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Thursday, 17 October 2019

China's helicopter 'Super Great White Shark', prototype looks like a UFO

A static display at Chinese airshow of the "Super Great White Shark" stealth helicopter.
A static display at Chinese airshow of the "Super Great White Shark" stealth helicopter.
China has been unveiling a lot of new weaponry lately, but one of their latest reveals looks really, well, out of this world.
Called the "Super Great White Shark" by Chinese media, the aircraft conjures up images of 1950s sci-fi movies more than 21st century technology. But China says the "armed helicopter" was designed for the "future digital information battlefield."
State-tabloid the Global Times published an image gallery of the aircraft, calling it a fusion of modern, proven helicopter designs -- such as the American AH-64 Apache and CH-53 Sea Stallion as well as the Russian Ka-52 and Mi-26 copters. It also has the blended-wing design employed by stealth aircraft, including the US B-2 bomber.
    China Great White Shark helicopter schematic
    The Super Great White Shark is 7.6 meters (25 feet) long, almost three meters (10 feet) high and has room on board for two crew. Schematic drawings show its outer shell covers rotors and engines, which would presumably give the helicopter stealth capability because any sharp angles would be covered, making it harder for radar to detect.
    The prototype was displayed last week at the China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin. It was a static display only. The aircraft is landbound -- at least for now.
    If it does make it to the test flight stage, it wouldn't be the first UFO-inspired helicopter to get off the ground.
    Credit: CNN

    Thursday, 10 October 2019

    Uber’s newest feature alerts drivers that pets will be joining the ride

    Uber is piloting a new feature that lets U.S. riders alert drivers that a pet will be coming along, the latest effort from the company to appeal to a broader audience and become the one-stop shop for transportation, meals and other services.
    The feature, called Uber Pet, will be available beginning October 16 in Austin, Denver, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tampa Bay. Riders will pay for the privilege of taking their pets with them through what Uber describes as a “small surcharge.” And drivers will have the option of avoiding trips with non-service animals by opting out of Uber Pet trips in the driver preferences menu in the app.
    Uber says it will pay drivers “a significant portion of that surcharge,” on top of their standard trip earnings.
    The company emphasized that Uber Pet does not replace their service animal policy. Riders with service animals are not expected or required to use Uber Pet, and can select from any number of ride options without paying the surcharge.
    Instead, Uber Pet was designed for riders who are pet or non-service animal owners. Uber expects cats and dogs will be the most common animals on Uber Pet trips.
    Uber Pet is another example of the company making efforts to become the app behind every aspect of its users’ lives, namely through transportation and meal delivery. Uber unveiled last month a number of changes across its products designed to achieve that very goal.
    “We want to be the operating system for your everyday life,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at the time. “A one-click gateway to everything that Uber can offer you.”
    Credit: Techcrunch

    John Goodenough, 97-year-old Chemist becomes oldest Nobel Prize winner



    97-year-old John Goodenough becomes oldest Nobel Prize winner
    John Goodenough has won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. 

    The 97-year-old Chemist and his team members were awarded the prize for their work on developing rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which are used in everything from smartphones to pacemakers.

    The Cockrell School of Engineering Professor at The University of Texas became the oldest Nobel laureate following the announcement made in the early hours of Wednesday October 9.  A share of the nine million Swedish Kroner (£740,000) prize money has been awarded to the winners by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 

    The Nobels are considered to be among the most prestigious prizes in the world and have been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden since 1901. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Goodenough and other members of his team will receive a medal, cash prize and diploma at a ceremony in Stockholm in December.

    Scientists from Australia, find 'cure' for cervical cancer in mice - and it could be tested in humans by 2024

    In a huge world first, scientists have discovered a ‘cure’ for cervical cancer in mice.

    Researchers from Griffith University used gene-editing technology called CRISPR to cure the disease - and believe the same technology could be used to treat cervical cancer in humans.
    Professor Nigel McMillan, who led the study, said: “This is the first cure for any cancer using this technology.”
    In the study, the team used CRISPR-Cas9 to target and treat cervical cancer tumours via injection, using ‘stealth’ nanoparticles.
    CRISPR-Cas9 is a powerful gene-editing tool that can be used to cut away precise elements of DNA.
    Professor McMillan explained: “The nanoparticles search out the cancer-causing gene in cancer cells and ‘edit it’ by introducing some extra DNA that causes the gene to be misread and stop being made.
    “This is like adding a few extra letters into a word, so the spell checker doesn’t recognise it ‘anyTTmore’. Because the cancer must have this gene to produce, once edited the cancer dies.
    “In our study, the treated mice have 100% survival and no tumours.
    "The mice showed no other clinical signs such as inflammation from treatment but there may be other gene changes we haven’t measured yet.
    “Other cancers can be treated once we know the right genes.”
    While the findings are undoubtedly exciting, it’s important to note that the technology has only been tested on mice so far, and it remains unclear if it will have the same effect in humans.
    Despite this, the researchers say that they’re working towards human trials of the gene therapy ‘in the next five years.’

    Six elephants die after falling into waterfall in Thailand

    Six wild elephants have died after falling into a waterfall at the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.
    Two others were saved in the incident on Saturday at the Haew Narok Waterfall in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, officials said.
    Representative image© Gilitukha Representative imageThe dead elephants included a three-year old calf, said park chief Kanchit Srinoppawan. The waterfall has been closed temporarily following the incident.
    "It was an accident. We have often seen this happening," National Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa told Reuters.
    Slide 1 of 12: Baby elephant showing affection to it's mother, Masai Mara, Kenya
    There are around 300 wild elephants in the park, which covers more than 2,000 square km (772 square miles) of forest and grassland. It is home to various wild animals, including bears, elephants and gibbons, and is a popular destination for tourists.
    Source: Reuters

    Wednesday, 2 October 2019

    Tech: Nigeria 3D animated cartoon Malika was recently screened in Lagos, Nigeria at the 9th comic con.

    Nigeria 3D animated cartoon
    The long-awaited 3D animated cartoon; Malika was recently screened in Lagos, Nigeria at the 9th comic con. Malika, which is inspired by the warrior, Queen Amina of Northern Nigeria won wars while leading her people.
    Like other super hero cartoons, Nigerians had desired that stories from history be made into cartoons and films to showcase stories to the world and for children to easily learn about Africa.
    The screening of the cartoon was the first of its kind in the animation industry.
    The comic con was organized to bring arist and lovers of comic together while motivating them to do new things in the industry.
    Based on the concept, it was mad and it was interesting. I wasn’t really expecting that from a Nigerian as a whole; expecting them to put something like that and using our tradition in creating comics, making it blend and making it feel like wow! This is lovely, this is nice,” said Sarah, creative art student.
    “Its a great start, I say a jumpstart towards what we could be achieving. It was really nice. I see a lot of potential for Malika to be bigger. It was really, really amazing,” said Edna, a web comic content creator.
    The animation which was done to meet a near standard of Disney posed a little challenge but didn’t deter the animators from achieving their goals
    Despite the challenges facing the animation
    industry, project head animator said animated short film was a winning battle.
    “It was for sure a winning battle because it wasn’t just an easy battle because we had to battle the clothe simulation, the hair simulation, the rendering, lightning also we had to render online because we couldn’t render in house,” added Eri Umusu, project head animator.
    This yearly pop culture event started in 2012 and have come a long way forming partnership with companies.
    Source: Africannews

    Tourism: Japan and Singapore have world’s most powerful passports

    Singapore and Japan have topped a ranking of the world’s strongest passports.
    The two Asian countries both offer access to 190 destinations without needing a visa in advance.
    Compiled by residence and citizenship planning company Henley & Partners, the Henley Passport Index ranks all the world’s passports based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the firm’s research department.
    a stack of flyers on a table© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited
    The quarterly index primarily rates travel documents based on how many countries they allow access too, either visa-free or by only needing to get a visa on arrival (rather than in advance).
    With a score of 188, Finland, Germany, and South Korea remain in second place; while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg are in third place, with citizens now able to access 187 destinations worldwide without requiring a visa in advance.
    The UK takes joint sixth place with the US – the lowest position either country has held since 2010 – with a score of 184.
    One of the most dramatic shifts has been the UAE’s position in the rankings; the Middle Eastern nation has climbed five places since last quarter and 46 places over the past decade, thanks to recently gaining access to a slew of African countries, including South Africa. It now sits in 15th place with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 172.
    Former Soviet states have also vastly improved over the last decade: Ukraine and Moldova have both climbed 19 places, while Georgia has jumped 16.
    Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the ranking, in 107th place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 25, followed by Iraq (27) and Syria (29).
    The index is about more than just hassle-free travel, according to Henley & Partners.
    “Our ongoing research has shown that when we talk about ‘passport power’, we are discussing more than simply the destinations a holder can travel to without acquiring a visa in advance,” said Dr Christian H Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index.
    “Often, there is a strong correlation between visa freedom and other benefits such as business and investment freedom, independence of the judiciary, fiscal health, and property rights.”

    World's most powerful passports

    1. Singapore
    1. Japan
    2. Finland
    2. Germany
    2. South Korea
    3. Denmark
    3. Italy
    3. Luxembourg
    4. France
    4. Sweden
    4. Spain
    5. Austria
    5. Netherlands
    5. Portugal

    Least powerful passports

    107. Afghanistan
    106. Iraq
    105. Syria
    104. Somalia
    104. Pakistan
    103. Yemen
    Henley Passport Index for each Country
    Japan
    1
     
    190
    Singapore
    1
     
    190
    South Korea
    2
     
    188
    Germany
    2
     
    188
    Finland
    2
     
    188
    Denmark
    3
     
    187
    Italy
    3
     
    187
    Luxembourg
    3
     
    187
    France
    4
     
    186
    Sweden
    4
     
    186
    Spain
    4
     
    186
    Austria
    5
     
    185
    Netherlands
    5
     
    185
    Portugal
    5
     
    185
    Norway
    6
     
    184
    Switzerland
    6
     
    184
    United Kingdom
    6
     
    184
    United States
    6
     
    184
    Belgium
    6
     
    184
    Canada
    6
     
    184
    Greece
    6
     
    184
    Ireland
    6
     
    184
    Czech Republic
    7
     
    183
    Malta
    7
     
    183
    New Zealand
    8
     
    182
    Australia
    9
     
    181
    Lithuania
    9
     
    181
    Slovakia
    9
     
    181
    Iceland
    10
     
    180
    Hungary
    10
     
    180
    Latvia
    10
     
    180
    Slovenia
    10
     
    180
    Estonia
    11
     
    179
    Malaysia
    12
     
    177
    Liechtenstein
    12
     
    177
    Chile
    13
     
    174
    Poland
    13
     
    174
    Monaco
    14
     
    173
    Cyprus
    14
     
    173
    United Arab Emirates
    15
     
    172
    Romania
    16
     
    171
    Brazil
    17
     
    170
    Argentina
    17
     
    170
    Bulgaria
    17
     
    170
    Hong Kong (SAR China)
    18
     
    168
    Croatia
    18
     
    168
    San Marino
    19
     
    167
    Andorra
    20
     
    166
    Brunei
    21
     
    165
    Israel
    22
     
    159
    Barbados
    22
     
    159
    Mexico
    23
     
    158
    Bahamas
    24
     
    154
    St. Kitts and Nevis
    24
     
    154
    Uruguay
    25
     
    153
    Seychelles
    26
     
    151
    Costa Rica
    27
     
    150
    Antigua and Barbuda
    28
     
    149
    Trinidad and Tobago
    29
     
    148
    Vatican City
    29
     
    148
    Mauritius
    30
     
    146
    Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)
    31
     
    145
    St. Lucia
    31
     
    145
    St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    31
     
    145
    Grenada
    32
     
    142
    Paraguay
    32
     
    142
    Macao (SAR China)
    33
     
    141
    Panama
    34
     
    140
    Dominica
    35
     
    137
    Peru
    36
     
    135
    El Salvador
    37
     
    134
    Honduras
    37
     
    134
    Venezuela
    38
     
    132
    Guatemala
    38
     
    132
    Serbia
    39
     
    131
    Samoa
    39
     
    131
    Solomon Islands
    40
     
    130
    Vanuatu
    40
     
    130
    Nicaragua
    41
     
    128
    Tuvalu
    42
     
    127
    Ukraine
    43
     
    126
    Colombia
    43
     
    126
    Tonga
    44
     
    125
    North Macedonia
    45
     
    123
    Marshall Islands
    46
     
    122
    Kiribati
    46
     
    122
    Montenegro
    46
     
    122
    Moldova
    47
     
    119
    Micronesia
    47
     
    119
    Palau Islands
    47
     
    119
    Russian Federation
    48
     
    117
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    49
     
    116
    Georgia
    50
     
    114
    Albania
    51
     
    113
    Turkey
    52
     
    112
    South Africa
    53
     
    100
    Belize
    54
     
    99
    Timor-Leste
    55
     
    95
    Kuwait
    56
     
    93
    Qatar
    57
     
    92
    Ecuador
    58
     
    91
    Fiji
    59
     
    88
    Guyana
    60
     
    87
    Nauru
    60
     
    87
    Maldives
    61
     
    84
    Jamaica
    61
     
    84
    Papua New Guinea
    62
     
    83
    Botswana
    62
     
    83
    Bahrain
    63
     
    81
    Oman
    64
     
    79
    Suriname
    65
     
    78
    Bolivia
    65
     
    78
    Thailand
    66
     
    77
    Namibia
    67
     
    76
    Belarus
    68
     
    75
    Kazakhstan
    68
     
    75
    Lesotho
    69
     
    74
    Saudi Arabia
    69
     
    74
    Eswatini (Swaziland)
    70
     
    73
    Malawi
    71
     
    72
    China
    72
     
    71
    Kenya
    72
     
    71
    Indonesia
    73
     
    70
    Zambia
    73
     
    70
    Gambia
    74
     
    69
    Tanzania
    75
     
    68
    Tunisia
    75
     
    68
    Azerbaijan
    76
     
    66
    Cape Verde Islands
    76
     
    66
    Uganda
    76
     
    66
    Philippines
    77
     
    65
    Cuba
    77
     
    65
    Ghana
    77
     
    65
    Dominican Republic
    78
     
    64
    Zimbabwe
    78
     
    64
    Sierra Leone
    79
     
    63
    Kyrgyzstan
    80
     
    62
    Benin
    80
     
    62
    Mongolia
    80
     
    62
    Morocco
    80
     
    62
    Armenia
    81
     
    60
    Mozambique
    81
     
    60
    Sao Tome and Principe
    81
     
    60
    India
    82
     
    59
    Mauritania
    83
     
    58
    Burkina Faso
    83
     
    58
    Tajikistan
    84
     
    57
    Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
    84
     
    57
    Rwanda
    84
     
    57
    Uzbekistan
    85
     
    56
    Guinea
    85
     
    56
    Gabon
    85
     
    56
    Senegal
    86
     
    55
    Togo
    86
     
    55
    Mali
    87
     
    54
    Niger
    87
     
    54
    Guinea-Bissau
    87
     
    54
    Madagascar
    87
     
    54
    Cambodia
    88
     
    53
    Chad
    88
     
    53
    Comores Islands
    88
     
    53
    Bhutan
    89
     
    52
    Equatorial Guinea
    89
     
    52
    Turkmenistan
    90
     
    51
    Vietnam
    90
     
    51
    Central African Republic
    90
     
    51
    Algeria
    91
     
    50
    Laos
    92
     
    49
    Haiti
    92
     
    49
    Jordan
    92
     
    49
    Angola
    92
     
    49
    Egypt
    92
     
    49
    Cameroon
    92
     
    49
    Liberia
    93
     
    48
    Burundi
    93
     
    48
    Congo (Rep.)
    94
     
    47
    Myanmar
    95
     
    46
    Nigeria
    95
     
    46
    Djibouti
    95
     
    46
    Sri Lanka
    96
     
    43
    Congo (Dem. Rep.)
    97
     
    42
    Ethiopia
    97
     
    42
    South Sudan
    97
     
    42
    Kosovo
    98
     
    41
    Iran
    99
     
    40
    Bangladesh
    99
     
    40
    Eritrea
    99
     
    40
    North Korea
    100
     
    39
    Lebanon
    100
     
    39
    Nepal
    101
     
    38
    Libya
    102
     
    37
    Palestinian Territory
    102
     
    37
    Sudan
    102
     
    37
    Yemen
    103
     
    33
    Pakistan
    104
     
    31
    Somalia
    104
     
    31
    Syria
    105
     
    29
    Iraq
    106
     
    27
    Afghanistan