This Way Up for Saturday 10 February 2018

Bits+Bytes: iPhone battery refund? Could 'zombie pathogens' threaten humanity? and the drive towards hydrogen fuelled cars.

Bits+Bytes: iPhone battery refund?


Keyboard Photo: Photo by Anas Alshanti on Unsplash

This week, the latest in the Apple iPhone throttling saga: could it be about to offer refunds for repair costs to the millions of users affected by 'Batterygate'?

The casino operator Sky City bets big on the esports video gaming sector, and awkward revelations from court hearings involving ride-hailing company Uber which faces allegations it stole trade secrets from rival Waymo.

Emily Wang looks at the multi million dollar white hat hacker industry - where hackers make money from big tech companies who pay them to find exploits and weaknesses in their hardware and software. Google alone spent $3 million on bug bounty programs in 2017!

Plus your questions answered - this week how to set up Netflix on older TVs, and will a new undersea broadband cable mean cheaper and faster internet for New Zealand?

Could 'zombie pathogens' threaten humanity?

"Now there are some tantalizing hints that the Arctic is...filled with pathogens even more dangerous than anthrax. Across the permafrost - which covers an area twice the size of the U.S. - there are tens of thousands of bodies preserved in the frozen soil. Some of these people died of smallpox. And some died of the 1918 flu - a strain of influenza that swept the globe and killed more than 50 million people."- Michaeleen Doucleff of NPR

Could a killer virus dormant for centuries under the ice come back to life?

With climate change thawing the permafrost at the poles and revealing long-hidden animal carcasses and human remains, Michaeleen Doucleff of NPR has travelled to the ice to see if a 'zombie pathogen' like anthrax, smallpox or the Spanish flu could again emerge to threaten humanity.


The drive for hydrogen cars

"We want to design something people want, not just for eco guilt."- Hugo Spowers quoted in The Guardian

Hugo Spowers of Riversimple (Supplied)

Hugo Spowers of Riversimple (Supplied) Photo: Hugo Spowers of Riversimple (Supplied)

Will hydrogen-powered cars drive us into the future? 

Electric cars like Nissan's Leaf and the Tesla are grabbing all the headlines, but big car makers like Toyota and Hyundai are pumping billions into hydrogen-powered technology. Toyota, for instance, expects 30 percent of all vehicles to be hydrogen powered by 2050. 

It's fair to say that hydrogen has a bit of a post-Hindenburg image problem, and who knows where you'll be able to fill up, but it's not just the giants of the automotive industry who are backing the technology. 

A small hydrogen-fuelled car company called Riversimple calls itself the only independent hydrogen car startup in the world. It's about to start trials of its 2-seater car the Rasa in Wales.

We speak to its CEO Hugo Spowers, a former petrol head who's converted to hydrogen fuel cell technology.