Scientists and Silicon Valley want to prove psychoactive drugs are healthy

UK scientist is advocating for research to show psychoactive drug use is a matter of sound public health policy – and Silicon Valley startups see an opportunity

Finding safe, new uses for psychoactive drugs, well-known chemical compounds that can alter the mind, is a fashionable occupation for a niche group of tech enthusiasts called biohackers. Biohackers are hobbyists that typically experiment with psychoactive drugs, among other life-enhancing tools, outside of institutional laboratories. But one academic scientist is trying to convince the UK government and the scientific community that psychoactive drug use is a matter of sound public health policy.

While the US Federal Trade Commission is in the midst of penalizing businesses for using inadequate scientific evidence to claim that their products improve cognitive abilities, Samuele Marcora, the director of research at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kent, is initiating academic research that could bolster these products’ reputations.

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Telegram: the instant messaging app freeing up Iranians’ conversations

As elections loom, one social media platform appears to have escaped the hardliners’ curbs and filters

As Iran gears up for parliamentary elections at the end of the month, an instant messaging app believed to be used by one in four Iranians is set to play a major role.

Telegram allows users to broadcast to unlimited numbers of people on public channels, with a strong emphasis on privacy protection for its users. It made headlines when it emerged that members of Islamic State were using it to broadcast propaganda. In Iran, however, which has a tech-savvy young population, it is mostly downloaded for reading news, communicating with friends or sharing jokes.

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India deals blow to Facebook’s Free Basics in ‘net neutrality’ row

Indian regulator outlaws differential pricing for data packages, blocking Facebook service that offered a restricted internet free to some mobile users

India’s telecom regulator has blocked Facebook’s controversial Free Basics internet service by ruling in favour of “net neutrality” by outlawing differential pricing for data packages.

Facebook has met a backlash in India from net neutrality advocates, who say that because the Free Basics mobile service only allows access to selected websites it violates the principle that the entire internet should be available to everyone on equal terms.

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Firewatch review – a small game with a big story

Set amid the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park, this enigmatic adventure offers a compelling meditation on love, loss and loneliness

Firewatch is a game about solitude and space, a first-person journey through the massive wilderness of America’s Yellowstone National Park. It’s a space of such magnitude that it almost unavoidably conjures mysteries and conspiracies of corresponding size. But at the close, we are drawn back down to the essential and human.

You are Henry.

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Uninstalling Facebook app saves up to 15% of iPhone battery life

Testing reveals Facebook iOS app drains battery life, even when it isn’t being used, and that using Safari instead will make an iPhone last longer

Facebook is one of the most downloaded apps on iOS and but it has long been cited as a cause of fast-draining iPhone batteries. Last year it was accused of using background tricks to stay active even when it wasn’t being used. Facebook admitted bugs existed, and fixed them, but questions of the app’s impact on battery life remained.

Similar concerns about Facebook’s Android app led to the discovery that deleting the app saves up to 20% of a phone’s battery. After that revelation, I set about seeing if the same was true for iPhone users. I discovered that uninstalling Facebook’s iOS app and switching to Safari can save up to 15% of iPhone battery life.

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Samsung SmartThings Hub review: an Internet of Things to rule them all?

Hoping to be the one-stop-shop for open IoT control, it joins up various new and existing connected devices in a user-friendly and powerful system

The Internet of Things – where seemingly ordinary devices connect to each other and the internet to make them more than the sum of their parts (think fridges that know when you’re out of milk and then order more for you) – is still more a concept than a reality for many.

That is steadily changing as more and more devices arrive on the market but, like the spokes on a bicycle wheel need a hub to connect them, those devices need to be linked up to be useful. Samsung’s SmartThings hub hopes to be that central pin that connects them all.

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Bitcoin Group delays public listing on Australian Stock Exchange

Digital currency ‘miner’ has another setback, telling investors ASX has requested additional information

The Bitcoin Group has delayed its public listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in order to provide further information about the currency to the exchange.

The company has been seeking to become the second listed bitcoin entity in Australia. But the crypto currency operators have faced a series of setbacks and have now reportedly had six delays to the listing.

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Pope Francis to be greeted by 19km of mobile phone lights on Mexico City visit

Organisers want people to line road from the airport to the centre of the capital, holding phones aloft creating a ‘wall of light and prayer’

Worshipers will line the roadside holding up their mobile telephones to light the way for Pope Francis when he arrives on his visit to Mexico next week.

Related: Indigenous struggle in Chiapas will come ‘out in the open’ for Pope Francis’s visit

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