Category: News Posts

Elon Musk’s Flamethrower Has Already Made Well Over $3.5 Million

Hats… and now flamethrowers. Elon Musk’s Boring Company has so far been more of a ‘lifestyle’ brand than a company that, you know, digs massive tunnels through the earth as a going concern. But it’s making bank.

The hats, which retailed for $20, were capped at 50,000, thus netting The Boring Company a cool $1 million.

The flamethrower, which went up for pre-order yesterday, is selling for $500 a pop, and Musk says the total number sold will max out at 20,000.

As of late last night, the total sold was already at 7,000, which amounts to $3.5 million in fire-breathing merch thus far.




Likely, it’s already earned more, since pre-orders have been open through the night, though it’s still available as of this writing and so presumably hasn’t sold out.

All told, 20,000 flamethrowers would bring in $10 million in total, so 10x the hat heist.

Tesla, one of Musk’s other businesses, has made a common practice of taking pre-orders for cars before they ship, including sizable up-front down payments.

The Boring Company can’t exactly pre-sell huge holes in the ground, or at least not as easily, but the merch market for the venture is hot, and clearly Musk intends to ride that Hyperloop all the way into the underground station.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

GM Faces Lawsuit Over Self-Driving Car Collision

Self-driving car manufacturers dread lawsuits over crashes due to questions of liability, and GM is about to learn just how problematic they can be.

Oscar Nilsson has sued GM after a December collision between his motorcycle and one of the company’s self-driving Chevy Bolts.

According to his version of events, he was trailing the Bolt when it started changing lanes.




He tried to pass the autonomous car, but it “suddenly” swerved back into his lane, knocking him to the ground and injuring both his neck and shoulder.

GM, not surprisingly, disagreed with the interpretation in a statement.

It pointed to the San Francisco Police Department’s collision report, which didn’t lay blame but said that Nilsson merged into the Bolt’s lane “before it was safe to do so.

There have certainly been disputes over the involvement of self-driving technology in crashes — just ask Tesla.

Those incidents involved semi-autonomous cars where the human driver was always expected to share some responsibility, though, rather than fully autonomous vehicles where a human only serves as backup.

And that makes cases like this problematic. If GM bears any responsibility at all, was it the fault of the developers, or the backup driver for not spotting the abrupt move?

The lawsuit won’t completely settle the question, but it may lay the groundwork for future suits.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

One Cigarette A Day Increases Heart Disease And Stroke Risk

Smokers need to quit cigarettes rather than cut back on them to significantly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke, a large BMJ study suggests.

People who smoked even one cigarette a day were still about 50% more likely to develop heart disease and 30% more likely to have a stroke than people who had never smoked, researchers said.

They said it showed there was no safe level of smoking for such diseases.

But an expert said people who cut down were more likely to stop.

Cardiovascular disease, not cancer, is the greatest mortality risk for smoking, causing about 48% of smoking-related premature deaths.




While the percentage of adults in the UK who smoked had been falling, the proportion of people who smoked one to five cigarettes a day had been rising steadily, researchers said.

Their analysis of 141 studies, published in the BMJ, indicates a 20-a-day habit would cause seven heart attacks or strokes in a group of 100 middle-aged people.

But if they drastically cut back to one a day it would still cause three heart attacks, the research suggests.

The researchers said men who smoked one cigarette a day had about a 48% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and were 25% more likely to have a stroke than those who had never smoked.

For women, it was higher – 57% for heart disease and 31% for stroke.

Prof Allan Hackshaw at the UCL Cancer Institute at University College London, who led the study, told the BBC: “There’s been a trend in quite a few countries for heavy smokers to cut down, thinking that’s perfectly fine, which is the case for things like cancer.

But for these two common disorders, which they’re probably more likely to get than cancer, it’s not the case. They’ve got to stop completely.

The researchers said it might be expected that smoking fewer cigarettes would reduce harm in a proportionate way as had been shown in some studies with lung cancer.

However, they found that men who smoked one cigarette per day had 46% of the excess risk of heart disease and 41% for stroke compared with those who smoked 20 cigarettes per day.

For women it was 31% of the excess risk of heart disease and 34% for stroke.

Prof Hackshaw said the increased risks of cardiovascular illness were over the course of a lifetime but damage could be done in just a few years of smoking.

But he said the good news was that those who quit smoking could also quickly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cutting down not ‘useless’

Paul Aveyard, professor of behavioral medicine at the University of Oxford, said the “well conducted” study confirmed what epidemiologists had suspected – that light smoking created a “substantial risk for heart disease and stroke”.

But he said it was wrong to conclude cutting down smoking was useless.

Those who try to cut down with the aid of nicotine, whether from nicotine replacement treatment or an e-cigarette, are more likely to stop eventually and thus really reduce their risks from smoking,” he said.

Martin Dockrell, tobacco lead at Public Health England, said: “This study adds to the growing body of evidence which tells us that cutting down to just one cigarette a day still leaves a substantial risk of heart attack and stroke.

“The best and safest thing you can do is to quit completely for good.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH, said: “It’s addiction to nicotine that keeps people smoking but it’s the tar in cigarette smoke that does the serious damage.

Vaping is much less harmful, but only if you quit smoking altogether.”

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said discouraging people from cutting down smoking could be “counter-productive“.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Scientists Find Jawbone Fossil From Oldest Modern Human Out Of Africa In A Cave In Israel

Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of a fossilized human jawbone in a collapsed cave in Israel that they said is between 177,000 and 194,000 years old.

If confirmed, the find may rewrite the early migration story of our species, pushing back by about 50,000 years the time that Homo sapiens first ventured out of Africa.

Previous discoveries in Israel had convinced some anthropologists that modern humans began leaving Africa between 90,000 and 120,000 years ago. But the recently dated jawbone is unraveling that narrative.

This would be the earliest modern human anyone has found outside of Africa, ever,” said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, Madison who was not involved in the study.




The upper jawbone — which includes seven intact teeth and one broken incisor, and was described in a paper in the journal Science — provides fossil evidence that lends support to genetic studies that have suggested modern humans moved from Africa far earlier than had been suspected.

Dr. Hawks and other researchers advised caution in interpreting the discovery.

Although this ancient person may have shared some anatomical characteristics with present-day people, this “modern human” would have probably looked much different from anyone living in the world today.

Early modern humans in many respects were not so modern,” said Jean-Jacques Hublin, director of the department of human evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

Dr. Hublin said that by concluding the jawbone came from a “modern human,” the authors were simply saying that the ancient person was morphologically more closely related to us than to Neanderthals.

 

That does not mean that this person contributed to the DNA of anyone living today, he added. It is possible that the jawbone belonged to a previously unknown population of Homo sapiens that departed Africa and then died off.

That explanation would need to be tested with DNA samples, which are difficult to collect from fossils found in the arid Levant.

The upper jawbone, or maxilla, was found by a team led by Israel Hershkovitz, a paleoanthropologist at Tel Aviv University and lead author of the new paper, while excavating the Misliya Cave on the western slopes of Mount Carmel in Israel.

The jawbone was discovered in 2002 by a freshman on his first archaeological dig with the group.

The team had long known that ancient people lived in the Misliya Cave, which is a rock shelter with an overhanging ceiling carved into a limestone cliff.

By dating burned flint flakes found at the site, archaeologists had determined that it was occupied between 250,000 to 160,000 years ago, during an era known as the Early Middle Paleolithic.

Evidence, including bedding, showed that the people who lived there used it as a base camp. They hunted deer, gazelles and aurochs, and feasted on turtles, hares and ostrich eggs.

Dr. Hershkovitz and Mina Weinstein-Evron, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa, felt that the jawbone looked modern, but they needed to confirm their hunch.

The Misliya finding is just the latest in a series of discoveries that are changing the story of our evolutionary past.

One study, not yet confirmed, suggested that modern humans may have interbred with Neanderthals in Eurasia about as far back as 220,000 years ago.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

How To Return A Lost Phone To Its Owner

Annually millions of people around the world drop or forget their mobile phones at unknown places in unexpected circumstances.

Some of them are given back to their original owners while majority of them get reused or resold in cheap prices.

The loss of mobile phone is really an unfriendly experience to its original owner as it may contain private pictures, videos and other confidential information.

Although, nowadays we can lock the mobiles with pass-code or screen lock pattern, but yet they are prone to hackers.




The phone you have found if unlocked, then you can easily access the contact list and other useful information about the owner. You can also simply pop up the contact list and call some family member to inform about the phone.

But if you come across a phone which has security measures applied on it, it won’t be that easy to trace the actual owner.

So if you are someone who found a locked lost phone and wants to earn some good karma by returning it, here are some methods to do it.

With IMEI Number in Hand

Every smartphone made in the world comes with a unique IMEI (Internet Mobile Station Equipment Identity) number. But getting access to IMEI number totally depends on the manufacturer.

Some inscribe it beneath the battery while on some other devices you need to access the phone itself.

But in case the phone is locked and fortunately you have IMEI number from the hardware, you can call the OEM customer service for the information of the owner.

In most of the cases they will not give you the concerned information, but you can give your details to them and simply ask them to carry forward a message to the owner to pick up his/her phone from you.

Keep the Phone Charged and Answer the Incoming Calls

You can simply wait for the owner to calls himself on the mobile for the situation or you can answer any incoming call and inform them that this particular phone is with you and request to inform the actual owner.

Android Debug Technique

This Android Debug (ADB) technique can reveal a mobile’s lock pattern by following some easy steps. This technique requires you have proper ADB installed on your PC or laptop with a USB cable in hand.

If you are able to configure the ADB properly, you can now modify a file named ‘gestures.key’, which is still a security concern among Android phones. This will unlock the phone and you are now able to access the contact list.

Conclusion

Good people still exist in the world. It’s better to return the lost phone and as it will help clear the conscience and gives you motivation of good karma.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Work On Your Poker Face While Studying Graphic Design Essentials

Graphic Design is a hugely useful skill, and we are surrounded by it in almost every part of our lives, but most people know very little about it.

The Design Deck is a fun and simple way to learn the essentials of graphic design, improve your skills as a designer, and understand more about the design you interact with everyday.




The Design Deck contains distilled, essential information about the practice of graphic design.

Each of the 52 faces has a piece of useful design information, complete with a visual example, combining to create a well-rounded, thorough examination of the subject.

To curate the information, I combed through many of the best graphic design books on the market. I did my best to concentrate the wisdom of these brilliant authors, and put it in a concise, practical form.

Below is a photograph of the collection of design books that went into making The Design Deck.

Even with the large quantity of design information found on The Design Deck, it is also a fully functional deck of playing cards.

It is printed on thick 310gsm cardstock with a linen texture that makes them great for card games, and even magic tricks.

If the campaign continues on its great upward trajectory, we are almost definitely printing with Bicycle (USPCC), who make the very best cards in the whole world!

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Pass it on: Popular Science

 

This Is A Contact Lens For People With Diabetes That Can Monitor Your Tears To Know If Your Sugar Levels Get Too High

Scientists have designed a smart contact lens to measure the wearer’s blood sugar without using a needle.

So far, the needle-less prototype has only been tested in rabbits — and it’s not clear if it’s even possible to accurately monitor blood sugar using tears. But if it works, it would be a massive upgrade for people with diabetes.

The lens is made out of the same transparent, flexible material that’s in some soft contacts on the market. Inside, the researchers embedded electronics including a little LED light and a glucose sensor.

If glucose levels rise above a certain level, the continuously lit LED light flickers off to alert the wearer, the researchers report today in the journal Science Advances.




The scientists, led by Jang-Ung Park at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in the Republic of Korea, tested the contact lens using artificial tears spiked with sugar to mimic the low glucose levels measured in tears by earlier studies.

They also gave it a trial run in rabbits: the LED stayed on until the researchers squirted a glucose solution into the rabbit’s eye — and then the LED turned off, just like it’s supposed to. So far, it hasn’t been tested in humans or with human tears, however.

The device is the latest attempt to develop a needle-less blood sugar monitor for diabetics.

Building the circuitry on a flexible contact lens is impressive, says John L. Smith, former chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson’s glucose monitoring division and author of The Pursuit of Noninvasive Glucose: Hunting the Deceitful Turkey.

But the glucose readings from tears just don’t reflect the levels in blood reliably enough to guide treatment decisions for people with diabetes, he says.

It’s an unreliable measure of blood glucose,” Smith says. “And that’s something you have to measure with great reliability or you will expose people to harm.

More than 30 million Americans have some form of diabetes, a group of diseases that result in too much sugar, or glucose, in the blood.

To keep their blood sugar from spiking or dropping to dangerous levels, people with diabetes have to watch what they eat and sometimes inject themselves with insulin.

That’s why accurate blood sugar readings are key. “People with diabetes are betting their life on that measurement,” Smith says.

Currently, the two main methods involve drawing blood by pricking a finger or inserting a needle under the skin to measure the glucose in the fluid between cells.

Both can be unpleasant, which is why companies have been chasing a needle-less blood sugar monitor for decades. Many have tried — including Google.

But its attempt to develop a glucose-sensing contact lens so far hasn’t seen the light of day.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Chinese Scientists Have Successfully Cloned Monkeys

Two monkeys are the first ever primates to be cloned using the technique that created Dolly the sheep.

The technique brings the prospect of cloned human beings even more closer.

But scientists caution that there may be no good reason to create such clones, and that ethical and legal questions need to be answered about such research.

More immediately, the technique will allow researchers to create whole labs full of genetically identical monkeys.




That could prove tremendously useful in scientific and medical research – allowing doctors to watch how specific treatments affect the genetic makeup of animals that are otherwise exactly the same, for instance.

The two identical long-tailed macaques – named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua – were born eight and six weeks ago at a laboratory in China. They represent the furthest reaches of cloning technology, genetically resembling each other entirely.

They aren’t, strictly, the first primates to have been cloned. But they are the first to be produced using the single cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique, which involves transferring cell nucleus DNA to a donated egg cell that is then prompted to develop into an embryo, and is the same process used for Dolly the sheep.

Previous work has relied on splitting embryos, which is the same phenomenon that happens when twins are born and can only produce four offspring.

The two monkeys were part of a total of 79 different transfer attempts, which used different techniques. Scientists had some luck cloning monkeys using adult cells, but those were only able to survive for a few days.

That genetic symmetry of the monkeys means that scientists could create a whole experiment’s worth of identical monkeys, save for the specific genetic changes that they want to study.

But the research has already led to fears about where it could lead.

The scientists stress they did the work under strict international codes, and co-author Muming Poo said the team was aware “that future research using non-human primates anywhere in the world depends on scientists following very strict ethical standards”.

The breakthrough means that it would theoretically be easier to clone a human, since primates share so much of their makeup with us.

But actually doing so is much less likely, given the ethical and regulatory objections there would be to any such plan.

Scientists will keep watch on Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, who for now appear to be growing and developing like normal monkeys. They expect more clones to be born in the coming months.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

The Nike Epic React Sneaker Has Higher Energy Return To Push You Forward As You Run

Last Tuesday, Nike announces the release of a new proprietary foam midsole technology called Nike React.

The very first shoe to feature React will be the Epic React Flyknit running shoe. It’s a sleek little number (available February 22), with a simple, knit upper that sits atop a single layer of extra thick React foam.

In a trend that’s been sweeping the running shoe industry, Nike is centering all its attention and fanfare on the properties of the foam itself, rather than highlighting other individual parts of the shoe.




React is our most complete foam ever,” says Ernest Kim, footwear innovation director at Nike. Kim geeks out, praising the ride this new foam delivers.

You not only get great energy return—13 percent greater than Lunarlon—but [you also get] a much softer experience as well,” he says.

For a runner who wants a shoe that feels springy and light, but that can still hold up through plenty of miles, Kim feels that Nike nailed it with React.

If you think you’ve heard a similar tune before, you’re right. Last September, Brooks revealed its DNA AMP foam, also touting a blend of cushioning and energy return.

Last year, we saw the first shoes from Altra made with the cleverly-named AltraEGO foam, which—you guessed it—distinguishes itself by its soft step-in feel and bouncy ride.

Then there’s Reebok Float Foam, Saucony Everun, New Balance Fresh Foam, Puma Ignite. Every major company now has its own hero foam, a trend that can be traced back to a compound called Boost, introduced by Adidas in 2012.

As magical as the new foams feel for many, they aren’t for everyone. “At the end of the day, shoes are so personal,” Harper says.

There’s going to be people who put on a [foam] shoe, and it doesn’t connect with them for some reason—doesn’t connect with their stride, doesn’t feel good underfoot.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Google’s $30 Million Moon Race Ends With No Winner

It’s official: The $30 million Google Lunar X Prize is no more.

After close consultation with our five finalist Google Lunar X Prize teams over the past several months, we have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the moon by the March 31, 2018, deadline,” X Prize founder and chairman Peter Diamandis said in a joint statement today (Jan. 23) with Marcus Shingles, the organization’s CEO.

This literal ‘moonshot’ is hard, and while we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30M Google Lunar X Prize will go unclaimed,” they added.




The acknowledgement confirms news broken yesterday by CNBC.

The Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) was announced in 2007, with the stated aim of encouraging commercial spaceflight and exploration.

The contest challenged privately funded teams to put a robotic spacecraft on the moon, move the craft 1,640 feet (500 meters), and have it beam high-definition photos and video back to Earth.

The first team to do this would win the $20 million grand prize. The second-place team would get $5 million, and an additional $5 million was available for various special accomplishments, bringing the total purse to $30 million.

The GLXP has awarded more than $6 million so far, for various milestones that teams have achieved. Milestone prizes would count toward, and not boost, the total purse taken home by first- or second-place teams.

So, the money given out by the GLXP would not have topped $30 million.

 

The deadline was originally the end of 2012, but GLXP representatives pushed it back several times, finally to March 31 of this year.

Google apparently did not want to grant another extension — but that doesn’t necessarily mean the moon race is completely off.

X Prize is exploring a number of ways to proceed from here,” Diamandis and Shingles said in today’s statement.

This may include finding a new title sponsor to provide a prize purse following in the footsteps of Google’s generosity, or continuing the Lunar X Prize as a noncash competition where we will follow and promote the teams and help celebrate their achievements.

Several dozen teams threw their hats into the ring over the course of the decade-long GLXP competition, but that pool was finally whittled down to five finalists: Florida-based Moon Express, Japan’s Team Hakuto, SpaceIL from Israel, India’s Team Indus and international outfit Synergy Moon.

Several of these teams have stressed that the GLXP, while a helpful spur, was not the main reason for their existence.

And Moon Express CEO Bob Richards wrote the following words earlier this month, as part of an op-ed for Space News: “The competition was a sweetener in the landscape of our business case, but it’s never been the business case itself. 

“We continue to focus on our core business plans of collapsing the cost of access to the moon, our partnership with NASA, and our long-term vision of unlocking lunar resources for the benefit of life on Earth and our future in space.

Team Hakuto may yet have a lunar legacy as well: The company is run by the Tokyo-based startup iSpace, which also plans to exploit lunar resources. iSpace recently raised $90 million in investment funding to help it achieve this goal.

We are inspired by the progress of the Google Lunar X Prize teams and will continue to support their journey, one way or another, and will be there to help shine the spotlight on them when they achieve that momentous goal,” Diamandis and Shingles said in today’s statement.

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Pass it on: New Scientist