Category Archives: Science, Tech, & Health

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.

 

Another one! Hurricane Michael takes aim to US

Oh boy. We have another hurricane that has taken aim to the United States with the possibility of the storm hitting Radford University.

Hurricane Michael as of Monday 8:00pm is a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph and it is currently moving 12 mph north, heading towards Cuba. Hurricane winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center while tropical storm-force winds can extend outward up to 175 miles. These numbers are according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of right now as well, Michael is expected not to move much as it gathers strength in the Gulf of Mexico

As of right now, Florida and Alabama have declared state of emergencies while numerous other states are montoring the path the hurricane might take. As with the last major hurricane, Florence, no one is able to take an exact prediction on where the hurricane is going to hit.

As for us here in Radford, really the only thing we can do as of right now is to montior the storm and its path, and to hope for the best for those in path of the storm.

In Florida, multiple schools and universities have closed for the rest of the week while businesses will stay open until the evacuation orders are made by the governor.

Hurricane Michael according to NHC has the potential to reach category 3 levels which would be devastating to areas in a flood plain or poorer areas of Florida and Cuba.

Keep up with your local TV stations and/or The Weather Channel for up to date information on Michael’s track towards the United States as it gets closer to impact.

 

 

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.

Australia is on Pace to Eliminate Cervical Cancer

Most people may have heard about certain vaccines that have come close to eradicating diseases, such as Smallpox. Cancer, however, has long been a different story. While cancer is technically considered a disease, it is more accurately described as runaway cellular reproduction with no known cure as now. One country, however, may have found a way to eliminate a certain type of cancer through vaccines.

In a new study released by the Lancet Public Health, it was found that by 2028, only 4 in every 100,000 women could be diagnosed with cervical cancer annually in Australia, which would eliminate the disease as a public health issue, and by 2066, researchers say that less than one woman per year could receive the bad news.

The reason for results like these is because of a government program encouraging parents to get a vaccine for the cancer-causing human Papillomavirus (HPV) for their children.

Karen Canfell, the Director of Cancer Research at Cancer Council NSW, the organization which has produced the findings, said to the New York Times, “I think this shows the way forward for other countries.”

Australia started the vaccination program in 2007 as a three-dose course for teenage girls that was cost-free to families. In 2013, the program was expanded to school-age boys. Though relatively unaffected, boys can be carriers and transmit the disease to others. Boys can also develop other forms of cancer if they have HPV.

This has led to a 77% reduction in the types of HPV that are most responsible for cervical cancer.

While the success of the vaccine has resulted in reduction of cases involving cervical cancer, it is still the fourth most common form of cancer in women in the world today and an additional 570,000 cases are expected in just this year.

In the United States, the rate of teens that are vaccinated is only 49%, while countries like Japan are far, far fewer thanks to fear campaigns like those that say that autism comes from vaccines, which has been proven wrong quite a few times now.

The best way to think of this is that if you are young enough to get a vaccination, you should. It will reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancer and improve your life span.

The search for Planet X leads to an amazing discovery

Ever since the discovery of Pluto by Clyde W. Tombaugh in 1930, scientists have been on the search for anything beyond what seemed to be our solar system’s outermost member. Apart from a few moons, and then a 2006 decision that reclassified Pluto as a dwarf-planet, there has not been much information on finding “Planet X.” Well, not until this past week.

An artist's concept of what "the Goblin" might look like in space. Photo from earthsky.org
An artist’s concept of what “the Goblin” might look like in space. Photo from earthsky.org

In new research led by the Carnegie Institution for Science found a extremely distant object that is billions of miles away from Pluto. The object has a orbit that leaves hints of maybe more objects like “Planet X” or a planet that is Earth like.

The object, which is now has the nickname “The Goblin” is only 200 miles wide. The scientific name of the object is the very boring, 2015 TG387. Names like those are usually given to asteroids. The object is almost 8 billion miles away from the Sun. In comparsion, Pluto is two and a half times closer to the Sun.

David Tholen of the University of Hawaii and a member of the Carnegie Institution’s research team said to USA Today, “We think there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 out on the solar system’s fringes, but their distance makes finding them very difficult.”

Telescopes from the United States and even as far as Chile were used to determine the location of “the Goblin” and 12 additional moons of Jupiter that were previous unknown.

Research like this could lead to the discovery of either another inhabitable planet or a “Super Earth” that could support life in our Solar System.

 

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.

Flu Kills; CDC Announces That 80,000 Died From Flu Last Year

We know that influenza, commonly known to us as the flu, is a very deadly illness that kills a number of people every year. But last year was no ordinary year.

information about the flu; photo from uab.edu
information about the flu; photo from uab.edu

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday that over 80,000 people died from the flu last year, the highest death toll in decades. It was also announced by the CDC that over 900,000 people were hospitalized because of the flu.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, revealed the numbers in an interview to the Associated Press (AP).

Most experts and people knew that last year’s flu season was going to be bad, but nobody had expected to see numbers this high. An average flu season can claim any from 12,000 to 56,000 deaths, which of course depends on how bad a flu season is. However, this past year exceeded those estimates.

CDC’s flu division director, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, told NBC News that while the numbers were very high, it was consistent with what happened last year.

The Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams, flat out said in a news conference that the reason the flu had killed 80,000 people was that “they got it from someone. Someone gave them the flu.”

Adams noted that most of the people who had died did not have a flu shot.

The CDC does not count exactly how many adults die from the flu, but they do count how many children die from it. It was found that 180 children died from the flu last year, another high number of deaths.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot and also tell your friends and family to get one as well. Just because you got your flu shot does not mean that you cannot get the flu.

If you do get sick from the flu, try to avoid people that are vulnerable to getting the flu. This includes children, elderly, and those who get sick easily. Lastly, do expect to go to the hospital if you get the flu. It can and will kill you if you do not prepare for it enough.

 

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.

Ebola Crisis, Part II: Virus Likely to Spread to Uganda, says WHO

Most of us remember when Ebola made its way to the United States, infecting four citizens. One of them, Thomas Eric Duncan, a visitor from Liberia, ended up dying from the lethal disease. Since the scare, most have forgotten about the deadly virus and the main area it comes from.

An image of what Ebola looks like; photo from cdc.gov
An image of what Ebola looks like; photo from cdc.gov

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the Ebola crisis has a very high chance of moving from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Uganda. However, WHO did state that the risk of Ebola spreading globally remains very low.

The reason for the rise in Ebola cases is the result of the actions of local militias. These militias have slowed down WHO and other health organizations that are making an effort to treat the outbreak that started in the Congo back in August.

Uganda, which is noted as a poor country, does have a well-organized health care system. Since the beginning of the decade, there have only been three confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, lower than the numbers in the United States.

But the Congo does not have the same benefits. A health crisis has resulted due to not only fighting, but people affected by the virus refusing treatment.

Ebola is a virus that spreads through direct contact with body fluids, normally blood. It can take weeks before symptoms and signs appear, but after that, it will only take days before a person dies from it. The only carrier of the disease that can not be affected by the illness is a fruit bat, a relatively large bat.

The craziest thing about Ebola is after a person recovers, their semen or breast milk will carry the virus for several weeks or months.

For those that are worried about the virus, do not be worried about it for now. Just keep a eye on what is going on in Africa and hope for the best for those battling the virus.

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.

 

The Fight Against Alzheimer’s to Get Much Harder

By 2060, expect the number of cases of Alzheimer’s to have tripled unless some unlikely events happen, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here's some signs to see if someone you know might have Alzheimer's. By the way, do you notice a misspelled word. Photo from share.upmc.com
Here’s some signs to see if someone you know might have Alzheimer’s. By the way, do you notice a misspelled word. Photo from share.upmc.com

As of 2018, over 5 million people are currently battling the common form of dementia  in the United States alone. That means that out of 100 people you know, one of them will most likely have contracted Alzheimer’s in their lifetime. With those chances it is still difficult to determine who is going to develop the disease, and as life expectancy increases, so too do cases of Alzheimer’s.

In a statement to NBC news, the CDC said that “CDC researchers predict that Hispanic Americans will have the largest projected increase due to population growth over the projection period.”

The CDC also stated that the people aged 65 years or older in the United States are expected to have doubled by the year of 2060. Their report was published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The population with the highest current percentage of Alzheimer’s are African Americans, with 13.8 percent of people older than 65 affected by the disease. Hispanic Americans are a close second with 12 percent, and whites have over 10 percent affected.

As of now, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, which has become the fifth most common cause of death for Americans over the age of 65. Indeed, the neurologically-degenerating disease does not even have treatment methods to slow its progress. However, the slow and long process to even begin treatment is going on in labs across the nation.

Time will only tell if there’s any progress on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

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.

Sony to Release a “New” PlayStation

We all know what you are here to read about—a “new” PlayStation. It can’t be, right? Can it really be the PlayStation 5 that everyone has been looking forward to for the past few years? Well… maybe not. While many may be getting their hopes up for something new from Sony’s most successful gaming platform, but this newest update to the PlayStation family is going a slightly different direction.

All of the accessories of the PlayStation Classic including the console itself. Photo from blog.us.playstation.com
All of the accessories of the PlayStation Classic including the console itself. Photo from blog.us.playstation.com

Sony has announced a throwback version of the PlayStation 1 to celebrate 24 years of PlayStation and to follow in the same path that Nintendo has done for the past few years now.

This new version of the PlayStation 1 will be called the PlayStation Classic and will feature 20 games from the PS1’s original library that will be built into the station. The system will be updated in order to work on a modern television, and much smaller than the original PS1—so small, in fact, that you could hold it in your hand.

Sony has only announced five of the 20 games to be on the PlayStation Classic, including Final Fantasy 7 and Tekken 3.

On a video posted to Sony’s YouTube channel, the PlayStation Classic will not be able to play games from the original PS1, but only its 20 pre-loaded games. The PlayStation Classic will come with two retro controllers, will not have an AC adapter, and only possess HDMI for audio and video and a micro-USB for power.

Sony will be releasing the PlayStation Classic on December 3, the same day that the original PS1 was released 24 years ago, for $99.99 to buy—to compare, some games with bonus features, additional content, and free virtual cash (much like the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2) will have a roughly similar cost all its own.

 

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