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All The News You Missed Over The Weekend: Apple's iPhone 'Error 53' Is A Security Feature

Good morning! It’s a busy world out there. All The News You Missed Overnight gives you a guide to everything techy that happened while you were sleeping.

MOBILE Apple’s ‘Error 53’ Is A Security Feature, Not A Bug
Earlier today the Guardian reported on mounting “fury” over a mysterious “Error 53” appearing on iPhones repaired by unauthorised repair providers. The report includes a quote from an unnamed “specialist” journalist (whatever the hell that is) who claimed that Error 53 will “will kill your iPhone”.

But let’s roll that back a little, because Error 53 isn’t doing the bricking. It’s a symptom of the bricking, and that bricking is actually a security feature working as intended by Apple. The Touch ID sensor is uniquely tied to the iOS device so that a thief couldn’t do something like snag your phone, replace the sensor and then have access to all the credit cards you’ve linked to Apple Pay.

There’s A Robot Inside The Sydney Harbour Bridge
I’m sure our inevitable robot overlords will dish out sufficient payback 50 years from now, but today, it’s better to send in machines than humans when the work required is sufficiently dangerous. When it comes to maintaining the Sydney Harbour Bridge, NSW’s Roads and Maritime Services agrees and as such, have enlisted mechanical aid for the job, courtesy of the University of Technology Sydney.

As Nicole Chettle writes over at the ABC, right now the robot, developed with the UTS over half a decade, is being used to inspect the claustrophobic internals of the bridge. Normally this would be done by a person, but the confined space presents numerous safety issues.

Don’t Believe Facebook’s Claim That ‘Six Degrees Of Separation’ Is Bogus
Yesterday, a Facebook post revealed that each Facebook user is an average of only 3.57 connections away from all users on the site. That by itself is interesting, but instead, Facebook’s comparing it to the popular theory of six degrees of separation — presenting its user base and the general population as two groups that, hell, may as well be considered one in the same!

The post starts with a description of six degrees of separation: The notion that it takes just six social connections to link you with every human on Earth. But Facebook (which celebrates its twelfth birthday this week) disagrees: “We’ve crunched the Facebook friend graph and determined that the number is actually 3.57.” At least among the 1.59 billion people on Facebook.

Morocco Switches On First Phase Of The World’s Largest Solar Plant
This week, Morocco switched on the first section of its new Ouarzazate solar power plant. The new installation already creates 160 megawatts of power and is expected to grow to cover 6000 acres by 2018 — making it the largest in the world.

The first wave of power production is known as Noor 1. Situated in the Sahara Desert, its crescent-shaped solar mirrors follow the sun to soak up sunlight all day long. The mirrors, each of which is 12m tall, focus light onto a steel pipeline that carries a synthetic thermal oil solution. The oil in those pipes can reach 400C, and that’s what’s used to create electricity: The heat is used to create steam which drives turbines. The hot oil can be stored to create energy overnight, too.

An Asteroid Will Pass Earth So Closely Next Month That We’ll See It In The Sky
What would it look like? That mostly depends on the trajectory the asteroid takes, which NASA researchers are still trying to figure out. The most likely path has it at just over 1.6 million kilometres away.

But it could also follow a trajectory that spins it much further out so that, even with the aid of a telescope, it would be too far out of range to glimpse at 14.4 million kilometres away. But if conditions are just right, the asteroid could come within 17,700km, easily catchable with a telescope.

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