It’s been discovered that a character from the Indian language Telugu can cause iOS’s Springboard to crash when sent in a message. The Messages app will just crash over and over when you try to load the app back up, and so to get your Messages app working again you’ll have to wait until you get another message and then try to delete the bad thread.
The issue is present in iOS 11.2.5, but has been fixed in the iOS 11.3 beta release. The good news is that Apple won’t make us wait until iOS 11.3’s spring release for a fix, as it plans to push an update to correct the problem before the full iOS 11.3 update.
Another detail worth noting is that Apple’s Messages app isn’t the only one affected by this bug. Third-party apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp also have issues with the bug.
Interestingly, this is the second text-related bug that has caused iOS to crash that we’ve seen lately, with a bug called “chaiOS” affecting devices almost exactly one month ago. All of these bugs are certainly frustrating for iOS users, especially because Apple has been known for having solid software in the past. Recent rumors have said that Apple plans to focus more on ensuring the quality of iOS updates in 2018 rather than just cramming them full of new features, and given all of the recent bugs that’ve been found lately, we can only hope that that rumor is true.
Scientists have gained new insight into the way praying mantises see the world, and this knowledge could potentially open up new avenues for computer vision.
Unlike other insects, praying mantises have a pair of large, forward-facing eyes. Humans and other primates use this kind of stereo sight setup to compare two slightly different viewpoints in order to gauge depth. However, it seems that praying mantises see things differently than we do.
Using beeswax as an adhesive, a team led by Vivek Nityananda at the University of Newcastle affixed lenses to praying mantises’ faces, being careful not to cause injury. One lens was green and the other was blue, a setup that allowed the scientists to control what each eye could see.
The scientists then projected films onto a screen in front of the insects. The first film featured a moving dot, which the mantises attacked, demonstrating that they could perceive depth if an object moved. Then, the dot was manipulated to move in two different directions, a disparity that would prevent human eyes from comprehending the image, but the mantises still attacked it.
This suggests that mantises have a previously unknown type of vision. It relies on targets moving around, but those movements don’t necessarily have to match between one eye and the other. It’s based on motion over time, rather than a direct comparison.
Being insects, mantises have fewer than a million neurons, far fewer than the 85 billion possessed by humans. However, thanks to this unique form of vision they use, they can still see in three dimensions, just like we can.
The researchers noted in a press release that their discovery could lead to the development of an algorithm based on mantis vision. Small robots, such as those used to respond to disasters, could use this algorithm to assess their surroundings without the need for a sophisticated “brain.”
We have yet another iOS 11.2.5 jailbreak update. Adam Donenfeld has confirmed that Apple has patched his iOS 11.2.2 vulnerability in iOS 11.2.5, and that it’s possible that a jailbreak could be made out of it for devices which are on lower firmware than iOS 11.2.5 if exploited properly.
The ocean is crowded. As many as 10 million viruses can be found squirming in a single millilitre of its water, and it turns out they have friends we never even knew about.
Scientists have discovered a previously unknown family of viruses that dominate the ocean and can’t be detected by standard lab tests. Researchers suspect this viral multitude may already exist outside the water — maybe even inside us.
“We don’t think it’s ocean-specific at all,” says environmental microbiologist Martin Polz from MIT.
Polz and his MIT team, together with researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, analysed three months’ worth of ocean water samples collected off the Massachusetts coast.
What they found floating in the water isn’t just remarkable for what it possesses, but for what it doesn’t.
According to the researchers, the most abundant viruses on the entire planet are double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, of which the ‘tailed’ variety (Caudovirales) are the most well-known to science.
Their mysterious tail-less counterparts are far less understood, chiefly because their biological characteristics aren’t easily picked up by common tests.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be found. In their new study, the researchers were able to incubate tail-less viruses extracted from the waves lapping Massachusetts’ shores, and sequenced their DNA.
Of 200 viruses infecting a culture of Vibrionaceae(a family of common marine bacteria), 18 turned out to belong to a new family of small, non-tailed dsDNA viruses.
The team calls their discovery Autolykiviridae, after Autolykos (“the wolf itself”): a character from Greek mythology, who as a trickster and thief proved similarly tricky to catch.
But Autolykiviridae has been caught, and now that we know about it, the discovery is helping scientists to fill in a large missing link in virus evolution.
The tail-less viruses look to be representatives of an ancient viral lineage defined by specific types of capsids, the protein shell that encases viral DNA — which we knew commonly infects animals and single-celled organisms, but not bacteria.
The genomes of this new family are very short compared to tailed viruses, composed of about 10,000 bases, instead of the typical 40,000–50,000 for tailed viruses.
In addition, while most viruses prey on just one or two types of bacteria, the tail-less kind looks to be able to infect dozens of different types in a variety of species, suggesting it plays an outsized role in terms of regulating (or killing) bacterial life within the ocean.
And then some. In experiments with over 300 strains of Vibrionaceae, the Autolykiviridae punched well above their weight compared to tailed bacteriophages.
“They caused about 40 percent of the bacterial killing observed, despite comprising just 10 percent of the viruses that we isolated,” explains one of the team, microbiologist Libusha Kelly.
That ruthless efficiency might not be restricted to the deep blue sea.
With the genome in hand, the researchers searched DNA databases to see if evidence of similar, Autolykiviridae-like viruses had already been studied by scientists. Your stomach came up in the results.
“We’ve found related viral sequences in the [human] gut microbiome,” Kelly says, “but we don’t yet know how they influence microbial communities in the gut or how important they are for health.”
There’s a lot more research to be done to understand what the implications of these viruses are – in the ocean, and in ecosystems like the human body too – but it’s already clear the discovery of these elusive parasites is a big catch in itself.
“[This] opens new avenues for furthering our understanding of the roles of viruses in the ocean,” says marine biologist Jed Fuhrman from the University of Southern California, who was not involved in the research.
“In a practical sense, it also shows how we need to alter some commonly used methods in order to capture these kinds of viruses for various studies. I’d say it is an important advance in the field.”
What might be the oldest human remains found outside of Africa are an ancient chunk of upper jaw still sporting a handful of teeth. Discovered in a cave in Israel, the fossil places ancient humans in the Middle East more than 177,000 years ago — some 60,000 years earlier than we thought. That is, if the jaw really is human.
Researchers confirmed that the fossil was between 177,000 to 194,00 years old using three different dating methods. And what’s more — the shape of the fossil looked more human than Neanderthal. That means Homo sapiens might have already started migrating out of Africa more than 194,000 years ago, according to the article published today in the journal Science. Other anthropologists have expressed skepticism that the…