Polaroid PoGo brings instant printing to the digital age

first_img Citation: Polaroid PoGo brings instant printing to the digital age (2009, October 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-10-polaroid-pogo-instant-digital-age.html © 2009 PhysOrg.com Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera As with most digital cameras the PoGo allows you to take a picture and review it on the LCD. You can then delete, adjust, crop, save, or upload it, and add a date and file number if you wish. But with the Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital you can also print the picture then and there with a simple press of the Print button on the back of the camera. You can even add a border to the picture you print. The PoGo Instant Digital has a built-in ZINK (zero ink) printer. In the ZINK process a paper is used that has dye crystals embedded in it. The print head in the printer heats the paper to fix the image and colors. The new printer is similar to the Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer, but is faster, and the quality has improved. Prints are small, at only two inches by three, and have a peel-off sticky back for instantly sticking the photo into an album or book, for example. The prints are smudge-free and water and tear resistant. The print quality is excellent for this type of printer, and according to Polaroid an even better paper is expected to be released next year. The paper comes in packs of 10, 30 or 80. Loading the camera is a simple matter of opening the back and inserting the pack of paper. The camera has an SD card slot but no card is supplied. The internal memory of 4MB is sufficient for 10 pictures at the lowest quality or five at the highest, but many users will probably print the pictures and then immediately delete them, so the relatively low memory may not be an issue. If it is an issue, it’s a simple matter to buy an SD card and use it to store the images.The Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital camera retails at around $200. Spare rechargeable batteries are expected to become available by the end of the year, and they will be useful as the battery lasts for only 20-30 prints. Dell’s Wasabi printer loses on price and quality (PhysOrg.com) — Polaroid, founded in 1937 by American physicist Edwin H. Land, invented instant photographic printing. Its first instant film camera went on sale in November 1948, but in February 2008 the company decided to cease all production in favor of digital photography products. Earlier this year, Polaroid returned to the concept of instant printing and brought it into the digital age with its PoGo Instant Digital camera. Now you can take digital photographs and print them instantly.center_img Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further The PoGo is a 5-megapixel digital camera with built-in printer. The camera looks like a regular digital camera, except it is a little larger, and has a slot on one side through which the prints emerge. The other side of the camera has power and USB connections for uploading the pictures to computer or printing on a normal photo-quality printer.The camera has a fixed focus lens, 4 x digital zoom, built-in flash, and a three-inch wide color LCD screen with menu and controls on the back. Picture image quality is about equivalent to that of a high quality camera phone. last_img read more

NTT DoCoMo tablettalkers explore virtual worlds w Video

first_img More information: via Diginfo Sony develops ‘SmartAR’ Integrated Augmented Reality technology © 2012 Phys.Org Spatial-recognition technology is also deployed in the system that tracks 360-degree videos or 3-D objects as if the user is actually looking at them. If the tablet user is looking from above, the 3-D object is shown as seen from above. If the user looks sideways, they can see the object shown from the side. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. NTT DoCoMo demonstrates its “Live 3D Communication System” by showing two users in separate rooms connected for a video chat. Their motions are captured by a video camera and projected onto virtual backgrounds, such as a city street or outer space. The users explore and talk about the virtual space together, sweeping their tablets around them to use as a window to their virtual world. This virtual space is composed in the company’s network cloud and streamed directly to each user’s device.One feature of this system is speech recognition technology. Users can create virtual objects just by speech This technology extracts characteristic keywords from spoken words and embodies them as objects. The keywords from the two people’s conversation become images displayed in the virtual world that is being shared by the two users. Recognition comes into play, scanning the conversation between the two users for certain words and phrases. A word can appear in a balloon shape on the screens of both users’ tablets. Tapping on the balloon shape can open a link or cause an avatar to appear on the screen.center_img Citation: NTT DoCoMo tablet-talkers explore virtual worlds (w/ Video) (2012, June 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-06-ntt-docomo-tablet-talkers-explore-virtual.html (Phys.org) — NTT DoCoMo is showing off its prototype platform for 3-D video calls with enhanced additions. Its 3D Live Communication System is being described as a possible next step beyond regular video calls. This is a platform that allows two tablet users who are not in the same place communicate and at the same time explore virtual spaces where they can see each other in a different virtual world. NTT DoCoMo is Japan’s largest mobile operator, known not only for its network and large user base but also for an aggressive R&D effort in mobile communication technologies. A platform that features the “virtual world” experience Is clearly in the cards. Explore further The technologies are under development but a demo of the platform at the Wireless Japan exhibition in Tokyo recently fired some imaginations as having possible usefulness in educational technology, retail, and other settings. NTT DoCoMo says it has no specific plan how consumers would use this. “Regarding services actual customers could use, we’re still thinking about those, so we haven’t decided our timeline yet,” said a representative from the company. last_img read more

Study suggest local East African climate variability contributed to human evolution

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Top panel shows the East African Rift valley lake variability shown both as the number of Basin containing deep or shallow lakes and the calculated normalised lake index. The putative hominin dispersals ‘D’ (red arrows out of Africa, dotted within Africa only) are shown above. Middle panel shows African hominin species diversity over time. Bottom panel shows hominin brain estimates for Africa and Eurasia. Hominin specimen dates and brain size estimates were taken from Shultz et al. East African hominin diversity at each 100 kyrs interval were estimated using first (FAD) and last appearance dates (FAD) from the literature. Homo erectus and H. ergaster were treated as a ‘super-species’ referred to in the Figure key and text as ‘Homo erectus (sensu lato)’, but distinct regional processes in brain size change were identified by separating the specimens by continent in the analyses. Hominin migration dates were estimated by FAD of hominin specimens outside of EARS. Lake variability index was calculated by collating the published geological evidence for the appearance of either deep ephemeral or shallow alkaline lakes in seven major Basins. The index was normalised by dividing by 7 to produce a range from 0 to 1. Credit: PLOS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076750.g001 More information: Shultz S, Maslin M (2013) Early Human Speciation, Brain Expansion and Dispersal Influenced by African Climate Pulses. PLoS ONE 8(10): e76750. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076750AbstractEarly human evolution is characterised by pulsed speciation and dispersal events that cannot be explained fully by global or continental paleoclimate records. We propose that the collated record of ephemeral East African Rift System (EARS) lakes could be a proxy for the regional paleoclimate conditions experienced by early hominins. Here we show that the presence of these lakes is associated with low levels of dust deposition in both West African and Mediterranean records, but is not associated with long-term global cooling and aridification of East Africa. Hominin expansion and diversification seem to be associated with climate pulses characterized by the precession-forced appearance and disappearance of deep EARS lakes. The most profound period for hominin evolution occurs at about 1.9 Ma; with the highest recorded diversity of hominin species, the appearance of Homo (sensu stricto) and major dispersal events out of East Africa into Eurasia. During this period, ephemeral deep-freshwater lakes appeared along the whole length of the EARS, fundamentally changing the local environment. The relationship between the local environment and hominin brain expansion is less clear. The major step-wise expansion in brain size around 1.9 Ma when Homo appeared was coeval with the occurrence of ephemeral deep lakes. Subsequent incremental increases in brain size are associated with dry periods with few if any lakes. Plio-Pleistocene East African climate pulses as evinced by the paleo-lake records seem, therefore, fundamental to hominin speciation, encephalisation and migration.Press release Geologists correct a rift in Africa Prior research has found that the Great Rift Valley has experienced great changes over the past couple of million years. Because of its unique geography, the area has been particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and rainfall amounts. During periods of abundant rainfall, huge lakes formed along with lush vegetation—times of less rain saw lakes dry up and deserts creep in making life difficult for those that lived in the area. Shultz and Maslin suggest it was the severe changes in the local environment that tested the brains of the creatures that would eventually evolve to become modern man, causing an increase in size and complexity.To find out if they were on to something, the two researchers studied data obtained through years of research on the evolution of our planet, focusing specifically on East Africa. They found that wet and dry times in the Great Rift Valley could be marked on a timeline which could be compared with similar timelines created by those that study the evolution of man. In so doing, they found what appeared to be a correlation—brain size seemed to grow during times of change, apparently, as a means of adapting to changing circumstances. More specifically, they found that hominin diversity appeared to peak in the valley just under two million years ago, a period of time that coincides with very large lake size. It also marked the first known appearance of the class of hominins known as Homo, most notably Homo erectus. Similar changes in human evolution were found to align with periods of change in the valley that eventually led to our human ancestors leaving the valley altogether, heading both north and south, presumably, looking for a more stable environment. (Phys.org) —Susanne Shultz and Mark Maslin of Britain’s University of Manchester and University College respectively have published a paper in the journal PLOS ONE, outlining what they call a pulsed climate variability hypothesis. They suggest that early man developed a huge brain to deal with the constantly changing environment of the Great Rift Valley in Eastern Africa, during the formative years of human evolution. To bolster their theory, Shultz and Maslin next plan to focus on other animals that lived in the valley during roughly the same period as our human ancestors to see if they too experienced dramatic spurts of evolutionary growth. © 2013 Phys.org Journal information: PLoS ONE Citation: Study suggest local East African climate variability contributed to human evolution (2013, October 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-10-local-east-african-climate-variability.htmllast_img read more

Mystery of bottle gourd migration to Americas solved

first_img © 2014 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. For several decades, scientists have been wrangling with the mystery of how the bottle gourd, which is believed to be native to Africa and Asia, made its way to the Americas where it grew wild approximately 10,000 years prior to being domesticated. Some believed the mystery had been solved when a research team using DNA techniques reported back in 2005 that the bottle gourd in the Americas had Asian DNA, suggesting the gourd made its way to North America by early people carrying it across the land bridge that existed between what is now Alaska and Russia. In this new effort, the research team contradicts that earlier finding claiming that newer DNA analysis tools show that gourds in the Americas actually have African DNA, which suggests they made it to the New World by floating across the ocean.To settle the matter once and for all, the researchers analyzed 86,000 base pairs taken from samples, rather than the meager three markers used in the 2005 study. It proved, the team says, that the bottle gourd found its way to the Americas from Africa on its own, grew wild for a time and was then cultivated. To further bolster their claim, the team created a computer simulation of bottle gourds and the waters through which they would have had to travel. The simulation showed it was possible the gourds could have traveled to the ocean via African rivers or streams, then made their way across the ocean via currents to the coast of South America, all in just nine months—a short enough span to allow for the seeds contained within to grow once reaching land.The new research appears to settle the matter of how the bottle gourd got to the New World, but questions still remain, such as how it got to Asia, and why are there so few wild variants of the bottle gourd anywhere in the world today? Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Citation: Mystery of bottle gourd migration to Americas solved (2014, February 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-02-mystery-bottle-gourd-migration-americas.html More information: “Transoceanic drift and the domestication of African bottle gourds in the Americas,” by Logan Kistler et al. PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1318678111AbstractBottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) was one of the first domesticated plants, and the only one with a global distribution during pre-Columbian times. Although native to Africa, bottle gourd was in use by humans in east Asia, possibly as early as 11,000 y ago (BP) and in the Americas by 10,000 BP. Despite its utilitarian importance to diverse human populations, it remains unresolved how the bottle gourd came to be so widely distributed, and in particular how and when it arrived in the New World. A previous study using ancient DNA concluded that Paleoindians transported already domesticated gourds to the Americas from Asia when colonizing the New World [Erickson et al. (2005) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102(51):18315–18320]. However, this scenario requires the propagation of tropical-adapted bottle gourds across the Arctic. Here, we isolate 86,000 base pairs of plastid DNA from a geographically broad sample of archaeological and living bottle gourds. In contrast to the earlier results, we find that all pre-Columbian bottle gourds are most closely related to African gourds, not Asian gourds. Ocean-current drift modeling shows that wild African gourds could have simply floated across the Atlantic during the Late Pleistocene. Once they arrived in the New World, naturalized gourd populations likely became established in the Neotropics via dispersal by megafaunal mammals. These wild populations were domesticated in several distinct New World locales, most likely near established centers of food crop domestication.center_img Explore further (Phys.org) —A team with members from several institutions in the U.S. has finally set to rest the mystery of how the bottle gourd found its way to the Americas. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team explains that new DNA analysis has revealed that the bottle gourd made its way to South America by floating over from Africa. Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. Credit: Wikipedia. Bottle released by US scientist in 1956 foundlast_img read more

Researchers discover ancient virus DNA remnants necessary for pluripotency in humans

first_img(Phys.org) —A team of Canadian and Singaporean researchers has discovered that remnants of ancient viral DNA in human DNA must be present for pluripotency to occur in human stem cells. In their paper published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, the team describes how they disabled a viral remnant in stem cell samples and discovered that doing so prevented the stem cell from being able to grow into all but one type of human cell. More information: The retrovirus HERVH is a long noncoding RNA required for human embryonic stem cell identity, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (2014) DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2799AbstractHuman endogenous retrovirus subfamily H (HERVH) is a class of transposable elements expressed preferentially in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Here, we report that the long terminal repeats of HERVH function as enhancers and that HERVH is a nuclear long noncoding RNA required to maintain hESC identity. Furthermore, HERVH is associated with OCT4, coactivators and Mediator subunits. Together, these results uncover a new role of species-specific transposable elements in hESCs. Retrovirus in the human genome is active in pluripotent stem cells All of the cells in the human body start out as stem cells—the ability of such cells to do so is known as pluripotency. Scientists don’t really understand how individual stem cells know which type to become but are working hard to find out—it could lead to the development of cures for many diseases or the regeneration of lost limbs. In this new effort, the researchers wondered about the role of remnant viral DNA in stem cell DNA and pluripotency in general.Scientists have known for some time that viral DNA exists in human DNA, the result of retrovirus infections millions of years ago. Retroviruses reproduce by injecting their own DNA into the DNA of a host—if it occurs in sperm or egg cells, the virus DNA can end up in the DNA of the host. Until now, scientists have thought that remnant viral DNA was simply “junk” DNA—meaning it didn’t do anything at all. Now it appears clear that at least one type of such DNA—HERV-H—actually plays a very important role in pluripotency.The researchers treated some human stem cells with a small amount of RNA designed to suppress HERV-H. Doing so, they found, removed the stem cell’s ability to develop into any human cell—instead they would only grow into cells that resembled fibroblasts—cells normally found in connective tissue. A closer look revealed that suppressing HERV-H also suppressed the production of proteins necessary for pluripotency. Thus, at least in humans, the remnant viral DNA appears to be necessary for normal human development—without it, human life would be impossible.Because of the role HERV-H plays in pluripotency, its possible other remnant viral DNA plays a role in human development as well, thus it’s very likely that other research efforts will focus on testing each to see if they are more than just junk left over from infections over the course of human evolution. Journal information: Nature Structural and Molecular Biology Explore further , Nature Structural & Molecular Biology Human embryonic stem cells in cell culture. Credit: Wikipedia. © 2014 Phys.org Citation: Researchers discover ancient virus DNA remnants necessary for pluripotency in humans (2014, March 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-03-ancient-virus-dna-remnants-pluripotency.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Quality quantity and freshness in the reproductive game

first_imgSperm and Egg fusing. Credit: wikipedia Citation: Quality, quantity, and freshness in the reproductive game (2015, June 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-quality-quantity-freshness-reproductive-game.html © 2015 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—Many intuitions drawn from our machine world do not smoothly extended to the biological. Whereas the screws or other fasteners used in an automobile typically tend to loosen over time with use, the hardware found in cells tends to tighten with use. This ‘use it or lose it’ design philosophy applies not only to minds and muscles, but to gonads, perhaps most obviously to the eggs. Although fathers have also come under increasing fire for raising questionable sperm, particularly at age, in many instances the real culprit can be traced simply to sperm age. Explore further Unless the male is a mussel or some other creature that does gender in a unique way, then sperm mitochondria either expire like spent salmon, autodestruct, or are subject to active degradation by the egg. This unfortunate compromise appears to be for the greater good. Mitochondria are essentially composites whose protein subunits derive from an optimized match between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. We have ample evidence, for example, that when embryos are made from heteroplasmic mitochondria (different mitochondria with different mtDNA) then those subunits that make up the electron transport chain don’t fit so close anymore and electrons are stalled and detrimentally accumulate at various critical points in the chain.There is a saving grace to the potential paradox of uniparental inheritance of mitochondria for those hapless mussels we mentioned above: it is preserved by the fact that the males only pass on mitochondria to their (male) sons. There are clues to the resolution to the other paradox, namely the question of why bother selecting for fast or powerful sperm mitochondria when those mitochondria never see the light at the end of tunnel. For one, sperm need to do more than just sprint to the egg, they also have to get in, and stop the others from making an unsightly polyspermically fertilized egg.At this point we might need to leave terra firma in order to imagine how the rested mice or other species avoid DSB and compromised sperm. Hypothesized mechanisms include degradation in the testes, spontaneous ejaculations, self-relief, or transient modifications to the plumbing so that any surfeit of sperm spills into the urine. One problem here, is that all of these mechanisms require some fairly sophisticated programming.Take for example, nocturnal emissions in humans. That they occur is not up for debate, but how and why they occur most surely is. Did their evolution single-handedly create our capacity to dream, perhaps directly or alternatively as a side-effect? There is no reason to stop there either. If dreams, then why not some of the other idiosyncratic nuances we associate with high level visuo-ideation or even consciousness itself. Food for thought for another day, but perhaps a bit much to pin on the need for gamete freshness. More pressingly, if we are to fully account for the massive and ongoing sperm production across species with both frequent and infrequent mating, we might need to hypothesize further mechanisms beyond quality control to explain it. One idea has emerged from recent and controversial investigations into Lamarckian inheritance of ancestral fears. In particular, the idea has been floated that if sperm are the agents responsible for the transmission of an acquired characteristic, then they must be doing more than just transmitting static nuclear DNA. Therefore, if information regarding the current state of the organism and their environment is deposited into sperm in an ongoing fashion, then we already have some appreciation both for the needs of liberality and freshness.It will no doubt be critical to do similar sperm quality studies on other species and assess the broadly cast concept of ‘Fertilization outcome’ in each of them. Sperm not only come in endless forms most beautiful in different species but they are not always doomed to decay with the predictable delay of the petals of a tulip. It is obviously more than sperm quantity and quality that controls what can only be seen as a cooperative event between the sexes.Accommodations made for the finiteness of sperm by females include tailoring their ovulation, particular under reproductively stressed times to the dynamics of male supply. Examples here would be cyclic ovulation on seasonal, monthly, or other scales supplemented by various degrees reflex or facultative ovulation, or in the extreme scarcity of males, virgin birth or parthenogenesis. More information: Sexual rest and post-meiotic sperm ageing in house mice, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12661AbstractFertilization by aged sperm can result in adverse fitness consequences for both males and females. Sperm storage during male sexual rest could provide an environment for post-meiotic sperm senescence causing a deterioration of the quality of stored sperm, possibly impacting on both sperm performance (e.g. swimming ability) and DNA quality. Here, we compared the proportion of sperm with fragmented DNA, an indicator of structural damage of DNA within the sperm cell, among males that had been sexually rested for approximately two months, to that of males that had mated recently. We found no evidence of intra-epididymal sperm DNA damage or any impairment in sperm performance, and consequently no evidence of post-meiotic sperm senescence. Our results suggest that male house mice are likely to possess mechanisms that function to ensure that their sperm reserves remain stocked with “young”, viable sperm during periods of sexual inactivity. We also discuss the possibility that our experimental design lead to no difference in the age of sperm among males from the two mating treatments. Post-meiotic sperm senescence is especially relevant under sperm competition. Thus, we sourced mice from populations that differed in their levels of postcopulatory sexual selection, enabling us to gain insight into how selection for higher sperm production influences the rate of sperm ageing and levels of DNA fragmentation. We found that males from the population that produced the highest number of sperm also had the smallest proportion of DNA-fragmented sperm, and discuss this outcome in relation to selection acting upon males to ensure that they produce ejaculates with high quality sperm that are successful in achieving fertilizations under competitive conditions. While the prolific testes of all species do battle against the ravages of time by mass minting their reproductive minions daily, less obvious are general principles for how unused sperm are eventually laundered and liquidated across species that drastically differ in reproductive strategy. Clelia Gasparini and her colleagues at the University of Western Australia have made some interesting discoveries that bear directly on this question. One thing that their recent Journal of Evolutionary Biology paper clearly shows is that at least in house mice, the familiar industrial economics of quality versus quantity do not necessarily apply.In other words, in looking at mice sourced from populations that varied in their mating frequency and friskiness, those that had the most demanding regimen in terms of sperm production also had the highest sperm quality. While sperm quality may be in a sense, in the eye of the beholder, several expectations repeatedly emerge. We should first note that the researchers didn’t quite go as far as tabulating actual DNA mutations, or micromanaging each mating event while accounting for number of sperm per ejaculate. Instead they looked mainly at the total amount of DNA fragmentation—a good general indicator of quality.At an even more fundamental level of inquiry, the researchers compared mice that were not sexually active for a prior period of two months to those permitted to engage in less virtuous activity. Perhaps unexpectedly, they found that those ‘rested males’, those deprived of a promiscuous lifestyle, had the same level of sperm quality as the the more wanton mice. The question then, is how do these pent up males avoid the familiar ills of deadly sperm backup (DSB)?Sperm begin to accumulate damage as soon as they detach from the nourishing Sertoli cells of the testes. After this weaning, particularly long lived sperm would be expected to be further aged after copulation in those species that store them somewhere in the uterine environment prior to fertilization. In many of these species, sperm might expect competition not only among their brethren but from the sperm of other males. One seeming paradox we might observe is that while the great race to the egg is in effect the proving grounds for the oxidative capacity of the respiratory chains of their mitochondria, it is some sense all in vain because in most species male mitochondria are not even passed on. Journal information: Journal of Evolutionary Biology Investigating the benefits of ‘sticky sperm’ for IVFlast_img read more

Astronomers discover low surface brightness galaxies with amateur telescopes

first_img Hubble looks in on a galactic nursery Explore further (Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers led by Behnam Javanmardi of the University of Bonn in Germany has recently discovered 11 low surface brightness (LSB) systems located around nearby spiral galaxies. The researchers used small amateur telescopes to scan the sky around large galaxies and successfully obtained the images of their dim companions. A paper reporting the findings appeared last week on the ArXiv pre-print server. Journal information: arXiv The field of NGC 2683. The zoomed-in squares show the LSB galaxies in the image. Credit: Behnam Javanmardi et al. Citation: Astronomers discover low surface brightness galaxies with amateur telescopes (2015, November 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-astronomers-surface-brightness-galaxies-amateur.htmlcenter_img More information: DGSAT: Dwarf Galaxy Survey with Amateur Telescopes I. Discovery of low surface brightness systems around nearby spiral galaxies, arXiv:1511.04446 [astro-ph.GA] arxiv.org/abs/1511.04446 The research is a part of the Dwarf Galaxy Survey with Amateur Telescopes (DGSAT) project. Its main goal is to complete the census of very faint dwarf satellites around spiral galaxies. Prior to the latest results, the project proved its efficiency by discovering tidal stellar streams, also around several nearby spiral galaxies.By publishing the latest findings, Javanmardi and his colleagues have demonstrated that a search for LSB objects can be successfully performed with a telescope of small diameter, from 0.1 to 1 meter, having a wide field of view. The DGSAT observations were conducted with a network of privately owned robotic observatories equipped with modest-sized telescopes located in Europe, the United States, Australia and Chile.”We developed a semi-automatic pipeline to calibrate the luminance images taken by amateur telescopes, search for dwarf galaxy candidates and extract their observed parameters. By exploring the fields of six nearby massive galaxies NGC 2683, NGC 3628, NGC 4594 (M104), NGC 4631, NGC 5457 (M101), and NGC7814, we discovered eleven so far unknown LSB galaxies in our images,” the paper says.For instance, the team pointed a 0.4-meter Newton telescope at the NGC 2683. The observations, conducted from February to March this year at the ROSA Observatory in France, allowed the researchers to spot new faint LSBs around NGC 2683. However, the largest number of new LSBs was detected in the field of the NGC 5457 galaxy. This galaxy was also observed by the same telescope at the ROSA Observatory, but in 2014.LSBs are diffuse galaxies with a surface brightness at least one magnitude lower than the ambient night sky. Most LSBs are dwarf galaxies consisting of up to several billion stars. Dwarf satellite galaxies are the most common type of galaxies in the universe and are crucial for astronomers in testing different models of galaxy formation and evolution.The newly discovered LSBs have similar properties to the known dwarf galaxies of the Local Group containing our home Milky Way galaxy. Nevertheless, the research shows that further observations are required to be one hundred percent sure that the discovered objects are really dwarf satellites of their nearby galaxies.”All of the detected objects have very low surface brightness and cannot be detected in the available images from large scale surveys like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey or PanSTARRs. This also makes it very difficult to undertake follow-up observations to obtain their radial velocities and to confirm their association with the spiral galaxies even for 8-meter class telescopes,” the researchers write in the paper.They concluded that the major benefit of this study is showing the potential of amateur telescopes in discovering more dwarf galaxies. More findings could help test models of galaxy formation and evolution outside the Local Group. © 2015 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

The return of Moti

first_imgIt had run into trouble over the issue of its annual license renewal that expired on 31 March. ‘It took longer to get no objection certificates but shutting it down was never in question’ says the manager,’ VK Garg.  A tall and stout man stops me quizzically at the gate of the hall. ‘Now, Moti cinema is functional. There’s no problem anymore’, says Raj Narain, the security guard at the cinema. Wondering why I was there now, he added that the cinema experienced a rather unusual footfall last week.  Journalists from national media thronged to cover the demise of Moti. It’s ironical how single screen theatres get coverage over their demise; media writes panegyrics, evoking the nostalgia of their golden past but the same monumental halls seem invisible while functional. This Thursday night, with an impromptu screening of Aatish – a 1994 Sanjay Dutt starrer movie – Moti bounced back to life. Before it goes into oblivion once again, we trace its past and understand its present. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The alleyway leading to Moti is flanked with a huge hoarding of Jo Jeeta wahi Baazigar, a Tamil movie dubbed in Hindi, running these days. A man in his mid sixties, Shiv Kumar Jaiswal sits in the projector room with an air of boredom surrounding him. ‘I miss working manually on a projector’, he says pointing to the brand new UFO machine installed in the cinema five months ago. Like other big cinemas, this machine can load up a movie from Mumbai through satellites. He has worked as a projectionist for a good four decades. Though happy with the new technology, he ruminates the loss of ‘actually’ playing with reams of film prints. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixIn his reverie, he exclaims, there were times when he used to queue up to watch a Raj Kapoor movie. The queues used to extend almost till Lal Quila. ‘Imagine a movie running for 52 weeks straight!’ he says with a gleam in his eyes. These days Moti hardly plays Hindi movies; their target audience now are the Poorvanchalis and Bhojpuri movie goers. ‘Our audience loves action, so we run Bhojpuri, Tamil- Telugu dubbed movies and some old Bollywood movies in between to match their interests.’  Going through his yellowing note book, he tells me that Moti didn’t even play the mass entertainer Dabbang. But movies like Wanted, Zilla Ghaziabad and Son of Sardar had a five week successful run. All said and done, Moti takes on a new lease of life; showcasing the same genre of movies, offering tickets between the same 30-60 rupees range and the same salted popcorn. And they have no plans of renovating. Why not give single screen a chance before they really fades into history? Alive and kicking in the vicinityRegal Cinema, CPAmar Kumar Singh Verma, serves as an accountant at Regal since 1977. He gushes, ‘Whoever comes to talk about Regal is sent over to me. Its not viable for a single screen like us to work anymore. But being a point of confluence in CP, youngsters still come down to watch movies here.’ He added that foreigners visit it for its heritage value in Delhi. In those days, a full house was a routine but now its a rare phenomenon. Disappointedly he quipped, ‘Regal witnessed its last housefull on 26 January, this year.’ From Prithiviraj Kapoor’s theatre to latest bollywood movies, Regal has seen it all since 1932. A chequered hall leading to a passage filled with black and white pictures of the yesteryears stars, Regal is a piece of history.Capacity: 658 seatsPrice range: Rs 50-120Technology: Uses UFO for loading movies from July 2012last_img read more

Youth held for passing lewd comments attacking woman

first_imgKolkata: At a time when the people who had beaten up a young couple for “being too close” in Metro railways are yet to be identified, two women were allegedly attacked by a youth, as they were smoking cigarettes.The incident took place between Jadavpur and Baghajatin on Thursday night. The police took immediate step regarding the incident and the youth was arrested.Police came to know after preliminary investigation, that two girls were waiting at Jadavpur to take an auto-rickshaw and they were smoking. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt was alleged that the youth, who had also reached to take an auto-rickshaw from the same point, started passing lewd comments at the women. The women had protested initially, but in a bid to avoid further deterioration of the situation, they boarded the auto-rickshaw. The youth boarded the same auto-rickshaw and he allegedly continued passing indecent comments at the women.The situation turned worse when the auto-rickshaw stopped near Baghajatin. They youth got down from the auto-rickshaw and attacked one of the women. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe auto-rickshaw driver and some local people intervened and brought the situation under control. There was a police van patrolling in the area. Policemen immediately went to the spot and picked up the youth.The police are looking into all aspects of the case and they have also spoken to local people who had witnessed the incident. Meanwhile, a complaint was lodged with Sinthee police station situated in the extreme north end of the city, in connection with the incident in which a few girls were thrashed by some people outside Dum Dum Metro Station, while protesting against the attack on the young couple for “being too close” while travelling in Metro. The girls alleged that they were undertaking a peaceful agitation, when all of a sudden they were attacked. Initially, there was a heated exchange of words. It was alleged that they subsequently started beating them up for raising their voice against such an incident.last_img read more

Voices of the world

first_imgAs part of a three-year project in arts education, the British Council, UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities celebrated two years of its journey of the World Voice Project (WVP) in India. The showcase saw close to 300 students perform on WVP songs with the celebrated singer Mohit Chauhan and Metzo Djatah, much-admired singer from Senegal at Bahai House of worship (Lotus Temple).The Project is currently being implemented in 12 countries across the globe and is championed by well-known musicians and singers in each country. The widely acknowledged singing icon, Mohit Chauhan has been championing the World Voice Project in India since its launch in March 2013. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Rob Lynes, Director, British Council India said “The British Council India’s Arts in Education programmes introduce school audiences and trainers to using new content and methods of teaching arts from the UK within Indian school curricula. Within this strand of our work, the World Voice Programme builds capacity of teachers to use the arts to develop students’ life skills, such as innovative and creative thinking, social adaptability, cultural awareness, communicational and inter-personal skills.” The Arts Education programme of the British Council through the World Voice Project  and the Drama in Classroom Project, is a pioneering endeavour of the organisation to support the government in its efforts to promote education for all, in the most creative and effective manner.last_img read more

Compensate owners whose lands may be acquired for Bagdogra airport expansion

first_imgKolkata: State Chief Secretary Moloy De has written to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) seeking compensation for the tea garden owners whose lands can be acquired for the expansion of Bagdogra airport in Siliguri.The existing airport infrastructure is inadequate to handle the rising volume of traffic. So, AAI had asked for 132 acres of land from the state government for expansion.”The facilities of a modern airport needs to be developed at Bagdogra. Landing of big airbuses is still a problem. The security lounge and the seating arrangements also need revamp. We are in constant talks at the government level for acquiring land. But the AAI should pay the money,” a senior official said adding that cargo flights from the airport can also be a viable option. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe state government has already given 24 acres for facilitating night landing and talks were on with two tea gardens — Gangaram Tea Estate owned by the Duncans and Bagdogra Tea Estate so that the plots could be utilised for the requisite expansion.The expansion could be done on either of the tea garden lands.It may be mentioned that the AAI had announced an investment of Rs 300 crore for meeting the expansion expenditure.However, it wants the land to be bought by the state government and handed over to them in the form of its equity contribution.last_img read more

Nigerian woman held for smuggling contraband inside her private parts

first_imgKolkata: A Nigerian woman was detained at Kolkata Airport on Monday night, with drugs that she had concealed inside her private parts.Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is likely to arrest the Nigerian national, David Blessings, soon and she would be produced before the Barasat Court on Wednesday. NCB officers intercepted the woman when she reached Kolkata on a private flight at around 7.20 pm on Monday. As of now, the investigating officers have got 20 LSD blots and 12 grams of cocaine. She had carried the same inside her private parts and as per the preliminary investigation, she was supposed to pass the consignment to someone in the city itself. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAfter the woman took out the LSD blots and cocaine from her private parts, she was feeling uneasy, which led to the suspicion of the investigating officers. She later confessed that there are more contraband drugs inside her private parts. But it was not possible to take them out. The investigating officers then took her to a private hospital in Salt Lake for medical test. An X-ray scan of her lower abdomen was carried out in the hospital. Since the doctors couldn’t come to a conclusion after going through the X-ray report, USG test was also carried out. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPIn the medical tests, it was found that there is a thin white material inside her private parts and after consulting with doctors, the investigating officers suspect the same to be the material that was used to wrap the drugs. But no more contraband was found in her private parts. The investigating officers are questioning the woman after she was released from the hospital. Dilip Srivastava, Zonal Director of NCB, said that they are probing into the incident and trying to identify other members of the racket. In another incident, the NCB officers have arrested four more persons, including two women and an employee of a private airline, on charges of their involvement with an inter-state ganja supplying racket. All four – Mithu Roy (34), Trishna Biswas (38), Gopal Nayak (25) and Sunny Hela (26) – were arrested on Tuesday. Sunny is a helper and was working with the private airline. He used to supply “x-ray checked” tag for baggage to the three others. Using the tags, they used to avoid scanning while checking in for flights. The investigating agency came to know about Sunny after interrogating the three others, who were arrested when they were trying to smuggle ganja to Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Island. They had collected ganja from different places, including Odisha and Dum Dum.last_img read more

Modi misleading farmers says CM

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not furnishing true information just to create confusion among the farmers.Participating in the Question Hour in Bengal legislative Assembly, she said: “The Prime Minister is deliberately furnishing false information to create confusion among the farmers.”Addressing a farmers’ rally in West Midnapore, Modi had said that the supporting price of paddy has gone up by 50 percent, while in reality it has gone up by Rs 200. He had also that said the farmers’ income will double by 2022 and the infrastructure of 22,000 rural markets all over the country will be upgraded. In June, the retail price rise of paddy has gone up by 5.7 percent, which is highest in the past five years. The supporting price of Jute has also gone up, giving benefits to the farmers. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeReacting sharply, Banerjee said: “At a time when 12,000 farmers have committed suicide all over the country, there has not been a single such case in Bengal.” She said the income of the farmers has gone up three times in the state in the past few years.She said that she had requested the Centre to increase the credit limit of the farmers to Rs 2 lakh. “I have requested the Centre to increase the credit limit of the farmers to Rs 2 lakh, against the existing amount of Rs 20,000 to 40,000. With this meager amount, the farmers cannot do anything. But they have not listened to me and now are shedding crocodile tears for the farmers.” Banerjee said that the farmers are looked after properly in Bengal and their families are getting benefits of various schemes taken up by the state government.State Food and Supplies minister Jyotiproyo Mullick said till July 25, 31,700 lakh metric tonnes of rice has been procured. Around 4.53 lakh farmers have sold the paddy. There are 480 direct purchasing centres (DPC) and 420 central purchasing centres.last_img read more

Sangeet Natak Akademi announces winners

first_imgArtists often need encouragement that helps them excel in their field of work. To encourage them further, Sangeet Natak Akademi elected one eminent personality as Sangeet Natak Akademi fellow (Akademi Ratna) and selected 43 artists from different fields for the Sangeet Natak Akademi awards.C V Chandrasekhar was selected as Akademi Ratna in the presence of the General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama during a meeting held on April 20 in Agartala. The Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and awards will be conferred by the President of India.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The honour of Akademi fellow is conferred since 1954 and Akademi awards are being given to artists since 1952. These honours not only symbolise the highest standard of excellence and achievements, but also recognise sustained individual work and contribution. The Akademi fellow gets a purse money of Rs three lakh and Akademi award winner gets Rs one lakh, besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram. The 43 artists have been selected from the fields of music, dance, theatre, puppetry and overall contribution in performing arts for the Akademi Puraskar for the year 2015. Out of these 43 awards, two joint awards will be given. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixIn the field of Music, eleven eminent artists, such as Krishna Bisht, Mashkoor Ali Khan for Hindustani vocal music; Kartik Kumar for Hindustani instrumental Music–Sitar; Brij Narayan for Hindustani instrumental music–Sarod; R N Thyagarajan and R N Tharanathan (joint award); Suguna Varadhachari for Carnatic vocal music; Lalgudi G J R Krishnan for Carnatic instrumental music–Violin; Mambalam M K S Siva for Carnatic instrumental music-Nagaswaram; Bhupinder Singh, Hridyanath Mangeshkar and Prafulla Kar for other major traditions of music–Sugam Sangeet, have been selected for the Akademi awards 2015.  In the field of dance, nine eminent artists have been selected for the Akademi awards 2015, such as Ranganayaki Jayaraman for Bharatanatyam; K Kunhiraman Nair for Kathakali; G Padmaja Reddy for Kuchipudi Dance; Aloka Kanungo for Odissi dance; Sharodi Saikia for Sattriya dance; Mandakini Trivedi for Mohiniattam; Sadashiva Pradhan for Chhau dance; W Lokendrajit Singh for contemporary/experimental dance and Rajkumar Bharathi for dance. In the field of theatre, nine eminent persons have been selected for Akademi awards 2015 such as Nand Kishore Acharya, Shafaat Khan for playwriting; Parvez Akhtar, Mushtaq Kak for direction; Manoj N Joshi, Himani Shivpuri for acting; Pradeep Mulye for allied theatre arts–scenic design; Sarojini Nangiar for other major traditions of theatre–Kutiyattam and Rani Balbir Kaur for overall contribution in theatre. In the field of traditional, folk, tribal— music, dance, theatre and puppetry,  ten artistes have been selected for Akademi awards 2015 such as Khuman Lal Saav (folk music of Chhattisgarh), Ramchandra Singh (folk theatre of Bihar), Khem Raj (folk music of Jammu and Kashmir),  S R D Prasad (martial art of Kerala), Chhaya and Maya Khutegaonkar (joint award for folk dance of Maharashtra-Lavani), Gangmei Aluna Kabuini (traditional dance and music of Manipur), Paramjit Singh Sidhu (folk music of Punjab), Sayeed Sabri Jaipuri (qawwali, Rajasthan),  K K Ramachandra Pulavar and T N Sankaranathan for puppetry.Shanta Gokhale and Chaman Lal Ahuja have been selected for the Akademi Awards 2015 in the field of Overall Contribution/Scholarship to performing arts.last_img read more

Challenging culinary expertise

first_imgHyatt Hotels in India had introduced the “Hyatt Culinary Challenge – people cooking for people” to emphasise on the rich cultural heritage, and are celebrating the third season this month across 13 Hyatt India destinations. The nationwide culinary challenge was kick started at Hyatt Regency Delhi recently.Seven CEOs and directors from companies including Rio Tinto, Catai India, Way to Go Events WTG and diplomats from Republic of Malawi and Taipei ditched their usual corporate routines to woo the judges with their culinary skills and claim the title of Hyatt Culinary Challenge 2016. Bollywood actor John Abraham added to the evening’s glamour with his surprise guest appearance and a round of photographs with the excited kids and participants. Chung Kwang Tien, Ambassador of Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, prepared the winning dish- Stuffed green pepper while Alfred Villi, High Commission of the Republic of Malawi cooked Roasted Chicken to claim the first runner-up title that evening. The Hyatt Culinary Challenge was conceptualized as a unique event that aims to bring together individuals from the corporate realm on a common platform where they could showcase their culinary expertise and passion for food in an interactive culinary event. Each participant was paired with a child from the SMILE foundation, Hyatt’s partner NGO in India and each team executed a recipe of their choice for the judges. The corporate winner from each city will compete at the grand finale in Chandigarh. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHyatt India Culinary Challenge preliminary rounds will be further held across Hyatt Hotels in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Pune and Raipur in October 2016 and the finale will be held at Hyatt Regency Chandigarh on November 19.Speaking on the occasion, Harleen Mehta, VP Sales Operations, Hyatt South Asia said, “The Hyatt Culinary Challenge is an endeavor to bring together people to celebrate their passion for food and make a difference to the community while doing so. We are delighted with the overwhelming response from the participants, and look forward to doing more such events over the years.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAccording to Vikram Singh Verma, COO, SMILE Foundation, “In order to bring some real and permanent changes in the lives of the most deserving children across India, members of the civil society need to be involved proactively in the process of development. We are overwhelmed by the support from Hyatt India and hope for continued collaboration in the future to see lasting impact in the upliftment of our local communities.”last_img read more

How Walking the Plank was Mostly a Myth

first_imgThe mutineer glances back at the grizzled pirate captain as a sharp piece of steel jabs him in the back, prodding him forward. His crimes against the ship were too great and now he must face the ultimate penalty: walking the plank with arms bound. This scene is a familiar one when it comes to talking about pirates.  Next to peg legs, parrots, and hooks for hands, the idea of walking the plank is one of the most commonly associated acts with pirates.Certainly wasn’t an easy lifeHowever, most of the pirate lore that we all know and love today isn’t historically accurate, but rather came about due to the influence of various writers, most famously Robert Louis Stevenson with Treasure Island.Artist’s conception of walking the plank – illustration by Howard Pyle for Harper’s Magazine, 1887.So, what about walking the plank? Is that truly a facet of pirate life or is it just another fiction that has been ingrained into the imaginations of popular culture? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.The first myth that can be put to bed is the idea that every pirate practiced walking the plank as a means of punishing mutineers and those who warranted the death penalty.Pirates fight in “Who Shall Be Captain?” by Howard Pyle.When it came to matters of internal affairs, pirate crews would either simply execute the offending party or maroon them, leaving the victim on a small, barren island with a pistol loaded with a single bullet.For lesser crimes, flogging was the preferred method of discipline amongst pirates.Treasure being divided among pirates in an illustration by Howard Pyle.For those who were captured by pirates and sentenced to execution, there are a few examples in history of pirates forcing them to walk the plank.Usually, this was done as a form of entertainment for the crew, to get a laugh as a bound person was given an opportunity to “swim for freedom” as they were forced to walk off the edge of the plank.Walking the plankThe concept of walking the plank has only shown up a few times in history, infrequently enough to indicate that this was not a widespread practice.However, writers gave the concept real popularity when they began to include them in their stories during the 1800s.Bizarre Pirate traditions most people don’t know aboutTreasure Island, a book responsible for many untrue stereotypes about pirates, would popularize the idea, as Billy Bones would tell terrible tales about walking the plank to young Jim Hawkins.Blackbeard the Pirate.Perhaps the biggest modern contributor to the idea that pirates made their victims walk the plank was Disney’s, Peter Pan.The famous scene was Captain Hook is forcing Wendy to walk the plank undoubtedly gave many children the idea that this was a normal practice for pirates.British sailors boarding an Algerine pirate ship.One lexicographer, Francis Grose, believed that the practice of walking the plank stemmed from the desire to avoid legal penalty.In his definition of walking the plank in Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, he wrote that this practice was designed as a way to avoid the penalty of murder.Other historians have made such claims as well, that uneducated pirates very well could have forced people off of the plank in the middle of the ocean so that they could not be accused of directly murdering individuals.Pirate stands on a plankOf course, if this were actually the case, the legal defense would be laughable at best, because piracy was absolutely illegal and often carried the death penalty with it.Any pirate who was captured could potentially be facing a hanging, regardless of whether they made someone walk the plank or not.Newton and Linda Darnell in Blackbeard the Pirate (1952).In the end, the truth is muddled. If a pirate really wanted to get rid of someone on their boat, they would most likely have just thrown their victim over the side.Did some pirates practice making people walk the plank? There are a few accounts, such as John Derdrake who was said to make all of his foes walk off a plank.But a handful of people doesn’t mean the practice was widespread in the least. Walking the plank, for the most part, is just another piece of literary fiction created to add color and character to pirates within books and movies.Andrew Pourciaux is a novelist hailing from sunny Sarasota, Florida, where he spends the majority of his time writing and podcasting.last_img read more

The BestDesigned iPhone Apps In the World According to Apple

first_img Enroll Now for Free Image credit: Day One Day One: This journal app encourages you to treat it like a diary, making it easy to chronicle everything from major life events to the briefest encounters. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Image credit: Storehouse Device 6: This narrative experience combines puzzles, thrillers and literature to create one of the most experimental apps we’ve ever seen. Image credit: Threes Image credit: Device 6 This story originally appeared on Business Insider At its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced latest the winners of its annual Apple Design Awards. The award recognizes innovative Mac and iOS apps that raise the bar in “creative, powerful, and compelling ways.”Past winners have included Paper by FiftyThree, Evernote, Cut the Rope, and Infinity Blade. App developers compete for the increased exposure and a glowing Apple logo trophy, as well as a comprehensive Apple goodie bag.This year’s winners range from an experimental literary puzzle game all the way to editing software that lets you create living photographs.  Image credit: Monument Valley 3 min read PanoPerfect: One of the two student winners of the Apple Design Award, PanoPerfect gives users a place to easily share their iPhone panoramas. June 7, 2014 Image credit: Sky Guidecenter_img Sky Guide: View Stars Night or Day: Just point your iPhone and iPad to the sky at night, and Sky Guide does the rest, highlighting constellations for you to discover. Cinemagraph Pro: Want to create images that seem to breathe with motion? Cinemagraph Pro is an editing suite that lets you construct living pictures called “flixels.” Leo’s Fortune: In this platform adventure game, you are responsible for Leo as he bounces, slides and floats his way in search of his stolen hoard of gold. Image credit: Leo’s Fortune Image credit: PanoPerfect Blek: In this mesmerizing game, you gesture to create a line that worms its way along, repeating its motion gracefully. Aim for colored dots, avoid the black ones. Teachley: Addimals Adventure: The second student winner is an educational app from Teachley that teaches fundamental strategies for addition in a colorful way. Monument Valley: This picturesque adventure game thrusts you into a world of impossible architecture that feels like a living M.C. Escher painting. Image credit: Yahoo News Digest Image credit: Blek Image credit: Teachley Storehouse – Visual Storytelling: Storehouse is a beautiful iPad app that lets users create highly visual and customized stories to share with people through Dropbox or Instagram. Yahoo News Digest: Last year, Yahoo won an Apple Design Award for its beautiful Yahoo Weather app, and the company did it again this year with a polished news reader. Threes: It’s all about finding combinations and factors of three in this addictive app. Its tagline is “A tiny puzzle that grows on you.”last_img read more

How Changes to Net Neutrality Laws Could Affect Small Businesses

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. February 22, 2017 Net neutrality refers to the idea that internet service providers should grant equal access to everything on the internet, regardless of website content or the source of a particular website. The fact is, net neutrality puts both small business owners and large corporation on the same playing field by offering the same opportunities when it comes to the internet. This helps small businesses gain ground on larger competitors.However, with Donald Trump’s appointment of Ajit Pai as the new FCC chairman, many fear that this even playing field will be taken away. Any changes to these laws could lead to corporate bidding for internet data and speed prioritization which would be a detriment to small business owners.Related: What Is Net Neutrality, and How Can It Affect Your Business?What are the current net neutrality laws?President Obama believed in net neutrality because when everyone has the same access, all businesses, regardless of size or money, have the same reach via the internet. He even went so far as to press the Common Carrier law upon internet service providers, which held them to the same regulations that public utilities are held to. Basically, this means that it is illegal for these providers to discriminate services based on customer or the nature of the goods. This has thus far helped keep the internet as a level playing field. In February 2015, the FCC voted to keep the current net neutrality laws in place with a 3-2 vote.In 2013, President Obama named Thomas Wheeler the chairman of the FCC. He received a lot of flak for his choice, most notably from Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver. Oliver took aim at the fact that Wheeler was a lobbyist for cable and wireless companies and was even the president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. Despite many concerns, Wheeler came out on the side of the consumer on a majority of issues and went against cable companies. One specific example of this came last March when Wheeler created a set of guidelines to deny service providers the right to track their users’ search history in order to sell the information to advertisers.After just a month into Pai’s term, many people are wondering if he can prove everyone wrong like Wheeler did. Will he side with small businesses and consumers despite his many quick moves to rid the FCC of the previous chairman’s actions? Related: Trump Picks Net Neutrality Foe as New FCC ChairmanWhat changes could impact small businesses?In the days leading up to his inauguration, Trump was already having discussions with the FCC about changes he would like to bring about within the Commission. One of the possibilities would be allowing ISPs like Comcast or Charter Spectrum to be able to limit the data and speeds available to particular online content.If ISPs have the ability to limit the speeds of our internet based on the websites or apps that we use, they will be able to charge each website for data prioritization. This prioritization would allow a website’s users to have high internet speeds while browsing that site. This idea seems incredibly similar to an old mob tactic where business owners have to pay the mob in order to operate a store in “mob territory.” As a small business owner, especially one who sells products or services through the internet, you rely heavily on your website to bring in business. Imagine being told by a company like Comcast that in order to allow your users to continue to browse your site at high speeds, you will need to pay a hefty fee for data prioritization. You would almost assuredly not be able to make those payments. On the other hand, your multi-million dollar competitors, whether they be Walmart or another big box store, have almost infinite funds to make sure their website speeds are consistent. This, in effect, could put a small shop out of business because of how important internet traffic is to its bottom line.Related: Tech and Trump: What the Next Four Years Might BringLuckily, there are some people in the Senate who have the best interest of the little guy in mind when it comes to this issue. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts stated, “The big broadband barons and their Republican allies want to turn back the clock and make big cable and big cellphone companies the gatekeepers for internet access.” Having politicians on the “consumer’s side” is great and to have them speaking out so loudly against these possible prioritization guidelines means that small businesses may remain a real competitor in the online marketplace.In times like these, the best possible way to make sure that your business and livelihood stay unharmed is to simply stay informed. Read about the issues that could most directly affect you and if you see anything that you don’t agree with and you think will do more harm than good, make a call to your state representatives. Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more

Amazon Prime gets monthly plans

first_imgAmazon Prime gets monthly plans by Martin Brinkmann on April 18, 2016 in Companies, Internet – Last Update: January 04, 2018 – 11 commentsAmazon Prime started out as a membership service for Amazon customers to save on shipping costs as Amazon would not charge Prime members for shipping.The company expanded the service in recent years by adding new features to it. Amazon Prime grants you access to Amazon’s movie and TV show offerings, music streaming, ebooks, and even provides customers with early access to lightning deals on top of that.Amazon Prime customers paid a flat yearly fee up until now available for $99 in the US and often less in other countries Amazon operates in (Germany €49 per year which is $55, UK £79 per year which is $112).Starting today, Amazon customers can select between different Prime memberships.Amazon Prime USIn the United States, Amazon Prime is now available in three different plans:Prime Video for $8.99 per month.Prime for $10.99 per month.Prime for $99 per year.The annual price of Prime has not changed and it still grants access to all services and features. The new Prime Video on the other hand grants access to all TV shows and movies only that Amazon offers as part of its streaming service.It is paid monthly instead of yearly, and so is the second new Prime service which offers all Prime functionality but the option to “save 25% with prepayment discount” which is a Prime annual exclusive.In Germany, Amazon launched a monthly payment option for Prime Video as well but did not include an option to get all Prime services for a monthly fee on top of that.Prime Video is available for €7.99 per month in Germany which is roughly $9.If you analyze the new monthly options and compare them to the yearly plan, you will come to the following conclusions:The yearly plan is the best choice if you plan to remain a subscriber of Amazon Prime for the whole year.The monthly plans make sense if you just need a couple of month’s access to Amazon, for instance to binge-watch new TV shows that have become available throughout the year using the service. If you want to watch streaming video in two of the twelve months for instance, you pay less than $18 for that instead of the $99 you’d pay for yearly access. Even if you double the months, you will spend only half the yearly fee on that.The new plan may also attract customers who shy away from yearly commitments.Amazon Prime Video is still more expensive than Netflix’s basic plan which is available for $7.99. But that plan does not offer HD content, and if you compare it to the standard plan that is suggested to new Netflix customers by default, you will notice that it is $1 cheaper than that.A likely reason for Amazon’s move is to position Prime Video as a direct Netflix and Hulu competitor in the US, and to whichever service is popular in other countries the new monthly plan is being made available.Now You: are you subscribed to Amazon Prime?SummaryArticle NameAmazon Prime gets monthly plansDescriptionAmazon launched new monthly plans for its Prime subscription service that provide access to Prime Video content or other Prime features as well for a monthly fee.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

NoScript 10 WebExtension is out

first_imgNoScript 10 WebExtension is out by Martin Brinkmann on November 21, 2017 in Firefox – Last Update: November 21, 2017 – 46 commentsGiorgio Maone, the developer behind the popular Firefox security add-on NoScript, released NoScript 10, the first “pure” WebExtensions version today.NoScript 10 did not make it in time for the release of Firefox 57, the first version of the web browser that supports only WebExtensions and no longer the legacy add-on system of Firefox 56 and earlier versions.But, the extension that is compatible with Firefox 57 and newer is out now, and users can finally install it on their devices if they have updated their systems to that version of the browser already.Note: It won’t work on Android right now, and does not work in private browsing mode either.Giorgio released a hybrid extension of NoScript earlier this year. The main purpose of hybrid extensions was to make the migration from the legacy add-on system to the WebExtensions system as smooth as possible.Existing NoScript users will have their settings and preferences migrated to the new version; that is good news as you don’t have to configure the new version of NoScript after the update to version 10. It is still recommended to go through the preferences once to make sure they are set correctly, and to make adjustments as you see fit.NoScript 10 is a work in progress. While it is released as a WebExtension so that it can be installed in Firefox 57 and newer versions of the web browser, it is not a complete one-to-one copy of the legacy add-on.The main reason why that is not the case yet is that APIs are still not available that NoScript requires for some of its functionality.NoScript 10 supports content blocking and XSS protection just like its legacy counterpart. Some parts come with improved performance thanks to the new WebExtension APIs, others still need to be implemented before they become available in NoScript 10.The interface looks different to the previous interface, and the options lack most settings right now as well. If you open the options of NoScript 10 right now, you get only a few of them.You can whitelist or blacklist addresses, allow scripts globally, or clear the XSS whitelist. That’s about it. Features such as ClearClick or ABE are missing right now.NoScript ships with a list of whitelisted (trusted) domains. You cannot remove these anymore, but you can change the state of them. So, setting them all to default will do the trick but it would obviously be better if you could just throw these out instead.The main interface of the security extension has changed as well. You interact with it by clicking on its icon in the Firefox main toolbar. There you find listed all connections the current web page tried to establish, and the status of each.Addresses are blocked by default, but you can change that by setting a domains status to trusting or untrusting. One interesting option that you have here is to allow certain content types but not others.The option to temporarily allow a site is still there, but it is easy to miss. You need to set the domain to custom first, and then click on the small clock icon that is displayed once you do. There does not appear to be an option though to whitelist all temporarily in the frontend.The UI is different, and while it offers more options, it is more complicated as a consequence especially since Giorgio switched from text labels to buttons, and displays information on buttons only when you hover with the mouse over an item.Giorgio plans to maintain NoScript 5.x, the legacy add-on version of the security add-on, until Firefox ESR is moved to version 59 (at least). This happens in mid-2018. Firefox users who want to keep on using the legacy version of NoScript can do so until then, either by switching to Firefox 52 ESR, or a third-party browser such as Pale Moon or Waterfox that support legacy Firefox add-ons.Old features, and some new ones, will be implemented in the coming weeks. Contextual permissions is the one that sounds very promising; it allows you to trust a domain only on another, e.g. trust domain A only when it is loaded on domain B, but not elsewhere.Closing WordsNoScript 10 is finally there. That is a good thing. The new version is limited in comparison to the old however, and users who migrate to Firefox 57 or newer will have to get used to the new UI and functionality.Those who don’t, may want to check out uMatrix instead which offers similar functionality.Now You: What’s your take on the first NoScript WebExtension release?SummaryArticle NameNoScript 10 WebExtension is outDescriptionGiorgio Maone, the developer behind the popular Firefox security add-on NoScript, released NoScript 10, the first “pure” WebExtensions version today.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more