The new space telescope is 10 times more accurate than previous instruments.
Given the recent interest that scientists have shown towards extraterrestrial life and its localization in space, their recent endeavors could be simply through a postcard saying: Aliens Wanted. A Jewish billionaire funded Stephen Hawking’s project on alien life in space as he is determined to find other forms of life in the following 20 or 30 years.
The mystery surrounding stories about aliens and extraterrestrial lives have influenced us all during our childhood years, especially the Star Wars and Star Trek fans. However, some of us, are more passionate than others and are willing to do whatever it takes to do away with all possible space boundaries.
It is the case of Jewish billionaire from Russia, Yuri Milner, who has agreed to donate $100 million to Stephen Hawking’s recent project on alien life. Thanks to this recent finding, scientists estimate that they could find other forms of life in space in the following decades.
However, NASA’s chief scientist Ellen Stofan has recently declared that true aliens may not meet our expectations. She warned people saying that they should not expect the first evidence of alien life to illustrate green men, but rather microorganisms that can live on other similar planets.
Researches indicate that many celestial bodies could sustain alien life due to the large volumes of water that were traced on their surfaces and underneath their surfaces. These findings are evidence enough that planets can hold life, researchers have concluded.
According to Stephen Hawking’s declarations, the new research will most likely lead to the identification of extraterrestrial sounds in space. For this purpose, the team of experts will use extremely accurate telescopes that can register even the slightest sounds in space. This is possible due to the billions of radio frequencies that have been added on the telescope, experts have explained.
A previous study has been conducted in 1990 to identify possible forms of life in space. Unfortunately, the used means of investigation were not accurate enough to enable scientists to locate faraway sounds in space.
Researchers have great expectations for the current study as the instruments they will be using are 10 times more accurate than the past ones. So is the recent $100 million funding, we might add.
Many theories have been put forth in the past years in relation to the possibility of space holding extraterrestrial life. Generally, two major patterns have been identified. On the one hand, there are those scientists who believe that there is no alien life in space and on the other hand, we have those theories suggesting alien life exists, we just haven’t been able to find it.
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Instagram has decided to take the next step in making its website more useful for its users by rolling out the search option on Monday. Going on Instagram.com reveals the new feature which allows you to find specific locations, profiles, and hashtags.
Following the spacing out of the pictures that show up in a row by reducing them from five to three, the search feature is basically the first option to make it on the website. Based on the in-app search model, Instagram will now allow users to browse for pictures by either typing a hashtag, location or a username in the search bar.
The feature also includes a quick overview of how many pictures have used that hashtag. In addition, the photo-sharing platform has added the possibility of clicking on hashtags – or on location geotags attached to pictures – and being redirected to a page where you can see the top pictures, a.k.a. those with the highest number of likes.
Few features have made it from the app to the desktop version of Instagram – posting new pictures and the Explore tab are just two of the options that are still available only in app. But finding posts has become a lot easier with the new search tool.
Before this, accessing a specific picture on Instagram.com meant having a direct link or knowing the account that posted it. An alternative way was offered, however, by some third-party web apps that make the Instagram-website experience fuller.
According to a company post, the update was designed to bring Instagram’s website closer to the user experience that’s available in-app by making it easier to discover and browse through Instagram posts on the web.
The move is set to increase the company’s accessibility and engagement with the website, as embedded posts represent a large slice of its views; in June alone, they brought more than 5.3 billion impressions.
Instagram might still not let users upload pictures directly from the website – an option designed strictly for smartphones and tablets – but its new search bar has definitely removed some of the rigidity that has plagues its website ever since it was launched.
The Instagram app is still the main money-maker, available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone. According to a spokesperson, the website is and will remain ‘complementary to the mobile apps’, and upgrading it is only as important as the need to keep the global conversations going.
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Only a quarter of cases diagnosed with juvenile arthritis are genetic.
Countless time, we have been warned against their effects, until a study has now found the overuse of antibiotics linked to juvenile arthritis. The crippling condition may be doubled by allowing children to take prescribed antibiotics for conditions that will pass with time all by themselves.
It could be parents’ overprotection, who are trying to mend their child’s illness as quick as possible, or it could be blamed on doctors so easily recommending strong medication for the simplest of problems. Nevertheless, the problem remains that antibiotics can affect your child’s life when it’s purpose is to improve it.
The study was conducted on 450,000 children, out of which 152 were found diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, a chronic inflammation of the joints or eyes that can cause pain, difficulties in moving and even vision loss. The potentially crippling condition is caused by genetics in only 25% of cases, which means that a good majority is due to environmental factors.
Researchers have found that children diagnosed with upper respiratory infections who have been prescribed antibiotics had a higher risk of developing juvenile arthritis than those with the other auto-immune condition left untreated. Furthermore, it was discovered that the risk was at its highest within one year of use.
Antibiotics disturbs microbiomes, which is basically a microbe community, to the point where it can lead to other infections and conditions later on in life. It presents with a great of health risks when the organism becomes well acquainted with their effects.
It’s an extremely important observation to keep in mind, as children affected by juvenile arthritis are also more prone to developing other auto-immune diseases, due to the lack of strength in their own immune systems lowered by the condition. It could potentially invite more serious and possibly lethal infections to make their way in.
Around 294,000 children are currently diagnosed with juvenile arthritis in the United States alone and the numbers are estimated to see a growth if overuse of antibiotics continues.
However, researchers have made it a point to mention that similar side effects were not seen in antifungal or antiviral drugs, and the fact that only 1 in 1,000 children under the use of antibiotics develop juvenile arthritis proves that they are not the only contributing factor.
But it’s been nevertheless showed that it is definitely one of them.
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In spite of the fact that risk of cancer goes up with each sunburn, that hasn’t’ stop people from making an art out of it.
Experts found themselves in the position of speaking against a new social media trend that’s been on the rise in the latest summer months: strategically using sunscreen lotion as a means to create a do-it-yourself temporary “tattoo,” but with sunburns this time.
Rather proud with themselves, people have been taking pictures of the results, posting them on social media websites, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, and uniting under various hashtags.
The trend has gained such traction that the Skin Cancer Foundation has decided to state their official position on sunburn art, warning fans that the health risks that come from getting tanned or sunburned skin for the sake of art are much more drastic than the apparent popularity.
Sunburns are known to cause irreversible damage to the skin, increase skin aging and – worst of all – sending your chances of skin cancer through the roof.
According to the health foundation’s statement, it’s enough to sustain five or more sunburns during youth to have your melanoma risk increase by 80 percent. Regardless of age, more than five sunburns will double the average person’s risk for melanoma.
Today’s society puts so much emphasis on having a tanned body – especially during summer months – that we forget and underestimate how much damage a sunburn can cause. At least that’s what Dr. Deborah Sarnoff thinks, the senior VP of the Skin Cancer Foundation.
According to the American Cancer Society, the DNA damage to the skin cells can be caused by both sunshine rays and tanning beds, making the cells more susceptible to turning cancerous. And Sarnoff explained that the cancer risk is cumulative – the risk goes up with each tan and sunburn a person sustain throughout their lifetime.
People might consider this “sunburn art” creative or innovative, but in reality, sunburns are nothing but self-inflicted and dangerous ways of raising your skin cancer risk. Is it really worth it to have that picture posted on Twitter?
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The EFF has launched its new platform.
A new program that allows you to contact congress directly has been launched by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Its name is Democracy.io and its aim is to allow the common constituent to transmit their opinions to their elected representatives without too much effort.
The launch of this tool greatly simplifies the process of making your voice heard between elections. Those who would like to do so only to access the site, enter their address and a list with their three representatives will appear. Afterwards the user can write to any one of them or all three at once. The interface is as simple as possible and can be used by anyone.
The Foundation’s Director of Activism, Rainey Reitman, states that this tool is welcomed addition to the democratic process, as the old method of contacting members of the Congress nowhere near as streamlined as this tool. He also hopes that this tool would increase the awareness of representatives towards the importance of keeping in touch with their constituents, especially through the online medium.
Tech Fellow Sina Khanifar from the same organization hopes that this tool would incentivise individuals to make their voices heard more often, saying that this represents a core democratic principle that has been unfortunately neglected by the authorities. She hopes this would help holding those in power more accountable and that an official, state-funded version of the platform would be eventually created as a result.
This marks just the most recent accomplishment of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been actively campaigning for the rights of Internet Users for the past years. In the future, they plan to make a ranking system for lawmakers based on how often and well they respond to these messages. Their program is entirely open-source, meaning anyone is free to create their own custom version of it. It was built with the help of 100 volunteer over the course of a year.
The organization has very ambitious plans for its tool, but it is still up to the individual to hold their legislators to account. It can only be guessed as to how many are going to use it and how many are going to actually get back a reply, but hopefully this will make a change and attract more attention towards the importance of the online medium in democracy.
Image Source: democracy.io
A combination of relatively common medicine can be fatal.
A researched published in the British Medical Journal has revealed that antidepressants interact badly with pain killers. The researchers from the Seul University of Medicine have found that taking both medicines at the same time highly increases the risk of internal bleeding within the skull.
The study was conducted on hospital patients who suffered from such bleedings after a month of taking antidepressants and pain relievers at the same time. Compared to those who did not combined the drugs, those who did had more a higher than 50% increased chance of hemorrhage.
Pain killers such as ibuprofen have always been used to treat the most typical of symptoms, from headaches to colds. Over the past few years, depression has also established itself as one of the more common diseases and as such antidepressants are also become widely available, even if in many countries they require prescriptions.
Doctor Stewart Mercer from the University of Glasgow believes doctors should now take extra care when prescribing either of these medicines to their patients in light of this new finding. Patients who take this combination of drugs should contact their doctors and discuss their treatment at length.
The two type of drugs may interfere with the way platelets (cells in our blood that specialize in stopping bleedings) work within our bodies. The risk of hemorrhage appears to be higher in men than in women.
As the study was carried out in South Korea the findings may not necessarily apply in the same way to other ethnic groups, due to differences in drug absorption. The research was also exclusively carried on more powerful, prescription acquired pain killers rather than over the counter pill.
Nevertheless, this raises many concerns, especially since the study has also shown there might be a connection between taking pain killers or antidepressants on their own and gastrointestinal bleeding. Doctor Rupert Payne from the Health Services Research at the Cambridge Centre also states that depression and symptoms that require powerful pain killers often appear together (one may be caused by the other) and as such, this combo of drugs may be hard to avoid for some people.
He stresses that there is dire need for additional research in this area, as more and more people find themselves in the situation requiring multiple, different types of drugs, and the interactions between these drugs is very difficult to anticipate.
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50-million-year-old sperm sample was found in a worm cocoon in Antartica.
Based on the findings of a study that has been recently published in the journal of Biology Letters, the oldest traces of sperm belong to a crayfish-like worm. The incidental finding has enabled scientists to estimate that the owner of the sperm sample most likely lived 50 million years ago.
Scientists may have disclosed the answer to one of the most intriguing questions, even though very few scientists would actually admit they have indeed had this curiosity, namely, to date the oldest traces of sperm. Luckily, a recent study conducted by Thomas Mörs indicates that the oldest sample of sperm on Earth was produced approximately 50 million years ago.
The sperm belongs to a worm that is very similar in size and behavior to the crayfish worm. Studies suggest that the cocoon worm may have lived around 50 million years ago. Yet, the sample has been very well preserved, even though sperms have very short lives and their cellular structures are incredibly soft.
According to researchers, fossilized sperm samples are very hard to find, which is why the recent finding has been much praised among the science community. He has further mentioned one of the previous studies that has been conducted on a similar sample specifying that the respective sperm was estimated to be 400 million years old.
Scientists have further explained that the form and the outer shape of the sperm have been perfectly preserved. Further studies will be carried out in order to determine whether the internal structure of the sperm has been just as well preserved. Investigators plan to focus on the anatomical composition of the sperm and for that, they will use x-ray analyses.
The sperm sample was accidentally discovered by scientists as they were effecting other researches in the Antarctic region. They have, later on, specified that the sperm fossil was located in an annelid cocoon, which became rock solid after just a few days.
While this hypothesis has not yet been verified, scientists believe that the resistant and durable shape of the cocoon has enabled the long-lasting preservation of the sperm. Future studies will also be conducted on cocoons in Antarctica to see whether other similar micro-organisms may be found therein.
Image source: dailymail.co.uk
Facebook’s well-oiled machine has a reason for being able to constantly offer users a better experience, and the reason is called “Hackamonth.”
Ever member of the immense engineer team at Facebook is allowed to take 30 days off from their regular jobs and try a different department or project within the company part of the program that started in 2011.
Google has a similar initiative running inside its company, and it seems to be working for both of the tech rivals. According to James Pearce, a Facebook developer advocate, Facebook’s Hackamonth has taken Google’s program and put it on steroids.
It is public knowledge that plenty of Facebook’s features – yes, even the one encoded in its primary structure – are Hackamonth babies. From the Like button to the concept of Timeline itself, plenty of tools have seen their starts after all-nighters during the famous hackathons.
Pearce said it was interesting how Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is sometimes the last to know about the new features, as many cool products and new ideas take some time to reach the leadership levels. Most of the neat stuff comes from these engineers doing their thing when they take their Hackamonths.
One all-nighter might not be enough if an engineer wants to fix or upgrade a more architectural problem. This is the main reason why the Hackamonth program was established. If an engineer has an idea about a potential hackamonth project, Facebook’s internal network helps them find other engineers to team up with.
Good news is that you don’t have to leave the new team if you realize at the end of the month that you clicked; according to Pearce, there’s no tension or hard feelings about these kinds of transfers from one team to another. The most important thing among colleagues is to become an asset to your team and bring your best – whichever team that might be.
The company definitely appreciates generous engineers who don’t mind lending out their expertise to other projects or departments. Pearce said that a large amount of the features coming out of the Hackamonth program is behind-the-scenes stuff that improves the app and the site’s performance.
Hackamonth’s overall impact is immense, and it’s so successful because engineers are allowed to develop what they are interested in and would like to do. And the most important benefit is that it prevents some of the bored out routine that can come with working too long in a fixed job.
Hackamonth’s ultimate purpose is to either offer developers a new energy when they go back to their desk, or help them find a better match in a new team.
Image Source: Facebook
New frightening species of fish were found in the waters of Australia.
After making the discovery of four active volcanoes in the vicinity of Australia, CSIRO revealed the first photos of Australia’s terrifying fish species. Based on the information that has been withdrawn from the collected images, it appears that this newly found fish can be quite dangerous.
Australia’s wild fauna and flora has been many times the subject of special documentaries due to the unusual behavior and characteristics of these exemplars. CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization might have just contributed to Australia’s rich environment by publishing the first photos of terrifying species of fish.
The newly discovered exemplars were first spotted on the eastern side of the coast as researchers were scanning the depths of the ocean with the help of their explorer. They were, thus, able to see the small, yet very dangerous exemplars swimming along the investigating device.
According to the images they have provided, the small exemplars have two long fans coming out of their large mouths and a possibly poisonous sting at the bottom of their tails. We can’t yet make suppositions in relation to the characteristics of these fish exemplars, but it appears that they are not too friendly.
Fortunately, the identified species were not very large in size; otherwise, they could have posed many threats to the Australian population. Their body has a gelatinous consistency, which works as a reminder of the water mollusks. The colors are also resembling; some of the photographed species were transparent, while others were black, depending most likely on the water they lived in.
The Australian community of scientists praised the works of their water explorer as it has enabled them to make significant discoveries in the past weeks. In addition to these intriguing species of fish, CSIRO has also acknowledged the presence of four active volcanoes on the Sydney Coast.
These 50-million-year-old underwater mountains went unnoticed during past researches, but marine experts have finally managed to get a glimpse of them. Based on their calculations, the string of four volcanoes is 20 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide. The highest mountain reaches an altitude of 700 meters, scientists have concluded.
Further studies will be carried out in the region to establish whether these peaks represent a threat for the Australian population or not. The recent data indicates only that there is volcanic activity in the region and future episodes of tectonic movements are likely to happen.
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Hacking Team, the Italian cyber-security firm that has been recently in the news for a massive data breach, is now putting the blame on the shoulders on governmental forces and warns that criminals might now find it extremely easily to use its software codes in other attacks.
Hackers who are yet to be identified have leaked in a torrent file approximately 400GB of data from the company’s servers, revealing the controversial connections it has with several governments. Hacking Team sells surveillance software that many intelligence and law enforcement agencies use to keep tabs on the phones and computers of suspects.
Many documents have since been uploaded on Wikileaks, as the public could skim through several thousands of private corporate emails. During the same data breach, the company’s source codes for many of its top secret programs have also been made public online.
Even though he offered no further details, David Vincenzetti, Hacking Team’s CEO, gave a statement on Sunday saying that the attack must have been carried out at a government level, considering the complexity and the resources it needed.
Clients of the company have been advised not to use its software until the compromised programs can be updated and made secure again. Although only some of the services have been targeted, Hacking Team representatives warn that all computer systems might have been messed with.
A company’s statement posted on its official website revealed that Hacking Team is conducting an investigation on the attack, which so far proves that hackers have leaked enough code as to allow anyone to use the software as a weapon against any chosen target.
Having a bit of know-how in technical ability might enable extortionists, terrorists, and other ill-willed people to use this technology for their own purposes. The irony is that the company’s website still promotes its products as being able to offer complete control for target surveilling.
Leaked emails revealed that Hacking Team has worked with many governmental institutions in various countries, such as Australia, Italy, and – of course – the United States. The company has been called out before for its dealings with countries who abuse the human rights of its population, including Libya, Nigeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
After keeping silent for almost a week after the attack was made public, Vincenzetti went on record defending his choice of clients; he said his connections are legal, as no international trade laws were ever broken in the partnerships he’s been involved.
Image Source: Motherboard