Saturday, November 28

TECH

Thermonuclear blast sends star hurtling across our Milky Way
TECH

Thermonuclear blast sends star hurtling across our Milky Way

Researchers have found evidence of a star blasting itself out of its orbit with another star in a “partial supernova” — now hurtling across the Milky Way. The star, which has about 40 percent of the mass of our sun, is traveling at 559,234 mph. Scientists at the UK’s University of Warwick note that the star, a white dwarf designated SDSS J1240+6710, has an unusual composition. White dwarfs are very dense small stars that have exhausted their nuclear fuel. “The majority of white dwarfs have atmospheres composed almost entirely of hydrogen or helium, with occasional evidence of carbon or oxygen dredged up from the star’s core,” the University of Warwick scientists explained in a statement. SDSS J1240+6710, however, seemed to contain neither hydrogen nor helium, but was com
Chinese firm using execs, workers to ‘pre-test’ coronavirus vaccine
TECH

Chinese firm using execs, workers to ‘pre-test’ coronavirus vaccine

BEIJING — In the global race to make a coronavirus vaccine, a state-owned Chinese company is boasting that its employees, including top executives, received experimental shots even before the government approved testing in people. “Giving a helping hand in forging the sword of victory,” reads an online post from SinoPharm with pictures of company leaders it says helped “pre-test” its vaccine. Whether it’s viewed as heroic sacrifice or a violation of international ethical norms, the claim underscores the enormous stakes as China competes with US and British companies to be the first with a vaccine to help end the pandemic — a feat that would be both a scientific and political triumph. “Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the new Holy Grail,” said Lawrence Gostin, a global public health law
TECH

NASA reveals what the Mars Helicopter is really going to do

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is obviously the star of the Mars 2020 mission. The rover is designed to be the most capable piece of hardware ever sent to the Red Planet and it will have the ability to sample the Martian soil, search for hints of ancient life, and even pack up samples of the soil for eventual return to Earth. We expect years of awesome discoveries to begin once the rover lands in early 2021, but it’s not the only robot making the trip. The Mars Helicopter is a pint-sized, dual-propeller helicopter that will ride to Mars on the belly of the Perseverance rover. It will be deployed onto the surface after the rover gets its bearings, and NASA just released a great little video showcasing what they expect the helicopter to be capable of. The first thing to know about the
NASA chief says Russia ties ‘solid’ as Moscow’s space chief rejects US moon program
TECH

NASA chief says Russia ties ‘solid’ as Moscow’s space chief rejects US moon program

WASHINGTON – NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Tuesday he still expected support from Russia’s space corporation in its Artemis moon program despite Moscow’s space chief slamming the US-led lunar effort. Bridenstine said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday “the relationship between NASA and Roscosmos is solid” and emphasized that international partners will play a key role in NASA’s plan to land humans on the lunar surface by 2024 and construct a space station orbiting the moon. “I’ve got a good relationship with Dmitri Rogozin, so I’m hopeful that there are opportunities for us to continue to collaborate,” Bridenstine said, referring to the general director of Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos. But Rogozin called the moon program in an interview with Komsom
TECH

Most Americans had a tech ‘wake-up’ call during coronavirus lockdown

Three-quarters of Americans have experienced a tech wake-up call due to COVID-19, according to new research. The survey of 2,000 Americans revealed just how reliant they are on digital services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents were asked to reflect on the digital services they’ve used during self-isolation and how their lives have changed because of them. In this new climate, digital services have come to the forefront of Americans’ lives, as six in 10 respondents shared they’ve expanded their horizons to use a digital service they normally would not use. SWNS Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sungard Availability Services, the survey found 77 percent of respondents don’t know what they’d do on a daily basis without today’s technology. As respondents have been shelt
‘Student’ who attacked activist couple in press appears to be a deepfake
TECH

‘Student’ who attacked activist couple in press appears to be a deepfake

WASHINGTON – Oliver Taylor, a student at England’s University of Birmingham, is a twenty-something with brown eyes, light stubble and a slightly stiff smile. Online profiles describe him as a coffee lover and politics junkie who was raised in a traditional Jewish home. His half dozen freelance editorials and blog posts reveal an active interest in anti-Semitism and Jewish affairs, with bylines in the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel. The catch? Oliver Taylor seems to be an elaborate fiction. His university says it has no record of him. He has no obvious online footprint beyond an account on the question-and-answer site Quora, where he was active for two days in March. Two newspapers that published his work say they have tried and failed to confirm his identity. And exper
More people are cheating with online affairs during lockdown: study
TECH

More people are cheating with online affairs during lockdown: study

Everything else we do has shifted online — why not infidelity? Since the inception of chat rooms, the internet has long served as a fertile ground for cheaters. Last year, a YouGov poll found that some 17% of users across all dating apps were there to cheat on their current partners. Now, it’s only getting worse. Couples who haven’t already called it quits may be sabotaging their relationships anyway, according to University of Tennessee-Knoxville psychologists Kristina Coop Gordon and Erica A. Mitchell, whose co-authored editorial, “Infidelity in the Time of COVID‐19,” was published in the journal Family Process earlier this month. Approximately 25% of all marriages experience infidelity, according to their paper, but now more than ever before, couples are e
TECH

Convenience store in Japan using robot to test out retail automation

TOKYO – In August, a robot vaguely resembling a kangaroo will begin stacking sandwiches, drinks and ready meals on shelves at a Japanese convenience store in a test its maker, Telexistence, hopes will help trigger a wave of retail automation. Following that trial, store operator FamilyMart says it plans to use robot workers at 20 stores around Tokyo by 2022. At first, people will operate them remotely – until the machines’ artificial intelligence (AI) can learn to mimic human movements. Rival convenience store chain Lawson is deploying its first robot in September, according to Telexistence. “It advances the scope and scale of human existence,” the robot maker’s chief executive, Jin Tomioka, said as he explained how its technology lets people sense and experience places
Gigantic ‘superflare’ spotted on nearby star
TECH

Gigantic ‘superflare’ spotted on nearby star

Researchers at Kyoto University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan detected 12 stellar flares on AD Leonis, a red dwarf 16 light-years away. A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals about 6 trillion miles. Red dwarf stars are the smallest and most abundant stars in our galaxy. They are also longest-lived stars. One of the solar flares spotted on AD Leonis was 20 times larger than the flares emitted by our own sun, according to the experts, who used the university’s new Seimei telescope to make the discovery. The research was published in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. “Solar flares are sudden explosions that emanate from the surfaces of stars, including our own sun,” explained first author Kosuke Namekata in a stateme
TECH

Government office in Russia now has female humanoid assisting public

MOSCOW – A human-like robot designed to look and act like a female clerk has started providing services to the public at a government office in Siberia. The humanoid, with long blond hair and brown eyes, is serving customers in Perm, a city 680 miles east of Moscow. So far it only helps with issuing certificates to testify that people have a clean criminal record and no record of drug use, documents required in Russia to complete various legal transactions. The robot has been designed to look like an average Russian woman, the company behind the project Promobot said. Its facial features were generated by artificial intelligence based on analyzing the appearance of several thousand females. The robot, which wears the registry office uniform of white shirt and brown waistcoat, ...