January 26, 2021

Smart Technology

The grey squirrel is not native to the UK and scientists are working to curb the population (Credits: Getty Images)

Work is being undertaken to develop an oral contraceptive for grey squirrels in a bid to cut the numbers of the destructive pest, an environment minister has told peers.

Animal science researchers are also looking at ways to breed infertility into females to humanely curb their population, said Tory frontbencher Lord Goldsmith of Richmond.

Grey squirrels and other non-native invasive species are costing the UK economy about £1.8 billion a year, he added.

Lord Goldsmith outlined the impact of the vermin as he was pressed over the implications for the Government’s target to plant 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of new woodland a year across the UK by 2025, which is needed to tackle climate change.

Grey squirrels, originally from North America, were released in Britain by 19th century landowners, … Read the rest

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The six-episode series is based on a 2010 novel by the same name.

What you need to know

  • Taron Egerton looks set to star in a new Apple TV+ series.
  • In with the Devil is a series based on a 2010 novel by the same name.
  • Egerton is already on Apple’s books to star in a new movie about Tetris.

A new report says Apple “is nearing an order” for In with the Devil, a new series for Apple TV+ starring Taron Egerton.

From Variety:

Apple is nearing an order for the limited series “In with the Devil,” with Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser onboard to star, Variety has learned.

The six-episode series would be based on the 2010 novel “In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption” by James Keene and Hillel Levin. The book tells the story

Read the rest ...

  • Twitter just announced Birdwatch, a community-based feature meant to address the misinformation spreading on social networks.
  • Users can sign up for Birdwatch, at which point they’ll be able to annotate tweets spreading misleading news.
  • The service will run separately from Twitter initially and won’t impact the visibility of the tweets that are addressed in Birdwatch.

Twitter has officially introduced a program that was in testing for months and which could help fix the toxic internet in the coming years. Called Birdwatch, the new feature will eventually add another layer of security to Twitter, the security of information. Birdwatch is a program that aims to reduce the spread of misinformation online, which is thriving on social media. Twitter is no exception. The company had a busy year in 2020, fighting COVID-19 misinformation that started spreading online in the early days of the pandemic and continued after that. Twitter had to intervene … Read the rest

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The global vaccine rollout is full of glitches, shortages, and problems, but not every country faces the same challenges. Evening out those inequalities to make sure poorer countries are included in the vaccination race isn’t just the ethical thing to do: it’s good for rich countries, too. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the entire global economy depends on poorer countries getting residents vaccinated: advanced economies will still bear 49% of the costs of the pandemic, even if they get their own populations entirely inoculated. 

With a new leader in the White House, we’re seeing signs that the US will do its part. The Biden administration says it will join Covax, a global vaccination effort led by the World Health Organization that aims to get the first batches of vaccines to poorer countries in February. To learn more about global vaccine inequality, we … Read the rest

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A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks past a GameStop store in the Herald Square area of New York City on November 27, 2020. | Gabriela Bhaskar/Bloomberg/Getty Images

How a bunch of Redditors made GameStop’s stock soar, much to the chagrin of the hedge funds attempting to short it.

Who knew the first big 2021 stock market story would be … GameStop? But here we are.

There’s been a boom in day trading and individual investing over the past several months — activity that’s often taking place or being discussed on platforms such as Reddit and Robinhood instead of in more traditional arenas. And one big question amid the frenzy has been how much the little guys really matter. Sure, small-time investors trade a lot, sometimes to the annoyance of more traditional institutions, but are they really consequential?

When it comes to the GameStop saga, at least, the answer is … Read the rest

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The blame game between the US and China over the coronavirus pandemic is raging online (AFP via Getty Images)

A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry has suggested that the United States may be to blame for the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

The suggestion, posted on the Chinese social media site Weibo, seems to be a response to parting words from the Trump administration’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Before leaving office, Pompeo repeated the conspiracy theory the pandemic had been started through an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan. He urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to investigate the matter further.

Two days after President Biden’s inauguration, Chinese officials appeared to start pushing a conspiracy theory of their own.

During a press conference on January 18, Chinese official Hua Chunying suggested the US should open Fort Detrick to investigators.

The army installation in Maryland is the focal point … Read the rest

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While Apple’s latest audio product are the AirPods Max, not everyone likes over-ear headphones, even if they do sound great (as I stated in my AirPods Max review). The AirPods Pro are a fantastic option for those who prefer in-ear earbuds (and there are also some AirPods Pro alternatives if it’s still too expensive), and you can even charge them up wirelessly, which is a great convenience. But what are the best AirPods Pro wireless chargers? Here are some of our favorites, and don’t worry — there’s something for everyone and every budget. All of these should also work even if you are using one of the best AirPods Pro cases.

Magical magnets

Apple MagSafe Charger

$39 at Apple

$36 at Amazon

Staff Favorite

Apple’s MagSafe Charger is designed to work with the iPhone 12 series, but it is also perfect for your AirPods Pro. It provides

Read the rest ...

  • A new report says that Huawei has been negotiating for months to sell the P and Mate premium phones to a consortium led by Shanghai government-backed investment firms.
  • Huawei is running out of key components that would allow it to continue making new flagship phones to compete against the latest iPhone and Galaxy S devices under the ongoing US ban.
  • Huawei denied that a sale of the two valuable brands is in the works. But the company sold Honor, its budget phone brand last year, to escape the ban.

In just a few years, Huawei became one of the biggest players in the mobile business. The company wanted to dethrone Samsung and become the world’s largest smartphone vendor and put out increasingly more exciting iPhone rivals. The P and Mate phones grew in popularity, with Huawei borrowing features from the iPhone and Galaxy S while taking bigger risks when … Read the rest

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On Wednesday, the US waited with bated breath as president Trump handed the government reins over to president Biden. The transition of power ended up peaceful, and Biden promptly ushered in his new vision for America with a flurry of executive orders.

At the moment, the most pressing issues on his table are fighting the coronavirus pandemic, providing financial relief for Americans, and reversing a series of Trump-era policies on climate change, international relations, and immigration. Artificial intelligence, as expected, hasn’t yet made it to the top of list. But he has given several signals already about how his administration might think about and treat the technology.

First, Biden elevated the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to a cabinet-level position, and appointed top geneticist Eric Lander, the founding director of the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute, to the role. The OSTP advises the president on … Read the rest

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Twitter suspended the @realdonaldtrump account after the Capitol riot on January 6. | Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

The debate over deplatforming Trump has overshadowed how effective social media bans are at fighting extremism.

Within days of the January 6 Capitol insurrection, outgoing President Donald Trump’s internet presence was in upheaval. Trump’s social media accounts were suspended across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, and TikTok.

The same was true for many of Trump’s more extremist followers. Twitter suspended more than 70,000 accounts primarily dedicated to spreading the false right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon. Apple, Google, and Amazon Web Services banned the right-wing Twitter alternative Parler, effectively shutting down the site indefinitely (though it’s attempting to return) and relegating many right-wingers to the hinterlands of the internet.

Permanently revoking users’ access to social media platforms and other websites — a practice known as deplatforming — isn’t a new concept; … Read the rest

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