Friday briefing: Heathrow drone protest planners arrested

Extinction Rebellion / Richard Newstead

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Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) who were planning on using drones to disrupt Heathrow air traffic to protest a third runway have been arrested (The Guardian). Members of the climate protest group frequently put themselves in a position to get arrested to draw attention to their cause – the existential threat posed by climate change. The XR-affiliated Heathrow Pause said that it would continue its plans for protest action today.

The world’s governments have failed to meet the goals of the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests (BBC News). UN Climate Summit signatories to the declaration pledged to halve deforestation by 2020, with the goal of stopping it entirely by 2030.

Instead, a report by assessment coordinator Climate Focus says, global deforestation is accelerating, producing annual carbon emissions equivalent to the entire EU. Most worryingly, 90 per cent of that deforestation affects tropical forests, which are most effective at sequestering carbon.

This year’s Ig Nobel Prizes have been handed out, with awards going into an investigation into the scrotal temperature of clothed and naked French postmen – whose left scrotums are hotter than their right – and the use of animal-style clicker training to improve precision in orthopaedic surgeons (Ars Technica).

Dedicated to scientific discoveries that are amusing as well as thought-provoking, the prize also recognised “evidence that pizza might protect against illness and death, if the pizza is made and eaten in Italy” and research into the bacterial transmission properties of various banknotes – you might want to avoid handling polymer-based currencies.

Apple has announced its iPhones for the 2019/2020 season: the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max (WIRED). As ever, Apple detailed fistfuls of improvements and new features present in these new phones. But we are going to break it down and highlight only the parts that really matter if you are considering an upgrade from an iPhone XS, something older, or even an Android.

Nintendo is taking gamified fitness to the next level with its forthcoming Ring-Con controller and Ring Fit Adventure, a turn-based RPG where your movement across the land and in battle requires you to put in physical exercise (Ars Technica). Nintendo has a strong track record in fitness games, with the Wii Fit still in use for medical rehabilitation, and Ring Fit Adventure will also have a mini-game mode for those who don’t want the full RPG experience. The game and controller be out on the Switch on October 18 for $80.

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