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How Amateur Astronomers Made Trump’s Tweet an Observation Project

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Trump

When the US President Donald Trump tweets, the world starts talking, especially of his absurdity. Addicted to his ways, he posted an image that not just gave a mini heart attack to the US security experts, but became a new project for the amateur astronomers.

Trump’s tweeted picture of Iran’s failure of launching rocket became an opportunity for novice satellite trackers, who stated to believe that it’s America’s most advance spy satellites. A Netherlands-based satellite tracker Marco Langbroek said that the high-resolution image most certainly came from a satellite known as USA 224, which was launched by the National Reconnaissance Office in 2011. However, the first to identify it was an astrodynamics graduate and satellite spotter, Michael Thompson.

On Friday, Trump posted the photograph of Iran’s third consecutive failed attempt of lofting a satellite into orbit, where previous two were attempted in January and February. The image revealed extensive details as they depicted Thursday’s explosion of the rocket on the launch pad at the Semnan Space Center in northern Iran.

The US President taunted Tehran, saying that Washington was “not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch”. He also sent best wishes to Iran for future. However, while he tried to troll the Islamic Republic, the world went after him.

While security experts were concerned that it could become a source of data for adversaries, many stated that he disclosed classified information. However, whatever the concerns were, several details are out and not from experts, making it all the more irrational.

Amateur astronomers used their backyard telescopes to identify USA 224. Several belonging to this community watch satellites whizzing across the sky and can even identify their exact location.

Thompson says that the satellites are “super bright in the sky and easy to find”. He revealed that the USA 224 flew over the Iranian space center shortly after the accident, which was found using an amateur-curated database of known satellites. He also highlighted that it is relatively easy to work out the exact location of the satellite at any point in future, once it is spotted. “Using math to calculate an orbit is really easy,” Thompson said.

Langbroek says that the everything about the satellite is highly classified because of its size and orbit. Besides, several observers believe USA 224 is one of America’s multibillion-dollar KH-11 reconnaissance satellites.

“It’s basically a very large telescope, not unlike the Hubble Space Telescope,” Langbroek says. “But instead of looking up to the stars, it looks down to the earth’s surface and makes very detailed images.”

Trump’s posted image was so detailed that it bewildered some experts, leaving them in a doubt if it could really come from a satellite high above on the planet. Other suspected that the picture could have been taken from a drone or a spy plane. However, a bunch of amateur astronomers worked and revealed that it was taken from the vantage of USA 224.

Using Thompson’s identification, Langbroek and an online researcher Christiaan Triebert found that the satellite that snapped the picture was flying near the site at 2:14 p.m. local time.

Although the US President appeared less concerned over the picture because he had the “absolute right” to do so, the novice observers took no time in releasing details. While Trump was ready to “see what happens”, we hope this doesn’t leave him stunned.

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UCL researchers found water on K2-18b Exoplanet likely more than Earth

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UCL researchers found water on K2-18b Exoplanet likely more than Earth

The researchers have made a first-ever discovery of water in the atmosphere of an Exoplanet, which could be habitable. The planet, named as K2-18b, contains an estimated mass that is about eight times that of Earth.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, was made by a group of University College London (UCL) researchers.

Arguably, water has an ubiquitous presence across the breadth of our universe. Therefore, how important is this discovery?

Edward Guinan, an astronomer at Pennsylvania’s Villanova University said this is an extremely significant discovery. Water (steam) is present in many hot Jupiter planets, however, he argues that its the first time that water bands were discovered for a super-earth.

Having said that, Guinan believes the planet’s density is just about that of our own Jupiter’s icy moon of Europa. Hence, according to him it could be possible that K2-18b might comprise of up to 75 percent water and ice.

The planet must feature an across-the-board, water-rich atmosphere in order to detect water, says Guinan. Thus, K2-18b might comprise of oceans under its widespread warm atmosphere, and could likely have more water than Earth.

Earth is considered as a water-poor planet with not even 1% water by mass. Looking at the outer appearance it may seem Earth contains a lot of water, but it’s water is majorly bound to the external thin layer of oceans, says Guinan.

To discover water on Exoplanet, the UCL researchers created their own open-source algorithms that were used to study K2-18’s starlight as it filtered across its planetary offspring’s atmosphere. Through this process, the researchers were able to detect molecules of water in their spectrum.

Apart from water, the UCL group of researchers detected hydrogen and helium in Exoplanet’s atmosphere, moreover they believe nitrogen and methane could also be discovered on this planet.

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BBC’s Own It App to Safeguard Children against Cyberbullying

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Own It app

In this era of advanced technology, the concerns related to child safety have significantly increased. Observing the need to safeguard the children’s interests, protecting them against cyberbullying, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has brought in a new phone application called Own It app.

Headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, BBC is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation. Its initiative in launching this app was appreciated throughout the country by parents, who remain worried about their children becoming a victim of cyberbullying.

Backed by the Royal Knight of the Garter Prince William’s Cyberbullying Taskforce that has helped in giving input, supporting the organisations, the Own It app would guide the youngsters with their phone through social media. It will also record the time a child spends on sites such as Instagram and Facebook. If the online time is more than expected, the app will also suggest the children to go and play with friends in the park.

Praising the Own It app, the Duke of Cambridge called it “fantastic” as it would watch over the young people, warning them against sending unwise messages and giving out their personal details, while navigating to the online world.

The Duke said, “It is fantastic the BBC has launched an app which will provide support to young people as they navigate the online world.

“I am delighted to see this positive and practical outcome resulting from the Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.”

The Own It app features a special keyboard, which would automatically pop-up when the app is being used, offering real-time help and combining machine-learning technology with the ability to keep a diary of a youngster’s emotions to allow them to record how they are feeling and why. If the behaviour of an individual appears to be unsafe or in insensible norms, the app has been designed to offer help and support.

Since, the Own It app would not provide any feedback reports to the parents, this would encourage the children and the users with first phone to indulge in honest and regular conversations with their parents about their online experiences. Overall it would bridge the gap, establishing trust and transparency between parents and their children, contributing towards positive and practical approach in life.

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Trump’s Orange Colour is a Gift from Light Bulbs?

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Light Bulbs

From white to black and then to orange, Americans have had their presidents in all the possible colours. However, where the rest had the natural complexion, current US President Donald Trump blamed his orange skin tone on light bulbs. Well, that’s bizarre!

On Thursday evening, Trump claimed that the energy efficient light bulbs make him appear orange, an explanation that literally no one expected. The irrational claim was made before the Republican House members in Baltimore.

“The lightbulb. People said: what’s with the lightbulb?” the President asked as he began his address that went on for more than an hour. “I said: here’s the story. And I looked at it. The bulb that we’re being forced to use! No 1, to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you! The light is the worst.”

Certainly, the audience burst in laughter, but it didn’t end there. Trump complained that the energy efficient bulbs are “many times more expensive than that old, incandescent bulb that worked very well” and “the lights no good”.

For the United States President, light bulbs have been the favourite subject to criticize energy and environmental restrictions. Earlier this month, he announced that he would write off an Obama-era rule that would have brought a transition to energy-saving LED bulbs and other low-electricity lightning.

Consequently, his administration had also lifted energy efficiency regulations on several common variants of light bulbs- a move that critics viewed as an assault on measures to tackle climate change and energy use.

Energy efficient bulbs, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and halogen incandescents, generally use around 25 per cent to 80 per cent less energy than the traditional incandescents, lasting up to 25 times longer. However, that isn’t good enough for President Trump, who claimed that these bulbs need to be treated as “hazardous waste” when they break.

“What are we doing? It’s considered hazardous waste, but it’s many times more expensive and frankly the light is not as good. So we’re going to sell them, but we’re also going to sell incandescent bulbs. People are very happy about it. It’s amazing,” he added.

CEO of SaveMoneyCutCarbon company, Mark Sait got pretty serious and stated that Trump has it wrong on this, as the light bulbs are not turning everyone orange. “I fear that the leader of the free world has got his compact fluorescents mixed up with his LED lamps,” said Sait.

The US President once again gave America a reason to laugh and troll him over social media. Besides, standing true to his record, he couldn’t justify himself.

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iPhone Isn’t as Safe as You Thought; Google Reports Vulnerabilities

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iPhone Isn't as Safe as You Thought; Google Reports Vulnerabilities

Apple released its latest series of iPhones – iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max – only days after Google reported 14 vulnerabilities in it.

According to a recent report by Google’s ‘Project Zero’ research team, as many as 14 vulnerabilities designed for Apple iPhone hacking were exploited by a group of websites. These sites, which once clicked, can then easily penetrate through all the levels of iOS security, making the user data completely vulnerable.

The wide range of features of the Apple iPhone making it one of the most celebrated pick in smartphones today. However, the concept of its security has begun to change on its head. The amount of involvement or access that attackers have today means that they can even listen to our conversations or read our messages, regardless of the end-to-end encryption enabled in messaging services.

“This is terrifying,” says Thomas Reed, a Mac and mobile malware research specialist at the security firm Malwarebytes. “We’re used to iPhone infections being targeted attacks carried out by nation-state adversaries. The idea that someone was infecting all iPhones that visited certain sites is chilling,” he added.

A Surge in the number of such activities has been recorded in the last two years, implying that every iOS version from 10 to 12 is vulnerable to such attacks. On the other hand, Apple hasn’t denied the claim, however, stated that any existing patches were fixed back in February. Currently, Google hasn’t named the websites that served as a “watering hole”, nor has it shared other details about the attackers, but simply said it raised an alarm to Apple on its zero-day iOS vulnerabilities on February 1.

However, the newly published accounts highlight that activities of these sort still continue. One of the recent examples which is alleged to be the operation carried out by the Chinese government to track and victimize its minority Uighur population; done in part by hacking iPhone and Android devices.

The attacks of a similar magnitude on Apple iPhones have been reported earlier. One such example is of UAE’s human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, who was surveilled in 2016 after his iPhone was hacked. As Google Project Zero researcher Ian Beer said, every iPhone hacking victim is “million-dollar-dissident” – nickname given to Mansoor – since the estimated cost of spying on him was $1 million or more.

The iPhone hacking campaign exposed by Google has left Apple reeling to find an apt solution for the recurring problem. Consequently, though Google has remained stalled by the notion that it does not withhold the knowledge of teams behind the attempts, but the use of highly optimized zero-day chains are a clear proof that iPhones aren’t as safe as we first probably thought. Hoping this isn’t the case with the latest iPhone 11 series.

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Combat Climate Change and Eat Human Flesh, Scientist Suggests

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Climate Change

The deteriorating climate conditions are capable enough to finishing humans, yet the scientists believe that situation would get better if we eat human flesh. As gross as it sounds, that is true!

A Swedish scientist spoke at the Stockholm summit last week, and provided a bizarre possible approach to combat world climate change. Magnus Soderlund, professor and researcher at Stockholm School of Economics stated that he believes eating human meat that is derived from dead bodies could help save the human race, if the global society were to “awaken the idea”.

Reports say that Soderlund’s argument for human cannibalism was front and centre at the panel talk called “Can You Imagine Eating Human Flesh?”. He said that “conservative” taboos against cannibalism could be changed over time, if people try to eat human flesh.

Some of the talking points at the seminar included— whether humans were too selfish to “live sustainably” and if cannibalism is the future option to food sustainability.

After his talk, the scientist was asked during an interview if would try human flesh personally, and he said that he was open to the idea. “I feel somewhat hesitant but to not appear overly conservative … I’d have to say … I’d be open to at least tasting it,” he told Sweden’s TV4.

Soderlund suggested more plausible options like eating pets and insects.
However, where the scientist considers it a sustainable option, history reveals that cannibalism possesses potential health risks.

It was reported that a tribe in Papua New Guinea practiced eating the flesh of their dead, as an alternative to let them to be consumed by worms. The cultural practice prompted an epidemic of Kuru, a disease known as laughing death. The US National Library of Medicine highlighted that the Kuru is caused by an infectious protein found in contaminated human brain tissue. It was in 1960 that the practice of cannibalism among the people of New Guinea came to an end.

Scientist Soderlund believes eating human meat is a rescue option, but the world probably need responsible citizens. It still seems legit to conserve environment than hunting humans!

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