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Are you bothered by the pictures and statuses that show up on your Facebook’s News Feed? Do you find yourself constantly reaching for the “Hide this post” option? Thanks to a Brazilian company who created an alternative “sin-free” social network, you might not have to anymore.

Feeling they are being led into sin by the social media they are surfing, an Evangelical Christian organization has decided to take matter into its own hands. The end product is a social network called Facegloria, where people can surf online profiles without fear of temptation.

One of the creators, Atilla Barros, web designer, gave a statement explaining that Facegloria is an alternative to the violence and explicit content that is nowadays flooding everyone’s Facebook account, whether they like it or not. He added that the new social network’s aim is to create an environment where people “could talk about God, love and spread His word.”

With its light-blue hues, Facegloria share a certain resemblance to Facebook, but differences are not difficult to spot. People no longer “like” pictures or statuses, but instead are offered the possibility of clicking “Amen.”

There’s a 600-word list of swear words that are forbidden on Facegloria besides sexual or violent content of any kind, as creators hope to offer users a better social experience. A group of 20 volunteers are currently in charge of monitoring activity on the website.

Barros is positive about the popularity of his network he has described to be “morally and technically better than Facebook.” He might be right to dream of greatness as a staggering 100,000 people have already signed up in just one month.

He added that he hopes all Evangelical Christians will eventually switch to Facegloria, and reach 10 million users in Brazil in a matter of two years. Facegloria also has a mobile phone app that has helped ease access to the younger demographic.

In the future, the app will become available outside Brazil’s borders, as the creators have bought the Facegloria domain in “all possible languages”. The population of Brazil is still predominantly Catholic, but Evangelical Christians has definitely gained some traction with an estimated 42 million followers of the 202 million total population.
Image Source: Loop Assets

Hacking Team, an Italian company offering security and surveillance services, has apparently fallen victim to exactly the thing it promises protection from: security breaches.

Hacking Team’s services mainly consist of a variety of software that many governments around the world use in their surveillance programs. The company is known for being under harsh criticism from people and organizations accusing it to have facilitated privacy invasions.

During the past weekend, Hacking Team’s Twitter account experienced an unpleasant hacking that ended up in its name and profile picture being changed to “Hacked Team.” But that’s the least of the trouble the company got in; whoever is behind the Twitter takeover has also made public 400 GB of data in a torrent file.

The company information that became public knowledge ranged from emails and confidential documents to important source codes to the firm’s software. The files also contain the names of Hacking Team’s clients, including countries which used its services for oppressive regimes.

Among the invoices leaked via the hacked Twitter account, Egypt and Sudan make surprising appearances as customers of Hacking Team, releasing data on the providing surveillance equipment and the software allowing remote access to computers that these countries have purchased.

Ever since NSA became infamous for its invasive surveillance practices, Hacking Team has been in the news a lot. We have heard of them especially last year, after a secret document was released talking about the company’s various tools used to get around encryption and spy on people, in general.

Groups advocating for human rights have been particularly interested in the work of Hacking Team after finding out it was willing to make business with countries known for their abuse on human rights. Not only that, but the list of nations partnering with Hacking Team are also limiting freedom of speech by spying on journalists, and surveilling on people who oppose the government.

Even though the company’s Twitter account has since been recovered, the hackers weren’t afraid to rub some salt in the wound in the time they had control. They changed not only the security firm’s Twitter name, but also the description: “Developing ineffective, easy-to-pwn offensive technology to compromise the operations of the worldwide law enforcement and intelligence communities.”

Besides the leaked invoices, there was a lot of cache of data revealing clients’ passwords; surprisingly, plenty of them were variations of Passw0rd!, Passw0rd, or Pas$w0rd, showing how little interest some have in their own security.

Even though Christian Pozzi, spokesperson for Hacking Team, has tried to discourage people from downloading the torrent file, the company is in big trouble, considering the number of big governments that seem to be its customers.
Image Source: Motherboard

Google Glass Enterprise Edition offers support to company managers.

According to the recent rumors, Google is releasing new Google Glass Enterprise Edition, which aims to provide support to companies. The new gadget will feature many tech options that will render company-related activities a lot easier, tech savvies have specified.

The wearable gadgets that Google launched last year turned out to be a general fiasco, after very few customers have actually shown interest in the product. Nevertheless, the search giant is willing to try its luck with a new Google Glass edition.

Based on the few pieces of information that tech analysts have managed to collect, the new Google Glass project will be a 2.0 edition. It will be mainly designed to offer support to enterprises; hence, the name Google Glass Enterprise Edition.

The search firm has kept silent about their new project; yet, the recent patent that Google has purchased has cast more light on the project. Judging from the description on the patent, the Enterprise Edition will be slimmer and lighter than the one last year.

The internal scheme of the Google Glass 2.0 could be developed by Intel, even though these rumors have not yet been confirmed.

The idea of a new pair of Google Glasses that could be used exclusively by managers and CEOs has been well-received by market analysts. The majority of them have labeled Google’s new initiative as an attempt to compete against other tech giants releasing similar wearables.

It’s the case of Microsoft, who is now preparing the HoloLens technology – a powerful Glass that will also be included in NASA’s space missions. Sony Corp. has also paid visible interest in the matter and is now working to release similar lenses for its customers.

In spite of the increasing competition that Google is getting from other tech firms, market analysts think there is still hope for Google’s Glass project. Theo Priestly from Forbes, believes Google could draw the interest of many enterprises, particularly if they choose to channel their product on a single type of user: companies.

Priestly believes Google Glass 2.0 will bring managers the freedom and the velocity they need to effectively supervise their employees. The Wi-Fi connectivity enables users to get access to all the data and videos they need without being forced to carry a tablet or a smartphone with them.

The official release date has not yet been disclosed. What analysts know for certain is that the new Google device is being tested by developers to ensure the best quality of services. This means the prototype has already been designed, so enterprises could soon benefit of the new wearable.

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Like all prehistoric animals, Woolly Mammoths have been fascinating the scientific community as well as the general public pretty much ever since their discovery.

These animals lived comfortably in freezing temperatures, adapted to dark winters, didn’t mind arid environments and could even fight off Saber-Tooth Tigers. They died off roughly 10.000 years ago, but are they going to stay dead?

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and from Penn State recently conducted a study and found the answers to several long asked questions, among which there are two standouts – “How did the Woolly Mammoth survive such extreme temperatures?” and “Could they be brought back from extinction?”. The answer to the last one is yes, of course.

For their study, published earlier this week, on Thursday (July 2, 2015), in the journal Cell Reports, the team of experts looked at DNA samples from the Ice Age creature, as well as DNA samples from their close, modern-day relatives, African Elephants and Asian Elephants.

The genetic samples for the Woolly Mammoth were taken from two specimens discovered in northeastern Siberia, one fossil being 18.500 years old, while the other is 60.000 years old.

The results showed that unlike Elephants, the prehistoric animals benefited from genes that aided them in gaining fat, developing skin and hair, tolerating harsh temperatures and evolve insulin biology.

Vincent Lynch, co-author and evolutionary biologist associated with the University of Chicago, gave a statement saying that these changes make sense because of what the researchers already knew about the species – they had long, thick hair, large fat deposits, and used to live in really cold environments. Insulin signaling played a very important role in their fat biology as insulin is responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood that is converted into energy and fat.

Overall, the researchers found that there are roughly 1.600 genes which have changed their function completely when transitioning from the Woolly Mammoth to the modern-day elephant, and 26 that have lost function completely.

Then the team moved on to more pressing, innovative matters, such as resurrecting the Woolly Mammoth equivalent of the gene known as TRPV3. They transplanted it into human cells and noticed that it produced a protein which favored cold weather to warm weather.

What the most remarkable part of the project is, is that the researches have admitted it would be very easy to clone the Woolly Mammoth thanks to their comprehensive genome sequencing. They say the process should be very similar to that seen in the blockbuster Jurassic World, and that the technology is not far at all from being developed.

Webb Miller, a biologist from Penn State University, gave a statement of his own, informing that “If you want to build a woolly mammoth, we’re showing some places to start. But that had nothing to do with why we studied mammoths”.

The Woolly Mammoth fossils discovered so far in Europe, Asia and North America suggest that the animal was still roaming the Earth as early as 4.000 years ago. To this day it is unknown whether the creature died off to not being able to adapt to adapt to the warming climate, or if human hunting is what drove it into the ground.

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Robot engineers are constantly looking at the animal kingdom for inspiration. From cheetahs, to dogs, to cockroaches, to moths, all creatures have body features and natural abilities that help experts develop machines better suited for the task at hand.

The newest source of inspiration to be added to the list is the seahorse. Robot engineers at Clemson University say that the creatures have an especially durable body amour due to its bony structure, and a useful, flexible tail that can easily wrap around objects due to its square shape, all while also exhibiting a great deal of force.

Resent studies looking at the marine creature have answer a long pondered question in the scientific community by finding that the seahorse’s square shaped tail is better at withstanding attacks than a more common, round shaped tail. The fish often use this appendage to grab various objects or plants, and tests using an oversized 3D model have shown how much more effective this shape is.

The study, published in the journal Science, has revealed that the seahorse’s tail is made up of no less than 36 different segments. Each of them has kind of a square appearance and defies all expectation.

Dr. Michael Porter, lead investigator and mechanical engineer over at Clemson University (South Carolina), gave a statement informing that “Almost all animal tails have circular or oval cross-sections, but not the seahorse’s. We wondered why. We found that the squared-shaped tails are better when both grasping and amour are needed”.

Miriam Ashley-Ross from the Wake Forest University was not associated with the study, but gave a statement of her own explaining that when a living organism decides to deviate from what’s normally found in nature, there’s almost always a good biomechanical reason. All one has to do is look for clues that reveal specific problems that the animals are facing in their natural habitats. They are typically the reason behind the atypical evolution.

Dr. Porter first started examining seahorses while he was working on developing a steerable catheter. For whatever reason, his initial prototype was designed with a square cross section. He then tried to change it into a round one, for that is the shape more common in nature and he intended to insert it into veins. But what he realized was that the second version didn’t work anywhere near as well as the first one.

He gave a statement sharing that the square design simply felt like it fit together better and that it performed more robustly, compared to the round design, which held its shape together poorly, and didn’t really feel like it fit well together.

The seahorse’s armor is made out of “L” shaped bone plates that overlap beneath the animal’s skin. They run down the creature’s entire body, including the tip of its tail, but they do get smaller towards said tip. The corners from the L shapes are the ones that form the fish’s square cross section.

The researchers used this knowledge to build an oversized 3D model of the seahorse’s square shaped tail, and compared it to another 3D model of a round shaped tail, in order to assess which one is more useful to the creature.

They found that the square shaped tail segments slided right past one another and retained their shape when Dr. Porter and his team applied force that mimicked a set of teeth or a beak that were trying to crush the fish. The round shaped tail segments did nor fair so well and ended up being warped by the pressure.

What’s more, the researchers twisted the two different 3D tails and found that the square one did not encounter much difficulty going back to its initial shape after the twisting stopped. On the other hand, the round one remained distorted.

The square shaped tail also proved to be much better than the round shaped tail at grasping various things, they have flat sides which don’t slide off of surfaces quite so easily, and lend themselves to a much more powerful grip.

Dr. Porter hopes that his study will lead to designing robots that are more flexible, but also stronger and much harder to break. He mentioned that while robot engineers generally prefer to build stiff shapes because they are easier to control, Mother nature is better at building shapes that are strong enough not to break, while also making them flexible enough to be able to accomplish a multitude of tasks. He says that this is exactly why researchers should start looking at animals more and more when designing the next generation of robots.

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If you’ve missed Facebook’s change of logo, you’re not the only one. For the largest social network whose every step is closely monitored by millions of eyes, it’s a move that went largely unnoticed.

And there’s a reason for that, as it is not really a new logo as much as it’s a subtle tweak of the original. It must be stated that the favicon – the “F” icon that usually represents Facebook – is still here, but that the custom typeface was rounded and slimmed down a bit so it can be easier to read on smaller devices.

To be frank, the changes resulted in something rather plain. But according to logo experts, that was the idea. Josh Higgins, Facebook’s creative director, explained that the subtle update was meant to make the social network’s logo “more friendly and approachable.”

Basically, Facebook looked for ways its logo would work best on mobile, which is where technology is focused nowadays. And it’s long past due, as this is the first update the logo has had in 10 years. The concept of a new wordmark started gaining traction in 2013, but the actual roll out happened this past Tuesday.

Back in 2005, when the original logo was designed, the idea of squared-off letters with thicker strokes was perfectly visible for the desktop world we used to live in. But as technology made its way into our pockets via mobile, the company needed to update the dark, compact logo as to reflect the entirety of what Facebook means now.

As a matter of fact, Facebook’s in-house designers have been focusing on how to make sure the current brand identity is consistent across all the sub-products the company has released in the meantime.

The new logo falls in line with Facebook’s efforts to trim its visual identity. There’s a whole story behind the changing of the ‘a’ letter and the paring down of the other letters, according to Eric Olson, creator of both the original typeface and the slightly refreshed logo. The end target, however, was to make the entire logo friendlier by sending out a sense of sociability.

Making the logo simpler – or keeping it that way – might also have to do with Facebook’s attempt of appealing to such a large market. With 500 million accounts, the tech company had to keep in mind they’re not addressing just to younger generations who are more appealed by personality-based logos.

In the end, the change represents a clear understanding that the overwhelming majority of those users access the site via digital backlit screen, most of which are small. And that’s exactly the strategy Facebook should be adopting in the mobile age.
Image Source: CNN Philippines

Whether we like it or not, the selfie craze is not dying down. Celebrities seem to have entered an unspoken contest of who can get the most “likes” on Facebook selfies or “hearts” on Instagram, proving that selfies – and all they say about us as humans – are here to stay.

That’s why MasterCard’s decision to exploit the trend might be rather smart. The American multinational company has recently revealed plans to implement a new system designed to lower the rates of card frauds: using digitized maps of their users’ faces as payment confirmation for any transaction.

Users will have to set up these maps of their faces on a MasterCard server; after that, the mobile app will allow them to pay either by fingerprint confirmation or by simply looking at the app it and blinking once. Creators included the blink so people won’t be able to use a picture of the user to cheat the system.

On each payment, the resulting hash will be compared with the one the user has stored originally on the server. This feature will only be available on mobile, so users will have to download the MasterCard phone app.

Ajay Bhalla, the security mastermind behind the innovative solutions that MasterCard comes up with, said he was rather confident that the millennials – a generation completely immersed in the concept of selfies – will think the feature is cool.

Before the new payment method can be rolled out commercially, MasterCard will host a pilot initiative where 500 users will check and provide feedback on the feature of using fingerprints and facial scans for transactions.

The digitized face maps will be available on several smartphone platforms, such as Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft, with whom MasterCard has signed partnerships with. Password protected codes which are currently in use for card payments are secure most of the time, except for the times when they are forgotten, intercepted or stolen.

Apple Pay has already incorporated biometrics in their payment method, and because Apple is such a trendsetter, more banks felt prompted to follow the lead.

Anticipating the public’s reaction to having their face stored yet on another server, Bhalla explained that MasterCard’s system will merely store data that can help them match faces, not reconstruct them.

Besides facial recognition, MasterCard has also announced to experiment with heartbeat and voice recognition, two features that are still in the company’s oven.
Image Source: Tech News Today

The reptile was particularly active during day time and spent great part of its time in trees.

A new ‘Jesus Lizard’ fossil was found in Wyoming enabling scientists to better study the habits of the Babibasiliscus alxi species of reptiles. Based on the research that paleontologists have made, the lizard was very active during the day time and spent great part of its time in trees.

After various works, scientists managed to unearth a fossil belonging to the so-called ‘Jesus Lizard’ species. The reptile was, thus, nicknamed because its body shape clearly indicates that the reptile could walk on water.

The relic was found within the Bridger Formation region, in Wyoming, an area where scientists have found many lizard fossils in the past, as well. The first studies indicate that the ‘Jesus Lizard’ lived in this area approximately 48 million years ago.

Judging from its body structure, the reptile could freely climb trees, so researchers believe this was the favorite place of these exemplars as they could protect themselves against attackers. Being just 2ft long the lizard could not protect itself against predators and it was, therefore, forced to adapt its lifestyle to new surviving conditions.

The newly found fossil indicates that the representatives of the Babibasiliscus alxi species appeared to be violent due to the crease on their forehead. However, this physical trait also enabled the lizards to protect themselves against the sunlight.

The Wyoming relic has been so well-preserved that paleontologists have even managed to study its mouth structure. They have, thus, found that these reptiles had very small teeth that they used to devour various insects, plants, fish and even snakes.

In spite of its small size, the ‘Jesus Lizard’ could very well eat larger preys, due to its big cheekbone structure.

This group has later on given birth to the modern species of reptiles we know today, including iguanas and chameleons.

Scientists have concluded the study that was published on the journal Plos One by saying that the fossil will be exposed at the American Museum of Natural History together with the discoveries that have been made.

The leader of the research group, Jack Conrad, stated that the ‘Jesus Lizard’ relic has enabled them to better understand this species of reptiles and to draw further conclusions on the behavior of more modern exemplars.

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The Prandtl-m project will enable scientists to better study the surface of the Red Planet.

A recent press release informs that NASA scientists will send the first airplane on Mars by the year 2024. The project is called the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars (Prandtl-m) and it will be developed with the help of college students.

Among the many experiments that NASA scientists are now developing is also the Prandtl-m project which presupposes the flight of the first airplane into space. The small drone will be sent on Mars to better study the surface of the Red Planet.

According to the first descriptions that scientists have provided, the airplane will be made out of light materials, such as, fiber glass and carbon fiber. These materials have been selected because the drone has to be carried by a satellite on Mars.

The project stemming out of the brainstorm session of various college students will weigh only 1.2kg and will be just 61 cm large. Developers plan to make the wings foldable in the future, so that it can fit on the CubeSat mini satellite.

Scientists have further stated that the airplane will be transported to Mars by a rover, where it will gently glide on the surface of the Red Planet. As the drone will descend into Mars’ atmosphere, researchers will use every opportunity to take as many close-up pictures as possible to the celestial body.

The images that the drone can take have a very good quality. The Prandtl-m airplane will feature high-definition cameras, so ground operators can extract as much information as possible from these images. Astronomers hope the 2024 mission will enable them to further map Mars’ surface, even across those areas that have remained unstudied by the rover, so far.

As a matter of fact, the drone can investigate the Mars regions that the Curiosity rover was not able to cross because the land was too marsh. However, the airplane can only fly for 10 minutes, so scientists will have to carefully study its trajectory so Prandtl-m would not get stuck either.

The main goal of the current mission that NASA is developing is basically the same: new technological means are constantly deployed for the thorough analysis of the Red Planet. NASA will use all this data to prepare the first landing of the man on Mars in the year 2030.

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Birds speak like humans, new study reveals.

A recent study indicates that babbler birds speak like humans, scientists have revealed after carefully studying the behavior of Australian birds. The latter are known to emit special sound strings that can take different meanings depending on their voice modulations.

Birds are very popular for the numerous sounds they make and yet very few scientists have actually taken the time to study whether their sounds contain coded messages or not. A group of researchers from the University of Exter and the University of Zurich were the first to publish a similar study saying that babbler birds speak like humans.

For the current experiment, they have observed the activity of a small group of Australian birds. They have chosen this particular type of winged beings because unlike other birds, they do not sing, but rather make special sounds.

The first days of observation led scientists to conclude that there are certain sounds that the chestnut-colored birds repeat on given time intervals. Analyses have shown that these sounds become more intense when another feathered creature flies nearby or during feeding time.

To better pinpoint the link between these vibrations and the aforementioned activities, investigators have assigned sounds to two different categories, A and B. By studying their repeated strings, analysts have concluded that AB is usually emitted during flights, whereas the BAB model is used during feeding.

The conclusion of the study was reached after scientists have noticed that Australian birds raise their heads and look towards the nest every time the BAB pattern is expressed. The AB string, on the other hand, made birds look towards the sky every time they heard it.

The voice modulations of the birds further indicates that the chicks can also understand different meanings. The same patterns might take different meanings, depending on the manner in which they utter sounds.

Investigators pertaining to this group study have been particularly pleased with the results they have obtained during the recent experiment. They were glad to have finally proved that birds use a system of communication that is very similar to the ones of humans.

Animals’ capacity of generating and understanding messages through sounds has long been discussed, especially in relation to dogs and dolphins. The new findings about birds’ communication system, which were published in the journal PLOS Biology, contribute to the widening of scientific horizons.

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