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Tara Hamilton • Author at Mirror Daily

Handymen, electricians, plumbers and others will be a click away.

The yellow pages seem now a distant memory with ample digital resources replacing them, but Google is bringing you home services faster and now apparently trying to wean out the competition. Others, such as Amazon, Angie’s List and Yelp have been battling it out on who can provide you the best around-the-house repairs, but the tech giant is also running in the race.

And it’s certainly doing it in style. By searching a few distinct key words such as “clogged toiler”, “lock repair”, “dirtied house” or many others, Google previously offered links on numerous websites of nearby handymen who could provide help with those issues.

Or, the more notable YouTube links that showed you in great detail how to make those repairs yourself, but not all of us are willing to take up tools and start tinkering around. The results can be worse than the actual problem.

The new feature will no longer imply several clicks or research, but instead will allow you do to everything by staying on Google. When searching for the aforementioned key words, the search engine will now provide you a list of certified and licensed specialists that could certainly help you with your needs.

They include electricians, locksmiths, plumbers, house cleaners or handymen, with a featured photo, a star rating, reviews and the quick “Send Request” option that will instantly place in your demand. And there is no need to question their quality or capability. All featured services will be tested and certified by Google themselves.

Furthermore, there won’t be hacks or servicemen of questionable professions dabbling around your house and poking at things until they inform you that the issue in not repairable. Each and every service will have to pay in order to be featured on the search engine, and would have gone through extensive background checks and a proper procedures before being recommended to the public.

It seems that everything is becoming just one click away, and Google is apparently trying to cover every inch of possible services known to man. Whatever it is, Google will provide it for you, or at least use its YouTube option to demonstrate how to do it yourself.

Sadly for those who are unskilled in tools or uninterested in learning the craft, the service is currently only available in the San Francisco area, but there is a possibility of Google expanding to other major cities around the United States.

The search engine will now connect you instantly to servicemen, and provide you a quick and simple way to request the professional help for the little kinks and issues in your house.

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Female frogs care nothing about looks. The faster males call, the more chances for females to say ‘I do’.

Scientists have made an interesting observation in relation to the behavior of some species of frogs. Based on their new findings, female Tungara frogs settle for the next best thing when choosing partners, a practice that is in contradiction to other species’ preferences.

Scientists have studied the love calls that male frogs make and the influence that they actually have on potential female partners. For that, they placed the female frogs in an enclosed space with loudspeakers to see how they reacted to different calls.

The first series of calls were uttered at a very fast speed, one of the most attractive features in the frog-dominated world. The other features of these frog voices were not at all attractive.

After the first tests, scientists have subjected the frogs to a new experiment. They have played highly attractive frog calls at a lower speed to see which one of the two was more appealing for female frogs. Based on their observations, female Tungara frogs settle for the next best thing when it comes to choosing their partners.

Scientists introduced a third variable: they uttered a much slower frog call compared to the previous ones. They were expecting female frogs to maintain their initial choice, but much to their surprise, female frogs headed for the second variant, the one they initially labeled as unattractive.

The findings of the study have one thing in common: they all confirm that fast calls are considered highly attractive among frog females. However, they can’t explain the behavioral changes that females registered during the second tests. The only explanation they have found was that less attractive individuals have the ability to make other exemplars seem more attractive. This, or female frogs have very bad memory and they fail to remember how fast the first frog calls were.

Scientists still have to look at the factors behind this new discovery. They want to determine what is it exactly that pushes female frogs to choose the less attractive, yet much faster speaking exemplar to the detriment of the more attractive one.

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Seventy-five millions. That’s how many devices are already running Microsoft’s desktop OS released only a month ago, according to a company report released on Wednesday. Additionally, Microsoft has also shared some interesting Windows 10 statistics through its Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Windows and Devices, Yusuf Mehdi.

Turning to one of the preferred social platforms when it comes to breaking news (or statistics, in this case), Mehdi posted on Twitter some fun facts, such as the big spike in usage experienced by Windows Store, the official app store for Windows. Even though it was rolled out with Windows 8, Windows Store has seen six times more app downloads on Windows 10 than on Windows 8.

Also worthy of mentioning is Cortana, the virtual voice assistant that Microsoft released with the desktop OS Windows 10. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s rival for Google Now and – more recently – Facebook M, has gained quite heavy traction among Windows 10 users. Most fun fact about this digital assistant is that users love to ask it “Cortana, tell me a joke,” which has resulted in more than half a million jokes in under a month.

In the same short timeframe, 10 million achievements were unlocked in Microsoft Solitaire Collection – Microsoft’s updated version of the good ol’ Solitaire – and in the recently released Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.

Moreover, Mehdi revealed that its Upgrade Your World program has never seen these many organizations competing to win the global partner spot: over 2,000 rivals. For those unfamiliar, this program sees Microsoft offering cash support to non-profit organizations, in addition to free products and services from Microsoft.
Image Source: Windows 10 Update

After revealing some concerning figures in the market share, Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony has decided to participate and contribute to the advancement of the emerging drone industry, announcing two new prototypes.

Signing a development partnership with Aerosense, a Tokyo robotics company, Sony has shared with the public two videos of the models; one of them shows the enterprise drone AS-DTO1-E taking off and landing vertically, something very similar to the way an aeroplane usually performs; the other one presents the AS-MCO1-P prototype, a small quadcopter that doesn’t stretch out of the way conventional drones operate.

Both drones have impressive characteristics; once airborne, the AS-DTO1-E can reach the speed of roughly 106mph and can become a carrier for items weighing up to 22 pounds. Plenty of applications can be found for this little guy, such as reaching remote areas and delivering medical supplies in emergency situations.

As for the AS-MCO1-P quadcopter, its size is significantly smaller and the whole concept resulted in a lighter device, making it the perfect gadget for hobbyists or drone enthusiasts. The company revealed the drone can be equipped with GPS, a navigations system and a camera.

Drone usage and delivery has been significantly pioneered by major tech players, such as Amazon and Facebook. It’s not long now until some of the more developed countries like Ireland and Canada will gear up and take the drone innovation to a whole new level.

Only last week has Ireland’s Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe TD said that the country is preparing to be a “leading hub for drone development.” His statements were recorded during the inaugural ‘Meet the Drones’ open day, an event supported and organized by the Unmanned Aircraft Association of Ireland (UAAI).

Mr. Paschal Donohoe added that privacy rules will have to be updated in order to handle the arrival of drones in Irish airspace, but drones usage is going to increase exponentially in the near future. The Republic of Ireland already boasts with more than 4,000 drone pilots, 80 of whom are also formally licensed.
Image Source: Mobile Geeks

The Great American Solar eclipse will take place on August 21, 2017.

Weather reports and authorities have informed U.S. citizens to get ready for the Great American Solar eclipse in 2017. According to their calculations, the total solar eclipse is due to take place on August 21, 2017 and will peak while above the Southern states.

Total solar eclipses are rare phenomena that usually occur when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth. The solar eclipse is caused by the shadow of the Moon which blocks the Sun and prevents its light from becoming visible.

However, the most frequent eclipses are the partial ones because the shadow of the Moon is usually narrower than the surface of the Sun (167 miles). There are rare occasions when the Moon finally manages to steal the spotlight, but such moments occur at approximately 375 years.

Americans haven’t had a total solar eclipse in a long time, which makes the Great American Solar eclipse in 2017 all the more interesting. The last time the Sun was totally shadowed by the Moon was on February 28, 1979, when its visibility was partially hindered by the presence of occasional clouds.

Things will be a lot better in 2017 because the Great American Solar eclipse will take place during the summer months and there won’t be any barriers hindering its visibility. Dedicated websites have already been created since many people are expected to attend the event. NASA, too, has created a special page on their official website showcasing the trajectory of the Sun during the total solar eclipse and other useful information for the event.

The Sun will be above the Southern states (Kansas, Charleston, Nashville, and Greenville) during its peak moments and it will last approximately 2 minutes, scientists have explained. The United States Naval Observatory thinks many U.S. and non-U.S. citizens will wish to take part in the unique astronomical phenomenon; therefore, several recommendations have been issued for them.

Based on lastest suggestions, people should avoid to stare directly into the Sun even when fully covered by the shadow of the Moon. Binoculars and telescopes are not recommended, either because they do not have the special UVA/UVB filter that protects the eye. Special sunglasses will be created in occasion of the event and U.S. citizens are advised to use them to avoid corneal lesions.

With or without the protecting UVA/UVB filter make sure you don’t make the same mistake roosters and dogs make. Don’t go to sleep when the Sun is shadowed by the Moon and miss the unique opportunity of watching the Great American Solar eclipse.

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In addition to the $20 million crowd funding, authorities will work to recreate the natural habitat of the Monarch Butterfly.

Wildlife organizations spoke with one voice on Thursday saying let’s bring the Monarch Butterfly population back from the brink. The species of butterfly represents an iconic symbol of the United States, which explains conservationists’ desire to contribute to the cause.

The Fish and Wildlife service from the United States were the first to make a step in this direction. They made an official announcement on Thursday inviting people to contribute to their crowd funding. The goal of the event is to raise $20 million which will be later on used for the conservation and the perpetuation of the monarch butterfly population.

According to senators Dan Ashe and Amy Klobuchar, the money will be distributed to cover preservation efforts that will be made in the following years. Thus, $4 million will be allotted each year for the following 5-year period to support scientists’ initiatives for the Monarch Butterfly population.

The announcement comes after White House officials have declared their support for the revival of this species. The official declaration wrote that these butterflies play a significant role in the pollination of the fauna; therefore, efforts must be made to prevent their extinction. Unfortunately, figures indicate that the population has decreased alarmingly in the past years.

There will be other projects developed, as well, in addition to the $20 million crowd funding, the two senators have stated. According to their declaration, scientists and conservationists will work to restore the natural habitat of the monarch butterfly species wherever this is possible.

Minnesota is the first region that will see the seeding of milkweed in an attempt to restore the natural habitat of these butterflies. The Interstate 35 area between Texas and Duluth will also be cultivated with plants that favor the reproduction of the Monarch Butterfly population.

Here is where citizens can step in and bring their own contribution to the cause by creating a small Monarch Butterfly habitat in their gardens, scientists have stated. All these people have to do is seed various species of milkweed, salvia and other nectar flowers in their gardens to allow Butterfly females to lay their eggs for the winter months. According to scientists, this small effort could have a huge impact for the North American population of the Monarch butterfly.

Image source: www.pixabay

Brendan Quine from Canadian company Thoth Technology hopes to ease commercial space tourism.

Canadian company Thoth Technology is building the first bridge to heaven: 12-mile high space elevator, according to their recent declarations. The massive construction is supposed to ease space travel for astronauts and tourists, alike.

The inventor of the patent and the founder of the Ontario-based company, Brendan Quine, has closely studied the possibility of constructing the space elevator. He takes great confidence in his project and is, in fact, convinced that its fabrication could be achieved in five years.

According to his official declarations, the space lift will be precisely 12.4-mile high and will weigh approximately 500,000 tons. Once built, the bridge to heaven will work as a docking platform for commercial space planes and NASA space ships.

Although its construction has been estimated at $5 billion, Quine is convinced that the elevator will reduce the cost of space flights in the low Earth orbit by 30 percent. Launching space rockets is extremely costly; a traditional rocket launch is depriving the space administration of $250 million, whereas commercial flights offered by aerospace companies amount to $61.2 million.

The blueprint of the invention guarantees the transportation of a 10-ton cargo with the help of the elevator. In addition, passengers can reach the top of the amazingly high construction in just 60 minutes, given that the lift travels with 7 miles per hour.

Quine has to go through two stages to build his invention, the company has further stated. The engineer has to build a 0.9-mile tall lift to prove that the project is functional and safe, most of all. Only then, will the 12.4-mile elevator see its construction, experts have concluded.

The news that the Canadian company aims to build the enormous tower has been regarded with skepticism by many online users. The majority of them have mocked the project saying that the money requested for the construction of the monstrous building would, in fact, suffice for all the space rocket launches to come. Other Internet users have stated that the construction is not possible, arguing that its instability will cause its collapse.

The inventor of the patent is determined to bring the establishment of the tower to a successful conclusion. He further hopes to inspire other engineers to build space hotels and restaurants for tourists.

Whether it will work or not, we have strong reasons to believe that Quine’s architecture plan has just provided National Geographic with enough material for a full Megastructures season.

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Women are often encouraged to cook for their potential mate, because we’ve all been told time and time again that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” However, according to a new study, it turns out that women might react in a similar way, being a lot more responsive to romantic cues if their stomach has already been taken care of.

In order to reach this conclusion, researchers from the US Drexel University analyzed the way the brain reacts when women are hungry versus satiated, studying women who had dieted before and women who haven’t.

Senior author of the study Alice Ely, who led the research as part of her doctoral degree, explains that having a history of dieting made no difference in this aspect, as both types of young women had higher brain activation when showed romantic pictures if they had eaten before. Their reward-related neural regions were not so thrilled if they went through the experiment with an empty stomach.

Dr. Ely is now a contributing postdoctoral researcher at the Eating Disorders Center for Treatment and Research, part of the University of California. She said she was surprised to find the results were contrary to previous studies, which demonstrated that hungry men and women alike exhibit greater sensitivity to gratifying stimuli, such as finance, food, and drugs.

This finding is part of a larger pilot study that Ely and her Drexel colleagues have conducted on the brain responses to food cues. Researchers were particularly interested if there was a significant difference in the brain’s reward response to food in women with history of dieting – and higher risk of obesity – compared with those who had never dieted.

The study’s conclusions are based on the reactions of young, college-age women of normal weight. Published in 2014, the research points to the fact that women with history of dieting had a stronger brain response to food cues if they were fed than young women currently dieting or with no dieting habits.

Based on that study, the new research, published in the journal Appetite, had the team hypothesizing that brain responses in these two groups might also be different in particular situations, such as when showed romantic pictures in a hungry and fed state.

MRI imagining was used to establish accurate results, which suggested that, even though both groups had stronger responses to romantic cues in a satiated state, women with history of dieting were still ahead of the other group when it came to the degree of neural activity.

Image Source: Huffington Post

If Google’s most recent move into the medical devices business was missed by the media, it’s only because other exciting news received the main stage. But even though the search giant’s revamping under the umbrella of Alphabet is big news, it’s worth noticing the new partnership they signed with DexCom.

The announcement mentioned the result of the collaboration will be a new form of continuous glucose monitoring devices (or CGMs) that will offer patients a less expensive alternative to the option that are currently out there.

A band aid-sized device is certainly in line with what Andrew Conrad, director of Google’s life sciences, has in mind for the department. He said in a press release that Google is dedicated to discovering and inventing technologies that will advance healthcare, changing the reactive stance to proactive.

According to Conrad, this partnership is set to further the expansion of tracking methods, because dealing with diabetes should mostly have to do with managing one’s health proactively.

The collaboration puts together Google’s miniaturized electronics system with DexCom’s advanced sensor technology. The end result would come in the form of a monitoring device the size of a bandage equipped with a sensor and a direct connection to the cloud.

During his explanation about the revamping of Google, CEO Larry Page also highlighted the importance of the department of Life Sciences. In the same news category, reports revealed the Life Science program will no longer be a part of Google X – the experiment department – but will become a standalone company led by Conrad under Alphabet’s umbrella.

DexCom is one respected member of the medical devices industry, and Google’s choice of partnership only goes to show how serious the tech giant is about advancing the inroads into healthcare. Experts are encouraged by this partnership, as it promises to innovate diabetes care, offering a good platform for further development of new technology.

Dealing with diabetes is a full-time job for sufferers and caretakers alike, and any kind of devices or tools that would make that management easier are a plus.
Image Source: Arend’s Day

Touchjet Wave will turn your TV into a responsive, smart surface.

An easy-to-use, new device called Touchjet Wave will ‘smarten up’ your regular TV and transform your usual viewing into the ability to touch and interact with your screen. It’s comparable to a rule of life that most like bigger screens, but they also do not want too much of their space occupied. So, it’s often a conundrum which to sacrifice or how to reach a proper compromise.

The Android device is seeking to solve precisely that issue, by being able to turn your remote controlled TV into a huge smart device that can be between 20 and 80 inches in size. It will allow the user to transform and interact with the device through an overlay that will be displayed just a miniscule distance away from the front of the screen.

All you need is a HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) enabled TV, which most are in this day and age, and a Touchjet Wave to make your apps appear large across a screen that will very likely not fit in your pocket or purse.

The Android device can be simply attached to the top edge of any flat screen, which will then use infrared technology to essentially create a layer that will be responsive to your touch. Users will be able to hover over applications to activate them, in order to avoid those pesky smudges that might make the entire process a little more frustrating by demanding you to clean up after.

However, once connected, the device will allow you to download millions of entertaining or useful apps, watch movies on Netflix, play games or even use it for more professional reasons, such as presentations. The limits are as wide (or narrow) as any regular smart phone, with the definite advantage that it will certainly be bigger.

In addition, downloading the Touchjet app will allow users of the device to use their smart phones as a remote control in order to navigate across the screen, should they wish not to take advantage of the touch function. However, that might be significantly less fun.

Touchjet Wave has 1 GB of RAM and  8 GB of memory, and is still in the process of crowd funding on Indiegogo. However, it has seen a promising start which could hint at its future success, considering it has gathered an impressive $100,000 in just one day.

Interested customers can pre-purchase the device by venturing to the website even before it launches. The set price will reportedly be of $99 within the first 8 hour-special discount, which will then rise to $119.

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