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Tracking technology to reveal whether food produced legally and sustainably

OpenSC venture, which will track Patagonian toothfish, developed by WWF and BCG DigitalA new project that uses technology to track the movements of food through the supply chain will aim to inform consumers whether items such as fish they buy at a rest…

My Time at Portia review – crafting sim reaps slow but sweet rewards

PC; Pathea Games/Team 17
The daily routines of this beautifully designed crafting game are meditative, but the storyline can be laboured

As in Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, in My Time at Portia you arrive fresh-faced in a new town, set to take over the dilapidated business a relative has left to you. In this alternate life you’re a workshop owner, crafting items for the locals, taking on building projects for the town, gathering materials, dating the local population and, yes, engaging in some light farming – because it just wouldn’t be a bucolic fantasy without some crops and cutesy cows.

Portia is a beautiful world of exquisite colours and bold brush strokes. Your workshop sits in front of meadows filled with frolicking multicoloured llamas, as wheat sways in fields and the locals wander the gorgeously designed streets of the town. But Portia’s sweet idyll is tempered by the realisation that it’s actually post-apocalyptic: towering above are the decaying metal ruins of high-rise buildings. Exploring ruins of the old world uncovers relics and data disks that can either be given to the Church of Light, which believes that anything from the old world should be destroyed, or the Research Centre, which uses them to come up with new blueprints for you to build. This schism in the town is interesting, but after 20 hours of play, not much has been done with it; while the art is brimming with character, the writing doesn’t quite match up.

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YouTube bans dangerous pranks after Bird Box challenge

Platform acts after challenge leads to people walking through traffic and driving while blindfolded

YouTube has banned creators from depicting “dangerous challenges and pranks”, after a wave of incidents prompted by a viral challenge involving driving blindfolded pushed it to act.

The so-called Bird Box challenge, inspired by the Netflix film of the same name, saw YouTubers imitating scenes from the movie in which characters must perform common tasks while blindfolded. A culture of one-upmanship meant that rapidly progressed to online celebrities such as Jake Paul walking through traffic and driving their cars while unable to see, leading to a Utah teenager crashing her car into oncoming traffic repeating the stunt.

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Video games can turn university graduates into better employees | Matthew Barr

Video games improve communication, adaptibility and critical thinking – just the attributes that employers are looking for

In recent years, Boris Johnson has excelled at making ignorant pronouncements and illiterate blunders. From offensive remarks on burqas to reciting Kipling in Myanmar and his ludicrous statements on Brexit, Johnson has perfected the art of getting it wrong. It feels like he’s managed to offend just about everyone. For video game educators like myself, that moment arrived way back in 2006, when Johnson attacked video games as a learning tool.

“They [young people] become like blinking lizards, motionless, absorbed, only the twitching of their hands showing they are still conscious,” he wrote. “These machines teach them nothing. They stimulate no ratiocination, discovery or feat of memory – though some of them may cunningly pretend to be educational.”

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Amazon Echo Show (2nd gen) review: bigger and better smart display

The latest Alexa smart speaker with screen looks better, sounds great and has built-in smart hub

The new second generation Echo Show is bigger with a better display, but is size enough to keep Amazon ahead of stiff competition from Google?

Since the original Echo Show launched last year the software has been refined, but the experience is broadly the same. The Show is a voice-first Alexa speaker, with touch interactivity as an additional input rather than the core experience. If you never wanted to touch the screen beyond the initial set-up ,you wouldn’t have to.

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Why do we keep praising Silicon Valley for reinventing the wheel? | Amelia Tait

A student loan scheme is the latest example of how bubble economy marketing seems oblivious to the outside world

For a good period in the middle ages, Europeans totally forgot how to make concrete. The Roman recipe for the tough stuff – opus caementicium – was lost for roughly 600 years after the fall of the empire, and the modern formula we know and love wasn’t invented for another 300 years after that.

I’m telling you this because human progress isn’t linear. It’s fine to go backwards and forwards – to retread old ground and improve old ideas. Yet if someone approached Theo Paphitis with a cinder block tomorrow, he’d rightly tell them to get the hell out of the Dragons’ Den. So why do we keep falling over ourselves to praise Silicon Valley for reinventing concrete – or, if you prefer your analogies more straightforward, the wheel?

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‘Inbox infinity’: is ignoring all your emails the secret to a happy 2019?

Rather than try to deal with every single email to achieve ‘inbox zero’, some workers have taken to letting them pile up, unanswered. But there are downsides …

At the beginning of each year, many of us look at our overflowing inboxes with horror, then make a resolution: no longer will our email account be burdened with thousands of unread messages. Instead, it will become gloriously empty. You will leave work each day knowing that you have dealt with every single message.

Devotees of “inbox zero” say that having a clean email account is like having a clean conscience. No guilt about unanswered messages, no anxiety, no vague sense of impending doom.

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Video games want us to be enemies. But developers underestimate our humanity | Anna Spargo-Ryan

Not all gamers are secretly good. But as in the real world, there’s a groundswell of people who want to lift up others

At Christmas I was avoiding adult responsibility and leftovers by playing an online video game. Wandering in a post-apocalyptic wilderness, I happened upon a group of guys playing together. To my surprise, they didn’t kill me. They didn’t even steal my meagre possessions. Actually, I soon learned, they were a bunch of dads. Nice dads. They visited my base and instead of destroying it they started making it over: new walls, new lights, new stairs. It was like Queer Eye but for virtual wastelanders wearing golf outfits and wielding shotguns.

Related: What lies ahead for video games in 2019?

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