Chinese Workers Face Competition From Robots


One of the defining narratives of modern China has been the migration of young workers — often girls in their late teenage years — from the countryside into sprawling cities for jobs in factories. Many found work at Foxconn, which employs nearly 1 million low-wage workers to hand-assemble electronic gadgets for Apple, Nintendo, Intel, Dell, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony.

So it was a surprise when Terry Guo, the hard-charging, 61-year-old billionaire CEO of Foxconn, said last July that the Taiwan-based manufacturing giant would add up to 1 million industrial robots to its assembly lines inside of three years.

The aim: to automate assembly of electronic devices just as companies in Japan, South Korea and the United States previously automated much of the production of automobiles.

Foxconn, one of China’s largest private employers, has long played an outsize role in China’s labor story. It has used cheap labor to attract multinational clients but now faces international scrutiny over low pay and what some see as inhumane working conditions.

“Automation is the beginning of the end of the factory girl, and that’s a good thing,” says David Wolf, a Beijing-based strategic communications and IT analyst. Wolf, who has visited many Chinese factory floors, predicts an eventual labor shift similar to “the decline of seamstresses or the secretarial pool in America.”

Since the announcement, Guo hasn’t offered more details, keeping observers guessing about whether Foxconn’s plans are real. (Through its public-relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, Foxconn declined to describe its progress.) Trade groups also haven’t seen the huge orders for industrial robots that Foxconn would need, although some experts believe the company may be developing its own robots in house.

“Guo has good reasons for not waving his flag about this too much,” says Wolf. Keeping quiet could give Foxconn a jump on competitors. What’s more, with the Chinese economy slowing down, “it is politically inadvisable to talk too much about replacing people with robots,” he says.

China’s leaders see employment as essential to maintaining a harmonious society. The imperative of creating jobs often trumps that of efficiency. For instance, Wang Mengshu, deputy chief engineer at China Railway Tunnel Group, says that labor-saving equipment isn’t always used even when it’s available. “If all the new tunnels were built with the advanced equipment, that would trim the need for the employment of about six million migrant workers,” he says. “In certain fields we don’t want to have fast development in China, in order to solve the national employment problem.”

About 300,000 Chinese workers currently live in dormitories at Foxconn’s Longhua factory complex, where Apple products are assembled. Most spend their days seated beside a conveyer belt, wearing white gowns, face masks and hairnets so that stray hairs and specks of dust won’t interfere as they perform simple but precise tasks, again and again.

Each worker focuses on a single action, like putting stickers on the front of an iPhone or packing a finished product into a box. As managers told ABC’s Nightline — which aired a rare look inside the factory in February — it takes five days and 325 steps to assemble an iPad.

Such highly structured and predictable tasks are well suited to automation, says Jamie Wang, a Taipei-based analyst for the research firm Gartner. Industrial robots, typically equipped with a movable arm, use lasers or pressure sensors to know when to start and finish a job. A robot can be operated 160 hours a week. Even assuming competition from nimble-fingered humans putting in 12-hour shifts, a single robot might replace two workers, and possibly as many as four.

Wang stresses that Foxconn can’t replace human workers right away because automating assembly lines would require rejiggering its entire manufacturing process. Larger changes in China also won’t occur overnight. Smaller Chinese factories can’t afford to invest in robotics, and factory wages are still relatively low — about $315 to $400 per month in the Pearl River Delta, according to Liu Kaiming, director of a Shenzhen-based labor organization called the Institute of Contemporary Observation.

Despite that, Foxconn isn’t the only Chinese manufacturer betting on robots. The International Federation of Robotics, based in Frankfurt, tracked a 50% jump in purchases of advanced industrial robots by Chinese manufacturers in 2011, to 22,600 units, and now predicts that China will surpass Japan as the world’s largest market in two years. It’s obvious, Wolf says, that industrial robotics “is about to get very hot in China.”

Image courtesy of iStock, loonger

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review

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Loom Decor Puts Professional Design Materials in Your Hands


The Fabric World Interiors store in London.
Image: Flickr, Herry Lawford

During her time at a top New York City interior-design firm, Ashley Gensler became frustrated by the exclusivity of the industry; most products are available only “to the trade,” and high fees limit access to great design. Armed with an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a background in design, Gensler set out to change this industry standard, launching Loom Decor in 2012. She and co-founder Nichole Ocepek have built Loom into a comprehensive online resource for high-end custom textile furnishings at prices accessible to customers and designers alike.

Gensler talked with us about why they started the business and what technology made it possible.

BND: What problem were you hoping to solve with your business?

A.G.: Fundamentally, I believe DIY decorators like me should have the same access to gorgeous, high-quality decor as professional designers do, and at an accessible price. Unfortunately, the traditional interior-design market is highly exclusive, offering most products only through professional designers. Antiquated supply chains and structures make most of those products, especially fabrics, too expensive for 99 percent of homeowners. So, I set out to make custom home decor accessible to the masses. Combining easy-to-use online configuration tools, complimentary design assistance, and access to more than 400 designer-quality fabrics and customizable products, Loom offers the same high-end custom textiles highlighted in the professionally designed homes of shelter publications, but at a fraction of the cost.

BND: Could your business have existed 20 years ago?

A.G.: Not in terms of the ease of service and experience we provide, nor to the market we serve. There have been workrooms doing custom decor for interior designers for a hundred years, but empowering consumers to design their own decor was not an option 20 years ago, for several reasons.

The technology for dynamic visualization and online configuration, which is key to customers’ ability to see what they are about to purchase, was not available (at least not at a cost that would have made sense).

Consumers’ interest in personalization and DIY was just evolving at the time. The expectation back then was that you would hire an interior designer (if you could afford it), and if you couldn’t, then you would just have to settle with what was available in stores. Thus, the mentality to want to purchase custom decor specific to your style and vision was not in the consumer psyche. Now, we have a plethora of blogs, DIY shows and online resources that not only educate and empower, but encourage the average homeowner to want to take on their own decorating projects.

While you could likely access some of these services in stores or by calling someone (in which case you would have to know a lot about what you wanted), an online experience 20 years ago would have been so clunky that nobody would have wanted to use it. After all, most people didn’t even like to shop for basic items online 20 years ago, let alone be involved in the design process.

BND: What modern technology (or technologies) has made your business possible?

A.G.: Dynamic visualization software is the No. 1 technology that has enabled our business. This technology is at the crux of the experience of creating or modifying your own furnishing. These are big purchases for homeowners, and they live with them for a long time.
Most people have a very hard time visualizing the choices they are making — like what a certain print will look like as a curtain — and dynamic visualization software allows us to show them exactly what their product will look like before they buy it — not just some unrealistic rendition, but with photorealistic quality. This also allows us to show a catalog of thousands of furnishings. Each product silhouette is available in hundreds of different fabrics. We don’t even need to take inventory or photograph all of those items individually, which would be cost-prohibitive, knowing that we would have to keep up with the latest trends and carry more unique, chic styles than a mass-market ready-made approach can allow.

BND: Is there a technology you can’t live without?

A.G.:My iPhone. As an entrepreneur, I’m so busy that I feel like I have to make use of every little moment. So, I have my smartphone out on my commute into work, emailing away and planning out my day before I ever step foot into the office. Plus, it’s great for jotting down ideas when I’m out and about, and for browsing design mags and Pinterest for creative inspiration. And, let’s be honest — who doesn’t love the games (when I have five minutes to play them)?

BND: If you could hire one extra person right now, what would you have him or her do?

A.G.: Marketing, marketing, marketing. The hardest part of starting up a business is getting in front of your potential customers and breaking through all the noise. Not only are we up against large, established retailers, but as a new company, we don’t have a long history with Google or with the industry, so we have to build credibility to jump-start our SEO, increase our press coverage and build an email list, among many other things. It’s starting from ground zero, and you don’t have a business if you don’t have customers.

BND: What technology do you wish existed?

A.G.: We would really like to be able to show our products in our customers’ homes. I wish there were a much more sophisticated way for users to take photos of their rooms and, with just a few clicks, make a 3D model that they could then start “modifying” as part of their decorating process.

The basic technology exists — larger companies are already using apps and programs that allow them to create 3D modeling and use augmented reality. But it’s the user experience that is still clunky. The imagery is often unrealistic, which can sometimes be a turnoff (for the furnishing you are considering).

BND: What app are you relying on most right now?

A.G.: My Measures & Dimensions on the iPhone and iPad. My husband and I are house hunting, and it’s coming in very handy for recording dimensions during open houses. It lets you snap a picture using your camera and write dimensions directly on the image. Plus, our stylists swear by it for measuring windows for drapery.

BND: What technology do you think is most overrated?

A.G.: Google Glass. First, it kind of freaks me out. Someone once showed me how it works and said, “See? I just blinked and took your picture.” I mean, at least with a cellphone, you can see when someone is being creepy! Second, it’s already bad enough that we are glued to our phones half the time when we are out with friends (me included). Imagine if everyone were staring off into “Terminator” space. Talk about impersonal!

BND: What’s the most valuable non-tech skill an entrepreneur needs?

A.G.: The ability to communicate a vision. As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to not only envision what you want to build (or, better yet, what your customerswant to build), but also describe it in a compelling way not only to investors, but literally everybody you encounter in business. That includes your customers, to get them to purchase and advocate for you, as well as your partners and vendors, to get them to work with you and believe in your concept. And, most importantly in my mind, you need to communicate your vision to your team, not only to convince great people to come work for you, but also to get them all aligned to work toward a common vision.

This article originally published at BusinessNewsDaily

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An “Organic Coat” May Surround That Interstellar Object And Hide Its True Appearance

Scientists have found that ‘Oumuamua, the interstellar object that was found passing through our Solar System in October, may not be what it appears.

It had been thought this object was an asteroid from another planetary system because we hadn’t found a coma of dust and gas around it – something that icy comets have as they melt or sublimate.

The latest observations of ‘Oumuamua, however, published in Nature Astronomy, show that the object has an organic-rich layer on its surface. The research suggests that this could have protected a hidden ice-rich interior from being vaporized during its close passage to our Sun.

“When it was detected it showed no signs of cometary activity,” Alan Fitzsimmons from Queen’s University Belfast, the study’s lead author, told IFLScience. “However, we’ve got spectra of the object which shows it’s very similar to ice-rich objects in the outer Solar System.”

Spectra here refers to measuring the light from the object, and seeing what elements it is made of. In this case, it seems to have a layer of carbon on its surface – an “organic coat” if you will. Organic basically refers to the presence of carbon.

‘Oumuamua passed within 0.25 AU (astronomical units) of the Sun, a quarter of Earth’s orbit, before making its way out of our Solar System again. At this close proximity, if it had been a comet we would have expected to see signs of its ice sublimating (turning from solid to gas).

That wasn’t the case, however, which is why we thought it had been an asteroid and thus devoid of ice. But this latest study suggests it could well have been icy, which changes how it might have formed in the unknown planetary system it originated from.

“We know it’s not similar to any of the asteroids you find relatively close to our Sun,” said Fitzsimmons. “Previous expectations have been that the majority of objects thrown out of solar systems during planet formation should have been icy. So this fits in with that expectation.”

The object remains very unusual, with a lot of questions still unanswered. We don’t know where it came from, for example, nor do we know how old it is although an upper limit of 10 billion years has been suggested. It may be possible to see cometary activity as it makes its way out of the Solar System.

Scientists hope to discover more interstellar objects like this one in the future. Finding out what they are made of, and whether they are icy or not, could tell us more about how other planetary systems form.

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High-Speed Police Chase Caught on Helmet Cam

This policeman’s helmet camera filmed a high-speed chase so heart-pumping that you may just feel like you were there for the ride.

Homepage image courtesy of NowThisNews

Bonus: Genius Ways to Use a GoPro Camera

Why Insiders, Not Hackers, Are Biggest Threat to Cybersecurity


The NSA leaks perpetrated by Edward Snowden will easily go down as one of the biggest revelations of the year, if not the decade. But the episode also raises new questions about the risk that insiders pose to government and corporate cybersecurity, in spite of the attention lavished on foreign hackers.

Snowden’s case is unique in that it uncovered a previously unknown surveillance apparatus that’s massive in size and scope. It’s not unique, however, in the way the whistleblower did his deed. Two-thirds of all reported data breaches involve internal actors wittingly or unwittingly bringing sensitive information to outsiders, according to industry analysts.

“It’s not an either-or proposition,” said Mike DuBose, a former Justice Department official who led the agency’s efforts on trade-secret theft. “But amidst all the concern and discussion over foreign hacking, what gets lost is the fact that the vast majority of serious breaches involving trade secrets or other proprietary or classified information are still being committed by insiders.”

DuBose is now the head of the Cyber Investigations unit at the risk-management firm Kroll Advisory Solutions. In February, his team authored a report warning that contractors, information-technology personnel and disgruntled employees—all descriptors that fit Snowden pretty well—pose a greater threat than hackers, “both in frequency and in damage caused.”

Not everyone agrees. Even though insiders generally play an outsized role across all reported data breaches, their role in confirmed data breaches is rather small, according to an annual study by Verizon. In 2012 specifically, internal actors accounted for 14% of confirmed data breaches. Of those, system administrators were responsible for 16%.

“Our findings consistently show,” the report read, “that external actors rule.”

However common they are, cases like Snowden’s show how devastating one insider can be. The extent of the damage depends on what’s being exfiltrated, and from where, and there aren’t many standards for calculating losses. Most companies estimate the value of their trade secrets based on how much money they sank into the research and development of that knowledge. But for the government, it’s the potential impact on security that takes precedence—and that turns the question into a matter of subjective debate.

Last month, The Washington Post reported that Chinese spies compromised the designs for some of the Pentagon’s most sensitive weapons systems, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship.

If true, the report could have major consequences for national security. But Snowden’s case is equally consequential, if for different reasons, and it bolsters DuBose’s point about the relevance of insiders. Snowden may have rightfully uncovered evidence of government overreach, but if a midlevel contractor can steal top-secret information about the NSA and give it to the public in a gesture of self-sacrifice, someone else could do the same and hand the intelligence to more nefarious actors.

Image via iStockphoto, kynny

This article originally published at National Journal

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Students Are Using Smart Spy Technology To Cheat In Exams

Students at a medical college in Thailand have been caught using spy cameras linked to smartwatches to cheat during exams. They used wireless spycams in eyeglasses to capture exam questions, transmit them to associates elsewhere and receive responses through linked smartwatches.

But the entrance exam in question was cancelled after the plot was discovered and Arthit Ourairat, the rector of Rangsit University, posted pictures of the hi-tech cheating equipment on his Facebook page.

Spy camera glasses used by the exam cheats. Arthit Ouraira/Facebook

The cheating attempt has already been compared to Hollywoods classic spy dramas but it shows how easily such high-tech devices are available to those who seek to gain an unfair advantage in educational pursuits.

Unfortunately, its a problem that will only get worse when devices such as smartglasses become cheaper and more readily available.

Smartglasses such as Google Glass have the capability to take photos, send information and also display information on the lens itself, eliminating the need to connect to a smartwatch.

Smartwatch Ban

It was around this time last year that universities globally started banning, or at least exploring a ban on, smartwatches in exams.

Smartwatches are considered an aid to cheating in exams because they give easy access to stored text and images, language translation, mathematical calculations and internet access.

Subsequent bans on smartwatches were also introduced by school boards for Year 12 exams in Australia.

But a blanket ban on all watches traditional or smart could be on the horizon, especially because it is difficult and impractical for exam invigilators to differentiate between the two in an exam environment.

Other Gadgets

Its not just smartwatches we need to worry about. A plethora of hi-tech cheating gadgets exist that would also not look out of place in a James Bond or Mission Impossible film.

These are devices such as special glasses with a built-in transmitter and a separate wireless earpiece, aimed at establishing a two-way secretive audio communication between people during exams.

There is a device marketed as a Cheating Watch that can store PDF, Word and other documents. But it also has a super-fast emergency button that locks other buttons and displays only the time when approached by any suspecting exam invigilator.

Many other devices are offered for covert cheating in exams through wireless audio transmission.

There is even an Invisible Watch that appears to display nothing when the watch is switched on. But when viewed with special glasses sold with the watch, the screen becomes visible and you can see any uploaded content, such as your exam cheat notes.

An Open Market

Before you criticise me for giving away details of these devices, I should point out that there is a very open marketplace where they are being spruiked and sold as gadgets to aid cheating in exams. They are not hard to find.

Similar devices are also being sold on Amazon and eBay, companies that appear to claim no ethical responsibility for what is being sold on their platforms. Prices range from as little as A$40 up to A$600, depending on the features.

Although these devices could be used for legitimate purposes, the marketing of such gadgets to students for cheating in exams is an issue that is plaguing educational institutions.

Globally, educational institutions abhor the erosion of academic integrity and want students who are smart with gadgetry not smart-cheaters. The dilemma facing exam administrators is deciding which devices to ban and how.

Similar to the ban on mobile phones in exams, any devices capable of storing, transmitting, receiving and displaying digital information should also be banned.

So, as a starting point, a ban on watches traditional and smart for now is the way forward.

In order to eliminate the problem of differentiating between watches in an exam environment, some Australian universities have already implemented bans on all wristwatches. Others across Australia and the world should follow suit.

As newer surreptitious technologies emerge, educational institutions will have to come up with better plans to combat these new ways of cheating, and devise solutions that could range from banning devices to scanning for radio signals as was done using drones in an exam in China!

Ritesh Chugh, Senior Lecturer (Information Systems Management), CQUniversity Australia

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Shake Shack Is Now A $1.7 Billion Company

The gourmet burger chain had a huge opening day on the New York Stock Exchange, with shares rising more than 130%. Will the good times last?

NYSE / Valerie Caviness

Shake Shack, the gourmet burger chain that started out of a hut in New York City’s Madison Square Park, is now a $1.7 billion company — all based on just 36 restaurants in the U.S. and another 27 overseas.

Celebrity restauranteur Danny Meyer’s lauded fast casual hotspot held its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, and the response from investors suggested much confidence that the chain will eventually grow into a major presence across the U.S. Aggressive trading led to the opening price spiking to $47 per share, more than double Shake Shack’s pricing of early shares at $21 each the night before.

After Meyer and his team rang the NYSE’s opening bell, which included chanting and cheerleaders throughout the exchange’s cavernous trading floor, the air of the room filled with anticipation as the trading price for shares of Shake Shack rose into the high $20s, then through the $30s and approached the $50 mark. By 3p.m., the stock was up by 130%, an opening day rally more reminiscent of a late 90s tech company than a burger chain.

Meanwhile, the street outside the exchange filled with the smell of Shake Shack’s beloved burgers, which it was serving to the public free of charge out of a pair of food trucks it had lined up on Exchange Place. The trucks would later roam the city handing out free burgers to celebrate the IPO.

Inside the exchange, reporters and NYSE employees toasted the Shake Shack crew with burgers and cups of frozen custard as traders negotiated the stock’s opening price. As the numbers on trading monitors grew higher, multiple IPO attendees remarked on the stock’s huge “pop”, or spike in price.

“This is insane!” one trader exclaimed. “It’s like the GoPro of burgers!”

(Last June, GoPro went public on the Nasdaq with the stock popping by a more modest 31% on opening day.)

A frazzled assistant ran a cup of custard over to Meyer, who was beyond thrilled with the day’s events, especially after the stock’s huge pop netted him an estimated $400 million windfall. Shares of Shake Shack have continued to stay in the $48 dollar range throughout most of Friday and into the afternoon.

All morning, the floor buzzed about how high Shake Shack had climbed ahead of and even after its $47 per share opening. Some worried about a crash later in the day, as shares had climbed to unsustainable heights ahead of opening. Indeed, a buzzy restaurant brand declining in value after a manic opening day is not out of the realm of possibility — other names in the space, like Noodles & Company and Potbelly, have failed to maintain their high opening day share prices after only a few days or weeks of trading.

As for what’s next in the fast casual food business, one restaurant industry analyst told BuzzFeed News that after Chipotle and other ethnic food concepts like Zoe’s Kitchen and Noodles & Company, burgers represent only the tip of the iceberg.

“These concepts continue to grow very strongly,” said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at consultancy NPD Group. “They’ve done an outstanding job in satisfying consumers need to place your order and get freshly prepared, good tasting food that they feel is reasonable and affordable.”

Investors can now buy shares in fast casual food covering categories including Mexican, sandwiches, burgers and noodles, but many other popular concepts have yet to hit the markets. Riggs said craze for high-end salad places like Chopt and Sweetgreen is getting plenty of attention, and is likely to produce a public company at some point — although a fast-casual pizza business could come first. “After burgers, now, we’re starting pizza,” she said. “Then we’ll start on freshly prepared healthy food, like salad, that’s a bit healthier for you.”


Last June, GoPro went public on the Nasdaq exchange. An earlier version of this story said it was listed on the NYSE. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_correction_time_4807315”).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2015-01-30 15:40:21 -0500’, ‘update’); });

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Top 10 Space Science Stories From 2014

2014 has been a big year for space exploration – scientists landed on a comet, may have detected signals from the Big Bang and dark matter, extensively explored Mars – the list could go on and on. So here’s a collection of our favorite stories from the past year that will hopefully serve as a reminder of the incredible things that science has achieved.

Orion Launch

On December 5, NASA successfully completed its first test launch of the Orion capsule, a spacecraft designed to take humans deeper into space than ever before. In the future, when the craft is launched with NASA’s heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, humans will eventually be able to reach exciting destinations such as asteroids and Mars.

NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center, via Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0


This year, the European Space Agency made history when its Rosetta spacecraft caught up with a speeding comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, after a ten year journey of almost 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles). The ESA then successfully landed its probe, Philae, on the comet’s surface for the first time in history, although there were issues with touchdown and, unfortunately, the probe is now asleep due to being shielded from the Sun. Still, the ESA is hopeful that it may wake up in the New Year when more sunlight hits its solar panels, and scientists still managed to gather some exciting data during the short time that the probe was awake.


Mysterious Signal Picked Up

Using NASA’s Chandra Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton, scientists detected a strange X-ray signal originating in the Perseus galaxy cluster, some 240 million light years from Earth. Although the results need to be confirmed, scientists believe that it could be coming from the decay of sterile neutrinos- a hypothetical particle that has been proposed as a candidate for dark matter- the elusive stuff that makes up much of the Universe. 

NASA/CXC/SAO/E.Bulbul, et al.

India Reaches Mars on Maiden Voyage

In September, India became the second nation in just two days to slide a satellite into orbit around Mars. What’s more, this was only the second time that a mission has arrived at Mars on a maiden voyage, and they managed it all on a shoestring. The whole mission set India back $74 million, a fraction of NASA’s $671 million for MAVEN.


Earth-Size Planet Discovered In Habitable Zone

Back in April, NASA scientists discovered the first Earth-size planet– Kepler 186f— orbiting its red dwarf star in the habitable zone- the region around a star where liquid water could occur on an orbiting planet’s surface, and could possibly sustain life. 

NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Ocean On Enceladus

Another amazing discovery for April; NASA’s Cassini spacecraft found evidence for a vast underground ocean of liquid water on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. This was particularly exciting because it raises the possibility that the satellite could be home to extraterrestrial life forms.


Evidence For The Big Bang, Or Perhaps Not

Earlier on in the year, scientists from the BICEP2 collaboration announced that they had made probably one of the biggest space science discoveries for a decade: evidence for cosmic microwave background, which is thought to be leftovers from the Big Bang. However, several months later, ESA scientists showed that the signals may have come from dust in our own galaxy. Although it seems that the discovery may have been a flop, there is still a chance that BICEP2 was correct, but we will have to wait until scientists have finished comparing the data to find out.

ESA/Planck Collaboration

Cassini Explores Titan

Although the Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, it has made some amazing discoveries about one of the planet’s moons this year- Titan. This year, thanks to the intrepid explorer, scientists may have detected waves on two of Titan’s methane lakes, which would mark the first discovery of ocean waves beyond Earth. Scientists also spotted something very strange in one of the moon’s seas, which was dubbed “Magic Island,” although scientists are still unsure of its identity.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho

SpaceX Reveals Dragon Capsule

Back in May, SpaceX’s new re-usable spacecraft, Dragon V2, made its debut. This capsule is capable of carrying humans and will be able to launch and land anywhere on Earth, much like a helicopter, revolutionizing the way we get into space. It’s designed to be able to take astronauts to Earth orbit and beyond, and is capable of carrying up to 7 crewmembers.


Cosmic Web Glimpsed For The First Time

For many years, astronomers have predicted that a vast cosmic “web” exists in our Universe, composed of a sub-structured network of sheets and filaments of both ordinary and dark matter. And back in January, for the first time, scientists finally managed to image the hydrogen gas from a filament using light from an ancient quasar, which will hopefully help scientists understand more about how the Universe is structured. 

Bolshoi simulation, by Anatoly Klypin and Joel Primack. Inset: S. Cantalupo

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Nokia Announces Windows Phone 8 Version of City Lens App


After coming out of beta last week, Nokia‘s augmented reality app, Nokia City Lens, is due for another update with plenty of new features.

The upcoming Windows Phone 8 version of the app, which will work on Nokia’s Lumia 920 and 820 smartphones, is set to debut 3D icons, as well as the option of filtering search results to only show those in your line of sight.

Some WP8-specific features will also be added to the app, including the ability to pin to start any category, and to customize the menu by adding your favorite searches.

Perhaps most importantly, the app will work in both landscape and portrait modes.

Nokia has yet to comment on the exact release date of its newest version of City Lens.

Would you download the app? Tell us in the comments below.

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Physicists Are About To Make A Historic Announcement. Watch It Live With Us Right Here

Astronomy is about to change forever. At 10 am EDT (3 pm BST) astronomers around the world will present the groundbreaking observations of an astronomical phenomenon which has never been seen before. 

You can watch the announcement below or on either the National Science Foundation website or on the European Southern Observatory website. Over 70 observatories have contributed to this discovery and live conferences and coverage will come from other institutions as well. We’ll also be live streaming it on our Facebook page, so no excuse not to watch!

The LIGO and VIRGO collaborations have been in the press quite a lot lately. Just a few weeks ago they have announced the fourth detection of gravitational waves and three of their most prominent physicists received a Nobel Prize for their work.

If you want to ask questions to real gravitational wave physicists the LIGO and Virgo collaboration will run an AMA on Reddit on Tuesday, October 17. 




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