviest organism on Earth isn’t a whale or an elephant. It’s a tree – or rather, a system of over 40,000 clonal trees all connected by their roots. Pando, a 13 million pound organism in central Utah, is believed to have sprouted toward the end of the last Ice Age. But after thousands of years of thriving, Pando has run into trouble.
Hawking: there’s no god, but there will be dangerous ‘superhumans’ — Stephen Hawking wrote that artificial intelligence will eventually become so advanced it will “outperform humans.” The renowned physicist who died in March the year warns of both rises in advanced artificial intelligence and genetically-enhanced “superhumans” in his book just published posthumously.
Last week was a wild climate ride — From a landmark special report saying we basically have a decade to get our act together to Hurricane Michael decimating northwest Florida, if ever there was a time for the media to finally ask politicians about their plans to address climate change, this was it. And for once, the media delivered.
Unfortunately, the politicians they consulted did not.
Hyperalarming insect loss — Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico. The study found the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too. The latest report shows that this startling loss of insect abundance extends to the Americas. The study’s authors implicate climate change in the loss of tropical invertebrates. “Holy crap,” Wagner said of the 60-fold loss. [Indeed.]
Coffee is under threat too — “We are in the middle of the biggest coffee crisis of our time,” said the Guatemalan producer and exporter Josué Morales, who works with over 1300 growers.
World water wars — A United Nations report says we have about a decade to get climate change under control, which, let’s be honest (see above)isn’t likely to happen. So break out your goalie masks and harpoon guns, a Mad Max future awaits! Now, as new research points out, we even know where on Earth the inevitable water wars are most likely to take place [map, below – click it for a closer look].Don’t look the perp in the iPhone — It’s no secret that law enforcement often resorts to workarounds for Apple’s security features, but the Face ID technology of the iPhone X makes things tricky. According to a report from Motherboard, forensics company Elcomsoft is advising U.S. law enforcement to not even look at phones with Face ID. This is because with its Face ID feature enabled, failed attempts to get into the phone could lock investigators out by requiring a passcode that may be protected under the Fifth Amendment (in the US, anyway).

It’s a long way back to Germany — German support for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservatives is at an all-time low, and in few places is that more evident than Bavaria.
A booming economy and ever fewer migrants crossing the border into the wealthy alpine state haven’t eased a populist backlash against the Christian Social Union (CSU), which is the closest ally of Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats (CDU). The CSU has governed Bavaria for all but three years since 1946, most of the time with an absolute majority. But now the far-right party AfD is currently the main opposition in the German parliament and is widely expected to win seats in the Bavarian legislature for the first time when regional elections are held.
Why, ma? When German organisers pulled together a demonstration in Berlin to support “an open and free society,” they had some ambitious goals: they expected roughly 40,000 people to pack the span from Berlin’s city centre, from Alexanderplatz to the Victory Column, where they were holding their final rally of the day.
But more than 240,000 people showed up for the march and rallies … [yep, sounds like Weimar again.] The march comes at a time when Germany’s far-right, anti-immigrant political party, Alternative for Germany (AfD: see above), is gaining ground across the country.

Trump-themed dating app leaks data almost immediately — Mere hours after Fox News revealed the existence of a new Trump-centric dating app, a security researcher apparently uncovered evidence that “Donald Daters” is leaking sensitive user information online.
The app, with the tagline ‘Make America Date Again’, is reportedly dumping photos and biographical information about its users into a publicly accessible database and may even be leaking authentication tokens, which could grant full access to a person’s account, including their private messages.
Trump may be self-made, but he’s far from a self-made billionaire Investigative reporters Susanne Craig and David Barstow say the president received today’s equivalent of $413 million from his father’s real estate empire through what appears to be tax fraud [but that’s what made him so ‘clever’, right?].
Massive partisan gaps in the new US — A new poll gives a clearer picture of what US “tribalism” no looks like: Americans differ not just on their ideology or political team, but on the issues they view as problems. The poll presented registered voters with 18 issues, asking those voters how big of a problem each issue is.
Voters supporting Democrats for Congress this year were far more likely to see most of these as problems, with majorities saying 13 out of the 18 issues are ‘very big’ problems. On many of those issues Democratic voters highlighted, there are yawning partisan gaps. For example, 8 in 10 people supporting Democrats say gun violence is a very big problem, but only 1 in 4 Republicans do. Likewise, 72% of Democrats see climate change as a big problem, compared with just 11% of Republicans.
Trump supported offering ‘free helicopter rides’ — Hilarious, right? As they mean free rides in the manner of Pinochet’s helicopters that dropped captured, bound activists and opponents into the sea. Yeah, it’ ‘just humour’.

Data: How ago all but rid yourself of Facebook — In the immediate aftermath of the news that hackers had access to the personal information of about 30 million Facebook users, Gizmodo shows you how to bolt down Facebook – should you still want to use it – so much less information about you is retained.
And here’s how to download all the data Apple has on you

Oh my lord, is there any good news? A little: your grandmother was right about sunlight killing germs: rooms exposed to daylight have fewer germs.

Excerpt from my forthcoming book: “The reason I reject that ‘me against the world’ scenario is that humans are where we are now because of cooperation, not in spite of it. We socialise and swap stories, and then we help each other dig a channel to redirect water, raise a roof or to dig a field over. In the present day, some of us might consider ourselves rugged individualists but, no matter what we tell ourselves, we have libraries at our disposal, and we use roads, social services, health care and communications networks. All of these were built by combined effort for mutual benefit.”

Advertisements

Masque attack fizzer, Pay, A8X, Apple Watch, Microsoft Band, YouTube, Scout, coffee and booze


Whiskey connoiseurs like Distiller app
App for alcohol appreciation

Apple says no customers were affected by the Masque Attack — Last week, security researchers at FireEye disclosed a new iOS vulnerability dubbed Masque Attack. The attack works when users download what appears to be an updated version of an app they already have outside the confines of the App Store or their company’s provisioning system. Apple issued a statement to iMore indicating that it’s not aware of any users having fallen prey to Masque Attack.
Apple manages iOS malware with a  ‘2-door’ system.

Retailers report strong customer interest in Apple Pay after first weeks of service — It appears Apple Pay is off to a good start as participating retailers nationwide report the service is generating high levels of interest from customers looking to try it out, something heretofore unheard of in the mobile wallet space.

Apple’s A8X iPad chip causing big problems for Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia — Apple’s A-series Application Processors that power iPads, including the latest and greatest A8X in iPad Air 2, are inciting billion dollar losses for Intel and threatening major problems for rival tablet chips from Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia, along with all the companies that depend upon those vendors for their mobile chips.

Apple assures FTC that it will keep Apple Watch health data secure — With the Apple Watch capable of collecting sensitive health data, Reuters reports that the FTC has sought assurances from Apple that said data will not be used without the consent of the owners, will not be sold to third-parties, and above all, will remain safe and secure. Naturally, Apple has obliged, pointing out to the FTC that health data on the Apple Watch is encrypted.

Microsoft’s health tracking, iOS-compatible Band — The competitive price, strong feature set, and universal compatibility of the Microsoft Band will make it a compelling product for anyone in the market for a wearable fitness and health tracking device, though it does suffer from some of the expected shortcomings of a first-generation product.

YouTube iOS app updated with new music options in advance of YouTube Music Key — YouTube has updated its iOS app in advance of the launch of its newly-announced YouTube Music Key service.

The Scout navigation app adds chat, meetups and personalized traffic — Scout has always been a worthwhile free alternative for people looking for something beyond Google and Apple Maps. A just-issued update gives users predictive, intuitive traffic push notifications for users’ everyday trips, eliminating the need to manually check for traffic delays.

Distiller proves booze apps are no flash in the bottle — Communities of booze connoisseurs have existed on the Internet for ages, but they weren’t exactly easy to find or join. If you’re a casual whiskey drinker, you’re not going to ask a forum full of diehards if Jim Beam or Wild Turkey will go over better at your next dinner party. But a new breed of apps proves booze — from delivery to discussion — pairs well with technology.

BRUVELO would be your iPhone-powered coffee powerhouse — What is it with Apple fans and coffee? Perhaps it’s the fact that you can totally “geek out” on the process, the beans, the hardware and so on. Add your iPhone to the mix and you’ve got Apple-loving Coffee Nerd Nirvana.

App Store gamers are cheap, angry and whiny — Monument Valley developer Ustwo learned a harsh lesson about App Store customers this week when the group released a large update to its highly regarded iOS title. ‘Forgotten Shores’ added a further eight chapters to the popular puzzle game for $2.29, and if you had read any of the glowing user reviews for the game ahead of the expansion’s launch you’d probably have guessed more paid levels were exactly what everyone wanted. But no …