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Snapchat not working for many Android users: Report

7 days ago  
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London, July 12 Photo-messaging app Snapchat has reportedly been crashing down on some Android devices for the past couple of days, the media reported. "We're aware many Snapchatters are experiencing crashing on the app. We're looking into it and working on a fix!" Snapchat Support said in a tweet. According to a report in The Independent late on Wednesday, the app is down across Britain. The app started crashing one day after Snapchat announced that it was rolling out a new "lens explorer" to allow users to browse through thousands of lenses created by the app in recent months, the report said. The company, however, is yet to confirm whether or not the bug is only affecting Android devices. Many users took to social media and expressed the issues they were facing with the app. Snapchat has given no timeline about by when would this issue be resolved, the report added. — IANS...
                 

Gravitational waves could reveal how fast universe is expanding

7 days ago  
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Boston, July 12 Gravitational waves emitted by a rare system — a hugely energetic pairing of a spiralling black hole and a neutron star — can be used to determine the Hubble constant, which describes the rate at which the universe is expanding, scientists say.                Since it first exploded into existence 13.8 billion years ago, the universe has been expanding, dragging along with it hundreds of billions of galaxies and stars, much like raisins in a rapidly rising dough. Astronomers have pointed telescopes to certain stars and other cosmic sources to measure their distance from Earth and how fast they are moving away from us — two parameters that are essential to estimating the Hubble constant, a unit of measurement that describes the rate at which the universe is expanding. However, the most precise efforts have landed on very different values of the Hubble constant. This information could shed ..
                 

You will lose some of your Twitter followers

7 days ago  
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New Delhi, July 12 Twitter has announced it will remove locked accounts — which are disabled owing to suspicious activity — from follower counts across profiles globally in the coming days resulting in some users seeing a drop in their base of followers. If you lose some followers, do not fret as most people will see a change of four followers or fewer. But if you are a celebrity or a public figure, you are set to lose more followers with this exercise. "Others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop. We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation," Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Head, said in a blog post late on Wednesday. The locked accounts are different from spam or bots and in most cases, these accounts were created by real people. Twitter spots such accounts once there is a sudden changes in account beh..
                 

Oxygen levels on early Earth fluctuated several times

8 days ago  
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WhatsApp shares 'easy tips' to spot fake news, hoax

8 days ago  
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New Delhi, July 10 Under fire over fake and provocative messages being circulated on its platform, WhatApp today began an awareness campaign to help users identify and prevent the spread of false information, hoax messages and fake news. With rumours on Whatsapp triggering lynching in parts of the country, the Facebook-owned messaging service brought out full-page advertisement in leading newspapers, first in the series of its user awareness drive, giving "easy tips" to decide if information received is, indeed, true. IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had last week asked for greater accountability from WhatsApp, saying that the government will not tolerate any misuse of the platform to spread fake messages designed to "provoke" and "instigate" people. In response, WhatsApp had informed the government that fake news, misinformation and hoaxes can be checked by the government, civil society and technology companies "working together". Reiteratin..
                 

Novel smart bandages can monitor, treat chronic wounds

10 days ago  
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Washington, July 9 Scientists have developed a smart bandage that can actively monitor chronic wounds and deliver appropriate drug treatments to improve the chances of healing. The research, published in the journal Small, is aimed at transforming bandaging from a traditionally passive treatment into a more active paradigm to address a persistent and difficult medical challenge. Chronic skin wounds from burns, diabetes, and other medical conditions can overwhelm the regenerative capabilities of the skin and often lead to persistent infections and amputations. With the idea of providing an assist to the natural healing process, the researchers at Tufts University in the US designed the bandages with heating elements and thermoresponsive drug carriers that can deliver tailored treatments in response to embedded pH and temperature sensors that track infection and inflammation. Non-healing chronic wounds are a significant medical problem. Patients are often older and limited in thei..
                 

How your phone may be spying on you

12 days ago  
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New York, July 7 Some popular apps on your Android phone may be actively listening to you, monitoring your habits and even secretly taking screenshots of your activity and sending them to third parties, a new study has found. These screenshots and videos of your activity on the screen could include usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other important personal information, the researchers said. “We found that every app has the ability to record your screen and anything you type,” said David Choffnes, a Professor at Boston’s Northeastern University. The findings will be presented at the Privacy Enhancing Technology Symposium Conference in Barcelona. For the study, the team analysed more than 17,000 of the most popular apps on the Android operating system, using an automated test programme written by the students. In all, 9,000 of the 17,000 apps showed the potential to take screenshots. “There were no audio leaks at all. Not a single app activ..
                 

'Inbox' by Gmail app now updated for iPhone X

13 days ago  
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San Francisco, July 6 The "Inbox" by Gmail app for iOS devices has been updated with support for the iPhone X, over eight months after the super premium iPhone was unveiled. In a 144 MB update pushed out on the App Store, Google said the "Inbox" now supports Apple's pricier iPhone variant, with little else by way of changes in the update text, The Verge reported late on Thursday. Essentially, the update removes the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen so it fits the iPhone X's screen more naturally, with its funky 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Since November 2017, "Inbox" by Gmail has received 13 updates. However, none of them had included iPhone X support. According to Google's release notes, no other new features were included in the update. The search engine giant has also updated its standard Gmail app for iOS devices, thus, introducing support for high-priority notifications for important messages. — IANS...
                 

Ultrathin electronic tattoos may lead to next-gen wearable devices

14 days ago  
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Washington, July 5 Scientists have developed highly flexible, ultra thin tattoo-like circuits using an off-the-shelf printer that can adhere to human skin and could power the next generation of wearable devices. The low-cost process adds trace amounts of an electrically-conductive, liquid metal alloy to tattoo paper that adheres to human skin. These ultrathin tattoos can be applied easily with water, the same way one would apply a child's decorative tattoo with a damp sponge. Other tattoo-like electronics either require complex fabrication techniques inside a clean room or lack the material performance required for stretchable digital circuit functionality on skin. "We use a desktop inkjet printer to print traces of silver nanoparticles on temporary tattoo paper," said Carmel Majidi, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the US. "We then coat the particles with a thin layer of gallium indium alloy that increases the electrical conductivity and al..
                 

SpaceX delivers AI robot, ice cream, mice to space station

16 days ago  
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Suspending fake accounts won't hurt user metrics: Twitter

9 days ago  
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San Francisco, July 10 While confirming a The Washington Post report that Twitter has been suspending as much as one million questionable accounts per day in recent months, the micro-blogging site refuted the claim that the move will lead to decline in the numbers of monthly active users. Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, and the pace has continued in July, The Washington Post reported. "Some clarifications: most accounts we remove are not included in our reported metrics as they have not been active on the platform for 30 days or more, or we catch them at sign up and they are never counted," Twitter CFO Ned Segal said in a tweet on Monday while responding to the report in The Washington Post. Twitter reported 336 million monthly active users at the end of the first quarter of this year. "If we removed 70 million accounts from our reported metrics, you would hear directly from us. This article reflects us getting better at improving t..
                 

'Facebook must protect kids from addictive habits'

10 days ago  
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London, July 9 Speaking of an "insidious grip" that social media activities may have on young people, a top health official in England has asked social media companies like Facebook to do more to protect children from addictive habits and dangerous content, The Telegraph reported. "There is emerging evidence of a link between semi-addictive and manipulative online activities and mental health pressures on our teenagers and young people," Chief Executive of National Health Service (NHS) Simon Stevens was quoted as saying. "Parents are only too aware of the insidious grip that some of these activities can have on young people's lives," he added. In order to deal with the fallout for an explosion of social media, NHS England which leads the national health services in the country is planning to ramp up its mental health services. But Stevens pointed out that it is important to think about the prevention of mental health issues, and not just the cure, s..
                 

Twitter suspends over 70 mn fake accounts

12 days ago  
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San Francisco, July 7 Twitter Inc. has suspended more than 70 million fake accounts in May and June in a massive drive to clear out bots and trolls on the platform, the media reported. The crackdown on suspicious accounts, which came amid mounting political pressure after Congress criticised Twitter for lax regulation on foreign-controlled fake accounts to spread false information that may impact US domestic politics, Xinhua reported on Friday. Twitter sources told The Washington Post that the rate of account suspensions has more than doubled since October as over 1 million accounts were suspended a day in recent months. The wave of account suspensions by the world's largest social network is one of several recent campaigns by Twitter to police its platform and stop spam and abuse of fake accounts. Last month, Twitter announced "new measures to fight abuse and trolls, new policies on hateful conduct and violent extremism, and (we) are bringing in new technology and staff to ..
                 

Google's AI voice assistant 'Duplex' to run a call centre?

13 days ago  
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San Francisco, July 6 Google's voice-calling "Duplex" — which lets Artificial Intelligence (AI) mimic a human voice to make appointments and book tables through phone calls — may soon enter call centres assisting humans with customer queries. According to a report in The Information late on Thursday, an unnamed insurance company has shown interest in "Duplex" which could "handle simple and repetitive customer calls" before taking help from a human if the conversation gets complicated. Google, however, said in a statement that the company is not testing "Duplex" with any enterprise clients. "We're currently focused on consumer use cases for the 'Duplex' technology and we aren't testing 'Duplex' with any enterprise clients," a Google spokesperson told Engadget in a statement. "'Duplex' is designed to operate in very specific use cases, and currently we're focused on testing with restaurant reservations, hair salon b..
                 

Half the people in India want more 'mobile-free' time

15 days ago  
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New Delhi, July 4 Despite the fact that technology can today help people to work from anywhere, nearly half the people in India want more "mobile-free" time to devote to their friends and family, showed results of a survey. Nearly one third of the respondents in India reported spending more time at work in the last two years with 38 per cent of them attributing technology as the cause, showed the findings of the "Live Life" survey by American Express and research firm Morning Consult. There is growing interconnectedness around the world, in both personal and work life as well as real and virtual interactions, the study said. "The 'Live Life' survey highlights the shift from work life balance to work life integration," said Manoj Adlakha, CEO, American Express Banking, India. For the study, Morning Consult, on behalf of American Express, conducted a series of surveys in eight markets - India, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Britain and th..
                 

Air conditioning could add to global warming woes

15 days ago  
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WASHINGTON: The increased use of air conditioning in buildings could add to the problems of a warming world by further degrading air quality and compounding the toll of air pollution on human health, a study warns. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison forecast as many as a thousand additional deaths annually in the Eastern US alone due to elevated levels of air pollution driven by the increased use of fossil fuels to cool the buildings where humans live and work. “What we found is that air pollution will get worse. There are consequences for adapting to future climate change,” said David Abel, lead author of the study published in the journal PLOS Medicine. The analysis combines projections from five different models to forecast increased summer energy use in a warmer world and how that would affect power consumption from fossil fuels, air quality and, consequently, human health just a few decades into the future. In hot summer weather, and as heat waves..
                 

Earth may get twice as hot as predicted

10 days ago  
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Geneva The Earth may end up being twice as warm as projected by climate models, even if the world meets the target of limiting global warming to under two degrees Celsius, a study has found. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, showed that sea levels may rise six metres or more even if Paris climate goals are met. The findings are based on observational evidence from three warm periods over the past 3.5 million years when the world was 0.5-2 degree Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial temperatures of the 19th Century. The research also revealed how large areas of the polar ice caps could collapse and significant changes to ecosystems could see the Sahara Desert become green and the edges of tropical forests turn into fire dominated savanna. "Observations of past warming periods suggest that a number of amplifying mechanisms, which are poorly represented in climate models, increase long-term warming beyond climate model projections," said Hubertus Fisc..
                 

Dogs arrived from Siberia, left cancerous tumour behind: Study

12 days ago  
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Brain circuit behind feeling hungry discovered

13 days ago  
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Singapore A particular subset of neurons located in an enigmatic region of the hypothalamus in the brain plays a central role in regulating feeding and body weight in mice, a study has found. The results, published in the journal Science, illuminate a previously unknown neural mechanism of feeding regulation and offer new perspectives on understanding changes in appetite. Knowledge of the function of a region of the hypothalamus called the nucleus tuberalis lateralis, or NTL, is scarce, though scientists seek to better understand it as damage to this brain region in patients results in marked declines in appetite, and in rapid loss in body weight. To further explore any role the NTL may have in regulation of feeding and body weight, Sarah Xinwei Luo from Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore and colleagues observed the behaviour of somatostatin (SST) neurons in the NTL using a mouse model. They found that the SST neurons were activated by both hunger (following ..
                 

Swapping crops could help India save water, improve nutrition

14 days ago  
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New York Replacing rice and wheat with 'less thirsty' crops could dramatically reduce water demand in India, while also improving nutrition, a study has found. According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, India will need to feed approximately 394 million more people by 2050, and that is going to be a significant challenge. Nutrient deficiencies are already widespread in India today --30 per cent or more are anaemic--and many regions are chronically water-stressed, researchers from Columbia University in the US said. Starting in the 1960s, a boom in rice and wheat production helped reduce hunger throughout India. This Green Revolution also took a toll on the environment, increasing demands on the water supply, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution from fertilisers, researchers said. “If we continue to go the route of rice and wheat, with unsustainable resource use and increasing climate variability, it is unclear how long we could keep that practice u..
                 

Vetting third-party apps, not reading your Gmail: Google

15 days ago  
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San Francisco, July 4 After facing a backlash over reports that third-party app developers can read your Gmail, Google on Wednesday said the company is continuously vetting developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before it opens them for general access. A Wall Street Journal report earlier this week claimed that the search giant is reportedly allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts. Google “continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools”, the report said. According to Google, it gives both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how their data is used. “We make it possible for applications from other developers to integrate with Gmail—like email clients, trip planners and customer relationship management (CRM) ..
                 

NASA set to test ‘quiet’ supersonic flights

15 days ago  
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WASHINGTON: NASA is set to publicly demonstrate and test a flight manoeuvre that allows jets to travel faster than sound without generating the characteristic sonic boom. Supersonic flight over land was banned in the US because they generated characteristic loud sonic booms that could sometimes damage buildings. Using a repurposed fighter jet F/A-18, NASA showed that a diving manoeuvre can be used to generate quiet sonic thumps over a specific area. An initial test of the research methodology using the F/A-18 was conducted in 2011 with the help of the US military community that lives on base at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Researchers want to take the show on the road and try the same thing over a community that is not used to sonic booms regularly sounding on any given day the way the Edwards community is. Using the F/A-18 and its ability to aim quiet sonic thumps at a specific area, teams from Armstrong, Langley Research Center in Virginia, and Johnson Space Center in T..