Breathtaking Images From an Astronaut Aboard the ISS

Space has always provided a glimpse into many a fascinating world over the years, from research that has been undertaken by NASA to the Astronauts who have boarded the International Space Station as well as successfully landing on the moon. One such Astronaut, Scott Kelly, has been posting breathtaking images on social media that have included Twitter (1,158 photos and counting) and Instagram (684 posts and counting) during his yearlong visit to the ISS, below is a snapshot of these images.

The first image represents the massive blizzard passing over Chicago on Saturday 23rd January 2016, the image looks awe-inspiring.

The next image below is of what is known as “thundersnow” from the blizzard and was captured, again, on the 23rd January 2016.

The next image below, wow, is of an aurora and was captured on the 27th August 2015, this looks akin to a science fiction film.

The next image below is of Spain, well, more specifically Barcelona and was captured on the 28th July 2015, this is both a stunning and a detailed image.

The next image below is the Astronauts latest Twitter post as of writing (26th January 2016) and has the caption “Day 304. That’s 4,864 orbits a’round’ our beautiful planet #Earth. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace”, it is certainly a brilliant image.

The last image is of Scott Kelly undertaking a Q&A on Reddit from space, well, yes, as you do, this image was posted on the 23rd January 2016

Artificial Wormhole Creates Invisible Magnetic Field

A team of physicists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain have created an artificial wormhole in a laboratory that makes an invisible electromagnetic tunnel through space. The theory of wormholes was first posited by Albert Einstein in 1935, predicting that the general theory of relativity would allow for bridges that could connect two separate points of space-time, then called Einstein-Rosen bridges.

While the artificial wormhole created in Spain doesn’t connect two points in space-time precisely, it does replicate the idea with magnetic fields, developed as an extension of “invisibility cloak” proposed in 2007 journal Physical Review Letters. This Spanish tunnel utilises superconductors to manipulate one electromagnetic field to appear at another point in space, with the join being invisible to any form of magnetic detection.

“This device can transmit the magnetic field from one point in space to another point, through a path that is magnetically invisible,” Jordi Prat-Camps, doctoral candidate in physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and co-author of the study, said. “From a magnetic point of view, this device acts like a wormhole, as if the magnetic field was transferred through an extra special dimension.”

The implementation of this burgeoning magnetic field-bending technology could range from MRI machines that don’t require the claustrophobic tube, to creating invisible stealth vehicles.

Thank you Space.com for providing us with this information.

PayPal’s One Touch Feature Expands to Other Non-US Markets

PayPal introduced the One Touch feature last year when it first rolled out to mobile devices in the US. Retailers who already had a PayPal payment feature could switch automatically and allow customers to make payments without the need of entering their passwords again. This was ideal for people who wanted to quickly check out their products, but it was available just for mobile.

A month ago, PayPal launched the feature for the web in the US. This meant that you could log into a website, place everything you wanted in your basket and then quickly make a PayPal One Touch check-out. While no official stats have been disclosed, the feature seems to be so popular that PayPal now wants to make it available in other markets too.

The company said that it will make their One Touch feature for web available for Canada and the UK at first, but more countries are on the list. The mobile version is said to also be live in Australia, France, Italy, Sweden and Spain, with more countries being considered for the near future.

The move also comes after Apple announced that it is expanding the Apple Pay feature to the UK, so it’s likely that PayPal wants to join its service with Apple’s own payment feature once it gets released in other countries. Still, I think we will have to wait a bit longer for people to actually get comfortable with paying in stores with their iPhones.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Amazon Listing Hints at a December 31st Release Date for Halo 5: Guardians

Amazon is known for posting release dates for future products, even if they do not have any official information about their release date. Its latest product listing appears to add a release date for the Halo 5: Guardians title.

The Spanish branch of the online retailer has apparently listed that the release date for the latest Halo title will be Thursday, September 10th 2015. However, that listing has recently changed to “la venta el 31 de diciembre de 2015”, which means that they now point to a December 31st release.

While the release date is just pure speculation, it might somehow indicate that Microsoft and 343 might be looking to delay the title a bit. Take the information with a grain of salt though, since the release date might as well be something completely different and Amazon ES can at any moment take down the product listing as well.

Thank you Gamingbolt for providing us with this information

Sports Streaming Site Wiziwig Forced to Close

Popular sports streaming site Wiziwig has been forced to close as of 31st December. The site’s owners attribute the move to new laws introduced in Spain – where the site is hosted – that came into effect on 1st January that may result in fines of up € 600,000 and risk of losing the domain for providing illegal streams of copyrighted material.

A post on the Wiziwig website says that the closure is “at least for now,” which suggests it may return. If that is the case, the domain would likely to be hosted by another country. Wiziwig signed off with, “Time will tell if we can find ways to come back…”

Source: Wiziwig

Spanish Sites See Drop in Traffic After Pulling Out of Google News

Well isn’t that a surprise – analysis of traffic to a number of high-profile news websites in Spain reveals that their traffic has dropped ever since Google News was closed in the country all thanks to a new law we reported on last week.

The law, which was partly brought about thanks to lobbying from many of the affected publishers, means that Google would have to pay for use of their content or face a hefty fine. The decision left Google with no alternative but to withdraw the service from the country.

Web-analytics company Chartbeat said that traffic to 50 Spanish sites dropped by 10-15% on Tuesday, the day that Google withdrew the service from the country. This is quite a significant drop and could seriously affect the individual site’s revenue.

There’s no doubt Spanish publishers will be concerned about this and we can only wonder, did they really believe Google would pay to promote other websites for free?

Source: Gigaom Via: The Verge

Google News Says Goodbye to Spain Thanks to New Law

Google has taken the decision to stop providing its news aggregation service in Spain following the passing of a new law. Legislation imposed by the country means that Google could be fined up to €600,000 for using content from news websites without paying for it.

That is essentially what the law entails – a number of publishers in Spain have complained that Google has been profiting from their content without their permission. They say that Google News is using this content unfairly and that Google should pay for it. The law adheres to this concern.

Google obviously is not very happy – in a blog post by Richard Gingras, Head of Google News, the company says that the service is something that “hundreds of millions of users love and trust” and that “Google News creates real value for these publications”. They say that most sites benefit from their optional presence on the service and that users and publishers will be worse off as a result.

“It’s a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain. It’s free to use and includes everything from the world’s biggest newspapers to small, local publications and bloggers. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear in Google News — and the vast majority choose to be included for very good reason. Google News creates real value for these publications by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues. “

What do you think, is Google stealing content, or is Google News beneficial to publishers?

Source: The Verge

Lumia Cyan Update Has Been Released in Select Markets

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update has been long teased and awaited by users of the latter operating system. The majority of users however are stated to be on Lumia handsets, having the Nokia devices engulfing the majority of WP market.

Lumia users also have some additional and exclusive features for their handsets, including Miracast support and Dolby Digital Sound Capture, amongst others. This is why they will be getting the WP 8.1 update under the name of Cyan, a special update designated for Nokia Lumia handsets.

There have been numerous reports from Spain, Finland and Taiwan regarding the Cyan update being released for their Lumia handsets. This is an unofficial announcement that Microsoft has started the world-wide release of its Cyan update, having it be released in select parts of the world in order to make sure no issues arouse before a full-scale release.

The first device stated to have received the update is the Lumia 625, having Microsoft breaking tradition from previous releases where the first devices to receive a new update were high-end Lumia handsets.

In addition to the release, an official Microsoft tweet stated that a widespread release of the Windows Phone 8.1 is set for the second week of July, having it now been backed up with the unexpected and silent release on the above mentioned markets.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Nokia

Spain Offers Apology For Bolivia/Snowden Flight Blocking Incident

It has now been about two weeks since the Bolivian jet incident occurred. To cut a long story short, Spain, France, Portugal and Italy blocked their airspace to the Bolivian Presidential Jet amid suspicions that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. As a result the jet was forced to land in Austria and officials conducted a search of the jet to see if Edward Snowden was onboard. According to El Nuevo Empresario Spain have now issued an officially apology for the incident. This comes after several Latin American nations withdrew their diplomatic ambassadors from Spain in protest.

The government of Spain officially contacted Bolivian diplomats to apologise for the incident and offer explanations as to why airspace access was denied. The reason why Spain was so important in the incident is because the presidential jet was due to land and refuel on the Spanish owned Canary Islands.

“Spain deeply regrets what happened and we’re sorry for how things happened. We presented our apologies. We consider this situation settled” said a Spanish diplomat.

This is certainly a step in the right direction for repairing the damage but Portugal, France and Italy have still yet to resolve the issue with Bolivia and Latin America. Until that happens we could see the diplomatic rift continue.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Latin American Nations Withdraw Ambassadors From Europe After Jet Incident

Russia Today reports that the backlash against Europe after the Bolivian Jet incident is now growing in Latin America. After having a serious emergency meeting already four countries have now decided to withdraw their ambassadors from European nations involved in the incident.

Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will all withdraw their ambassadors from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy in retaliation against their decision to block airspace for Bolivian president Evo Morales and his state jet – pictured above.

Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, stated that:

“We’ve taken a number of actions in order to compel public explanations and apologies from the European nations that assaulted our brother Evo Morales”

Both the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and trade-bloc Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur) have condemned the actions of Europe as imperialist and neo-colonialist. This entire diplomatic spat has emerged from the belief that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard the Bolivian State Jet. Since then the situation has escalated with the majority of Latin America condemning Western Europe and the USA, and many Latin American nations offering Edward Snowden asylum in protest.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Latin American Countries Host Emergency Meeting, Condemn The USA

The Union of South American Nations, UNASUR, held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the incident in which Bolivia’s President Evo Morales had his plane forcibly grounded amid suspicions NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. The incident triggered outrage from many Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador while other nations attended to show their support for the conclusion of the UNASUR meeting. Colombia, Chile and Peru all have very strong ties with the USA and thus did not attend but expressed their solidarity with Bolivia.

Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro stated that “Violation of international law against Evo Morales is against all of us” while Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said “We are here to support Bolivia”. Bolivia had much strong words to say calling the incident a “flagrant violation of international treaties” and demanded an apology from all involved parties. Furthermore, Evo Morales of Bolivia threatened to shut down the U.S embassy in his country. 

Of the denounced nations (The USA, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal) only Spain have responded stating “Spain doesn’t have to ask pardon in anyway because its airspace was never closed“. Some big rhetoric is now going down in Latin American with the USA and who knowes we might see Edward Snowden granted asylum as a political weapon against the USA.

Image courtesy of UNASUR

Snowden’s Asylum Options: 1 Withdrawn 10 Rejected 10 Pending

According to reports by RT.com Snowden’s options for political asylum are rapidly evaporating. The NSA whistleblower has withdrawn his application for Asylum to Russia after they told him he could only have asylum if he stopped “damaging” the USA, a condition he was not prepared to agree to. Furthermore Finland, Brazil, Poland, India and Germany all rejected his asylum claim outright stating they were not willing to accept him. Spain, Norway, Italy, Ecuador and Austria also rejected Snowden’s asylum request on the grounds that he had to be already inside the country for it to be processed. These rejections bring the total numbers of rejections to 10, and with the single withdrawal, 11 of Snowden’s options have already been vaporised.

So what options are left for the NSA whistleblower? Well he still has Bolivia, China, Cuba, France, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Switzerland and Venezuela left to reply. Of those ten remaining options China says it is not aware of the request and France has denied ever receiving such an Asylum request and since they also recently blocked a Bolivian Jet from flying through their airspace because of suspicions that Edward Snowden was onboard it could easily turn out that France will reject the request too.

As of writing the most likely nations to accept seem to be Venezuela and Bolivia after they both expressed anti-USA sentiments and stated their willingness to protect Snowden.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

Bolivian Jet Grounded Over Claims Snowden Is Onboard, UN Complaint Ensues

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales was flying back from Russia where he was attending an energy summit when his plane was forced to land in Austria. The reason? Italy, France, Spain and Portugal had all refused to allow his jet to pass through their airspace on the justification that they believed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. After being forced to land in Vienna Austria the plane was searched by Austrian officials and it was revealed that Edward Snowden was not on the plane. Furthermore Evo Morales strongly refuted such claims stating that these were rumours made up by the U.S government. Additionally other Latin American leaders are furious over the whole situation stating Evo Morales was “kidnapped by imperalism”.

Bolivia’s UN Envoy is now stepping in to file complaints against the USA, Austria, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain describing the event as “An act of aggression and violation of international law” as the USA desperately tries to bring Edward Snowden into their custody. Bolivia’s UN Envoy member Sacha Llorrentty Soliz told press in New York that the decision to search the plane almost definitely originated in the USA. With Bolivia and Venezuela both pledging their support to Edward Snowden in recent times it is likely the U.S government will try and do anything against them to stop Edward Snowden reaching their territories.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Snowden Releases List Of Countries Contacted For Political Asylum Requests

While it is now relatively common knowledge that the famous internet surveillance NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, it hasn’t been well documented where he was seeking political asylum up until now. We’ve known he has been in talks with Ecuador, but with that starting to unfold who else has he been trying to seek political asylum with? Well surprisingly his options aren’t as limited as you might think. According to an official statement made by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in the following nation-states:

  • Austria
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • The Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Russia (where he is situated now)
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Venezuela

Surprisingly, Ecuador is now off the list after President Correa seems to be bowing to American pressure. He has gone from pledging his support to Snowden at all costs to saying that he now offered Snowden help “by mistake”. It is also worth noting that Russia have also refused to offer Edward Snowden political asylum unless he stops releasing documents that are harming the USA.

Edward Snowden is currently seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution risk if he is forced to return back to the USA.

We will be sure to keep you updated with how this goes for Edward Snowden. He is easily becoming one of the most important figures of our generation.

Image courtesy of the Guardian