People Talk 'Brain-To-Brain' For First Time Ever

Telepathy is a staple of science fiction--just think of Mr. Spock or the Jedi knights. But new research shows that mind-melds no longer belong only to the world of make-believe.
An international team of scientists demonstrated what they call the first direct brain-to-brain communication, sending the words "hola" and "ciao" between two people thousands of miles apart.
"We were able to directly and non-invasively transmit a thought from one person to another, without them having to speak or write," study co-author Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a Harvard Medical School professor, said in a written statement.


China: 19,000 couples given second child permit

Nearly 20,000 couples have been allowed to have a second child in Beijing under China's controversial One Child Policy, which was recently modified to meet demographic challenges.

So far 21,249 couples have filed birth applications of which 19,363 were granted permission for the second child in the Chinese capital, Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning said.

Around 56% of those permitted are women aged between 31 to 35 while another 537 aged above 40, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China last year relaxed its decades-old one-child policy which was designed to curb population growth as the country grappled with looming demographic crisis with the increase in the numbers of old aged people.

A majority of the Chinese provinces, including the most populated, Henan, have allowed couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child. Beijing followed suit on February 21.
Before the policy was adopted, both parents must be sole children to be eligible for a second child.

The relaxation came as the world's second largest economy is coping with a declining labour force and an aging population.
Demographic experts have said the easing will help promote balanced population growth in the country.

Under the one-child policy, many couples, particularly in China's countryside, had abortions as they prefer boys to girls.
This led to a wide gender gap of 118 male births versus 100 female births in 2010.


Windows 9 Unveil Allegedly Set For Sept. 30

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 8

Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to show off its next operating system, likely called Windows 9 but currently codenamed Threshold, to the world on September 30, The Vergesaid Thursday. Details for the event are reportedly still being ironed out, but the date does match up with rumors that Microsoft will release a public preview of the Windows 9 operating system sometime this fall, either late next month or early in October.
Windows 9 should bring plenty of welcome changes, particularly for those who use the operating system with a keyboard and mouse, as opposed to a touchscreen. Microsoft has already confirmed the Start menu is returning and we might also see the addition of virtual desktops and even the Cortana voice assistant. The company is also reportedly ditching its “Charms” menu that was introduced in Windows 8.
Windows 9 isn’t expected to launch until sometime in 2015 but The Verge said that it’s already “nearing completion.” If it is indeed ready, we should be playing with a preview of the new OS just a month or so from now.

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Here is why Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates poured iced water on them

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Explained

Ice Bucket Challenge is the new craze that has swept the world. Recently, you must have noticed people sharing videos where they are pouring buckets of ice over themselves. If you think, all this is happening because of the rising summer temperatures, then wait. The reason why people are pouring cold water on them is the Ice Bucket Challenge. What is the Ice Bucket Challenge?

 • The Ice Bucket Challenge, also known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on one's head.

 • If the aforesaid is not done then, donation is made to the ALS Association in the United States.

 • In the challenge, those who have been nominated have to pour a bucket of ice water on their heads and also make a video of the same. 

• The nominated people have 24 hours to complete the challenge, either by pouring the ice cold water or by making the financial donation. How did it start? 

• In the Northern-Hemisphere summer of 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media and became a pop culture phenomenon, particularly in the United States, with numerous celebrities, politicians, athletes, and other people posting videos of themselves on the social media. 

• After the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media, public awareness for ALS increased.

 • On August 18, 2014, the ALS Association announced that it had received $15.6 million in donations compared to $1.8 million during the same time period (July 29 to August 18) in the prior year. What are the rules for the challenge?

 • Within 24 hours of being challenged, those who have been challenged have to record a video while performing the challenge.

 • First, they have to announce their acceptance of the challenge. 

• Then one has to pouring ice into a bucket of water and then the bucket is to be lifted overhead and poured over the participant's head.

 • After completing this, the participant challenges other people to take the challenge. 

• If you can't brave the chill, then the other option is to donate $100 to the ALS foundation.

 • In short, douse yourself with a bucket of chilled ice water, film the complete process and then post the video to social media. 

• Don't forget to nominate your friends to do the same. The purpose of the challenge The challenge was started to spread more awareness about ALS, a motor neurone disease and to raise money for the ALS foundation. What is ALS? 

• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease in the United States is a Motor Neurone Disease.

 • It attacks the spinal cord and can lead to speech difficulties, muscle spasms and even paralysis. • ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases. Who all took the challenge? 

• This ice bucket challenge trend has taken International celebrities by storm including US President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber and many more. 

• Novak Djokovic, Mickey Rourke, Robert Downey Jr, Justin Timberlake, Lil Wayne, Taylor Swift, Cristiano Ronaldo are among few other international celebs who took the challenge. 

• Amongst those who brought the fever to India are Sania Mirza, Bipasha Basu, Rohan Bopanna, Ritesh Deshmukh who have taken the challenge and further nominated many more friends to perform the same.

5 Must-Download Apps for College Students



Mobile apps can facilitate group work and keep college students productive.

Happy teenage girl using smart phone while leaning on railing at college campus. Horizontal shot.

RescueTime can track the time students spend on distracting websites, and Google Drive can help students keep files and documents organized in the cloud.
This year’s crop of college freshmen was in elementary school when Apple Inc. released its first iPhone and, along with it, the App Store.
Now, more than 70 percent of college students own smartphones and most use them for school work on a regular basis, according to a 2013 report by Pearson, an education services company.
Keeping up with which apps are the best bets for taking notes, managing schedules and studying for an upcoming exam can be a full-time job, though, with hundreds of new apps released every day.
Below are five must-download apps for college students.
1. Campus apps: Colleges have started to jump on the mobile craze, and schools such as Ohio State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have launched apps that allow students to check grades, manage their university accounts and track campus bus lines.
Apps created by colleges often go beyond just schedules and grades, says Chester Goad, director of disability services for Tennessee Technological University.
"Many colleges and universities upload tips and tricks for navigating campus,
best places to eat, college traditions and more," he says, adding that these apps often include emergency alerts to help keep students safe on campus.
2. RescueTime: Want to know how much time you’re losing to digital distractions? This app will tell you.RescueTime tracks time spent on email, social media and websites, and identifies top distractions.
Students can set goals to make sure they are using their time productively – by studying instead of scanning Twitter, for example – and create alerts to notify them when they’ve spent too much time playing Candy Crush.
"RescueTime is a terrific app for keeping track of how you spend your time, and helping you avoid distractions," says Goad, adding that he often recommends this app to the students he works with.
The app is currently only available on Android devices. RescueTime also offers a desktop version that tracks time spent on websites and syncs with the mobile app to give users a better picture of how they spend their time online. RescueTime is free, but the Web application does have a premium version for $9 per month, which allows students to block access to distracting sites for set periods of time.
3. RefMe: Writing research papers can be tedious. Especially when you realize you still need to pull together a bibliography page – and your paper is due in 10 minutes.
Students can avoid figuring out the nuances of MLA versus Chicago style with RefMe, a free app available on Android and Apple devices.
The app allows students to scan the bar code on books and journals or copy and paste a URL to get citations in various styles, including Harvard, American Psychological Association and Chicago style. These citations are stored in the cloud, so students can access them from anywhere using the application’s Web platform.
4. Google Drive: Group projects are a regular part of college life, and Google Drive makes collaborating on these projects a breeze.
Students can use the app to create, share and collectively edit presentations, spreadsheets and documents. Drive has a suite of tools, similar to Microsoft Office, that allow students to edit any document, regardless of it was created and students with a Gmail account already have a Google Drive account.
Since Drive is a cloud-based app, so students can store up to 15GB of documents, images, music, or other files for free, and then access them from any device.
"There are other cloud storage options, including Box and OneDrive," says Stephanie Humphrey, a tech expert and former engineer who covers technology trends for Ebony and the Philadelphia Fox affiliate. "For a student, Google Drive stands out for the office tools feature and the cheaper storage upgrades, which can help when you’re on a budget."
While Drive is a Google app, it is available for free on both Android and Apple devices.
5. Evernote: There is no shortage of note-taking apps available for smartphones and tablets, butEvernote continues to come out on top.

Apple shares burst through the $100 barrier ahead of iPhone 6 launch

Launch of eagerly awaited new iPhone model fuels 

surge in share price to new record high of $100.53

US Money Apple store

To make ends meet, Drake works as a part-time sales clerk at an Apple store. Photograph: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Shares in Apple have jumped back through the $100 barrier to reach a new record of $100.53 as investors eagerly await the launch of iPhone 6 in September.
The previous peak for the shares was two years ago, just ahead of the iPhone 5 launch in September, when they closed at $702.10. This is equivalent to $100.30 when adjusted for share split in June. 
Apple shares 19 August 2014
Apple shares from August 2009 until close of trade on 19 August 2014. 
Source: Thomson Reuters
Investors were given seven new shares for each one held, which brought the price down from the top-heavy $700 they had reached after several years of gains.
The shares were also boosted by tweets from activist investor Carl Icahn, who bought into Apple last autumn and added to his stake earlier this year.
He called his investment in Apple a “no brainer”.
• This article was amended on 20 August 2014. An earlier version of the sub-heading said that Apple shares are at a new record high to £100.53, rather than $100.53.

The End of a Rocky Era: Steve Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Corporation's Boardroom

It's been more than six months since Satya Nadella  was appointed as CEO of Microsoft , allowing longtime leader Steve Baller to retire. But Ballmer still cast a large shadow in Microsoft's boardroom, holding on to his seat and 333 million shares of the company.
All of that changed on Wednesday. Steve Ballmer penned an open letter to Nadella , in which he announced his retirement form Microsoft's board of directors as well.
"In the six months since leaving, I have become very busy," Ballmer wrote. "I see a combination of the [Los Angeles] Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."
With so many new demands on Ballmer's time, he saw fit to step down from the board. The move is effective immediately, leaving Microsoft with a total of 10 directors. He's poised to teach a class at the USC School of Business this fall, not to mention the start of the basketball season. Having spent a cool $2 billion to acquire the Clippers , the team will be a priority for Ballmer


Steve Ballmer at a Seattle Supersonics game, 2005. Image source: Wikimedia Commons .
Ballmer didn't serve on any of the board's committees , in keeping with leaving committee work to independent directors.
Nadella accepted Ballmer's farewell with a profusion of thanks and kudos. "While your insights and leadership will be greatly missed as part of the board, I understand and support your decision," he wrote.
So if Ballmer was holding Nadella back from tampering with the ex-CEO's legacy in any way, that shouldn't be a problem anymore. Throw in the fact that Microsoft founder Bill Gates stepped down from the chairman's post to a regular board seat when Nadella took office, and it's clear that a whole new era has started in Redmond, Washington.

Ballmer's successor, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Image Source: Microsoft.
Nadella has already started making his mark on the company, announcing a heavy focus on cloud and mobile businesses alongside drastic layoffs . Neither Ballmer nor Gates have vetoed any of these moves. So Ballmer's final exit may not make much of a difference after all, given the loose reins he's been keeping on the new CEO.
That being said, Ballmer isn't entirely out of the Microsoft game--he'll still be around as a very large investor.
"I hold more Microsoft shares than anyone other than index funds," Ballmer wrote, "and love the mix of profits, investments and dividends returned in our stock. I expect to continue holding that position for the foreseeable future."
He does indeed own more Microsoft shares than Bill Gates, and his 4.4% stake in the company is larger than all but two major mutual fund managers. That's enough to make Nadella acknowledge the new relationship he'll have with his old boss and colleague.
"We wish you incredible success," Nadella wrote. "I also look forward to partnering with you as a shareholder."
So the big, bald, and boisterous Ballmer is gone from all official Microsoft functions but ready to become a sort of activist investor instead.
I like what Nadella has done with Microsoft so far. Under Ballmer, Microsoft's bark was always worse than its bite. Nadella is trying new ideas like publishing iPad and Android versions of Microsoft Office , or obsessing over user-first thinking . The throwback traditions of the Ballmer and Gates eras should fade quickly under these circumstances, and the company might just grow some teeth again.
Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you) 
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here !
Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

39 Dead, Dozens Missing After Japan Landslides

Japanese police said the death toll from rain-triggered landslides on the outskirts of Hiroshima city rose to 39 on Thursday with 51 people still missing, as search efforts continued in the devastated area.
Hillsides caved in or were swept down into residential areas in at least five valleys in the suburbs of the western Japanese city on Wednesday, crushing dozens of houses after heavy rains.
Hiroshima prefectural police said 39 people were confirmed dead and 51 others were missing as of midday Thursday. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 23 people were injured, 13 seriously. A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with official policy, said there was a possibility of some inaccuracies in the tally.
About 2,500 police and military personnel searched for the missing in the mud-covered areas.
Hiroshima city officials have faced criticism because their initial evacuation advisory came an hour after the first mudslide. Officials said their response was delayed because the land collapsed so quickly at multiple locations.
Landslides are a constant risk in mountainous, crowded Japan, where many homes are built on or near steep slopes. Torrential rains early Wednesday apparently caused slopes to collapse in areas where many of the buildings were newly constructed.
Hiroshima's geology, consisting of highly water-retentive soil, makes the city particularly prone to such disasters, experts say.

Scientists develop technique to record quantum behavior of electron

Molecular engineer
A new report by researchers from collaborating universities significantly contributes to the developing science on quantum computing and opens new possibilities for further research. Here’s what they discovered and developed.

Using ultrafast pulses of laser light, university researchers were able to create a technique that can record the quantum mechanical behavior of electron in a diamond’s nanoscale defect. The researchers applied these laser light pulses to control the whole quantum state of the nanoscale defect and to observe how a single electron state cahnges over time.
The research, led by the University of Chicago scientists, contributes to the constantly evolving field of quantum information processing, one that demands science to get rid of the “unambiguous universe of traditional binary logic—0 or 1—and embrace the counterintuitive quantum world” wherein electrons can be in several states at once.
They say it could speed up the development of quantum computing devices as well as the additional computing power because materials with appropriate quantum properties will be identified easier. A quantum computer makes use of the electron’s spin state as quantum bit or qubit, similar to how traditional computers apply the electron’s charge state to create specks of information.
The researchers looked into the electron’s quantum mechanical property called spin. The spin system on study is regarded as nitrogen-vacancy center, a defect the size of an atom naturally occurring in diamond, which consists of nitrogen atom found next to a vacant space in the crystal lattice.
Team leader David Awschalom says in a statement that such defects gathered great interest in the previous decade, “providing a test-bed system for developing semiconductor quantum bits as well as nanoscale sensors.”
“Here, we were able to harness light to completely control the quantum state of this defect at extremely high speeds,” says Awschalom, who is the university’s Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering.
Co-lead author Lee Bassett says the goal of the team was to push the quantum control limits in such remarkable defect systems and the technique likewise offers a new exciting measurement tool.
“By using pulses of light to direct the defect’s quantum dynamics on super-short timescales, we can extract a wealth of information about the defect and its environment,” says Bassett in a statement.
It also provides a way to understand and control new materials at atomic level, says co-author and professor Guido Burkard, who is also a theoretical physicist at University of Konstanz.
Evelyn Hu, a Harvard University professor, concurs that the new technique developed by the researchers leads to new possibilities.
“Each new system will pose new challenges to understanding the energy levels, local environments and other properties, but the general approach should provide an enormous step forward for the field,” Hu says in a statement.
The paper, titled “Ultrafast optical control of orbital and spin dynamics in a solid-state defect,” appeared this month in the journal Science.

The correct way to Organize and Configure Gmail inbox

gmail

Software possess numerous features and set of functions. You can find those that centrally manages all applications named the os, and also the operation system won’t fully function in anyway without the help of other applications intended specially for that system.
One of the tricks that you can do with Gmail is adding full stops anywhere in the address and it does not make any difference. For example jane.doe@gmail.com can be interpreted the same way as janedoe@gmail.com. Maybe only a few know about this technique, including janedoe+hello@gmail.com. Adding a plus sign and the messages from these addresses will still reach your inbox. If such address tweaks do not make any difference, what’s the use of them? The main reason for using such tweaks is filtered.
Read on to learn more about what you can use about this feature that will bring order from chaos in your Gmail inbox.

Newsletters Signup

Use an address like janedoe+news@gmail.com when you sign up for newsletters, websites or apps. By doing this, your Gmail account will filter all that are sent to the address you specified and will be arranged under the low-priority folder or label. You can arrange how your emails are received by accessing several options in your Gmail Inbox. Use the Gmail mark to categorize them under insignificant files or updates. If you want more ways that will make you get involved with arranging emails, input a specific word when you sign up for updates or newsletters such as janedoe+news@gmail.com, for example. There is a possibility that it may give you troubles instead of helping you out, but it gives you control over which emails go directly to your trash folder or the spam folder right after they send it to your Gmail account.

The VIP Status

You can mark email messages as unimportant or the other way around, by handling a different email address like jane.doe@gmail.com and send them to the ones that really matter the most such as people really important to you.  Set up a filter in marking the messages as top priority and important.

Separating Work and Personal Life

You may have already made a separate Gmail account either for your personal life from your work life, but if you have mixed your personal, pleasure and work life into one account, you can still organize things by using the address techniques to identify which ones are priorities over the other. Even just adding a letter ‘w’ like janedoe+w@gmail.com will directly organize all emails coming from your work. This will give you a way to mark all the email coming from work under the appropriate label, without any extra effort on your part. This will not only make your inbox look neater than before, but also makes efficient searches in the future.


Google acquires Jetpac to boost image recognition know-how

Jetpac's technology can be used to find anything on images, but Google is mum on its plans


IDG News Service - Google has acquired Jetpac, known for image recognition and processing.
Jetpac wrote on its website that it's joining Google, and would be removing its app from the App Store in the coming days. The company will stop offering support on Sept. 15, it said. Google confirmed the deal but had nothing to add to what Jetpac wrote, a spokeswoman said via email.
The San Francisco company's Spotter app can identify objects captured via a smartphone camera. It is also known for its City Guides app, which creates lists based on how often a subject shows up in public Instagram images.
An example the company gives is a list of "top Hipster Bars" based on the most photos of hipsters at a bar shared on Instagram. Its Deep Belief app lets users teach their smartphone to recognize any object; it had also offered a Deep Belief development framework to those wishing to integrate object recognition into their mobile apps.
Jetpac didn't offer any details on how Google planned to use its technology, only saying that it looked forward "to working on exciting projects with our colleagues at Google."

Spain tops ISL foreign players’ pool list

Players during a press conference ahead of Indian Super League in Mumbai. File photo

Nine players from Spain figure in the 49-strong international players’ central pool for the Hero Indian Super League (HISL). The draft will be held on August 21, 2014. A total of 56 foreigners will feature in the city-based tournament, seven other internationals were contracted directly by the franchise teams.
The average age listed is 28 years, with 186 appearances per player on an average. Other nationalities include France (eight), Czech Republic (eight), Brazil (five), Portugal (five), Colombia (five), South Korea (two), Argentina, Canada, Serbia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, England, Greece and Cameroon (one each).
The seven foreigners signed directly by four clubs are Delhi Dynamos FC (Mads Junker and Morten Skoubo), FC Pune City (Emanuele Belardi and Bruno Cirillo), North-East United FC (Isaac Chansa and Cornell Glen), Atletico de Kolkata (Borja Fernandez). The HISL is promoted by IMG-R and Star India.
The international players’ pool break-up is:
Goalkeepers--- André Matos Dias Pereira (Portugal); Apoula Edima Edel Bete (Cameroon); Gennaro Bracigliano (France); Jan Šeda (Czech Republic); Marek Čech (Czech).
Defenders--- Andrés Felipe González Ramírez (Colombia), Erwin Spitzner (Brazil), Henrique Dinis Oliveira Dias (Por), Ilias Pollalis (Greece), Massamba Lô Sambou (Senegal), Raphael Romey (Fra), Sylvain Monsoreau (Fra), Tomáš Josl (Czech), Grégory Arnolin (Fra), Bernard Mendy (Fra), Pavel Čmovš (Czech), Youness Bengelloun (Fra), Johann Letzelter (Fra), Cédric Hengbart (Fra), Jairo Andrés Suarez Carvajal (Col) José Miguel González Rey (Spain).
Midfielders--- Park Kwang-Il (South Korea), Bojan Djordjic (Sweden), Bruno Augusto Pelissari de Lima (Bra), Cristian Hidalgo González (Spn), Edgar Carvalho Figueira Marcelino (Por), Francisco Javier Fernández Luque (Spn), Gustavo Marmentini dos Santos (Bra), Víctor Herrero Forcada (Spn), Jan Štohanzl (Czech), Omar Andres Rodriguez Martinez (Col), Saïdou Mady Panandetiguiri (Burkina Faso), Bruno Herrero Arias (Spn), Bruno Filipe Tavares Pinheiro (Por), Guilherme Felipe de Castro (Bra), Pavel Eliáš (Czech), Jakub Podaný (Czech), Jofre Mateu González (Spn), Do Dong-Hyun (S Kor).
Strikers--- Arnal Llibert Conde Carbó (Spn), Diego Fernando Nadaya (Arg), Eduardo Silva Lerma (Spn), Iván Bolado Palacios (Spn), Michael Chopra (England), Luis Alfredo Yánes Padilla (Col), Miguel Bruno Pereira Herlein (Por), Miroslav Slepička (Czech), Pedro Adriano Veloso Gusmão (Bra) and Iain Hume (Canada

New App Reveals How Your Smartphone Can Spy on You without Permission

New App Reveals How Your Smartphone Can Spy on You without Permission

TEHRAN (FNA)- In the age of surveillance paranoia, most smartphone users know better than to give a random app or website permission to use their device’s microphone. But researchers have found there’s another, little-considered sensor in modern phones that can also listen in on their conversations. And it doesn’t even need to ask.
In a presentation at the Usenix security conference this week, researchers from Stanford University and Israel’s defense research group Rafael plan to present a technique for using a smartphone to surreptitiously eavesdrop on conversations in a room—not with a gadget’s microphone, but with its gyroscopes, the sensors designed measure the phone’s orientation. Those sensors enable everything from motion-based games like DoodleJump to cameras’ image stabilization to the phones’ displays toggling between vertical and horizontal orientations. But with a piece of software the researchers built called Gyrophone, they found that the gyroscopes were also sensitive enough to allow them to pick up some sound waves, turning them into crude microphones. And unlike the actual mics built into phones, there’s no way for users of the Android phones they tested to deny an app or website access to those sensors’ data, Wired reported.

“Whenever you grant anyone access to sensors on a device, you’re going to have unintended consequences,” says Dan Boneh, a computer security professor at Stanford. “In this case the unintended consequence is that they can pick up not just phone vibrations, but air vibrations.”

For now, the researchers’ gyroscope snooping trick is more clever than it is practical. It works just well enough to pick up a fraction of the words spoken near a phone. When the researchers tested their gyroscope snooping trick’s ability to pick up the numbers one through ten and the syllable “oh”—a simulation of what might be necessary to steal a credit card number, for instance—it could identify as many as 65 percent of digits spoken in the same room as the device by a single speaker. It could also identify the speaker’s gender with as much as 84 percent certainty. Or it could distinguish between five different speakers in a room with up to 65 percent certainty.
But Boneh argues that more work on speech recognition algorithms could refine the technique into a far more real eavesdropping threat. And he says that a demonstration of even a small amount of audio pickup through the phones’ gyroscopes should serve as a warning to Google to change how easily rogue Android apps could exploit the sensors’ audio sensitivity.

“It’s actually quite dangerous to give direct access to the hardware like this without mitigating it in some way,” says Boneh. “The point is that there’s acoustic information being leaked to the gyroscope. If we spent a year to build optimal speech recognition, we could get a lot better at this. But the point is made.”
Modern smartphones use a kind of gyroscope that consists of a tiny vibrating plate on a chip. When the phone’s orientation changes, that vibrating plate gets pushed around by the Coriolis forces that affect objects in motion when they rotate. (The same effect is why the Earth’s rotation causes the ocean’s water to swirl or air currents to form into spinning hurricanes.)

But the researchers found that the same tiny pressure plates could also pick up the frequency of minute air vibrations. Google’s Android operating system allows movements from the sensors to be read at 200 hertz, or 200 times per second. Since most human voices range from 80 to 250 hertz, the sensor can pick up a significant portion of those voices. Though the result is unintelligible to the human ear, Stanford researcher Yan Michalevsky and Rafael’s Gabi Nakibly built a custom speech recognition program designed to interpret it.

The results, says Boneh, aren’t anywhere close to the kind of eavesdropping possible from the phone’s microphone–he describes the software in its current state as picking up “a word here and there.” But he says the research is only intended to show the possibility of the spying technique, not to perfect it. “We’re security experts, not speech recognition experts,” Boneh says.

Both iOS and Android devices use gyroscopes that can pick up sound vibrations, Boneh says. And neither requires any apps to seek permissions from users to access those sensors. But iOS limits the reading of the gyroscopes to 100 hertz, which makes audio spying far harder to pull off. Android allows apps to read the sensor’s data at twice that speed. And though Chrome or Safari on Android limit websites to reading the sensor at just 20 hertz, Firefox for Android lets websites access the full 200 hertz frequency. That means Android users visiting a malicious site through Firefox could be subject to silent eavesdropping via javascript without even installing any software.
Boneh says that Google has likely been aware of the study: The company’s staffers were included on the Usenix program committee. A Google spokesperson wrote in a statement that “third party research is one of the ways Android is made stronger and more secure. This early, academic work should allow us to provide defenses before there is any likelihood of real exploitation.”

The research isn’t actually the first to find that phones’ gyroscopes and accelerometers pose a privacy risk. In 2011, a group of Georgia Tech researchers found that a smartphone could identify keystrokes on nearby computers based on the movement of the phone’s accelerometers. And in another paper earlier this month, some of the same Stanford and Rafael researchers found that they could read a smartphone’s accelerometers from a website to identify the device’s “fingerprint” out of thousands.

In this case, the researchers say mobile operating system makers like Google could prevent the gyroscope problem by simply limiting the frequency of access to the sensor, as Apple already does. Or if an app really needed to access the gyroscope at high frequencies, it could be forced to ask permission. “There’s no reason a video game needs to access it 200 times a second,” says Boneh.

Astronomers measure rare black hole

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have accurately measured and confirmed the existence of an elusive black hole, 400 times the mass of our Sun, in a galaxy 12 million light years from Earth.
Ranging from a hundred times to a few hundred thousand times the Sun’s mass, these intermediate-mass black holes are so hard to measure and even their existence is sometimes disputed.
Little is known about how they form. And some astronomers question whether they behave like other black holes.
University of Maryland astronomy graduate student Dheeraj Pasham and colleagues succeeded in accurately measuring — and thus confirming the existence of — a black hole about 400 times the mass of our Sun in a galaxy 12 million light years from Earth.
Co-author Richard Mushotzky, a UMD astronomy professor, said the black hole in question is a just-right-sized version of this class of astral objects.
“Objects in this range are the least expected of all black holes,” said Mushotzky.
While the intermediate-mass black hole that the team studied is not the first one measured, it is the first one so precisely measured, Mushotzky says, “establishing it as a compelling example of this class of black holes.”
“For reasons that are very hard to understand, these objects have resisted standard measurement techniques,” said Mushotzky.
Pasham focused on one object in Messier 82, a galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major.
Messier 82 is our closest “starburst galaxy,” where young stars are forming.
Beginning in 1999 a NASA satellite telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, detected X-rays in Messier 82 from a bright object prosaically dubbed M82 X-1.
Astronomers, including Mushotzky and co-author Tod Strohmayer of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, suspected for about a decade that the object was an intermediate-mass black hole, but estimates of its mass were not definitive enough to confirm that.
Between 2004 and 2010 NASA’s Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) satellite telescope observed M82 X-1 about 800 times, recording individual X-ray particles emitted by the object.
Pasham mapped the intensity and wavelength of X-rays in each sequence, then stitched the sequences together and analysed the result.
Among the material circling the suspected black hole, he spotted two repeating flares of light. The flares showed a rhythmic pattern of light pulses, one occurring 5.1 times per second and the other 3.3 times per second.
The study was published in the journal Nature.

Australian researchers discover cancer fighting cells in humans

cells

A team of scientists at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Australia have discovered a highly specialised immune cell that is capable of playing a vital role in killing melanoma cells responsible for cancer.
The researchers are optimistic that the cells they have discovered can be harnessed and used to hunt the cancer-causing cells even after they have spread to other body parts, including the lung.
It is also evident from the study that the natural killer cells play a major role in organ rejections like bone marrow transplant and immune response during toxic shock syndrome.

Blood contains a fairly large number of natural killer cells and they regularly move through the body’s organs like lungs, mucous membranes and skin to locate and destroy dead cells like a predatory. Though generally beneficial, they are like a double-edged sword meaning they are responsible for transplant rejects.
Behind this ability of the natural killer cells is a protein called MCL-1, the team has found, and it adds that this will help scientists manipulate the killer cells to fight cancer and many other disorders. The protein can been increased or decreased to fight diseases, the team has also found.
Dr Nick Huntington, a member of the team said,”…discovered MCL-1 is absolutely essential for keeping natural killer cells alive…without natural killer cells, the body was unable to destroy melanoma metastases that had spread throughout the body, and the cancers overwhelmed the lungs,”
The findings have since been published in the journal ‘Nature Communications’.

Women's Test: India beat England by six wickets at Wormsley

India's women celebrate their Test victory over England

Captain Mithali Raj steered India to victory over England on the final day of the women's Test at Wormsley.
Set 181 to win, India began the day on 119-4, with England knowing Raj stood between them and any hope of victory.
But the India skipper hit 50 not out, adding 68 with nightwatchman Shikha Pandey (28 not out) as England's seam-heavy attack failed to break through.
The sides now meet in three one-day internationals which form part ofthe inaugural ICC Women's Championship.
It represents a major triumph for India, who have not played a Test since 2006 and struggled in recent global limited-overs tournaments.
By contrast, England will reflect on a poor batting performance on the first morning of their first match since the squad were awarded full-time professional contracts by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

England women v India

13-16 Aug: Only Test, Wormsley - India win by six wickets
21 Aug: 1st ODI, Scarborough
23 Aug: 2nd ODI, Scarborough
25 Aug: 3rd ODI, Lord's
"It didn't start well with me losing the toss but that's no excuse as we didn't bat well. It doesn't matter how much money you're paid, you've got to turn up," captain Charlotte Edwards told BBC Test Match Special.
"India were the better team over the four days. We didn't play straight enough and our total of 92 wasn't enough. We bowled well to get them out for 114, but a lead of 180 wasn't going to be good enough."
Jenny Gunn, replaced as vice-captain by Heather Knight earlier this summer, was named as player of the match after taking 5-19 in India's first innings before giving England hope with an unbeaten 62 in their second innings - the biggest score of the match.
Edwards added: "Hopefully we'll come back better in the one-day internationals.
"We'd like to play more Tests and we've got to work on the longer form of the game to improve our Test cricket over the next few years."
The first one-day international is at Scarborough on Thursday.
India's Mithali Raj and Shikhar Pandey
Raj and Pandey saw India home before lunch without losing a wicket
Jenny Gunn is awarded the player of the match champagne by England head of women's cricket Clare Connor