Ceres Revealed Significant Traces Of Life’s Building Blocks


Ceres, the dwarf planet revealed traces of life’s building blocks, traces detected by the Dawn spacecraft.

A recently released study came with some significant news involving Ceres. The dwarf planet revealed traces of life’s building blocks, traces detected by Dawn. This latter is a NASA spacecraft.

For years now, science has been scouting the outer space in search of planets capable of holding life. Or at least ones which present it’s building discovery. According to a new study, they may have just found such a planet. On a somewhat unlikely space body.

Ceres is a dwarf planet, the 33 largest known space body of our Solar System. It is located within the asteroid belt situated between Mars’s and Jupiter’s orbits. It is also the belt’s largest object.

The dwarf planet seemed an unlikely location mostly due to its componence. This space body is composed of ice and rock. With an icy mantle and rocky core, it may have once held an internal liquid water ocean. And apparently, Ceres has many more secrets in store.

Back in 2007, NASA launched the Dawn space probe. Ever since then, the spacecraft has been studying the planet. Ceres is one of its two targets. Dawn is also studying Vesta, another well-known protoplanet.

And now, scientists released a new study about Ceres. This was published in the Science journal. Available online since February 17th, the paper was titled as follows. “Localized aliphatic organic material on the surface of Ceres”.

According to the research, Dawn revealed some interesting elements. Which show that Ceres might be hosting life’s building blocks. Or more exactly, it reported the presence of indigenously formed organic compounds.

These were detected by using Dawn’s equipment. The spacecraft has, amongst others, an infrared and visible mapping spectrometer. This revealed the following.

A very small area located in Ceres’s Inamahari crater may be holding organic compounds. This is located some 250 miles from the Ernutet crater. Which also revealed traces of such material.

Organic compounds were detected in an about 400 square miles area near the crater. Both Ernutet and Inamahari are situated in the planet’s northern hemisphere.

Simone Marchi went to offer additional details. One of the study co-authors, Marchi is also a Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado senior research scientist.

He stated as follows. Dawn’s discovery is very intriguing. Especially so as it traced a locally high concentration of organic materials. This could lead to strong implications in the astrobiology community, according to Marchi.

Ceres revealed traces of the following elements. It presents water ice, salts, and carbonates. And also ammonia-bearing hydrated minerals. Organic materials will now also be added to the list.

Dawn’s discovery also points out the following. Ceres sports the key ingredients for the development of life.

According to Marchi, the organic materials most likely have an internal source. They are unlikely to have arrived on an external impactor. The organic-rich areas also include materials which are endogenous to Ceres. More exactly, ammoniated and carbonate species.

Reportedly, the Ernutet crater rims are also apparently fresh. Which is in contrast to the overall region which seems to be ancient. And which is also heavily cratered.

Another element also supports the potential internal source of the organic material. Previous observations spotted fluid mobility on Ceres. And also presented the clear signatures of a pervasive hydrothermal activity.

Nonetheless, the formation process of Ceres’s organic material is currently unknown. More research on the matter will be needed.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Facebooks Enables Job Postings on Pages

Facebook logo on screen

Facebook has started to roll out its job postings feature for business Pages.

Before LinkedIn fully integrates within Microsoft and develops a strategy to further develop and improve the service for a larger number of users, Facebook is trying to capitalize on a number of opportunities previously neglected by the company.

The social network has finally enabled page admins to post job openings as a way to help lower-skilled worker find a job more easily, as well as present new opportunities for those who aren’t actively searching for a new job. The job posting on Pages feature was previously revealed last year, but only now has Facebook decided to roll it out.

As any Facebook user knows, the social network is a great way to keep in touch with a company, its products, and activity, through the Business Pages feature. Thanks to the new job postings feature, companies can easily find new employees among those who are actually interested in the company.

More specifically, a business can issue any number of job postings through their status update composer, which will appear in the News Feed of its followers. All the job openings are hosted in specially designated Jobs tab on the company’s Page. When users see the job posting, they can apply for it directly from their news feed through the Apply Now button. This instantly sends an application through the Facebook Messenger.

Regarding the application, Facebook will pre-fill some of the details with information from the user’s profile, such as name, location, birth date, and even includes your profile picture, in order to speed up the application process. The job postings feature is currently live in the US and Canada.

The new feature represents another ad revenue stream for Facebook, as it enabled companies to pay in order to have their posts turn into ads, which in turn could reach more people. Furthermore, users can easily share job postings with their friends, which could help the recruitment efforts of the business.

The feature is mainly designed for small businesses, which have trouble hiring, but it can be used by any company. It also presents a great way to find a job you never knew you wanted for a better salary, or in a better location.

Image source: Pixabay

Scientists Found That Warm Pacific Water Led to Large Seabird Deaths

common murres resting on shore

Scientists believe that warm Pacific water led to the mass die-off of seabirds.

Whether we like to admit it or not, climate change is gradually making its presence felt throughout the world. It’s latest confirmed effect is that it led to the death of thousands of seabird deaths due to the warming of the Pacific water which in turn affected the fish the birds eat to survive.

Last year, scientists revealed that several thousand common murres, a prevalent North Pacific seabird, were found starved on the eastern shores of the United States, from California to Alaska. Since then, scientists have been trying to explain how that situation came to be.

Now, scientists believe that the elevated temperatures of the Pacific water affected not only the seabirds but whole marine ecosystems. However, the common murres are an indicator of the overall health of the region.  The explanation consists in the fact that because fish populations are gradually declining, seabirds and other animals have nothing to eat which leads to starvation.

While the effect of the warm Pacific water affects two major marine ecosystems along the US’ West Coast and Canada, the deaths of the seabirds also were also multiplied due to winter storms in the Gulf of Alaska.

The birds have fast-acting metabolism meaning that they have to eat a lot of to maintain their body mass. This also leads the birds to drop to the critical threshold for starvation in only just three days. The favorite prey of the seabirds includes small fish like pollock, capelin, which are also used in the fast-food industry in fish sandwiches. Their populations were extremely low in number during a survey taken in the summer of 2015.

As a result of the depleting food source, around 52,000 common murres were found dead throughout the West Coast, with 46,000 just in Alaska alone. To make matters worse, scientists believe that this number of deaths represent only a small fraction of the casualties, most of which never reached the shore. Some scientists estimate that around 500,000 common murres died in that period. The birds likely died from excruciating deaths, either starvation or drowning.

What do you think about this situation? Should we take more drastic action against climate change to prevent other similar situations?

Image sourceWikimedia

Google Maps Adds Traffic, Transit and Places Tabs

Google Maps tabs

Google Maps has new places, transit, traffic information tabs.

Google Maps has received a new update which includes new traffic and transit information spread across three easily accessible tabs, alongside a slew of new features and improvements. This new update only consolidates the status of Google Maps as the best navigation app.

The new update allows the user to easily access, just with a swipe up, some of the most frequently-used information on the app. Swiping up from the home screen provides users with a lot more information regarding the current traffic conditions in their vicinity, as well as schedules of various public transit services. You can also see and find out more about the closest places to drink or eat, pharmacies, ATMs, and other public locations.

Alongside the newly released update for Google Maps, the company also published a blog post explaining that the new features are meant to provide users with helpful everyday information, near their current location.

The new interface can be accessed from the home menu with just a simple swipe up. This will bring up three different tabs for traffic, transit, and places.  The first tab is reserved for showing you all the nearby locations and places such as select restaurants, cafes, bars, and more. All the places are organized under various categories like “cheap eats”, best dinners”, and more. This list of places was developed by Google for over a year and it was first introduced in the Explore section of Google Maps.

The tab also provides important information and a short description of the neighborhood where nearby stores like pharmacies, gas stations, grocery stores, and ATMs are located in.

The second tab provides users with estimated time of arrivals to their destination in real-time, based on the condition of the traffic, as long as you have the addresses saved in the app. The update also adds a feature to alert users about upcoming delays in traffic without providing detailed information about their route.

The last tab coming in the new Google Maps update shows users the best way to reach their destination via public transit. It has the full schedule of transit services, updated in real-time. It also provides an ETA for arrival at your destination.

While most of these features already existed in Google Maps, the new update makes them more accessible.

Image credit: Google

Willis Tower In Chicago Will See A $500M Renewal

willis tower entrance

Earlier this week, Blackstone announced that it will be investing about $500 million in renovating Chicago’s Willis Tower.

Earlier this week, the Blackstone Group LP announced that it will be investing about $500 million in renovating and updating the iconic Willis Tower in Chicago.

Willis Tower is also known as the Sears Tower. Situated in Chicago, it was once the tallest building in the world. It held the title for almost 25 years. Presently, it is the second-tallest building in the United States. And the 14-th in the world.

The Willis Tower opened in 1973. It is a 1,450-foot tall building. The building has 110 stories. It is one of the most visited local landmarks. Over one million people are estimated to reach its observation deck each year. And now, the building will be going through a renewal.

Presently, the skyscraper is administered by the Blackstone Group LP. On February 01, the company released an announcement. In it, it stated its wish to invest in a renewal of the Sears Tower.

They are planning on investing an estimated $500 million in the skyscraper. Blackstone also offered some renovation details. The Willis Tower will be going through its first major renovation.

It will also be the company’s largest investments in one of its buildings. This is according to Jon Gray. He is the chief real estate officer.

Blackstone is planning on reconfiguring some of the existing spaces. This will target an almost 460,000 square feet area. The space already hosts various services. It includes event spaces and lounges. And even one of the resident fitness centers.

Following the renewal, the Willis Tower will also expand. It will be gaining over 300,000 square feet. These new areas will host different services. A new retail will be added. And also new entertainment and dining areas. These 300,000 square feet will be added at the base of the skyscraper.

The building will also feature a new, 30,000-square feet outdoor garden and deck area. Still, the existing outdoor spaces will not be forgotten. Sears Tower’s Skydeck Chicago will also see some improvements.

This latter is one the tower’s main attraction. It is situated on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. According to the statement, it receives 1.7 million visitors each year.

A new glass structure will be added to the entry plaza. The project proposes a three-story tall such structure. Beneath it, there will be three underground floors. These will be organized around a new winter garden.

The Willis Tower will go through a quite serious renewal. According to the Blackstone statement, the company is hoping to attract new visitors. And it is also trying to attract new tenants.

Currently, 85 percent of the building is occupied. United Airlines is its largest tenant. The airline company moved in back in 2013.

Blackstone acquired the Willis Tower back in 2015. It offered $1.3 billion for the skyscraper. This was a local record sum paid for an office building. The skyscraper received its current name in 2009. Until then, it was officially called the Sears Tower.

Now, it is called the Willis Tower after the Willis Group. The company has a lease on a part of the tower. The fate of the “Universe” statue is as yet unsure. Designed by Alexander Calder, it does not appear in the presented renovation plan. An official mention as to its fate has yet to be released.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Vespa Creator Launches A Cargo-Carrying Robot Named Gita


Piaggio gave up Vespa to build Gita, a cargo-carrying robot

Piaggio is known for its Vespa motor scooters. Now the company designed a different device that is going to make shopping a lot easier for us. Did you ever buy too many things and couldn’t carry them? Well, you won’t have that problem anymore because of the cargo-carrying robot.

Piaggio just launched a cargo-carrying robot named Gita. You can now buy more stuff because you have something that is going to carry everything. The company reinvented itself and entered another market, that of robots.

They designed Gita in order to make it easier for people to carry everything they want while they are walking or shopping. They believe that they can make people give up their cars and start walking when they are doing grocery shopping. This cargo-carrying robot is a round ball that has wheels.

Gita is designed to follow you anywhere you want it to. It can carry more than 20 kg of grocery while you walk home after doing shopping. The cargo-carrying robot is going to follow you no matter how fast you walk. It can reach a speed of 35 km/h.

The device can carry your supplies in a store or even outdoor. The company that designed Gita mentioned that they are building these devices in order to have a better environment. This is a greener alternative to scooters and cars.

With the help of Gita people won’t need their cars when they go shopping. They can walk while Gita carries the grocery back home. The fact that the robot is small is great because it won’t disturb other people in the shop or outside. This “suitcase” has a diameter of 66cm.

The company announced that they are planning on launching this cargo-carrying robot on Feb 2nd in Boston. The best feature of this robot is that is can work autonomously. Delivery companies can use these devices in order to send items where they want.

This robot can be a great alternative from people who usually buy a lot of things when they go shopping. It can also be a great device for small business. We’ll have to wait and see how it works when Piaggio releases it.

Would you buy this type of device? Do you think that it is useful?

Image source: Wikipedia

Slack Launches Enterprise Grid Suite

Slack Enterprise Grid

Slack launched its Enterprise Grid suite of tools.

Slack, the business communication and transfer service, has experienced a high rise in popularity for its demographic, despite being launched just three years ago. The service has around 5 million daily users, with around 1.5 million being paid subscribers. Now, the company set its eyes on the big fish of the industry, enterprises.

Slack was mainly designed and used by small and medium business, but as the company grows and refines its service, it’s also seeking to expand beyond its traditional user base. The company will try to garner the attention of enterprises, those companies of up to 500,000 employees.

For this purpose, Slack has announced that it has launched its Enterprise Grid tools suite. Having been in development for over a year, the new service does not only offer an enterprise-grade version of their current apps and tools, but it will also come with a series of new features.

Among the new Enterprise Grid features, the most notable are the business analytics and intelligence tools, a new type of search which will allow users to search for files across the entire system. It will also suggest content and various contacts to users in order to promote interaction across the various levels of a company. Unfortunately, these features are not yet available and will roll out to all enterprise users later this year.

With the launch of the Enterprise Grid suite of tools, Slack has also announced some of its initial customers which include financial services like Paypal, IBM, and Capital One. It is somewhat unusual to see IBM as a client considering that it has its own collaboration product for enterprises, IBM connections while working on an AI business intelligence product known as Watson Workspace.

The Enterprise Grid includes several other features like IT admins being able to manage and provision more teams, new layers of security and identity management, compliance controls and data loss prevention features.

Despite the launch of Enterprise Grid, Slack has not revealed the pricing for its new service. Interested companies will have to apply directly to Slack. However, it’s worth remembering that its initial service costs between $8 to $15 per month and included two different tiers.

Image credit: Slack

Depression Linked to Heart Disease Deaths

depressed man

A new study has linked depression as a high risk for heart disease.

Heart attacks have a variety of causes, the most common being a high cholesterol diet, smoking, and being overweight. However, the wellbeing of our body is closely linked with the state of our mental health. A new study has found that depression can pose as many dangers to your heart as much as all other more common factors.

For the study, a team of researchers from Germany analyzed the health records of more than 3,400 men from Europe, with ages between 45 to 74. All the participants were followed up to 10 years. After the extensive analysis, the researchers observed that death from various types of cardiovascular disease during the study was very strongly associated with the mental health state of the patients just as much as it was affected by other heart disease factors.

More specifically, the researchers looked at how depression, determined by a checklist of several mood symptoms including fatigue and anxiety, affected the rate of heart disease in the participants. They found that depression accounted for around 15 percent of all deaths from coronary heart and cardiovascular disease. The other high risk factors like cholesterol and obesity a 8 to 21 percent chance of death, while diabetes only had 5 to 8 percent of heart disease death.

Only smoking and high blood pressure accounted for more heart disease deaths than depression. The findings of the study were published in the journal Atherosclerosis and revealed that patients with suffering from depression and exhaustion have a higher chance of dying from heart disease, despite not having any of the other risk factors.

The researchers reached this conclusion after the results for each variable had been adjusted for all the other risk factors. This suggests that depression is independently linked to heart disease death, and not caused in combination with other risk factors.

The researchers recommend that patients with classic heart disease factors should undergo routine mental-health screenings. Depression must be addressed as serious as all other risk factors, despite the current stigma that patients face. Furthermore, treating depression can have a much more noticeable effect and sooner than treating other risk factors.

What do you think about the study’s findings?

Image source: Pixabay

Messenger App Ads Will Start Being Tested

messenger app ads

Facebook announced earlier this week that it will be rolling out a limited testing of its new Messenger app ads.

Facebook announced earlier this week that it will be rolling out a limited testing of its new Messenger app ads which could appear on the start screen.

The company released an announcement on the matter on Wednesday. On January 25, Facebook published an official blog post. It in, it presented the potential new Messenger app ads system.

At least for the moment, the test is very narrow. It is being rolled out in just 2 countries. These are Thailand and Australia. Facebook Messenger app users may start seeing ads on their start screen.

Testing will begin in just a few weeks’ time. Just a limited number of users will be involved. Facebook explained its decision to roll out the test. According to the blog post, the Messenger app ads are an opportunity for businesses. It can help make their products more visible.

The social media giant also went to explain the process. According to the statement, ads will be displayed solely on the start screen. More exactly, they will not appear in a conversation.

These new Messenger app ads will work as follows. They will be based on the Facebook ad campaign system. More exactly, they will appear as sponsored messages. The system is already generally used on Facebook.

And in some cases, also on the Messenger app. But only in case specific situations. Users can already receive sponsored ad messages. But only if they have previously interacted with the respective brand.

The Messenger app ads will also have a similar such feature. Sponsored ad messages may spring up in a conversation. But only if the user is chatting with the brand selling them.

Messenger ads will have the same base system as the Facebook News Feed ones. More exactly, advertisers will use the same parameters. They currently target users on a specific set of data. This does not and will not include private messages.

Facebook’s Messenger app ads tests should not intrude on the user. They will still have control over their app. The users involved in the tests will have several options. They will be able to hide the ads. Or they can even report them. Both options will be accessible from the drop-down menu.

Messenger app ads will be displayed below the most recent conversations. For example, just think of the birthday notifications. These surface on the Messenger mobile app. The ads’ location is also similar to that of the active users bar.

Still, neither feature will disappear because of the ads. These later will just be placed on top. Birthdays and active users will come after them.

The Messenger app ads tests will be limited. And it remains to be seen if they will be expanded. The decision will probably be based on the user response. This latter will probably also determine its widespread usage.

If the tests are unsuccessful, the program will most likely remain just a test. The public rollout is not guaranteed. But neither denied.

The Facebook Messenger service has over a billion active users. This is just the monthly count. Estimates also show that more than a billion messages are sent every month. And these are just in between customers and businesses.

Presently, the tests target only the Messenger app ads. It remains to be seen or announced if Facebook will also be targeting a similar campaign for the web page version.

Image Source: Flickr

Wearable Baby Monitors Are Not As Effective As We Believe

wearable baby monitor

The wearable baby monitors might not be as effective as some may think.

Everybody wants the best for their baby. This is why more and more companies are developing devices that can help parents look after their children. The new trend when it comes to baby devices is the wearable smartphones baby monitors.

These devices are new to the market and some of them are still not approved by pediatricians. This is why doctors advise parents not to buy them. The wearable baby monitors might not be as effective as some may think.

These devices are made from electronic sensors which are attached to the clothes of the baby. Some are attached to the sock other to buttons or onesies. These baby monitors are supposed to monitor the baby’s vitals like oxygen levels, breathing, and pulse rate.

The wearable baby monitors sent a notification on the smartphone of the parents when something is wrong with their child. Doctors warn parents to be careful when buying devices for their children because some of them are not approved by the FDA.

Another problem with these wearable baby monitors is that they might send false alarms that can concern the parents. Then the parents will take the baby to the doctor to see if something is wrong with it. The problem is that unnecessary tests will be made and the child is the one that suffers.

Doctors mentioned that there are some normal fluctuations that could be seen by these baby monitors as a sign of alarm. This is because the baby monitor is set to alert the parents when the vital are not in the normal state. This could happen a lot because babies tend to have a lot of fluctuations.

“I worry about the unnecessary care and even potential harm to babies that can be associated with alarms from these devices,” Christopher Bonafide, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said. “There’s not a role for these devices in the care of healthy infants.”

These devices are marketed as great baby monitors that can help parents avoid SIDS, a condition that kills more than 3000 infants every year in the US. Doctors mentioned that the wearable baby monitors are not effective in reducing the risk of SIDS.

What is your opinion about these devices? Would you buy one for you baby?

Image source: Pixabay