Latest News

Last updated 18 Sep, 01:50 PM

BBC News - Home

Afghanistan: Girls excluded as Afghan secondary schools reopen - "Everything looks very dark," a schoolgirl tells the BBC as schools reopen for boys but not girls.

Gas price rises prompt urgent government talks - There are concerns the high price of wholesale gas could have a far-reaching impact on the economy.

Holiday bookings surge after travel rules change - Travel agents report a rise in bookings after the amber list is scrapped and testing rules are eased.

Pembrokeshire hotel slated for £200 fee to deter instagrammers - Owner of the Druidstone Hotel says the clifftop bar was overrun by tourists wanting to see the sunset.

Aukus: France recalls envoys amid security pact row - The "exceptional decision" follows a pact between Australia, the US and UK, which scuppered a French deal.

The Register

Apple, Google yank opposition voting strategy app from Russian software stores - Oh, sorry, we thought you wanted us to obey the law?! – Silicon Valley A tactical-voting app built by allies of Vladimir Putin’s jailed political opponent Alexei Navalny is now unavailable in Russian Apple and Google app stores following threats of fines from the Kremlin.…

Google extends right-to-be-forgotten to app permissions on older Android devices - Software unused after a few months will lose access to sensitive features unless exempted In December, Google plans to have app runtime permissions expire on older versions of Android for apps that haven't been opened for several months, extending the availability of a privacy protection feature introduced in Android 11.…

Yes, of course there's now malware for Windows Subsystem for Linux - Once dismissed proof-of-concept attack on Microsoft OS through WSL detected in the wild Linux binaries have been found trying to take over Windows systems in what appears to be the first publicly identified malware to utilize Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to install unwelcome payloads.…

Microsoft: VM requirements for running Windows 11 are the same as physical PCs – except we won't check them - Schrödinger's OS Microsoft emitted a fresh build of Windows 11 last night and piled on the woe for customers hoping that virtual machines might be their way out of the hardware compatibility hole.…

Microsoft doles out Office Long Term Servicing Channel for cloud refuseniks - Redmond doesn't do things by half – unless it's Long Term Support Microsoft has grudgingly admitted that not everyone will want to ascend to its cloud with the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of its Office cash cow.…

New Scientist - News

The BepiColombo spacecraft is about to make its first Mercury flyby - The BepiColombo mission to Mercury will pass within about 200 kilometres of the surface of Mercury in October, where it will measure the planet’s magnetic field and exosphere

Woman who first gained sense of smell at age 24 finds it disturbing - A woman born without the brain regions needed to smell has puzzled doctors by gaining the ability to detect some smells in her twenties – an experience that has caused her anxiety

Mushballs inside Uranus and Neptune may solve an atmospheric mystery - Uranus and Neptune appear to have less ammonia than expected, but it might have been hidden by slushy balls of ammonia and water that hail down deep into the planets’ atmospheres

UN says global carbon emissions set to rise 16 per cent by 2030 - A UN analysis of countries' latest plans to cut carbon emissions shows they will actually rise 16 per cent on 2010 levels by 2030, leaving only a small window to limit global warming to 1.5°C

Watch cuttlefish migrate together in a defensive line with a lookout - Cuttlefish are usually solitary creatures, but videos show them forming defensive groups to migrate together, suggesting they are more social than we thought

Hacker News

Git Commands Explained with Cats (2017) - Comments

Alexa leaks your private wishlists - Comments

Shortcomings of Amazon Mechanical Turk May Threaten Natural Language Generation - Comments

India antitrust probe finds Google abused Android dominance, report shows - Comments

Modifying the Linux Kernel – New Syscalls - Comments

Slashdot

In Finland, Scientists Are Growing Coffee In a Lab - An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company: [R]esearchers in Finland are experimenting with growing coffee from plant cells in bioreactors. There are several reasons why it might make sense to have such an alternative, says Heiko Rischer, a research team leader at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the state-owned organization developing the coffee. "Conventional coffee production is notoriously associated with several problematic issues, such as unsustainable farming methods, exploitation, and land rights," he says. "Growing demand and climate change add to the problems." In Vietnam, for example, coffee production is driving deforestation. The researchers are using the same techniques to make coffee that others are using to make "lab-grown," or cultivated, meat. Coffee plant cells were cultured in the lab, and then placed in bioreactors filled with nutrient medium to grow. It's a little easier to grow coffee than something like beef. "The nutrient media for plant-cell cultures are much less complex, i.e., cheaper, than those for animal cells," Rischer says. "Scaling up is also easier because plant cells grow freely, suspended in the medium, while animal cells grow attached to surfaces." The process results in an off-white biomass that's dried into a powder, then roasted to a dark brown color that looks like coffee grounds. The scientists recently brewed their first cups of the lab-grown coffee, which they say tastes and smells like ordinary coffee. It's also possible to make different varieties. "Cell cultures of different coffee cultivars can be established, and the roasting process can be modified, in order to produce coffee with very different character," says Rischer. "The cultivation process can be modified in order to generate more or less of certain compounds, such as caffeine or flavors." The lab plans to work with companies that can commercialize the new process. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GM Tells Bolt Owners to Park 50 Feet Away From Other Cars - General Motors urged some owners of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars to park and store the vehicles at least 50 feet away from other cars to reduce the risk that a spontaneous fire could spread. Bloomberg reports: The Detroit automaker has recalled all of the roughly 142,000 Bolts sold since 2016 because the battery can catch on fire. GM has taken a $1.8 billion charge so far for the cost of the recall and has been buying cars back from some disgruntled owners. The company expects to recoup much of the cost from battery supplier LG Corp. The new advice is likely to rankle owners who are already limiting their use of the Bolt to avoid overheating the battery and risking a fire. The parking guidance -- recommending a distance of 50 feet from other parked cars -- is especially difficult for owners in urban areas. GM has confirmed 10 fires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the agency has found 13 fires in Bolts, but the company hasn't confirmed the additional three are part of the current recall issue. The Bolt normally can go 259 miles on a charge, but that has been limited by GM's guidance to avoid a fire. The automaker told Bolt owners to limit the charge to 90%, plug in more frequently and avoid depleting the battery to below about 70 miles of remaining range. They're also advised to park their vehicles outside immediately after charging and not leave them charging indoors overnight. The company will be telling Bolt owners who are concerned about parking in public places that it recommends keeping 50 feet from other cars in garages and lots, spokesman Dan Flores said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

ITER Nuclear Fusion Reactor Hit By COVID Delay, Rising Costs - The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) currently under construction in Cadarache, southern France, will see cost overruns and delays due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, its top official said on Friday. Euractiv reports: When the ITER project was launched in 2015, the schedule was to have the first plasma by the end of 2025 and full nuclear fusion by 2035, said Bernard Bigot, the director general of ITER. "We were on track until the end of 2019 but unfortunately, as you know, the world has been impacted by COVID-19," Bigot told journalists during an online press conference on Friday (17 September). As a result of the pandemic, factories were stopped and ships that took on average 45 days to deliver components from Korea took 90 days to arrive, he indicated. "While we were progressing on a monthly rate of nearly 0.7% on average during the last five years, last year in 2020 we were only able to achieve 0.35%," he explained. "So clearly, first plasma in 2025 is no longer technically achievable." The delay means the costs of ITER will also likely go over budget, because of "running costs that cannot be eliminated," Bigot explained, saying he was preparing a full review for the ITER Council in November 2022. That said, Bigot expressed confidence that with the COVID-19 crisis receding, "we will be able to keep to the real target," which is to attain full fusion power by 2035. [...] The goal of the experimental plant is to demonstrate that fusion power can be generated sustainably, and safely, on a commercial scale. "Fusion provides clean, reliable energy without carbon emissions," said a statement from the 35 ITER partners. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sequoias Are Being Wrapped In Foil Blankets To Protect Against Wildfires - An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Firefighters are swaddling giant sequoias in a flame-retardant foil in an effort to protect the ancient trees from wildfires that are raging through national parks in California, officials said. Three wildfires, named Colony, Paradise and Windy, were ignited by lightning on Sept. 9. Since then, they have scorched thousands of acres of steep terrain, bringing them to the foot of some of the world's oldest and largest trees in the Giant Sequoia National Monument of the Sequoia National Forest, and in Kings Canyon National Park in Central California. Park officials have been working to contain the spread of the fires using water and aerial drops of fire retardant. This week they also started wrapping some of the most well-known of the giant sequoias along the walking trail, including one called the General Sherman, in case the fires surge uphill into groves of giant sequoias. "It is like a big spool," said Mark Garrett, a spokesman for the fire incident team that is monitoring a set of fires known as the KNP Complex in the Sequoia groves and in Kings Canyon National Park. "They just unwrapped the roll and went around the base of the tree," he said. "If fire got into the giant forest, I would be pretty confident that grove is going to be fine." Mr. Garrett said they had to tailor the wrap to fit the General Sherman's girth. (The tree is more than 36 feet across at its base.) The wrapping went as high as six feet high or more, he estimated. So far, he could confirm only that the General Sherman, which is 275 feet tall, had been blanketed. Other well-known giants along the popular trail are also going to be wrapped with the laminate of foil and fiber, which firefighters also use to make their shelters. The firefighters are also clearing the terrain of undergrowth, essentially starving the flames by leaving them little to consume. But heavy smoke was hampering firefighting efforts, Mr. Garrett said. Last month, the U.S. Forest Service closed all of California's national forests to help "better provide public and firefighter safety due to the ongoing California wildfire crises." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US, EU Pledge 30% Cut In Methane Emissions To Limit Global Heating - The US and the EU made a joint pledge on Friday to cut global methane emissions by almost a third in the next decade, in what climate experts hailed as one of the most significant steps yet towards fulfilling the Paris climate agreement. The Guardian reports: Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, about 80 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, and emissions have been rising in recent years. Natural gas production and fracking, meat production and other forms of agriculture are among the chief sources. The pact between the US and the EU sets a target of cutting at least 30% from global methane emissions, based on 2020 levels, by 2030. If adopted around the world, this would reduce global heating by 0.2C by the 2040s, compared with likely temperature rises by then. The world is now about 1.2C hotter now than in pre-industrial times. The UN published a report on Friday that found current pledges on emissions from national governments would result in an increase of 16% in emissions in 2030 compared with 2010 levels, whereas scientists warn that emissions must fall by 45% in that period to stay within 1.5C. The OECD also published a report on Friday showing that climate finance -- funding from private and public sources that flows from the rich world to developing countries, to help them cut emissions and cope with the impacts of extreme weather -- was falling about $20 billion short of a longstanding target of $100 billion a year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.