Tech Digest daily roundup: 90yo Shatner emotional after ‘profound’ space trip


Star Trek actor William Shatner has become the oldest person to reach space, calling his trip “the most profound experience”. The 90-year-old blasted off from Texas at 3.49pm UK time on a Blue Origin rocket – the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, spent 10 minutes on his suborbital flight alongside three others. After touching down, Shatner placed his hands on Bezos’s shoulders and told him: “What you have given me is the most profound experience… I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened”. Sky News 

Apple is looking at ways to make its AirPods more than just conduits for music and podcasts. The tech giant wants to see the wireless earbuds utilized as thermometers, hearing aids and even monitor a person’s posture… Apple may be looking to augment its earbuds with new capabilities and components as the federal government relaxes regulations on who can sell hearing aids. Apple is also developing prototypes for AirPods that record a user’s core body temperature from inside their ears, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Daily Mail 

Apple has hit back at regulatory efforts to crack open its iPhone App Store, warning the move would expose consumers to hacking risks. The California-based company said on Wednesday that attempts to force it to allow downloading from outside of its secure smartphone store – a process known as “sideloading” – could put consumers at risk. The tech giant said such regulations could increase the “threat of malware, piracy and intellectual property theft”. “Sideloading” sees consumers downloading apps from the open internet and is not currently possible on iPhones. Rivals, however, have said the tech company’s App Store is anti-competitive and forces them to give away up to 30pc of their app income to Apple. Telegraph

China’s share of global Bitcoin mining has fallen to effectively zero, research by the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) suggests. In June China told banks to stop facilitating transactions, and issued bans on mining. At its peak in Sept 2019 China accounted for over three quarters of all Bitcoin mining. China’s crackdown initially led to a 38% fall in mining globally CBECI said. However this was partially offset by a 20% “bounceback” over July and August, “suggesting that some Chinese mining equipment has been successfully redeployed overseas”, researchers said. China has since declared all Bitcoin transactions illegal – though that occurred after the period covered by the Cambridge research. BBC 

Less than five minutes of scrolling through social media posts of bad news about Covid-19 is enough to lower a person’s mood, research suggests. Participants were randomly assigned to spend a few minutes reading bad news relating to coronavirus on Twitter or watching a YouTube video of someone commenting about it. In both studies, participants reported lower wellbeing compared with a control group who had not been exposed to any Covid-19 news. Consumption of two to four minutes’ of news related to Covid led to “immediate and significant reductions in positive effect”, according to the study from the University of Essex. Yahoo!

Chris Price
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