Interesting Tech

collection of interesting topics on tech

Species going extinct 1,000 times faster than in pre-human times, study finds

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

(Phys.org) —University of Georgia ecologists John Gittleman and Patrick Stephens are contributors to a major new study that finds that species are going extinct today 1,000 times faster than during pre-human times—a rate an order of magnitude higher than the previous estimate.

Read more here

Connected computing offers a new life for blind people, and job opportunities too

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

There are many examples of individuals with different disabilities who excel and accomplish much in their lifetime, rendering physical or mental attributes meaningless – consider Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder and Helen Keller, among many others.

Read more here

New studies find significant declines in price of rooftop and utility-scale solar

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

The price of solar energy in the United States continues to fall substantially, according to the latest editions of two annual reports produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

Read more here

Seeding plant diversity for future generations

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

(Phys.org) —The Millennium Seed Bank dries, freezes, stores and maintains seeds for future generations to enjoy and use. It aims to save seeds from all the wild plant species of the world and so far, since its founding in 2000, it has banked 14% of them. Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which manages the Millennium Seed Bank, have shown how by using advanced mathematics they can boost the overall diversity of the seed bank by targeting a ‘hit list’ of particular species. Their paper also includes maps showing where the species are located so they can be efficiently gathered. The findings are published in the journal Conservation Biology.

Read more here

Finding supports model on cause of DNA’s right-handed double helix

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

The DNA of every organism on Earth is a right-handed double helix, but why that would be has puzzled scientists since not long after Francis Crick and James Watson announced the discovery of DNA’s double-helical structure in 1953.

Read more here

Apple iPhone lacks ‘key’ licence in China

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

Apple’s iPhone 6 still lacks a key network access licence in China, state media confirmed Thursday on the eve of its global launch, breaking official silence on why sales of the smartphone will be delayed.

Read more here

Sweeping security law would have computer users surrender privacy

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

Parliament is about to consider a range of changes to Australia’s security laws introduced by the Abbott government during its last sitting. The most controversial measures in the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (Cth) include stronger anti-whistleblower provisions and a "special intelligence operations" regime that would grant ASIO officers immunity from civil and criminal liability.

Read more here

Research team aims to improve plant-based battery with neutrons, simulation

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

(Phys.org) —When Orlando Rios first started analyzing samples of carbon fibers made from a woody plant polymer known as lignin, he noticed something unusual. The material’s microstructure—a mixture of perfectly spherical nanoscale crystallites distributed within a fibrous matrix—looked almost too good to be true.

Read more here

Users frustrated by Apple iOS update

Written By: admin - Sep• 19•14

Apple iPhone and iPad users take to social media to express their frustration over installing the company’s latest software update.

Read more here

Yes, physically disciplining kids is an act of violence

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Children endure many forms of violence, from slapping and pushing, to fatal assaults; almost one in five of the world’s homicide victims in 2012 were under 20.

Read more here

Spacesuits of the future may resemble a streamlined second skin

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: Instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, an astronaut may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, musclelike coils. She would then plug in to a spacecraft’s power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around her body.

Read more here

Japan, neighbors agree to moves to protect eels

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

(Japan has agreed to cut purchases of eel fry from neighboring East Asian countries by 20 percent as part of moves to protect the endangered species.

Read more here

Glacial lake is green with wonder in winning photo

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

An otherworldly photograph of a lagoon reflecting the swirls of the aurora has taken the top prize in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition

Read more here

Ericsson to stop making modems, shed hundreds of jobs

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Swedish telecom equipment company Ericsson said on Thursday that it would stop developing modems, a decision affecting almost 1,600 employees worldwide which is expected to lead to hundreds of job cuts.

Read more here

The causes of China’s record level fine particulate pollution in winter 2013

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

At the beginning of 2013 a greyish-brown blanket of smog lay over large areas of China for several months. The fine particle pollution was higher by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude than the levels normally measured in Western Europe and the United States. An international team of researchers under the lead of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of the Sciences revealed the causes of the "airpocalypse". The study published in the journal Nature also describes what steps are to be taken to prevent an environmental crisis of this kind in the future.

Read more here

Plant engineered for more efficient photosynthesis

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

(Phys.org) —A genetically engineered tobacco plant, developed with two genes from blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), holds promise for improving the yields of many food crops.

Read more here

Russia’s biggest social network VKontakte gets new CEO

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Russia’s biggest social network VKontakte appointed a new chief executive on Thursday after the removal of its maverick founder Pavel Durov earlier this year.

Read more here

How stress tears us apart

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Chronic stress can lead to behavioral problems. A team from the Brain Mind Institute has discovered an important synaptic mechanism: the activation of a cleaving enzyme, leading to these problems.

Read more here

Scientists pioneer microscopy technique that yields fresh data on muscular dystrophy

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

New microscopy technique yields resolution an order of magnitude better than previously possible.

Read more here

Amazon unveils new Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Amazon.com on Wednesday expanded its array of tablets and Kindle e-readers, capping its line-up with a new flagship Fire HDX model boasting ‘stunning’ display and Dolby Atmos sound.

Read more here

With IPO, Alibaba looks to unlock new markets

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Alibaba’s record-setting stock offering due this week gives the Chinese online group a huge war chest that can help its global expansion.

Read more here

Germany’s Bayer says will float chemicals division

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, maker of Aspirin painkiller, said on Thursday it intends to float its chemicals Material Science division to focus on its life sciences activities in human and animal health.

Read more here

Scientists monitoring Hawaii lava undertake risks

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

New photos from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory give a glimpse into the hazardous work scientists undertake to monitor lava that’s threatening to cross a major highway.

Read more here

Upgrade to iOS 8 now or wait?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Apple’s iOS 8 software update for iPhones and iPads is worth getting—but not necessarily right away.

Read more here

Review: Devices, apps act like one under iOS 8

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The scores of new features in Apple’s software update for mobile devices can be boiled down to one word: unity.

Read more here

Murder ‘comes naturally’ to chimps

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A major international study finds that killings among chimpanzees result from normal competition, not human interference.

Read more here

VIDEO: Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Twinkling stars and swirling gases – winning visions of the night sky

Read more here

Bits Blog: Apple Says iOS 8 Update Keeps Data Private, Even From the Police

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The company says its new policy makes it technically impossible for it to comply with government warrants asking for customer information.

Read more here

Bits Blog: Apple Says iOS 8 Update Keeps Data Private, Even From the Police

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The company says its new policy makes it technically impossible for it to comply with government warrants asking for customer information.

Read more here

Busy Days Precede a March Focusing on Climate Change

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The People’s Climate March will run through Midtown Manhattan on Sunday, and organizers hope to attract thousands of participants from across the world to New York City for the event.

Read more here

World Briefing: Slovenia: Japan Seeks to Resume Whale Hunting

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Japan sought international backing on Wednesday for its plan to resume whale hunting in the Antarctic next year, despite a ruling against it by the top United Nations court.

Read more here

Well: Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

New research in mice suggests artificial sweeteners may disrupt the ability to regulate blood sugar, causing changes in metabolism that can be a precursor to diabetes.

Read more here

U.N. Leader Plans Stronger Presence in Ebola Zone

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The move by the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, signaled his concern with the response so far and the limitations of the World Health Organization’s ability to handle it alone.

Read more here

Elizabeth Whelan, Who Challenged Food Laws, Dies at 70

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Ms. Whelan was an epidemiologist who started a national organization to question conventional wisdom on food, chemicals and the environment.

Read more here

Bits Blog: Amazon Refreshes Its Kindle Line

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The updated tablets aim at a variety of audiences: from adults who want to work on their tablets to children.

Read more here

What will Alibaba do with $25bn?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

What will Alibaba do with $25bn?

Read more here

Bits Blog: F.T.C. Fines Yelp and TinyCo for Violating Children’s Privacy Rules

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The commission found that the companies violated a privacy act known as Coppa in part because they didn’t obtain parental consent before collecting information from children under 13.

Read more here

Report Cites Forced Labor in Malaysia’s Electronics Industry

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

About a third of the 200,000 migrant workers in Malaysia’s thriving electronics industry are employed in forced labor conditions, according to Verité, a factory monitoring group.

Read more here

Bits Blog: IBM Offers Workers Training and Pay Cuts

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

IBM is cutting the pay of some of its services workers by 10 percent while they are being trained in cloud, mobile and big data computing.

Read more here

Rainbow galaxies reveal why cosmos is full of spirals

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Psychedelic pictures of 30 galactic collisions show for the first time that merging galaxies often spawn disc-shaped offspring like our Milky Way

Read more here

App Smart: Let the Phone Be Your Political Adviser

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Mobile apps offer news and opinion on politicians and issues, and even information straight from Congress and the White House.

Read more here

State of the Art: Finding Virtue in a Phablet

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Clunky though the term may be, a phablet — part phone, part tablet — is a device that offers welcome versatility.

Read more here

Lasers slim down on stopped-light diet

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A new kind of laser that powers up by freezing light in its tracks could lead to computers that run on photons instead of electrons

Read more here

Bits Blog: Y Combinator, a Start-Up Incubator, Goes to College

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The popular early stage venture funding outfit plans to teach its own college-level class at Stanford University on becoming a successful start-up.

Read more here

IBM’s Watson rolled out to business

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

IBM’s supercomputer Watson is being made available to businesses to answer tricky questions.

Read more here

eBay attack puts its buyers at risk

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A sophisticated attack on eBay compromises at least two listings so that users who click on them are redirected to a fake page that attempts to steal their credentials.

Read more here

Sony predicts increased losses

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony says its annual loss may be more than four times bigger than initially forecast, due to its struggling mobile business.

Read more here

Boeing and SpaceX bag NASA’s $6.8bn space taxi prize

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

NASA has announced that two private companies, Boeing and SpaceX, will start launching astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017

Read more here

Apple toughens iCloud security

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Apple has extended the use of two-step verification checks to iCloud back-ups, preventing the use of a tool to download iPhone and iPad back-ups.

Read more here

Drivers warned about smartwatch use

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Drivers have been warned against the potential dangers of using a smartwatch while driving.

Read more here

Who has won the social referendum?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

As Scotland prepares to vote on independence, who is winning the social media battle?

Read more here

Chin strap turns chewing into power

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Engineers build a chin strap that harnesses the energy produced by jaw movements, and could one day power hearing aids or bluetooth earpieces.

Read more here

VIDEO: Lasers deliver brighter 3D films

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A new laser-based system offers crisper, clearer movies

Read more here

Nasa picks astronaut ship designs

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The US space agency picks the companies it hopes can take the country’s astronauts back into space – a capability lost when the shuttles retired in 2011.

Read more here

Giant sensor for Panasonic phone

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Panasonic unveils a hybrid smartphone-camera, at the Photokina trade show in Cologne.

Read more here

Judge overturns Uber ban in Germany

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A German judge has overturned a temporary injunction which banned Uber from operating one of its services in the country.

Read more here

Nigerian bank robbery nets millions

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Nigerian police in Abuja are seeking an IT worker alleging he helped to steal £25m from the bank where he worked.

Read more here

Failing students saved by stress-detecting app

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Smartphone sensors can record students’ stress, depression and loneliness, and compare them to academic performance

Read more here

Debate on internet fast lanes ends

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The Federal Communications Commission must decide whether to offer internet fast lanes as it receives a record number of comments.

Read more here

What makes a global top 10 university?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is in first place in the latest league table of the world’s best universities.

Read more here

Africa’s first education tablet

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

How Africa’s first education tablet computer was created

Read more here

Build your Martian dream home

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Is this how the cities of Mars will be built?

Read more here

Tech firms want ‘digital ministers’

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

An influential group of major technology firms is calling on the UK to appoint "digital ministers" in every government department.

Read more here

Seven amazing Minecraft creations

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Seven of the most eye-popping Minecraft creations

Read more here

Apple releases U2 album removal tool

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Apple releases a tool to remove U2′s new album from its customers’ iTunes accounts in response to complaints six days after giving away the music for free.

Read more here

Minecraft and Microsoft: What now?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Microsoft now needs to woo Minecraft gamers

Read more here

Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5bn

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Mojang, the Swedish firm behind the popular video game Minecraft, is bought by Microsoft for $2.5bn (£1.5bn).

Read more here

Canon printer hacked to run Doom

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A wireless Canon Pixma printer has been hacked by a security researcher to run classic video game Doom.

Read more here

First Android One smartphones launch

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The first Android One handsets go on sale in India, offering “high quality” features and downloads at a relatively low price.

Read more here

Bits Blog: Amazon Refreshes Its Kindle Line

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The updated tablets aim at a variety of audiences: from adults who want to work on their tablets to children.

Read more here

F.D.A. Panel Backs Limits on Testosterone Drugs

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

New rules could reduce the number of men who would be prescribed the medicines, as well as coverage from insurance companies for their use.

Read more here

‘Office life’ of bacteria may be their weak spot

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Scientists at the University of Leeds think we may be able to drown deadly bacteria in their own paperwork.

Read more here

Facebook dressed down over ‘real names’ policy

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as Lil Ms. Hot Mess and Sister Roma.

Read more here

‘NBA 2K15′ drafts 3D face mapping for latest game

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

"NBA 2K15" is angling for a slam dunk with an innovative new feature that allows players to put their game faces on.

Read more here

Violence rates can be halved in just 30 years, say leading experts

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

New evidence will be presented at the first Global Violence Reduction Conference in Cambridge this week which shows that homicide rates have been declining since the mid-1990s in many parts of the world – in some cases dramatically.

Read more here

Far more displaced by disasters than conflict

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Disasters last year displaced three times more people than violent conflicts, showing the urgent need to improve resilience for vulnerable people when fighting climate change, according to a study issued Wednesday.

Read more here

World will ‘change course’ on climate at UN summit

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A UN summit on climate change will see the world "change course" and begin to seriously tackle global warming, UN climate envoy Mary Robinson said Wednesday.

Read more here

What will Alibaba do with $25bn?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

What will Alibaba do with $25bn?

Read more here

Apple iOS 8 software bug affects health apps

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

A bug in Apple’s new iOS 8 software for mobile devices is prompting the company to withhold apps that use a highly touted feature for keeping track of fitness and health data.

Read more here

Transparent larvae hide opaque eyes behind reflections

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Becoming invisible is probably the ultimate form of camouflage: you don’t just blend in, the background shows through you. And this strategy is not as uncommon as you might think. Kathryn Feller, from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA, explains that the larval life stages of many marine species are transparent. However, there is one part of the anatomy that most creatures cannot make transparent. Feller explains that the animals with compound eyes have to shield each individual eye unit with an opaque pigment to prevent light leaking between adjacent eye structures. This could blow the larvae’s cover and poses the question, how do larvae disguise their conspicuous eyes?

Read more here

Lunar explorers will walk at higher speeds than thought

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Anyone who has seen the movies of Neil Armstrong’s first bounding steps on the moon couldn’t fail to be intrigued by his unusual walking style. But, contrary to popular belief, the astronaut’s peculiar walk was not the result of low gravity. Wyle Science, Engineering and Technology scientist John De Witt explains that the early space suits were not designed for walking, so the astronauts adapted their movements to the restrictions of the suit.

Read more here

F.D.A. Panel Recommends Restrictions on Testosterone Drugs

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

New rules could reduce the number of men who would be prescribed the medicines, as well as coverage from insurance companies for their use.

Read more here

Philips introduces BlueTouch, PulseRelief control for pain relief

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Pain sufferers have a new way to manage their personal treatment to relieve pain, said Philips. Its introduction this month of BlueTouch and PulseRelief devices involve app-enabled tools managed by iPhones or iPads.

Read more here

Amazon founder’s firm to build new rocket engines

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos plans to build a rocket engine that would eventually replace the Russian mainstay used in many American unmanned launches.

Read more here

Peacock’s train is not such a drag

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The magnificent plumage of the peacock may not be quite the sacrifice to love that it appears to be, University of Leeds researchers have discovered.

Read more here

Space: The final frontier… open to the public

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Historically, spaceflight has been reserved for the very healthy. Astronauts are selected for their ability to meet the highest physical and psychological standards to prepare them for any unknown challenges. However, with the advent of commercial spaceflight, average people can now fly for enjoyment. The aerospace medicine community has had very little information about what medical conditions or diseases should be considered particularly risky in the spaceflight environment, as most medical conditions have never been studied for risk in space—until now.

Read more here

NASA releases IRIS footage of X-class flare (w/ Video)

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA’s newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare – an example of one of the strongest solar flares—on the sun. Combing observations from more than one telescope helps create a much more complete picture of such events on our closest star. Watch the movie to see how the flare appears different through the eyes of IRIS than it does through NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Read more here

NASA sees Hurricane Edouard far from US, but creating rough surf

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Although NASA’s Aqua satellite showed that Hurricane Edouard is far from U.S. soil, it is powerful enough that it is creating dangerous swells along the U.S. East Coast.

Read more here

NASA sees Odile soaking Mexico and southwestern US

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Tropical Storm Odile continues to spread moisture and generate strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall over northern Mexico’s mainland and the Baja California as well as the southwestern U.S. NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite measured rainfall rates from space as it passed over Odile.

Read more here

NASA sees Tropical Storm Polo intensifying

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Tropical storm warnings now issued for a portion of the Southwestern coast of Mexico as Polo continues to strengthen. Infrared imagery from NASA’s Aqua satellite showed powerful thunderstorms around the center of the storm.

Read more here

Bits Blog: F.T.C. Fines Yelp and TinyCo for Violating Children’s Privacy Rules

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The commission found that the companies violated a privacy act known as Coppa in part because they didn’t obtain parental consent before collecting information from children under 13.

Read more here

What will Alibaba do with $25bn?

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

What will Alibaba do with $25bn?

Read more here

Scientists play key role in developing new Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

UCLA atmospheric scientists were instrumental in the creation of the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index—a new tool to classify the fire threat potential of the powerful, hot, dry Santa Ana wind, which can turn a spark into an inferno. The index was introduced Sept. 17 by the U.S. Forest Service, in collaboration with UCLA and San Diego Gas and Electric.

Read more here

Chemists modify antibiotic to vanquish resistant bacteria

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised a new antibiotic based on vancomycin that is powerfully effective against vancomycin-resistant strains of MRSA and other disease-causing bacteria.

Read more here

NASA’s Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Mars, get ready for another visitor or two. This weekend, NASA’s Maven spacecraft will reach the red planet following a 10-month journey spanning 442 million miles (711 million kilometers).

Read more here

Tropical Storm Odile targets US-Mexico border states

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Tropical Storm Odile headed for a new landfall in northwestern Mexico on Wednesday after leaving a trail of destruction in beach resorts, requiring tourists to be airlifted to safety.

Read more here

Power isn’t enough: Study reveals the missing link for effective leadership

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

With the National Football League in full damage-control mode, there are many questions about how the NFL’s leader handled the Ray Rice case. Was Goodell ignoring the pleas of stakeholders—former NFL players, the media and domestic violence groups—when deciding on a two game penalty? The answer may lie in a study out today by Columbia Business School.

Read more here

Bits Blog: F.T.C. Fines Yelp and TinyCo for Violating Children’s Privacy Rules

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The commission found that the companies violated a privacy act known as Coppa in part because they didn’t obtain parental consent before collecting information from children under 13.

Read more here

Taking a Health Hazard Home

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

Of the 22 industrial hog farm workers tested in a new study, 10 carried antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in their noses for up to four days, raising public health questions.

Read more here

Persian Gulf states have new role to play in Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•14

The shifting regional geopolitics of the Middle East have created new opportunities for the Persian Gulf states to engage in Arab-Israeli conflict resolution, according to a new paper from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Read more here