Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.
By the time the giant spot on the sun rotated into view on October 18, it was already 80,000 miles wide, big enough to fit all of Jupiter, big enough to lay 10 Earths, side by side, across. It is the largest spot the sun has harbored in 24 years.
But while most erupting sunspots lob chunks of plasma outward in events called coronal mass ejections, this one’s keeping its plasma close to the surface.
To rewind, a sunspot is a darker, cooler area on the sun’s visible surface that stores intense magnetic energy. (Note: Cooler, in this case, means roughly 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit, down from about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.)
The sun is not a solid body. It’s a ball of hot, hot ionized gas called plasma that’s threaded with magnetic field, created by charged particles moving around. The sun spins faster at its equator, and the result is that some of that magnetic field drags, getting twisted and knotted up in the process. As this happens, these knots of magnetic field gain energy, pressure and buoyancy, and some of them float to the surface, and penetrate it, popping out…
Releasing this pent-up energy typically takes two forms: a solar flare or a coronal mass ejection, and this is key to what makes the behavior here unusual. A coronal mass ejection is made up of balls of gas ejected from the sun’s outer atmosphere, consisting of charged particles and magnetic field. The fastest CME’s travel up to 93 million miles a day, or millions of miles per hour. A solar flare is a burst of x-rays and energy, typically smaller and shorter-lasting than a CME, and rather than being launched out into space, it is caused by material accelerated back into the sun…
When a solar flare erupts, it lights up the side of the Earth that’s facing the flare, and heats up the Earth’s upper atmosphere, or ionosphere, which can temporarily change its properties. Solar flares pose less danger than CME’s, but they can affect short-wave radio communication used by pilots and ships, since the radio waves are bounced off the upper atmosphere.
Sunspots, first seen through a telescope by Galileo, are classified by how complex they are. Similar to a mole, a clean, round sunspot is of less interest to sun watchers.
“Imagine the doctor says you’ve got a nice little round mole,” Young said. “But when it starts to break up into pieces and change color and get jagged and complicated, that’s when you start to become concerned.”
The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called SugarString.com. The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game.
There’s just one catch: In exchange for the major corporate backing, tech reporters at SugarString are expressly forbidden from writing about American spying or net neutrality around the world, two of the biggest issues in tech and politics today.
THERE’S something in the human psyche that loves seeing things blow-up. Explosions are even better when there’s no casualties, because you can just enjoy the show without wanting to vomit with the weight of it all.
Yesterday, NASA launched the unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket as part of a $1.9billion contract, however, it didn’t make it out of the atmosphere as it turned into a huge molten fireball seven seconds above the ground, before crashing back into the earth, blowing up everywhere.
ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility) Honda’s humanoid robot, ascends a staircase as it makes its UK debut at the WIRED Conference in London. Honda’s development of humanoid robots began in 1986 and many developments have been made since ASIMO first launched in 2000.
HOW capitalism works: the domain name Ebola.com is for sale. You can buy it for $150,000. Jon Schultz is selling. He also owns biurdflu.com and terror.com, which is nice.
Schultz, of Las Vegas-based Blue String Ventures, looks at domains through the lens of a gambler. It’s not what a domain is worth today, he advised in an interview with the Washington Post. It’s what it is worth tomorrow. “Our domain, birdflu.com, is worth way more than Ebola.com. We’re definitely holding onto that one for the event,” he said, referring to an outbreak he contends could be way bigger than Ebola, turning the owner of birdflu.com into a very rich man. “That one’s airborne and Ebola would never go airborne in the United States like bird flu can.”
Exciting news for the spam filters on our email: scientists have revealed that they can now grow a penis in a laboratory. Just think what’s going to happen when the mass marketers get ahold of that idea: if you thought that pills to increase size were heavily marketed you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Scientists have successfully grown penises in a laboratory and say they could be tested on humans within five years.
The organs would be used to help men who have suffered a serious injury to the region, had surgery for cancer or are suffering from a congenital abnormality.
The work is being carried out the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, North Carolina.
This Tuesday, June 24, 2014 photo shows the Draganflyer X4-ES drone, a professional, GPS guided, four-rotor UAV helicopter capable of autonomous flight, video and digital still images, during a demonstration for the media in the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.
TO New Jersey, where a man has taken badly to being spied upon. He used a shotgun to shoot down his neighbour’s drone.
The droner was using his spy in the sky to check out a nearby home undergoing renovations.
“I’ve been retired all my life,” explains Nubar Gulbenkian, now 69. “but I’ve also been working hard all my life. A fortune does not look after itself, after all.” The fortune Gulbenkian refers to is one of the largest in the world. He inherited it from his legendary father, Calouste; who was nicknamed “Mr. Five Percent” because that was his usual cut on Middle Eastern oil and who owned possibly the world’s greatest art collection. Nubar, an Armenian, was exported in a Gladstone bag from his birthplace in Turkey, a land then inhospitable to Armenians, when he was only a few weeks old. Educated in England and France, he has been married three times and would be an impressive figure, even if he lacked his father’s business acumen (which he doesn’t), for his stupendous eyebrows, well trimmed beard, monocle and a habit of inserting into his lapel every morning a fresh orchid, the color chosen to suit the occasion. He has just written an autobiography, Portrait In Oil (Simon & Schuster), in which he discusses not only his finances but his voracious appetite for preferred pleasures like foxhunting, riding, food, drink, the odes of Horace, and driving, which he took up shortly after his 65th birthday. “If something is too much of a bore to do thoroughly and with zest,” says Gulbenkian, “then don’t bother to do it at all.”
Nubar Gulbenkian, the well known oil magnate, examines a Vintage Claret during the French wine tasting reception held in the cellars of Lebegue, the well known London wine merchants Date: 09/10/1964
When asked whether he most enjoys city life or country life, horses or Rolls-Royces, old brandy or young women, Nubar Gulbenkian reflectively strokes his luxuriant beard, puffs deeply on his cigar and makes a simple affirmation of love for the business of good living: “I prefer everything.”
Philanthropist and bon viveur, Nubar Gulbenkian Date: 04/05/1961
For £250000 o.n.o, you get a long wheelbase, coach built, 4.5litre vehicle one off with snakeskin trim, electic windows, Sedanca de Ville style roof, air con. and a speedometer in the back, so allowing Gulbenkian to keep tabs on his chauffeur and ensure he drove quickly.
In this May 28, 2008 file photo, space shuttle Discovery commander Mark Kelly, right, gestures as he walks with his twin brother, astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and mission specialist Ron Garan, after arrival at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
In March, Scott – a former International Space Station commander and veteran of the space program – departs on a one-year mission to the ISS, alongside Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Meanwhile, Mark, who is now retired from NASA, will stay on the ground, at home in Arizona. A group of researchers will track Scott in space, and his genetic doppelgänger on Earth, to get a fuller picture of the myriad effects of long-term space travel – crucial information if we hope to send astronauts to Mars and beyond.
The twins study brings NASA into a new realm of science, what Craig Kundrot, at NASA’s human research program, calls “21st-century omics research.” This includes genomics (the study of the Kellys’ DNA), metabolomics (their metabolism), microbiomics (the bacteria in their guts), and more. “The twin study is really a baptism for us,” says Kundrot, who’s based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. But there’s another reason NASA has largely avoided this type of research, until now. “NASA has never been in the genetics game for one simple reason,” says Fred Turek of Northwestern University, one of the investigators on the twin study. “Astronauts have only one fear in life: that some scientist is going to find something wrong with them.”
HERE’S a bit of a problem for Apple’s new Watch: looking at one while driving could earn you a £100 fine. And yes, that is even if it’s just a watch that you’re looking at. Because while you might just have it set up to show just a watch face the police aren’t to know that: and thus they can assume that you’re checking your emails or whatever. And that will be punished just like texting while driving will be: so this is all going to be most interesting really.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has warned that anyone caught using a justWatch when driving will be be hit with the same punishment as if they had been using a mobile phone.
This cautionary missive was backed up the Department for Transport, which said that anyone caught Apple wrist-watching while driving would be clobbered with three penalty points on their driving licence and a £100 fine.
The thing is that it’s a real problem. People being distracted by their mobile phone while driving killed some 110 people in the UK last year. And as that Apple Watch is more akin to a mobile than it is just to a watch then it’s going to get covered by those mobile phone rules, not the ones that say we’re allowed to glance at our watch while driving.
That’s a bit of a problem for the new product launch, isn’t it?
DO all iPhones take the same selfies? No. The newest models show your pores in better detail. Lisa Bettany shares with Snap Snap Snap readers her iPhone snaps taken with the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and the new iPhone 6 i.
Let’s start by getting our definitions straight. An internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments except to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response.
JOAN Rivers might be dead but never let it be said she fails tos ee ou a contractual obligation.
“This badass is being replaced by an iPhone 6 (not the fat one). I got this one in 2010 and, after 4 years, my only complaint is that apps are now designed for bigger screens, and the battery is getting tired. Never had a case for it, since it was most beautiful on its own. Great achievement in design. Great product. #apple #iphone #tech.”
Her views on the iPhone 7, 8, 9 and X are not yet scheduled to be known…
THE iPhone launch has become a seasonal event. Like the X Factor auditions, it allows the sane the chance to look at the demented and desperate being wrangled by the rich and successful.
This highlights package of twattery, features the Grow-Yur-Own Apple fansboys sitting in a portable greenhouse, Glasgow’s saddest trio and two men jumping for joy at having spent loadsa money on a telephone.
Billy (surname not given) and Mike Roberts wait outside the Apple Store on Regent Street
n this photo taken Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Silicon Valley pioneer and Silent Circle co-founder Jon Callas holds up Blackphone with encryption apps displayed on it at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. Revelations about the NSA’s electronic eavesdropping capabilities, with targets reported to include Chancellor Angela Merkel, have sparked anger in Germany, and a boom in encryption services that make it hard for the most sophisticated spies to read emails, listen to calls or comb through texts. ‘Snowden’s leaks were a real boon for us,’ said Callas, whose company sells an encryption app which allows users to talk and text in private. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
BAD news for spies. Apple will not comply with police orders to unlock your iPhones, iPads. Why? Because it can’t:
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its Web site. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”
A NEW allegation about those massive factories in China that make all of Apple’s iKit. That the chemicals being used to clean the electronics have caused an outbreak of leukaemia among the workers. It should be said that there’s not likely to be much truth to the allegations: but then they’re coming from a “labour watch” group who seem not to have been all that interested in the truth in the past. It’s the same group who brought us the news of the high suicide rates in the same factories. When in fact that suicide rate was lower than it is in China in general:
BILLLIONS reel as it is revealed that the internet is actually full. It’s this that led to eBay falling over this week and it will in the future disrupt our vital supplies of funny cat photos. That, at least, is what the Mail is trying to peddle to us as the latest calamity to befall our race:
Major technical problems could become a regular occurrence for website users because the internet is running out of space, experts have warned.
An online breakdown caused chaos on Tuesday, costing the economy millions of pounds in lost trade and effectively closing access to a number of huge website.
Online auctioneer eBay was out of action for most of the day, with buyers and sellers inundating the site with complaints about lost business after being unable to log onto their accounts.
Fresh Air Plus is a Kickstarter project that replaces your old, lifeless toilet seat with a seat that has a built-in exhaust fan designed to capture and safely vent unwelcome odors outside your house. The Kickstarter promotional video describes the issue as “stinky, gross, and sometimes socially awkward.” The seat has a sensor that detects when someone is sitting down. This triggers the fan to turn on.
The seat also has an anti-slam lid that closes softly. The best part of all is a series of purplish and red blinking star lights on the side that let you and any visitors know that this isn’t your momma’s toilet seat, it’s a high-tech beast of a bathroom machine.
The installation process involves removing your old seat, attaching the Fresh Air Plus in its place, plugging the seat into a wall socket, and then connecting a hose to an exhaust vent running outside. The biggest issue here is that you probably don’t already have a small round vent in your wall, so you’ll have to get handy and put one in or hire somebody to come do it. It gets a little trickier if your bathroom doesn’t have an outside-facing wall. This situation requires running the hose through the wall to connect up with the ventilation pipe used by your bathroom ceiling fan.
WHO to blame for the naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence and, reportedly, 100 other stars leaked on the web? The hackers who took images from the star’s iCloud account? No. David Auerbach blames Apple:
Apple is currently delighted that people are talking about how you shouldn’t take naked photos of yourself in the first place, but make no mistake: Apple has been provably irresponsible with users’ security. It is currently unclear how the naked photos were gathered—most likely through a number of different methods and different servers over a period of months if not years. What isclear is that Apple has had a known security vulnerability in its iCloud service for months and has been careless about protecting its users. Apple patched this vulnerability shortly after the leak, so even if we’re not sure of exactly how the photos got hacked, evidently Apple thinks it might have had something to do with it. Whether or not this particular vulnerability was used to gather some of the photos—Apple is not commenting, as usual, but the ubiquity and popularity of Apple’s products certainly points to the iCloud of being a likely source—its existence is reason enough for users to be deeply upset at their beloved company for not taking security seriously enough.