(Mirror Daily, United States) – Two major Apple investors have recently urged the tech giant to do more about iPhone addiction in kids.
The shareholders want the iPhone maker to invest more in ways of preventing smartphone addiction among young people.
Jana Partners and California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which combinedly own $2 billion’s worth of Apple shares, are urging Apple to set in place protections against negative mental health effects of smartphone addiction in kids and teens. Apple’s market value currently stands at $900 billion.
The two shareholders underlined that a plethora of studies have suggested that smartphone addiction is real and can be all the riskier in young people. Kids diagnosed with smartphone addiction tend to pay less attention in class, are affected by sleep disorders, have a higher risk of depression, and struggle with suicidal thoughts.
The two groups posted a letter online Sunday, urging Apple to live up to the obligation as a tech company to design products that don’t harm its youngest consumers. The groups called for stricter parental controls on iPhones so that parents can have better control over the time spent on the devices and the content accessed.
Apple Should Do More to Fight iPhone Addiction
According to the letter, Apple can be an example to other tech giants if it decides to pay special attention to the effects of excess smartphone use on the brains and minds of the next generation.
The investors call for the company to pour more money in the research and development efforts that could enhance parental controls on the iPhone. The letter notes that the current parental controls either allow the parents to shut down the devices or give kids full access to content and functions. It is an “all or nothing approach,” the letter reads.
The shareholders also want Apple to appoint an executive to track the company’s progress in the issue and report back to them once a year.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – A Chinese space station weighing about 19,000 pounds is expected to crash on Earth in March, but scientists don’t know yet where exactly it will crash. China lost contact with the space lab in 2016.
Beijing had initially estimated that Tiangong-1 would fall back down to our planet at the end of 2017. This wild guess made other space agencies whether the Chinese have lost all control over the out-of-control space station.
In November, the European Space Agency estimated the space lab will crash at some point from January to March 2018. ESA researchers believe the entry will be “uncontrolled,” so they couldn’t predict a crash site.
In 2016, a Harvard physicist told reporters that scientists will be able to tell the exact crash site 6-7 hours before the actual crash because no one knows when the crash will occur.
ESA experts estimate that much of the space lab will burn up before it hits Earth. Yet, large pieces are expected to survive and hit populated areas. Researchers estimate that there is one chance in 10,000 for the junk to land in populated areas and actually do some damage.
Crash Site Remains Unknown
The most likely crash site is estimated to be located between the 43° North latitude and the 43° South latitude, which include all continents that have inhabitants.
ESA warned that the time of the reentry and location can only be estimated with “large uncertainties”. Even a couple of days before the reentry, the landing site and the crash time can be predicted in a very large window.
Tiangong-1, which translates into the Heavenly Palace, was China’s first space station. It was launched in 2011 and now has two manned missions on its record. The space lab was designed to last only two years, but Chinese authorities pushed its expiry date farther. In 2016, all communications were lost, and the spacecraft started degrading.
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Scientists are actually excited that Trump promised to send a manned mission back to the Moon.
(Mirror Daily, the United States) – Many scientists voiced their optimism about the plan after Donald Trump promised to send another manned crew back to the Moon before a manned mission to Mars.
Earlier this month, the President signed into law directive to instruct NASA to first send human explorers to the Moon. The directive does not include details about the funding and a timeline. After signing the document, Trump said the next lunar mission would do more than just plant a flag and leave a footprint. It would prepare a future mission to the Red Planet.
Several scientists attending the American Geophysical Union’s event in New Orleans agreed to discuss the initiative with Space.com. While some said they were excited about the new mission to the moon, others were less enthusiastic.
Scientists Want the President to Send Explorers Back to the Moon
Alan Stern who leads NASA’s New Horizons mission expressed his enthusiasm, praising the new administration for understanding the value of space exploration for the U.S. as a world power. He believes space exploration could be very similar to the discovery of the Americas in the 16th century.
University of California researcher Stephen Kane thinks Mars’ colonization is not such a far-fetched scenario since Australia is “slightly more hostile than Mars”. He noted that colonists to the Americas needed constant replenishment from Europe before they could live on their own there. This will be the case with Mars explorers as well, Kane told reporters.
Geophysicist John Burgener believes that setting human bases on the Moon could help prevent incoming impactors from hitting the Earth. Astronauts will be able to track such hazardous space rocks from the lunar bases and use technology to divert the asteroids and comets coming too close to our planet. Burgener noted that Mars is not a strategic location to be at when a hazardous space rock heads to our home planet.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – Apple Inc has just confirmed a conspiracy theory that claims older iPhone models are being purposely slowed down for a dubious reason.
According to a recent statement from the company, older iPhones have been indeed slowed down via an upgrade in order to prevent damage to their electronics.
Apple explained that as Lithium-Ion batteries age they tend to degrade and are less able to cope with the processor’s increased demand for power. When faced with spikes of power drains, older handsets tend to restart to prevent hardware damage.
However, Apple silently fixed this problem with older iPhones by throttling performance. A slower processor tends to not drain so heavily the battery, which prevents the phone from restarting.
Yet, users were not pleased with the company’s decision as they weren’t given enough options.
Apple Admits to Slowing Down Older iPhones
Apple admitted that the conspiracy theory about the iOS slowing down older handsets and iPads is true. But the move had a noble purpose: to prevent the old devices from being damaged.
The company rolled out the secret “power management” fix in 2016, which is the year many iPhone users reported their iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models seemed slower than usual. The fix apparently partially solved the issues with abrupt shut-downs when the iPhone’s processor was running at maximum performance.
Many users are displeased, though, because they weren’t asked if they wanted their phones to be throttled. Plus, there’s no way of turning off the fix, and Apple took the decision behind users’ backs.
What’s more, the tech giant had no intention of making the fix public ever. It had to admit that the urban myth of slower iPhones was correct after an app developer noticed the problem. Some users now want the power management feature to have a turn-off switch from the Settings menu.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – Facebook is about to literally live up to its name as a new series of facial recognition algorithms can now track a person’s face across the platform even if that face was not tagged at least once.
The company says that the new tools will enable its users to have better control over their photos and protect them from catfishing efforts. Yet, privacy advocates are concerned that things could run out of control, and the tech could be used to detect Facebook users as they shop in brick-and-mortar stores.
The new facial recognition tech can be turned on from the account’s settings. After you do that, you’ll receive notifications every time somebody uploads images of you onto the platform. This will happen even if you don’t know that person as long as the uploader has included you in the audience group of those photos from his or her privacy settings.
The website will also notify you if someone used your face for their profile picture. This measure will dramatically reduce catfishing efforts and revenge porn attacks, with the attacker creating phony accounts to upload compromising photos of a former lover without their consent.
Facial Recognition Tech Could Run Amok
Privacy experts are concerned that by granting Facebook access to such an enormous database of faces, the company could amass too much power as a private entity. And Facebook hasn’t tried to address the concerns to date.
On the contrary: earlier this year, the company started asking selfies from users to prove that their accounts are theirs following reports of suspicious activity. What’s more, in Australia, the social media giants rolled out a program that can prevent revenge porn uploads as long as the victim sends the site the compromising pictures in advance.
Privacy experts argue that since Facebook is poised to beef up its facial recognition powers, it should also become more transparent about such decisions.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – A group of MIT engineers is working into a type of nanobionic trees that could son replace streetlights. The new glowing plants are not bright enough but with a little extra work, they could illuminate an entire room.
The experiment is not final. Researchers are experimenting with watercress plants in which they embedded nanoparticles in amounts that are not toxic to the plant. The plants can emit light for up to four hours.
The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp,
said senior researcher Michael Strano.
The new tech could pave the way to zero-emission indoor lighting and trees that can act like streetlights.
A study detailing the research appeared this week in Nano Letters.
This new type of nanobionic experiment could offer plants new features by packing them with nanoparticles. The final goal is to enable plants to replace electrical lightning both indoors and outdoors.
Other nanobionic experiments enabled plants to spot explosive and inform researchers on existing threats via a smartphone app. Other plants were tweaked to assess drought conditions in a specific area.
Trees Acting as Streetlights Could Help Save Energy
Electrical lightning currently accounts for 20 percent of the world’s electricity bill. What’s more, plants can generate energy through their natural metabolic processes, can self-repair, and can be easily adapted to outdoors scenarios.
For their plant experiment, MIT engineers drew inspiration from fireflies. They embedded plants with an enzyme that enables the tiny bugs to glow in the dark. The enzyme was glued to a nanoparticle carrier that was injected into the plant. The Food and Drug Administration considers nanoparticles to be generally safe.
The initial experiments led to plants that could maintain their goal for up to 45 minutes. The latest trial yielded glowing plants that could illuminate for 3.5 hours, which is a major improvement.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – When you’re stressed, angry, or depressed you may notice that your dog either tries to console you or stare at you licking its own face multiple times per minute. A new study suggests that dogs engage in the habit when they are under a lot of stress.
Researchers have tried to explain mouth-licking in dogs for years. Past research suggests that it may either be a stress-coping mechanism, a display of a desire to play or be fed, or a display of excitement.
Yet, the latest study by a team of researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, suggests that mouth-licking may by dogs’ reaction to changes in human faces, especially angry faces.
For their study, scientists exposed 17 dogs to a series of video cues which represented human emotions. Dogs watched a succession of angry and happy faces on a couple of screens. The videos had audio output as well.
Researchers were attentive to when dogs started to lick their mouths. They found that the reaction appeared when an angry face popped up on the screens.
Mouth-licking was triggered by visual cues only,
noted the researchers.
Dogs Licking their Own Faces when Exposed to Negative Emotions
Lead scientist Natalia Albuquerque said that some breeds of dogs tended to engage in the behavior more often than other breeds. However, mouth-licking was triggered when dogs were exposed to negative human emotions.
When dogs saw angry faces they started licking their own faces twice as much as they did when they perceived a positive emotion.
The findings appeared Nov. 28 in the Behavioural Processes.
The research team underlined that the latest findings suggest a huge emotional intelligence in dogs, which are now believed to be smarter than cats despite decades of research that had proven otherwise.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – Google launched a lighter version of its popular Android operating system Tuesday in India. The Android Oreo Go is designed to power the cheaper Android smartphones about to hit the Indian market.
The new OS runs on a memory of 512 megabytes which makes it ideal for low-end devices. Google promised to roll out the devices powered by the new software in the coming months.
India currently has 1.2 billion wireless subscribers making the market the world’s second largest after China. However, slightly over 30 percent of those subscribers own a smartphone even though the prices of the devices have decreased exponentially in recent years.
India is currently being flooded with cheaper handsets from China. Yet, U.S. phone makers such as Apple and Google seek to remain competitive and come up with their cheaper versions of the devices.
The New Android OS Could Entice More Indians to Buy Smartphones
Google hopes the recently-unveiled OS to convince more Indians to buy smartphones, whose prices now range from $30 to $73. Google will, therefore, be able to promote other products and services like the mobile payment app Tez, which it unveiled in September.
The new OS will also be compatible with a lighter version of the Google Play app which has been also designed to function on cheaper handsets.
It is not the first time, Google tries to enter the Indian market with tailored goods and services. In recent years, it has introduced Indians to its WhatsApp messaging service and been competing against Facebook in providing India with free wireless access.
India currently has 400 million Internet users. Mobile data usage, however, skyrocketed after local carrier Reliance Jio entered the market. Jio’s offers are so competitive that rivals had to slash prices to survive. Jio subscribers can no download 1 Gb of data daily for just $3 per month.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – The news that Russia has probably found “alien life” on the outside of the international space laboratory known as the International Space Station (ISS) has made the global headlines.
However, the discovery is backed by little evidence and Russia is not very cooperative.
It all started when Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who will lead the next mission to the ISS in December, said that Russian scientists found what seemed to be microbial life from outer space on the surface of the ISS during an experiment.
The Russians have conducted at least a couple of experiments designed to prevent our microbes from contaminating alien worlds: Biorisk and Test. Both experiments are monitoring how fungi and microbes are faring in space.
During the Test experiment, scientists placed microorganisms on the ISS surface for some time and returned the samples to Earth to see how the bugs have fared there. Shkaplerov said that researchers found bacteria “that were absent during the launch of the ISS module” during the analysis.
‘Alien’ Microbes Pose No Danger
He believes the microorganisms came from space and picked ISS’s as their new home. The cosmonaut assured the public that the tiny bacteria “pose no danger”.
However, some skeptics claim that even though the tiny bugs weren’t there when the module launched, they could’ve come from Earth. The ISS is not orbiting that far from our planet, and past research revealed that a special class of microbes called tardigrades can survive in space.
The Russian space agency Roscomsmos suggested that the microorganisms are alien and that they arrived at the ISS via space dust. A similar theory was pushed by the agency three years ago when Roscosmos claimed that cosmonauts found traces of alien sea plankton on ISS’s surface.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – Google-owned YouTube has recently announced that it will block comments and advertising on videos that have hints of child exploitation following a pedophilia scandal.
A few days ago, major brands like e-Bay, Amazon, Lidl, and Adidas pulled out their ads from clips showing children being exploited by pedophiles. A recent report shows that videos of young girls in bikinis and scantily clad young boys attract creepy comments from pedophiles.
According to AdNews, the video-sharing platform has started banning advertising and blocking comments on these videos. But experts believe more should be done. Many of the videos showing children in inappropriate positions are created in Russia and other similar countries.
Brands are concerned such content could lure in sexual predators and place children at risk. If parents saw the content, many of them would be alarmed at where the freedom of expression can lead.
For instance, teen Jake Mitchell’s videos showing him half naked triggered many unsuitable comments from older men. Such clips, however, had ads from major brands including one ad for Google Home.
YouTube Taking Action in Wake of Pedophilia Scandal
YouTube recently said that content that puts kids at risk is “unacceptable”. As a result, the company disabled the comment section on thousands of such clips and banned hundreds of users that harassed children.
YouTube also said that it is working “urgently” to ban the ads from such videos. On the other hand, experts believe that the amount of content posted on daily basis on YouTube is nearly impossible to police.
Advertising experts noted that no major brand wants to be associated with pedophilia on YouTube no matter how small the audience for that content may be. YouTube could do more for brand safety control, experts believe.
Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms are facing similar challenges. They find it increasingly hard to tell the difference between inappropriate and appropriate content.
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