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Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima's exclusion zone

Human resettlement after 2011's nuclear disaster facing opposition from indestructible, betusked interlopers


Scientists have uncovered a new threat to humanity emerging in the area surrounding the former Fukushima nuclear power plant: indestructible radioactive hybrid terror pigs.

The details emerged from studies of how radiation from the partial nuclear meltdown at the plant in 2011 had affected local wildlife, which has in many cases "rewilded" urban areas vacated years ago by populations forced to move out by the threat of radiation following the disaster.

This is a familiar process following large-scale human evacuations and similar rewilding situations occurred in the area surrounding the site of the Chernobyl incident in 1986, despite the efforts of the Soviet authorities to control the animal population.

The NBC-suited boffins working on the project were expecting to find wild boar in the affected zone since they have been reported in former urban areas for some years, having come down from the surrounding mountains to reclaim the towns and cities of the area as their own realm almost as soon as the humans vacated them.

However, the scientists were not prepared for the true prospect that awaited them, as related in a report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal.

The local wild boar – a subspecies endemic to the region known as the Japanese Boar (aka Sus scrofa leucomystax or the White-Moustached Pig) – having created a fiefdom covering all of the locale vacated by over 160,000 displaced humans, became cocky and aggressive, and also lost their natural wariness.

The marauding boar also began interbreeding with escaped domestic pigs that had made good with their trotters from local farms after their human keepers had been forced to flee. The pigs, for their part, were ill-suited to life in the wild in a radioactive, post-apocalyptic hellscape and presumably threw in their lot with the tough, wily boar as their best chance of survival.

The result was a new kind of boar-pig hybrid that originated in the initial exclusion zone within 20km of the site of the nuclear plant, where radiation levels were presumably highest. The study found that the hybrids did not display any signs of mutation, despite the doses of radiation they were subjected to. Indeed, surveys of the local boar population found they are contaminated by up to 300 times the safe human dosage of the lethal isotope caesium-137 [PDF]. In other words, they are highly radioactive and seemingly virtually indestructible.

These hybrids now comprise up to 10 per cent of the local population, evidently combining the wild-smarts of their boar ancestors with an enjoyment of the finer things which human civilisation can bring, inherited from their domesticated forebears.

This is presumably why humans attempting to reclaim their former settlements in the area around the Fukushima plant for eventual reopening have found it difficult to dislodge the porcine interlopers from their recently taken strongholds. The Fukushima exclusion zones have been gradually lifted in stages since the incident to allow former residents to return.

In some cases the aggressive porkers have refused to give ground and have attacked returning humans, meaning human authorities have been forced to deploy armed assassination teams of hunters to flush them out.

The future of the Fukushima terror pigs is hard to predict. If they had the intelligence to team up and combine into one unstoppable force, an indestructible boar army of that nature would surely be able to overrun the rest of the Japanese archipelago and, The Reg fears, possibly the whole world.

Unfortunately for the boar, although they naturally live in matriarchal groups called sounders, their natural aggression and territorial nature mean that it would be very much out of character for the Fukushima boar to combine into one huge, terrifying unit, whether for the purposes of destroying human civilisation or any other reason.

The ecology boffins who studied them suggest that while the hybridisation of the two species appears to have had no ill effects on the resulting animals, the pig genes in their make-up will eventually spread and dilute as the hybrid animals move further from their ground-zero birthplace, until eventually "the introgressed genes will eventually disappear in this area."

The superior firepower and coordination of their human usurpers mean the boar will hopefully be forced back into the mountains, where their desire for the trappings of human culture will gradually dissipate and the memory of their time as unquestioned warlord rulers of the region will slowly fade.

Generations of boar to come will look down on human settlements from their mountain redoubts and feel a pang of regret and recognition for their missed opportunity to conquer the world.

The boar war has been avoided, but at what cost to the boar? ®

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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou admits lying about Iran deal, gets to go home

US puts charges on ice, extradition attempt halted

Updated Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou has reached a deal with the US Justice Department to drop the fraud and conspiracy charges against her in exchange for admitting that she made false statements about her company's business dealings with Iran.

The deferred prosecution agreement will end Uncle Sam's attempt to extradite Meng to the United States. It will allow her to depart Canada, where she has been detained since 2018, and return to China, easing a major source of diplomatic tension between Canada, China, and the US.

After Canadian authorities arrested Meng at the Vancouver airport in December, 2018, on behalf of the Americans, the US Justice Department indicted her and her manufacturing giant for violating US sanctions on Iran by misrepresenting Huawei's relationship with Hong Kong-based Skycom, which operated in Iran.

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Bitcoin fell by 5.5 per cent, Ethererum by 7.4 per cent, and Dogecoin by 14.9 per cent, for instance, after this latest announcement and have since rebounded somewhat.

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Yugabyte is sort of a double-decker database. It is inspired by Google Spanner underneath and compatible with PostgreSQL on top. As Yugabyte founder and CTO Karthik Ranganathan, a former Facebook technical lead, explained to The Register earlier this year:

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Uncovering new materials is challenging. Scientists have to search for combinations of molecules that lead to useful compounds that can be manufactured.

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Researchers led by Professor John Rogers of the US's Northwestern University designed printed circuits able to manifest rotational behaviours, as seen in helicopter and spinner seeds, that enhance the stability and flying behaviour.

In a paper published in Nature this week, they argue that simple electronics can be integrated into the designs, with one example containing a circuit to detect airborne particles.

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Microsoft has followed up a lacklustre Surface hardware event with a Windows 11 Release Preview for Windows Insiders.

Assuming, of course, those Insiders are possessed of an "eligible PC" – for Microsoft does not appear to be backing down on its vendor-delighting and customer-frustrating hardware requirements for the new operating system.

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Fukushima studies show wildlife is doing nicely without humans, thank you very much

Biodiversity increasing, endangered species gradually returning despite radioactive terror pig presence

Studies of biodiversity around the former Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan have shown that a decade after the nuclear incident there in March 2011, the local wildlife, at least, is mostly thriving.

The incident at the Fukushima Daiichi site – in which three of the site's six reactors suffered meltdowns due to damage from an earthquake-induced tsunami – was one of only two events in history to be rated at level 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (the other being Chernobyl).

This scale is not related to the quantity of radioactive material released (although that was considerable), but by the number of people affected by the event. Following the incident, 154,000 people were evacuated from the area surrounding the plant due to the risk of radioactive contamination, a number second only to the 335,000 evacuated from the environs of the Chernobyl plant in 1986.

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Comment Hewlett Packard Enterprise has posted a "UK Public Sector Manifesto" with nine themes, alongside a campaign hyping the value of hybrid cloud.

The bugbear for HPE is that UK government introduced a "cloud first" policy in 2013.

The current version was revised in 2017 but it mandates that central government, when buying new IT services, must consider a cloud solution – and specifically a public cloud, rather than "a community, hybrid or private deployment model" – before any other option.

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Giant Pay – an umbrella company used by contractors across the UK – has confirmed "suspicious activity" on its platform is behind a days-long ongoing outage that has left folk fretting about whether they'll get paid this month.

In an update on its website today, the firm said: "Upon detection of suspicious activity on our network on 22nd September 2021, we immediately assembled a response team including IT data experts and specialist lawyers, and we are currently working with the highest priority to resolve this issue.

"As part of the investigation and as a measure of caution, we have proactively taken our systems offline and suspended all services temporarily." It also confirmed it had contacted regulatory authorities and assured contractors they would get paid.

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Parking is expensive. It can cost an arm, a leg, and a Windows licence

Activate Windows and put up a parking lot

Bork!Bork!Bork! Sometimes only the freshest of borks will do, and sometimes the best laid plans of administrators can go awry.

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