An Immense Mass Of Plastic Is Floating In The Arctic Ocean

immense mass of ice in the ocean

Surveys have shown that the Arctic Ocean has an immense mass of plastic bits floating around.

 

Many have heard of the Pacific Gyre, the central spot in the Pacific Ocean where a garbage patch of floating plastic the size of Texas has gathered. Accumulations have been found in other oceans around the world. Now, it looks like the Arctic has one as well.

An Immense Mass Of Some 300 Billion Bits of Plastic Is Floating In The Arctic Ocean

Right now, this immense mass is floating east of Greenland and north of Scandinavia. However, as the ice caps continue to diminish, it is expected to expand. Some scientists fear there may be even more of it. Some of this immense mass may have sunk to the ocean floor. As it passes through the water column, an enormous amount of this debris is making its way into the food chain. That is where it’s most devastating consequences may occur.This plastic does not dissolve. It can also not be digested by animals. Tiny bits and giant chunks are being found, not just entangled around wildlife, but within their digestive tract. The results are painful and often deadly.

The dual effect of warming due to climate change and this immense mass of trash is wreaking havoc on the Arctic and its fragile ecosystem. Many animal species already on edge due to receding ice and melting permafrost, are now being hit by this human-created mess. The particles are showing up in seals and walruses, who eat the fish that consumed them in the first place.
“The problem with plastic specifically being in the Arctic is that it’s going to get into the food chain of animals that are very much under threat already, that are struggling to survive in a changing climate.”
This is according to Erik van Sebille. He is the author of this new study, which was published in the Science Advances journal.
Reportedly, most of the immense mass of plastic could be prevented with more aggressive recycling and reclamation programs. Right now, allegedly only about 22% of our waste is recycled.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Titan Will Receive One Last FlyBy Visit From Cassini

titan and cassini

Saturday, Cassini will be making one more flyby of the moon Titan before the end of its mission.

 

NASA’s highly successful Saturn-exploring spacecraft, Cassini, will be making one more flyby of the moon Titan before the end of its mission. This Saturday, Cassini will make one last pass over the moon, coming within almost 600 miles of its surface. As it does so, it will be taking photos and readings with its various instruments the entire time.

Scientists also plan on using Titan’s gravity to assist Cassini as it prepares for its Grand Finale. This will be a series of dives between Saturn’s upper atmosphere and rings.

Cassini to Take One More Look At Titan Before It Says Its Final Farewell

With this last flyby, there will be a flurry of tests and experiments for Cassini, even as its directors prepare for a final trajectory change. Scientists hope to take measurements of the depth of Titan’s methane lakes and seas.

The experiments could also shed light on the moon’s so-called “magic islands”. These latter are now believed to be the result of static electricity building up on tiny particles of sand.

Cassini’s INMS or the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer will also be closely examining the upper atmosphere of Titan. It will do so in an attempt to discover how it changes over time. The magnetometer on board the spacecraft will be used to measure Titan’s northern magnetic tail.

This is unique because the moon has no magnetic field of itself. Instead, it has a tail created by the interaction between its ionosphere and Saturn. Once the last measurement is taken, scientists will shift Cassini’s trajectory one final time.
Using Titan’s gravity to give it an extra push, Cassini will end its almost twenty-year mission with a series of dips. These will have it bouncing back and forth between Saturn’s upper atmosphere and its rings.
The spacecraft will make twenty-two of these dives over several weeks, taking measurements and sending back readings the entire time. It will end with a fiery burnout as Cassini finally collides with the planet it was launched to examine in October of 1997.
Image Source: JPL/NASA

Researchers Spotted A New Rift In The Petermann Glacier

new rifft petermann glacier

There is a new rift in the Petermann Glacier ice shelf, one of Greenland’s largest such formations.

According to observations carried out as part of Operation IceBridge, there is a new rift in the Petermann Glacier, one of Greenland’s largest such formations.

The New Rift Was Detected During An Operation IceBridge Satellite Image Survey

NASA also released the first images of this new rift in the ice shelf. They are part of the Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of the polar ice which is being carried out by NASA. Just recently, the research team completed a land-ice mission which targeted northwest Greenland.

As part of the mission, the team flew over and captured images of the new rift. This was detected near the center of the Petermann Glacier ice shelf or the glacier’s floating end. These new photos seem to indicate that this new rift is quite close to a larger, already known crack. This latter was established to be spreading towards the center of the Petermann ice shelf.

Operation IceBridge researchers offered some details on the new crack via a Facebook post. Through it, they stated that the “medial flowline” might help keep the new rift from increasing and advancing. The “medial flowline” is the ice flow when in the ice shelf’s middle region.

http://

It could also stop the ice shelf from breaking. If the two rifts intersected, a part of the Petermann Glacier ice shelf could have faced the prospect of breaking off. This would not be such an uncommon event, as previous rifts have led to icebergs breaking away from this glacier. Over the last few years, Petermann’s has also been shrinking.

Stef Lhermitte is the one that found the new rift. He is an Earth Sciences Professor part of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and also part of Operation IceBridge. He stated that:

“From these images alone, it is difficult to already say anything about what exactly caused the crack on this unusual spot.”

As it is, this new crack could have allegedly been caused by the warming ocean waters currently circulating beneath the shelf. However, this is only a theory and more studies on the matter will still be needed.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Smoking Is the Reason Behind Every 1 In 10 Deaths Worldwide

cigarette smoking

According to a new study, one in every 10 deaths that occur at a global level is caused by smoking.

According to a new study, one in every 10 deaths that occur at a worldwide level is caused by smoking. The same report also established that almost half of all such deaths take place in just 4 countries. These are the United States, Russia, India, and China.

This new report was published in The Lancet medical journal. Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou was its senior researchers. According to the study, in 2015, almost 1 billion people smoked on a daily basis. This translated into 1 in every 4 men and 1 in 20 women. The report is called the Global Burden of Diseases, and it includes 195 countries and territories. Their residents’ smoking habits were analyzed in between 1990 to 2015.

Smoking Is Still One Of The Largest Risk Factors

Dr. Gakidou stated that smoking is considered the second largest risk factor when it comes to disabilities and early death. It has maintained this position, although the number of smokers has reduced. The report found that, in 1990, almost 1 in 3 men and 1 in 12 women lit up a cigarette on a daily basis.

Nonetheless, the global number of smokers did increase throughout the 1990 to 2015 period. This is due to the population growth, which raised the number from 870 million back in the 90s to almost a billion nowadays.

The number of tobacco-related deaths has also increased. Over the aforementioned period, it rose by 4.7 percent to reach over 6.4 million in 2015.

The study found that some countries managed to curb the smoking habits of its population. At the same time, some countries saw an increase, while others reported no difference on the matter. Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Indonesia, for example, saw no change.

On the opposite end, Russia reported a 4 percent increase in the number of daily smokers, as did some African countries. Brazil, for its part, saw quite a significant percentage drop, by half or more in both men and women.

Image Source: FreeGreatPicture

New Taxi Law Keeps Uber Away from Denmark

denmark landscape

Denmark has just approved new taxi law that is banishing Uber away.

Uber Technologies may be managing a system of taxi cars. However, the company proclaimed itself as a tech organization that only provides a platform and a set of services. This definition presented a new concept that took lawmakers aback. Thus, in the lack of a specific law text, Uber took entire countries by storm and presented the first modern alternative to traditional taxis. However, the political theater seems to be catching up with this type of startups. A new taxi law in Denmark has just put a strain on Uber.

The New Taxi Law Claims Mandatory Gear for Vehicles

In light of the political movement, Uber announced that it would cease its activity in Denmark on April 18th. However, the company will not leave entirely without a fight. The new taxi law stipulates the request for obligatory gear. This is seat sensors and fare meters. Most of the traditional taxis are already endowed with this mandatory equipment. However, it is a serious problem for Uber.

The ride-hailing company doesn’t own any of the cars that pick up their clients. Instead, it reinforces strong collaboration between the company and its contractors, which are the drivers themselves. This party has to provide the vehicle while the company takes care of the logistics and other technical aspects of the business. Thus, it is not up to Uber to upgrade the cars according to the new taxi law.

“For us to operate in Denmark again the proposed regulations need to change. We will continue to work with the government in the hope that they will update their proposed regulations and enable Danes to enjoy the benefits of modern technologies like Uber.”

Uber Will Keep its Aarhus Operations Open Beyond April

Uber has been active in Denmark since the year of 2014. However, the company met great resistance against its business format within the country. Local taxi drivers, organizations, and even politicians criticized Uber for its lack of respect for their legal standards. Over the past three years, Uber managed to employ around 2,000 Danish drivers and gain a community of 300,000 users.

The company has also opened headquarters in Aarhus that is taken care of by 40 engineers. The location does not only operate locally, but it provides tech solutions for international Uber services. Even though on April Uber will withdraw its practices from Denmark, the company plans to keep the Aarhus location up and running.

Image source: 1

Enterprises to Build Applications in IBM Cloud Soon

blockchain

IBM will enable developers to build applications through its new blockchain service.

International Business Machines Corporation managed to score in 24 consecutive years a record thanks to its broad number of patents created for businesses. One of such innovative projects regards a connection between its cloud computing services and enterprises’ need to build applications. The result is a blockchain code borrowed from the Hyperledger Project.

Developers Will Be Able to Build Applications with Hyperledger Project

On Monday, the American multinational technology firm inaugurated its latest product called IBM Blockchain. This is the first time the organization enables developers to build applications directly on its IBM Cloud service. From now on, clients will be able to create personalized technology at the level of an entire enterprise.

The new service will use Hyperledger Fabric which is the result of collective work. At the beginning of 2016, the Hyperledger Project started by the Linux Foundation asked worldwide developers for codebase proposals. In the end, the new asset was a construct of several incubated technologies, such as Digital Asset Holdings and libconsensus from Blockstream. IBM was itself a contributor to this project through its own project called OpenBlockchain. The product was later on named as Fabric.

The chaincode Fabric has the capacity to conduct 1,000 transactions in the span of a second. IBM stated that the blockchain is going to become the main business logic of any enterprise. The technology is endowed with all the necessary processes for large organizations to build applications. The company continued by admitting that it collaborated with SecureKey Technologies, a tech company, and a consortium of Canadian banks to come up with a complex digital identity network.

IBM Blockchain Will Be Released at the End of 2017

As a result, IBM Blockchain is going to be a network of networks where consumers have it easier to navigate through. The asset is going to be officially launched by the end of 2017. Basically, it will allow users to prove their identities and get fast access to important accounts such as bank accounts, utilities or driver’s license. The banks that will take part in this social innovation are Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, and Canadian Imperial Bank.

A blockchain first emerged on the market as a way to organize the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Later on, it developed into a modern digital shared record of transactions that happen without the approval of centralized power. There is only an online network of computers that handles this record. IBM put its blockchain technology to use for business giants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Northern Trust Corp, and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

Image source: 1

‘Healthiest Hearts In The World’ Found In An Amazonian Tribe

tsimane healthiest hearts people

A team of researchers found the Tsimane people to be the healthiest hearts in the world’.

A team of researchers found the healthiest hearts in the world’. These were established to be the Tsimane people, a remote tribe in the Amazon.

The study was carried out by an international team of researchers. They released their results on March 17th in the Lancet journal. Their paper is titled: “Coronary atherosclerosis in indigenous South American Tsimane: a cross-selection cohort study”.

Where And How Do The Tsimane Live?

The Tsimane, also known as the Chimane, live in lowland Bolivia. They are indigenous to the area and have a mostly subsistence agricultural culture. Besides this, they also rely on fishing and hunting. These two contribute to their food supplies.

According to the researchers, the Tsimane are “an incredible population”. They have a radically different way of living when compared to the rest of the world. Also, they have a very different diet. These differences are believed to have contributed to their latest denotation.

There are around 16,000 people in the Tsimane tribe. They live in the Amazon rainforest on the Maniqui River. Their lifestyle is similar to that of thousands of years old civilizations. The research team admits that the globe cannot return to an agricultural or hunting and fishing way of life. Nonetheless, civilization could “learn something” from the Tsimane.

How Did The Tsimane Come To Be Declared The Healthiest Hearts?

The team named the remote tribe the people with the ‘healthiest hearts’. This appellation came after a series of tests. For their study, the scientists gathered a team of over 700 volunteers. The study team collaborated with another research group. This latter was studying mummified bodies.

The 705 volunteers went through a CT scanner. Researchers were looking to analyze their “CAC” levels. This is the coronary artery calcium or a sure sign of clogged up blood vessels. CAC is also a potential sign that shows the risk of heart attacks.

According to the study report, up to 45 years old, almost no Tsimane had CAC. In contrast, by the same age, almost 25 percent of the American exhibit this sign. As they reach the age of 75, just about one-third of the tribe’s people present CAC. In comparison, almost 80 percent of the US population shows CAC signs.

The team studied the population over a longer period of time. As such, it was not the case of a mostly young population or unhealthy members dying young. Besides CAC levels, they also looked for signs of inflammations. Research also carried out blood tests. These looked for cholesterol and glucose levels as well as blood pressure.

According to a study researcher, their CAC level “[…] is much lower than in every other population where data exists.”.

Despite the fact that they present high levels of inflammation, the tribe nonetheless has very low levels of heart diseases. Putting it simply, the healthiest hearts population shows that maintaining a healthy diet and a constantly active life can help reduce the clogging up of the blood vessels.

The research team will be carrying out a new study. In it, they will be studying each element of the Tsimane lifestyle. Based on the results, they will try to adapt and apply this to the modern, urbanized way of living.

Image Source: Flickr

Montblanc Entered the Smartwatch Market with Summit

montblanc summit smartwatch

The smartwatch market is going to receive a new addition with decent features and high-end looks.

Montblanc is a luxury company that produces top-notch writing instruments, leather goods, watches, and jewelry. The manufacturer has been flirting with the smartwatch market since 2015. This was when the company presented its e-Strap, which is an interchangeable strap that attaches to the back of a wristwatch. The piece of technology endows all Montblanc luxury watches with the same features of a smartwatch. Based on the success of this product, the company decided to focus on its first ever smartwatch.

Summit Will Enter the Smartwatch Market at $890

On March 16, the luxury brand Montblanc revealed during a London tech event its latest product. This time, the asset clearly shows that the company intends to seize the smartwatch market entirely. After its e-Strap product that was capable of turning Montblanc wristwatches into hybrids, the company decided that it is ready to appear in front of the public with its first luxury smartwatch.

“Meet Montblanc Summit. Our first smartwatch. Introducing a world-first for wearable technology: 1.39″ of traditional curved sapphire glass meets the latest Google power. Powered by Android Wear 2.0, it works with both iPhone and Android smartphones,” the company expressed in a Facebook post.

The new product is called Summit. It still wears the traditional Montblanc imprint of high-end traditional design. However, the new smartwatch is also powered by the latest technology. The company set its target public to be those consumers who always seek greatness and accomplishments. This might limit the clients to wealthy professionals who may represent the only segment that can actually afford such a product of $890.

A Look into the Technical Specs of Summit

A Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor is going to power the entire accessory. The watch will have a 1.39 inch AMOLED display that will show the capacity of Android Wear 2.0 operating system. Users will enjoy 512 MB of RAM and a storage capacity of 4 GB. A whole day performance will be supported by a 300 mAh battery.

As for the front-end features, Montblanc clients will benefit a decent range of apps. This list includes a gyroscope, heart rate monitor, barometer, e-compass, microphone, and light sensor. On the other hand, the Summit will not have NFC chip which allows users access to Android Pay and GPS. This points out that the first Montblanc smartwatch is more about looks and less about innovative features. The gadget is compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones.

Image source: 1

Ocean Medallion Will Be The New Carnival Cruise Concierge

carnival cruise ocean medallion

The Ocean Medallion will a wearables technology that will serve you on a Carnival cruise.

The Ocean Medallion will be a wearables technology that will serve as your own, personal concierge whilst aboard a Carnival Corporation cruise.

Carnival Corporation & plc is a cruise company. The American-British firm is considered as being the largest travel leisure company in the world.

Now, its Carnival Cruise Line will be introducing a new feature. Carnival Cruise Line is a company subsidiary. The cruise line is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

Just this week, Carnival Corp representatives announced the introduction of the Ocean Medallion. This will be a wearable technology piece. But how will it work?

The Ocean Medallion will be a 1.8-ounce disk. Its small size will not hinder its great importance. More likely, it will advantage it.

The Ocean Medallion, this small disk, will be sent to the travelers before they board the ship. It will carry both pre-registered, as well as real-time information.

This quartered shaped device will store all the needed information provided by the passenger. Data will be gathered from the online registration form. But it will also be synced with the Ocean Compass.

As such, the Ocean Medallion will be kept up to date. This should help provide a perfect travel experience. The Medallion will be easy to carry. Its shape allows it to be worn either around your neck or on your wrist. It could also simply be kept in a pocket.

Ocean Medallions will offer various benefits. They will include streamlined debarkation or embarkation data. The device should account for a better interaction with the crew members, as they will also have devices.

The Ocean Medallion will offer an easier access to entertainment and dining data. If wished for, it can also help locate family and friends aboard the ship.

The tiny device should be able to do most anything. It should basically come to take care of anything, from delivering food to suggesting activities.

Carnival Princes Cruises are set to be the first company cruises to adopt the wearable tech. It should come to be introduced sometime this year. Ships to support the wearable will be specifically titled.

They will be marked as Medallion Class Oceans Vacations. Travelers going on such cruises will create a personal profile before boarding.

Such profiles will include hobby and activities preferences. Entertainment and recreational preferences will also be supplied.

The Ocean Medallion will be a simple device. It will not have buttons, a menu, and should not need to be changed. Through it, passengers can access the digital concierge Ocean Compass.

They will be able to do so via laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Digital kiosks, designated port terminals, or other similar access devices will be available for access.

Crew members will have a similar device. As the crew – passenger devices sync, the member will readily identify the customer and their preferences.

Ocean Medallion will be connected by a local network. As such, they will not depend on roaming or data packages. This, in turn, will remove the need for additional charges when using the devices. However, this will only be applicable to devices that are part of the network.

John Padgett, the Carnival Corp experience and innovation chief officer, went to offer the first details. According to him, the Ocean Medallion will help create “an elevated level of service”. As it will be made possible by the new tech, it will not feel like one.

Padgett stated that the wearable is like nothing else created before. It does not have to be swiped, touched, or tapped. It functions by simply being there.

Arnold Donald, the Carnival Corporation CEO, will present the wearable tech. More details will be revealed during the CES 2017.

Additional information about the Medallion will be probably released throughout the year. As such, it should help clarify various aspects. Losing, or maybe choosing not to use it details will be offered.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Mafia III Developers Looking Forward To Fixing Glitches

Mafia III

Mafia III succeeds in creating a great story, but is filled with hilarious glitches.

It’s already been more than two weeks since Mafia III was released worldwide. Developed by 2K Games and Hangar 13, the game is the third entry in a critically acclaimed series. Expectations were obviously high. It’s only natural that critics and gamers alike have been filling the internet with reviews and opinions. Some were positive, others, less so…

As with the first two entries of the series, Mafia III was especially praised for its storyline. Departing from the Godfather and Goodfellas inspired stories and characters, Mafia III brings forth the black mob universe of New Orleans (dubbed New Bordeaux in the game).

The Story So Far

The action takes place in 1968 and centers Lincoln Clay, a biracial orphan adopted by the mob, who had just returned from the Vietnam War. Naturally, the protagonist hasn’t returned home to join the flower-power movement but to get some guns and wreck some chaos among rival gangs.

While the game looks as great as any released in 2016, critics and gamers were quick to notice a lot of glitches that are said to ruin the realism that Mafia III boasts. And it’s not just about the occasional enemy floating in the air after being killed (which does happen a lot).

Mafia III Meets Twilight Zone

Some of them are hilarious, such as a boat continuing to spin in the air after being hit. Another time you can see the hero continuing to move like he’s swimming, even after leaving the water environment. And speaking of water, you shouldn’t always trust bridges, as players are known to just fall through them while driving.

Other glitches are just outright creepy, like enemy bodies piling on top of one another in a grotesque fashion. Hangar 13 has promised to fix these glitches in an upcoming update that should also offer more customization for the lead character, and for the plethora of vintage cars that he uses throughout the game.

Surely, the patches will be appreciated, but critics were quick to note that Mafia III should have probably spent more time in development. Some gameplay aspects were deemed generic and repetitive.

The game’s map is larger than Mafia I’s and II’s combined but is said to offer an empty open-world environment, with not much to do outside the main storyline. This does not bode well for Mafia III’s replay value.

Image source: Flickr