Category Archives: Technology

Mission Abort: ISS in Danger of Being Abandoned

On Thursday, a Soyuz rocket carrying an American and a Russian had to abort its mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station after the rocket suffered a failure that resulted in an emergency landing.

Astronauts Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Hague were the men who made the emergency landing. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, both men were very calm in the moment.  Bridenstine did have one communication issue with the astronauts as Hague was speaking in Russian to Bridenstine.

The International Space Station

The rocket, which was meant to go to the International Space Station, failed only two minutes after launch. The capsule fell at an altitude of 31 miles, which caused the men to experience gravitational forces 6-7 times the amount felt on Earth.

The failed attempt was the first manned mission for Russia in nearly three decades, although Russia has had to deal with failed missions involving unmanned missions.

Investigators are looking into why the spacecraft failed. Bridenstine has stated another mission, which involves taking a crew to the ISS in December, may be delayed.

The current crew at ISS which includes an American, a Russian, and a German, is scheduled to leave the space station in December. They could stay at the ISS until next year if needed, according to a Russian official.

If a crew cannot be brought to the ISS by the time the current crew leaves, the ISS may be abandoned for the time period.  That would be the first time since its launch in 1998. The ISS is expected to be fully operational until 2028.

Michael May Be Over But Devastation Lies Throughout US

Just days after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida, residents are returning to what is left of their homes. Here are the latest updates on the storm that damaged the East Coast.

Hurricane Michael was originally going to be a strong category 3 hurricane. By the time it hit Florida, Michael was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, with a pressure of 919 mbar and winds of 155 mph. This hurricane was only 2 mph away from a category 5, which is the most powerful hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

As of Saturday, 19 people were killed directly because of the hurricane and tropical storm. That number includes 6 that were killed in Virginia. The most notable death was Lt. Brad Clark of  Hanover County Fire Department and EMS. Lt. Clark, 43, and three other firefighters who survived were responding to an accident on I295 when a vehicle, driven by Lester Labarge of California, Maryland, crashed into the firetruck, killing Lt. Clark and injuring two others. Labarge, 49, has been charged with reckless driving and cited with defective brakes according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

As for the currently low death rate, the areas that were hit in Florida have a low population compared to Katrina, which made landfall in New Orleans in 2005.

As for Florida, the recovery process has just begun for the Sunshine State. People have started to pick up the pieces of their lives as they fight to get food and water. The Florida National Guard and numerous volunteer groups have been trying to provide as much water and food as possible, while the rebuild has not started yet. Florida Governor and Senate candidate Rick Scott calls the area hit hardest by Michael “a war zone.”

The hardest hit areas in Florida are Bay County and Mexico Beach. According to the head of FEMA, Brock Long, those areas are not safe to return to as of now and won’t be safe to return to for a while.

If you want to help with the Michael recovery efforts in Florida, the American Red Cross, World Hope International, and many other organizations have set up web pages so you can donate.

 

Google+ to Shut Down After User Data was Exposed

In 2011, Google launched a social media site called Google+ to challenge Facebook which was the number one social media site and one of the few out there. Google wanted in on the social media craze. Unfortunately for Google, nobody wanted or liked Google+ which made the decision easier when Google+ was hacked just recently.

Google+ is no longer available to public users; photo from stockio.com
Google+ is no longer available to public users; photo from stockio.com

Alphabet Inc. the parent company of Google announced on Monday that they will be shuting down the consumer verison of Google+ and tighting the data sharing policies after it was announced that over 500,000 users may have been exposed to hundreds of developers outside of Alphabet.

The issue involving Google+ was found and patched as a part of a review on how Google shares data with other applications and companies. No developer exploited the open data according to Google in their findings.

Alphabet Inc. stock only went down 1 percent to $1155.92 and this comes after numerous tech companies in the U.S. have had to deal with privacy issues.

For the reason on why the leak was announced to the public, Google had fears of the disclosure of the leak would be compared to Facebook’s leak of user info to Cambridge Analytica.

As for Google+ which was created in 2011 as more or less a copy of Facebook, it will no longer be offered to users as a social media platform but it will remain as an internal networking option for businesses who buy Google’s G-Suite.

As precaution that Google is taking is that they will no longer allow Play Store apps to access text messages and call logs unless they are the default calling or texting app on a user’s device or have the prior permission of Google.

What If We Only Used Wind Energy?

It has become common knowledge of the lack of sustainability in humanity’s current answers to meeting energy needs. Eventually, we as a species will run out of those resources upon which we rely. For this reason, scientists have been looking for renewable resources that work, and would provide the world with a cleaner, more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Among these ideas, wind power has done very well for us in certain areas. However, on its own, even a resource as plentiful as wind may not help us.

A study done by Harvard University applied physicists, Lee Miller and David Keith, found that if the United States was able to produce 0.46 terawatts of electric power (the amount currently used) using just wind turbines, that area would be much warmer than normal.

Miller and Keith were able to do this study using a parallel world between the years of 2012-2014. They made the central United States as location of the 0.46 terawatt wind farm.  They found that the center of where the huge wind farm would be, the temperatures would rise as much as 1 degree Celsius or about 2 or 3  degrees Fahrenheit give or take. The temperature in the United States would rise 0.24 degrees which is would about a 1 degree Fahrenheit increase. The 0.24 figure is figure of our current rise temperatures. By 2030, the United States’ average temperature would have risen 0.24 degree Celsius.

Wind turbines peek above the low clouds, providing clean, renewable energy and a path forward… but even they can’t be the only way to a sustainable tomorrow.

To put into perspective how wind turbines could affect something as drastic as the weather, turbines alter the climate by increasing the atmospheric mixing that is within the boundary layer–the layer of our atmosphere just above the Earth’s surface. Numerous turbines would pull the warmer air from the boundary layer’s upper part down towards the cooler air.

The turbines would also redistribute moisture and heat. According to another recent study featured in Science News, it was found that a wind farm with the amount of terawatts required by the United States could result in more precipitation and vegetation in the Sahara Desert itself.

In the end, the temperature rise with the wind farm would be spontaneous, but it would still take a century to even see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to even counteract the rise in heat from the turbines.

While this study scenario is very unlikely, getting rid of fossil fuels altogether would need a mixture of wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources (and maybe even nuclear), and as we all know, a reduction in fossil fuels would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

While having a single massive wind farm may answer the call for better renewable energy sources, it is ofttimes worth taking a step back to see if something new could be even more disastrous than the status quo. While wind energy may not be a singular savior, it nonetheless will continue to help in humanity’s way towards a greener tomorrow.

Breached! Nearly 50 Million Facebook Accounts Affected

Another day, another set of Facebook accounts that have been breached.

facebook

It has not been a good year for Mark Zuckerberg or for his creation. Friday was no exception as Facebook announced that as many as 50 million accounts were breached in an attack on one of the most popular social media sites.

The breach was discovered by Facebook earlier this week and since then has been patched. This patch was to stop attackers from taking over any user accounts.

The attackers were able find an area of code that was vulnerable to an attack. This impacted the “View As” feature, which allows users to compare their profile to another person’s profile. This allowed for the attackers to steal access tokens and use them to take over user accounts.

Those tokens are more or less a key that allows for users to stay logged in to their accounts, which is very beneficial so they do not have to login every time to use their account. This is unlike MyRU accounts, which require you to login every time you use them.

After the breach was found, Facebook shut down the access keys of over 90 million users, which included the 50 million users that were breached and another 40 million that were subjected to “View As” searches within the past year. Guy Rosen, the vice president of product management, made that announcement to USA Today.

All of those users will have to log back in, but according to Facebook, there is no need for anyone to worry about changing their passwords.

Zuckerberg said in a conference call to reporters, “We are taking it really seriously.” Zuckerberg also went on to say, “I am glad we found this, but it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”

This incident for Facebook is another chapter to a year that they would want to forget since they have to deal with the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the supposed Russian meddling campaign in the 2016 elections.

SEC Seeks the Removal of Elon Musk From Tesla CEO Role

Elon Musk just can not catch a break this year. The SEC has decided to charge him with lying and recklessly misleading the public due to a tweet on Twitter. And no, the SEC is not just a college football conference.

Elon Musk is facing trouble once again and this time, it could force him out from Tesla; photo from time.com
Elon Musk is facing trouble once again and this time, it could force him out from Tesla; photo from time.com

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking the removal of Musk from his role as CEO of Tesla after a tweet in August in which he claimed that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla, a car company, private.

The SEC holds the primary responsibility of enforcing all federal securities laws, proposing them, and regulating them. A lot of their focus leads to the stock market and making sure it is fair for everyone.

This civil lawsuit, which was filed in New York City on Thursday, could lead to tremendous losses for Tesla and the forced removal of Musk from the CEO role.

The SEC claims in their lawsuit against Musk that “he had not discussed, much less confirmed, any key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source.”

Besides the normal fines that could be imposed, the SEC has asked the federal court to block Musk from being able to run a public company, which could lead to him being removed from Tesla.

Stephanie Avakian, the co-director of SEC’s Division of Enforcement said at a press conference, “We allege that Musk’s statements were false and misleading because they lacked any basis in fact.”

Musk has not had a good year with Tesla or in the public eye. He is currently in another lawsuit against a British diver for libel and slander after Musk called the diver a “pedo” on Twitter. This was after the diver questioned the efforts of Musk during the successful rescue of a Thai boys soccer team in Thailand.

Maybe a good suggestion for a smart man like Musk would be for him to just delete Twitter.

Sony Cancels PlayStation Experience for 2018

After a very quiet E3 from Sony on the PlayStation side of things, it was announced that there will not be a PlayStation Experience for 2018, at least in the United States.

No PSX for PlayStation fans this year leaves questions; photo from kotaku.com
No PSX for PlayStation fans this year leaves questions; photo from kotaku.com

Shawn Layden, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) Worldwide Studios chairman made the announcement. His reasoning behind the decision was that he believed they would not be able to live up to the expectations of a high-profile media event with not much to show.

Layden said on the PlayStation Blogcast that with the focus on the recent and successful release of Spider-Man and the future releases of games like Dreams and Days Gone, there was no way there would be enough people from North America to appear for the event.

Sony has had a very successful year with games like God-Of-War, which broke Sony’s game sales record with 3.1 million copies sold within the first three days of release. This record would not last for long as Spider-Man would break the record with 3.3 million copies sold.

However, at E3, Sony only focused on four games: Spider-Man, The Last of Us: Part II, Death Stranding, and Ghost of Tsushima. 

PlayStation Experience, which is also known as PSX, first appeared in Europe in the 2000s, disappeared for a number of years, and then reappeared in the United States in 2014.

Layden did not rule out the possibility of the return of PSX in the future.

This news comes after rumors of Sony allowing PlayStation Network users the ability to change their usernames. PSN users were hoping that the rumor would had been confirmed at PSX.

A Different Plan for Federal Cybersecurity?

In the United States today, if someone were to ask a hundred people at random about what the country’s biggest concern for protecting the country, many might answer “cybersecurity.” For years, the United States has fought to protect itself against the cybernetic threats, but all of that could change after a recent policy change.

Is the United States safe from a massive cyberattack?  Photo from news.fiu.edu
Is the United States safe from a massive cyber-attack? Photo from news.fiu.edu

The U.S. federal government has more power to go on the offense against foreign foes under a new strategy that was signed on Thursday by President Donald Trump.

John Bolton, the national security adviser to President Trump gave no details about what types of operations or who they would go after as that information is classified but he did state to numerous news outlets that “We will respond offensively as well as defensively.”

The plan also gives direction to agencies to review and update defenses against cyber-attacks and to also have federal government work with state and local level governments, as well as private companies to improve the usual defense against cyberwarfare.

Bolton also stated that adversaries should know that the U.S. is going to be doing much more on the offense side of things.

This change in foreign and federal government policy ends the Obama policy which was at first classified but became public due to leaks from Edward Snowden. The policy had stated that the military was required to consult with the State Department, intelligence community and other agencies before even starting a cyberattack.

The new Trump policy would most likely assume that the military has much more rein when it comes to launching an attack.

In past years, the U.S. has accused China of hacking into the personal flies of the government and Russia for influencing the 2016 election using many different digital methods. The Russian scandal even has a current investigation going on that involves Trump and his supposed involvement.

Either way, the big concern for the country is what Bolton said here, “the United States and its allies are under attack every day in cyberspace.”

The forgotten war that nobody talks about or mentions has just gotten even more attention.

PayPal Says “Bye” to Alex Jones and InfoWars

This year has definitely not been a good one for the founder of InfoWars, Alex Jones, and his creation.

This last Friday was no better.

Alex Jones might be worried after the announcement that PayPal will no longer support InfoWars. Photo from usatoday.com
Alex Jones might be worried after the announcement that PayPal will no longer support InfoWars. Photo from usatoday.com

PayPal announced on Friday that they will no longer handle the transactions which includes credit cards for InfoWars’ online store. As Jones has lost more and more means of promoting his business and beliefs, so did his online store become a lifeline for the television and internet series.  To make matters worse for the company, PayPal has also previously handled the donations given to InfoWars directly.

PayPal will not be stopping the transactions immediately and will be giving InfoWars 10 business days before ending the deal.

This comes a few weeks after most social media sites and app stores moved to block Jones and InfoWars from using their services. The majority of these companies had stated that the conspiracy website had violated the “terms of use” policy by giving false information as well as promoting hate speech.

PayPal, in a statement to the New York Times in an article on Friday, stated that InfoWars had not violated any policy. Rather, the “promotion of hate and discrimination runs counter to our core value of inclusion.”

InfoWars has always been a “conservative” voice that has stirred up controversy in times of hurt and sorrow. Alex Jones has made statements on his radio show, The Alex Jones Show, which include saying that both the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and Stoneman Douglas High School were both “false flag operations” planned by gun control advocates. Jones also added in that “no one had died at Sandy Hook” and there was crisis actors in both shootings. Both of those theories were proven false.

InfoWars has not made an official statement, but in an article on their website (as found by the New York Times) they announced PayPal’s decision as “a political ploy designed to financially sabotage an influential media outlet just weeks before the midterm elections.”

The only good news for Jones is that he is still allowed to sell InfoWars products (at least some of them, anyway) on Amazon and eBay, where their payments will not handled by PayPal.

 

SpaceX has it’s first customer for a trip to the Moon

It has been over 40 years since humans were last on the Moon, and since the last space shuttle mission in 2011 there has been a marked decrease in humanity venturing forth into space.

SpaceX wants to change that very soon.

One of Space X's spacecrafts: the Dragon. Photo from spacex.com
One of Space X’s spacecrafts: the Dragon. Photo from spacex.com

On Tuesday, it was announced that Yusaku Maezama, a Japanese billionaire, would be the first person to go into space for a fee.  Maezuma, who made his fortune from various businesses, said “Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the moon” at an event at SpaceX’s headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

Maezuma may be best known from a purchase last year of a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, costing well over $110 million.

As of right now, the cost of the trip remains unknown, and neither Maezuma nor Elon Musk–founder of SpaceX–have disclosed any of the prices of the trip.

Maezuma has been wanting to follow in the footsteps of the Apollo astronauts who went the moon, and his path will be similar to that of Apollo 8, which orbited around the moon in 1968.

The rocket that Maezuma and other customers will be on has been named “B.F.R.,” and it will take at least four or five days to orbit the moon and come back to Earth. The full name of the rocket has not been released according to the New York Times, but is said to be called “Big Falcon Rocket”–a name said by SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell.

Musk has stated that the rocket will not be ready for takeoff until at least 2023 and would cost between $2 to $10 billion to fully develop. However, he notes that Maezuma had paid “a meaningful contribution to the project’s completion,” at the announcement.

Musk has had a rough year with Tesla and it’s sales. Musk threatened to make the car company private before changing his mind. Then, on Monday, it was made official that Musk was being sued by a British diver due to Musk suggesting that the diver was a pedophile.

SpaceX, on the other hand, has had a very successful year with little to no incidents involving its satellites and spacecraft.

SpaceX’s goal is to continue to plan the trip for the next few years. The end game is 2023, when the world will see humanity’s first private take-off to bring passengers to the stars.

iPhone X Review

It feels so good to be back here in Whim. While I don’t usually share my opinion on things, I felt that this would be the perfect chance to talk about the iPhone X, which I got over the summer on a payment plan through my cell phone service. I actually thought that the iPhone X would be much better than the Samsung Galaxy S6 that I had, but oh boy, I was dead wrong.

iPhone X; image from T-Mobile
iPhone X; image from T-Mobile

Speed of the phone: For those that have always been owners of iPhones, it is impossible to tell the difference between a Galaxy and an iPhone. However, within my first week with the phone, I could tell that the phone was much slower when compared with the Galaxy S6. This baffled me. Why would a phone that is three years older than the iPhone X be faster?  A speed test that was conducted by PCMag in May found that between the new Galaxy S9 and iPhone X, the Galaxy was much faster. I have concluded that the Galaxy S6 I had was a little faster than the phone that I’m going to end up shelling out $999 for.

WiFi: Now I know people are going to say that “Your problem is the type of WiFi that you have, it sucks… you’ll have to get a new service.” But here’s my question, when using the university’s WiFi, why is my connection to the WiFi always kicking me off when using an iPhone? I did not have that problem last year with the Galaxy S6, and it worked just fine. After reading about the iPhone on different forums, other users have the same issues with their iPhones. This is an issue that won’t be fixed any time soon and that’s not my worst concern with the iPhone.

Calling someone: Whenever I call someone anywhere, in a building or outdoors, I cannot hear the person that I’m calling. That’s just flat out bad technology when you cannot hear the other person on the phone. This is my biggest issue with the phone. Imagine having an interview with someone on this phone and having to ask them a hundred times to repeat what they had just said to you.

I never thought I’d have a chance to get the iPhone X and now, I regret ever getting it. I feel for those poor souls that are about to spend $1500 for the newest iPhone XS Max (the actual name of the phone).

 

Featured Image from Techspot.com

FEMA to Conduct a “Presidential Alert” Test on September 20

For many years now, most people have known that eventually, we would see a “presidential alert” test. Now, FEMA has set the tentative date of September 20th to conduct the test.

Before anyone can ask about “opting out of the texts,” the answer is no. Also, you won’t be seeing a ton of messages from the president like some people suggest you will. The alerts are only for emergencies, such as the U.S. being attacked by terrorists or other countries.  The test messages will not only be sent to your phone but also be shared on television and radio.

The text that will be sent to you is basically like the messages you saw on TV when you were young but much quieter (if your sound is off) and convenient for you and your ears.

This testing of the alert system is not the first test that has been done, but it is the first to be done nationwide on mostly everyone’s phone. The systems that will be used are the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alerts system (WEA). WEA is used locally to alert the public in the event of an AMBER alert or dangerous weather conditions.

The system was under fire back in January when residents of Hawaii were warned of an upcoming missile strike. One problem: there were no missiles, and the alert was a result of a combination of human error and a poorly designed computer interface.

The alerts were established in 2006 under the president at the time, George W. Bush. This was done so the White House could send out alerts to the general public if needed. The messages could be sent out at the president’s discretion but most experts and reporters have downplayed the chances of the system being misused.

photo from theverge.com
photo from theverge.com

Belgium bans “loot boxes” in video games

Microtransactions have been a hot topic in the gaming industry. The question has been, should they be allowed in games? Well, one country has decided that one form of microtransactions is illegal.

Belgium has decided to ban so called “loot boxes” from video games in their country, labeling it as gambling. This is just a week after The Netherlands declaring some “loot boxes” as gambling as well.

The Minister of Justice in Belgium has said that publishers of games that have “loot boxes” risk fines or prison time if these games with loot boxes are distributed in Belgium.

Games like FIFA, Overwatch and CSGO were determined to promote gambling and thus will be subject to Belgian gambling laws. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was able to escape the ban to due the outcry of there being loot boxes in the game when it was released, the publisher, EA removed them.

The main reason for the decision from Belgium is to stop minors from being exposed to gambling when they are only trying to have fun, the Minister of Justice noted.

Publishers who don’t remove the “gambling” from their game could face up to five years in prison and fines up to $800,000.

However, for those who hate these loot boxes in America, don’t expect anything to happen since most forms of gambling are legal.

Samsung to Release a Smartphone Without Internet

Question time: What is the reason why you have a smartphone?  Most people would answer: “internet.”  And while most of us need our phones, the internet can and will distract us from doing things which is why Samsung has found a solution.

Samsung’s Galaxy J2 Pro is the bare necessitites when it comes to a phone nowadays. This version of the Galaxy allows to call, text and to take photos with 8 megapixal rear camera and 5 megapixal front camera but the selling point of the phone is that the phone has no internet service at all (no WIFI or data).

The phone is only going to be sold in South Korea since students (high school seniors) down there, are getting ready for the toughest test of their lives called suneung, a test that will essentially determine the rest of their lives and that’s not a exaggeration. Unlike in America where there’s multiple factors that play into getting into college,  South Korea students have had the idea of suneung being the deciding point of their lives.

The phone comes in only two colors, black and gold, and it will cost around 200,000 won, or around $190.

The best part about the phone is not the specs but the promotion that Samsung is running. Once students are done with the exhausting test, they can trade in the phone for a new Samsung Galaxy S or an A-series phone released after 2018 and have the cost of the J2 reimbursed.

The Galaxy J2 Pro will most likely never be released outside of South Korea since most countries don’t take testing as serious as South Korea does but nevertheless, this phone is unlike no other phone released today. It can take you to a time where phones were not used for internet but for only calling and texting

Oh, how the times have changed and they just keep changing

 

Famed Gaming Champion Loses Records for “Cheating”

One of gaming’s most famous figures, Billy Mitchell has been stripped of all of his records that he has held for decades.

Mitchell, 52, had held the title of being the first person to have scored one million points on the arcade game “Donkey Kong.”  The decision comes after many years of allegations of cheating towards Mitchell which he has denied many times.

Twin Galaxies, which tracks video game records believes that Mitchell’s scores were achieved with the use of emulator, a computer program that replicates an arcade or console machine.  They presented their findings to Jeremy Young, a Donkey Kong forum operator who after seeing pictures of Mitchell’s gameplay, says that “those scores were impossible to achieve without a emulator.”

After Twin Galaxies did their own investigation, they concluded that Mitchell had indeed used a emulator and with the evidence posted on their page, they decided to ban all of Mitchell’s scores which include the first perfect score (3,333,360 points) in the original Pac-Man game and to ban all future scores of Mitchell’s (if he were to continue to play for records).

Twin Galaxies also reported their findings to Guinness World Records who also decided to remove Mitchell’s records from the Guinness Book of World Records.

Now, the record holder for the first person to have scored one million points on Donkey Kong is Mitchell’s rival, Steve Wiebe, who no longer competes for records. Wiebe is currently a math teacher in Washington (the state).

Mitchell has not respond to the stripping of his records and as of now, he may not speak ever but this could not be more embarrssing for the former “best gamer in the world.”

Well, a popular cartoon show, Regular Show had a character on the show called Garrett Bobby Ferguson (GBF) who looked like Mitchell. Mitchell sued the show trying to ruin his image and the case got thrown out of court. The character’s main trait and the reason why Mitchell sued the show… GBF was a villian who cheated at video games.

Well then, it looks like Regular Show has predicted time just like the Simpsons have done for decades.

A Space Hotel in Real Life? It’s Sooner Than You Think

Forget about staying at a five-star hotel when you can stay at a hotel that’s actually “sitting on” five stars (AKA space).

Orion Span, a start-up company based out of California, is planning on building and launching a space hotel called the Aurora Station in late 2021. They plan to accept guests the following year.

The hotel will be 43.5 feet long by 14.1 feet wide and will have a pressured volume of 5,650 cubic feet. It will be orbiting at an altitude of 200 miles or around 1,164,000 feet.

Founder and CEO of Orion Span, Frank Bunger, described the Aurora Station as “the first-ever affordable luxury space hotel” at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California.

However, to a normal person, “affordable” might as well be a metaphor. The price for a stay at the Aurora Station is roughly $800,000 a night, and you will be paying more than $9.5 million for the required 12-day stay.  Previously, it would cost over $20 million to travel to the International Space Station under the Virginia-based company, Space Adventures. Only 7 people took this trip between 2001 and 2009.

Bunger’s goal for his company is “to create that innovation to make simplicity possible and by making simplicity possible, we can drive a tremendous amount of cost out of it.”

Aurora Station will be able to hold four guests and two permanent crewmembers which would likely be astronauts, and as long as the demand is there, Orion Span will continue to expand their station.

While Orion Span is currently not the only company planning on sending a hotel into space, they are the only ones to have laid out a plan for the future that has a good chance of succeeding.

 

Featured Image from Krone

China Has Declared War on Mosquitoes

One of the greatest threats that mankind faces today is mosquitoes. These pesky little bugs have claimed more human lives than any war has, and now China is entering the battlefield.

According to a senior scientist involved in a Chinese Government project, China is developing a super-sensitive radar that can detect a mosquito’s wing-flapping from 1.2 miles away.

Currently, a prototype of the device is being tested at the Beijing Institute Technology (BIT). The scientist, who declined to be named since this project involves technology used in China’s missile defense system, said that “identifying and tracking individual, mosquito-sized targets is no longer science fiction.”

According to the World Health Organization, at least 1 million people die each year from mosquito-related bites. Mosquitos are the hosts to many diseases like Malaria and Zika.

Controlling the pest is a challenge itself, as they can pass by someone almost without a trace unless they are close by and you can hear that familiar buzzing.

It took decades before military radars could pick up the echoes of small objects at an impressive distance. For example, The U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s sea-based X-band radar can detect a baseball-sized object from over 2 miles away.

Liu Xingyue, a professor at the China Agricultural University in Beijing, has very high expectations for the radar. He says that it will be a “precision-guided weapon in our war against the deadliest creature on Earth.”

While it seems that China has great intentions, we do not know for sure how this technology will be used. We can only hope that this radar will be used for good reasons, not unnecessary ones.

Is Online Gaming Going to be Affected by the Net Neutrality Repeal?

Most of us remember a few months ago when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was hearing the case for and against “net neutrality.” Now, we are slowly hearing about the repercussions of repealing net neutrality.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a video game industry lobby group, has decided to join in the lawsuit against the FCC, joining a mix of Democratic state attorney generals, tech companies like Mozilla (Firefox), and many more.

The ESA noted that its members will be harmed by the repeal and it would hurt online gaming the most. In a statement, the ESA said this was “because the FCC’s order permits ISP’s to take actions that could jeopardize the fast, reliable, and low-latency connections that are critical to the video game industry.”

Net neutrality is a very controversial topic in politics. The rules prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling lawful Internet traffic and prevent extra-charges for people looking to get better access. These rules are crucial to the video game industry according to an ESA brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the DC Circuit.

Also in the brief, it was noted that while music and movie streaming providers can use buffering to account for network problems, the ESA noted that their clients can’t do the same.

The ESA is also very worried about the downloads of large games and how these games can be “slowed down” due to the loss of net neutrality.

Big names in the video game industry that are represented by ESA include Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Disney.

ESA’s case will be under the name of Mozilla Corporation v. Federal Communications Commission and the United States of America.