Science & Tech

Space travel may alter gene expression: NASA

space travel

MNA Science & Tech Desk: NASA scientists in an unprecedented study have found that space travel may alter gene expression. The study involved astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent a year in space and his identical twin Mark who stayed on Earth. From the lengths of the twins’ chromosomes to the microbiomes in their guts, “almost everyone is reporting that we see differences”, Christopher Mason, a geneticist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, was quoted as saying to The changes that are likely attributable to Scott’s time in orbit include alterations to gene expression, DNA methylation — ...

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Telecommunications giant Nokia reveals digital assistant ‘MIKA’

digital assistant

MNA Science & Tech Desk: Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia has created a customized digital assistant ‘MIKA’ that will improve telecom operators’ efficiency by providing engineers faster access to critical information. MIKA that stands for ‘Multi-purpose Intuitive Knowledge Assistant’ — is the first digital assistant trained specifically for the telecom industry, designed to provide automated assistance that saves time and frees highly skilled workers to focus on critical tasks. ‘MIKA taps into the power of the Nokia AVA platform to provide quick and accurate answers, avoiding time wasted on fruitless searches. It is customised to support the specific needs of telecoms, ...

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Paris began first experiment with driverless buses


MNA Science & Tech Desk: Paris began its first experiment with driverless buses on Monday, with city officials saying they were eager to prepare for the coming “revolution” of autonomous vehicles. Two box-shaped electric vehicles capable of carrying around 10 people have been deployed-within the safety of a special lane-on a bridge connecting two railway stations to the east of the city centre. The test unveiled Monday, which will last three months, is the first stage of the city’s embrace of self-driving vehicles which use a combination of lasers and cameras to detect other objects and people around them. The ...

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New LinkedIn site design encourages engagement


MNA Science & Tech Desk: LinkedIn announced a new look tied to a complete overhaul of its technology architecture, which brings conversations and content front and center. The redesign brings the LinkedIn desktop in line with the mobile browser version launched in 2015. LinkedIn will roll out its new desktop globally over the next few weeks. Among the changes: Streamlined navigation bar — now with seven core areas: Home, Messaging, Jobs, Notifications, Me, My Network and Search; Smarter messaging — a real-time interface with more robust capabilities, such as being able to identify people within a user’s network who work ...

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Astronomers discover cosmic double whammy


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Astronomers have discovered a cosmic one-two punch unlike any ever seen before. Two of the most powerful phenomena in the universe, a supermassive black hole and the collision of giant galaxy clusters, have combined to create a stupendous cosmic particle accelerator. By combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India, the NSF’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, and other telescopes, researchers have found out what happens when matter ejected by a giant black hole is swept up in the merger of two enormous galaxy clusters. “We have ...

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Text messages from the dead


MNA Science & Tech Desk: Religion, folklore and film are riddled with stories of the dead trying to communicate with the living.  Technology has solved this problem, too. “To communicate on your behalf many, many years after you’re no longer here and make sure that your legacy is being presented to different people in different ways as you choose,” says Moran Zur, founder of SafeBeyond. SafeBeyond is an app that allows people to record texts, audio and video messages throughout their life and stores them in a heavily encrypted “digital vault.” From a final farewell to a corny joke or ...

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Facebook Inc’s Instagram adds advertising to stories


MNA Science & Tech Desk: Facebook Inc’s Instagram is bringing more than 30 advertisers into one of its fastest-growing features, Instagram Stories, in a bid to boost advertising revenue, the company said on Wednesday. The social media company will become a more important player in maintaining Facebook’s growth in advertising revenue in 2017. During the last two earnings calls, Facebook executives said they may soon reach a limit on the amount of ads they can place before users, one of the factors that had driven ad revenue growth. Media buyers are optimistic about Instagram’s ability to maintain Facebook’s place, second ...

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Yahoo Inc to be renamed as Altaba


MNA Science & Tech Desk: Yahoo Inc said Monday that it would rename itself Altaba Inc and Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer would step down from the board after the closing of its deal with Verizon Communications Inc, reported news agency. Yahoo has a deal to sell its core internet business, which includes its digital advertising, email and media assets, to Verizon for $4.83 billion. The terms of that deal could be amended – or the transaction may even be called off – after Yahoo last year disclosed two separate data breaches; one involving some 500 million customer accounts and ...

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Russia requests Apple, Google to remove LinkedIn app


MNA Science & Tech Desk: Condemning LinkedIn of flouting local laws that require internet firms to store data on citizens within the nation’s borders, the Russian authorities have asked Apple and Google to remove the professional networking site app from their online stores, reported news agency. A Russian court blocked the Microsoft-owned LinkedIn service for breaching the country’s data protection rules. According to The New York Times, Apple has confirmed that it was asked to remove its LinkedIn app in Russia about a month ago. “Google has not confirmed if it had removed LinkedIn in Russia but said that it ...

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Intel to take 15% stake in German firm HERE


MNA Science & Tech Desk: US chip maker Intel will take a 15 per cent stake in German digital mapping firm HERE, it said on Tuesday, as it seeks to build its presence in automated driving technology, reported news agency. A filing to the German cartel office on Tuesday showed Intel has sought approval to buy a stake in the company, which is controlled by German carmakers Daimler DAIGN.DE, BMW and Volkswagen. Intel and HERE said in a statement that they had also signed an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of real-time updates of high definition (HD) ...

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Algorithms could wipe out the global economy


MNA Science & Tech: Used in almost every industry, algorithms have transformed the way we work – but they have the capacity to do immense damage. Experts have called on the Government to audit the algorithms used by technology and financial companies to avoid chaos, reported news agency. Professor Edward Tsang, director of the Centre for Computational Finance and Economic Agents at the University of Essex, said that algorithms should at least be “test-driven” by regulators to prevent “trillions” of pounds being lost and the global economy being wiped out. At their most basic, algorithm is a set of rules ...

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Pan-STARRS release largest digital sky survey

digital sky

MNA Science & Tech Desk: The first Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) project is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). “The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Dr. Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has made discoveries from Near Earth Objects and Kuiper Belt Objects in the solar system to lonely planets between the stars; it has mapped the dust in three dimensions in our galaxy and ...

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‘Turn Back Hoax’ app to report fake news

fake news

MNA Science & Tech Desk: Those who have grown irritated over the fake news that is widespread on their social media accounts can consider reporting it to a crowdsourcing-based app called ‘Turn Back Hoax’ that was designed to gather false information and hoaxes from the internet. Established as an extension for the Google Chrome desktop browser, users simply need to log onto their accounts via Facebook before they can report content that they suspect is a hoax, reported There will be three categories for such reports: webpages, chain messages and pictures, including ones that have been circulated on Facebook. ...

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Zuckerberg introduced virtual butler ‘Jarvis’


MNA Science & Tech Desk: Mark Zuckerberg on Monday introduced the world to “Jarvis”, an artificial intelligence system the Facebook chief created in his spare time, which can choose and play music, turn on lights, and recognize visitors, deciding whether to open the front door. Jarvis, named after the virtual assistant in the Iron Man movies, could be a step toward a new product, Zuckerberg wrote, although he cautioned that the system he had created in 100 hours over the last year was customised for his house. Zuckerberg announced results of the project, a personal challenge he set for himself ...

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FB to flag false posts in feed to tackle fake news

hate speech

MNA Technology Desk: The social media giant Facebook has unveiled a string of measures to help flag fake stories that appear in people’s news feeds. The move follows an onslaught of criticism directed at Facebook over concerns it was not doing enough to stop the spread of false reports on its platform. Facebook says that users will soon be able to flag when they believe a story is a hoax. The story may then be sent to third-party fact checking organizations for review. If these groups share concerns about the piece’s validity, an alert will appear underneath the post warning ...

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Third-ever natural quasicrystal found in Siberian meteorite


MNA Science & Tech Desk: There’s more than one way to cook a quasicrystal. For the first time, a new kind of this weird, rule-breaking solid has been found in nature at Siberian meteorite without an identical compound having first been made in the lab. Paul Steinhardt at Princeton University has doggedly hunted for quasi-crystals since he predicted their existence in the early 1980s. Before then, we only knew of two types of solids: crystals, in which every atom is arranged neatly in a repeating lattice, and amorphous solids, which have no such order. Quasi-crystals are almost crystals, but they ...

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Twitter won’t assist with a Muslim registry in US

Muslim registry

MNA Science & Tech Desk: Twitter is one of nine internet companies to confirm it would not sell its services to assist in President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim registry. The Intercept’s Sam Biddle asked nine companies, including Facebook, Google and management and technology consultants Booz Allen Hamilton, whether they would sell their services to help set up a Muslim registry. Of the nine major tech giants, including Facebook, Apple and Google, only Twitter has declined to help if US President-elect Donald Trump seeks to create a national Muslim registry, a media report said. “Would [name of company], if solicited by ...

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Microsoft releases Solitaire to iOS and Android


MNA International Desk: Microsoft has launched a new app called Solitaire Collection, which is free to download and contains classic card games such as Klondike, Spider and Freecell. The new mobile app is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android as a free download. Most people still have fond memories of spending hours playing Solitaire on their old Windows desktop computers. But the classic Solitaire is back, and it is available on iOS and Android.  Microsoft has retained features of the classic game, including the shuffling sounds and characteristic jumping of the cards when a player wins. The app, ...

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An extra-super moon on rise next Monday


MNA Technology Desk: A strangely large and bright Moon will adorn the night sky next Monday, the closest “super moon” to earth in 68 years and a chance for dramatic photos and spectacular surf. Weather permitting, the phenomenon should appear at its most impressive at 1352 GMT (0722 IST), when it will be at its fullest just as night falls over Asia, astronomers said. Provided there are no clouds and not too much light pollution, people should be able to see Earth’s satellite loom unusually large over the horizon shortly after sunset, irrespective of where in the world they are. ...

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Two American astronauts cast vote from space


MNA Technology Desk: Two American astronauts orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour have cast their votes from space in the US president election 2016 on Tuesday. According to NASA, astronaut Shane Kimbrough has officially filed his electronic absentee ballot from the International Space Station (ISS). Another astronaut Kate Rubins cast her ballot before returning to Earth last week. Thanks to a bill passed by Texas legislatures in 1997 that put in place technical voting procedure for astronauts, the two astronauts – residents of Houston where the Johnson Space Centre is located a. voted while in orbit. The United ...

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Brazilian astronomers discover 2 new planets

Brazilian astronomers

MNA Technology Desk: A team of Brazilian astronomers has discovered two new planets around a star similar to the sun known as HIP 68468. The two new planets, dubbed “super Neptune” and “super Earth”, are the first to be discovered by Brazilian astronomers since the discovery in 2015 of a planet similar to Jupiter, according to Brazil’s G1 news website on Friday. Astronomer Jorge Melendez, a professor at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo, and head researcher, said one of the objectives of the team was to compare the solar system with ...

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BAFCOM to ensure market equality in telecom


MNA Technology Desk: Targeting to guarantee fair competitive market for private sector, a new association named Bangladesh Alliance for Fair Competition – BAFCOM on Wednesday started its journey. BAFCOM is formed with the collaboration of BASIS, FBCCI, DCCI, MCCI, JCI Bangladesh, Bankers Association, Insurance Association, eCab, BACCO, ISPAB, Bangladesh Copyright and IP Forum, Bangladesh Innovation Forum, Music Industries and all other associations and forums of Bangladesh. President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Mustafa Jabbar will lead the fifteen members of the convening committee of the non-profit organization BAFCOM. The forum has been launched to create a ...

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China’s new cyber security laws stricter for hackers


MNA Technology Desk: Chinese authorities could freeze assets and take other actions against foreign hackers threatening the country’s infrastructure under a revised draft of a new cyber security law. The official news agency reported that China’s draft cyber security law has been submitted for its third reading to the national congress. It says the draft would allow police and other agencies to freeze assets and apply “other necessary punishment” against foreign hackers. Monday’s report provided no details. Cyber security has been a top source of friction between China and the United States, which both say they suffer hacking by the ...

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Google Glass can make learning Morse code much easier

Google Glass

MNA Technology Desk: Google Glass can make learning Morse code much easier as researchers have developed a system that teaches the code within four hours, reported news agency. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US decided to use Glass for this study because it has both a built-in speaker and tapper Scientists have used Google Glass to teach people Morse code within four hours using a series of vibrations felt near the ear. Participants learned it without paying attention to the signals — they played games while feeling the taps and hearing the corresponding letters. After those ...

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards develop suicide drone

suicide drone

MNA Technology Desk: Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday they had developed a – suicide drone capable of delivering explosives to blow up targets at sea and on land. The new drone is primarily for maritime surveillance and “has not been designed to be armed with missiles,” reported news agency. “(But) it can carry heavy payloads of explosives for combat missions to launch suicide attacks. Flying at a high cruising speed near the surface of the water, the aircraft can collide with the target and destroy it, either a vessel or an onshore command centre.” The drone was designed ...

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Researchers developed new method to increase battery life

new method

MNA Technology Desk: Researchers have developed a new method to increase the energy density of lithium (Li-ion) batteries used in smartphones, tablets and other portable electronics—a discovery that can improve their performance by 10-30 per cent. Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Columbia Engineering, built a tri-layer structure that is stable even in ambient air, which makes the battery both long lasting and cheaper to manufacture. When lithium batteries are charged for the first time, they lose anywhere from 5-20 per cent energy in that first cycle. “Through our design, we’ve been able to gain back ...

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Bermuda Triangle mystery may finally be solved

Bermuda Triangle

MNA Technology Desk: Strange clouds forming above the Bermuda Triangle could explain why dozens of ships and planes have mysteriously vanished in the notorious patch of sea. The remarkable new theory suggests the clouds are linked to 170-mph “air bombs”—capable of bringing down planes and ships, New York Post reported on Friday. The riddle could finally be solved after meteorologists discovered bizarre “hexagonal” -shaped clouds between 20 and 50 miles wide forming over the dodgy patch of water. Meteorologist Randy Cerveny said: “The satellite imagery is really bizarre… the hexagonal shapes of the cloud formations. “These types of hexagonal shapes ...

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