Astronauts To Spacewalk A Little Safer Thanks To The “Take Me Home” Button

Two astronauts on a space walk.

A new navigational system will help astronauts orient themselves in space.

When astronauts get lost in space, they don’t get to orientate themselves in the same way a drunk person would down a street. They’d float and float until the last trace of oxygen runs out, and then a simple spacewalk turns into a deathtrap. However,  a new type of technology is set to eliminate the threat of getting lost in the cold vacuum.

Engineering firm, Draper, has come up with a new type of spacesuit which is equipped with autonomous thrusters, however, the technological setpiece comes in the form of the „Take Me Home” button. The suit is designed to automatically guide astronauts back to their home base during an emergency in space. NASA is partially funding the project, while Draper is set to develop it.

Currently, NASA astronauts on board the ISS station have a lot of fail-safes during spacewalks. One of them is that they always have to stay connected to the space station when they’re outside in space suits. However, if they do get detached, they would use their SAFER jet backpacks. These backpacks are equipped with small thrusters that are capable of propelling an astronaut in the desired direction. One thing that sets Draper’s technology apart from NASA’s current equipment is its user-friendliness. The SAFER backpack is manually operated by the astronaut and he or she would have to undergo lots of hours of training in virtual reality to become proficient.

„You see how difficult it is to complete those operations and how much time it takes to become proficient at it,” said Kevin Duda, a space systems engineer at Draper.

This prompted Draper to automatize an astronaut’s orientation system and make the SAFER backpack obsolete.

According to Duda, the „Take Me Home” button uses a high-resolution camera to form points of reference around the astronaut as well as a unit to measure how a person is moving through space. The engineer said the system would also need a guidance system to point the astronaut in the right direction. Draper has been working on an algorithm to solve just that.

The exact mechanics have yet to be explained, as Draper just recently filed a patent for the „Take Me Home” button. As of now, the firm demonstrated how the technology might work in simulations.

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Artificial Meteor Shower Is A Go In 2019

Meteor Shower at dusk

The first artificial meteor shower will be conducted at Setouchi in Hiroshima

Japan will be the first country to have an artificial meteor shower and now we know when it will happen. The Japanese start-up, Astro Live Experiences, is looking at a 2019 event which will be held over the Setouchi area of Hiroshima Prefecture.

ALE founder and CEO, Lena Okajima, announced the company’s first trial run for the artificial meteor shower will commence in a couple of years. Shooting stars are leftover debris from comets that create a bright trail of light once they enter Earth’s atmosphere. The company aims to recreate the natural event by releasing specially designed “pellets” into the atmosphere.

The feat will be accomplished by loading stacks of these pellets into ALE’s 23-inch satellite, located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) above Australia. ALE hopes the satellite will hold 300 to 400 pellets for a one year orbit around Earth.

Once the satellite releases the pellets, they will begin to burn at the moment they fall to a height of 60 kilometers (37 miles). The company claims the pellets will burn up in specific sections of the sky and can display them at any time of the day and in any color. Because the pellets are artificial, ALE can tinker with them to burn brighter and last longer. They also said each shooting star will be visible for at least 62 miles (100 km).

The first trial will be conducted at Setouchi in Hiroshima due to its clear skies and popularity. Okajima added she wants to reignite interest in the cosmos for young people.

“These days people are usually looking down at their smartphone. I want to make people look up again,” she said.

When they’re not providing the world artificial meteor showers, ALE is using the satellite to study physics in the upper atmosphere.

The company has yet to confirm if they will use their flashy spectacle during the 2020 Olympics.

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The Zwicky Telescope will Catch Lightning Speed Movements in the Sky

Girffith Observatory Telescope

Zwicky’s new robotic camera will pierce deeper into the cosmos

A telescope at Caltech has been equipped with a new robotic camera capable of capturing hundreds of thousands of stars and galaxies in a single shot. Astronomers have now been able to successfully test the camera for the first time.

The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) first went live on Monday although the telescope was functional from 1948. Astronomers have repurposed the 1.2 meter Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego. Before it was given a new purpose, Oschin took pictures of the night sky on glass photographic plates.

Set for daily scans, the ZTF will capture large portions of the Northern Sky, looking for shifts in brightness otherwise known as transients. These include black holes, asteroids, comets, and supernovas. The ZTF’s upgraded camera will also be able to take twice as many exposures each night.

The telescope is named after Fritz Zwicky, Caltech’s first astrophysicist. He was responsible for the discovery of 120 supernovae.

According to assistant professor of astronomy at UMD Suvi Gezari, the ZTF will be key to the observation and classification of cosmic events previously unseen by older telescope models.

“Data from ZTF may also offer a rare, real-time glimpse into the formation of a…supermassive black hole”

Surveys conducted by the ZTF represent a huge step forward in astronomy, according to undergraduate director of astronomy at UMD, Melissa Hayes.

Discoveries involving fast-moving cosmic masses were based on chance in the past. However, astronomers have adapted and improved existing instruments to better observe the mysteries of the universe. The ZTF is able to catch fainter and more distant objects.

Institutions from Germany, Taiwan, and Sweden are also in charge of the ZTF.

The ZTF survey is scheduled to begin in February of 2018 and the project itself will be ready by the end of 2020.

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Bill Gates Acquires Land for New City Project

Bill Gates smiling

Microsoft billionaire, Bill Gates has plans for a tech-oriented city called Belmont

Microsoft billionaire, Bill Gates, just bought a gigantic plot of land in Arizona for $80 million for a future „smart city” project. The acquisition was done via one of Gate’s real estate investment firms, Belmont Partners. The area currently holds lots of undeveloped land and a few residents, but the real estate firm is adamant in their new endeavor.

Belmont Partners bought 25.000 acres of land in Tonopah, Arizona which is around 50 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona. Gates aims to create a new community named Belmont, where the tech industry would flourish. Belmont Partners released a statement detailing their plans,

„Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology.”

The proposed city will have data centers, autonomous vehicles, and logistics hubs complemented by high-speed digital networks.

Executive emeritus at the Arizona Technology Councils, Ronald Schott, claims the plot of land to be in a very good spot thanks to the newly opened I-11 freeway which would connect Belmont to Las Vegas.

The firm wants to use close to four thousand acres of office, commercial, and retail spaces. Public schools will benefit from 470 acres along with 80 thousand housing units. Belmont Partners want to convert a barren piece of property into a „purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model.” The firm claims the projected population and size of the community will be similar to that of Tempe, Arizona.

The concept of a smart city is nothing new even though the idea itself is novel. A joint partnership between the U.S Department of Transportation and the other Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen will see the construction of another smart city in Columbus, Ohio, currently called „The Crossroads of Ohio”.

Neither Belmont Partners nor Bill Gates has confirmed when the construction of Belmont will start.

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Facebook Wants to Rid Itself of Revenge Porn

Facebook is cracking down on revenge porn

Facebook is looking into ways of ridding itself of revenge porn

Facebook is looking into possible solutions for wiping off revenge porn from its platform.  The experiment is taking place in Australia and was greenlit by a joint partnership between the social media platform and the Australian government. The solution, however, is quite unorthodox.

Both Facebook and the Australian government’s e-Safety Commissioner are acting against the unwanted publication of nonconsensual media by way of nude photos. While this may seem a bit unusual, the two organizations believe it to be effective.

How it works

If a person suspects to be a victim of revenge porn they can contact e-Safety and send them a nude photo of themselves through Messenger. Facebook will then use its matching algorithms and essentially track the file on their platform.  This technology can already be found in Facebook’s photo and face matching technology. It has a slight tweak that „hashes” or tracks the media in question. By tracking your intimate photo or video, they will, in turn, be able to prevent it from unwanted attention. The media won’t be saved on their servers but it will continue catching duplicates.  In an interview with ABC, e-Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, reassured the public of their strategy:

„They’re not storing the image, they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies”

There’s a catch

The only catch is you need to be in possession of the original file to make it work. However, the Verge stated that if you do tag your media in time, this could prevent it from being further altered by third parties.

Australia isn’t the only place where Facebook will stand its ground against revenge porn.  The platform implemented another preventive mechanism in April by photo-matching images that have been reported or taken down.

This new step towards eliminating nonconsensual file sharing appears to be Facebook’s way of giving power to the individual. But there are issues with the strategy as some have already noticed. People might not trust the website, regardless of its authority, mainly because they’d feel like they’re uploading revenge porn themselves. Australia is one of the four other countries currently testing the strategy.

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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.
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Google Docs Mistakenly Flags Content as Abusive and Leaves Users Puzzled

Google Docs blank document

Google locked a few users out of their Google Docs files for no real reason

If you thought Google Docs was a safe place to keep your documents, think again. A number of users have recently reported being locked out of their online files, and informed they had been violating the company’s Terms and Conditions. The real reason seems to be the content of these documents, which Google found inappropriate. Such an issue poses some real security concerns, meaning that your files are not as safe as you thought they were.

Google Docs randomly flags content as abusive

Google has some strict policies when it comes to the content one can share or add into Google Docs. This means the company is seriously against any kind of content protected by copyright, or which might contain pornography, child abuse, hate speech, threats, overly graphic or confidential information.

However, those users who got their files locked away were still puzzled, since their documents didn’t contain any of the violating content presented above. For instance, one of the victims was Rachael Bale, a reported for National Geographic, who had just lost a Google Docs file about wildlife crime.

This raises some real questions about the security of one’s work

An official from Google quickly intervened, and said the incident must have merely been an error. This happened as they were working on a new code, and a series of harmless documents were faultily flagged as inappropriate. However, the fix should come soon, and these users will be able to recover their files.

This incident raises many questions regarding the security of Google Docs files. The fact that users risk losing important work before they have time to edit the content and remove any policy-infringing references, such as copyrighted material, is a huge glitch. This might risk Google a lot of users, as many journalists are now skeptical, and don’t want to see their work put in danger.

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Intense Cheeseburger Emoji Debate Gets Google CEO Involved in the Matter

Cheeseburger containing two burger patties with cheese on top

The cheeseburger emoji debate convinced the Google CEO to join in the fun

The new cheeseburger emoji proved so controversial that even the Google CEO got involved in the spiced debate. People were outraged by the placement of the cheese in the Google version of the emoji, and this attracted the attention of the company’s CEO. After seeing how disappointed the people were, he decided to assess the problem, and come with a solution as soon as possible.

Google sports an outrageous cheeseburger emoji

One single tweet was enough to start an intense debate regarding the cheeseburger emoji. The Baekdal Media founder, Thomas Baekdal, spotted a significant difference between the Apple and the Google versions of the emoji. The Google version had a different order of the ingredients, with the cheese lying right where it shouldn’t be – at the bottom.

This led to a lot of outrage from cheeseburger fans worldwide, who started debating the perfect arrangement of the ingredients in the popular snack. The original tweet registered a number of 14,000 retweets, and gathered several thousands of people who expressed their opinion on the perfect cheeseburger. Even Gordon Ramsay got involved, and released a tutorial video on how to arrange the ingredients of the snack.

Google’s CEO wants to fix the problem right away

However, everybody knew the cheeseburger emoji issue got to a whole new level when even Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, entered the debate. He couldn’t let the faulty arrangement prevail, so he calmed everybody down through a tweet where he said Google would drop everything and fix the emoji problem.

He said the cheeseburger emoji would receive a fix when users will all agree upon the ideal placement of the ingredients. However, this is unlikely to happen too soon, as there are thousands of tweets on the matter, and users are still arguing. This means that the outrageous cheeseburger emoji with the cheese at the bottom might not disappear so easily.


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Delete for Everyone Is Now Rolling Out for All WhatsApp Users

WhatsApp logo on a phone display

Delete for everyone on WhatsApp will soon get to everyone

The long-awaited WhatsApp feature meant to fix your last night’s mistake is here. Delete for everyone will allow any user to unsend messages, solving problems like subsequent regret, and avoiding unpleasant situations in case you sent a text to the wrong person. The feature is already rolling out for both iOS and Android users.

Delete for everyone will soon get to all WhatsApp users

WaBetaInfo is a Twitter account which shares all kinds of news regarding WhatsApp, and informs users about all the changes as soon as the company decides to take them. Therefore, the Delete for everyone feature is now officially rolling out. If you don’t have it yet, there’s no need to worry, as it will soon get to everyone.

In case the feature still doesn’t show up, make sure your WhatsApp is updated to the latest version. However, be careful before getting rid of an already sent message. The recipient must also have the newest version installed so that the feature might work perfectly. Also, be quick about it, as you only have seven minutes after sending to get rid of it. Delete for everyone works perfectly well in group chats, too.

There are a few limitations to this feature

However, text messages are not the only ones which can disappear. You can delete everything, ranging from images, sent contacts and locations, voice messages, videos, or statuses. Once you perform the operation until the end, the chat will display a notification informing the recipient or the other people in the group that the specific message has been deleted.

There are certain messages which still remain immune to the Delete for everyone feature. Apart from the timeframe when the deleting is possible, those messages added in quotes cannot be removed. Also, whatever is sent within a Broadcast List remains there, so be careful every time when you send a message.
Image Source: Pixabay

Apple Purchases the Wireless Charging Company PowerbyProxi

Wirelessly charging iPhone

Apple wants to own the entire wireless charging market

Apple fashioned its latest iPhones with the exquisite wireless charging technology, but it seems the tech giant is not planning to stop here. The company might be looking to overcome the remote charging market, since it has just purchased PowerbyProxi, the New Zealand producer of wireless chargers and adapters.

Apple wants to make wireless charging more accessible

PowerbyProxi is the creator of the Proxi-Module, a platform of wireless data and power which can be used to make regular devices work as wireless systems. By using it, mostly any kind of smartphone might be able to perform wireless charging.

Samsung showed an interest in the company as well, and even invested $4 million several years ago. However, it seems their affairs didn’t quite work out, and Apple now stepped up and made PowerbyProxi its own company.

Dan Riccio, Apple’s Engineering Vice President, confirmed the acquisition of PowerbyProxi. He said this was an attempt to make wireless charging more accessible, and to give more customers the chance to charge their devices more easily. This means that not only the owners of the newest iPhone generation should benefit from the perks of this technology.

Apple will definitely use the landmark technology in future devices

Although Riccio didn’t reveal how much money they did strike the deal for, the sum might be somewhere over $50,000. The chief of PowerbyProxi also admitted the company now belongs to the Apple family. However, it will not move its headquarters, and the employees will continue working from their home country of New Zealand.

This purchase might mean more Apple devices benefitting from the wireless charging feature. However, the company didn’t reveal any of the plans it has for the next generations of iPhones. Their intentions will definitely be made clear with the release of new hardware.
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