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Industry & Technology

Australia on the cusp of showing the world how to break encryption

The Register - August 12, 2018 - 12:05pm
You just pass a law, apparently

The Australian government has scheduled its “not-a-backdoor” crypto-busting bill to land in parliament in the spring session, and we still don't know what will be in it.…

Best 4K Blu-rays - CNET - News - August 12, 2018 - 12:00pm
If you've invested in a 4K TV and a 4K Blu-ray player, these are the absolute essential discs you must buy.

Why you can't buy every phone you want from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint - CNET - News - August 12, 2018 - 12:00pm
There's a world of worthy phones out there that you might never get to see.

Check out 400 years of shipbuilding history, from sloops-of-war to stealthy subs, at the Chatham Historic Dockyard - CNET - News - August 12, 2018 - 11:00am
A sloop-of-war, a WWII destroyer, a Cold War-era submarine, plus more tanks, lifeboats and historical buildings than you can shake a mast at. This is the Chatham Historic Dockyard and here’s a look around.

Stranger Things didn't mean to cast all your 1980s favorites - CNET - News - August 12, 2018 - 12:42am
The hit Netflix show set in the go-go decade features some major 1980s stars, but that wasn't on purpose.

Avengers producer: We kept a shocking secret from film's stars - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 11:57pm
Some things, even a superhero shouldn't know too far in advance.

Star Wars star Mark Hamill reveals worst advice he ever gave - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 8:30pm
Maybe don't take acting-career tips from Luke Skywalker is what we're saying.

Lawsuit brings $289 million verdict against maker of Roundup weed killer

Ars Technica - August 11, 2018 - 7:45pm

Enlarge / A weedkiller has gotten its manufacturer in very large legal troubles. (credit: Erich Ferdinand / Flickr)

On Friday, a California jury hit Monsanto with $289 million in damages in a lawsuit brought by a patient suffering from terminal cancer, accepting the plaintiff's claims that his disease was caused by the company's popular herbicide, Roundup. The suit neatly sidestepped the complicated epidemiology of the active ingredient in the herbicide—glyphosate—and instead made the claim that the cancer was the result of glyphosate's interactions with other chemicals in Roundup—a claim for which there is even less evidence.

The suit is one of hundreds in progress and will almost certainly be appealed by Monsanto, which was recently purchased by chemical giant Bayer.

According to CNN, the suit was filed by Dewayne Johnson, a former groundskeeper for a school system near San Francisco. As part of his job, Johnson regularly used the popular herbicide and claimed that he suffered extensive exposure during two accidents within the past decade.

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CNET UK podcast 542: Samsung's Note 9 and Apple's trillion milestone - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 7:17pm
Andrew Hoyle and Drew Stearne break down Samsung's new Galaxy Note 9 and we find out why Drew might have a Hue obsession.

Game of Thrones author: Gandalf inspired me to kill everybody off - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 7:06pm
George R.R. Martin learned from J.R.R. Tolkien that the stakes are raised when no character is safe.

NASA Parker Solar Probe launch delayed until Sunday - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 6:19pm
The probe failed to lift off in its mission to go closer to the sun than we've ever been before, but it will try again.

These tiny speakers will throw a party for your ears - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 6:17pm
Totem Acoustic KIN Mini speakers and KIN Sub, a sweet little three-piece system for music and movies.

Why Red Dead Redemption 2 may not live up to the hype - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 6:14pm
Commentary: I loved the first game, but I have my doubts that the sequel can recapture the magic.

NASA set to touch the sun: Parker Solar Probe launches Sunday - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 6:07pm
The Parker Solar Probe, set to launch Sunday, is designed to unlock the sun's mysteries -- and help protect us from its wrath.

A hippie musician's tasty collection of audio gear (and guitars) - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 4:20pm
Show Us Yours: Gene’s life long passions for audio and music adorn his cozy Greenwich Village pad.

Coober Pedy: The mining town where people live under the earth - CNET - News - August 11, 2018 - 3:29pm
It's freezing cold, scorching hot and a source of Australia's opals. What's it like when you have to jury-rig even the most basic tech to survive?

One man designed and built the ultimate bush plane

Ars Technica - August 11, 2018 - 3:25pm

Bush airplanes are the SUVs of general aviation—small, piston-engined aircraft designed or adapted to carry a passenger or two, or to ferry light cargo in and out of remote areas with crude or non-existent runways. They're in use everywhere from the Alaskan Tundra to the Australian Outback to the African bush.

Traditionally the tool of professional bush pilots, bush planes have recently become highly enjoyable toys for a cadre of enthusiasts. Fascinated by the low, slow off-airport, back-country flying which their STOL (short takeoff and landing) qualities make possible, private pilots have sought out bush planes for recreation.

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Friendly fox genomes help us understand the genetics of behavior

Ars Technica - August 11, 2018 - 2:30pm

Enlarge / Russian domesticated foxes (credit: Kingston Photography for the JAB Canid Education and Conservation Center )

Since 1959, a unique breeding experiment has been underway in southwestern Siberia. Its founder, Dmitry Belyaev, was intrigued by the characteristics of domestication, and he observed that foxes varied in their responses to humans—some fearful, some aggressive, and a few displaying “a quiet exploratory reaction without fear or aggression.” What would happen, he wondered, if you bred just the most chilled-out foxes?

Within a few generations of doing just this, remarkable transformations were underway. The foxes were calmer and friendlier when approached—and also more baby-faced, with floppy ears, patchy coloring, and curlier tails. This group of tame foxes, along with a second group bred for their aggression, have been transformational in our understanding of domestication.

And now, genetics have entered the mix. An international team of researchers have published an exploration of the genomes of the tame, aggressive, and wild foxes, looking for clues that could illuminate the link between genes and domestication. The results point to where in the genome the most interesting differences show up, and they may help to identify genes that could be illuminating to study in more detail.

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Coros Linx Smart Cycling Helmet review: A safe way to listen to music while riding a bike - CNET - Reviews - August 11, 2018 - 2:00pm
This bike helmet protects your head while rattling your bones.

PETA roasts Impossible Burger for rat tests, suggests patties cause cancer

Ars Technica - August 11, 2018 - 1:45pm

Enlarge / The impossible burger (credit: Impossible Foods)

The oft controversial animal-rights group PETA has beef with the ostensibly animal-friendly Impossible Burger.

PETA, short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is fired up over the fact that the vegetarian burger’s maker, Impossible Foods, tested the safety of its faux patty on animals. Impossible Foods has openly noted that it conducted animal experiments—involving a total of 188 rats—to convince the Food and Drug Administration that the burger’s key, blood-like ingredient qualified as a safe food additive. The company was after a controversial FDA designation called “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS. The animals were sacrificed after the testing.

In a blistering blog post, PETA claimed the testing was “voluntary” and that Impossible Foods conducted the test after “disregarding advice from a PETA scientist who said that there’s no need to hurt and kill animals to test its burger.” To further scorch the burger’s name, PETA made the dubious suggestion that the burger could increase risks of cancer in consumers.

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