NIWA's Hotspot Watch for 12 December 2018

NIWA's Hotspot Watch for 12 December 2018

Across the North Island, soil moisture levels generally decreased during the past week due to lower than average rainfall for this time of year.

Streaming Isn’t Everything, and Blu-Rays Are Back to Prove It

Streaming Isn’t Everything, and Blu-Rays Are Back to Prove It

They’re the sort of fans who post photos of their latest Blu-ray scores, document their growing collections, and eagerly share updates on new “boutique” releases, which range from obscure ’80s horror flicks like Maniac to the 30-disc Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema collection.It was that hefty Bergman box (which lists for nearly $300) that had Killebrew up late the night before its release scouring websites, calling local stores, and even contemplating driving to a mall about an hour away from his home in Smithton, Illinois, just to secure his copy.

9 Trumpworld Figures Who Should Fear Mueller the Most

9 Trumpworld Figures Who Should Fear Mueller the Most

On Wednesday, SDNY reached a deal with National Enquirer publisher AMI that explicitly states that the Cohen payments were intended to prevent a story about Trump's alleged affair with Karen McDougal from "influencing the election."The court filings contain growing signs, too, that Mueller could be building not just a case around conspiracy during the 2016 campaign, but also about “expansive obstruction.” A case like that could include the possible coordination of lies following Russia revelations, such as Cohen’s in front of Congress.

If China Hacked Marriott, 2014 Marked a Full-on Assault

If China Hacked Marriott, 2014 Marked a Full-on Assault

And if you throw the Marriott data into the mix, which included passport numbers like the OPM trove, the espionage effort seems even more comprehensive."If I were a foreign intelligence service and wanted to get a complete picture about a specific group of people, these are exactly the targets I would select," says Crane Hassold, senior director of threat research at the phishing defense firm Agari who previously worked as a digital behavior analyst for the FBI.

As Snow Disappears, the Sierras and Rockies Are Shrinking

As Snow Disappears, the Sierras and Rockies Are Shrinking

“For the future, that percentage will keep increasing,” says Zeng, who presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington.LEARN MOREThe WIRED Guide to Climate ChangeAt the same time, the length of the snow season shrank by 34 days for the snowiest regions.

Google’s AI Guru Wants Computers to Think More Like Brains

Google’s AI Guru Wants Computers to Think More Like Brains

I think we’re going to have to do it like you would for people: You just see how they perform, and if they repeatedly run into difficulties then you say they’re not so good.WIRED: You’ve said that thinking about how the brain works inspires your research on artificial neural networks.

The Case for Viral ‘Call-Out’ Culture

The Case for Viral ‘Call-Out’ Culture

We did everything.”The video showcases just the kind of furious entitlement and everyday racism progressives on the internet have been calling out all year: This student is just the college campus version of the people screaming at Spanish speakers in restaurants and grocery stores, or the many, many, many people who have called the police on black people doing things like mowing lawns, being in Starbucks, or doing community service.

How WhatsApp Fuels Fake News and Violence in India

How WhatsApp Fuels Fake News and Violence in India

New research shows that WhatsApp usage can exacerbate groupthink, sometimes mobilizing groups into acts of violence.Starting last spring, the platform began being linked to incidents of mob killings, most of which fit a similar pattern: People deemed to be “outsiders” were targeted by large mobs accusing them of being child kidnappers after rumors to be on the lookout circulated on WhatsApp. Some of these false rumors appeared in the form of highly convincing doctored bulletins from local police; others used the photos from Syria and manipulated videos.Killings occurred in May and June, but the high death toll in the Dhule incident marked a tipping point for the government.

Quantum Computing Needs You to Help Solve Its Core Mystery

Quantum Computing Needs You to Help Solve Its Core Mystery

Last month Xanadu released PennyLane, a software package meant to make it easier to run machine learning algorithms on a quantum computer.Software packages like Xanadu’s and Google’s are compatible with multiple quantum computing architectures.

An Intel Breakthrough Rethinks How Chips Are Made

An Intel Breakthrough Rethinks How Chips Are Made

“And also you can pack different kinds of transistors; if you want to put a 5G radio right on top of a CPU, solving the stacking problem would be great, because you have all of your functionality but also a small form factor.”"Now, we can take processes that are best for the function and put them all together on a single package."Raja Koduri, IntelThe rest of the industry has already glommed onto the benefits of mixing and matching transistors, investing in “chiplets” that can be used almost like microscopic interlocking puzzle pieces.

Google Glass Wasn't a Failure. It Raised Crucial Concerns

Google Glass Wasn't a Failure. It Raised Crucial Concerns

Airport security regulations might mean you can no longer reasonably expect that you’re not being recorded in a terminal or on an airplane.And it’s not just government surveillance that has changed over the years — we ourselves are inviting devices into our homes and lives that could fundamentally alter what we can expect when it comes to privacy.

The Bizarre and Disturbing Life of Sea Cucumbers

The Bizarre and Disturbing Life of Sea Cucumbers

All species of sea cucumber breathe by dilating their anal sphincter to suck water into their rectum, where specialized structures called respiratory trees — butt lungs —  extract oxygen molecules from the water. Several species of parasitic pearlfish actually live inside sea cucumber bums.

How Do You Publish the Work of a Scientific Villain?

How Do You Publish the Work of a Scientific Villain?

A paper describing this work is reportedly under peer review, and a second one about additional Crispr experiments in human embryos was rejected by an international journal over ethical and scientific concerns, STAT reported Monday morning.LEARN MOREThe WIRED Guide to CrisprScientists are beginning to grapple with the very real possibility that He’s work may never be awarded publication status, along with its attendant sheen of legitimacy.

Burger King’s One-Cent Whopper Offers a Taste of the Robocar Future

Burger King’s One-Cent Whopper Offers a Taste of the Robocar Future

Burger King’s One-Cent Whopper Offers a Taste of the Robocar FutureIn a world with more ride-hailing and self-driving tech, ads that have always been relegated to billboards can move into the car.At first bite, it seems no more than a clever way to boost sales at the expense of a competitor.

Amazon’s Holiday Toy Catalog Is Advertising Parents Actually Want

Amazon’s Holiday Toy Catalog Is Advertising Parents Actually Want

And this time of year, when millions of Americans are going to buy toys, it’s easier for children to thumb through a physical catalog that feels like a big book of wonders than a notoriously hard-to-navigate website.Kids, especially, don’t have a great way to discover toys on the actual Amazon website.

The Co-Opting of French Unrest to Spread Disinformation

The Co-Opting of French Unrest to Spread Disinformation

“The goal is clear: show to the world that there is a civil war in France.” Other accounts identified by Robert as sharing similarly false or polarizing information claimed to be journalists and European nationals.@AbrahamEkris, a relatively unknown account notable for its belief in the sprawling conspiracy theory known as QAnon, was another popular promoter of disinformation using #GiletsJaunes.

Congress Blew Its Hearing With Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Congress Blew Its Hearing With Google CEO Sundar Pichai

The rhetorical tennis match left precious little time for committee members to explore in any detail the urgent questions around Google's interest in building a censored search engine for China, the company's bulk data collection practices, its recent security breaches, or issues related to competition and antitrust regulation.Like earlier House hearings with tech leaders, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the day proved heavy on theatrics and light on substance—complete with audience appearances by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Roger Stone, the conservative provocateur who now finds himself at the center of the Russia probe.The hearing was more than a missed opportunity for both lawmakers and members of the public.

Don't Ask Jude Law About 'Captain Marvel'—He Fears Snipers

Don't Ask Jude Law About 'Captain Marvel'—He Fears Snipers

(That last one was probably just a lightsaber, to be fair.) It may be stale by now, but it always gets a laugh—and now it's time to add Jude Law to the list of performatively paranoid castmembers.In the latest WIRED Autocomplete Interview, the actor revealed the very well known fact that Brie Larson is playing the titular character in next year's Captain Marvel, and almost immediately went into joke autopilot mode.

A Look at 20 Years of Drought Ravaging Southeast Iran

A Look at 20 Years of Drought Ravaging Southeast Iran

The region is buried in sand and dust each summer, making life almost unbearable.Reeds catch fire in the intense sunlight of the Hamoun wetlands.Hossein, 13, lives in Beris, Chaabahar, which lacks clean drinking water.Women draw water from a Houtag—a rainwater collection pit that animals also drink from—in Choutani village, Dashtyari.Nabi Sarani, 63, farms and owns livestock.

Manufacturing Group Supports New Clean Water Rule

Manufacturing Group Supports New Clean Water Rule

“Our proposal would replace the Obama EPA’s 2015 definition with one that respects the limits of the Clean Water Act and provides states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a statement announcing the rule.

Cake's Electric Motorcycle Makes Dirt Biking a Silent Joy

Cake's Electric Motorcycle Makes Dirt Biking a Silent Joy

Cake's Electric Motorcycle Makes Dirt Biking a Silent JoyIn one day on the Kalk, I went from whiskey throttling noob to trail-shredding semi-noobEric AdamsI’d ridden the motorcycle part of the way up a small dirt hill, and was trying to simply reverse my way back down when I fell off the machine.

What the California Wildfires Can Teach Us About Data Sharing

What the California Wildfires Can Teach Us About Data Sharing

I was part of a small group of volunteers who came together to start a nonprofit organization, Safecast, to design, build, and deploy Geiger counters and a website that would eventually make more than 100 million measurements of radiation levels available to the public.We started in Japan, of course, but eventually people around the world joined the movement, creating an open global data set.

How to Use Siri to Automate Every Step of Your Daily Grind

How to Use Siri to Automate Every Step of Your Daily Grind

If you order the same coffee every day from the Philz Coffee app, Siri will suggest turning that routine into a simple, one-tap shortcut.No Shortcut to SuccessKeep in mind that some apps’ functions are more integrated with Shortcuts’ API than others.

To Clean Up Space Junk, Some People Grabbed a Net and Harpoon

To Clean Up Space Junk, Some People Grabbed a Net and Harpoon

Astroscale's first mission, called ELSA-d a cheery acronym that hides the ominous "End-of-Life Service" hidden within it, aims to show that a reaper-style space robot can find lost debris, match a dead satellite’s tumble, and dock.PushersTraditionally, satellites have thrusters that push them to the orbits they need, keep them there, and then (assuming the gas gauge doesn't read "empty") send them shooting down to Earth when the time comes.

The Cool Green Holiday Book Review 2018

The Cool Green Holiday Book Review 2018

I love the trend in nature writing to explore areas outside the usual wilderness areas and national parks: the urban wilds, the forgotten and overlooked spots. The wildlife, plants, land and water of coastal Carolina play central roles, and the natural history information is integrated in a way that makes a much richer story.

5 Questions Congress Should Ask Google's Sundar Pichai

5 Questions Congress Should Ask Google's Sundar Pichai

At the time, Google's support page claimed that "With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored." After the AP report was published, the company updated the language to say, "Your settings for other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device, are not changed." This impacts Android users and iPhone users who have the Google Maps app.Google said it collects this data to "improve people’s experience" and allows people to delete this history whenever they want.

Even Elon Musk Abuses Tesla's Autopilot

Even Elon Musk Abuses Tesla's Autopilot

“Now you’re not driving at all,” Stahl said, incredulously, looking over at his feet.Musk went on to demonstrate the car’s new Navigate on Autopilot feature, which lets it change lanes by itself.

The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History

The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History

By that night, as the outside world was still debating whether NotPetya was criminal ransom­ware or a weapon of state-sponsored cyberwar, ISSP’s staff had already started referring to it as a new kind of phenomenon: a “massive, coordinated cyber invasion.”Amid that epidemic, one single infection would become particularly fateful for Maersk: In an office in Odessa, a port city on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, a finance executive for Maersk’s Ukraine operation had asked IT administrators to install the accounting software M.E.Doc on a single computer.

A New Google+ Blunder Exposed Data From 52.5 Million Users

A New Google+ Blunder Exposed Data From 52.5 Million Users

And while the company's response to this Google+ exposure was quick and thorough, Google has had ample practice on privacy incident response this year alone."This didn't impact passwords or financial data, but it did give the ability to extract large amounts of information like email addresses and profile data," says David Kennedy, CEO of the penetration testing and incident response consultancy TrustedSec.

Watch This New Monster-Filled Godzilla Trailer Right Now

Watch This New Monster-Filled Godzilla Trailer Right Now

In today's installment: Stranger Things readies for its third season; a new look at Godzilla: King of the Monsters surfaces; and Aquaman makes a splash in China.Rodan, I Wish I Was Your MothraWoof!

More