The human race can do amazing things, we’ve discovered how the universe works, figured out the theory of black holes and even set foot on the Moon. With plans ahead to land and even live on Mars, it’s no surprise we are also paying attention to other objects in space. Saturn’s moon, Titan, is one such object.
The surface of Titan is cold, as in around -180ºC. This means that only a few things can be liquid on its surface, and yet thanks to a selection of images that were taken since 2007, we may have an idea of just what happens on its surface.
The “lake” shown in the images, Ligeia, is seen dimming and brightening, the result of what scientists have concluded could be the result of waves at or beneath the surface. The Cassini spacecraft that took the photos will be doing a final run looking for these “magic island”s when it flys by Titan in 2017.
If this wasn’t enough during the 2016 budget, the US Congress created the Ocean Worlds explortation program. With the aim of exploring cold, icy moons of the solar system, the project would see us looking for water on other planets and understanding how it’s interacted with the planet.
The hope is that places like Titan which have the fundamental building blocks of life could be our first chance of seeing “wierd life” in the universe.
It is mostly the Oculus Rift and the Sony’s Playstation VR that take the headlines these days, but that doesn’t mean that simpler tools such as the Google Cardboard can’t be useful. In this case it was extremely useful as it helped to plan an operation virtually first and quite possibly have saved a baby’s life at the same time.
Teegan Lexcen was born with a unique defect that the doctors hadn’t seen before. Most of the left half of her heart was missing and on top of that she only has one lung. The parents were originally told by their doctors that nothing could be done. The poor girl was sent to a hospice to have the best care in the little time she had left. But two weeks later, Teegan was still alive. At this point her parents started to look for alternatives and found Redmond Burke, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Burke’s idea, along with a team of heart surgeons, was to 3D print a model of Teegan’s heart and go from there. But to make bad news worse, the 3D printer was broken and due to Teegan’s dangerous condition, something had to be done fast.
The doctors then turned to virtual reality in order to get a 3D image of the child’s chest region and organs. Doctors downloaded 3D images of the heart to an iPhone using the app Sketchfab. The images were similar to the 3D models that the doctors had on their computers, but the Google Cardboard used made it easier to accurately view every angle of the heart’s structure.
There were two major difficulties with this surgery, besides the extra risk that there always is with patients this young. First, the heart was placed further to the left of the chest than normal. That would normally require a very big incision which is a “massive trauma to a baby, it’s just horrendous,” Burke told CNN. Thanks to the Google Cardboard, Burke was able to visualize the precise location and use a much smaller and simpler midline incision.
The second challenge was a missing ventricle. Normally we have two, one that supplies the blood to the lungs while the other takes care of the rest. This was a tricky one in all conditions, but again the Google Cardboard helped Burke come up with a completely new procedure and solution for the problem. He rerouted Teegan’s right ventricle so it could continue to pump blood to both her lungs and body. He did this after having spent hours examining the 3D image of Teegan’s heart in Google Cardboard before pulling off the procedure with no complications.
This is a perfect example of why I love technology. When it is used for good and to help. In this case it was something as simple and cheap as a Google Cardboard (together with a lesser cheap iPhone) that helped do what an expensive 3D printer failed at. I wish little Teegan and her entire family all the best, may they all have a blessed life together.
Drones are amazing devices, being able to fly a device throughout your garden and beyond, taking pictures that are breathtaking and near impossible for any one person to manage. The problems begin when users begin to do stupid things and end up endangering lives with the devices. Such as those who are now the focus of a hunt with a possible reward offering around $75,000 to the one who helps catch them.
Drones have caused a few problems in recent months, drone users have almost been responsible for 14 near misses with commercial planes between March 2014 and March 2015. With a jail sentence of 5 years for even endangering the planes, the CAA really want to drive home that it is unacceptable to use drones near airplanes. Across the pond in California, San Bernardino county to be precise, a reward of $75k has been offered to anyone who can help track down drone pilots who are flying their drones over the forest fires in the country recently.
The first incident involved a drone flying too close to a flight path, resulting in a $10,000 detour for three planes carrying flame retardant, not only costing a lot of money but also hampering the US Forest Services attempts to control and prevent the forest fire from spreading. The drone in question was flying above the legal limit of 400 feet and was also in the no-fly zone commonly put forward when dealing with wildfires.
The second fire resulted in firefighting helicopters being forced to land with as many as five drones present in the area of the fire, the subsequent fire then spread to the highway where at least 20 cars were destroyed by the flames. Luckily the passengers had managed to escape on foot prior to the fire reaching them. This was only a few days after they were forced to suspend a tanker arriving after a drone was spotted in the area around another wildfire.
With three possible culprits an offer of $25,000 has been put forward for the apprehension of the drone pilots, in what can only be considered as serious action against those who would endanger lives and property for a quick photo opportunity.
With lives being endangered on a nearly weekly rate, drone users need to be more careful and considerate or face serious repercussions for their actions.
Windows 10 has been the forefront of the big news for Microsoft since its official announcement earlier in the year. After some confusion (okay, a lot of confusion) over who would have immediate access free, what it would entail and especially regarding those running less than legitimate copies of windows 7 any news about the new system has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
The latest news about the soon to be released operating system is mostly about how long-term the operating system plans to be. With recent news that windows 10 will force you to download updates automatically (therefore making sure you have the most up to date software) you are now entitled to the free updates for a total of 10 years. That’s right, a full ten years full of customer support regardless of how you’ve acquired your copy of Windows 10. This means that windows 7 and 8 users will be getting a total of 10 years service when the new operating system on July 29th when it’s released.
This means that no matter what, you can expect at least 10 years of security fixes and patches, a feature which XP has stopped receiving and is costing some companies millions to keep the operating system running.
With so many people using outdated and insecure operating systems a lot will be tempted to try out the new system, and 10 years of support will help people believe in promises that this system will not just be replaced within the next few years.
Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.
Have you heard of the Silk Road? It’s been pretty big news recently. The website was the core of “the dark web” – a side of the internet that was only accessible to the uppermost of criminals.
The main person behind the Silk Road (Ross Ulbricht) was convicted for Life this week, after being prison since the 1st of October 2013. Ars Technica have published an article telling us what happened on that day:
On October 1, 2013, the last day that Ross Ulbricht would be free, he didn’t leave his San Francisco home until nearly 3:00pm. When he did finally step outside, he walked ten minutes to the Bello Cafe on Monterey Avenue but found it full, so he went next door to the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library. There, he sat down at a table by a well-lit window in the library’s small science fiction section and opened his laptop.
From his spot in the library, Ulbricht, a 29-year-old who lived modestly in a rented room, settled into his work. Though outwardly indistinguishable from the many other techies and coders working in San Francisco, Ulbricht actually worked the most unusual tech job in the city—he ran the Silk Road, the Internet’s largest drug-dealing website.
Shortly after connecting to the library WiFi network, Ulbricht was contacted on a secure, Silk Road staff-only chat channel.
“Are you there?” wrote Cirrus, a lieutenant who managed the site’s extensive message forums.
“Hey,” responded Ulbricht, appearing on Cirrus’ screen as the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the pseudonym he had taken on in early 2012.
“Can you check out one of the flagged messages for me?” Cirrus wrote.
“Sure,” Ulbricht wrote back. He would first need to connect to the Silk Road’s hidden server. “Let me log in… OK, which post?”
Behind Ulbricht in the library, a man and woman started a loud argument. Ulbricht turned to look at this couple having a domestic dispute in awkward proximity to him, but when he did so, the man reached over and pushed Ulbricht’s open laptop across the table. The woman grabbed it and handed it off to FBI Special Agent Thomas Kiernan, who was standing nearby.
Ulbricht was arrested, placed in handcuffs, and taken downstairs. Kiernan took photos of the open laptop, occasionally pressing a button to keep it active. Later, he would testify that if the computer had gone to sleep, or if Ulbricht had time to close the lid, the encryption would have been unbreakable. “It would have turned into a brick, basically,” he said.
Then Cirrus himself arrived at the library to join Kiernan. Jared Der-Yeghiayan, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations, had been probing Silk Road undercover for two years, eventually taking over the Cirrus account and even drawing a salary from Ulbricht. He had come to California for the arrest, initiating the chat with Ulbricht—who had been under surveillance all day—from a nearby cafe.
Looking at Ulbricht’s computer, Der-Yeghiayan suddenly saw Silk Road through the boss’ eyes. In addition to the flagged message noted by Cirrus, the laptop’s Web browser was open to a page with an address ending in “mastermind.” It showed the volume of business moving through the Silk Road site at any given time. Silk Road vendors concealed their product in packages shipped by regular mail, and the “mastermind” page showed the commissions Silk Road stood to earn off those packages (the site took a bit more than 10 percent of a typical sale). It also showed the amount of time that had been logged recently by three top staffers: Inigo, Libertas, and Cirrus himself.
Ulbricht was soon transferred to a New York federal prison; bail was denied. In addition to charges of drug dealing and money-laundering, prosecutors claimed that Ulbricht had tried to arrange “hits” on a former Silk Road administrator and on several vendors. Though Ulbricht had in fact paid the money, the hits themselves were all faked—in one case, because a federal agent was behind the scheme, in another because Ulbricht appears to have been scammed using the same anonymity tools he championed.
Despite having been caught literally managing a drug empire at the moment of his arrest, Ulbricht pled not guilty. His family, together with a somewhat conspiracy-minded group of Bitcoin enthusiasts, raised a large pool of money for his defense. With it, Ulbricht hired Joshua Dratel, a defense lawyer who has handled high-profile terrorism trials.
Dratel did not reach any sort of plea deal with the government, as is common in such cases. Beyond a general insistence that his client was not, in fact, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Dratel offered no public explanation of what had happened in the Glen Park library—until January 2015, when the case went to trial at the federal courthouse on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan.
“Ross is a 30-year-old, with a lot at stake in this trial—as you could imagine,” Dratel said in his opening statement, addressing the jury in a low-key voice. “This case is about the Internet and the digital world, where not everything is as it seems. Behind a screen, it’s not always so easy to tell… you don’t know who’s on the other side.”
Ulbricht, he said, was only a fall guy, the stooge left holding the bag when the feds closed in; the “real” Dread Pirate Roberts was still at large. But would the jury buy this unlikely story?
The Silk road was a massive network of servers that provided a website to be able to buy almost every drug and illegal substance known to man. Upon login, users could see pictures of the substances and be able to access other tools such as hacking tools, fake ID’s and an illegal coupon scheme. All of which were held against Ulbricht in his trial. The site operated with a simple interface and had extensive user forums, providing a similar experience to Ebay and Craigslist. The website itself had no contact with drugs; it linked buyers and sellers together then taking a percentage of each transaction.
To access the website you had to use two technologies. Tor and Bitcoin. Tor was developed by the US navy originally and now managed by a nonprofit organization. It helped anonymize traffic by routing between several servers and encrypting the traffic on its way through.Bitcoin is known as a cryptocurrency; also an anonymous method for paying money to other anonymous people.
In July 2013, Der-Yeghiayan scored a bigger prize, taking over the account of a Silk Road staffer named “Cirrus.”
“Cirrus has always been dedicated to our community at large,” Dread Pirate Roberts explained in a private message introducing Cirrus to his small group of administrators shortly before Der-Yeghiayan took over the account.
Adopting Cirrus’ identity, Der-Yeghiayan earned 8 bitcoins a week—about $1,000 at the time—for moderating forum posts. After several weeks, he got a raise to 9 bitcoins a week. He was paid right up until the Silk Road site was shut down in October 2013.
For two years, Der-Yeghiayan worked the case without ever knowing DPR’s real name; he learned about “Ross Ulbricht” from another office just days before the arrest.
Homeland Security Investigations began making purchases from Silk Road, many of them under an account taken over from an existing site user called “dripsofacid.” (Various law enforcement agencies created their own accounts on Silk Road during its existence, but they also took over others after arresting their owners.)
When HSI made their controlled buys, they had the shipments sent to a name and address they used specifically for undercover purchases. Investigators compared the product received to the listing on Silk Road to confirm its origin. One purchase shown to the jury was 0.2 grams of brown heroin, bought from a seller in the Netherlands. The packaging was professional—the heroin tucked inside several plastic bags, which were themselves contained in a vacuum-sealed pouch, which was invisible behind a bluish sheet of paper.
Ultimately, HSI made 52 undercover buys from more than 40 distinct Silk Road dealers in 10 different countries. The drugs were all tested, and all but one purchase resulted in genuine goods. Silk Road, whatever one thought of it, worked as a market.
On the darknet, drugs are still available. But nowhere near the Silk Road has been seen, before or since. “Silk Road 2.0,” launched within a few months of Ulbricht’s arrest, lasted less than a year until its alleged creator, 25-year-old Blake Benthall, was arrested in San Francisco.
The most popular Silk Road successor, a darknet site called Evolution, shut down without warning in March—when its founders apparently emptied out the $12 million in its escrow system and ran. This sort of “exit scam” was the type of large-scale theft that users of such markets always knew was possible.
Any sense that the darknet could be a safe haven has now been shattered but Silk Road began years earlier, when the dream of creating a cryptographically protected libertarian utopia right in the midst of conventional society still seemed a reasonable proposition. But it was never likely to succeed for long—a fact that Ulbricht has now learned the hard way.
Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information
The Vector Smartwatch has been revealed at the annual luxury watch fair in Switzerland. The company stated that it will release the watch in two variants, a Luna round face and Meridian rectangular face. However, the most interesting thing about it is not its appearance, but its battery endurance.
Vector has announced that its smartwatch battery can last for 30 days. This however, is subject to a lot of debate, since nobody can believe a smartwatch can last that long during prolonged use.
The company is said to have former Timex CEO Joe Santana and ex-Nike Designer Steve Jarvis on board and although they haven’t revealed much about the gadget, it is said to give the user the ability to display messages on-screen, dismiss them with a flick of the wrist and even works with IFTTT commands.
In terms of compatibility, the Vector is said to be able to pair up with iPhones, iPads, Android and Windows devices. The smartwatch is expected to be released late this summer and come with a $340 price tag for the Luna model with brown leather strap or black nylon and a $199 price tag for the Meridian black nylon strap.
There are other models featuring stainless steel straps, but expect the price to match the quality of the material.
Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Google has just added the push notification feature from the Canary build to the latest beta. This means that the feature is just one step away of being integrated into the stable browser.
The Chrome Beta 42 for all platforms is said to come with two APIs that allow websites to send notifications, even if the browser is not open. The feature can also be turned off, having notifications generated and displayed with the “Site Setting” option which lets you disable the notification if you do not need to be notified again in the future from that particular website.
In addition to the latter, the browser now comes with a new setting that lets you pause plug-in content. The feature is extremely useful to prevent old computers from slowing down or even save battery if you do not need all plug-ins to run at the same time.
Also, the Chrome Beta for Android now displays banners which make it easier to add shortcuts to the home screen. However, only well-made mobile websites that meet the company’s eligible criteria can take advantage of the new feature.
Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Upsilon Circuit might seem like your usual fantasy RPG game, but what you do not know about it is that if you die in it… you can never play again! The game is said to have a sort of ‘perma-permadeath’ losing condition, meaning that players require to be extremely careful if they still want to play the game in the future.
The title is said to spawn players onto a single server and divides them into two teams of four, meaning that only eight players will be able to play the game at any given time. The gameplay is likely to be extremely intense, leading to swift brutal ends because every moment can be your last.
“Each Contestant explores the overworld and generated dungeons in search of the Dream Tech Crystals. They fight monsters, avoid traps, and compete with the opposing team.”
“When the Contestant fights monsters or gets treasure, the EXP and other rewards go to the Audience. EXP is used collectively by the Audience to level up the Contestant’s Skill Tree. Simply put, the Audience is part dungeon master, part strategist, and part judge & jury.”
Upsilon Circuit is likely to bring one of the most complicated and intense fantasy RPGs on the market. The title is still in development, but you can see some footage of the gameplay below.
Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information
The New York Times has published some new details about the upcoming Apple Watch. They suggest that the new device will have a ‘Power Reserve’ mode that keeps the clock face running even with minimal battery power left.
The news comes at a time when many are wondering just how long the device’s battery life will be. Apple itself has only suggested that it will need to be charged nightly, while rumours have pointed to a couple of hours being the time it will stay active. It’s worth pointing out however that these rumoured times are only under standard use conditions, in that the watch will only be in full use very briefly throughout the day. The device uses a mechanism that switches the display on only when you raise your wrist. If true, it appears that Apple is trying to ensure that it maintains its basic time-telling function for as long as possible.
There’s also some other tidbits of information from the article, such as the fact that Apple disguised the watch as a Samsung Galaxy Gear while in development. This is not uncommon for the company, as they’ve been known to do this with iPhones, most famously with the stolen iPhone 4 that was “left” in a bar back in 2010.
The Apple Watch will be released in April, with Apple holding an event next Monday to reveal further details.
America has been looking for the ‘military advantage’ over the last decade or so, ever since the terror threat was brought to their shores though the disastrous 9/11 attacks.
The Atlantic Council think tank has decided to think outside of the box, hiring Dave Anthony – the creator of the famous Call of Duty franchise. Anthony is said to be playing a part of ‘The Art of Future War Project’ run by the aforementioned think tank in an effort to work on the way that the US military conduct their campaigns. Launching next week, this project will see famous authors, screenwriters and entertainment personalities all banding together to share their knowledge and expertise.
Originally announced by former Pentagon official Steven Grundman, the idea was introduced by him witnessing his son play Call of Duty: Black Ops II, claiming that “he was struck how realistic our portrayal in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ was of a future conflict.” Grundman, in an interview with the Washington post commented “It occurred to me that the perspective of artists on this question is compelling and insightful, and it’s also different. One feature that struck me was the combination of both familiar technologies and novel ones” continuing to say “I didn’t want to satisfy myself with an approach everyone was doing. It’s a crowded field of ideas”.
A direct statement from the Atlantic Council think tank reads:
“Writers, directors and producers and other artists bring to bear observations derived from wholly different experiences in the creative world. They can ask different kinds of questions that will challenge assumptions and status quo ways of tackling some of today’s toughest national security problems”.
So what will these stars, screen genius’ and game developers actually be working on? That’s classified. But the main question being asked by the public after this release echoes “Is it worth it?”. Many users of online social media outlets have become seemingly outraged since the release of this information, claiming a waste of their tax dollars and the governments time. But as with every negative, there’s also a positive side of views where some are keen to see what this new collection of talent can produce.
Could this be the beginning of game-style technology coming to life? We hope so.
One of the biggest omissions from Apple’s press conference was battery life for the company’s upcoming watch – leaving a lot of onlookers and tech journalists wondering if and when the information would be announced. Sources have told Re/codethat there was good reason for the omission – Apple simply isn’t happy with the numbers.
“It’s about a day right now – Apple has been working on various modifications ahead of the device’s 2015 launch to improve it.”
An Apple spokeswoman Nat Kerris had declined to comment regarding an estimate around the battery life within the Apple Watch, but went on to say that the company hopes users will charge their Apple Watches once daily.
“There’s a lot of new technology packed into the Apple Watch and we think people will love using it throughout the day,” Kerris said.
The hot new Android Wear smartwatch; the Moto 360 recently received a lot of criticism for its poor battery performance throughout the day – lasting about 14hrs per charge – but it would seem that even the biggest player in the industry is having a tough time in battery efficiency as well.
Thank you Re/codefor providing us with this information
Even with all its power, the UK government has admitted that it’s at a point where simple tasks, such as sharing information or data between two different departments, has become a burden. This is mostly due to the fact that there are a wide range of databases controlled by each government department.
However, the cabinet’s data sharing policy team came up with a plan back in April that would have all departments link all of their databases. This means that local authorities, emergency services, schools and even government departments would merge their databases into a single ‘super database’.
The resulting database then said to be able to handle huge amounts of data and provide more accurate information. Other benefits that might follow are said to include a saving of up to £37 billion in error, dump and fraud.
Another beneficial outcome from all of this is the government’s ability to understand a person’s life and help him with their money problems. For example, if an individual is in debt to various departments, the payment can then be structured and manageable on a low-income.
To be noted is that the policy is still just a proposal and the government is now looking for the people’s opinion in order to find out if they support the plan or not.
Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information Image courtesy of Engadget
It’s the most common issue when talking about phones between friends – “My *insert smartphone here* is terrible, it goes flat in one day!”. As phones progress in leaps and bounds in regards to processing power, it always seems the poor power source is left behind.
Thanks to new battery technology, the next generation lithium cells could double your phones unplugged lifetime.
Currently your smartphone will have contained inside a lithium-ion battery, with the current limitations in power input coming from the ‘ion’. This means that the battery can only safely use the part of the cell that supplies ions, this wastes a lot of potential energy. Thanks to the researchers at Stanford, there has been a new lithium battery developed.
Engadget helped explain the new battery technology in easier terms:
“The technique allows for denser, more efficient lithium in the battery’s anode (which discharges electrons) by using a nanoscopic carbon shield that keeps the unstable chemical in check — uncontrolled, it can quickly shorten the device’s lifespan.”
What does this mean for you? A battery that lasts longer with slower decay and stays safe. Steven Chu from Stanford says that a phone equipped with this new technology could function for up to three times longer than its current lithium-ion counterparts. This is also positive news for the automotive industry, with larger batteries having the ability to be used with electric cars – increasing their range significantly.
We’re told that these batteries aren’t yet ready for the public sector, but we’re hoping for some more information very soon.
Throw your hands up in the air, do away with bulky battery packs and set your screen brightness back to full – it’s time to party!
Some geologists have analysed a few sample images captured by the ‘Curiosity’ rover from Mars and tell that there might be Earth-like soils on the red planet. The images show that there might be some ancient fossilized soils deep within an impact crater, which could eventually lead to the discovery of microbial life.
While Mars is filled with landscapes resembling catastrophic floods and rocks from impact craters, there might be signs of smooth soils and soften terrain, much like we have on Earth. Gregory Retallack from the University of Oregon has apparently analysed the mineral and chemical data from Curiosity, leading to the discovery of such soils we are used to stepping on for thousands of years.
The professors states that soils from Gale Crater, dating back to 3.7 billion years ago, appear to have cracked surfaces lined with sulfate and vesicular hollows, both features of soils found on desert terrains on Earth. In addition, the sulphate concentration are said to be comparable with Antarctic Dry Valleys and Chile’s Atacama Desert.
“The pictures were the first clue, but then all the data really nailed it,” Retallack says in a news release. “The new data show clear chemical weathering trends, and clay accumulation at the expense of the mineral olivine, as expected in soils on Earth […] Phosphorus depletion within the profiles is especially tantalizing, because it attributed to microbial activity on Earth.”
Th new soils discovered are said to offer more insight on habitable conditions previously found on Mars. Also, having them date back 3.7 billion years ago tends to put Mars’ water cycle at around the same time as the Earth started diversifying. Further studies are said to take place on geologically younger layers within craters in order to learn the planet’s life story.
Forbes appears to have found a major flaw in Google’s popular browser, Google Chrome. It is said that the Chrome browser consumes more battery that Mozilla’s Firefox and even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, significantly reducing the device’s battery life.
The main issue is said to be caused by the “system clock tick rate”, the feature responsible for waking up the CPU at certain times. Google Chrome is said to trigger the CPU’s ‘tick rate’ more often, drawing more power from the battery and reducing the overall battery life. Google’s browser is said to have a default timing of 1.000 ms, while Firefox and Internet Explorer is set at a Microsoft recommended setting of 15.625 ms.
“In fact, at 1.000ms the processor is waking 1000 times per second. The default, of 15.625ms means the processor wakes just 64 times per second to check on events that need attention. Microsoft itself says that tick rates of 1.000ms might increase power consumption by ‘as much as 25 per cent.'” said Forbes.
While the issue is present on Microsoft-based systems, it is said that the same cannot be said for Linux and Mac users. This is mainly due to the latter operating systems having different ‘tick rates’ compared to Microsoft’s OS. A web browser battery usage test reveals that Internet Explorer is still on top, followed by Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera.
Google apparently has no fix for the given issue at the moment, but users are able to go to Google Chrome’s bug report website and flag the issue in order to give it more priority.
The battery life of our mobile devices – and anything that contains a battery for that matter is something which ranks quite high in everyone gripe list. Although manufacturers are discovering new ways to design components the need less power to run, there is only a certain amount of power that can be crammed into the battery, thus limiting the overall life of the device. This could all be about to change though as scientists have created a new type of lithium-ion battery that offers three times the life of a standard li-on battery using nothing more than sand.
Naturally we are not talking about pouring sand like we find on the beach into a battery. Instead of using graphite to make the anode end of the cell, refined sand is used to create a pure silicone compound which gives the extended life span.
To create the compound the sand, right in quartz, is ground down to minute particles nanometres in size and then is refined and purified by heating it to remove any oxygen which is present. The pure mixture is added to a salt and magnesium mix to create the pure silicone mix.
Whilst this process may sound like it will result in a battery which costs much more to buy, the resulting product is actually cheaper due to the use of common elements which do not create any harmful waste materials after processing. How long it will take to get this new type of battery into mass production and finally into the market is unknown, but as and when it does we could finally be looking at mobile devices that last days instead of hours before they need plugging in to charge – imagine a smartphone that has the heroic battery life of the old Nokia 3310’s? I know that is something we’d all love to have.
Remember the hit 1997 movie Face/Offstarting Nicolas Cage and John Travolta? Well due to medical procedure advancements the idea of transplanting faces could soon be a possibility. Faces are not the only transplants that could be achieved, with the U.S. Government preparing a new legislation to help donors who may not want to give up certain parts of their body. In other words the definition of organ donor is being reviewed, since now due to medical advancements doctors are able to graft hands, feet, and even though face transplants are still rare they can and are happening.
The new legislation being drafted by the Government with the help of leading transplant specialist Dr Suzanne McDiarmid, aims at informing would be donors out there about the new advancements so donors can still assist in giving another person the gift of life, without fear that they will be giving up something they don’t want too. Dr McDiarmid went out to explain the matter further;
“Joe Blow is not going to know that now an organ is defined as also including a hand or a face. The consent process for the life-saving organs should not, must not, be derailed by a consent process for a different kind of organ that the public might think of as being very different from donating a kidney or a heart or a liver.”
As stated before, face transplants are still rare procedures but they are happening. One of the first successful face transplants Happened in Victoria Australia in 1996, however in that case it wasn’t a transplant it was just re-attaching a woman’s own face. What do you think of this new change to being an “organ donor”, soon the chances are the next time you renew or apply for a car licence you may have a whole new choice of where to draw the line on organ donations.