Google Blames the Google Docs Incident on a Piece of Faulty Code

Chrome Google extensions on a Mac

Google explained what happened during the Google Docs incident

Several Google Docs users reported getting locked out of their documents and receiving a message telling them they had violated the company’s terms and conditions. None of the users appeared to have produced offensive or copyrighted content, so Google had to apologize and explain what had actually happened with their files.

An error in the code caused the Google Docs files to be locked out

When these users tried to access their files, Google prevented them from doing it, and said the files were locked out due to violating content. Soon after that, the company fixed the Google Docs error, and explained how some code mistook these documents for abusive files.

This mechanism used on Google Docs and Google Drive is meant to protect the users. By blocking certain content which seems unsuitable, the company reduces the chances of viruses and malware infiltrating the users’ computers. However, this time, an error in the code read many harmless documents as abusive.

The tech giant felt the need to explain the situation better. Google Docs is protected by an automated security system which looks for vulnerabilities and threats. Whenever it identifies a potential danger, the files in question are blocked. However, the code which controls this security system contained an error, and triggered a false alarm.

Users now find the content-processing service too unreliable

Google acted quickly and removed the faulty piece of code from the system. Therefore, the blocked files have been retrieved, and Google Docs works just like before. However, users are now skeptical about relying so much on this service.

They didn’t realize how dependent they were on Google Docs, and how much the integrity of their work depended on the well-functioning of the system. The service was comfortable for people, as it works with Cloud technology, and saved any changes automatically. Now, all these users fear it might get unstable again, and their work might get forever compromised.
Image Source: Vimeo

Researchers Date Back the First Documented Solar Eclipse and Some Pharaoh Reigns (Study)

Golden pharaoh mask in a museum

Researchers used the first-ever documented solar eclipse to date back a few pharaoh reigns

A team of researchers managed to find out the date of the first solar eclipse ever recorded, which also brought some valuable information on the chronology of several pharaoh reigns. They managed to do it by studying several passaged taken from the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament, as well as some carvings from Ancient Egypt.

The mystery of the biblical text has been revealed

Researchers compared the writings in the Old Testament with the engravings which dated back from antiquity, and managed to identify some similarities between them. By establishing the connections between them, they came up with a date for the first solar eclipse which was ever recorded – October 30th, 1207 BC.

For several centuries, scientists and men of culture had been puzzled by a certain passage in the Bible. The English translation is quite obscure, claiming that the sun stood still and the moon stopped at the moment when Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan. Researchers knew the key lay in the original Hebrew text, so they revised it and decided the passage talked about an eclipse.

Researchers established the date of eclipses, as well as of several pharaoh reigns

The next step was find out when this eclipse actually occurred. For this, researchers needed to look at an old Egyptian carved text dating back to the reign of Ramesses the Great’s son, Merneptah. Thanks to this text, researchers could tell that the Israelites entered Canaan sometime between 1500 and 1050 BC.

Then, they used their own scientific measurements to establish when all solar phenomena occurred. Apart from total eclipses, they could also determine the date when annual eclipses took place, when the sun got obscured by the moon only partially. After accounting for possible fluctuations in the orbit of our planet, they decided the year when this event took place was 1207 BC.

This way, researchers could not only date eclipses. This information allowed them to find out when the reigns of different pharaohs took place. Ramesses the Great, for instance, must have ruled between 1276 and 1210 BC, give or take a year, while his son’s reign should have started in 1210 or 1209. All the details of the study have been published in the journal Astronomy & Geophysics.
Image Source: Max Pixel

Sony Has Just Released the Kid-Friendly Mini Wired Gamepad

PlayStation 4 console and controller

Sony released a kid-edition controller, Mini Wired Gamepad

Sony has just released new gaming gear, namely the long-awaited Mini Wired Gamepad compatible with PS4. For the creation of this tool, Sony collaborated with Hori, the well-known producer of gaming equipment. As the name said, the controller comes in a small size, and is likely made especially for children.

What’s so special about the Mini Wired Gamepad?

If you compare the Mini Wired Gamepad with the original controller, it is about half the size of the latter, and 40 percent of the DualShock 4. It comes in the color blue, so typical of PlayStation consoles. However, this is the only color available. Some other specifications include a wire which connect the controller to the console.

These are the features which make it stand out. Then, most of the other elements make it really similar to DualShock 4. All the buttons present on the Mini Wired Gamepad can also be found on DualShock 4. They allow you to play any PS4 game you like, while using the same controls you are already used to.

The smaller size made Sony give up some features

However, your experience might suffer a bit, as some of the exclusive features present on other controllers are now gone. As the Mini Wired Gamepad is smaller than you have been used to, Sony had to give up some of vibration, the speaker, the touch pad, the jack for the headset, or the motion sensor.

However, even if the touch pad is gone, it doesn’t mean your controls will suddenly be cut in half. By manipulating the sticks present on the mini controller, you should be able to simulate the movements offered by the touchpad.

Sony found the perfect way to make gaming more comfortable for children, as spending too much time using the massive controllers could have turned painful by the end of the day. It might work just as fine for humans, as the Mini Wired Gamepad is easier to manipulate and to hold.
Image Source: Pixabay

Researchers Spot Giant Hole as Big as Maine in the Middle of Antarctica

Huge polynya in Antarctica

Researchers don’t know where the gaping Antarctic hole comes from

Scientists have recently made a spine-chilling discovery about Antarctica, and they don’t even know what to do about it. They have spotted a gaping hole in the Antarctic ice, which is about the size of the state of Maine. However, the breach is placed quite randomly, making it extremely difficult for the researchers to find out where it comes from.

The hole is unusually placed

The huge hole amazed everybody with its size and aspect. It is about as big as Maine, or the size of the biggest of all Great Lakes. However, the formation is not mysterious because of its size as it is because of its location. Big holes in the icecap are not unusual in the warmer regions of Antarctica, closer to the coast. However, this one is placed right in the middle of the continent, deep within the ice, making it hard to explain how it came into being.

Usually, ice holes filled by water are called polynyas, and can be the result of two processes. One of them requires heat, and consists of water warmer than usual, which prevents ice from further developing, and leads to the formation of the gaping void. The second possibility involves a type of wind which cuts into ice. This wind is called katabatic, blows hard over the coastline ice, gradually thin it out, and lead to the occurrence of a hole.

Researchers aren’t able to tell where the huge hole comes from

However, this time, researchers cannot tell which of the two phenomena created the gaping hole. All they can tell is the fact that it is located quite far away from the coast and, if it weren’t for satellites, they wouldn’t even have known the polynya was there.

There’s no need to worry, though. Polynyas often form in Antarctica, and one such hole has been recurrently appearing and disappearing on the middle ice layer of the continent. Fortunately, the technology is advanced enough to study the Maine polynya and find out its secret.
Image Source: Flickr

Former Uber Executive Levandowski Wants to Start a New Religion with an AI God

Artist's view of artificial intelligence

Anthony Levandowski wants to found his own religion which worships an AI god

Anthony Levandowski has had an interesting trip to fame, and is best well-known for being the man at the center of the Uber-Waymo scandal. He doesn’t cease to amaze everyone, as now is set to start a new religion. This religion is called ‘Way of the Future’, and is supposed to be worshipping an AI god.

Levandowksi is at the center of the Uber-Waymo scandal

Levandowski started as a Google engineer who slowly became well-known everywhere. After he left the company, he made his own startup, Otto, involving self-driving cars. This startup was bought by Uber, and Levandowski became an executive of the bigger company.

However, he is responsible for the infamous scandal between Uber and Waymo. The latter is a division which belongs to Google, and they claim he stole their technology and applied it in the development of autonomous vehicles. Uber fired him after these accusations, but the trial is still ongoing.

He wants to worship an AI god

Levandowski seemed determined not to disappear from the spotlight. It seems the engineer is set to start a new religion with an AI god. Although many regard AIs as an imminent threat, Levandowski sees it otherwise. He also seems to believe the Singularity is possible, or that such machines can actually become smarter than humans.

So far, this religion, called ‘Way of the Future’ hasn’t applied for the necessary paperwork to become a true religious organization. However, the former Uber executive has submitted other papers, entitling him as the CEO and President of this religious group.

The chances that Singularity will occur are quite small but, even if this does happen, Levandowski wants to be on the right side. He might think this is a good thing, but other experts in the field, including Elon Musk, are terrified by such a scenario.
Image Source: Pixabay

Considering Oneself Lazy Could Actually Be Damaging To The Health

lazy man

Considering yourself lazy may reportedly be more damaging than actually being lazy.

People that perceive themselves as being “lazy” or less physically active could be harming their health in ways they wouldn’t even believe. According to a new study, these allegedly present a higher risk of dying young than people with similar activity levels but other perceptions.

Stanford University researchers are behind this new survey. They based their research on data gathered from three nationally representative samples. These included information on over 61,000 U.S. adult residents. Survey participants were monitored over a period of 16 years, in between 1990 and 2006. Mortality data for all the participants was collected in 2011.

Study participants were asked to answer various questions about their activity levels. Two of the samples had them self-report these levels, and to include type, intensity, duration, and frequency. For the other sample, the people involved were asked to wear an accelerometer. This measured their real-time activity throughout a week.

Being Lazy and Considering That You Are Lazy Lead to Different Results

All participants were also asked to answer a specific question. “Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?”

According to the study results, the difference in between actual physical levels and the people’s perception of it was quite significant.

“Our perceptions about how much exercise we are getting and whether or not we think that exercise is adequate are influenced by many factors other than how much exercise we are actually getting,” stated Octavia Zahrt, who was part of the study.

Another surprising study find is that participants that perceived themselves as being lazy or lazier were also 71 percent more likely to die during the follow-up period of the study. The values remained the same even after controlling for the actual amount of physical activity. Or for age, chronic illnesses, and other health and demographic factors.

All study participants were asked to report their age, gender and race/ethnicity. They were also asked about their education, employment, and marital status, as well as other demographic and health data. They also had to self-rate their health on a scale of one (excellent) to five (poor).

The study team points out that they found a correlation, not a relation between the life expectancy and the perceived activity levels. Still, they note that other studies have indicated the importance of the mindset on behavior and health.

Current study results are available in APA’s journal Health Psychology, and further research is still needed.

Image Source: Pexels

Exposure To Oil Is Damaging To Coral Reef Fish

coral reef fish

Coral reef fish can have long term problems because of their early exposure to oil.

Coral reef fish have a hard time as they grow up because of their being exposed to oil in the early stages of their life, at least according to a new study. Even small amounts of this chemical substance in marine environments can lead to more problems than believed.

Research on the matter was conducted by US, Australian, and Norwegian scientists. They published their results in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. The paper also brings to attention the risks provoked by an increased industrial activity in regions such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral Reef Fish Impaired by Oil As They Look For Home

Study results are based on tests carried out in simulated marine environments which housed six reef fish species. These were all part of the Lethrinidae and Pomacentridae families. All of them can be found swimming in the Great Barrier Reef.

The team introduced minimal amounts of oil in their simulated environments, and then monitored the fish. According to a study co-author, Dr. Jodie Rummer from the James Cook University, the results were “quite alarming”.

The oil concentration in the simulated environments was reportedly the equivalent of ‘a few drops of oil’ in a swimming pool. Even so, they caused significant problems especially to the coral reef fish exposed to them in their early life stages.

These were noted to be worse at escaping from possible predators. Or at choosing a habitat for them to live in. The fish were also observed to be traveling in smaller groups and also towards more dangerous and open waters.

“In such early life stages, if these reef fishes are exposed to oil, they’re experiencing some really dangerous cognitive difficulties,” states Dr. Rummer.

As the coral reef fish seem unable to make proper decisions, this could also lead to “their ultimate demise” according to the study co-author. Oil could be affecting the fish’s neurotransmitters function in the brain.

The study specifically looked at emperor and damselfish that typically live in tropical coral reefs. These brightly colored fish play a significant role in the reef’s survival, as they help remove algae. They are also part of the local food chain as larger fish species prey on them.

Image Source: Flickr

Research Unearth New Remains Of Massive Jurassic-Era Crocodile Ancestor

crocodile ancestor jaws

Research results concerning fossil remains of a crocodile ancestor called notosuchian were recently released.

Researchers discovered new fossil remains belonging to a massive crocodile ancestor that lived and was probably an apex predator during the Jurassic Period era. The animal could have weighed about a ton and been around seven meters long.

This Jurassic-Era ancestor is an elusive notosuchian part of the archosaurian, some of the most fearsome predators before the appearance of the T-rex. Only a few remains of the specimens of this species have been discovered.

Crocodile Ancestor, Apex Predator

This new fossil, a jaw part, was discovered in north-west Madagascar, near the village of Ambondromamy. A closer analysis of these remains helped paint a clearer picture of what this elusive animal must have looked like.

For example, it revealed that it had strong, very large and probably deadly teeth. Ones possibly measuring some 15 centimeters from root to tip. These might have also presented serrated edges on the inner side, ones perfect for tearing into prey and breaking tendons and bones.

The teeth were also particularly wide and also expanded at the root. Their shape, resembling halved bananas, are called “pachydont teeth”. This also resembles the broad T-rex teeth more than it does any other of its close relations.

Cristiano Dal Sasso, the study’s author, states that the creature was about the size of a big saltwater crocodile.

“”Based on the preserved skull bones, we infer a body shape similar to that of baurusuchids, and consequently an overall length of 7 metres – 1.6m wide at the hips – and a weight of 800-1,000 kilograms,” states the lead, Dal Sasso.

The newly discovered crocodile ancestor is called Razanandrongobe sakalavae or, for short, Razana. It is believed to be the ‘most ancient’ and also largest notosuchians. It is some 42 million years older than the next known oldest specimen.

Study results are available in the journal PeerJ.

Image Source: Flickr

Kuiper Belt Mysterious Object Lurks Behind Pluto

Kuiper Belt mysterious Object

A Kuiper Belt mysterious object was found just behind far regions of the Solar System

Two researchers at the University of Arizona are of the opinion that there is a hidden planetary-mass object orbiting the Sun beyond Pluto in our solar system. The researchers from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) are of the hypothesis that the planetary-mass object is, in terms of size, between Mars and Earth. The Kuiper Belt mysterious object was found because it has a perceived ability to control the orbital planes of spaces rocks (or KBOs).

Kuiper Belt Mysterious Object Lurks Behind Pluto

The two authors of the research, Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra, have said that:

“According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured”.

The Kuiper Belt mysterious object is supposed to be different from and closer than the Planet Nine, which was not yet demonstrated to actually exist. Rather, it is only a theoretical finding.

For the present study regarding the Kuyper Belt mysterious object, Volk and Renu researched more than 600 KBOs trying to determine the common – or average – direction and tilt of their orbital planes.

The two researchers from the University of Arizona note that the Kuiper Belt mysterious object was not spotted, yet, in the Kuiper Belt. However, they are confident that, after the finishing of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, they will be able to better spot and discover hidden worlds like this one.

While most KBOs – which are debris remained from the formation of the solar system – orbit the sun with orbital tilts, or inclinations, with an invariable plane of the solar system, the farthest KBOs do not. Per the two researchers’ discovery thus far, this Kuiper Bet mysterious object is titled away from the invariable plane by about 8 degrees. Which is more than enough evidence that a planetary-mass object is interfering with the orbital tilting.

Image Source: Pixabay

New Sun-Less Suntan Compound Could Be Beneficial For The Skin

suntan compound bottle

Researchers are working on a suntan compound that can help create a tan and possibly prevent skin cancer.

Scientists from the Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospital is developing a suntan compound that can create a tan without having to sit in the sun. Besides its potential cosmetic value, the scientists are looking to develop this as a new possible protection method against skin cancer.

The new suntan compound could come to be used in conjunction with sunscreen and revolves around melanin. This is the pigment in both the human skin, hair, and eyes that give them their color.

Suntan Compound Still in the Testing Phase

These latest results are based on a study conducted back in 2006, but almost the same team. At the time, the scientists discovered that forskolin, a plant extract, could lead to cancer-protecting tan in red-haired mice. Still, this compound was proven ineffective in humans, so the group looked in a different direction.

Now, the researchers are working on a new such solution, one created from a different class of compounds. Lab tests on both mice and human skin samples have also shown its potential efficiency. This class of compounds was noted to be capable of boosting the skin pigmentation process. It also proved its efficiency in ‘squeezing’ through the outer layers of the epidermis.

The suntan compound works by twitching Salt Inducible Kinase (SIK) enzymes in the skin. These are the melanin production “master off switch”. Once applied, the compound can generate a large production of melanin, capable of ‘tanning’ even the fairest skin tones.

Initially, the solution was tested on red-haired mice and then on human skin samples. Based on these tests, the team determined that the tanning response could be modified by adjusting the frequency of use and dosage. Nonetheless, its effects could last for days without the need of reapplying.

Once the researchers stopped reapplying the solution, which simply has to be rubbed on, the skin returned to its natural tone within a couple of weeks.

The scientists are hoping that used together with sunscreen, this new suntan compound can help reduce the risks of skin cancer. Further research is needed, as well as clinical trials before the compound can transform into a commercially available product.

The results of the study are available in a paper in the journal Cell Reports.

Image Source: Pixabay