Science & Technology

  • Double-mutant variant shows enhanced host cell entry, immune evasion
    London, May 8 (IANS): Double-mutant variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS-CoV-2 -- B.1.617 -- that has emerged in India, entered certain types of lung and intestine cells with slightly increased efficiency compared with the original wild-type strain, say researchers. The researchers, including Markus Hoffmann from German Primate Center, also reported that the entry of B.1.617 into the lung and intestinal cells was blocked following treatment with soluble angiotensin-conv
  • User sues Sony over PlayStation's 'digital store' monopoly
    San Francisco, May 8 (IANS): A Sony Playstation user has sued the company over its alleged digital monopoly, saying that it allows Sony to charge supra-competitive prices for digital PlayStation games, the media reported. The suit seeking a class-action lawsuit has been filed in a court in California, reports The Verge. Lawyers claimed that "Sony's 2019 decision to stop PlayStation users from buying third-party download codes is violating antitrust and unfair competition
  • Accept privacy policy or lose functions in some weeks: WhatsApp
    New Delhi, May 8 (IANS): Facing criticism over its upcoming privacy policy, WhatsApp has said that its users will not immediately lose their accounts or face curtailed functionalities on the platform on May 15, but they will have to eventually go through limited functions if they fail to accept the new norms in the due course of time. The Facebook-owned messaging platform with more than two billion users, with over 400 million users in India, warned that failing to accept the new po
  • Microsoft ditching its Windows 95-era icons: Report
    San Francisco, May 7 (IANS): As a part of "sweeping visual rejuvenation" planned for later this year, Microsoft is finally preparing to refresh its Windows 95-era icons. The software giant has been slowly improving the icons it uses in Windows 10. So, far it has redesigned File Explorer, folder, Recycle Bin, disk drive icons and more, The Verge reported. Windows Latest has spotted new icons for the hibernation mode, networking, memory, floppy drives, and much more as pa
  • Falling Chinese rocket poses 'low' risk to humans
    San Francisco/Beijing, May 7 (IANS): A 100-foot-tall, 22-metric-tonne Chinese rocket is re-entering the Earth this weekend and according to the US Space Command, it poses low risk to humans. The "out-of-control" Chinese Long March 5B rocket will likely splash down in the ocean on Saturday, according to a report in The Verge. The US Space Command said in a statement that "its exact entry point into the Earth's atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until within hours o
  • Billions of computers at hacking risk: Indian-origin scientist
    New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) An Indian-origin researcher has warned that billions of computers and other devices across the globe are vulnerable today owing to a vulnerability named 'Spectre' that was first discovered in 2018 but is open to hackers again. Since 'Spectre' was discovered, the world's most talented computer scientists from industry and academia have worked on software patches and hardware defenses, confident they've been able to protect the most vuln
  • President of Elon Musk's Neuralink firm quits
    San Francisco, May 3 (IANS): Max Hodak, President of Elon Musk-founded brain-machine interface company Neuralink, has moved on to start a new venture. Hodak co-founded the company with Musk in 2016. Headquartered in San Francisco, Neuralink's team of around 100 people is trying to develop an implementable computer-brain interface. The aim of Neuralink is to increase the rate at which information can flow from the human brain to a machine. "I am no longer at Neuralink
  • SpaceX-NASA crew-1 astronauts return safely from space station
    Washington, May 2 (IANS) Four astronauts, part of SpaceX and NASA's first commercial crew programme, returned to Earth safely on Sunday after their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station, the US space agency said. The astronauts -- NASA's Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi -- returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 2:56 a.m. EDT off the co
  • Facebook to help users with information about Covid symptoms, vaccines
    New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) Social media giant Facebook on Friday announced plans to help its users in India with access to authoritative information about Covid-19 symptoms and vaccines. This is in addition to the recent announcement by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to donate $10 million to emergency response efforts in India. "As India grapples with the current wave of Covid-19, we are committed to doing our bit to support local communities in the country with medical suppli
  • NASA astronaut successfully harvests 2 plants in space
    Washington, April 28 (IANS) NASAs Expedition 64 crew member Michael Hopkins has harvested two crops in space -- 'Amara' mustard, and a previously grown crop, 'Extra Dwarf' pak choi. They were grown for 64 days, the longest leafy greens have grown on station, the US space agency said. The pak choi grew for so long that it began to flower as part of its reproduction cycle. Hopkins' efforts in eclipsing the mark included using a small paintbrush to pollinate plant f
  • 'Antiseptic throat spray, malaria drug may curb Covid spread'
    Singapore, April 26 (IANS): Using a type of antiseptic throat spray, and an oral drug used to treat malaria and arthritis, have been found effective in curbing the spread of coronavirus, according to a new study. The six-week long study, led by researchers from the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore, involved more than 3,000 migrant workers from India, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar living in Tuas South dormitory, the Channel News Asia reported. The results showed tha
  • China could control global OS of tech: UK spy chief
    London, April 25 (IANS) China's technological cyber threat is so grave that it could control the global operating system (OS), UK spy chief warned has warned. The director of the UK's intelligence and cyber agency GCHQ Jeremy Fleming said the country is now a global cyber power, reports ZDNet. However, retaining that status in a fast-changing world is far from guaranteed, especially as China and Russia look to spread competing values and project cyber strength via the use
  • YouTube building its video-transcoding chip: Report
    San Francisco, April 25 (IANS) Google has developed a custom chip, Argos, for YouTube to process videos much more efficiently. Google's Jeff Calow said the Argos chip has brought "up to 20-33x improvements in computing efficiency compared to our previous optimised system, which was running software on traditional servers." The VCU package is a full-length PCI-E card and looks a lot like a graphics card. A board has two Argos ASIC chips buried under a gigantic, passi
  • Targeted ransomware attacks grow 767%, India among top targets
    New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The ransomware attacks on high-profile targets such as corporations, government agencies and municipal organisations globally increased by a whopping 767 per cent in one year (from 2019 to 2020), according to a new report. Targeted ransomware attacks have become a major concern globally in the past few years, especially for organisations and businesses in the APAC region, especially India. "At least 61 entities from the region were breached by a ta
  • Martian subsurface has ingredients for present-day microbial life
    WASHINGTON, APRIL 23 (IANS): The Martian subsurface might be a good place to look for possible present-day life on the Red Planet, according to a study. The study, published in the journal Astrobiology, looked at the chemical composition of Martian meteorites -- rocks blasted off of the surface of Mars that eventually landed on Earth. The analysis determined that those rocks, if in consistent contact with water, would produce the chemical energy needed to support microbial commun
  • Engineers trick Tesla car to drive on Autopilot sans driver
    San Francisco, April 23 (IANS): As Tesla faces several fatal crashes in the recent past that has put its Autopilot mode in scrutiny, engineers at Consumer Reports engineers have easily tricked a Tesla Model Y to drive on the electric carmakers driver assistance feature, without actually anyone in the drivers seat. During the drive, Tesla Model Y automatically steered along painted lane lines, but the system did not send out a warning that the driver's seat was empty. The engi
  • Cloud, AI and data to transform India in next decade: Nilekani
    New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Although there is an acceleration in tech adoption and innovation across sectors in India, the key challenge now is to scale new-age technologies like Cloud, AL/ML and data in a way that these can empower more than a billion people in the next decade, global IT major Infosys co-founder and Chairman Nandan Nilekani said on Tuesday. In a conversation with Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft during the first virtual edition of ExpertSpeak, Nilekani said th
  • Now transfer your FB posts, notes to Google Documents, WordPress
    New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Facebook on Monday introducing two new data portability types that will help users directly transfer their posts and notes to Google Documents, Blogger and WordPress.com. The social network last year enabled people to transfer their photos and videos to Backblaze, Dropbox, Google Photos and Koofr. "To better reflect the range of data types people can now transfer to our partners' services, we're renaming the tool ‘Transfer Your Inform
  • Chrome 90 will let you share links to highlighted text
    San Francisco, April 18 (IANS) Google has started rolling out a feature for Chrome 90, which will allow users to create a link that takes people to the part of a page you highlighted. The tech giant originally launched the capability as an extension last year -- now that it's officially part of Chrome itself, you don't have to install anything extra to use it anymore, Engadget reported on Saturday. The feature could be very useful to students and colleagues working togeth
  • After India, Brazil targets upcoming WhatsApp privacy update
    Brasilia/New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) After facing an intense scrutiny in India over its upcoming privacy update, consumer protection agencies in Brazil have now asked the government to act on the May 15 privacy update that will allow Facebook to aggregate users' data across all of its platforms. Consumer rights non-profit organisation Idec has notified Brazil's National Data Protection Authority, the National Consumer Secretariat and the Federal Prosecution Service, among oth