Facebook Is Out To Develop A New Brain To Computer System

computer system users

During the F8, Facebook revealed its plans for a new brain to computer system and interface.

In its second day of the F8 event, Facebook revealed that it is looking to develop a new brain to computer system and interface. This will allegedly allow its user to type directly with their mind.

The company is even looking to create a tech that will allow its users to “hear” with their skin. This new, ambitious tech is being developed by a team of over 60 people, all part of the R&D Division.

Details on these revolutionary plans came from Regina Dugan. She is the head of the R&D Division Building 8. The information was released during the second day of the F8. This is an annual software and developer conference hosted by Facebook in San Jose, California.

As part of the presentation, Facebook released a demo video meant to present this new tech’s abilities and applications. The company is aiming to create a software that will allow its users to type up to 100 words per minute. This is around five times faster than the average writing speed on a smartphone. Also, this new technology will be exclusively brain-powered, which would make its speed even the more impressive.

Dugan stated that: “It is these words, words that you have already decided to send to the speech center of your brain that we seek to turn into text.”

Also, she stated that Facebook will be looking to develop a non-invasive such technology. One that could also become a “speech prosthetic” for people with disabilities, disorders, or even a new AR input method.

The Brain to Computer System Is Not The Only Innovation

The secretive Building 8 is also reportedly developing a “hear through your skin” technology. According to Dugan, this will be based on the “Tacoma Method” and a special arm sleeve. This latter comes with an actuator system, which lets the user “feel the acoustic shape of a word on her arm”.

Presently, this system still has a limited “tactile vocabulary”. As it is, Dugan emphasized the fact that both these technologies are still in the making. As such, they are still some years away from being ready.

Image Source: Flickr

Scientists Achieved A New Breakthrough In Stem Cell Therapies

stem cell therapies

A team of scientists has managed to achieve another breakthrough in the area of stem cell therapies.

A team of scientists has managed to achieve another breakthrough in the area of stem cell therapies. They were able to create totipotent stem cells in the lab. This is the first time ever to achieve such a feat and follows the creation of pluripotent stem cells.

Scientists Will Try To Develop New Stem Cell Therapies Based On Such Totipotent Cells

This new breakthrough was achieved by an international team of researchers coming from the California Salk Institute and the Chinese Peking University. Study results were published in the Cell journal. They were able to create the totipotent stem cells from both cultured mouse and human such cells.

Totipotent stem cells are known to be able to form tissues capable of providing embryonic support. At the same time, they may also offer extra-embryonic tissues, for example, the amniotic sac and the placenta.

“This is the first study reporting the derivation of a stable stem cell type that shows totipotent-like bi-development potential towards both embryonic and extra-embryonic lineages”.

This is according to Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a Salk Professor, and researcher involved in the study. The team was able to divide the new cells into either totipotent or pluripotent stem ones, while still early on in the development process.

They were able to do so thanks to a new chemical cocktail. This was able to stabilize the cells before the division process and this prolonged their versatility. As such, the researchers dubbed their result EPS cells or “extended pluripotent stem cells”.

Based on the new chemical cocktail, the team was able to create various stem cell therapies. More exactly, they were able to form chimeras or a collection of embryonic cells coming from different zygotes. According to Izpisua Belmonte, the new, totipotent-like stem cells line may have a “broad and resounding impact” in the stem study field.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Facebook Makes 360-degree Live Stream Available For Everybody

360-degree live stream Facebook

Facebook just made 360-degree Live Stream available for every user, with a compatible camera.

If you love social media sites and you also love taking videos, this new feature is the ideal one for you. Facebook just made the 360-degree Live Stream available for every user. This feature is not a new one. It has been available since December, but only for a few users.

The first page where the option was launched was National Geographic’s Facebook account. The company now announced that they are going to make it available for any user, worldwide. Live streaming on Facebook has been a very successful addition to the regular posts. More and more people live stream nowadays.

The 360-degree live stream is even better. This is because it combines both the love for videos and virtual reality. The 360-degree live streams can be a gateway to VR. Facebook has been trying to make people buy VR since they made Oculus in 2014. Maybe now it will succeed.

The problem is that not everybody can use this feature. In order to create a 360-degree live stream, you need to have a compatible camera. Some of those cameras include Giroptic IO, ALLie Camera, Insta360, and Samsung Gear 360. More professional cameras like Nokia OZA and Z CAM S1 are compatible too.

Facebook mentioned that they are going to talk to other manufacturers in order to add more compatible devices. Once other manufacturers add more cameras, more people will be able to do 360-degree live stream.  This type of live stream is almost the same as the normal one. People can still receive likes and comments while they are 360-degrees live streaming.

Facebook mentioned that people need to make some privacy setting before they go live. This way they can decide who can see the video. Users also need to write a description for the live video before starting to film it. People will see comments and likes from their camera interface. This feature is a really interesting one and it also is a step closer to virtual reality. The 360-degree live stream is going to get people closer to VR and maybe, more will buy VR headsets like Oculus.

What is your opinion about this feature? Are you going to post 360-degree live streams on Facebook?

Image source: Pexels

Rare Cancer From Breast Implants Caused 9 Deaths

breast implants

A new report shows that breast implants can produce a rare form of cancer.

In an attempt to look better and meet the social standard of beauty, many women undergo plastic surgery. More and more women have breast implants. Apparently, this procedure is not as safe as it was believed. A new report shows that breast implants can lead to a rare form of cancer.

This type of cancer was first discovered in 2011. Now it is linked to 9 deaths. The FDA stated that since 2011, they received more than 350 reports of cancer cases linked to breast implants.  The biggest problem is that these women did not develop breast cancer after the implants, they developed anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.

This type of rare cancer forms in the capsule of scar tissue around the implant. Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma is a treatable condition and usually, it is not fatal. Despite this fact, until now, 9 women died from this rare cancer.

The condition is more likely to occur when women have textured implants. This is because these implants have a pebbly surface. From those 359 reports, 231 included information about the implant. More than 200 of those were textured implants. The others were smooth implants.

Women start to realize that something is wrong when they develop swelling, lumps, fluid buildup, and pain. The FDA report shows that more than 290,000 women had implants in the US in 2016. From them, 109,000 received the implants after surviving breast cancer.

In most of the cases, when the implant was removed, the cancer was eliminated. Unfortunately, some women have to go through radiation and chemotherapy. Experts mentioned that the body responds differently to textured implants than to smooth ones. This might be why there are more cases of cancer caused by such implants.

The FDA mentioned that doctors should look for this cancer in women who had the implant a long time ago. Since it is so rare, there is little information about it. This means that doctors should be alert and make check-ups once in a while to see that everything is ok.

The agency also said that women should take into consideration this risk before they decide to have breast implants. They should also be aware of the fact that there is an increased risk when it comes to textured implants.

What is your opinion about this report? Did you know that breast implants can cause a rare type of cancer?

Image source: Wikipedia

How To Stop Kids From Ordering Things On Amazon Echo And Google Home?

Amazon Echo

If you want to stop you kids from ordering stuff with Amazon Echo, you can choose a password.

We all know that kids are little geniuses when they want to. They can find an answer to any question and a solution to every rule. This is why you should be concerned if you have Amazon Echo or Google Home. They might find a way to order things without your permission.

A recent incident involved a 6-year old girl that ordered 4 pounds of cookies and a $170 dollhouse. We are sure that the parents were not as pleased as the little girl was. If you want to avoid this type of situation you should take action.

How To Change Settings On Amazon Echo And Google Home

Both Amazon Echo and Google Home look like they just fell from heaven into your house. You can sit on the couch and let them know what you want. The problem is that your kids might do the same. If you want to be without worries you should disable the voice orders.

First of all, you have to open up Alexa app navigation panel. After selecting Settings you choose Voice Purchasing and turn it off. You have to follow these steps if you want to avoid any kid-ordering-online incidents.

If you have Google Home you can do the same thing. You have to hit the Menu icon in the app, go to More Setting and choose Payments. The final step is to select Pay with Your Assistant. Once you completed these steps, the Voice orders will be disabled.

What You Do When You Still Want to Make Voice Orders?

If you like to benefit from ordering with your voice you can still do so without worrying that your kids will do the same.  For Amazon Echo, you can choose a password.  You have to go to Voice Purchasing and Require confirmation code. After you selected your code, you can continue to order with your voice, but you will have to say the password too. Let’s hope that your kids don’t memorize it too.

Unfortunately, Google Home doesn’t have a password option. There are some roadblocks that can stop your kid from purchasing stuff. At the moment, you can only purchase stuff from some Google Express retailers. Also, the limit for any order is $100 and you can only purchase one thing at a time.

Despite the fact that these smart assistants are great they should offer kid prevent tools. Parents should be able to stop their kids from purchasing things with the help of Alexa or Google. Let’s hope that they figure out a way to restrict kids from ordering stuff.

Image source: Flickr

Solar Storms Can Remove Electrons from Earth’s Atmosphere

Solar storm with Earth's magnetic field

Solar storms can cause electrons to be removed from our atmosphere.

A new study reveals the phenomenon behind strange events in the Earth’s atmosphere such as the highly popular Northern Lights found across the Arctic. The cause may be due to the capacity of solar storms to remove electrons from our planet’s atmosphere.

The study was conducted by researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Library, DTU Space, the University of Brunswick and the University of Illinois, who wanted to gained a better understanding of the effects of solar storms.

The researchers learned that Earth is exposed to large quantities of electrically charged particles every time a solar storm occurs. This, in turn, can lead to the creation of storms on our planet and even generate the aesthetically-pleasing Northern Lights.

However, the solar eruptions which take place on the surface of the Sun also have the effect of eliminating electrons from Earth’s atmosphere over a considerably large area. Furthermore, the solar events can be quite disruptive for navigation and communication systems, especially those at higher altitudes.

The researchers reveal that during solar storms, electrons are being sent into Earth’s ionosphere, almost 50 miles above the surface. As a result, the magnetic field of Earths is weakened, allowing the electrons and other particles to pass through the ionosphere, where normally they would just be reflected.

While this already a known phenomenon, the recent research reveals that at the same time as that phenomenon, another one occurs which leads to massive amounts of electrons being removed from the atmosphere.

The researchers were able to monitor the overall effects of one solar storm taking place over the Arctic in 2014. They observed how electrons were almost vacuum-cleaned from large areas measuring 500 to 1,000 kilometers. This phenomenon takes place in areas with a high density of electrons, areas known as patches.

The study was published in the journal Radio Science. The authors reveal that the explanation behind this electron-removal phenomenon is found in the various geomagnetic processes which take place in the magnetic field of the planet but in a different direction from where the Sun is located.

What do you think about the study’s findings? Have you seen the Northern Lights in person?

Image sourceFlickr

Scientists Reveal Why Pandas Are Black and White

an adult panda bear

Pandas use their black and white coloring to camouflage and communicate.

Internet users often like to point out that the panda, being black, white, Asian and adored by people all over the world, should be the perfect argument against racism. However, beyond the superficial symbolism, scientists claim to have discovered the mystery behind the animal’s unusual color pattern.

The same researchers who unravel why zebras have a pattern of black and white stripes, as a way to repel biting flies, have now managed to uncover the mysteries of the panda, which they published in the journal Behavioral Ecology.

The study was the result of a collaboration between California State University, Long Beach, and the University of California, Davis. It reveals that the black and white color pattern of the pandas has two main functions: communication and camouflage.

The unique characteristic of pandas has long intrigued scientists, especially since the fact that they are the only animal with this pattern, it has made unraveling the mystery behind it so much harder. However, according to the Tim Caro, the lead author of the study, and a professor at the Department of Wildlife and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, they were able to discover its meaning and purpose only after they began treated each part of its body as a separate area.

This allowed the team of researchers to compare the various regions of fur of the pandas’ body to the light and dark colored regions of 195 other carnivore species in the animal kingdom, as well as with that of 39 bear subspecies related to the panda.

The scientists also tried to match the black areas of the pandas to different behavioral and ecological variables as a way to determine their unknown function. Thanks to these comparisons, the scientists found that most parts of the pandas such as the face, neck, rump, and belly, is white. This helps camouflage vulnerable and vital areas of the animal in snowy habitats. While, the black areas of the bear, found on its arms and legs, help it to better hide in shade.

Scientists believe that their unique coloring is caused by their diet, which is mostly limited to bamboo. Its fur is an adaptive mechanism meant to camouflage it for all periods of the year, as it does not hibernate.

Image sourceWikipedia

Lenovo Unveils Miix 320 Detachable Laptop

Lenovo Miix 320

This the new Lenovo Miix 320 detachable laptop priced at only $199.

Lenovo has just unveiled a new budget detachable laptop priced at $199, the Miix 320. In the last few years, cheap laptops have seen a major increase as more and more school and other types of organizations bought them in bulk to increase the productivity of all their employees.

The Miix 320 convertible laptop has been announced at the 2017 Mobile World Congress and will be launching in April. Lenovo will also sell a pen version of the laptop, which will ship in July. With this new product, Lenovo hopes to make a dent into market dominance of the Google Chromebooks. Thanks to its features and functions, its future prospects are looking quite bright.

The main feature of the Miix 320 is that it is a detachable laptop, meaning that its screen can be removed from the keyboard and used a tablet, something that the Chromebooks don’t currently have, without accounting for the convertible version.

The Miix 320 features a 10.1-inch display with a 1920 x 1200 resolution, which is superior to that of current Chromebooks despite the fact that the Lenovo has a smaller screen. Any interested customers shouldn’t expect much of the quality of the keyboard, but the Microsoft Precision Trackpad does come with a few touching and swiping gestures to facilitate navigation in Windows 10.

The Miix 320 emphasizes portability, allowing you to use it in most situations thanks to its connectivity features such as one USB-C port and two USB-A ports. It also comes with an LTE option for added versatility.

However, with a price tag of only $200, Lenovo had to compromise somewhere. The hardware of the Miix 320 is entirely lackluster. It comes with an Intel Atom X5 which is meant only for browsing and the use of some basic applications. However, the CPU allows for a greater battery life, giving users 10 hours of autonomy on a full charge.

The laptop also comes with 4GB of RAM, and 128 GB of eMMC storage, with 20 GB being already occupied by Windows 10 64-bit. Overall, the Miix 320 seems to be a decent laptop for a great price, but it remains to be seen if will manage to challenge the market share of Chromebooks.

What do you think about Lenovo’s latest product?

Image source: Lenovo

Cats Do Not Cause Mental Health Problems

a young girl with a cat

Study finds no evidence that cats cause mental health problems.

While owners of multiple cats may have some social issues to deal with in their lives, at least they are not at risk of any mental health problems caused by their feline friends. A new study managed to disprove the growing belief that parasites found in cat dropping have anything to do with conditions like OCD, schizophrenia, and other such issues.

The world is still divided between cat or dog lovers, with a few people managing to tolerate both, but at the very least, no cat owner will be at risk of suffering of serious mental issues caused by cats while this friendly debate goes on.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Medicine on February 21th, by a team of British researchers led by Dr. Fracesca Solmi, the lead author of the study as well as a researcher at the University College London Psychiatry.

According to Dr. Solmi, the study did not find any evidence that somehow cat droppings can pose a risk to the mental health of their owners and their children. This increasingly common belief, probably started by dog lovers, consisted in the fact that cats, which are carriers of an infectious parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii, may be able to pass it to humans through their droppings.

Therefore, the purpose of the study was to determine if there was any association between kids coming in contact with cats and increased mental health problems during childhood. As such, the researchers analyzed around 5,000 people, who were born in the early 1990s, until they reached the age of 18 years old. The scientists specifically looked at cases where the mother of the participants had a cat during her pregnancy or if they grew up with a cat as a pet.

Previous studies have reported some links between cats and mental health problems, but mostly due to the fact that they failed to account for other possible explanations. The recent study found no evidence of any association between those two factors.

However, the researchers issued a warning to pregnant women, stating that they should avoid exposure to cat litter boxes since there is evidence that contact with the parasite may lead to serious birth defects as well as other health problems in their children.

Image sourcePixabay

Oil and Gas Development Linked to Childhood Leukemia

oil and gas well

Childhood leukemia has been linked with nearby oil and gas wells.

Everybody is aware of the fact that the development of oil and gas is bad for the environment, but a new study has linked the industry with the increased rates of childhood leukemia in communities nearby the development zones.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado, Anschutz. The scientists revealed that kids who suffer from acute lymphocytic leukemia are more likely to live near an oil and gas development zone. No link has been found between these industrial areas and kids suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

According to Dr. Lisa McKenzie, an assistant research professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, more than 378,000 Colorado residents and several million American currently live at least within a mile of one or more oil and gas development zones.  It’s worth noting that at this point in their research, scientist only found an association between the two factors and not a direct cause of the childhood leukemia.

In this regard, further research is required in order to address the various limitations of the current study as well as better explain its results. The study was funded by the University of Colorado’s Cancer Center, and it was published in PLOS ONE journal.

The study reveals that children as well as young adults, with ages from 5 to 24 years, who suffered from acute lymphocytic leukemia were 4.3 more likely to reside in some of the densest oil and gas development zones in the state, compared to individuals with other forms of cancer. The study mostly focused on the rural areas and towns of Colorado, from 57 different counties in the state. Any urban areas with a population exceeding 50,000 people were excluded from the study.

The latest report reveals that more than 15 million Americans across the country live within a mile of gas and oil well. In Colorado’s most intensive development zones, there are hundreds of wells within just a mile of a home. Furthermore, besides the risk of developing leukemia, residents also risk other health effects from being exposed to industrial development.

The researchers used data from both the Colorado Oil and Gas Information System and the Colorado Central Cancer Registry.

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