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Jurassic World Evolution 2 review – the closest we’re going to get to a real Jurassic Park | Games

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Like its hulking, tourist-gulping attractions, Jurassic World Evolution 2 has both a silly name and DNA that has been stitched together from several different animals to create something improbably beautiful. A bridge between the spiritually bereft Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and the forthcoming Jurassic World: Dominion, this could so easily have been another cash-grab movie tie-in. Instead it’s a beautiful game predominantly about finding the wonder in the creatures you’re looking after (or chasing around in Jeeps). And where John Hammond failed, this is a park experience I can thoroughly endorse, even if people do get eaten with distressing regularity.

Thanks to the events of the most recent film, in which a plot device dressed as an eight-year-old girl causes dinosaurs to be released into the wild, there has never been a better time to open one’s own Jurassic Park. All of the busy work from the first film (finding a mosquito trapped in amber, sucking out its prehistoric meal of dino blood, and hoping like a kid with a new pack of trading cards that it’s not one you’ve already got) can be dispensed with. Instead we have the faintly Metal Gear Solid V experience of sneaking up on confused dinosaurs, hitting them with a tranquilliser dart and then watching a cargo chopper swoop down and snatch them up and away to begin a happier life in the paddock you’ve just built for them. Later you’ll recruit scientists, who can be sent on longer-range kidnappings to return rarer species.

With the help of series heroes Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Owen Grady (someone who certainly knows who Chris Pratt is), you must make sure the dinosaurs are happy, which you do by covering their paddocks in the right kind of shrubs, keeping their doctor’s appointments regular and not accidentally airdropping them into pens with things that want to eat them. The more (and more exotic) dinosaurs you collect, the more visitors will be drawn to marvel at the park’s exhibits, eat in the park’s restaurants, and then be eaten by the park’s exhibits.

Honestly, though, zooming in on the odd moment of violence and chaos misses the point of JWE2. If this game were a scene from the films, it would not be the soldiers getting picked off and torn apart by raptors in the long grass, nor the final battle with the Indominus Rex from Jurassic World. Rather, it would be Sam Neill’s Dr Alan Grant leaning his whole body against the heaving side of the sickly triceratops, while Laura Dern’s Dr Ellie Sattler examines its tongue and talks to a park ranger about its diet of potentially poisonous herbs. Dr Grant grins like a child, pressed up so close against such a wondrously recreated creature. That’s the feeling you get playing JWE2.

Selecting a dinosaur zooms the camera in from the top-down, god’s-eye-view to track it as it plods around its enclosure, grazing, drinking from a watering hole or occasionally battling a member of the pack for dominance. Each dinosaur comes with a multimillion year history including detailed accounts of what it ate and where it lived. Even though you’re sat in your living room, Frontier Developments’ magic is in transporting us – through lifelike animations, through snuffling grunts, through the soppy look in a stegosaurus’s eyes – to where we all wanted to be in 1993: standing in a real Jurassic Park, watching these impossibly majestic creatures.

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Iran reveals use of cryptocurrency to pay for imports • The Register

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Iran has announced it used cryptocurrency to pay for imports, raising the prospect that the nation is using digital assets to evade sanctions.

Trade minister Alireza Peyman Pak revealed the transaction with the tweet below, which translates as “This week, the first official import order was successfully placed with cryptocurrency worth ten million dollars. By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widespread in foreign trade with target countries.”

It is unclear what Peman Pak referred to with his mention of widespread use of crypto for foreign trade, and the identity of the foreign countries he mentioned is also obscure.

But the intent of the announcement appears clear: Iran will use cryptocurrency to settle cross-border trades.

That’s very significant because Iran is subject to extensive sanctions aimed at preventing its ability to acquire nuclear weapons and reduce its ability to sponsor terrorism. Sanctions prevent the sale of many commodities and technologies to Iran, and financial institutions aren’t allowed to deal with their Iranian counterparts, who are mostly shunned around the world.

As explained in this advisory [PDF] issued by the US Treasury, Iran has developed numerous practices to evade sanctions, including payment offsetting schemes that let it sell oil in contravention of sanctions. Proceeds of such sales are alleged to have been funnelled to terrorist groups.

While cryptocurrency’s anonymity has been largely disproved, trades in digital assets aren’t regulated so sanctions enforcement will be more complex if Iran and its trading partners use crypto instead of fiat currencies.

Which perhaps adds more weight to the argument that cryptocurrency has few proven uses beyond speculative trading, making the ransomware industry possible, and helping authoritarian states like Iran and North Korea to acquire materiel for weapons.

Peyman Pak’s mention of “widespread” cross-border crypto deals, facilitated by automated smart contracts, therefore represents a challenge to those who monitor and enforce sanctions – and something new to worry about for the rest of us. ®



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Edwards Lifesciences is hiring at its ‘key’ Shannon and Limerick facilities

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The medtech company is hiring for a variety of roles at both its Limerick and Shannon sites, the latter of which is being transformed into a specialised manufacturing facility.

Medical devices giant Edwards Lifesciences began renovations to convert its existing Shannon facility into a specialised manufacturing centre at the end of July.

The expansion will allow the company to produce components that are an integral part of its transcatheter heart valves. The conversion is part of Edwards Lifesciences’ expansion plan that will see it hire for hundreds of new roles in the coming years.

“The expanded capability at our Shannon facility demonstrates that our operations in Ireland are a key enabler for Edwards to continue helping patients across the globe,” said Andrew Walls, general manager for the company’s manufacturing facilities in Ireland.

According to Walls, hiring is currently underway at the company’s Shannon and Limerick facilities for a variety of functions such as assembly and inspection roles, manufacturing and quality engineering, supply chain, warehouse operations and project management.

Why Ireland?

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Edwards Lifesciences established its operations in Shannon in 2018 and announced 600 new jobs for the mid-west region. This number was then doubled a year later when it revealed increased investment in Limerick.

When the Limerick plant was officially opened in October 2021, the medtech company added another 250 roles onto the previously announced 600, promising 850 new jobs by 2025.

“As the company grows and serves even more patients around the world, Edwards conducted a thorough review of its global valve manufacturing network to ensure we have the right facilities and talent to address our future needs,” Walls told SiliconRepublic.com

“We consider multiple factors when determining where we decide to manufacture – for example, a location that will allow us to produce close to where products are utilised, a location that offers advantages for our supply chain, excellent local talent pool for an engaged workforce, an interest in education and good academic infrastructure, and other characteristics that will be good for business and, ultimately, good for patients.

“Both our Shannon and Limerick sites are key enablers for Edwards Lifesciences to continue helping patients across the globe.”

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Meta’s new AI chatbot can’t stop bashing Facebook | Meta

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If you’re worried that artificial intelligence is getting too smart, talking to Meta’s AI chatbot might make you feel better.

Launched on Friday, BlenderBot is a prototype of Meta’s conversational AI, which, according to Facebook’s parent company, can converse on nearly any topic. On the demo website, members of the public are invited to chat with the tool and share feedback with developers. The results thus far, writers at Buzzfeed and Vice have pointed out, have been rather interesting.

Asked about Mark Zuckerberg, the bot told BuzzFeed’s Max Woolf that “he is a good businessman, but his business practices are not always ethical. It is funny that he has all this money and still wears the same clothes!”

The bot has also made clear that it’s not a Facebook user, telling Vice’s Janus Rose that it had deleted its account after learning about the company’s privacy scandals. “Since deleting Facebook my life has been much better,” it said.

The bot repeats material it finds on the internet, and it’s very transparent about this: you can click on its responses to learn where it picked up whatever claims it is making (though it is not always specific).

This means that along with uncomfortable truths about its parent company, BlenderBot has been spouting predictable falsehoods. In conversation with Jeff Horwitz of the Wall Street Journal, it insisted Donald Trump was still president and would continue to be “even after his second term ends in 2024”. (It added another dig at Meta, saying Facebook “has a lot of fake news on it these days”.) Users have also recorded it making antisemitic claims.

BlenderBot’s remarks were foreseeable based on the behavior of older chatbots such as Microsoft’s Tay, which Twitter users quickly taught to be a racist conspiracy theorist, forcing the company to apologize for its “wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images”. GPT-3, another AI system, has also delivered racist, misogynist and homophobic remarks. A South Korean startup’s chatbot, designed to resemble a 20-year-old college student, had to be suspended after it rattled off racial slurs and anti-LGBTQ+ remarks.

Given the cesspool that is the internet, Meta appears to have expected similar things from its own service. Before logging on, users must acknowledge that BlenderBot is “likely to make untrue or offensive statements”. As Vice notes, Meta researchers have described the AI tech behind the bot as having “a high propensity to generate toxic language and reinforce harmful stereotypes, even when provided with a relatively innocuous prompt”.

“Everyone who uses Blender Bot is required to acknowledge they understand it’s for research and entertainment purposes only, that it can make untrue or offensive statements, and that they agree to not intentionally trigger the bot to make offensive statements,” said a Meta spokesperson in a statement.

My own conversation with BlenderBot did not veer into that territory, but it did highlight another flaw in the service: its utter inanity.

The bot began by asking me what subject I liked in school. The bot is open about which “persona” it is using in the conversation; our discussion involved a persona it described as “I like to read. I went to college.” When I asked it tough questions, such as which colleges accepted AI bot students, it offered nonsensical replies (“in some ways, aren’t we all chatbots?” No) and offered further reading by saying, “Here’s the link”, without providing a link. It also kept steering the conversation back to chatbots.

It did, however, maintain its firm stance against its own creators. When I said I wasn’t a fan of Facebook’s ethics, it wholeheartedly agreed: “Me too! That is why I stopped using it and just stick with reading books instead.”



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