Stephen Hawking says, Earth will turn into fireball by 2600
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Stephen Hawking says, Earth will turn into fireball by 2600

British physicist Stephen Hawking has warned that the human race will perish on earth as growing population and massive power consumption would turn the planet into a sizzling fireball in less than 600 years. To ensure the survival of our species for another million years, humans must “boldly go where no one has gone before,” Hawking said. Our planet will turn into a ball of fire because of our soaring energy consumption as the population soars, the world renowned scientist said in a video appearance at the Tencent WE Summit in Beijing. Hawking appealed to investors to back his plans to travel to the closest star outside the solar system, with the hope that a habitable planet might be orbiting it. Alpha Centauri is one of the closest stars to our solar system, located four billion light-years away. Scientists believe that it may host planets that could foster life, just like earth. Hawking is backing Breakthrough Starshot, a venture to reach this system within two decades using a tiny aircraft that could travel at the speed of light. “Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, or reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years,” said Hawking.
0 0 41 08 November, 2017 Alternative, Science more
Avoiding unwanted thoughts could be easier now; Chemicals in brain that helps remove such thoughts identified
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Avoiding unwanted thoughts could be easier now; Chemicals in brain that helps remove such thoughts identified

Scientists have identified a key chemical in the brain that allows us to suppress unpleasant memories, a finding that may pave the way for treating patients of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or schizophrenia who experience persistent intrusive thoughts.
"Our ability to control our thoughts is fundamental to our wellbeing," said Michael Anderson from the University of Cambridge in the UK. "When this capacity breaks down, it causes some of the most debilitating symptoms of psychiatric diseases: intrusive memories, images, hallucinations, ruminations, and pathological and persistent worries," said Anderson. "These are all key symptoms of mental illnesses such as PTSD, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety," he said. Anderson likens our ability to intervene and stop ourselves retrieving particular memories and thoughts to stopping a physical action. A region at the front of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex is known to play a key role in controlling our actions and has more recently been shown to play a similarly important role in stopping our thoughts. The prefrontal cortex acts as a master regulator, controlling other brain regions - the motor cortex for actions and the hippocampus for memories. In the study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists used a task known as the 'Think/No-Think' procedure to identify a significant new brain process that enables the prefrontal cortex to successfully inhibit our thoughts. In the task, participants learn to associate a series of words with a paired, but otherwise unconnected, word, for example ordeal/roach and moss/north. In the next stage, they were asked to recall the associated word if the cue is green or to suppress it if the cue is red; in other words, when shown 'ordeal' in red, they were asked to stare at the word but to stop themselves thinking about the associated thought 'roach'. Using a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the researchers were able to observe what was happening within key regions of the brain as the participants tried to inhibit their thoughts. Researchers showed that the ability to inhibit unwanted thoughts relies on a neurotransmitter - a chemical within the brain that allows messages to pass between nerve cells – known as GABA. GABA is the main 'inhibitory' neurotransmitter in the brain, and its release by one nerve cell can suppress activity in other cells to which it is connected. Researchers discovered that GABA concentrations within the hippocampus - a key area of the brain involved in memory - predict people's ability to block the retrieval process and prevent thoughts and memories from returning. Anderson believes the finding could offer a new approach to tackling intrusive thoughts in these disorders.
0 0 44 06 November, 2017 Alternative, Science more
AI robots will take over humans completely, predicts Stephen Hawking
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AI robots will take over humans completely, predicts Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking recently spoke about his belief that robots will eventually replace humans completely. The renowned physicist believes that someday someone will design Artificial Intelligence (AI) which will improve itself to an extent where it will "outperform humans." Professor Hawking said "I fear that AI may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans."  
  • Hawking also spoke about requiring a new space age in order to entice young people to get involved in science. He emphasized on the point by saying that there would be "serious consequences" if more people didn't show an interest
  • The 75-year-old further said that according to him a new space programme should be worked on urgently by the science community "with a view to eventually colonising suitable planets for human habitation."
  • "I believe we have reached the point of no return. Our earth is becoming too small for us, global population is increasing at an alarming rate and we are in danger of self-destructing," he added.
However, this is not the first time that Professor Hawking has warned the world about artificial intelligence. In the year 2015, he had said that robots we design could eventually crush humanity like an anthill.
0 0 43 03 November, 2017 Alternative, tech more
WhatsApp to launch group video, voice calls
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WhatsApp to launch group video, voice calls

Last week WhatsApp launched the live-location tracking feature and now the company is launching group video calls for its users. The application is already the most popular title on both iOS and Android but it's planning to become the go-to app when it comes to communication. The group calling feature hasn't made it to the final built yet but is expected to do so in a few months' time. According to WaBetaInfo, a website that tests all new WhatsApp features claimed that the application will be launching a group video and voice call feature. This new update might feature in WhatsApp's next update for beta users.  The site claims that the 2.17.70 beta version will come with this new feature. Along with this feature, the update will also carry a new update that will help with an easy transition between phone numbers. If a user changes their number, WhatsApp will notify all contacts on their list about the change. WhatsApp has been aggressively introducing new features within their application and is also stepping in the social media realm by introducing features like stories. The consistent rise in a smartphone's computational power is enabling applications like WhatsApp to delve into other genres of communication. Though many popular applications offer services like conference video and voice calls much before WhatsApp, the sheer size of the user-base makes the feature an instant hit. The application has 1 billion daily active users and around 1.3 billion monthly active users. The Live Location feature was also offered by various applications like Messenger, Google Maps, Telegram etc. but with WhatsApp adopting it, the feature might finally get a broader audience. To use the Live Location feature one will have to tap on the paperclip icon next to the chat box. The location can be shared in the form of chat. It can be sent to WhatsApp groups as well as individual chats. To keep a track of how many people or groups are getting the live location updates, one can check in the Account Privacy settings. In terms of WhatsApp groups, if various participants have shared their live location, all locations will be visible on a single map.
0 0 76 23 October, 2017 Alternative, tech more
Another theory of Einstein is to be sold at auction
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Another theory of Einstein is to be sold at auction

A note written by Albert Einstein describing his theory on happy living has surfaced after 95 years and is up for auction in Jerusalem.
The note, given to a courier in Tokyo in 1922 during a lecture tour of Japan, was written shortly after the German-born physicist learned that he was to receive a Nobel Prize for his theory of relativity. The story goes that a Japanese courier delivered Einstein a message at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The courier then either refused to accept a tip, in line with local practice, or Einstein had no small change to hand, so offered him two handwritten notes. Now a descendant of the messenger is selling the notes at auction to the highest bidder. "Maybe if you're lucky those notes will become much more valuable than just a regular tip," said Einstein to the messenger, according to the anonymous seller. One of the notes, on a piece of Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationery, says: “A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest." The other, on a blank piece of paper, reads simply: "Where there's a will, there's a way." The notes hold no scientific value, however they could reflect a relatively unknown aspect of Einstein's psyche, his emotional thinking.   "What we're doing here is painting the portrait of Einstein - the man, the scientist, his effect on the world - through his writings," said Roni Grosz, the archivist in charge of the world's largest Einstein collection, at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.
0 0 46 23 October, 2017 Alternative, tech more
Apple invests $2.70 billion in LG
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Apple invests $2.70 billion in LG

Samsung may soon not be the only supplier of OLED displays for Apple as the Cupertino-based tech company has reportedly invested $2.70 billion in LG for the production of OLED panels for its iPhones.
According to a report in The Investor on Sunday, Apple will reportedly make the investment as advance payment for the planned panel supplies from the Korean display maker.  "With the latest funding, LG Display's OLED production will reach 45,000 units of the sixth-generation OLED panel monthly. Of the total, Apple orders are likely to make up at least 30,000 units," the report quoted unnamed sources as saying.
There is no official word about the deal yet from either Apple or LG. The iPhone maker still relies on Samsung for the OLED panels for the upcoming iPhone 8. According to the report, LG would supply 45,000 OLED panels per month to Apple for iPhones in 2019.
It was presumed that Samsung would be an exclusive supplier of OLED displays for Apple's iPhones but this deal has served as a blow to the Galaxy S8 maker. "With the renewed partnership with LG, its long-time LCD partner, Apple has secured a secondary supplier for the crucial OLED panel, while the Korean partner can reduce risks from the huge initial spending on beefing up its OLED production," the report said.
It is believed that Apple will switch to OLED displays for all of its iPhone releases in 2019. This is the reason Apple roped in LG to be its OLED display supplier when it already had Samsung -- that owns 95 per cent market share of mobile OLED panels -- in its league.
It is not just Apple that is investing in LG OLED display but Google has also realised LG's potential and invested.
Moto X4 : Price leaked ahead of official launch
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Moto X4 : Price leaked ahead of official launch

Latest launches and upcoming smartphones by Motorola have drawn eyeballs for offering a vast line-up across price ranges and much-desired features. One such smartphone, Moto X4 is making headlines after its price was leaked ahead of the official launch. The fourth generation offering under Motorola's X-series of smartphones, Moto X4 was expected to be unveiled for the world alongside company's flagship device Moto Z2 Force earlier this week, but it wasn't. Now before the launch date for the handset could be confirmed, the price for the European markets has been tipped. This price is closer to that of the previous generation phone from Moto X-series which was launched with a price tag of $399 (around EUR 340 or Rs 27,000) when it was launched in 2015. Quandt also says in his tweets that the price is for a 32GB variant of the phone, which might mean that Motorola is planning to launch other variants of Moto X4, presumably with higher internal storage. Expected features Once the flagship line-up of Motorola, the X-series is now placed between the new high-end Z-series of the company and its popular mid-end G-series. The new Moto X4 is expected to come with premium metallic build and a dual camera set-up. One of the camera modules is expected to feature a 12-megapixel unit and another 8-megapixel set up. According to earlier reports, the device is expected to feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon 630 chipset with 32GB or 64GB internal storage and 4GB RAM. Similar to the Moto G5 Plus, the device is expected to feature a 3000mAH battery. In terms of software, it's almost certain that the device will come with Android Nougat with no modification or minimal changes in the stock Android.
Jio Phone Pre-booking begins on August 24 . Here are the key features of the handset !
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Jio Phone Pre-booking begins on August 24 . Here are the key features of the handset !

Reliance Jio Infocomm unveiled its much-anticipated 4G-enabled feature phone, Jio Phone. To be virtually be free for users, the handset will be open to pre-registrations from August 24, and the device will go on sale in September, initially to those who pre-registered. The official Jio portal has put up a 'Keep me posted' banner where you can submit your details to stay updated on the progress around JioPhone.
Even as the phone is effectively free, you have to pay a one-time security deposit of Rs 1,500, which will be refunded after 36-months.
The JioPhone comes with tweaked tariff plans to suit the needs of feature phone users. The company has priced the packs at Rs 153 a month, Rs 54 a week, and Rs 24 for two days. All the plans offer unlimited 4G data combined with free access to Jio apps, unlimited free calling.
Here are the key features of the Jio Phone 
The device is the first long-term evolution (LTE) ready feature phone that can also play videos using Reliance Jio apps. The phone comes pre-loaded with 22 of India's regional languages and can be operated using voice commands.
The JioPhone comes with a distress call feature that gets activated by long-pressing numeric key 5. The long-press activates the distress message and send it to selected contacts.
For customers who seek to mirror their phone screen on a television, Reliance launched a "TV-cable" that allows users to mirror their phone screen on CRT and LCD TVs. The TV cable can be used with Rs 309 Dhan Dhana Dhan.
Reliance Jio has also promised to bring near field communication (NFC) ready phone later this year that will allow users to make digital transaction on a single tap from their linked Jan Dhan account, bank account and Jio Money.
 
Amazon : A late bid for FreeCharge, offers $70-$80 million
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Amazon : A late bid for FreeCharge, offers $70-$80 million

Online ecommerce giant Amazon has made a late bid for FreeCharge, the digital payments platform owned by troubled ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal, a development that comes at a time when the Gurgaon-based company is also in discussions to sell its payments unit to Axis Bank and telecom operator Bharti Airtel's mobile wallet Airtel Money. According to two sources aware of the development, Amazon's bid is in the range of $70-$80 million (Rs 466 crore- Rs 532 crore), with a term sheet signed by the Seattle-headquartered ecommerce behemoth and Jasper Infotech, which owns and operates both Snapdeal and Free-Charge, last week. The latest set of developments comes a little over two weeks after Axis Bank, the country's third-largest private sector lender, emerged as one of the frontrunners to acquire FreeCharge for about $60-$65 million. Rival Paytm has also held talks to acquire Free-Charge, and has made a bid of $10 million. However, the sources cited above also said that not-withstanding Amazon's late, but higher bid for FreeCharge, Axis Bank remained the favourite to acquire the digital payments platform that also competes with the likes of MobiKwik. An Amazon spokesperson said: "We don't comment on rumours and speculations". A successful sale of FreeCharge will provide much-needed cash to the Snapdeal coffers, giving it critical runway of a few more months and allowing it to survive as a potentially standalone business. According to the sources, if successful in its endeavour to acquire FreeCharge, Amazon will most likely roll FreeCharge into its existing payments entity, Amazon Pay. The online retail giant, which has committed to invest $5 billion in its local operations, recently pumped Rs 130 crore more into Amazon Pay India, as reported by Times of India earlier this month, citing regulatory filings submitted to the Registrar of Companies.
Amazon India had been granted license by the Reserve Bank of India to operate a pre-paid payment instrument or wallet. The central bank issued the wallet licence in the name of Amazon Online Distribution Services, which also operates Amazon Pay that allows users to transact with offline partners of Amazon and online for Amazon's marketplace services on Amazon.in and Amazon Now.
FreeCharge was acquired by Jasper in 2015 in a cash-and-stock deal estimated at $400-450 million, in what was then the largest acquisition in the Indian startup space. However, the payments unit has been seeking a buyer for several months now, even as its parent negotiates the terms for its own sale. At one point, Jasper was eyeing a valuation of close to $1 billion for FreeCharge, as it tried to raise cash for unit, a process that began in late 2015. However, the reversal in the fortunes of Snapdeal had a drastic effect on FreeCharge, which saw the volume and value of transactions fall sharply. The company is estimated to have recorded Rs 300 crore in transaction revenue on about 12 million transactions in April. In its heyday, the payments company had forecast 7 million daily transactions and gross merchandise transactions of Rs 20,000 crore by the end of fiscal 2017.
Will 12% GST be charged for 4G handsets offered for free ?
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Will 12% GST be charged for 4G handsets offered for free ?

India's top telecom operators are likely to seek clarification from the finance ministry on whether bundled 4G handsets offered effectively for free would attract the 12% goods and services tax applicable on mobile phones. "Ideally, the government must determine the GST implications of selling a handset at zero price and provide guidance to telcos about the pros and cons of structuring similar handset bundling deals," Rajan Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators' Association of India. Reliance Industries unveiled a 4G feature phone last week that may further disrupt an already stressed telecom market. The Jio Phone comes with free voice service for life and can be obtained for Rs 1,500, which is refundable after three years if the handset is returned. Apart from the tax treatment, telcos may seek clarity on whether such financing schemes will enable operators to skip payment of licence fees and spectrum usage charges. Although telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have not subsidised handsets so far, they could offer 'a scheme similar to what is being offered by JIo,' HSBC Global Research said in a note to clients. These telcos would have, at best, 4-5 months to come up with matching bundling offers. Mobile operators, Mathews said, would definitely "look for clarity" from the finance ministry as any "potential imposition of GST on a technically free phone would increase the cost of similarly structured handset bundling offers in future." The COAI represents the country's biggest phone companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio Infocomm. "Someone can choose to offer anything for free, be it a handset or even a plot of land. But that doesn't mean the asset being offered is devoid of an imputed value, in that, the government can always go back to the company, determine a fair value of the asset and levy a tax," said a top mobile industry executive.