Daily American Buzz: technology

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has authorized part of SpaceX’s application to build and launch more than 7,500 satellites, according to a press release. These would make up part of a proposed constellation of almost 12,000 satellites designed to improve internet connectivity.

Satellite communications currently rely on satellites in geostationary orbit, 36,000 kilometers (22,369 miles) above the ground, that maintain a fixed position relative to Earth. But SpaceX’s 12,000 satellites would improve connectivity using non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites, which orbit closer and move relative to the Earth’s surface.

The application contains the details of SpaceX’s Starlink program, announced in 2015. The 7,518 satellites approved by the FCC will orbit between 335 and 346 kilometers (208 and 215 miles) up, and another 4,425 satellites would orbit between 1,110 and 1,325 kilometers (683.5 and 823.3 miles) above the Earth’s surface. The International Space Station orbits at 409 kilometers (254 miles), for comparison. SpaceX hopes the system will increase internet coverage in rural and remote areas.

The idea is that these smaller, mass-produced satellites will be cheaper, and in orbiting closer to the Earth’s surface, could provide better broadband internet coverage than fewer and more expensive satellites in geostationary orbit.

These 12,000 satellites would join two prototype satellites launched by SpaceX earlier this year. The FCC additionally granted authorization to companies Kepler, Telesat, and Leosat to launch 140, 117, and 78 satellites, respectively, as part of their own NGSO constellation programs. The federal agency previously authorized SpaceX’s 4,425 other satellites, as well.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk really wants to launch these satellites, and soon: Just last month, he fired a number of managers over what he deemed as too-slow progress on the project, Reuters reported. Musk hopes to launch some of the satellites in 2019.

At the same time, the FCC announced that it will review its orbital debris mitigation rules, hoping to “incorporate improvements in debris mitigation practices into the Commission’s rules.” It’s unclear what those rules are, or if the recently approved satellites will have to follow these rules. There are already more than 500,000 pieces of space junk orbiting the Earth, traveling at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour, around 10 times the average speed of a bullet.

Anyway, it looks like space internet is really happening, so long as SpaceX can get all of the satellites up and running, and the company’s got competition. Let’s do this, I guess.

A high-ranking Facebook executive was allegedly forced to resign after refusing to back down on his support for Donald Trump - it has been revealed.

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey was said to have come under intense pressure from Facebook's leading figures after it emerged he had donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group during the 2016 Presidential election.

According to correspondence revealed by the Wall Street Journal, the revelation about his donation sparked a furore which saw him fired six months later.

Facebook higher-ups including founder Mark Zuckerberg himself were said to have attempted to pressgang Luckey into publicly supporting libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Palmer Luckey was reportedly fired by Facebook in March 2017 after it emerged he had donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group

Luckey founded Oculus VR in 2012 while still a teenager and sold it to Facebook two years later for more than $2billion, staying on as the company's head

Sources said after he refused to support Johnson to draw attention away from his donation, Luckey was put on indefinite leave, and eventually fired.

Zuckerberg, however, claimed Luckey's departure had nothing to do with politics while testifying before Congress about data privacy earlier this year. 

Shortly after his dismissal Luckey, 26, allegedly hired an employment lawyer who argued Facebook had violated California law in pressuring the executive to voice support for Mr. Johnson and for punishing an employee for political activity.

Luckey and his lawyer were then able to negotiate a payout of at least $100 million, in stock awards and bonuses he would have received until July 2019.

A Facebook spokeswoman said in an email: 'We can say unequivocally that Palmer's departure was not due to his political views. We're grateful for Palmer's contributions to Oculus, and we're glad he continues to actively support the VR industry.'

Zuckerberg denied Luckey had been fired because of his political views while testifying before Congress about data privacy earlier this year

Luckey began working for Facebook after his company Oculus VR was bought by the tech giant in 2014.

Only two years earlier Luckey had started Oculus while still a teenager, with a $2.4 million crowdfunding campaign.

The startup's eventual sale to Facebook in 2014 for more than $2 billion, was rumored to have netted the exec a cool $600 million and allowed him to stay on as head of the company.

The embattled tech genius is a longstanding supporter of President Trump having written to him in 2011 urging him to run for the White House.

Luckey has also previously stated he was inspired to become an entrepreneur at age 13 after being inspired by Trump's book 'The Art of the Deal'.

Facebook has come under intense scrutiny over its political affiliation in recent months, particularly with regards its role in the 2016 Presidential election.

Mark Zuckerberg has previously testified to the Senate that the generally left-leaning company didn't let its politics affect its content moderation.

Republican lawmakers accused the tech giant of censoring conservative news and views during a congressional hearing in July this year.

Earlier this month, Trump himself accused social networks of interfering in the 2016 presidential election and November's midterm elections.

'I mean the true interference in the last election was that — if you look at all, virtually all of those companies are super liberal companies in favor of Hillary Clinton,' Trump said.

'Maybe I did a better job because I'm good with the Twitter and I'm good at social media, but the truth is they were all on Hillary Clinton's side, and if you look at what was going on with Facebook and with Google and all of it, they were very much on her side.'

"A flying saucer from outer space crash-landed in the Utah desert after being tracked by radar and chased by helicopters."

No, it's not the opening scene of an episode of The X-Files - it's the caption of a NASA photograph that shows a saucer-shaped contraption half-buried in dirt, next to mangled wreckage.

The space agency posted the image, captured on September 8, 2004, on its Astronomy Picture of the Day site.

While accurate, the caption is perhaps a little misleading - this was no Roswell, if you believe the conspiracy theorists.

The wreckage belongs to a human-made Genesis sample return capsule, launched in 2001 to study the sun. Its two parachutes failed to open, which an investigation revealed was the fault of an acceleration sensor switch being installed backwards.

Helicopters were in the air, with the intention of catching the parachute with a five-metre hook and bringing the capsule down to Earth with a soft landing. But with the capsule travelling at a blistering 311km/h, that wasn't an option.

The Genesis return capsule, just before impact.

"Despite the crash landing, many return samples remained in good enough condition to analyse," NASA said.

"So far, Genesis-related discoveries include new details about the composition of the sun and how the abundance of some types of elements differ across the solar system.

"These results have provided intriguing clues into details of how the sun and planets formed billions of years ago."

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No - and nor is it Superman, although it's not a million miles away. Here, the crime-fighters in question are the police of Dubai, on their new propeller-powered flying motorcycles.

Police say the hoverbikes will help them 'fight crime in the skies' - no, not seagulls up to mischief, but incidents occurring in hard-to-reach areas.

Footage has emerged of police clad in protective gear taking off on the S3 2019 hoverbike for their flying lessons over a football pitch - with the Dubai skyline visible in the background, it looks like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie.

The flying bikes were designed by a California tech firm called Hoversurf, and were presented to the Dubai officials at GITEX - the annual technology trade fair in Dubai.

The firm has offered to provide authorities with over 30 of the flying contraptions, stating the emirate's law enforcement has the exclusive right to order as many as needed - if you're gutted and fancy getting your hands on your own hoverbike (let's be honest, who doesn't want that?) the firm will also be allowing the public to buy one - if they are screened to establish safe use.

However, buying just one of the bikes will set you back a staggering $150,000 (£114,000) - so not the cheapest investment.

As exciting as they seem, the bikes are effectively giant drones you can ride - actually, that is pretty cool. They are 253lbs battery-powered machines with the ability to fly for up to 40 minutes, going 60mph and can get 16 feet in the air, all before needing recharged.

The Hoversurf website states: "By combining our custom-built flight controller, the most innovative composite material processes and having a dedicated team we were able to achieve something truly amazing.

"We presented the S3 2019 to the Dubai Police at this years GITEX 2018 where it will now be integrated into their fleet of futuristic vehicles.

"Both Hoversurf and Dubai Police understand that this is just the beginning to something much larger.

"A partnership where both see the future is within our grasp and that together we can materialise the human dream of personal flight."

Police in Dubai hope to have the hoverbikes rolled out to use in action by 2020 - so the police have just over a year to perfect their RoboCop-style moves.

Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, general director of Dubai Police's artificial intelligence department told CNN: "Currently we have two crews already training (to pilot the hoverbike) and we're increasing the number."

It covers 34 miles and connects Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland

China is set to open the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built, nine years after construction began.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge connects Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland and covers 34 miles.

It is a key element of China's plan for a Greater Bay Area covering 56,500 square kilometers (21,800 square miles) across southern China, and encompassing 11 cities, including Hong Kong and Macau, that are home to a combined 68 million people.

The project was delayed by two years and cost a total of $20bn.

The bridge needed 60 times more steel than used to build the Eiffel Tower and includes a four-mile undersea tunnel connected by two artificial islands.

It will be opened to traffic in the morning of 24 October and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will be at the ceremony.

Journey times between the cities will be cut from three hours down to 30 minutes.

“With the bridge, the travelling time between Hong Kong and the western Pearl River Delta region will be shortened significantly, thereby bringing the western Pearl River Delta region within three hours’ drive from Hong Kong,” the city’s transport secretary, Frank Chan, said, according to CNN.

Estimates suggest the bridge will be in use for 120 years but there are likely to be restrictions on usage.

Private car owners in Hong Kong will require a permit to use the bridge, but people will have access to shuttle buses.

The building of the bridge has not been without controversy; the bridge was delayed by a number of years and the budget overran.

There were also corruption prosecutions, seven workers died and 129 were injured during the construction process. 

The entire time the Moon has been sitting up there, quietly orbiting Earth, it turns out it's actually been doing something incredible. Something that could help teach us about the early Universe.

Off its rocky surface, the Moon reflects radio waves emitted by our home galaxy, the Milky Way. And now astronomers have detected them.

The signal was picked up by researchers from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D). But even though that's cool enough, it's not the end goal.

Their target is something much more elusive: they want to detect the extremely faint signal emanating from the hydrogen in the very earliest days of the Universe, in the time between the Big Bang and the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), when the Universe's lights switched on.

"Before there were stars and galaxies, the Universe was pretty much just hydrogen, floating around in space," said astronomer Benjamin McKinley.

"Since there are no sources of the optical light visible to our eyes, this early stage of the Universe is known as the 'cosmic dark ages'."

The instrument the team are using is a low-frequency radio telescope called the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), in the desert of Western Australia. Consisting of 2,048 dipole antennas, it's one of the best tools in the world for trying to understand the early Universe.

Its low frequency range of 80-300 MHz, astronomers hope, will be able to detect the radio signal emanating from the hydrogen atoms prior to the EoR.

"If we can detect this radio signal it will tell us whether our theories about the evolution of the Universe are correct," McKinley noted.

But that signal is incredibly faint, especially compared to all the other radio signals that have since filled the Universe.

One possible solution is to measure the average brightness of the radio sky - but this can't be done using standard techniques, since interferometers aren't sensitive to a global average that doesn't vary.

So this is where the Moon comes in. Radio waves can't actually pass through the Moon - which is the reason why it's difficult to communicate with astronauts on the Moon's far side, and also why scientists think it would be an amazing idea to put a radio telescope back there, where it wouldn't encounter interference from terrestrial radio emissions.

The flip side of that is that the Moon occults the radio sky behind it. So the research team leveraged this property to measure the average brightness of the patch of sky surrounding it.

This is not a new idea, but the team also employed a more sophisticated method of dealing with 'earthshine', the radio emissions from Earth that bounce off the Moon and interfere with the signal received by the telescope.

Then, after calculating earthshine, they also had to establish how much interference was being caused by the galaxy itself.

To create the incredible image of the Milky Way's galactic plane reflected off the Moon, the team put together data sets. The first was the MWA's lunar observations. The second was a Global Sky Model - a map of diffuse galactic radio emission - published in 2008.

Using ray-tracing and computer modeling, they were able to map the Global Sky Model onto the face of the Moon, and work out the average radio brightness of the galaxy's reflected radio waves.

So, yes - that's a generated image, not an exact representation of the MWA data, which you can see in the picture below. The dark patch in the middle is the Moon.

So did they detect the EoR? Well, not yet. This research was early groundwork to establish the efficacy of the technique. And it's looking pretty good so far.

"Our initial results using the lunar occultation technique are promising. We are beginning to understand the errors and spectral features present in our data and will continue to refine our techniques," the researchers wrote in their paper, but they noted there's much more work ahead.

"Future progress depends upon processing more data and further refining our techniques to effectively model foreground and reflected emission within our frequency range. The reflective behaviour of the Moon at low frequencies is not well studied and this will require particular attention. We must also develop techniques to break the degeneracy between the sky temperature and the Moon temperature in our fitting procedure."

Before man can cross the immense distances of space, the designs of spacecraft's sails will be the answer – striking a fine balance between mass, strength and reflectivity.

Working with NASA, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) scientists have created the new material out of silicon and its oxide, silica.

The caltech team has figured out that super-thin structures made of this compound can transform infrared light waves into a momentum that would accelerate a probe to 134,000,000 mph.

Speeds like this can carry a small probe to our closest planets and stars, a huddle of stars called Proxima centauri, within decades rather than millennia.

And it will allow humans to search nearby solar systems for alien life.

The Caltech engineers are exploiting the inactivity of photons to reach the astronomical speeds required to cover big distances in comparatively short amounts of time.

Unlike thick air molecules, light doesn't have a resting mass, so it doesn't “blow” in the same way wind does.

But flying photons still pack a punch by exerting pressure via their momentum, according to Maxwell's equations on electromagnetic radiation.

NASA: The material, made out of silicon and its oxide, silica, will be used in solar sails

The idea is to use a laser to coherently shoot a stream of photons at infrared wavelengths at a “light net”, or sail, attached to a spaceship.

Even for small objects that would mean casting a big sail, which in turn means adding more mass. So this sail needs to be as light as possible, which could make it vulnerable to easy damage.

By turning to nanomaterials, engineers have the advantage of twisting the way light is absorbed and released, allowing them to fine-tune the delicate balance of catching enough light to build up speed without overheating.

A caltech spokesperson said: “Light sails propelled by radiation pressure from high-power lasers have the potential to achieve relativistic spaceflight.”


When DVDs started get popular in the early 2000's, it seemed like they would enjoy the long popularity of VHS. DVDs are compact, in comparison, and of infinitely better quality.

Now, though, DVDs are already falling out of favor. Blu-ray is of better quality and can hold more information than DVD. And it’s not just the disc format competing with DVD: The ability to download and stream video from the Internet is also hastening the demise of the DVD.

Super 8/8mm” Handheld Video Cameras

Kodak invented the Super 8/8mm film format in 1965. Soon after, handheld film cameras come in to the market and the living rooms of people everywhere were filled with families watching the hi-jinks at Freddie’s sixth birthday party.


Betamax was developed by Sony in 1975, a year before the ultimately more popular VHS format was invented as a response to Sony’s attempt to control the format of the industry.

VHS Format

Invented by JVC, VHS was the  leading video format by the 1980’s, despite what some argued was the technical superiority of the Betamax format. 
Vitalik Buterin, the author of Ethereum, has defined in a up to date OmiseGO AMA consultation that with second-layer answers equivalent to Sharding and Plasma, the Ethereum community will ultimately be capable of procedure 1 million transactions in step with moment and doubtlessly greater than 100 million transactions in step with moment.

Stretches of extensibility of the main blockchain networks

Previously, at various conferences and presentations, Buterin emphasized that the Ethereum blockchain protocol and decentralized blockchain networks, in general, are struggling to deal with scalability issues.

In September 2017, all over an interview with mission capital investor Naval Ravikant on the Disrupt SF 2017 convention hosted via TechCrunch, Buterin famous that bitcoin and Ethereum were processing 3 to 6 transactions in step with moment at top capability. He added that for the blockchain to reinforce large-scale cost networks equivalent to Visa, inventory markets like Nasdaq, and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, it’ll need to procedure masses of hundreds of transactions in step with moment.

Bitcoin is currently processing a bit less than three transactions per second and if it goes close to four, it is already at peak capacity. Ethereum has been doing five per second and if it goes above six, then it is also at peak capacity. On the other hand, Uber on average does 12 rides per second, PayPal several hundred, Visa several thousand, major stock exchanges tens of thousands, and in IoT, you’re talking hundreds of thousands per second,” said Buterin.

Sharding in explicit splits a blockchain community to shards that are then supplied with a gaggle of nodes which might be tasked to procedure knowledge of sure shards. With Sharding enabled, all nodes at the blockchain don’t seem to be required to procedure each and every unmarried piece of information settled at the blockchain, optimizing the method of settling knowledge.

During the OmiseGO AMA session, Buterin stated that second-layer scaling solutions that are currently being tested on the Ethereum testnet could enable the Ethereum blockchain network to support large-scale decentralized applications with millions of users by taking an innovative approach in optimizing the blockchain.

1 Million Tx / Second

Buterin additional famous that the synergy between layer 1 and layer 2 answers would building up the scalability of Ethereum via 10,000x, permitting the community to procedure hundreds of thousands of transactions in step with moment and supporting maximum packages.

“So if you get a 100x from Sharding and a 100x from Plasma, those two basically give you a 10,000x scalability gain, which basically means blockchains will be powerful enough to handle most applications most people are trying to do with them,” Buterin added.

Type Your Message In The Desired WhatsApp Conversation

Start as you usually would when sending a message in WhatsApp by typing your message into the text box. Before the new feature came out, the little paper airplane button would remain grey, indicating that you had a poor connection and couldn't send the message. But now, see here: The paper airplane button is blue! That means you don't have to worry about losing your message.

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Check Point Software Technologies, a security firm stated on Wednesday that the security in Telegram and WhatsApp is being compromised. This bug has risked around 1.2 bn active monthly users on WhatsApp into a threat.
Reportedly, hackers can also access the personal information, chats, images, videos and everything once access is gained. 

The issue is still pending.

The issue is still pending.
According to Check Point Software Technologies, the bug has been already reported to WhatsApp and Telegram since March 7, but still pending to get patched.  
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Is this an alien reptile?
Is this an alien reptile?

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After The Incident, Pictures Of The UFO Were Sent To Chile's UFO Investigating Agency, The Centre For The Study Of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA).
After the incident, pictures of the UFO were sent to Chile's UFO investigating agency, the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA).

The experts at CEFAA pored over the photos and videos, trying to figure out what this object was.

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One sure way to make an already cool product more desirable or luxurious is to add a bit of gold. We've seen it done with various other pieces of technology before such as smart phones and even games consoles, but this time it's the controllers turn to get a makeover.
These 24-karat gold Xbox One and Playstation 4 controllers created by ColorWare do everything that a normal controller does, except they are far from ordinary. Both the controllers will be priced at $299 which isn't unreasonable considering what they are made of.

It might sound like a completely 'out there' idea, but development of a wearable drone camera has begun and it looks as awesome as it sounds. The drone which can be worn around the wrist will be capable of taking off whilst you are wearing it, flying away, taking an epic selfie and then flying back again. 

The Nixie is currently a finalist in Intel's competition that is encouraging the development of new wearable technology which is where the future seems to be heading. The Nixie is still in development so it's still a little rough around the edges, but we can see that the potential is huge.
We can already see a huge divide in opinion over this device, but for those addicted to selfies and people that love taking pictures we can see this being a real hit. Lets hope it becomes available to buy soon.

Princess Leia gives Luke a refreshing beer

An Alien doesn't seem so scary

Jaws must not have been hungry that day

Star Wars wasn't very high tech

Is this the Hulk or Bruce Banner?

Just chillaxin' with friends

Even Bellatrix Lestrange has to check her email

Inception blew your mind in more ways than you know

Frodo's epic journey would have went so much faster in a helicopter

Not only was there room on the door for both of them, but they were just in a small pool

The knights of the round table love some football

Kill Bill BFFs!

The Titanic before sinking

Even Hannibal Lecter likes french fries

Dangerous killers, or relaxed pals?

Bane and Batman = BFF

Andy Serkis monkeying around on the set of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes