Tech Roundup: Pentaquarks, Reddit Turmoil & More

[A recurring feature on the latest in Science & Technology.]
  • Ghana suspends human trials of Ebola vaccine after complaints emerge that locals were being needlessly used as "guinea pigs"; six new cases of Ebola reported in Libera after a seven-week lull.
  • Recent outbreak of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus in South Korea leaves more than 30 people dead; WHO says situation easing.
  • CERN's Large Hadron Collider experiment confirms the existence of Pentaquark, a subatomic particle with four quarks and one anti-quark.
  • California passes a new law that prohibits penalties for residents failing to water their lawns as the state battles severe drought conditions for the fifth year.
  • Reddit in turmoil after co-founder Alexis Ohanian fires communications director Victoria Taylor over differences of opinion; CEO Ellen Pao and Chief Engineer Bethanye Blount quit.
  • Mozilla begins to block Flash by default in the wake of newly uncovered security vulnerabilities.
  • Google lands in hot soup after it gets caught surreptitiously bundling "OK Google" hotword detection extension in Chromium, the open-sourced version of Chrome web browser; removes it after accusations that it could be silently eavesdropping on Chromium users.
  • Facebook reportedly readying its own virtual assistant Moneypenny (yes, James Bond's PA!) built into its Messenger chat app that connects users to "real people" to help with "researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks," reports The Information (paywall).
  • Popular music streaming service Spotify urges its users to subscribe to it on the web instead of through Apple's App Store as it tries to circumvent Apple's 30% cut on all payments; US's Federal Trade Commission investigating if Apple's policies are anti-trust worthy and whether it's wielding its muscle to push record labels to stop licensing freemium tiers offered by Spotify and other music services, including YouTube.
  • Google says its driverless cars have now driven over 1 million miles; picks up Texas as its next venue for tests.
  • Apple's mobile payments service Apple Pay lands in the UK.
  • Microsoft rebrands Xbox Music streaming service as Groove.
  • Samsung has a Material Design theme for its Galaxy smartphones and it actually looks good.
  • Google scraps its new Material Design-themed bookmarks manager Stars on Chrome, reverts to older design.
  • Nokia confirms its plans to reenter mobile phone market though a brand-licensing model; the soonest that could happen is Q4 2016.