Was This the First Recorded Death by Meteorite?

An Indian man who died after a mysterious blast at a private engineering college could be the first recorded death by meteorite, if reports are confirmed.

A bus driver, identified only as Kamaraj, was killed – with three others injured – after an explosion at the Bharathidasan Engineering College in Natrampalli, in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district – located in the South of India, with a population of around 60 million – on Saturday (6th February), according to India’s NDTV. NDTV followed up the story on Sunday, reporting that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa alleged that the “mishap” was the result of a falling meteorite.

“A mishap occurred yesterday when a meteorite fell in the campus of a private engineering college in Vellore district’s K Pantharappalli village,” Jayalalithaa said in a statement, adding, “I have ordered the Vellore district administration and hospital officials to provide [the three people injured with the] best treatment.”

If Jayalalithaa’s testimony is proven to be true, Kamaraj is set to become the first recorded death by meteorite in history.

The explosion in Tamil Nadu made a crater in the ground and left several nearby buses with broken windows. Early reports suggested that the incident was the result of a bomb, but forensic experts could find no trace of explosives.

Image courtesy of Science World Report.

A Visual Photographic Collage Of China’s Air Pollution

China’s air quality is poor to say the least, recent reports of families having to use an air purifier in their own homes to avoid breathing the air is quite shocking. The atmosphere in China has become worse over time to the point whereby it is difficult to recall a situation when the countries skies were not full of pollution, luckily, China and its Weather Network has produced a visual representation and it’s certainly worth a look.

Below is a series of snaps which has been stitched together and conveys the Beijing sky conditions most for most of the time in 2015, it is quite revealing when you consider how toxic the pollution is and is particularly evident when you look at images labelled 2015-12-1 and 2015-12-25.    

Image Below appears to be a colour chart of images that represent around 300 days of 2015, how do I know? yes I did count them and I came to around 290 days which I rounded up to 300, so give or take it is close to a year in total. The image also conveys the levels of extremes that exist and how it can be a danger to anyone’s health.

Below is an image which is quite fascinating, the sky here looks pretty natural and there is a good reason for this,  “during the Chinese People’s Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War commemoration of the 70th anniversary of victory” celebrations, the government  imposed air “quality protection measures”, this included a shutdown of factories and a ban on cars and high emission facilities. The result was a dramatic change that started from August 20th and continued until August 24th, 2015.

These images are interesting because tech has been used to document a hot topic climate issue in today’s world.

Image courtesy of geonews

Sky Broadband to Block Porn by Default in 2016

From the start of 2016, UK internet service provider Sky Broadband will automatically block “adult content”, including pornography, by default, according to The Telegraph. Sky will be implementing its existing Broadband Shield content filter – a system that was previously optional to customers – as standard for its new customers. Existing customers will be contacted in the coming weeks to ask if they would like the filter turned on. If Sky does not receive a response to the e-mail query, it will turn the filter on without permission.

The move follows legislation introduced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago that requires ISPs to implement ‘opt out’ adult content filters. Other ISPs, such as BT, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk, have already introduced similar default porn blocks, despite the legislation being found to be in breach of the European Union’s current net neutrality rules.

“We believe that this ‘default on’ approach will mean much greater use of home filters and ensure a safer internet experience for millions of homes,” Lyssa McGowan, Sky’s Brand Director for Communications Products, said. “It came about as we looked for the best way to meet the Prime Minister’s objective of providing more protection for children when they use the internet.”

New Building In London Includes “Sky Pool”

For many swimming is a relaxing past time, the feeling of water rushing over you as you dive beneath the surface and are engulfed by a fundamental element that sustains us. Many enjoy diving to the bottom of the pool so they can touch the bottom and feel the accomplishment before resurfacing. Now imagine the next time you dive beneath the water and touch the bottom you look out to 10 floors of open space between you and the ground; residents in London could be experiencing that feeling very soon.

A new development in London will feature just that, a “sky pool” as it has been dubbed. The pool will measure 25 metres by five metres and will be encased by glass measuring 20cm’s in thickness.

The design will connect two new apartment buildings, alongside a normal pathway for those who aren’t quite ready to swim to borrow a pint of milk from their neighbour. Sadly though if your are looking at going for a swim there may be a queue, given that around two thousand homes will have access to the pool when it opens.

If you are interested in buying an apartment you can grab one for a mere £602,000, but sadly the first phase of homes have already been bought, leaving the second phase open for people who want to express their interest before they go on sale in September.

“The Sky Pool’s transparent structure is the result of significant advancements in technologies over the last decade. The experience of the pool will be truly unique; it will feel like floating through the air in central London.” Ballymore Group CEO Sean Mulryan, who came up with the original idea for the pools design.

I personally love the idea of a sky pool, but I guess a fear of heights and 10 floors of open space beneath the water may stop me from enjoying it quite as much as I think I might. If your interested though you can register your interest here, or hope that a friend gets on of the houses and invites you over.

Thank you Mashable for the information.

Image courtesy of Nine Elms.

Drone Munition Now Available To Consumers

Picture the scene; you look skywards and what lies before you? Some morons drone which is circling above your house, what do you do? If you live in the good old US of A, you walk into your garage with the aim of fetching your shotgun or course. But there is a problem, what if you do not have the correct ammunition? Luckily help is at hand as a product is now being marketed which promises to be the right kind of bullets for these pesky drones.

A company by the name of Snake River Shooting Products and Consulting Inc, consulting? We consult to offer you products which will maim or kill you, anyway, is proud to announce a new product by the name of Drone Munition. Which according to ammoland, is a

“Shot shell based defence rounds are now shipping. The rounds are a 12 gauge 3″ shot shell solution aimed at defending against drone-based privacy concerns and terror!”

Not too sure it’s the best idea to defend privacy by shooting expensive pieces of kit out of the sky, but there you go. The following sentence makes me laugh; apparently this ammunition has environmental credentials which are

“Drone Munition is lead free and safe for the environment”

Good to know, at least the planet was not harmed from the manufacturing of these bullets at someone’s funeral.

I can see this company being open to many a lawsuit, if you’re effectively condoning shooting an individual’s unmanned aerial vehicle to bits, then this will be seen as damaging property which does not belong to you. I do agree these Drones need more robust regulation, but you cannot if you feel like it, aim and fire skyward.

Casey Betzold, who is the president of Snake River Shooting Products, stated that “We are very excited to be manufacturing a product focused on defending our freedoms. We see this line as a game changer in the industry and as an important defence against rising threats to our way of life”

The words “Defending Our Freedoms” is interesting, would it be really against ones freedoms to spot a drone flying in the sky? What about if it’s a US government drone, would it be then safe to shoot that as well?. If it was a suspected terrorist drone then it would be considered OK to shoot it, but then again, I doubt it will be sign posting itself when flying.

Well, at least we know for any of life’s problems, there will be Ammo for that.

Thank you ammoland and snakerivershootingproducts for providing us with this information

SkySphere – The 360 Solar Powered Tree House


Who didn’t want a tree house when they were young? Who still doesn’t love the idea of being able to climb into a small house and enjoy a view while you take a break from the rush of everyday life? Seems like you may have the opportunity to enjoy half of that dream soon enough.

When Jono Williams wanted a room with a view the classic treehouse came to mind, but with a twist. Rather than rely on a tree, why not build something which could go anywhere? So the SkySphere was created from his background as a graphics designer and plastics engineer.

The initial SkySphere is located in New Zealand and features a ladder (like any good tree house inspired design) to access the main features of the building.

So its late at night and you want to do something, the SkySphere comes with a set of colour changing lights, perfect for anything from a romantic meal to a late night of gaming with friends. What could help with those dreams? Well maybe the high-speed internet accessibility, meaning this tree house has gone full techno, including a wireless surround sound system and fingerprint-based entry system (you can always ask for a password out the window though).

Of course, no modern house would be complete without a remote control, of which the SkySphere supplies through an app on your phone controlling everything from the lights and doors to the refrigerated beer dispenser.

The only thing missing from this amazing modern take on a tree house is the bathroom, so getting a portaloo and portable shower may be on the cards as well.

So who would be interested in going and staying in the SkySphere? Personally I might ask them to put up one-way class first before the neighbours start to get nosey.

Thank you Mashable for the information and images.

Ebook Piracy Sites to Be Blocked by UK ISPs

Yesterday, the UK’s High Court ordered that websites carrying pirated ebooks should be blocked by the country’s internet service providers. The court ruled that an application made by The Publishers Association grants that the sites be blocked under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988). Within the next 10 days, BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, and EE will be legally obliged to block any and all sites deemed to be carrying copyrighted reading materials.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association, said of the victory:

“A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.

“We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognises the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites.”

Much like the MPAA, it seems that The Publishers Association hasn’t heard of proxies or VPNs, and I would not be surprised to discover that the cost of this legal action was more than any offset loss of sales through piracy by publishers.

Thank you The Publishers Association for providing us with this information.

Sky to Drop 3D Channels

Sky, TV subscription giant in the UK, has announced that they will be dropping their dedicated 3D channels. This will take place during June and will be moved over onto their ‘On Demand’ service.

3D has been on the decline for a few years now, the novelty is nice for the odd movie in cinema, but to live with the glasses on a day-in-day-out style would be just annoying. The only good thing to come from 3D is the double refresh rate to 120hz on some monitors and TV’s. The motive behind this is currently unknown, but fingers are pointing towards a UHD (4K) series of channels. The full press release can be seen below:

“We were recently very pleased to announce that almost 7 million of our customers in Britain and Ireland have now connected Sky’s On Demand services – making us far and away the biggest connected TV platform. What’s more, we’ve seen on demand downloads hit over 300 million in the last three months alone. That’s up by more than 60% year on year. So as more and more of our customers choose to watch TV when it suits them, we’re making some changes to how customers can watch Sky 3D.

Since its launch in 2010, Sky 3D has led the industry, becoming the home of incredible 3D content – from Sir David Attenborough’s award-winning documentaries like Flying Monsters, to the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Avatar.

So today we’re announcing the latest development in our plans for 3D. From June Sky 3D is going fully on demand. From the latest 3D movie premieres like Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to the very best in natural history with documentaries like Natural History Museum Alive, it will all be ready and waiting for our customers to view whenever it suits them.

The changes to 3D are all part of making our on demand offering a fantastic destination for customers. Other recent enhancements that benefit millions of connected customers include putting on demand content front and centre on the Sky+ TV Guide, adding more of the very best Box Sets such as Prison Break and Game of Thrones, and securing rights to even more shows and sport.”

Do you currently use 3D channels on a daily basis? Will this move affect you? Let just know in the comments.

Three Beat Sky and TalkTalk to £10.25 Billion Purchase of O2

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-based owner of UK mobile network Three, has confirmed its purchase of rival network O2 from Spanish telecoms company Telefonica for £10.25 billion.

Hutchison has trumped both Sky and TalkTalk to complete the deal, which as agreed requires £9.25 billion up-front from Hutchison, with a further £1 billion deferred payment, making Three and O2 combined the biggest mobile operator in the UK, taking a 41% share of the market.

“The deal remains subject to satisfactory due diligence over O2 UK, agreement on terms, signing of definitive agreements, and obtaining required corporate and regulatory approvals,” a spokesperson for Hutchison Whampoa said.

Telefonica were desperate to sell O2 in order to pay off its existing debts, but managed to get £1 billion more for the company than early reports suggested.

Source: The Guardian

Sky and TalkTalk Compete With Three for O2 Purchase

Until this week, Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the Three mobile network in the UK, was thought to be in pole position to buy rival network O2 from Telefonica. But now, Sky and TalkTalk have entered the fray, with Telefonica eager to sell its asset for £9 billion to pay off existing debts.

Sky and TalkTalk, both major UK providers of broadband services, are eager to expand into the mobile communications sector, with TalkTalk already engaged in a partnership deal with the Vodafone network, and running its own small network hosted by O2. Financial Times sources claim that Sky, carrying a large debt after a £7 billion European expansion, is thought to prefer a partnership deal with O2, rather than an outright buy-out.

BT is not considered to be interested in O2 since its £12.5 billion takeover of EE.

Source: Wired

Sky Now Blocking Porn By Default

Sky Broadband has announced that it will be automatically blocking pornography and all material deemed unsafe for children aged bellow 13. The company’s “Sky Broadband Shield” will be automatically switched on for all users “in the next few weeks”.

In a blog post, ‘Brand Director’ Lyssa McGowan, said that “what we’re doing now is simply making sure that the automatic position of Sky Broadband Shield is the safest one for all – that’s ‘on'”. She added that users will be able to disable the filter by changing their settings.

McGowan stressed that the decision isn’t too much different from the current situation, in that all users will be sent an email upon the filter’s activation, giving them option of whether they want to keep it on or not.

“From January, we’ll be emailing our customers who haven’t chosen to activate or disable Sky Broadband Shield explaining its benefits and giving them the opportunity to make a decision one way or the other. Customers can activate Sky Broadband Shield, adjust or decline it at any time. Or they can simply wait for us to turn it on.”

Sky isn’t the only ISP to have a filtering system – all UK ISPs must have such a system, but currently none of them switch it on by default. Sky will be the first to do so.

Source: BBC News

UK ISPs Hijacking Browsers to Force Porn Block on Customers

In order to comply with UK legislation by the deadline at end of December, UK ISPs – including Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, and Sky – have been redirecting users’ web connections to force them to choose to opt in or out of adult content blocks.

The browser redirects to a permission page, where the user must choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the many blocks – designed to censor content including pornography, violence, and gambling – before they are allowed to continue to the desired site. BT is even stopping all internet access to customers until they make a decision.

The controversial legislation, foisted on the country by Prime Minister David Cameron, is meant to user in a “family friendly” internet experience, taking the responsibility for monitoring children’s online activity from the parents and giving it to the Internet Service Providers.

Internet rights groups have described the move as “completely unnecessary” and “heavy handed”. Open Rights Group, a digital rights organisation, has been especially critical, saying, “How can a customer tell the difference between an ISP hijack and a phishing site made to look the same? There are better ways for ISPs to contact their customers—particularly given that they have our phone numbers, email and actual addresses.”

Source: Wired

Sky Now Offering £10 Fibre Broadband – With 25GB Cap

What looks like a groundbreaking deal – £10 per month for fibre broadband – is easily shattered by its abysmal 25GB usage cap.

Yes, Sky have announced they are to offer fibre broadband for what is probably the lowest price in the UK.  Subscribers should receive speeds of up to 38 Mbps, alongside Sky’s promise to “never slow you down at peak times”. In reality though the whole thing should come in at £26.40 per month when you factor in line rental.

That’s still cheap, but can’t remove from the utterly stupid 25GB cap. In the product description, Sky say “you can stream movies” and “play online games” – two things that would most easily burn through that lousy cap.

How can they expect anyone to get by with such a paltry limit in the online world we live in today?

Source: The Next Web

List of Blocked Torrent Sites in the UK Doubles

The High Court has ruled that 53 torrent websites be prohibited by UK Internet Service Providers, in the largest mass blocking yet. The list of sites include BitSoup, IP Torrents, Isohunt, Sumotorrent, Torrentdb, Torrentfunk, Torrentz, Warez BB, and Rapid Moviez. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is responsible for submitting 32 of the requests.

The ISPs obliged to comply with the order are Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2, and Virgin.

Chris Marcich, president of the MPA’s European division, said, “Securing court orders requiring ISPs to block access to illegal websites is an accepted and legitimate measure to tackle online copyright infringement.”

According to Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of Torrentfreak, the move will deter very few from accessing their favourite torrent site, explaining, “It deters a few people who can’t access their usual sites, but most people will try to find ones that are not yet blocked or use VPNs or proxy sites to get the same content.”

Source: BBC

Turns out Brits Aren’t Signing up to ISP Filters

ISP filters, you either love them or you hate them, I personally have no use for them but families with small children do. The numbers are on the decline with less and less people wanting this additional protection their ISP has to offer. It really depends on the buyer and what situation they may be in, like I said previously, some may have families with small children who use the internet for school and the parents don’t exactly want their small child watching pornography now do they. On the other hand there’s people like myself, old enough to know what’s good and bad on the internet and will automatically detect a scam or phishing website.

The stats are interesting to read through, only 5 percent of new customers accepted the filter at BT, while 8 percent did so at Sky. About 36 percent of customers signed up for the TalkTalk filter, and 4 percent bought into Virgin Media’s offer. To me this shows that TalkTalk has a lot of customers that live in family households as they have the highest sign up rate for their filter.

The Office of Communications determined that 100 percent of BT, Sky, and TalkTalk customers were immediately informed about the option to add a filter upon activation of their service. Only 35% of customers from Virgin Media were informed about their options regarding a filter.

In the end it all comes down to personal preference and whether or not you trust your kids, if you have any, when they are online but by looking at those results, it seems that British folk just don’t want to know or don’t care much for ISP filters. Can’t blame them really.

Thanks to Venturebeat for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.

Now TV Lands on the PlayStation Store in UK

Sky’s media application, Now TV, has landed on PS4 consoles in the UK according to a tweet by Chris Owen, the English community manager for PlayStation Europe.

Now TV has been available on the PlayStation 3 since last year and it allows people to pay for daily and monthly access to different content such as Sport, Movies and regular TV shows, which in my opinion is a really lame idea and some of the prices are even more ridiculous. For a Sky Sports DAY pass, yes DAY pass, it’s £9.99. £9.99 to watch mainly football for a day, yes you can get formula 1 and golf and cricket but the vast majority is football, why people can’t watch the highlights for free i’ll never know but seriously, £9.99 for a day!? There are two monthly passes that are way more reasonably priced, you can get a Sky Movies monthly pass for £8.99 and the Entertainment pass for £4.99 a month. Much better than £9.99 a day!

Anyway, enough about awful pricing, the Now TV app is said to come to Xbox One later this summer but no official date has been given by Sky. So sorry Xbox One users, guess you have to watch free TV on your TV through your Xbox which is on your TV! (Insert yo dawg meme here)

Thanks to Eurogamer for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Eurogamer.

3DMark Update Coming With a New Test Scenario For Mid-Range Systems

Futuremark’s 3DMark benchmarking suite is one of the biggest benchmarking suites that is out on the market for the testing and comparative positioning of gaming systems and as the outer reaches of performance grow on a near day-to-day basis, the benchmark tests that we run have to mature as well. To keep up with the growing demand of the consumer markets, Futuremark are introducing a new test environment in to their ever popular 3DMark suite. Set to be positioned between the Cloud Gate and Fire Strike scenarios for typical home setups and high performance gaming systems, Sky Diver focuses on the mid-range market, where gaming notebooks and average gaming systems cross paths, both in terms of cost and specification.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/GV5jjUQDNdw[/youtube]

Scheduled for release after Computex, where the new test environment will be on display on a number of manufacturer’s stands including Asus, Gigabyte and G.Skill, Sky Diver will be introduced into the 3DMark test suite by means of a software update, meaning there is no need to purchase and download new bits of software.

Jukka Makinen, Futuremark CEO said, “Some people think that 3DMark is only for high-end hardware and extreme overclocking. Yet millions of PC gamers rely on 3DMark to choose systems that best balance performance, efficiency and affordability. 3DMark Sky Diver complements our other tests by providing the ideal benchmark for gaming laptops and mainstream PCs.”

As and when the 3DMark update is made available, we will be introducing the additional test scenario into our review methodology, giving the most update benchmark results that we can. If you don’t already have the 3DMark test suite, head over to http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark , where you can find more information along with links to Futuremark’s other benchmarking suites.

Source: Press Release

Microsoft Forced To Rename SkyDrive After Trademark Dispute With BSkyB

The Verge reports that Microsoft has been forced by a UK court to rename its SkyDrive service after Microsoft lost a trademark dispute with the British Sky Broadcasting Group, BSkyB. As part of the settlement in their defeat to BSkyB, Microsoft has agreed to change the name of its product worldwide to avoid further trademark conflict.

“We’re glad to have resolution of this naming dispute, and will continue to deliver the great service our hundreds of millions of customers expect, providing the best way to always have your files with you,” Microsoft reportedly said in a statement.

The agreement has financial terms to it too and Microsoft has agreed to pay compensation to BSkyB to be able to continue using the trademark for enough time to make a transition to a new service. The “reasonable period of time” was not given a specific public time frame but no doubt that information was agreed on behind closed doors.

The name change of SkyDrive follows the name change Microsoft had to make towards its Windows 8 UI which it previously called a “Metro UI” or “Metro interface” and this invoked a rather large European trademark dispute. Now it is merely called the Windows 8 UI.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

AMD Releases Radeon Sky Series of GPUs for Cloud Gaming Systems

Cloud gaming is a trend that has been quite slow to take-off as it has been fraught with technical difficulties, a lack of affordability and a huge dependence on the advancement of network infrastructure due to internet dependence. AMD is looking to ease some of these difficulties by developing a range of affordable (to business) and simple to use graphics cards dubbed the “sky series”.

AMD’s Sky Series graphics cards have been optimised for usage in cloud gaming servers and systems. Being server-orientated cards they feature passive cooling and have a wide range of performance with the Sky 500, Sky 700 and Sky 900 models all targeting different segments. High amounts of VRAM and PCI Express 3.0 give these cards more flexibility in being able to support cloud HD gaming.

AMD didn’t release much information about the cards other than what you can see in the included picture.

The Sky 900 is a dual GPU card featuring 3GB of RAM per GPU and 3584 stream processors and a memory bandwidth of 480 GB/s. The Sky 700 is a single GPU card featuring 6GB RAM for the GPU and 264 GB/s memory bandwidth with 1792 stream processors. The Sky 500 is the entry model with 1280 stream processors, 4GB of RAM and 154 GB/s of memory bandwidth. As far as I can tell the Sky 700 is based off the HD 7950 design, the Sky 900 is two HD 7950 designs in CrossFire and the Sky 500 is based off the normal HD 7870 GHz edition card design.

AMD’s David Cummings had this to say about the new Sky Series of GPUs:

“AMD intends to support the whole cloud: The home cloud and the public cloud, Cloud gaming requires HD gaming at 30 fps, outstanding compression, optimal density—meaning the best performance per watt and the most users per GPU—minimal latency, and enterprise-grade hardware.”

What do you think about AMD’s entrance into the cloud gaming market? Is it a good idea? Would you consider cloud gaming?

Source