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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Clown porn searches spike thanks to creepy clowns

    We've seen numerous reports of dodgy clowns in the news but, when combined with the proximity to Halloween, it seems like clown porn is enjoying an uptick in popularity. According to adult streaming website Pornhub, clown-related searches have grown by as much as 213% over the past few weeks. There have been over 100 000 clown-related searches in the past 30 days, Pornhub said, but added that clown porn isn't anything new. The combination of creepy clowns and Halloween makes for an uptick in clown porn searches "The most popular search is 'clown porn' followed by 'clown girl' and 'clown gangbang'," the Pornhub Insights...

  • Rwanda’s now using drones to deliver medical supplies

    Drones are all the rage these days, but they're being put to life-saving use in Rwanda, in the form of so-called Zip drones. Zipline teamed up with the Rwandan government for the project, which sees the drones able to drop blood, vaccines and other medical supplies to remote areas. "Zip is a small robot airplane designed for a high level of safety, using many of the same approaches as commercial airliners. It can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood. A fleet of Zips is able to provide for a population of millions. No roads, no problem," Zipline wrote on its website. The Zip drones...

  • Netflix, Amazon are outspending HBO on TV programming

    A new report finds that Netflix and Amazon are outspending several big traditional networks when it comes to TV programming. According to the World TV Production Report 2016 from IHS Markit, the two internet streaming firms spent a total of US$7.5-billion last year. Amazon spent US$2.67-billion last year, compared to Netflix and its impressive US$4.91-billion figure for 2015. Both streaming services outspent HBO (US$2-billion), while Netflix also shelled out more cash for TV programming than Turner Broadcasting (US$3.8-billion). Next in Netflix's sights is CBS, having spent US$5.7-billion last year, according to IHS Markit. However, the streaming service still trails Disney and NBC Universal, being pegged at US$11.8-billion and US$10.2-billion...

  • Juno: NASA’s Jupiter orbiter has an engine issue

    The Juno space probe arrived at Jupiter to much fanfare in July, having travelled almost three billion kilometres to reach the gas giant. Now, it appears that the orbiter is suffering from an engine-related problem, NASA confirmed in a statement. The issue was discovered after engineers decided to test systems ahead of a 19 October "period reduction manoeuvre" or PRM. This type of burn is meant to reduce the probe's orbital period around Jupiter from 53.4 days to just 14 days. Unfortunately, the issue means that the scheduled burn has been postponed for now. Juno has suffered an engine-related issue, but it's still gathering...

  • EFF: 4 big security concerns for WhatsApp

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been on WhatsApp's case this year, taking the platform to task over its new data-sharing policy with Facebook. Now, the US watchdog has hit out at WhatsApp, listing four major security concerns it should tackle. Unencrypted backups The first issue raised by the EFF was the way WhatsApp handles backups to the cloud. "In order to back messages up in a way that makes them restorable without a passphrase in the future, these backups need to be stored unencrypted at rest," the watchdog noted. The watchdog says users should never back up their WhatsApp data to the cloud "since...

  • SA robotics firm Ryonic in push for NASA challenge

    You don't often hear about South African involvement in space-based endeavours, but local firm Ryonic Robotics is hoping to get in on the fun. The company has entered the qualification round of NASA's Space Robotics Challenge (part of the Centennial Challenges Programme), which ultimately seeks to improve the abilities of humanoid robots in space and Mars. The contest will eventually see finalists attempting to program a virtual robot, "stationed" on Mars, to complete a series of tasks. This is made tougher by the implementation of a communications delay, similar to the one between Earth and the Red Planet. Ryonic Robotics is hoping to make...

  • Check out this fantastic HD footage of the moon

    Humanity has already visited the moon, but seeing close-up footage of the satellite is still an utterly enchanting experience. Now, 2007 footage from Japan's SELENE probe has resurfaced on reddit, showing off a detailed, high definition look at the celestial body. This was all made possible thanks to the inclusion of an HDTV camera on the craft, the JAXA space agency said. The SELENE probe was put on a collision course with the moon after successfully accomplishing its mission "The SELENE HDTV was developed in cooperation with JAXA and NHK, and it took full HD images all around the moon. Originally, operations was planned...

  • 4 features Netflix needs to succeed in emerging markets

    Video streaming superstar Netflix has gone from strength to strength in the past few years, expanding dramatically and churning out top-notch original content. However, the company still has a long way to go in several emerging markets, as local services in Asia, Latin America and South Africa enjoy varying levels of success. These services also bring crucial lessons for Netflix - here are a few features it needs to bring to the table. User-adjustable video quality Automatic video quality adjustment is a welcome feature if you've got an unpredictable connection, dynamically adjusting quality based on available throughput. This only solves the issue of unstable internet speeds though, rather than...

  • Blockchain to help secure US military networks?

    Perhaps 2016's most hyped tech phenomenon yet, blockchain is intriguing nonetheless - and the US military is curious about the technology as well. Blockchain, at its core, is effectively a distributed ledger, featuring code that allows parties to keep track of all changes. With high-profile hacks/leaks and ever-present nuclear weapons in mind, it might make sense to use the technology to shore up a country's defenses. That's exactly what the US military is investigating, QZ reported, as research agency DARPA has issued a US$1.8-million contract to "verify" a blockchain-based solution. The contract, issued to Galois and Guardtime Federal, will see Galois verifying the "correctness" of...

  • Google Sprayscape: spray weird 360 snaps with this app

    Another week means another app from Google, but this one, dubbed Sprayscape, comes from its Creative Lab. In other words, expect something less like Allo and more like Lip Swap. Sprayscape, released on Android, allows users to essentially create a Photosphere/360 photo with a "spraying" mechanic. The app isn't super accurate at all, even claiming to be a "quick hack" in the Google Play description. "Sprayscape is a quick hack using the phone's gyroscope to take pictures on the inside of a 360-degree sphere. Just point your phone and tap the screen to spray faces, places, or anything else onto your canvas," reads the description. Google Sprayscape...

  • ISS: private modules to be allowed on space station

    The International Space Station (ISS) has been in service for well over a decade, serving as a key science and technology hub for space agencies and institutions. Now, the USA has announced that it will be allowing private companies to add their own modules "and other capabilities" to the orbital outpost. The announcement comes after NASA asked the private sector about possibly using an available docking port on the station. "One of the potential uses of such a port would be preparation for one or more future commercial stations in Low Earth Orbit, ready to take over for the Space Station once...

  • It’s fascinating to watch a YouTuber grow up online

    We've all seen those "dude takes a picture every day for five years" type of YouTube videos, but it's incredibly fascinating to watch the process happen to an actual YouTuber over the years. In fact, do yourself a favour and check out Remy Mumby's Food Oddities channel from beginning to end. The YouTuber started his channel in 2008 at the age of eight, filming himself eating quirky and sometimes disgusting snacks. This includes everything from armadillos and wasp cookies to Balut and guinea pig. Fast-forward eight years and, well, you have an unintentional growth chart in YouTube form. It really drives home the effect of the internet era on...

  • South Africa’s media landscape: what will 2020 hold?

    A new PwC report has laid out predictions for the South African media and entertainment landscape by 2020. Entertainment and media (E&M) companies saw double digit growth of 10.6% in the country in 2015, according to the 2016 Entertainment and Media Outlook report. However, it predicts a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% to 2020 -- still edging out the USA and Western Europe's growth levels. PwC cited two reasons for the slower rate of growth. "First, with mobile internet penetration in particular now being more mature -- at 44.8% in 2015, from just 14.6% in 2011 -- internet access revenue growth will slow. Second,...

  • Fighter pilots to soon have drone wingmen

    The USA's heavy use of drone strikes serves as more evidence of the technology's increased involvement in conflicts around the world. But unmanned aircraft are set to be more than just a standalone solution for "surgical" strikes. At least if the USA and Japan's new programmes are anything to go by. Both countries have announced drone wingmen to partner up with traditional manned aircraft. In other words, they're preparing for a future where manned and unmanned aircraft operate side-by-side. USA's more conventional approach The USA's Loyal Wingman Initiative is expected to see last-generation unmanned F16 fighters paired up with the latest F35 fighter jets. According...

  • We can beat SpaceX to Mars – Boeing

    SpaceX has made a few big Mars-related announcements, but at least one firm believes it can beat Elon Musk's company to the Red Planet. Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, told a conference (h/t: ScienceAlert) that he believes the first humans on Mars will get there using Boeing's spaceships. "I'm convinced that the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding on a Boeing rocket," Muilenburg was quoted as saying. Boeing thinks it can beat SpaceX to the Mars punch It wouldn't be the first time that the aerospace colossus got involved in space matters either, building key parts for the Saturn V rocket that...