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Magnetic cockroaches, dirty money, wombat poo and posties’ balls: It’s the Ig Nobels 2019

The Annals of Improbable Research held its annual award-giving ceremony – the Ig Nobel Prize – on Thursday night at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, and the entries were as worthy as ever. Host for the event, top-hatted Annals editor Mark Abrams, introduced the 10 winners during a glittering evening peppered with science opera, blessedly brief keynotes and a silver-painted man holding a flashlight. Also featured were several academics who were…

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Time for another cuppa then? Tea-drinkers have better brains, say boffins with even better brains

Researchers from the National University of Singapore have found that drinking tea regularly really is good for you, especially your brain. They say they have also discovered why. Previous studies on tea-drinking have revealed such positive effects as helping prevent cardiovascular disease, as well as confirming Dr Johnson’s 18th-century claim regarding tea’s propensity to improve one’s mood. This latest research led by Feng Lei, assistant professor in the Department…

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700km on a single charge: Mercedes says it’s in it for the long run

In the same week that the motoring industry discovered the Tesla Model 3 was the UK’s third most popular car purchase, Mercedes-Benz unveiled an electric supercar at the Frankfurt Motor Show with high expectations, and probably no little relief. The Vision EQS looks every bit the luxury sedan and features a startling headlight system, but the quiet boast of the day was the car’s range. Lab tests using the…

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Now that’s what we’re Tolkien about: You need one storage system to rule them all and in the darkness bind them

Opinion One of the tech industry’s longest running quests is developing the notion of a single source of truth within organizations. That is, no matter who or where you are within a business, when it comes to running the numbers or making a decision, your applications are accessing the same information as everybody else internally. No out of date, duplicated, or otherwise imperfect copies. While that sounds admirable –…

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MIT boffins turn black up to 11 with carbon nanotubes that absorb 99.995% of light

It’s like, how much more black could this be and the answer is none. None more black Compare … A diamond, left, and, right, coated with pitch-black nanotubes(Image credit: R. Capanna, A. Berlato, and A. Pinato) Carbon nanotubes have peculiar properties. Not only do they have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any known substance they can also absorb the most light, making them the blackest material yet. A pair…

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OK, peons, we’ll obey the law and let you talk about politics and pay packets, says Google

Google has agreed to settle two complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board by former employees who claim the company fired them from engaging in lawfully protected workplace speech. One of the former employees, Kevin Cernekee, claimed to have been dismissed in 2015 because of his conservative politics; Google maintains he was fired for policy violations. The settlement addresses Cernekee’s speech claim but not a separate discharge claim,…

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Malwarebytes back to square one as appeals court rules blocking rival antivirus maker isn’t on

Malwarebytes will have to head back to court to justify a decision to block its rival’s antivirus services after an appeals court threw out the security shop’s legal justification. On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals overturned a decision by a district court back in 2017 that agreed with Malwarebytes when it said it was allowed to do pretty much whatever it wanted with its antivirus scanner, including…

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Whoa, bot wars: As cybercrooks add more AI to their arsenal, the goodies will have to too

Infosec techies should prepare to both fend off AI attacks and welcome the technology into their armoury of tools, reckons Trend Micro’s director of cybercrime research. The security world is standing on the brink of an AI-powered arms race, claimed Rob McArdle at the firm’s Cloudsec conference in London today. Speaking on stage alongside Rik Ferguson, Trend’s refreshingly British research veep, McArdle warned that “deepfake ransomware” was one potential…

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Consumer ransomware insurance? You could be painting a target on us all for avaricious crims

Fire, theft, flood – and now cyber attack. Customers of a Californian biz offering payouts of up to $50,000 in case your cat videos get Wannacry’d but experts worry it could make the problem worse. Los Angeles-based firm Mercury Insurance reportedly began offering “cyber protection coverage” to its retail customers in the USA earlier this month. “Homeowners and renters have enjoyed the added convenience provided by computers, tablets and…

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Tut – you wait a lifetime for an interstellar object then two come at once

Boffins spot a possible follow-up to ‘Oumuamua Hyperbolic Orbit of C/2019 Q4 (pic: ESA/NEO Coordination Centre) ESA scientists are studying an object that has all the hallmarks of being another entity from outside our Solar System, making it the second to be spotted after 2017’s cigar-shaped interstellar comet. The observation has, thus far, been a team effort. Gennady Borisov of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory spotted the thing first, on…

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