Searchable News & Info From Reliable Online Sources.
- When Your Amazon Purchase ExplodesNicholas Jones didn’t think twice about purchasing a lithium-ion battery from Amazon in 2016. Like most Americans, he was used to ordering whatever he needed on the site and having it show up at his front door days later. So when his laptop’s battery stopped working, Jones, then a graduate student, went online, found a replacement HP battery for about $15, and bought it.A few nights later, he was sitting on the couch in his Buffalo, New York, apartment when he heard a sound like a gunshot. His fiancée screamed. The lithium-ion battery in the laptop sitting next to him had ignited, setting his couch on fire. Battery cells were flying all over the living room, leaking acid. “It was like a war zone,” Jones told me. Later, he was treated for first-degree and chemical burns. His computer and hardwood floor were destroyed.Curious about what had happened, Jones went back… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- The Meme TerroristsThe aim of terrorism is terror. It’s an easy tautology to overlook, for it appears to carry no information. But terrorism’s aims are political and social, even when its methods are violent.When a gunman opened fire in a synagogue in Poway, California, near San Diego, on Saturday he killed one person and wounded three others. Those figures are low by mass-shooting standards, but the attack has broader implications. Anywhere, everywhere, Jewish worshippers might fear similar violence at their own temples. The same distress descended upon Muslims after a deadly attack on three mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last month. These attacks infect the innocent with suspicion. With no way to know where or when more random violence could erupt, hearts skip a beat with every doorway darkened.In both the California and New Zealand, attacks, the shooters posted notice, motive, and evidence on the anonymous message board 8chan. In New Zealand,… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- The Hack That Created an Underground Market for Old Medical DevicesOne day last June, Doug Boss pulled into a police station parking lot to meet a stranger from Craigslist. His purpose: to buy used insulin pumps. Boss has type-1 diabetes, and he relies on a small pump attached to his body to deliver continuous doses of insulin that keep him alive.To be clear, he didn’t need to buy used medical equipment on Craigslist. Boss, who is 55 and works in IT in Texas, has health insurance. He even has a new, in-warranty pump sitting at home. But he was thrilled to find on Craigslist a coveted old model made by the medical device company Medtronic and discontinued years ago. What makes these outdated Medtronic pumps so desirable is, ironically, a security flaw. Boss was looking for a pump or two he could hack.He’s not the only one. In 2014, a few hackers realized that the security flaw in certain Medtronic… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- The Art of Interpreting Screen-Time RecommendationsLast week, the World Health Organization issued new guidelines on how much time parents should permit young children to spend absorbed in digital screens, whether phones, tablets, or TVs. Kids younger than one year old, the organization advised, shouldn’t have any screen time, and kids ages 2 to 4 should have their passive screen time capped at an hour per day. “Children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens,” the WHO stated in a press release.“Sitting” is a significant word here, as this advice comes in conjunction with the recommendation that parents limit their children’s “sedentary” time and instead promote “active play,” so that those children grow up to be physically and mentally healthy.[Read: Parenting like an economist is a lot less stressful]Juana Willumsen, a children’s-health expert at the WHO, noted that the recommended limits on sedentary screen time didn’t include videochatting with relatives, viewing programs that have… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- AirPods Are the New CubiclesOnce upon a time, offices had walls inside them. They weren’t glass, like the conference rooms of 2019, but made of drywall and usually painted a neutral color, like many of the walls you know and love. Over time, office walls gave way to cubicles. Now, for many office workers, the cubicles are also gone. There are only desks.If you’re under 40, you might have never experienced the joy of walls at work. In the late 1990s, open offices started to catch on among influential employers—especially those in the booming tech industry. The pitch from designers was twofold: Physically separating employees wasted space (and therefore money), and keeping workers apart was bad for collaboration. Other companies emulated the early adopters. In 2017, a survey estimated that 68 percent of American offices had low or no separation between workers.Now that open offices are the norm, their limitations have become clear. Research… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago