Manuel Scarborough

Manuel Scarborough

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US
A study out of England's Coventry University, in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society, has focused on the seriousness and complexity of common injuries related to gardening, landscaping, and other labor-intensive agricultural tasks in hopes of determining preferred techniques for accomplishing the jobs while promoting safer behavior.Toward this end, James Shippen, Paul Alexander, and Barbara May showcased some very modern methods in their article "A Novel Biomechanical Analysis of Horticultural Digging" published in the current issue of HortTechnology.The RHS and Coventry University employed equipment usually used in the production of animated Hollywood films to very accurately measure the movement of gardeners undertaking routine tasks; for example digging and shoveling, from which they calculated the loads and torques occurring within the bones, joints and muscles.The analysis of an array of these tasks was the yield of a cooperative effort of a team comprised of horticulturists who provided a list of activities that have generated personal injuries and physiotherapists who examined the degree to which these activities are inherently harmful to a normal and healthy human body.It was found that bad posture could increase loads by 50 percent in the lower back--and double on the shoulders--leaving people susceptible to chronic injuries.The 3D optical tracking equipment involved attaching reflective "ping pong-sized" balls at key anatomical locations on the gardeners and then surrounding them with high-resolution, high-speed infra-red cameras.
US
Amazon on Friday announced that it has raised the price of its Prime membership program for those who subscribe on a month-to-month basis.The plan previously cost $10.99 a month, but it will now cost $12.99 a month.That means the price of subscribing to the monthly Prime plan for a full year has jumped 18 percent, from $131.88 to $155.88.The e-commerce giant said it has also raised the rate of its cheaper Prime plan for students from $5.49 a month to $6.49 a month.Amazon’s annual Prime plan will remain at its usual $99, keeping it a significantly better deal for those who can afford to pay the full fee upfront.In an emailed statement, an Amazon representative suggested the bump was due to the ongoing increase in items eligible for Prime’s expedited shipping perks, as well as the growing amount of content in Prime Video:
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This year’s CES wasn’t the biggest in terms of photography announcements, but a few companies paved the way, launching new and exciting products.Here’s a round-up of the best photo gear we came across at this CES 2018.Sony’s RX0 camera is already a compact, versatile camera, but Sony upped the ante with a new control box announced at CES.This new control box will offer the unique ability to easily sync multiple cameras together for multiple shot and bullet-time capture modes, features Sony touted months ago with the RX0 was first released.Check out our initial coverage to read all of the details on the RX0 updates.Yuneec might not have the name recognition of DJI, but it is an equally impressive force in the drone industry, putting out comparative drones at a much lower price point that its Mavic-making buddies at DJI.
US
In only a few years, efficiencies of perovskite solar cells have been raised from 3 per cent to more than 20 per cent.What is more, the material is inexpensive and easy to process, promising a great future for photovoltaics.Unfortunately, there are still some issues, for instance with their nominal operating life: Conversion efficiencies decrease sharply when the material is exposed to UV radiation and electric field, as is the case in real operating conditions.Now, Dr. Antonio Abate, head of a Helmholtz Young Investigators Group at HZB and Prof. Allessio Gagliardi, TU Munich, have published new results on the influence of the architecture of perovskite cells on their nominal operating life in the Journal ACS Energy Letters.The scientists explored different architectures of perovskite cells, preparing them under identical conditions using metal-oxide electron transport layers (ETL) such as TiO2 and SnO2.One group of cells had a planar interface between perovskite and ETL, whereas in the other one a mesoporous interface was built up, intermingling perovskite and metal oxide to form a sponge like structure that contains a huge number of extremely tiny pores.
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As part of that, it will commit $55 billion this year alone and plans on adding 20,000 new jobs over that time frame.Following in the footsteps of Amazon, it also plans to add a new campus somewhere in the U.S. this year.Let’s start with the big-picture investment of $350 billion, which Apple says does not include ongoing tax payments, the tax revenues generated from employees’ wages or the sale of Apple products.For starters, there will be $30 billion, which will help fund a number of projects, including building the aforementioned new campus.The plan is for this to initially house technical support for customers.Apple says it will announce the location of this new facility later this year, with a plan to make the building run on 100 percent renewable energy sources.
UK
Google has made more investments in submarine cables, sinking money into three due to come online in 2019.First up is the Curie Cable System, which will link the United States and Chile.This one's all Google's: the company says it will “control the design and construction process”, so when the cable is in service it can “make routing decisions that optimise for latency and availability”.Google hasn't stipulated the number of fibres or lit capacity for Curie, but said it will be the first new cable to land in Chile in the last 20 years.The cable will have a branching point for a possible future connection to Panama.A new trans-Atlantic cable, Havfrue – Danish for mermaid – will connect the US to Denmark and Ireland.
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UK
The cryptocurrency market is going through a rough patch, but as devoted hodlers often say – there is no better time to enter the market than buying the dip.But if you happen to be too lazy to do your own research, there might be an easier way to make your first investment.CBlocks is a new service that aims to lower the cryptocurrency entry barrier by choosing what coins to buy for you.The company essentially picks five random currencies from the top 300 on CoinMarketCap, buys them from one of the many exchange desks it works with, and then ships them to your address on a USB wallet.It is sort of like a mystery box, but for crypto.What is particularly nifty is that CBlocks also includes a sheet of paper with information about the five coins you’ve received, so you can get familiar with the technology behind them.
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Cloud services are moving from the initial “we’re doing it because everyone else is” state to a more cautious, planned migration, one where IT departments have done a careful assessment of their needs and determined what to move to the cloud and what will stay on-premises.Getting there takes some hard lessons.A study by IDG Research found that as much as 40 percent of workloads moved off the cloud and back to an on-premises setting.That’s because companies had the mistaken notion that they could move to the cloud and continue to operate like they could in their on-premises environment, when that is not the case.Start with the basics: What is cloud computing?Everything you need to know now.
China
Google Pixel smartphones have had a fair share of issues since its arrival about four months ago.There has been series of complaints which include a burn-in on the OLED panel, screen flash when the phone is unlocked, faulty USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter, unresponsive screen edges and a faint buzzing sound during calls.A rapid shift in colors is familiar with OLED displays under certain conditions, but the Pixel 2 XL display panel made by LG exhibited it to a significant degree.Now, reports have it that this problem is not consistent with all units of this smartphone.Vlad Savov from The Verge confirmed that he has two units and while one exhibited this problem, the other did not.Since there is no official confirmation that some units were fixed and others were not, it appears that this issue originates from OLED panel lottery.
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The early success of social VR apps like Rec Room and Altspace show us that social VR ventures need to focus on key drivers of human behavior as much as they focus on engineering and 3D UX design.Moreover, the rise and subsequent stagnation of Pokémon Go demonstrate the consequences of ignoring our innate desire to create and share with the communities that matter to us.Empower users to make meaningful choicesThe first time anyone demos a HoloLens or Oculus Rift, they’re often astounded at a gut level by the experience of being in an immersive environment for the first time.However, the novelty can quickly wear off and leave new users disillusioned by the dearth compelling content in the marketplace.After all, without strong user retention, it’s impossible to build a social platform in any medium.
US
The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the state of South Dakota’s argument that a 26-year-old tax-related ruling be overturned, which could free state and local governments to collect billions in internet sales tax, according to a report today from Bloomberg.The 1992 ruling, from Quill v. North Dakota, centered on a mail-order business and inadvertently set a far-reaching precedent for e-commerce companies by only allowing states to collect sales tax from businesses with a “physical presence” in a given state.Critics of the ruling have long decried the clause by saying it makes no sense in the age of Amazon and internet e-commerce, and that it disadvantages brick-and-mortar retailers and state and local governments.South Dakota passed a law two years ago with the intention of overturning the ruling by demanding retailers with more than $100,000 in annual sales pay a 4.5 percent tax on all sales.The state government then filed suit to have the case heard by the higher courts, in an effort to get the measure deemed constitutional by way of overturning Quill v. North Dakota.“States’ inability to effectively collect sales tax from internet sellers imposes crushing harm on state treasuries and brick-and-mortar retailers alike,” South Dakota argued in its appeal to the Supreme Court, which this week agreed to take up the case.
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China
Google Assistant is one of the most popular products of CES 2018 launched on many devices including headphones, speakers, and many Android TVs.But Google decided to go further and announced a new type of products coming with this feature, smart displays.A few much-popular brands such as Lenovo, JBL, Sony, and LG promise to come in with such devices later this year.LG became the first among them by launching the LG ThinQ WK9 smart speaker with an 8-inch touchscreen.Generally, the smart speaker is similar to the existing Assistant smart speakers.But unlike them, the smart speakers display contextual information on the screen according to verbal responses.
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Researchers have found a batch of over 60 malware-carrying apps in Google's Play Store designed to rob mobile users or show them pornography, all with a kid-friendly theme.The malware, dubbed AdultSwine by security shop Check Point, was found in apps like "Drawing Lessons Lego Star Wars", "Fidget spinner for Minecraft" and "Spinner Toy for Slither", along with a large number of Android games.The apps were downloaded between three and seven million times before the infection was caught.One father complained to Google that the software had exposed his four-year-old son to "a bunch of thilthy (sic) hardcore porn pictures".AdultSwine offers a three-pronged approach to the operator.It can throw up a fake virus warning screen and get the user to download cleaning software that would more effectively pwn the phone, trick people into sending premium SMS messages with the offer to win a prize or just throw up websites aimed at the amateur gynecologist.
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Robots are a contentious topic these days.Some people worry about their capacity to erase jobs (or even humanity), others view them as the latest tool in mankind’s quest to make life and labor easier.The iPal will surely appeal to proponents of the latter view.It’s an adorable, childlike robot built to aid some of the most vulnerable members of society: children and the elderly.At CES 2018, Digital Trends spoke to John Ostrem, co-founder of Avatarmind, the company behind the iPal, in order to understand what lies behind its cute facade.“It’s a fully functional, humanoid robot with lots of sensors, features, and a number of applications that we’re focusing on,” Ostrem said.
US
Netflix has stormed ahead in the latest set of viewing figures which now show that more people now stream content via it than they do via BBC iPlayer.Analysis of the viewing patterns of 200,000 British Freesat users found that while the BBC’s catch-up service can still boast significantly more viewers over the year as a whole Netflix customers used the rival platform more regularly.In numbers this saw BBC iPlayer’s daily Freesat audience share fall from 2.07% to 1.99% at the same time as Netflix jumped from 2.12% to 2.91%.This corresponds with a slight decline in the proportion of viewers watching iPlayer from 8.27% to 8.1% while Netflix rose from 4.6% to 6.17%.The subscription service has enjoyed a year of growth on the back of hit content such as The Crown and Stranger Things which have enticed growing numbers of viewers to cough up as much as £9.99 a month for the privilege.Analysts caution however that most BBC viewers still get their fix via traditional broadcasts while Freesat is just one of many avenues open to people who wish to avail themselves of streaming content.
UK
A neutron star or a massive black hole may be the source of mysterious and highly energetic radio pulses that light up skies across the universe.A paper published on Wednesday in Nature describes a particular fast radio burst (FRB) source.Scientists have spied about 30 FRBs so far, but FRB 121102 is the only signal source that is known to repeat.Located three billion light years away in a dwarf galaxy, the burst's source packs a mighty punch.It can apparently release 10 million trillion trillion joules of energy in less than a millisecond during a single pulse.Scientists have been racking their brains ever since to figure out what could be powering this unusual event.
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The Aibo by Sony has been revived in time for CES 2018, and it’s quite a return.You see, this version of the Sony Aibo has far more artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors baked into it than the previous model, so much so that Sony has angled it around simulating an untrained dog.For those keeping score, that’s three touch sensors (one on the back, the top of the head and under the chin), two cameras (front for image recognition; rear for simultaneous localization and mapping), one Time of Flight (ToF) sensor for proximity detection, an illuminance sensor to sense your presence from behind, four microphones and a motion detector.All of that, within an adorable, Rankin and Bass-looking design, will cost less than $2,000 (about £1,479, AU$2,500) in the US when it launches later this year, FCC approvals permitting.While we weren’t personally able to interact with an Aibo on the CES show floor, we witnessed it in action from behind a protective wire.The robot responds to commands, like “sit” and “speak” (with adorable little motions and sounds, mind you) with varying accuracy depending on how well it’s been trained.
US
The Hunter Fan company has been around for as long as fans have existed — literally.When founders John and James Hunter invented the ceiling fan back in 1886, they revolutionized home décor and comfort.Since then, Hunter Fans has made it its mission to find new ways to improve on the original model.Enter the Simpleonnect ceiling fan.This line of smart fans is pushing the definition of what it means to own a ceiling fan.Wi-Fi enabled and compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Hunter’s in-house app, Simpleconnect fans save you energy by working with your thermostat to optimize the temperature in your home and by using fan power only when you need it.
US
Here's everything you need to know about Open Banking.Some do plug directly into the banks but these are direct deals negotiated between startups and banks.There are two main strands to Open Banking: a piece of EU legislation — the second payment services directive (PSD2); and the "Open Banking" project specifically spearheaded by the UK's Competition and Market Authority (CMA).Both have forced the UK's "Big Nine" banks —Barclays, Lloyds, Santander, RBS, HSBC, Danske, Bank of Ireland, Nationwide, and Allied Irish Bank — to open up customer data to third parties.Credit card companies and other payment service providers, such as prepaid cards, will also have to share data eventually under PSD2 rules, although the timescale here is longer.An investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority in 2015 found just 3% of customers switched their banks in the last year, meaning many were left with accounts that were not right for them.
US
The mating dance of the male superb bird of paradise is like nothing else on Earth.To win the affection of a female, he forms a sort of satellite dish with his body, revealing an entrancing band of blue.Other species of birds of paradise may vary in their plumage and tactics, but they share something remarkable: their black feathers.OK, maybe not remarkable at first glance, but a study out today in the journal Nature Communications reveals that those feathers absorb 99.95 percent of light.That’s nearly none more black, and virtually identical to the 99.965 percent of light that Vantablack, the world’s darkest artificial substance, can absorb.That’s because unlike your typical bird feather, which is more or less neatly structured with branches that branch off of branches, kind of like a fractal, the bird of paradise feather looks like an irregular forest of trees (see the image below for a comparison).
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