Light Start – RIP zombie dad, the new doctor, Amazon IM and Google mozzies

So long George A. Romero, and thanks for all the undead

Director George A. Romero, probably most famous for helming the iconic, 1968 zombie flick Night of the Living Dead, died on Sunday at age 77. Romero made plenty of other commendable movies, including The Crazies, Martin and Creepshow, but it’s Night of… for which he’ll be remembered. Well, that and anti-consumerist and downright delicious gory, Dawn of the Dead. With the eventual five zombie movies Romero would go on to make, he reinvigorated the undead genre, showed what was possible on an absolute shoestring budget, and managed to show how schlocky horror could also work as cutting social commentary. Romero’s influence can be felt in everything from World War Z and 28 Day Later, to recent horror hit, Get Out. And it’ll be felt for a long time to come.

Source: Wired

Amazon Anytime wants to take on WhatsApp

Online retailer Amazon is reportedly working on an instant messaging app called Anytime that’ll include voice and video calling, location sharing, username mentions, built-in games and, of course, that most important of modern conversation tools: GIFs. More importantly (but far less interestingly), Anytime also promises privacy and security, and the option to talk to businesses — something WhatsApp and its ilk have been keen to offer. Of course, it’ll almost certainly also let you buy things from Amazon, review the things you buy, and generally do other things that Amazon’s usually used for. Will we be able to watch shows on Amazon Prime in sync with friends? Here’s hoping. Will Amazon be able to convince us to download and use another messaging app? We’ll have to wait and see how strong the incentives are.

Source: The Verge

The new Doctor Who is a lady and we’re thrilled

One of the longest-running sci-fi shows on TV, Doctor Who, has announced that the next actor to take the lead role will be Jodie Whittaker of Broadchurch fame. As you can imagine, despite the narrative being so packed with improbable things (like, to take a simple example, time travel in a phone booth) that a female doctor really shouldn’t be an issue, there are plenty of the internet’s worst denizens with lots of horrid things to say and vitriol to spew… but as always, they’re best ignored. As one astute Twitter user put it, “Oh great a female Doctor Who. What next? Female real doctors? Female pilots? Female scientists? Female sisters and mothers? Female WOMEN?!” Well, quite. Head over to Mashable’s story for some of the better, more heart-warming responses.

Source: Mashable

Google’s released 20m mozzies to kill other mozzies

Verily, the healthcare-focused bit of Google, plans to release 20m sterile male mosquitos in California as part of its Debug Project. The project is aiming to target, and largely eradicate, the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, the blighter that can transmit really nasty diseases like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. The 20m sterile male mosquitoes are treated with Wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacterium. When the sterile males mate with wild females, the eggs that result from the union won’t hatch. Ta-da! Cue rapidly dwindlingly mozzie populations. “To measure our outcomes, we will compare the adult population density and egg hatching of Aedes aegypti in these targeted areas to two control neighbourhoods,” Verily says on its blog. “Over time, we hope to see a steep decline in the presence of Aedes aegypti in these communities.”

Source: The Register

Craig is Stuff magazine's editor. He's provides tech analysis and commentary for TV stations like eNCA, CNBC Africa and BusinessDay TV, and radio stations like 702, CapeTalk, PowerFM, MetroFM and Classic FM. You can contact him at craig@stuff.co.za

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