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Comic for August 03, 2020

Dilbert - 15 min 10 sec ago
Categories: Geek

More data, but still confusion over how much children spread SARS-CoV-2

Ars Technica - 36 min 5 sec ago

Enlarge / A prepandemic summer camp, showing many things that go against current public health guidance. (credit: Educational Images)

It has become abundantly clear that children tend to have less severe cases of COVID-19 and often experience no symptoms whatsoever. That doesn't mean that there's no risk—some kids clearly get severely ill, and some have died. But if the risks of reopening schools were based only on the symptoms experienced by children, then the evaluation would be relatively simple. But the risk evaluation is substantially more complex than that, since children can potentially spread the virus, even if they themselves do not experience symptoms. And those to whom they spread coronavirus, such as teachers and school support staff, may be at much higher risk of severe illness.

Some studies of the virus' spread early on in the COVID-19 pandemic suggested that children resisted infection, but that hasn't been seen in every study. Now, some new reports are complicating matters even further. Two studies show that children may actually carry higher levels of the virus than adults. And another one indicates that the virus spread rapidly in a youth summer camp, an environment that may have some semblance to schools.

Lots of virus

While there are many factors that go into determining viral spread, the presence of the virus is an essential one. So a couple of groups has decided to look at how large a viral load children carry. One of these groups involved researchers who cooperated with people running testing centers in Germany, examining the 3,300 people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 out of 78,000 tests the groups had run. This included the early days of the rising pandemic, as well as after falling rates of infection lowered the frequency of testing.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Genki Covert is a $75 ultra-portable dock for Nintendo Switch

Ars Technica - 1 hour 4 min ago

Today we're taking a look at the just-released Genki Covert Dock, a $75 third-party dock for the Nintendo Switch console. It's the size and shape of a compact USB charger, with folding 120VAC prongs for US electrical power (slide-on adapters for other countries are included in the box). We know everybody's worried about third-party docks right now—but Genki's lead engineer is the one who first discovered why Switch consoles tended to brick in third-party docks. So the Covert feels like a safe bet.

Although Covert Dock does come with a manual, you aren't going to need it—usage is very simple. You plug the Covert Dock directly into the wall, just as you would any compact phone charger. Plug an HDMI cable from the Covert Dock into your display, and plug the included USB-C 3.1 charge cable from your Switch to the Covert. Voila—a few seconds later, your Switch's video and audio are routed over HDMI to your display, and it's charging.

Simple device, real engineering Genki Covert Dock for Nintendo Switch $75 at Amazon (Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

It's effectively impossible to buy a Nintendo Switch right now—I know, I keep looking. When I bought our family's Switch, I really just wanted to play Untitled Goose Game—at which the kids and I spent eons laughing, bonding, and discussing why we really shouldn't carry pranks learned from Goose Game over into real life. But these days, for my family as for many others, the Switch has effectively become a dedicated Animal Crossing: New Horizons console, and it has become worth its weight in gold.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Virtual house hunting gets a pandemic boost

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 14 min ago
Estate agents say demand has soared for tours of houses using virtual reality headsets.

A different kind of “gamer” hotline: Free, anonymous emotional support

Ars Technica - 1 hour 44 min ago

The classic version of "gamer support hotlines" revolved around a late '80s and early '90s period of titans like Nintendo and Sega. You'd either make a long-distance call or call a 1-900 line to get help from a live counselor on how to beat a tough video game.

Those kinds of hotlines are long gone, replaced by YouTube tutorials—which is fair enough, because it's usually easy to spell out steps to fight a boss or solve a puzzle. This week, a completely different type of gamer-centric hotline has emerged to address an industrywide issue that isn't as easily solved by walkthroughs: emotional support.

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline (GOHH) launches today as a free text-based hotline that anyone can use to begin talking about the emotional issues that emerge all over the gaming industry. Twitch streamers, game developers, Discord server members, even online trolls: all are invited to begin talking—anonymously and confidentially—about mental health with counselors who are equipped to understand gaming's social systems and lingo.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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