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Joe Hennessey • Author at Mirror Daily

NASA’s Curiosity Rover will investigate the first Martian mountain, the administration informed on early Tuesday morning. The rerouting process was determined by Rover’s inability to cross and investigate a slippery Martian area, scientists explain.

The Curiosity Rover developed by scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration continues its Martian missions with many more investigations on the Red Planet. According to the recent information disclosed by experts operating the small space vehicle, the rover is now heading towards Mount Sharp, the first Martian mountain to be investigated by NASA.

Experts behind Curiosity Rover were forced to change the vehicle’s route as the terrain they have been previously analyzing was too slippery and abrupt for the Rover. The gadget was supposed to take a look at the Southern terrain on Mars, but as it drew further, the soil became extremely unconsolidated.

Experts knew the south side of Mars might cause problems to the rover, but they decided to test it anyways. The vehicle has had problems in the past, as well, related to its capacity of crossing over sand ripples.

Previous analyses suggested them there could also be rare patches of firm terrain that the rover could easily drive through. Unfortunately, the area that appeared to have been consolidated, was incredibly sandy and Curiosity was not capable of going past them.

Scientists oriented the rover towards the west, where they know the terrain is safe for the vehicle. Thus, rover is now preparing to register data about one of Mars’ main mountains, Sharp.

The unexpected rerouting process took experts by surprise as they were forced to spend a couple of days determining the best itinerary that the rover could follow in the future. Calculations are all the more difficult as scientists have to estimate whether the new site that Curiosity is going to investigate is really worth the trouble or not. “One factor […] is how much time [we] spend reaching a particular target, when there are many others ahead,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Manager of Curiosity’s Projects.

The team used images and data recorded by the rover and by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as they wanted to make sure the new route is, indeed, safe for their device. They have, then compared the new route with the possibility of accomplishing short-term and long-term objectives. The conclusion was that Mountain Sharp could offer many insights on Mars’ solid terrain; therefore the rover is now heading towards it.

Curiosity has been on Mars since 2012 contributing to NASA’s database about the Red Planet. The rover has already analyzed the base of the mountain last year when it investigated outcrops on the landing side of Mountain Sharp. The higher layers of the mountain represent experts’ focus of attention for their future mission on Mars.
Image Source: Apex Tribune

As rain and bad weather continue to make their presence felt all throughout the south-western regions of the United States, authorities release the first death toll in Texas, Oklahoma flooding: 3 people killed, 2,000 people evacuated. The number of the victims may continue to rise as the meteorological administration warns people that there will be more rain in the following days.

Inhabitants in Texas and Oklahoma were expecting bad weather to be heading their way, according to the recent meteorological reports. However, they did not expect such a heavy quantity of water to fall within such a small interval.

Authorities in the southern and western states repot that many inhabitants have lost their homes during the Sunday flooding. 2,000 people were evacuated and brought to shelters as waters reached 26 feet in just an hour.

The majority of the houses were destroyed, but authorities claim more damage could be registered if more tornados will come. A general warning was issued for the following week asking people to avoid the flooded areas.

“It looks pretty bad out there,” said Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith after reviewing the overall situation. He further replied that there are regions where just one or two houses are still standing.

In spite of the numerous efforts that authorities are now making to keep people safe, 3 people were declared death on Sunday evening. Their number could rise in the following days as many people have been reported missing during the storm hours. Police officers are now looking for eight missing people, including three children.

The meteorological administration declared this May as the wettest month to have ever been registered in the past years. Unusual weather phenomena have already been registered in Texas and Oklahoma where inhabitants experienced snow during the first days of spring. Water levels could become increasingly bigger in the following days as experts expect more rain and tornadoes to come.

27.37 inches of rain were recorded so far in Oklahoma, as a result of the recent flooding. The state registered only 4.29 inches of water last year, but 2015 appears to be the wettest year for Oklahoma, so far. Experts have concluded that the state has set a new record with the 18.2 inches of water registered this month. In 2013 there were only 14.5 inches or rain within the same month.

In spite of the alarming weather reports, authorities claim there is also a good part in it, as well. In their opinion, the recent flooding is a result of the powerful drought that has affected the southern and western states in the past years. Firefighters hope they won’t face with so many wildfires this year, as the weather seems to be milder.
Image Source: Star Telegram

According to a recent report released by the search giant, Google announced YouTube will be turned into an e-commerce platform to provide additional support to advertisers. The feature will be rolled out in the following weeks, YouTube product manager Avi Fein further stated.

Google’s official website was assaulted on early Friday morning as the company announced that a new important advertising feature will be added to YouTube. The video-sharing website could be turned into an e-commerce platform as Google plans to roll out many attention-grabbing options for its advertisers.

So far, the company has only informed clients that YouTube will sport an additional “Buy” button that will facilitate advertisers’ access to their profiles. Thanks to the new embedded button, Google clients can easily upload new ads on their channels.

Google’s message further disclosed that the button will be displayed during the commercial spots that usually precede YouTube’s videos. Interested customers can, thus, push the button and a list of prices for the advertised product will unfold, giving users the possibility to compare them. Moreover, the button can send users directly to the shopping website where they can place commands or check out other products.

The button will link users to retailers’ websites, so YouTube will not be in charge of receiving commands. The “Buy” button will be available on both mobile and desktop devices.

Many additional features will be included in Google’s ad services as the search giant wants to make these features easier to use by all advertisers. This way, new possible clients may be convinced on giving up their traditional advertising means and opt instead for the services that the video-sharing platform is offering.

Starting with the following period, TrueView customers will only be charged if YouTube users will not skip the video or if they watch it for the entire duration. This pricing technique has been used before with some of Google’s clients, but it could become available for all advertisers in the future.

The Internet company plans to make significant improvements for their reviewing channels. These channels are responsible for a large percentage of sold items, which explains why Google will do its best to keep them attracting marketers.

Views on product reviewing videos have grown 50% since last year and Google analysts expect figures to continue to rise. The company is, therefore, trying to use this type of videos for brand recognition, as well.
Image Source: Brain Sins

Facebook’s Messenger service has been nothing if not continuously improved during the past few months. A new report claims that the mobile Messenger app might soon make it available to play games within the app itself.

Information came from three inside sources which have knowledge about the company’s plans via a report from The Information. According to them, Facebook is in the stage of negotiating with developers, but a release timeline is yet to be disclosed.

Facebook’s Ilya Sukhar is the one put in charge of making this product available on Messenger’s platform, and she confirmed such plans are not only rumors.

Introducing independent games inside the app seems like the next logical step for the multibillionaire tech company, considering that it is an integrant part of Facebook’s social platform – millions of users would be engaged in an instant.

This is still a baby project, and details are limited; when rollout will approach, we should expect Facebook to surface some more facts. The report also pointed out the fact that a new service in the games business offers immense opportunities for revenue.

A Facebook spokesperson has talked to Mashable, explaining that allowing developers to add apps focused on content creation is what befits the Messenger Platform the best.

However, as a strategy part of an international creative collaboration meant the platform became open to outside developers a few weeks ago. Facebook is excited to see what they will come up with, and build on their suggestions.

Back in March, the new Messenger Platform was revealed and started accepting third-party developers as app creators for Facebook.

According to The Information, the tech giant focused on increasing user engagement on the apps already existing on the Facebook Messenger platform, but the new strategy will broaden the apps availability, soon to cover games as well.

Whatever Facebook has in the works for Messenger, more than 600 million users are watching him intently. And for good reason, as messaging apps are in a tight competition nowadays: WhatsApp, Hangouts, Viber, Skype and other popular messaging services are not lagging when it comes to building usership.

Many changes happened as Facebook tests various applications for its messaging service, such as allowing users to send money to friends.

Rumors talk about another feature in testing: voice transcription that enables users to send voice messages which come with automatically typed-out text. Facebook Messenger has received its own standalone Web version that launches from the website
Image Source: Softonic

Following in the footsteps of other recently accused teachers, a middle school teacher in Maryland is accused of disciplining students with belt, recent reports show. The middle aged man was filmed while physically aggressing students during his class.

Many more cases of teachers’ abuse surface each year as professors fail to comply with the conduct requirements that their position presupposes. This week, it was a middle school teacher in Maryland to make headlines after using his belt to discipline his pupils.

The event immediately captured the media’s attention as the man did not have any right to behave the way he did. Authorities are now investigating him after viewing the recent video that was posted on YouTube.

According to the footage, the man is desperately running through the classroom and hitting students randomly with his belt. Most students lie on the floor as they try to escape the teacher’s erratic and violent behavior. No other details are known in relation to the cause that might have determined the middle school teacher to act the way he did.

Journalists were not able to contact the professor, who is currently avoiding the media’s attention. His point of view will most likely be presented in the following days as the press is trying to give the man the opportunity to defend himself.

Local press institutions have carried out a street experiment. They wanted to see how inhabitants in Maryland would react to the teacher’s class conduit, so they displayed the video to regular passers-by. Much to the journalists’ surprise, the inhabitants did not blame the professor for his conduit. They clearly did not agree with his anger outburst, but they have all stated that children can be hard to discipline, at times.

The activity of the teacher has been currently suspended as a local investigation is being carried through by principals at the Maryland middle school and police investigators. If the man is found guilty of misconduct towards minors, he could face additional charges and even imprisonment.
Image Source: Independent

Based on a recent announcement published on the company’s official website, Microsoft hosts world tournaments to honor 25 years of Solitaire. The endeavor brings Solitaire fans lots of reasons to smile as they can finally unleash the wild card-game player lying underneath their skin.

The world-renowned software developer announced on early Monday morning that their famous card-game, Solitaire is turning 25 this year. The news might bring some of you down, especially if you’re, let’s say, in your 30s. Early 30s, that is. Yet, Solitaire fans might rejoice themselves at the sound of the wonderful news.

Microsoft thought it was time they did something to dust off their oldie but goldie game. The company plans on getting as many players involved as possible by inviting them at the upcoming world championships.

According to Microsoft’s spokespersons, the first championship will be hosted among the company’s employees. This will most likely show Bill Gates just how much time his developers spend playing Solitaire instead of actually working. The results of the internal competition will be displayed on the company’s website in the following weeks.

The second championship which addresses card game players all over the world will be hosted starting on June 5, 2015. Bill Gates’ fervent Solitaire players aka employees will then compete against the world’s best players of Solitaire.

The competition is expected to get really fierce especially towards the final stages of the tournament. The company did not provide any other details in relation to the prizes that winners will receive. No money will be at stake, either (sobs in the crowd) as the software developer is not willing to turn the world championship into a poker-like game (more sobs in the crowd).

The game variations will be the traditional ones that players have already gotten accustomed to. Some may be tempted to say that Microsoft could have at least prepared some special features for the 25th anniversary of the game. However, the company claims it is precisely the traditional version that they want to celebrate; therefore, no other game variations besides Free Cell, Spider, TriPeaks, Pyramid and Klondike Solitaire have been added to the tournament.

Solitaire lovers, who fear they could miss this perfect occasion to make a show of their innate player skills, will be happy to find out that the game may be download on all Windows-based phones and devices. The game is absolutely free of any costs, just like Microsoft has accustomed us in the past, as well.

Microsoft may be soon embracing more modern games, too, such as Candy Crush Saga which has already won the hearts of Android users. Despite their future plans, the company is currently focusing on one of the games that have made Windows popular across computer enjoyers.
Image Source: Aol Cdn

Thousands of spider webs coating large areas have thrown another town in New South Wales into the spotlight. Goulburn could now easily become the set of an eerie horror movie.

Dubbed as “angel hair”, the worldwide phenomenon might be mistaken for a light layer of snowfall, but in reality, dozens of layers of interweaving spider webs are creating the illusion.

Australia is rather famous for experiencing this, as the earliest documentation of the occurrence dates back to 1914. Even if it sounds (and looks) bizarre, the “raining” spiders are more common than you would think.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald interview by Martyn Robinson, naturalist at the Australian Museum, there are two “migration techniques” that cause such events to happen.

The first, also known as “ballooning”, means that spiders climb at the surface of vegetation and shoot a line of silk that is caught in the wind. The spider is then picked up by the air currents and transported.

This technique is responsible for the fact that no continent is left without its fair share of spiders – they have travelled all around the world in this fashion, reaching even Antarctica. Unfortunately, soon after arrival in the cold environment, most of them die.

Secondly, in case of floods or heavy downfalls, huge clutters of these critters can be seen clung to silk lines and escaping threatening terrain and drowning. Rick Vetter, a retired arachnologist from the University of California, explained that ballooning is a rather common practice among many spider species.

One of the highest spots where this phenomenon was witnessed is as high as 2,000 feet, when in May 2011 a South Australian pilot saw a floating cloud of silk going up on the mountain’s side.

Since the spiders invaded Goulburn, residents are having a hard time getting out of the house without knocking heads, so to say, with the hordes of spiders. Properties are drowning in silk, and owning a beard can be rather tricky in Goulburn these days.

Ever since 2001, South Australian retiree Keith Basterfield has been carefully cataloguing the occurrence. According to his data, Australia witnesses it a couple of times each year, mostly when skies are clear and slight winds can help the spiders travel.

Even though the Goulburn incident has only added to Australia’s infamous reputation about the frightening animals living there, it seems the country is not as unique when it comes to this kind of mass behavior – even North and South America have experienced it.
Image Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

When Barack Obama announced the death Osama bin Laden, the former leader of the jihadist organization al Qaeda, the American people and most parts of the occidental civilization were content for one of the most famous criminals of our recent history had been put to justice. This time, the law compels one of the people who were close to Osama bin Laden, with a former aide to bin Laden sentenced to life in prison.

The former aide has been finally sent to prison for the rest of his days. He was involved in the bombing of 2 embassies located in Africa. The tragic event caused by the former aide to bin Laden, among others, happened in 1998.

On Friday, the law sent to life in prison the former al Qaeda major figure after a trial which took place in a courtroom where people in connection to the 1998 bombings were present. For instance, the former al Qaeda senior has been confronted by one of the direct victims of the bombings, a woman who lost her sight after the explosions. In addition to that, the families who lost their loved ones during the 1998 bombings were also present in the courtroom to witness the final sentence to the former aide to bin Laden.

224 people have been killed in the explosions of 1998. The bombings targeted two embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Khaled al Fawwaz, the former aide to bin Laden and a defendant in this case, has played a major role in the success of the terrible mission by the jihadist group al Qaeda.

Khaled al Fawwaz was taken into custody the same year the embassies bombings took place. Just weeks after the tragic event, police caught him in London and arrested him. After that, he spent his years in the United Kingdom, because he was not extradited until 3 years ago. al Fawwaz is now 52 years old.

al Fawwaz has been accused for more than just taking part in the bombings in Africa, 17 years ago. In addition to that, he was charged with leading a military camp to train al Qaeda fighters in 1991. The military camp was located in Afghanistan. Moreover, al Fawwaz led a terror cell in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, in 1993. Three years later, he supported bin Laden`s declaration of war against the United States.

“I don’t support violence. … I hope one day people will find other ways to live with their differences other than violence.”

al Fawwaz told the victims who were present at his trial.

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The intriguing mystery of the magic blue-black dress gets solved by scientists after neurologic experiment aimed to determine humans’ perception of colors. Scientists and non-scientists people alike have been going bonkers trying to figure out what is it exactly that makes the famous blue-black dress so special.

After being the focus of online discussions and debates for more than one month, the blue and black dress is back in pretty much everyone’s attention. Scientists think they have managed to find possible explanations for the mystery behind its color perception.

For those who may not be familiar with the subject, the dress captured everyone’s attention because people could not determine whether it is blue and black or brown and black. Just like the century-long black or white zebra puzzle, the colors of the dress are perceived differently depending on the eye of the beholder.

Some people have stated that the dress is blue and black, while others have sworn that they see brown and black instead of blue. Neuroscientists have been ever since preoccupied to get to the bottom of the problem. They have, therefore, prepared numerous experiments to find out the factors that influence humans’ perception of colors.

1,400 participants have been asked to take a look at the dress and say which colors they see. Respondents were further handled a series of questions related to their day to day activities and lifestyle to see if there’s any link between the colors they see and their daily habits.

Results have shown that people tend to perceive colors depending on their lifestyle. More specifically, people who spend more time in the sunlight have a better perception of light, brown tones, whereas those who stay more often in the night light perceive bluish tones faster than other hues.

While this experiment accounts for other possible studies, many neuroscientists have concluded that the dress per se is strange. Despite the influence of the light, many of the answers that respondents have provided do not match this explanation.

For instance, scientists could not explain why men see the dress differently than women. Based on the collected data, women perceive the dress as brown, whereas men think it is blue.

Conflicting patterns have also been noticed within different age categories. Older men have stated that the dress is light brown as opposed to younger respondents, who agreed that the color is blue. These differences have not been explained by the current experiment, so further tests are expected in the near future.

Neurologists, who manifested particular interest in the mystery of the blue and black dress will continue to investigate the case. They have also added that they will be developing other studies to determine the influence of sleep on color perception.

For the time being, scientists are also considering that the material of the dress might have been purposefully created to induce people into mistake. The hypothesis that the pictures might have been technically manipulated to cause confusion has not been entirely excluded.
Image Source: Wired

A recent market analysis performed by the social network revealed that Facebook news feed leads to echo chamber, filter bubble effects.

The results of the study published on early Friday morning have strengthened the belief that Facebook’s news feed structure is isolating people.

This occurs because Facebook’s users are exposed only to those news or ideas that generally comply with their preferences. Thus, it becomes all the more difficult for Facebook users to get access to other viewpoints, especially those that do not reflect their own beliefs.

The phenomenon was described by behavioral scientists as an “echo chamber” or “filter bubble” because people hear and read only the subjects they are interested in, without getting other contradictory opinions.

The research was performed by comparing the social network behavior of Republican and Democratic Facebook users.

The analysis has revealed that Republicans and Democrats, respectively, are more exposed to information pertaining to their favorite political party because Facebook posts links on their news feed based on their past Internet preferences and behaviors.

The social network has, nevertheless, defended itself by saying that this online behavior is not entirely influenced by them. Facebook users are exposed to contradictory opinions, as well, but they prefer to read only those stories that reflect their opinions. According to Facebook, it is the users’ fault and they should be more open-minded about contradictory stories, if they want to get a comprehensive understanding of a certain matter.

The study was performed with the help of a system, intentionally created by Facebook to carry out the current research.

The system identified all the news articles that were shared at least 100 times during the last months of 2014. The query managed to identify 226,000 news articles showing users’ preferences in terms of politics, world affairs and economy.

Researchers outside Facebook criticized the study because, they say, it has too many limitations.

First of all, the analysis has focused primarily on political viewpoints and perspectives, taking into account only liberals and conservatives’ behavior. These two categories are devoted to their political parties and they rarely seek to get other contradictory opinions.

Second of all, the percentage of liberal and conservative Facebook users does not go higher than 1%. This number is too small, therefore, it cannot stand as a proof that most Facebook users live in an “echo chamber”, researchers say.

Facebook should try to study the “echo chamber” effect on other categories of users to determine the exact extent to which the social network is isolating people in a “filter bubble”.

Moreover, further studies should take a deeper look at the way in which the identified news articles have, indeed, changed users’ political behaviors and beliefs.
Image Source: Media Salon

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