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Robotics may soon be a critical ally in the fight against disease-spreading bugs, a United Nations agency said Thursday after a successful test releasing sterile mosquitos from aerial drones as part of efforts to suppress the insect that spreads Zika and other diseases. 

The drone-based mechanism overcomes a critical bottleneck in the application of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) to control insect pests, said the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which developed the system in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the non-profit group WeRobotics.

“The use of drones is a breakthrough, and paves the way for large-scale and cost-efficient releases, also over densely populated areas,” said Jeremy Bouyer, medical entomologist at the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.

SIT, a form of insect birth control, uses radiation to sterilize male mosquitos, which are then released to mate with wild females. As these do not produce any offspring, the insect population declines over time.

However, to be effective, the technique requires the uniform release of large numbers of insects in good condition over a given area.

For instance, Aedes mosquitos, responsible for the spread of diseases like dengue or yellow fever, do not disperse for more than 100 meters in their lifetime. They are also fragile, and high-altitude releases by airplanes – often used in the application of SIT for other insects – can damage their wings and legs.

“We’re pleased with initial tests that show less than 10 per cent mortality through the entire chilling, transport and aerial release process,” said Adam Klaptocz, co-founder of WeRobotics.

The breakthrough technology is also cost-effective – almost half as cheap.

Until now, sterile mosquitos have been released using time-consuming and labour-intensive ground methods.

“With the drone, we can treat 20 hectares in five minutes,” said Mr. Bouyer.

Weighing less than 10 kilograms, the drone can carry 50,000 sterile mosquitos per flight and at 10,000 Euro per drone, its use also reduces the cost of releasing mosquitos by half.

The IAEA and its partners are now working to reduce the drone’s weight and to increase its capacity to carry up to 150,000 mosquitos per flight.

The testing of the system was carried out last month in Brazil, a country hit hard by the 2015-16 Zika epidemic, which also spread to other parts of South and North America and affected several islands in the Pacific, and South-east Asia.

Brazil plans to start using the drone-based system in selected urban and rural areas from January 2019, at the peak of the summer and mosquito season.

“We are hopeful about the application of SIT for the control of Aedes aegypti in Brazil with the results from the drone tests,” said Jair Virginio, Director of Brazil-based Moscamed, a recently-designated IAEA Collaborating Centre. Source : un.org

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MHA plans to launch software to boost Hindi content on web

Written by Saturday, 23 September 2017 10:03

The software — Memory Adharith Anuvadh Software — will initially be used to translate the central government’s documents and data into Hindi. It will be launched in August.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) was preparing to launch a memory-based software that can translate “world knowledge and literature” into Hindi in a bid to increase web content in the language, officials familiar with the development said.

The software is currently being developed by MHA’s department of official language and is likely to be launched in August, two ministry officials said.

Called the Memory Adharith Anuvadh Software (MAAS), the programme would initially be used to translate the central government’s documents and data into Hindi, ministry officials said, but added that MHA’s long-term plan was to use the translation tool to increase the presence of Hindi content on the internet.

MHA officials said although Hindi had one of the highest number of speakers in the world, its content on the web remained less than many foreign languages that had fewer speakers.

 “Take for instance Portuguese. Its speakers are fewer than Hindi’s yet its content on the internet is massive,” a senior home ministry official said.

Stating the ‘benefits’ of the software, the official quoted above said: “As of now, the government files and data are translated manually, which is time consuming and also difficult because the keyboards are still in English. Once MAAS becomes operational, the same work will be done with almost 100% accuracy in a matter of hours.”

An official of the MHA’s department of language said if the software proved to be a success then they would distribute it among all state and central government institutes that have Hindi as an official language. However, the official added, MHA’s end goal was to ensure free distribution of the translation software among the general public in a bid to increase Hindi content on the internet.

“The cyber space is an important area of development and there is a lot of knowledge available on the platform in English. However, we also want the information to be accessible to those who prefer Hindi. Once the translation tool is used by common people, Hindi content is bound to rise on the web.” Source : ht

 

 

 

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Looking to upgrade to the latest Galaxy S9 series? Read on to get a clearer idea.

Samsung recently launched its flagship smartphones, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ in India. There has beeb a lot of buzz around the Galaxy S9 series particularly its camera features. The smartphones also come with incremental upgrades over its predecessors, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. However the question that remains among users is if they should upgrade from their existing Galaxy S8 series to the Galaxy S9.

Other than the new camera features and upgrades under the hood, the Galaxy S9 series doesn’t have much to offer over the Galaxy S8 duo. However, users with the older Galaxy S7 and S6 series can definitely go for this upgrade. Here’s a look at the differences between the two flagship generations for a better idea.

Display, Design

Samsung didn’t make any major changes with the Galaxy S9 duo considering the major redesign the Galaxy S8 series went through last year. One small but important change however is the placement of the fingerprint sensor which is now below the camera lens and not beside it.

The display size on both Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ remain the same with curved AMOLED Infinity Display and 18:9 aspect ratio. The Galaxy S9 features a 5.8-inch display, and the Galaxy S9+ has a bigger 6.2-inch screen.

Processor, RAM and Storage

It’s common knowledge that Samsung is the first to launch its smartphones with the latest Qualcomm processor. The Galaxy S9 series is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor. This variant is however restricted to the US market. Global markets will get the Exynos 9810 processor model which is also the latest in-house chipset.

In comparison, Samsung Galaxy S8 series runs Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 processors under its hood.

While the RAM capacity remains the same, Samsung beefed up the storage on Galaxy S9+ along with microSD support up to 400GB. Galaxy S9 comes with 4GB RAM and two storage options of 64GB and 256GB. The older Galaxy S8 is available with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and microSD support up to 256GB.

The top model gets the same treatment with 6GB RAM plus 64GB and 256GB storage options. Galaxy S8+ has the same RAM capacity but with 64GB and 128GB storage options.

Camera

Samsung prides on the camera features of the Galaxy S9 series. The biggest upgrade here is the dual-camera setup on the Galaxy S9+ which is a combination of 12-megapixel and 13-megapixel sensors. Galaxy S9 sports a single 12-megapixel rear camera. Up front, both smartphones house an 8-megapixel camera for selfies.

The specifics are the same as the Galaxy S8 duo also feature a 12-megapixel rear and 8-megapixel front camera.

However, the cameras on Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ come with dual-aperture mode which switches between f/1.5 and f/2.4 according to the lighting conditions. There’s also a super slo-mo feature which records videos at 960 frames per second. Lastly, the smartphones offer an iPhone X Animoji-like AR emoji feature.

Battery, OS and connectivity

Both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 series have the same battery capacity of 3,000mAh and 3,500mAh. Galaxy S9 and S9+ run the latest Android 8.0 Oreo, while the Galaxy S8 series ship with Android 7.0 Nougat. Samsung is expected to roll out Android 8.0 Oreo for the Galaxy S8 smartphones but the release has been facing delays.

The connectivity options also remain the same with dual-SIM support, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C port and 3.5mm audio jack. The latest Galaxy S9 duo however comes with Gigabit LTE for 5G connectivity.

Price

Samsung Galaxy S9 starts at Rs 57,900 for the base variant with 4GB RAM plus 64GB storage, while the top model with 256GB storage will retail at Rs 65,900. Galaxy S8, on the other hand with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is available at Rs 53,900.

Galaxy S9+ with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is priced at Rs 64,900, and with 256GB storage the price tag is Rs 72,000. The base model of Galaxy S8+ with 4GB RAM plus 64GB storage is priced at Rs 58,900, and with 6GB RAM plus 64GB storage it is available at Rs 64,900. Source : ht

 

 

 

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Reliance Jio responds to the fake JioCoin apps flooding the Google Play Store.

Reliance Jio on Wednesday cautioned users against downloading any application that claims to offer JioCoin, a new cryptocurrency reportedly in the works.

“Reliance Jio has come across reports in media and other websites about the existence of purported JioCoin Apps on the Internet that are soliciting investments in crypto currencies from people,” said the company in a statement.

“Reliance Jio would like to inform the public and media that there are no such apps offered by the company or its affiliates/ associates. Any such apps using the JioCoin name are fake and people are advised to refrain from dealing with any of them.”

“Reliance Jio takes a serious note of such fraudulent attempts by unscrupulous persons to misguide the public in the name of Jio and reserves the right to take appropriate legal recourse,” it added.

Jio’s statement comes as response to a growing number of fake mobile applications and websites tricking customers into downloading them.

A quick search of “JioCoin” on Google Play Store shows more than a dozen fake applications. Also, there are a number of websites cashing in on the buzz around the JioCoin.

It’s recommended that users should not download such malicious applications as they could inject malware or adware into your phone, ultimately putting your privacy at risk. Source : ht

 

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Hyundai cars get costlier by up to Rs 84,867

Written by Saturday, 16 September 2017 08:51

NEW DELHI: Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) today increased prices of its various models by up to Rs 84,867, following a hike in GST cess rates.

The price hike will range from 2 to 5 per cent and will be effective from September 11, the company said in a statement.

HMIL, which is country's second largest passenger car manufacturer, has hiked the price of 1.4-litre petrol automatic variant of its premium hatchback Elite i20 by Rs 12,547.

Besides, it has raised prices of the newly launched mid-sized sedan Verna by up to 29,090. Similarly, prices of SUV Creta have been hiked ranging between Rs 20,900 and Rs 55,375.

The automaker has also raised prices of its premium sedan Elantra ranging between Rs 50,312 and Rs 75,991. It has also increased the price of its premium SUVTuscon between Rs 64,828 and Rs 84,867.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has also announced a hike in prices of its Jeep and Fiat range of vehicles by up to Rs 6.4 lakh. 

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Google to Introduce Mobile Payment Service in India

Written by Friday, 15 September 2017 06:16

 

Alphabet's Google plans to introduce a localised digital payment service in India as early as next week, technology website TechCrunch reported, citing a report from news site The Ken. The payment service, called Google 'Tez', will offer payment options beyond the existing ones like Google Wallet or Android Pay, the report said.

Tez, meaning fast in Hindi, will include support for the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and other consumer payment services including Paytm and MobiKwik, according to the report. Google did not comment on the report, but sent a media invite for the launch of a new product for India on Sept. 18.

Google, Facebook and WhatsApp were in talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to provide UPI-enabled payment on their platforms, the Mint daily had reported in July. The internet giant launched its payment app Android Pay in the United States two years ago.

 

 

 

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WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton to Leave Company

Written by Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:18

 

Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, will leave the messaging service company to start a new foundation, he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Acton spent eight years with WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock.

A Stanford alumnus, Acton co-founded WhatsApp with Ukrainian immigrant Jan Koum in 2009. The duo worked at Yahoo before starting WhatsApp.

Here's Acton's Facebook post announcing his departure from WhatsApp, and explaining his reasons, in its entirety.

"After 8 years at WhatsApp, I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life.

I am very fortunate at my age to have the flexibility to take new risks and focus on what I'm passionate about. I've decided to start a non-profit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications. It's something I've thought about for a while, and now it's time to just focus and execute. I'll have more to share in the coming months.

This decision is, of course, a tough one. I'm proud of what our team has accomplished in only a few years, and it's humbling to see that so many people rely on WhatsApp every day.

 

 

 

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Micro-blogging website Twitter is reportedly testing a feature that will simplify the way users post "tweetstorms" — a series of related tweets posted by a user in quick succession.

According to a report on Engadget on Monday, A user has discovered a hidden, experimental "tweetstorm" feature in Twitter's Android app that simplifies the process. "Instead of posting tweets one at a time and replying to them in sequence, you compose everything behind the scenes and share it all at once," the report added.

Hidden inside the Android app is a way to write a "tweetstorm" and see it broken into distinct tweets and then tweet them all at once.

Twitter, however, declined to comment on the feature which is yet to be made available to the public.

Twitter has lifted the 140-character limit for its 328 million-plus users to send direct messages. While Twitter is largely a public experience, direct messages let you have private conversations about the memes and news that unfold on the micro blogging site. The company said last year that it would stop counting photos, videos and GIF animations toward the 140-character limit.

This report comes a day after Twitter started allowing users to share access to multiple accounts via iOS and Android applications without needing to share that account's password.

 

 

 

 

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WhatsApp rolls out two new feature for both Android and iOS users. One of them is the Picture-in-Picture video calling feature and the second one is the text status update. To recall, both the features were earlier available for the beta users, but now WhatsApp has pushed out both the features to stable builds. WhatsApp has been rolling to several new features almost every other day; this is basically because the Facebook-owned messaging platform is aiming towards improving its functionalities.

The new Picture-in-Picture video calling feature allow users to multitask. The feature basically allows the users to make video calls and send messages to friends simultaneously. For instance, if a user is on a video call and also wants to talk to some other friend via message, they can simply resize the video calling screen so they can talk to one friend via video call, and message the other one. After resizing the video call screen will appear at one side of the mobile screen, while the background will be that of the chat box. It is noteworthy, the resized video calling screen can be resized as per requirement and it can also be dragged to any corner of the phone screen.

This is the Picture-in-Picture feature, also known as PiP. Now the text status updates feature. Like we share pictures and videos as status, iOS and Android users will now be able to set a text status as well. It is different from the profile text status. We know that picture and videos on WhatsApp status last's only for 24 hours. The scene will be the same with the new WhatsApp text status as well. So, how does this feature work?

 

 

 

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In collaboration with Reliance Jio, domestic consumer electronics brand Intex Technologies on Friday announced data benefits up to 25GB for its 4G smartphone users.

Under this scheme, all Intex 4G Smartphone users using a Jio connection will get additional 5GB 4G data per recharge, over what they normally get on a recharge of Rs. 309 or above.

"The world's largest end-to-end IP network of Jio and Intex's pan-India mobile distribution network will together be a delight for consumers," said Nidhi Markanday, Director and Business Head, Mobiles, Intex Technologies, in a statement. The offer is limited to a maximum of five recharges.

Late last month, Chinese manufacturer Oppo also partnered with Reliance Jio to offer data benefits to its smartphone customers.

Those customers who purchase an Oppo smartphone and enrol themselves in Jio Prime membership will get additional data benefits.

As per the new offer, buyers of Oppo's F3F3 Plus, and F1 Plus smartphone models can get additional data up to 10GB on every recharge of Rs. 309 or above (making it up to 60GB of additional data). On the other hand, those customers who purchase Oppo F1sA57A37, and A33 models can get additional data up to 7GB on every recharge (making it up to 42GB of additional data). Notably, customers can avail these additional data benefits for a maximum of six Jio recharges.

 

 

 

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