Google Home can now use Nest speakers to detect your presence

Google Home no longer needs to lean solely on smart home devices like thermostats to know whether or not you're around. Home's optional presence sensing feature can now use interactions with Nest speakers and smart displays to help detect activity in your abode, letting it perform automated actions. If you talk to your Nest Audio or tap your Nest Hub, for instance, Google may know to turn the lights on. Second-gen Nest Hubs can also use their Soli radar sensor to tell when you're close.

You can enable presence sensing in the Google Home app for Android and iOS by visiting the Features section in the settings. Detection is strictly opt-in, and Google stresses that ambient noise won't trigger presence cues. Cameras, doorbells and the Nest Hub Max won't switch devices between "home" and "away" modes.

Google Home presence sensing settings on Android
Google

The expansion makes presence detection considerably more useful. Until now, you needed a Nest Guard, Nest Protect, Nest Thermostat or Nest x Yale smart lock in tandem with your phone's location. While those are frequently good indicators, they don't always tell the full story — you might lock the door when someone is still at home. The use of speakers and displays could make Google's smart home automation more reliable, particularly in unusual scenarios.

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The FDA may have unintentionally made ‘Nyquil Chicken’ go viral on TikTok

If you’ve been anywhere near social media, local news, or late-night talk shows in the last few days, you’ve probably heard something about “Nyquil Chicken,” a supposedly viral TikTok “challenge” that’s exactly what it sounds like: cooking chicken in a marinade of cold medicine.

News about the supposed trend is usually accompanied by vomit-inducing photos of raw chicken simmering in dark green syrup. It’s both disgusting and, as the FDA recently reminded the public, just as toxic as it looks. But it turns out Nyquil Chicken was neither new, nor particularly viral, and the FDA’s bizarrely-timed warning may have backfired, making the meme more popular than ever.

First, a bit of history: As reporter Ryan Borderick points out in his newsletter Garbage Day, Nyquil Chicken originated as a joke on 4Chan in 2017. The meme briefly resurfaced in January where it got some traction on TikTok before once again fading away.

Then, last week, the FDA — inexplicably — issued a press release warning about the dangers of cooking chicken in Nyquil. In a notice titled “A Recipe for Danger: Social Media Challenges Involving Medicines,” the FDA refers to it as a “recent” trend. But they cite no recent examples, and it’s unclear why they opted to push out a warning more than eight months after the meme had first appeared on TikTok.

TikTok is blocking searches for the
Screenshot / TikTok

Now, in what we can only hope will be a valuable lesson on unintended consequences, we know that it was likely the FDA’s warning about Nyquil chicken that pushed this “challenge” to new levels of virality, at least on TikTok. TikTok has now confirmed that on September 14th, the day before the FDA notice, there were only five searches for “Nyquil chicken” in the app. But by September 21st, that number skyrocketed “by more than 1,400 times,” according to BuzzFeed News, which first reported the TikTok search data.

TikTok, which has recently taken steps to limit the spread of both dangerous “challenges” and “alarmist warnings” about hoaxes, is now blocking searches for “Nyquil Chicken.” Searches now direct users to resources encouraging users to “stop and take a moment to think” before pursuing a potentially dangerous “challenge.”

As both BuzzFeed and Gizmodo note, there’s little evidence that people are actually cooking chicken in Nyquil, much less actually ingesting it. That’s a good thing because, as the FDA makes very clear, doing so is not only extremely gross, but highly toxic. But the whole thing is yet another example of why we should all be more skeptical of panic-inducing viral “challenges.”

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NASA successfully completes vital Artemis 1 rocket fuel test

The next Artemis 1 launch attempt might take place as soon as next week, seeing as NASA has met all the objectives it set out to do to consider its rocket's fuel test a success. NASA had to test adding super-cooled fuel to the Space Launch System's tanks to confirm the repairs it made after it scrubbed the mission's second launch attempt in late August. The ground team at Kennedy Space Center spotted a persistent hydrogen leak affecting one of the fuel lines on the SLS at the time and tried to fix it the day of three times. In the end, the team was unsuccessful and decided to postpone the mission.

The team determined a few days later that the leak was triggered when the SLS rocket's core booster tank went through a brief overpressurization. To prevent the same incident from happening, the team adjusted procedures for filling the rocket's tank with propellants, and it involves transitioning temperatures and pressures more slowly to prevent rapid changes that could cause leakage. The team's engineers also replaced the rocket's liquid hydrogen seals after discovering a small indentation in one of them that may have contributed to the leak. 

While the engineers encountered another hydrogen leak during the fuel test, their troubleshooting efforts worked this time around and got the leak to "within allowable rates." That allowed them to conduct the pre-pressurization test, which brought up the liquid hydrogen tank's pressure level to match what it would experience just before an actual launch. 

Artemis 1 launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said the test went "really well" and that the team was able to accomplish all the objectives it set out to do. NASA will now evaluate data from the test before deciding if it can schedule another launch for the mission on its target date of September 27th.

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