Life

NASA’s Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — NASA’s Voyager 2 probe has left the protective bubble around the Sun and is flying through interstellar space, becoming the second human-made object to travel so far, the US space agency said Monday. The announcement came six years after its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, broke the outer boundary of the heliopause, where the hot solar wind meets the cold, dense space between stars, known as the interstellar medium. Voyager 2 […]

Researchers explore new way of killing malaria in the liver

by Ivan COURONNE with Nathalie OLOF-ORS in Basel Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — In the ongoing hunt for more effective weapons against malaria, international researchers said Thursday they are exploring a pathway that has until now been little studied — killing parasites in the liver, before the illness emerges. “It’s very difficult to work on the liver stage,” said Elizabeth Winzeler, professor of pharmacology and drug discovery at University of California San Diego […]

Heavy screen time appears to impact childrens’ brains: study

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Researchers have found “different patterns” in brain scans among children who record heavy smart device and video game use, according to initial data from a major ongoing US study. The first wave of information from the $300 million National Institute of Health (NIH) study is showing that those nine and 10-year-old kids spending more than seven hours a day using such devices show signs of premature thinning of the cortex, […]

NASA’s InSight lander ‘hears’ wind on Mars

TAMPA, United States (AFP) — Humans can now hear the haunting, low rumble of wind on Mars for the first time, after NASA’s InSight lander captured vibrations from the breeze on the Red Planet, the US space agency said Friday. The strong gusts of wind, blowing between 10 to 15 mph (five to seven meters a second), were captured as they moved over the solar panels on InSight, an unmanned lander that touched down on […]

China launches rover for first far side of the moon landing

by Ryan MCMORROW Agence France Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) — China launched a rover early Saturday destined to land on the far side of the moon, a global first that would boost Beijing’s ambitions to become a space superpower, state media said. The Chang’e-4 lunar probe mission — named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology — launched on a Long March 3B rocket from the southwestern Xichang launch center at 2:23 am (1823 GMT), […]

Thousands march for climate in Paris despite ‘yellow vest’ unrest

Paris, France | AFP | Up to 25,000 people marched through Paris on Saturday urging greater action on climate change, despite fears that their protest would be scuppered by “yellow vest” demonstrations. Police estimated the number of green activists heading onto the streets at 17,000 while organisers counted 25,000 urging world governments to better protect the environment. The numbers were similar to previous climate marches in Paris, despite sporadic violence in the city on Saturday among thousands of “yellow […]

Google launches AI-driven audio news feed

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google said Thursday it was launching a radio-style, on-demand audio news feed available on smart speakers, personalized with the help of artificial intelligence. The technology giant said it had partnerships with more than a dozen news organizations to deliver an audio feed in the same manner as its smartphone news feed. “This new experience will bring you an audio news playlist assembled in that moment, for you,” Google product […]

Microsoft unveils facial recognition principles, urges new laws

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Microsoft said Thursday it was adopting a set of principles for deployment of facial recognition technology, calling on industry rivals to follow suit and for new laws to avert a dystopian future. Microsoft president Brad Smith made the announcement at a Brookings Institution speech and an accompanying blog post, saying it was urgent to begin placing limits on facial recognition to avoid the surveillance state described in George Orwell’s “1984.” […]

Ice is a lifeline for the world’s coldest region

by Maria ANTONOVA Agence France-Presse OY, Russia (AFP) — Innokenty Tobonov sinks his harpoon into a long block of ice while his helpers expertly push it out of freezing lake waters onto the snow-dusted surface before sliding it towards an idling tractor. After an hour of cutting ice blocks out of the lake in temperatures of minus 41 degrees Celsius (minus 42 Fahrenheit), cold vapor has frosted his eyelashes. But this is no excuse for […]

Microsoft unveils facial recognition principles, urges new laws

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Microsoft said Thursday it was adopting a set of principles for deployment of facial recognition technology, calling on industry rivals to follow suit and for new laws to avert a dystopian future. Microsoft president Brad Smith made the announcement at a Brookings Institution speech and an accompanying blog post, saying it was urgent to begin placing limits on facial recognition to avoid the surveillance state described in George Orwell’s “1984.” […]

Zuckerberg defends Facebook in new data breach controversy

by Dmitry ZAKS Agence France-Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg pushed back Wednesday against emails showing the social media giant offering Netflix and other popular apps preferential access to people’s data even after it had tightened its privacy rules. A British parliamentary committee investigating whether the social media behemoth was being used to manipulate the results of elections published 250 pages of internal Facebook documents earlier Wednesday. They show executives holding […]

SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

by Kerry SHERIDAN Agence France Presse TAMPA, United States (AFP) — SpaceX on Wednesday blasted off its unmanned Dragon cargo ship, loaded with supplies, science experiments and food for the astronauts living at the International Space Station but failed to successfully land its booster afterwards. “We have had a great liftoff,” said SpaceX commentator John Insprucker, as the Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sunny, blue sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:16 pm (1816 […]