Seven of Saturn’s Moons Keep Its A Ring in Place

Upward view of Saturn

Saturn’s A ring is kept from shattering by seven moons

NASA has recently released another set of data coming from Cassini’s observations. The information is more than interesting, as it reveals a new purpose of the moons which surround Saturn. It seems that these natural satellites don’t just orbit around the planet, but also work together to hold the outermost visible ring, called the A ring.

Saturn’s A ring is kept in place by an unusual cooperation

The A ring is the largest of the visible rings, and stands the furthest from Saturn. However, it accumulates to much material that, without an external support to keep it in place, the ring would start shattering and, gradually, disappear.

Researchers were aware the A ring needed a support. However, for about thirty years, they thought this role only belonged to Janus. However, Cassini kept a close observation on the other moons, and revealed new information about them.

Researchers were impressed by the beauty of this discovery

Apart from studying each moon’s surface and physical properties, researchers analyzed their collective action, and their interaction with Saturn’s rings. After some mathematical approximations, the final result was that Janus couldn’t have enough force to hold the entire A ring. Therefore, several other moons joined it in this attempt, namely Pandora, Pan, Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas, and Mimas.

The gravitational force of the moon is the one which keeps the A ring in place. They act on its rotation speed and slow it down, and also pull down momentum from it. This way, it cannot ‘split’ all over the solar system.

Researchers are extremely happy they have found out such valuable information, and said this was exactly what they were hoping to get from the Cassini mission. They still cannot tell what process formed the rings, but at least they know what keeps them into place. This process is still new and unique, but also beautiful, as all moons work together to maintain the well-functioning of the Saturn rings.
Image Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

New Wolfenstein II Ad Campaign Sparks Intense Political Controversies

Wallpaper for Wolfenstein II

Bethesda re-appropriated Trump’s slogan for the latest Wolfenstein campaign

Bethesda has recently released a new ad campaign to promote the upcoming Nazi-killing game, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. This campaign uses a variation of the already popular slogan of President Trump, Make America Great Again. However, the word “great” is replaced with “Nazi-free”, which sparked a lot of unexpected and unwanted controversies.

The campaign re-appropriates President Trump’s slogan

The Wolfenstein series has always been well-known for depicting the killing of Nazis. The latest game presents an alternate universe where Nazi Germany has won World War II, and is currently in control of Europe and the United States. Therefore, the central campaign behind Wolfenstein II is to get the US rid of Nazis.

This is why Bethesda took the already popular slogan, changed it to suit their campaign, and overlaid the text over a video game sequence showing Nazis marching on the American streets. However, this came in a strange time for the US , when alt-right supporters are marching through the streets.

There are no hidden political messages in Wolfenstein II

Although that wasn’t Bethesda’s intention, the Wolfenstein campaign fell right in the middle of a controversy. Many people interpreted the anti-Nazi message and the Trump correlation to a campaign against the president’s supporters. Therefore, the ad sparked a lot of unwanted reactions, so Bethesda felt the need to clarify the situation.

The video game company insisted that there were no political motives behind the release of this ad campaign, and it didn’t want to promote violence or the massacre of any supporters. Wolfenstein has always been about killing Nazis, but this is just a video game. Also, the general conception was that no one should get offended about the slaughtering of Nazis since, for about 70 years, they have been regarded as bad guys.

The fact that the release of the game coincided with alt-right supporters marching in the streets is purely coincidental. Wolfenstein II is merely a game, so it shouldn’t be taken seriously. It has been released only for entertainment purposes, so there are no secret messages or connections hidden in it.


Image Source: Flickr

Messenger Lite Keeps You Connected to Your Friends While Saving Your Internet Data

Facebook logo on a tablet's display

Messenger Lite consumes less data, but still allows you to keep in touch with your friends

Staying up-to-date with whatever’s new and constantly keeping in touch with your friends comes at a price. You might find that Facebook Messenger consumes quite a lot of data, which is not really affordable at the end of the month. However, Facebook thought of a solution, and will now offer people a way to use the messaging service without consuming much data.

Save some data while staying connected

Facebook developed a ‘light’ version of Messenger, which keeps you connected while using significantly less data than the full service. This version is called Messenger Lite, and offers less data-consuming features, while still offering many options for you to communicate with your friends.

Messenger Lite was already available in Australia, India, and 100 other countries. Now, Facebook rolled it out in US as well, together with UK, Ireland, and Canada. The app can already be downloaded from the Google Play Store, but it’s strictly for Android users. Unfortunately, it might take quite a while until it features an iOS version as well.

Messenger Lite removes the features which consume data

Messenger Lite works just like a regular Messenger app. Once you download it, you sign up with your already existent Messenger account. Your contact list immediately gets on display, together with the chats you have already started. However, some features are missing, but this is only meant to make the app run faster and consume less data.

For instance, video chats are no longer available on Messenger Lite, as they consume a lot of data. Also, the chat heads are gone, so you can message someone only after opening the app. However, the lighter version will let you sends emojis or photos, together with regular messages which contain text. This is a clever strategy to keep you connected to your friends, while consuming as few data as possible.
Image Source: Pexels

Internet Explorer Lets Websites Leak Whatever You’re Typing in the Address Bar

Internet Explorer 10 logo

Internet Explorer is struggling with a huge security issue

A security researcher has recently revealed a dangerous vulnerability present in the latest version of Internet Explorer. It seems the browser has a serious bug which allows websites to leak whatever the user is typing in the address bar. This includes both URLs and search terms, which automatically become visible to the website the user is currently on.

Internet Explorer has a huge security flaw

Manuel Caballero is the researchers which discovered this serious vulnerability. The flaw leaves Internet Explorer’s address bar ‘open’ for the website the user is currently on. For instance, if someone is viewing a page, and wants to go on and visit another one, the former page can peak on what the user will write in the address bar.

As soon as the user hits enter, the page he is on will be able to see what page he will be visiting next, or what search terms he is interested in. This is extremely problematic, as it might leak some private information about the user. In fact, the entire browsing history of a person becomes available, which raises huge security concerns.

Microsoft is trying to replace Internet Explorer with Edge

The researcher suspects this could be a Microsoft strategy. The company has learnt Internet Explorer is outdated a long time ago, and now it’s silently trying to get rid of it, and convince people to replace it with its new browser, Edge. Therefore, they might be avoiding the providing of updates for Internet Explorer on purpose.

Many users have already given up on the classic Internet Explorer in favor of other browsers. However, there are still some people who either have to use Internet Explorers, or are not aware there are better alternatives. When informed about the issue, Microsoft declared they should provide a bug fix soon. However, the safest way to avoid such issues would be to switch to a more modern browser.


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rare Occultation Will See The Moon Block Out A Bright Star And Three Planets

moon occultation in the night sky

A rare occultation event is taking place on September 18 as the Moon will obscure three planets and Regulus.

On September 18, sky gazers will be able to follow a rare event, a celestial occultation which will have the Moon blocking out three planets and also a bright star. Astronomers use the term “occultation” to describe the event of one celestial body blocking out another space body.

The Rare Lunar Occultation not to Repeat Until 2036

According to reports, lunar occultations are a rare phenomenon. The latest known such event, in which the Moon obscured three planets, took place back in 2008, almost a decade ago. However, the next such sighting is projected for more than a decade from now, namely, in 2036.

On September 18, the Moon will be obscuring from view, in this order, Venus, the bright star Regulus, Mars, and then Mercury. As the Earth’s natural satellite, the moon passes in front of other space objects on quite a regular basis. However, such a planetary alignment is a rare event.

The event was noted to have started at 1 a.m. UTC with Venus continued with Regulus at 5 a.m. UTC and Mars will follow at 8 p.m. UTC, and then Mercury at 11 p.m. UTC.

This event will be and is most visible to people living in Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. Sky gazers residing in North America can still follow the phenomenon, even if it will mostly be taking place during the daylight hours. Come evening, the rare occultation should be visible to any interested viewer that has access to a telescope.

These will simply have to follow the Moon and observe it as it moves across the sky. In its path, it will be obscuring Mars and Mercury. The three planets and star were aligned in a slightly askew diagonal.

Regulus, the star in question, is one of the 22 known “first magnitude stars”. They were named like this thanks to their property of being among the brightest stars in the night sky. The Moon can occult only four of these 22 space bodies. The three others,  besides Regulus, are Antares, Aldebaran, and Spica.

Image Source: Flickr

A Sedentary Lifestyle Can Lead To Early Death, Warns Study

a man with a couch potato shirt sitting with remotes on him and a sedentary lifestyle

People with a sedentary lifestyle that sit for longer than 30 minutes at a time present a higher mortality risk.

Having a sedentary lifestyle and failing to stretch for more than 30 minutes can increase the risks of early death, according to a new study. Although not the first research to target this year, this one nonetheless attempts to rectify the limitations of previous such analyses.

A Sedentary Lifestyle or Having Bouts of Inactivity Longer Than 30 Minutes at a Time

This latest research monitored about 8000 Caucasian and Africa-American participants over a period of seven days. All those involved in the study were aged 45 or older. Accelerometers placed on their hips helped monitor each person’s periods of activity and inactivity throughout the day. A follow-up four years later revealed that 340 of the participants had died.

By analyzing the collected data, the team determined that the participants that had a less than 30 minutes bout of inactivity presented the lowest risks of early death. In contrast, for people with a sedentary lifestyle, for every half hour of inactivity, their risks of an early death rose by around 19 percent.

Closely monitoring the participants helped determine their median sedentary pattern, which established to be of 12.3 hours in a 16-hours day. Each of their sedentary bouts was established to extend, on average, for 11.4 minutes.

Study Limitations and Measures Against Them

The analysis also took into account the age, race, sex, BMI, and exercise habits of the participants. These helped determine that the length of a sedentary bout was also important and a factor in the spike in mortality rates. This comes beside the total number of hours spent in a sedentary way, which was already included.

“We furthermore studied how long is too long for sitting bouts. We found that those individuals who frequently kept their sitting bouts to less than 30 minutes had a lower risk of death,” stated Keith Diaz, the study lead and part of the Columbia University Medical Center.

This also reportedly continued by saying that people that sat for more than 13 hours every day presented a 200 percent higher risk of death.

As it is, researchers not part of the study point out that one of the limitations of this study is the fact that the results can vary according to the health levels, ethnicity, and race of the people.

Still, specialists do agree with the study’s advice of stretching or standing or moving around at regular intervals.

Current research findings are available in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Image Source: Flickr

Could The TRAPPIST-1 System Be The Host Of Gas Giant Planets?

scheme of the gas giant planets of the trappist-1 system

A team of scientists believes that the TRAPPIST-1 system might be hosting gas giant planets.

The discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system and its seven Earth-like planets raised a lot of interest after being revealed at the start of the year. As scientists are still looking to determine which, if any, of these planets, might be hospitable or present signs of life, a team of researchers is looking at another element.

Carnegie Institution for Science researchers are behind a new study which questions and proposes the existence of gas giant planets somewhere on the outskirts of the TRAPPIST-1 system.

Gas Giant Planets to Reveal New Data About Our Own

Presently, the scientific community is aware of there being only seven planets in the newly discovered TRAPPIST-1 system. The existence of the ultra-cool dwarf star at its center was spotted and revealed by the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope.

Now, this new study proposes the existence of another set of planets besides the seven, Earth-like ones that are already known. The research team suggests that these other planets, gas giant such as Jupiter or Saturn, are situated much further away from their star parent.

“A number of other star systems that include Earth-sized planets and super-Earths are also home to at least one gas giant,” states Alan Boss, the first author of the paper.

Together with his colleagues, Boss used the CAPSCam (the Carnegie Astrometric Planet Search Camera) to determine the upper limits of the mass of any potential gas giant planets in this system.

The research team considers that, by finding gas giants in the TRAPPIST-1 system, scientists could maybe solve one of the mysteries of our own galaxy. Namely, it might help determine how these giant planets came to form.

One theory goes back to the early days of the Sun when this was surrounded by a disk of dust and gas. The Earth and terrestrial-like planets are believed to have been formed by the slow accretion of the disk’s rocky material.

Gas giants might have had a similar start. But they might have also gathered enough materials to gravitationally attract a large mass of the surrounding gas.

Both this theory and the newly advanced idea have some still unexplained elements. The researchers are hoping could be explained by the presence of the vehiculated gas giant planets.

The test results and research findings are presented in a paper released in The Astronomical Journal.

Image Source: JPL/NASA

Kylie Jenner Talks About Tyga Split

kylie jenner on red carpet

Kylie Jenner confessed that her relationship with Tyga ended naturally.

Few can argue that the Kardashian-Jenner family holds a place in the public as true reality star kingpins. Considering their high profile status, the relationship of the youngest sister in Kardashian-Jenner lineup (Kylie) was a religiously followed saga by many. When the relationship with Tyga ended in April of this year, the masses expected a bold headline inducing event for the ages. A he said/she said volley where we could all sit back with some popcorn and cast our lots into the coliseum of speculation was surely to unfold. Onlookers of the public romance were shocked when the relationship ended with a subdued, puttering finale. For a relationship packed with titillating drama, its ending was anything but.

The Tea

Many can catalogue the relationship of Kylie and Tyga as the stuff of imagination starting in 2014. When they were realized as a pair, although not publicly, Kylie was still underage. A fact that was cause for intense speculation and comment from the start. After her 18th birthday, the two become more public as a couple and let the relationship banner fly.

After a short split in fall of 2015, the pair made headlines again when Tyga’s ex and mother to son Lion began a relationship with Kylie’s brother Rob Kardashian. A relationship, that in its own right, was an epic unfolding. Chyna and Rob’s relationship aside, the dynamic of the quadrangular relationship perplexed us all.

Now we finally find ourselves in the present, the relationship having ended between Kylie and Tyga some four months ago. However, straight from Kylie’s own mouth, there was no grand explosive release of tension. The two simply parted ways, but she definitely implies it was by her own initiation.

The young Jenner now finds herself in a budding relationship with Travis Scott and hopes to experience more of young love while still at a youthful age. Time will tell what that story will look like.

Overall, as a relationship riddled with quirks and theater, the end of the Kyga dynamic duo seems to of met a mature and otherwise uneventful conclusion.

Image Source: Flickr

Game of Thrones Might Be a Parable of Today’s Global Warming Warnings

game of thrones characters

There’s a stark resemblance when Jon Snow speaks of White Walkers as the biggest threat to humankind and the way scientists and advocates talk global warming. Both of these parties are seen as mad persons. No matter how many pieces of evidence there are, the world is still following its old routine with their political, social, and professional problems. Nonetheless, there are other clues that promote Game of Thrones as the perfect display of today’s climate crisis.

Jon Snow as Well as Environmentalists Have to Figure out How to Convince People of the Existence of an Unseen Enemy

The popular TV show based on George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ managed to strike a chord with environmentalists last week. The third episode of the seventh season showed how Jon Snow is attempting to convince the mother of dragons of the threat of White Walkers. However, he feels how Khaleesi is looking at him with doubtful eyes. Therefore, he asks Tyrion Lannister:

“How do I convince people who don’t know me that an enemy they don’t believe in is coming to kill them all?”

That’s the same feeling that environmentalists experience when they are trying to convince the world of the threat of global warming. However, Jon Snow in the fictional world of the Seven Kingdoms refers to White Walkers.

Nonetheless, they are described as undead bodies that freeze entire cities in ice. Therefore, they can be easily seen as the personification of a side effect of global warming, which is a life-threatening winter. On top of that, Jon Snow delivers a message that has a not so subtle climatic edge, ‘Winter is coming!’

No Leader (Fictional or Real) Is Willing to Prioritize Global Warming over All the Other Matters of the State

Another similarity between these two situations reaches leaders’ world. While the only habitable planet is on the brink of irreversible destruction, world leaders continue to place this threat on lower levels of priority. Some of them are even denying the existence of such climate changes altogether.

Tyrion Lannister is a fine savvy of the human nature. He tells Jon that people usually don’t have the capacity to deal with such an overwhelmingly large issue. Therefore, they would rather stick with their old issues such as politics or personal problems than trying to solve a seemingly impossible situation.

These very words also apply in the context of our reality as well. People continue to carry on with their familiar issues instead of seeing what they can do about a distant danger that might one day wipe out humanity.

Image source: 1

Survey Analyzes The Public Perception On The Use Of Gene Editing

public perception on gene editing illustration

A new survey looked to determine the public perception of the use of CRISPR and gene editing.

In January, researchers part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a survey to learn about the public perception towards the use of gene editing. This is becoming increasingly relevant as gene editing technology is taking leaps and bounds. Scientists in Oregon announced in early August that they had successfully corrected a genetic defect in human embryos. A separate announcement this week revealed the birth of 37 pigs that have been genetically modified to provide organ transplants for humans. These feats of genetic engineering come after the development of CRISPR/Cas9, a gene editing tool derived from bacterial immune systems.

Public Perception Towards Gene Editing

Dietram Scheufele, the leader of the Wisconson-Madison study, told media sources that, “There’s probably much more optimism than pessimism about this technology overall.”

This new survey involved 1,600 participants. While three-quarters of the questioned people disapproved of using gene editing to make inheritable aesthetic changes, such as altering the eye color or height, the majority of participants (two-thirds) approved of using the technology to eliminate diseases.

Also, the researchers noted that people might appear more or less accepting of the use of gene editing depending on how the survey questions are presented. For example, there is a lower approval rating when the word “embryos” is used. CRISPR/Cas9 technology typically does involve editing organisms at the embryonic stage, a fact that many in the general public may not be aware of.

The ability to edit the genomes of individuals is no longer a figment of science fiction. While this technology has the potential to eliminate horrible genetic diseases, it comes with a set of challenging ethical questions. Scientists and lawmakers feel that it is important to understand the public perception regarding gene editing technology to make moral decisions about its use. No doubt the topic will generate much controversy and debate in the years to come.

The survey results were made available in a paper in the journal Science. 

Image Source: Wikimedia