Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Best Tech at CES

Hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, CES is an annual tech convention where over 4500 companies come together to showcase their new and upcoming products. Some hardware teasers shown included the announcement of AMD’s Radeon VII GPU, Ryzen 3000 CPUs, and Intel’s 28-core Xeon W-3175X. Here are some other interesting products showcased during CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

Cosmo Communicator by Planet Computers

The Cosmo Communicator is a smart flip phone. With two displays, one on the outside and one on the inside, this phone can be used as both a regular phone and as a portable laptop-style workstation with a keyboard. According to reviewers at CES, the keys are well laid out, making it simple and comfortable to use. In addition, the workstation utilizes a six-inch display, making work simple and easy. An Android screen on the outside displays notifications and phone calls. The phone itself can be used in any orientation as both ends serve as a speaker and microphone. Two USB-C ports are included to allow for mice connection, external hard drives, or display outputs via HDMI.

The phone boasts a 24mp camera, running Android 9 (Pie), with support for Linux through a multi-boot option. It includes an 8-core processor, with 6 GBs RAM, 128 GBs of flash memory, dual-sim slots, fingerprint sensor, NFC, and a 4220 mAh battery.

More information can be found here:

LG Rollable OLED TV R9

This new TV was showcased as LG’s signature OLED TV. The signature of this TV is that it rolls up into a thin box. It can be used fully open for regular viewing, halfway with some smart apps displayed, or part way as a gallery, or for music and other supported applications. It can also be fully rolled up and still play music since its box serves as a speaker. Its durability has been rated at 50 000 rolls and unrolls, which equates to about four rolls a day for 32 years. The rolling itself is extremely quiet, making it a must-have for homes.

The cost, specifications, and release day have not yet been announced, but the showcasing of this product at CES 2019 have proven to be great for LG’s publicity and marketing of the product.

More information can be found here:

Acer Thronos

Gaming chairs have never been more luxurious than now with the Acer Predator Thronos. This gaming chair immerses the user in the experience with full control and adjustability. The mechanized seat is controlled with a pad that requires only one button to convert it to the ultimate gaming experience. It lowers a mechanical arm dubbed the “Scorpion Arch”, which is fitted with three 2K curved monitors. It also swings the tray in front of the user, which includes an Acer Predator gaming mouse and keyboard. That same control pad also allows the user to make a wide array of adjustments including zero-G recline up to 140º, a footrest, and seat mechanics.

More information can be found here:

Info sourced from: links above (official product websites)
Image sourced from: CES, 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

New Horizons Takes a Valuable Parting Glance at Ultima Thule

   Scientists have released a new image sequence from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft offering a farewell glance of the Kuiper Belt object known as Ultima Thule. Although they are not the final images of the object to be sent back from the spacecraft, these photos are in fact the final images taken before New Horizons zipped past its flyby.

   In the newly released images, scientists made an exciting discovery - Ultima Thule's shape. When first imaged, scientists and the public alike saw that Ultima Thule consisted of two distinct and spherical segments. Further analysis of the approach and departure images revealed that the asteroid is made of two distinct shape. The larger lobe, nicknamed "Ultima" resembles the shape of a giant pancake while the smaller lobe, "Thule", is shaped more like a dented walnut.
    “We had an impression of Ultima Thule based on the limited number of images returned in the days around the flyby, but seeing more data has significantly changed our view,” said Alan Stern, mission Principal Investigator at Southwest Research Insittute. “It would be closer to reality to say Ultima Thule’s shape is flatter, like a pancake. But more importantly, the new images are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object could even be formed. We’ve never seen something like this orbiting the Sun.” 
   “While the very nature of a fast flyby in some ways limits how well we can determine the true shape of Ultima Thule, the new results clearly show that Ultima and Thule are much flatter than originally believed, and much flatter than expected,” added Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. “This will undoubtedly motivate new theories of planetesimal formation in the early solar system.”
Read the full press release at: 

Video Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Chinese Satellite Snaps Photo of the Moon and Earth

The Chinese government has recently released a new photo giving viewers a rare look at the far-side of the moon with Earth visible at the bottom right.
The image was captured by a camera aboard the Chinese DSLWP-B/Longjiang-2 satellite on February 4. The photo was downloaded at the slow speed of less than one kilobyte per minute through the Dutch Dwingeloo Radio Telescope.
"Downloading these 16 kilobytes took almost 20 minutes. We did color-correct the original," said one of the telescope operators, Tammo Jan Dijkema, on Twitter.
China made history last month when the Chang'e 4 lunar rover touched down on the far side of the moon. Since then, the rover has been giving scientists an unprecedented close look at the mysterious and seldom-seen part of our lunar neighbour. The mission objective is to document the far side of the moon and study the geology near the landing site.

Friday, February 1, 2019

New Findings on Hominin Brain Evolution

Image credit: Cicero Moraes

The scientists form University of Witwatersrand, South Africa created the inside-scull cast (endocast) of 3.67-milion-year-old Little Foot or Australopithecus prometheus. After the analysis of the Little Foot’s endocast they concluded that the brain of this specie is a mix of ape-lie and human-like features. The main similarity between the ape’s and Little Foot’s brain is the expanded visual cortex, which allows for more efficient processing of the visual information. On the other hand, the endocast reveals that this ancient human relative has asymmetrical structure of the brain, which is crucial for the evolution of human species since it allowed for lateralization of brain function. The endocast was compared to 10 other hominin specimens form southern Africa in the range between 3 and 1.5 million years and overall, Little Foot’s brain anatomy consistent with the age of the fossil and its placement on the developmental line. The importance of the finding is that it sets the timing of the development of the brain features of early hominins and better completes the fossil record of the species evolution.

Find more information on:

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

First Data Received from New Horizon’s Ultima Thule Flyby

    On New Year’s Day, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft famous for its Pluto flyby in 2015 flew by the farthest-ever reached object by humankind. Now after a few days, NASA is receiving the first data from this historic flyby of Ultima Thule, also known as Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69.
    Amongst the things received from New Horizons is the first resolved photos of Ultima Thule. These images reveal a 33 kilometre (21 mile-long) “contact binary” body composed of two roughly spherical lobes. These lobes are red and their icy surface is likely discoloured by deep-space radiation. The process that created this colour is likely responsible for the similar reddish hue visible on Pluto’s surface and the northern parts of its largest moon Charon.
    Ultima Thule is a remnant of the early solar system. Countless objects similar to Ultima Thule coalesced to form the solar system’s planets. However this did not happen to Ultima Thule, which has stayed in pristine condition for eons in the cold Kuiper Belt.
    "We think what we're looking at it is perhaps the most primitive object that has yet been seen by any spacecraft, and may represent a class of objects which are the oldest and most primitive objects that can be seen anywhere in the present solar system," said Jeff Moore from NASA’s Ames Research Center during a New Years Day news conference.

Read more about this fascinating story at:

Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Oncolytic Virus that Targets Cancer Cells and Associated Tissues

 Researchers from the University of Oxford and PsiOxus Therapeutics have successfully nourished a virus that specifically targets and kills cancer cells to synthesize a peptide linker (a protein). Specifically, this protein finds and binds cells that are specifically toxic to cancer-associated connective tissue together in order to remove these supportive fibres.
 The microenvironment surrounding tumours provides physical support for cancer to grow and reside within. Building blocks of this environment are usually the cells themselves or their components, such as blood vessels, extracellular matrices, and immune cells. The newly adapted virus tracks, replicates in and kills the cancer cells through a process called oncosis or the swelling and destruction of the cell membrane. Furthermore, the cell death causes the release of T cells (toxic to the tumor microenvironment), which target the structural skeleton of the tumor and allow for a more efficient cancer treatment.
 In the future, findings like this will allow oncologists to apply more efficient approaches to treating cancer, such as immunotherapy, with the help of the newly developed oncolytic viruses.

Read the full study here:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

New Theory Brings Light to Dark Energy and Expanding Universe

Image Credit: Suvendu Giri     

     According to a recent study published in the journal Physical Review Letter, Dr. Souvik Banerjee and co-authors, Uppsala University Sweden, formulated an updated theory to the mysterious, exponential expansion of our universe.

     Back in the 1990s, the universe was not only discovered to be expanding at an exponential rate, but that space was not actually empty. In fact, it was established from a substance called dark energy.

     Shortly after, string theory was developed to explain this discovery. It was said that there were more than three dimensions as well as all matter being consisting of tiny, vibrating ‘string like’ entities.

     Quote from Dr. Souvik Banerjee, “for 15 years, there have been models in string theory that have been thought to give rise to dark energy.”

     However, according to the new journal, both dark energy and the entire universe are riding on an expanding bubble. This is found in an extra dimension, where the universe is found on the bubble’s edge.

     Furthermore, all known and existing matter in the universe coincides to the ends of the strings that expand out into the extra dimension.

     Quote from Dr. Souvik Banerjee, “it is conceivable that there are more bubbles than ours, corresponding to other universes.”

Read more about this fascinating story at: