Science & Tech

Walmart uses AI cameras to detect theft


MNA Science & Technology Desk: US supermarket giant Walmart has confirmed it uses image recognition cameras at checkouts to detect theft. The cameras identify when items are put in a shopping bag without first being scanned by a cashier, or at the self-service checkout, reports BBC. Walmart told the news site Business Insider than it used the technology in more than 1,000 stores. The company said that it had made an “investment to ensure the safety of our customers and associates”. The scheme, called Missed Scan Detection by Walmart, uses technology supplied by Irish company Everseen. The cameras track items ...

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Facebook plans to launch cryptocurrency


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Facebook Inc revealed plans on Tuesday to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, the latest development in its effort to expand beyond social networking and move into e-commerce and global payments. Facebook has linked with 28 partners in a Geneva-based entity called the Libra Association, which will govern its new digital coin set to launch in the first half of 2020, according to marketing materials and interviews with executives. Facebook has also created a subsidiary called Calibra, which will offer digital wallets to save, send and spend Libras. Calibra will be connected to Facebook’s messaging platforms ...

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Twitter removes 4,800 accounts linked to Iran


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Twitter has removed nearly 4,800 accounts, which were allegedly being used by Iran to spread misinformation, in a continuing effort to prevent election interference and misinformation on the platform. The company revealed the decision on Thursday as it said the accounts were deleted alongside others from several different groups as Twitter tries to tackle interference, reports BBC. It also removed accounts which were reportedly used for Russian, Catalonian and Venezuelan propaganda. Social manipulation The 4,800 accounts were not a unified block, said Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity in a blog detailing its actions. ...

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Huawei files to trademark ‘Hongmeng’ OS around the world


MNA Science & Technology Desk: China’s Huawei has applied to trademark its “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in at least nine countries and Europe, data from a UN body shows, in a sign it may be deploying a back-up plan in key markets as US sanctions threaten its business model. The move comes after the Trump administration put Huawei on a blacklist last month that barred it from doing business with US tech companies such as Alphabet, whose Android OS is used in Huawei’s phones. Since then, Huawei – the world’s biggest maker of telecoms network gear – has filed for ...

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Microsoft quietly deletes its facial recognition database


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Microsoft has discreetly pulled a facial recognition database from its site that contained 10 million images of some 100,000 people. The internet giant took down the database after a Financial Times investigation revealed that the database has been used by companies and military researchers to train facial recognition systems around the world. The public dataset, called ‘MS Celeb,’ included images of ‘celebrities’ pulled from the internet, but also contained photos of ‘arguably private individuals,’ often without their knowledge or consent, the FT found. Microsoft, which referred to MS Celeb as the largest publicly available facial ...

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Mona Lisa brought to life by AI

Mona Lisa

MNA Science & Technology Desk: The subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting has been brought to life by AI researchers. The video, achieved from a single photo, shows the model in the portrait moving her head, eyes and mouth. The latest iteration of so-called deepfake technology came out of Samsung’s AI research laboratory in Moscow. Some are concerned that the rise of convincing deepfake technology has huge potential for misuse. Samsung’s algorithms were trained on a public database of 7,000 images of celebrities gathered from YouTube. The AI system mapped facial features and movements on to a ...

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Amazon’s founder unveils Moon lander concept


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Amazon entrepreneur Jeff Bezos has unveiled a mock-up of a new lunar lander spacecraft that aims to take equipment and humans to the Moon by 2024. The unmanned, reusable Blue Moon vehicle will carry scientific instruments, satellites and rovers. It will feature a new rocket engine called BE-7 that can blast 10,000lb (4,535kg) of thrust. “It’s time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay,” said Mr Bezos. Mr Bezos presented the Moon goals of his space exploration company Blue Origin at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC, to an audience consisting ...

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Facebook settlement with US to include privacy oversight


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are negotiating a possible settlement that would require the company to create an independent privacy oversight committee and take other steps to safeguard users, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing a source. The steps would include appointing a federally-approved privacy official at the highest level of Facebook and creating a privacy oversight committee that may include Facebook board members, the report said. The potential agreement between the company and the FTC is in addition to the $3 billion Facebook said it would set aside last week to cover settlements ...

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Google Doodle celebrates Earth Day


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Search engine giant Google has created a special Doodle, featuring fun facts about six fascinating creatures to celebrate Earth Day 2019. The doodle on its homepage is showing a series of animations featuring different, unique and special birds and animals. The doodle shows ‘Wandering Albatross’ that has the widest wingspan in the world, next up is a ‘Coastal Redwood’ tree, which is the tallest tree in the world at 377 feet and it shows ‘Paedophryne amanuensis’ the smallest vertebrate in the world and ‘Amazon Water Lily’, the largest aquatic plant. ‘Coelacanth’, a 407 million years ...

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Vehicle parking app launched in BD


MNA Science & Technology Desk: An ICT service provider on Wednesday announced that it developed a digital vehicle parking platform to facilitate car users in finding suitable parking places in the capital and expecting the app to ease a little the city’s notorious traffic congestion. Bangla Trac, which developed the app naming it “yes parking”, said the system would digitally locate an open parking place to be rented out by space owners listed with the ICT firm. The firm said their app would assist people effortlessly find an open parking space simultaneously generate earning for space owners while it was ...

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No 4G outside Dhaka


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in a report said that country’s mobile phone operators are yet to ensure 4G services outside the capital. The telecom regular published on Wednesday the report of its comprehensive quality of service (GoS) measurement through drive tests conducted in four divisions to find out the internet speed, including 4G, service coverage, call setup success rate and call drop rate. During the drive tests, it was found that minimum download speed of at least 7mbps could not be ensured by the top three mobile operators — Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink — ...

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Facebook deletes India’s Congress party & Pakistan military linked accounts


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Facebook has deleted 712 accounts and 390 pages in India and Pakistan for “inauthentic behavior”, it said on Monday, many linked to India’s opposition Congress party days before a national election, and others related to Pakistan’s military. Facebook has come under increasing pressure around the world to ensure its social media platform is not abused for political purposes or to spread misinformation. The action against accounts with alleged links to Congress, the party led by the Gandhi family that has dominated Indian politics for much of its post-independence era, marks a bold move by Facebook. ...

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UAE launches Arab space collaboration group


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Eleven Arab states, including the UAE, on Tuesday set up the first Arab space organisation, whose first project will be developing a satellite to monitor environmental and climate changes. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the vice president of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of Dubai, attended the ceremony of signing the charter for the Arab Group for Space Collaboration. The programme held on the opening day of Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi, reports Xinhua. Sheikh Mohammed said the group’s first project would be developing a satellite named as 813, the year the ...

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SpaceX astronaut capsule demo of Nasa lifts off


MNA Science & Technology Desk: The demonstration of a new US system to get astronauts into orbit is under way. The SpaceX company has launched a capsule from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida designed to carry people. The mission is uncrewed for this flight, but if it goes well the American space agency is likely to approve the system for regular astronaut use from later this year. Not since the retirement of the shuttles in 2011 has the US been able to put humans in orbit. It’s had to pay to use Russian Soyuz vehicles instead. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 ...

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Virgin Galactic moves closer toward space tourism


MNA Science & Technology Desk: A Virgin Galactic rocket plane on Friday soared to the edge of space with a test passenger for the first time, nudging British billionaire Richard Branson’s company closer to its goal of suborbital flights for space tourists. Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, who will train future space tourists, joined pilots onboard SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity to evaluate the customer experience and cabin. “This is what we’re here to do, we’re here to fly people in the back of our spaceship, that’s what it’s all about,” said pilot David Mackay, who is now the first ...

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Twitter co-founder steps down from board


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has said that he is leaving the board of directors of the US social networking giant at the end of the month. “I’m very lucky to have served on the @Twitter board for 12 years (ever since there was a board). It’s been overwhelmingly interesting, educational-and, at times, challenging,” Williams tweeted. While expressing his appreciation for almost 4,000 Twitter employees “who are doing the hard work every day,” “I will continue rooting for the team as I focus my time on other projects,” he added. Williams succeeded Twitter founder Jack Dorsey ...

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Scientists create first ant-like walking robot without GPS


MNA Science & Technology Desk: French researchers got inspiration from desert ants and developed a first-of-its-kind walking robot that can move without GPS. The study published on Wednesday in the journal Science Robotics reported the brand-new robot design with the desert ants’ exceptional navigation capabilities. Scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille University created a robot called AntBot, equipped with an optical compass that is sensitive to polarized ultraviolet light and an optical movement sensor to measure the distance covered. AntBot has six feet, allowing it to move with agility in complex environments where wheeled ...

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Piickme ‘Car service’ launched on the Valentine’s Day


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Piickme has officially launched their newly added car ride sharing service on 14 Feb. The on-demand app based ride sharing service Piickme was established by a Bangladeshi Entrepreneur named Mr. Omar Ali Raj in September 2018. At first it was launched with the motor bike service which is getting popular day by day. In respect of the car ride sharing service launching Piickme has announced special discount up to 200 taka for its user to be continued till the end of this month. Riders will also enjoy very attractive bonus on the occasion of this launching ...

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Bangladesh alarmingly among least cyber-secure countries


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Bangladesh has been found the sixth least cyber-secure among 60 countries covered in a study. Around 35.91 per cent mobile phones and 19.07 per cent computers of the country were attacked by malware in 2018, said the study conducted by UK-based research firm Comparitecha. In terms of overall performance, Bangladesh has scored 47.21 points, followed by Pakistan with 47.10 points, the study showed. Apart from the percentage of attacks during 2018, the study was also based on seven categories (national strategy, military, content, privacy, critical infrastructure, commerce, and crime). Comparitecha ranked a total of 60 ...

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Cyber attacks rising in Bangladesh


MNA Science & Technology Desk: The incidents of cyber attacks continue to rise at different commercial and service-providing outlets in the country despite taking various preventive measures. As the country achieved a good progress especially on socioeconomic front in the era of digitisation, the number of cyber related incidents is also rising. Due to a leap in information technology-related crimes, the issue of cyber security has become a matter of serious concern to most of relevant government and private entities. According to state-run Bangladesh e-Government Computer Incident Response Team (BGD e-Gov CIRT) under the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information ...

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Google disables iPhone app


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it disabled an iPhone app that it had paid some users to install to study their digital habits, following a similar move late on Tuesday by social media network Facebook Inc. Google and Facebook had faced criticism from privacy experts for distributing their research apps through a program iPhone maker Apple Inc had created for companies to distribute apps to employees, according to Reuters. “The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologise,” Google said in ...

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Apple lowers iPhone prices outside US


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Apple plans to cut the price of some of its flagship iPhones for only the second time in the device’s 12-year history, pegging its retail value to past prices in local currencies outside the United States instead of the rising US dollar. The move is an attempt to stem weak sales of the iPhone, particularly in overseas markets such as China, where a 10 per cent rise in the US dollar over the past year or so has made Apple’s products – which already compete at the top end of the market – much pricier ...

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Apple to patch privacy bug in its video-calling feature


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Apple Inc said on Monday it will issue a software patch later this week for a bug that lets iPhone users hear audio from users who have not yet accepted a video call. The bug, which Reuters news agency was able to replicate, allows an iPhone user placing a call using Apple’s FaceTime video-calling feature to hear audio from the recipient’s phone even if the recipient has not yet picked up the call. The bug appears to rely on Apple’s group video-calling feature. In certain situations, the bug also broadcast both video and audio from ...

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NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover might have ‘died’


MNA Science & Technology Desk: NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover that went into hibernation last June after a massive dust storm blocked sunlight from reaching its solar panels to generate power, might have “died”, fear scientists. Opportunity’s last communication with Earth was received 10 June, 2018, as a planet-wide dust storm blanketed the solar-powered rover’s location on the western rim of Perseverance Valley, eventually blocking out so much sunlight that the rover could no longer charge its batteries. Although the storm eventually abated and the skies over Perseverance cleared, the 15-year-old rover has not communicated with Earth since then. “I haven’t ...

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Huawei books record smartphone sales


MNA Science & Technology Desk: China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said on Thursday its consumer business sales exceeded a record $52 billion in 2018, on strong demand for its premium smartphones, even as it continued to face heightened global scrutiny of its activities. The jump of around 50 percent in the technology giant’s consumer business revenue saw that unit replace its carrier business as its largest segment by sales, Richard Yu, the head of the consumer division, said in Beijing. Huawei last month flagged that total revenue in 2018 rose 21 percent to $109 billion without providing a breakdown of ...

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Check legal status of handsets via SMS


MNA Science & Technology Desk: Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has launched a database of information on mobile phones with services like checking legal status of handsets via text message. Post, Telecommunication and IT Minister Mustafa Jabbar inaugurated the database at a ceremony at the BTRC offices in Dhaka on Tuesday. Anyone can check whether the information on their handsets are on the database by writing “KYD<space>the 15-digit IMEI number” and sending SMS to 16002. The BTRC will let the users know about the status of their handsets in a return SMS. No registration will be needed to get NOC ...

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Saturn’s rings are very young, say scientists


MNA Science & Technology Desk: We’re looking at Saturn at a very special time in the history of the Solar System, according to scientists. They’ve confirmed the planet’s iconic rings are very young – no more than 100 million years old, when dinosaurs still walked the Earth. The insight comes from the final measurements acquired by the American Cassini probe. The satellite sent back its last data just before diving to destruction in the giant world’s atmosphere in 2017. “Previous estimates of the age of Saturn’s rings required a lot of modelling and were far more uncertain. But we now ...

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