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Sunday, 9 June 2019

Obamas to produce exclusive podcasts for Spotify

Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company is teaming up with Spotify to produce exclusive podcasts for the platform.
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Podcasts, spotify,

Under the Higher Ground partnership announced on Thursday, the former president and first lady will develop and lend their voices to select podcasts.
The Obamas launched Higher Ground in 2018 with an initial partnership with Netflix. The idea was to raise new, diverse voices in the entertainment industry. The Spotify partnership seeks to expand the conversation.

In a statement, the former president says podcasts offer an opportunity to “foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think.”
Michelle Obama says she hopes they can help people connect emotionally and open their hearts and minds.

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Thursday, 6 June 2019

World Environment Day: Here is a list of green smartphones

Today is World Environment Day and so, let's talk about 'green smartphones'. No, we don't mean green coloured smartphones. We mean eco-friendly smartphones. Yes, they exist! And you can very much buy them.
eco-friendly smartphones, Smart Living, Smartphone, World Environment day,

As per a report, 400 million green cell phones are expected to be sold by 2019.
So what is an eco-friendly smartphone? Well, a good eco-friendly smartphone is built using sustainable and recycled materials. Their manufacturing doesn’t negatively impact the environment, and radiation emission rates are kept at the minimum.
If you are impressed enough, here are three green Android smartphones that you could consider:

Fairphone 2: The smartphone is made from recycled plastic and aluminium. It is equipped with a quad-core processor from Qualcomm. It comes with 32 GB of internal storage space, 2 GB of memory, and an 8 MP rear CMOS sensor coupled with a 2 MP front-facing sensor. The 5” IPS display has a full HD resolution and is protected by Gorilla 3 glass.
This smartphone has earned a 10/10 reparability score on iFixit, a global community of people helping each other repair things.
If the phone gets broken, you just have to lift the back cover to access the inner compartment, which houses six modules: the display module, camera module, battery, core module, top module, and bottom module.
Sony Xperia ZR: The Sony Xperia ZR, which costs around $150, has Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset and Adreno 320 GPU. It includes 2 GB of memory. It has an HD resolution display which is protected by shatterproof glass. The phone is water and dust resistant and is capable of withstanding 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes.
Sony uses 99 percent recycled materials to make the smartphone environmental friendly and remarkably lightweight, weighing only 138 grams.

Used/Refurbished Samsung Galaxy S6 (Or Any Used Smartphone):
A lot of cellular companies and retailers refurbish older devices and sell them for a fraction of their original price.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is one of the eco-friendly smartphone, which comes with a metal body and 5.1” Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The display has a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. It has Exynos 7420 Octa chipset processor on this list.

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Violent video games dangerous for children

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Violent video games dangerous for children

Kids exposed to violent video games are more likely to pull the trigger in real-life situations, as compared to those who do not indulge in such gaming habits, researchers have warned.
healthcare,video games,violence in children,Violent video games

Published in the JAMA Network Open Journal, the study examined the effects of video games with weapons on children's behaviour when they found a gun in real life.
The study was conducted on children aged between 8-12 years who were assigned to play three different versions of the game Minecraft.
The first version was violent and required players to kill monsters with guns while the second required players to kill monsters with swords.

The third version was non-violent, with no weapons or monsters.
After 20 minutes of game-play, the kids played with other toys in another room that included a cabinet with two disabled handguns, said the researchers.
For the findings, the team from Ohio State University in the US, included 220 children who found a gun while playing.
Nearly 62 percent of the 76 children who played the video game with gun touched a handgun.
About 57 percent of the 74 children who played the game with sword violence touched a gun, and about 44 per cent of the 70 kids who played the non-violent version touched a gun.

The violent versions with guns and swords were significant even after accounting for other mitigating factors such as sex, age, trait aggressiveness, exposure to violent media, attitudes toward guns, presence of firearms at home, interest in firearms and whether the child had taken a firearm safety course.
Although, the research is limited by the artificial setting of a university laboratory and Minecraft is not a very violent game with no gore, the researchers encourage gun owners to secure their firearms and reduce children's exposure to violent video games.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Additional funding for NASA's Moon mission reportedly rejected

NASA announced plans to return astronauts to the Moon within five years after Vice President Mike Pence said in March that the nation's 2028 lunar touchdown plan was "just not good enough".
Budget, Moon mission, NASA, NASA's Moon mission, space exploration, Technology, Trump, USA

NASA advanced its target of returning humans to the Moon by four years, but a request for $1.6 billion funding in addition to the proposed $21 billion for the agency over the 2020 fiscal year has been rejected, the media reported.
The White House made the request for additional funding on May 14.

But according to a report on Quartz on Wednesday, the House Committee on Appropriations, which controls the government's purse, left that additional request out of NASA's spending plan.
NASA announced plans to return astronauts to the Moon within five years after Vice President Mike Pence said in March that the nation's 2028 lunar touchdown plan was "just not good enough".

However, the US space agency will need a lot more cash to achieve its new target.
The White House had proposed that the additional funding comes from unused cash from an aid programme, the Pell Grants Programme, designed to help low-income students get to college, but the chair of the committee, Nita Lowey called it an "unconscionable proposal," according to Quartz.
The Committee on Wednesday revealed the funding bill was approved and NASA would be funded to the tune of $22.32 billion, but that additional cash will not be funnelled into lunar lander development and instead go into other NASA programmes unrelated to the Moon mission, CNET reported.

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Friday, 24 May 2019

Submit your name to NASA to fly aboard Mars 2020 rover

Although  it will be years before the first humans set foot on Mars, NASA is inviting the public to submit their names to fly to the Red Planet aboard the US space agency's Mars 2020 rover.
Mars, NASA, NASA mars mission, planet mars

The names -- stenciled on chips -- will be sent on the rover, which represents the initial leg of humanity's first round trip to another planet, NASA said in a statement.
The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021, it said.
The rover, a robotic scientist weighing more than 1,000 kilogramme, will search for signs of past microbial life, characterise the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for a future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.
"As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD).
"It's an exciting time for NASA, as we embark on this voyage to answer profound questions about our neighbouring planet, and even the origins of life itself," Zurbuchen said.

The opportunity to send your name to Mars comes with a souvenir boarding pass and "frequent flyer" points, NASA said.
This is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight missions involved with NASA's journey from the Moon to Mars, it said.
Kilometers are awarded for each "flight," with corresponding digital mission patches available for download.
More than two million names flew on NASA's InSight mission to Mars, giving each "flyer" about nearly 500 million frequent flyer kilometers.
The Microdevices Laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, will use an electron beam to stencil the submitted names onto a silicon chip with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
At that size, more than a million names can be written on a single dime-size chip. The chips will ride on the rover under a glass cover.

NASA will use Mars 2020 and other missions to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
As another step towards that goal, NASA is returning American astronauts to the Moon in 2024.

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Monday, 20 May 2019

Chinese shout 'Boycott Apple' as US goes after Huawei

As the Washington-Beijing trade war intensifies along with fresh restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei in the US, there has been a significant rise in "Boycott Apple" movement in China.
Apple, Huawei, mobilephone, Smartphone, tariff war, Trump, US-China trade war, Washington-Beijing trade war

According to BuzzFeed News, there has been a flurry of anti-Apple and anti-Trump messages on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
"I feel guilty watching the trade war. Once I have money I will change my smartphone (iPhone)," one user posted on Weibo.
"I think Huawei's branding is amazing, it chops an apple into eight pieces," read another post.

China has urged the US to stop "harassing overseas companies" and slammed US President Donald Trump's decision to sign a national emergency order that prohibits American firms from using foreign-made equipment, citing espionage fears.

The US move, which effectively takes aim at Chinese telecom giant Huawei, comes as the two economic superpowers are locked in a bitter unending trade war.
Chinese telecom giant Huawei has said that it is still open to addressing US security concerns.
"The functions in Huawei are comparable to Apple iPhones or even better. We have such a good smartphone alternative, why are we still using Apple?" said one user on Weibo.
This isn't the first time that the "Boycott Apple" movement has gained traction in China.
Chinese companies in December last year rallied behind the tech giant, offering hefty discounts to employees to buy Huawei devices and shun iPhones.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the move came after the detention of Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada at the request of American prosecutors.
Over 20 Chinese companies also took to social media to announce that they will increase purchases of other Huawei products.
A Chinese court in December banned the sale and import of most iPhone models after granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple.
To avoid the ban, Apple released a small update to iOS, saying that iOS version 12.1.2 contains software changes exclusive to China.

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People trust machines more than humans for sharing data

What Amazon Alexa knows about you and what you can do about it

Monday, 13 May 2019

People trust machines more than humans for sharing data

People tend to trust machines more than humans when it comes to sharing private information and access to their financial data, an Indian-origin researcher has stressed.
AI, Artificial Intelligence, data, data sharing, human, machine, Research,

People who trusted machines were significantly more likely to hand over their credit card numbers to a computerised travel agent than a human travel agent, said S Shyam Sundar, Co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory and an affiliate of Penn State's Institute for CyberScience (ICS).

"A bias that those machines are more trustworthy and secure than people -- or the machine heuristic -- may be behind the effect," Sundar added.

The faith in machines may be triggered because people believe that machines do not gossip, or have unlawful designs on their private information.
However, said Sundar, while machines might not have ulterior motives for their information, the people developing and running those computers could prey on this gullibility to extract personal information from unsuspecting users, for example, through phishing scams.

"This study should serve as a warning for people to be aware of how they interact online. People should be aware that they may have a blind belief in machine superiority. They should watch themselves when they engage online with robotic interfaces," Sundar noted.
For the study, the researchers recruited 160 participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online crowdsourcing website frequently used in studies.

The participants were asked to use either a human or a machine chat agent to find and purchase a plane ticket online.
After the agent returned the flight information, it prompted the participants for their credit card information.
The presence of a machine agent on the interface served as a cue for triggering the ingrained belief that machines are superior.

People with a high degree of trust in machines only need subtle design indications that they are interacting with a machine.
"In all of this, one thing I would like to stress is that the designers have to be ethical. They should not unethically try to extract information from unsuspecting consumers," Sundar stressed.

The findings were shared during the "ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems" held in Glasgow from May 4-9.

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