Jennifer Levin

Jennifer Levin

It turns out the Internet is full of unusual and creepy information which usually well-hidden from prying eyes. However the desire to find out what secrets are hidden in the web has led to the emergence of a community of so-called NetStalkers, and here is what they are searching for.

The majority of the Internet users are satisfied with what they can find in what the NetStalkers call the Surface Web.

The Surface Web is anything that can be indexed by a typical search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo or Yandex. Here users simply click suggested links, while the search engines’ crawling technology finds and identifies the websites.

Search engines rely on pages that contain links to find and identify content. Generally people are looking for blogs, news, products, recipes and other types of open information.

But this technique of navigating links also misses a lot of content. NetStalkers try to go a little deeper to find out exactly what type of content they have missed.

A Little Deeper

According to BrightPlanet, which describes itself as “a software-as-a-service company that specializes in harvesting large amounts of unstructured web data and preparing it for analysis, “the Surface Web is anything that a search engine can find while the Deep Web is anything that a search engine can’t find.”

The company cites as an example a search engine on the travel site Hotwire.

A regular visitor, its explains, can only interact with the site like a standard search engine would – meaning, he or she can only click links to get there.

Deep web
© Photo: Pixabay
Deep web

However, it says, “there’s a nice search box that Hotwire allows users to fill out, but you can’t use it. Search engines don’t use search boxes, they just use links. You’ll quickly find that you can’t find the search results you are looking for without a search box.”

The results of a Hotwire search are perfect examples of Deep Web content, it states.

Other examples of Deep Web content can be found almost any time a user navigates away from Google and does a search directly in a website – government databases and libraries contain huge amounts of Deep Web data, it says.

Google search can’t find the pages behind these website search boxes. Most of the content located in the Deep Web exists in these websites that require a search and is not illicit and scary like the media portrays, the company says.

However, if you go a little deeper in the Internet you’ll find the Dark Web.

‘Getting a Little Darker’

The Dark Web then is classified as a small portion of the Deep Web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard web browsers.

The Dark Web is a term that refers specifically to a collection of websites that are publicly visible, but hide the IP addresses of the servers that run them. Thus they can be visited by any web user, but it is very difficult to work out who is behind the sites. And you cannot find these sites using search engines.

Almost all sites on the so-called Dark Web hide their identity using the Tor encryption tool.

The TOR network is an anonymous network that can only be accessed with a special web browser, called the TOR browser.

In other words, to visit a site on the Dark Web that is using Tor encryption, the web user needs to be using Tor. Just as the end user's IP is bounced through several layers of encryption to appear to be at another IP address on the Tor network, so is that of the website.

Not all Dark Web sites use Tor. Some use similar services such as I2P. The principle remains the same. The visitor has to use the same encryption tool as the site and — crucially — know where to find the site, in order to type in the URL and visit.

This is the portion of the Internet most widely known for illicit activities, such as drug markets and child pornography, because of the anonymity associated with the above networks.

However the most difficult thing here is knowing where to look.

What a user can actually find in the deeper segments of the Internet are the examples of the net art, such as a photo project by Jon Rafman The Nine Eyes of Google Street View.


Monkeys

The Canadian artist collects the bizarre and beautiful sights captured by the nine lenses on Google Street View camera cars as they photograph scenes around the world.

Or such projects as jodi.org or NeoCities.

Or some unusual video footage which has captured strange, mysterious or otherwise events which have no explanation.

Or other forums where people share their unusual hobbies, addictions or other deviations.

Source : sputniknews.com

As some scientists search for habitable planets outside our solar system, other researchers are tackling a similar question for the moons of these planets. So-called exomoons have yet to be found outside our solar system, and a detection could be a decade away — or more.

But scientists, writing in a new research paper, theorize a Mars-sized exomoon of a gas giant planet and ask whether or not liquid water could be found on its surface.

In our own solar system, the closest analog is Jupiter's Ganymede, the biggest moon in the solar system and about five-sixth the size of Mars.

    NASA confirmed in 2015 the presence of a liquid ocean on Ganymede after performing Hubble Space Telescope observations of the moon's auroras, which appear to rock back and forth less than expected with Jupiter's magnetic field. The space agency said the attenuation is likely due to a salty ocean under Ganymede's surface.

    As for this theoretical Mars-sized exomoon, the picture is murky. The scientists considered energy sources such as stellar radiation (which changes as a function of distance to the star), the stellar reflected light from a Jupiter-sized planet on the moon, the planet's own thermal emission on the moon, and the tidal heating inside the moon that is generated due to the changing gravitational pull of the planet. (This tidal heating would be most pronounced if the moon had an eccentric orbit, like the volcanic moon Io has around Jupiter.)

    It's know that tidal heating rates decrease if a moon is molten inside, because lava creates an inherent negative feedback mechanism where the heating sort of switches off, and the moon cools down inside. This is called the "tidal thermostat effect," co-author of the paper Rene Heller said in an email. Heller is an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany.

    "We investigate, for the first time, the interplay of all the possible exomoon heat sources as a function of various distances from the host star," he added. "Actually, we even consider two possible types of host stars: a sun-like star, and a red dwarf star (an M dwarf)."

    For a sun-like star, the authors found that any moon around a gas giant beyond three astronomical units, or three Earth-sun distances, would have a high enough energy flux to stop the tidal thermostat effect from happening. But if the moon is volatile enough, it could have global volcanism — just like what we see on Io.

    Heller described this situation as "dangerous" for organisms.

    "They might have lots of liquid surface water, but their surfaces could at the same time be blotched with devastating volcanoes," he wrote. "Nevertheless, we illustrate that they could be habitable given the right amount of tidal heating, and we show at which distances to their planets these moons would need to be."

    M-dwarfs are a common target for exoplanet searches because they are smaller and dimmer, making it easier to see planets passing across their surfaces, or the effect of planets tugging on the star itself. But for exomoons, it's even less clear how habitable they would be in such a system. "Moons cannot be stable in the very inner regions of the stellar habitable zone," Heller said.

    The best examples for tidally heated bodies in our own solar system are all moons: Jupiter's Io and Europa, as well as Saturn's Enceladus. While Europa and Enceladus are strongly suspected to have oceans underneath an icy surface, Heller pointed out his research is more focused on habitability on the surface of the moon. A better analog, he said, might be Saturn's moon Titan — but with a much warmer surface. Titan has a thick orange atmosphere, as well as liquid hydrocarbon lakes.

    "Due to observational selection effects, which will prefer big moons around low-mass planets, I think the first exomoon will be unlike anything we know from the solar system," Heller said.

    "It could be a Mars-like thing around an Earth-like planet, or an Earth around a Neptune, at a distance to their star that could be similar to Mercury's distance from the Sun (sufficiently close so that we have enough transits to find it). It'll probably be something that will be incredible at first glance, like a planet around a pulsar or a hot Jupiter. I'm really curious to know what this object will be like."

    While there are several new planet-hunting telescopes joining astronomy in the next decade, Heller said they are not optimized for exomoons. Searching for exomoons is financially risky and the payoff highly uncertain, which means it is likely to remain a low priority for the astronomical community.

    The James Webb Space Telescope, a multi-purpose telescope which launches in 2018, is expected to look at only a few exoplanets — so its chances of finding an exomoon are low, Heller said. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which also launches next year, will only observe very short-period transiting planets. "These planets will be so close to their stars that any moon around the planet would be immediately flung out of the system by the stellar gravitational perturbations," Heller said.

    Better other chances could come with the European Extremely Large Telescope, which is currently under construction, or CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite), another European space telescope.

    "I know that some people in the CHEOPS Science Team are actively compiling strategies to go and search for moons around transiting planets in wider orbits," Heller said. But he added the "ultimate weapon" would likely be PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), which will launch around 2024. It will conduct dedicated planet searches like the Kepler space telescope, but around more bright stars.

    WATCH: We Found New Planets. No, You Can't Live There

    Screenshot 2

     

    Source : space.com

    There have been moments that have changed the way we think, that have stunned humanity, that have changed the very civilization in history. Late twentieth century and the beginning of twenty first century have brought to life the realization of fantastic dreams of scientists, researchers and technological gurus, changing the life of man, making him see and experience things he never believed in the past. Man has crossed the frontiers of unknown spheres, enjoying the benefits of multitude advancement, and even finding cures for many diseases which were once incurable.

    We have seen tremendous transformations in every field of human existence. Artificial intelligence, Nanotechnology and Genetic Engineering have made new headways. Robots are matching human intelligence to perform many tasks. In military operations they are doing the dangerous work of locating mine fields and diffuse them. Robots may as well be a shield against possible attacks from the enemy.

    Animal cloning has been done. DNA strands are merged from two different kinds of animals to produce a new kind of animal, but man is still unable to create a perfect clone. All efforts to clone a human being have failed, proving that you can’t play God.

    Computers, internet devises, wireless communications and other gadgets have taken a giant step to provide all the information needed. More and more extra-efficient chips are being made. Ultra-dense seven nanometer chips, designed by IBM are more powerful than any other in existence.

    In the field of energy, all efforts are being made to harness cost-efficient sources of energy, like solar, wind, clean coal, geo thermal, biomass and nuclear, making it possible to provide electricity to even the remotest villages

    On the roads we see a multitude of modern cars that do not need gas – or even electrical back-up in some cases. Soon Hydrogen-powered vehicles would be coming out of factories.

    Details and challenges of life in space have come to light. The planet Mars looms within reach. The discovery of ‘Mega Earth' named Kepler-110, a planet double the size and seventeen times heavier than earth, has been of keen interest to Space explorers. Much information about Pluto has been revealed. The planet has no crest on the outside, but there are a number of Ice Mountains which shows the possibility of water there, and perhaps life.

    Glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are fast melting to accelerate global warming. In spite of tremendous efforts, we are still unable to counter the effects of global warming. Zero-emission vehicles, low emissions factories and industrial units, environmental regulations devised to sharply cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from power plants help combating weather effects to a certain extent only.

    This technological age boasts of some amazing inventions; some already in use and some in the pipeline.

    Cell Transplantation grows new organs, enabling even a paralyzed person to walk again. Robots contribute in the field of medicine, making a doctor’s job easier. Da Vinci Surgery Robots are now common in most hospitals and facilitate complex surgeries, using minimally invasive approach.3-D Printers, Abicor (fully functional artificial heart), Exacto (self-guided bullet that can change direction mid-flight to seek a target) are a few examples.

    Amidst all this, where does a common man of the yester-age stand? He may have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, but if he is not well-versed in the use of computers, he is simply wondering in a maze, feeling himself incompetent and uneducated in today’s world.

    For most of us, all this vast technological advancement has, no doubt, proved a boon, making life easier, providing more comforts and helping people to even live longer, continuously changing business landscapes and redefining humanity. But with all the advantages, a common man’s mind is disturbed. Trying to cope with the plethora of new information, inventions and constant developments and changes, man in general remains distracted, disrupted and detached from the reality of human bondage. This technological age has diverted human minds to machines, to their computers, iPad, smart phones and other newly-developed electronic devises.

    The most relevant adverse effect on humanity is that the man’s finer feelings are greatly replaced with instincts to wonder in the mechanics of ever-changing technology. He hardly has enough time or inclination to spend quality time with his family. The children are on their own, not receiving proper guidance, love and attention from parents. They attend schools and universities, mingle with other children, get mechanical instructions and education from teachers, bury themselves in computers, visit different websites, occasionally unhealthy and adult ones, and put a lot of stress on their nascent minds which they seldom use, because computers provide them with all the answers they need.

    Children and even adults watch movies which have robotic characters, demonic figures, violent and unbelievable actions and loud sounds. Hence, some of the children, having grown up develop abnormal and violent mental traits. We have seen so many incidents where young persons commit violent crimes, like shooting and killing innocent people without any relevant motive, except to satisfy their need for violence. The age has shaken the human mind. No wonder there are more and more psychiatrists and psychotherapists with a thriving rush of patients.

    Someone pointed out:

    “Relationships these days are harder because conversations become texting, arguments become phone calls and feelings become status updates.”

    Someone also said:

    “I am stuck in a generation where loyalty is just a tattoo, love is just a quote, happiness is a myth, lying is the new truth and being fake is a lifestyle.”

    Maybe in the years to come, all efforts would be made to curtail violent material on electronic and social media and modify human thinking, instill finer feelings among the family members and friends. Perhaps they may slow down constant technological strides and concentrate more on the welfare of human psyche.

    Author: Rafiq Ebrahim
    Source: http://nation.com.pk/blogs/14-Jul-2016/technological-strides-and-the-effect-on-human-psyche

     

    Under fire for months, can Google reverse the drip-drip-drip of criticism as incorrect, absurd or even dangerous results surface to the top?

    The past few months have been bad for Google’s search reputation. Long considered the “gold standard” in search, Google has seen its search results questioned as never before. It’s a body blow to a core service that should be safe as Google tries to grow in new directions.

    Recovering from that blow isn’t easy. What’s happened to Google search is on par with the Apple Maps fiasco or Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note7 phones.

    To this day, people still joke about Apple Maps being bad, even though it’s greatly improved. As for Samsung, the phones might no longer explode, but the jokes continue. Google now faces the same problem. Some of its search results are seen as laughable, embarrassing, or even dangerous.

    How Google lost its search groove

    Last November, Google found itself dragged into what had been mostly Facebook’s fake news problem when it listed a page at the top of its “In the news” section that promised the final election counts for the 2016 US presidential election. The page didn’t have the final, official, or even accurate counts.

    The next month, in December, Google took a huge hit after a Guardian article highlighted how, for some searches, Google was giving extremely disturbing answers. For example, here’s Google Home speaking at the time about how every woman has some degree of prostitute and evil in her:

    A week after that, the Guardian was back, highlighting how Google was putting a Holocaust denial site at the top of its search results for “did the holocaust happen.”

    That hadn’t yet been forgotten when last month, Google could be found confirming that President Barack Obama was plotting a coup:

    This was just one of several odd “featured snippets” or “one true answers” appearing at the top of Google’s results.

    Less than two weeks ago, Google took further flak after featuring Breitbart for a science news search:

    View image on Twitter
    That’s not actually what happened, as I’ll come back to. Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop the “WTF, Google?” reaction. Indeed, it’s a reaction that’s happening because I’d argue Google has lost core faith with people and publications that have bought into the idea that you can Google anything and get the right answer.

    Google’s results might be as good as ever. They might even be better than ever. But if the public perception is that Google has a search quality problem, that wins, because we don’t have any hard figures about relevancy.

    We don’t have relevancy ratings for search engines

    We don’t know which search engine has the best search results. There’s no independent third-party diligently and consistently evaluating actual results. We occasionally get consumer satisfactionsurveys, but those don’t actually try to verify that the consumers rating search engines actually know themselves how to evaluate the quality of results.

    Without qualified data, Google has earned its reputation as being the best search engine because early on when it started, it was easily demonstrably better than other search engines. By the time the others caught up, it was over. People stopped talking about using “search engines” and shifted over to “Googling” things, where Google was seen at the best and only serious way to get information. A 2003 New York Times column by Thomas Friedman even asked, “Is Google God?”

    Google’s only real challenger in recent years, Bing, was largely laughed off as competitor when it started. Bing certainly didn’t help itself by spying on Google searchers in order to copy Google’s results. By and large, Google’s results were unquestioned. Google was the best.

    Anyone in the search marketing space, or those who watch search closely, knew this wasn’t necessarily the case. Google had weaknesses. But we’re a niche audience that’s largely dismissed. It takes something among the “normals” out there to finally have an impact on Google’s reputation as being great. There have been only a handful of such occasions.

    Google’s previous search quality challenges

    In 2003, Google came under criticism after its results were “Googlebombed” so that in a search for “miserable failure,” the official biography for George W. Bush generally ranked first. This wasn’t a major crisis for the company, however. Indeed, Google saw it as so low in priority that took three years before a fix was put into place.

    A far bigger crisis was in April 2004, when the anti-Jewish “Jew Watch” site was noticed to be ranking at the top of Google for a search on “jew.” There were calls for the site to be dropped from Google’s results. But Google chose to go with a message of wanting to be inclusionary rather than censor. It quickly posted a disclaimer that appeared alongside those results, which themselves changed over time. The issue largely went away.

    In August 2005, Google took a brief blow when Yahoo managed to claim it had indexed more pages than Google. In a world without a universal quality score to measure search engines, size was often used as a proxy. As relatively meaningless as that number was, Google went into red-alert status to claim within about a month that it had overtaken Yahoo with a bigger index — and oh, that it now considered size so passé that it wasn’t going to cite pages indexed as a metric any longer.

    Google’s most serious challenge until now, in my opinion, really came on January 1, 2011. In the weeks before, there had been grumblings that “content farms” were somehow walking all over Google’s results, serving up lightweight content to answer common questions. On New Year’s Day 2011, Vivek Wadhwa published a column about why a better Google was “desperately” needed.

    The column was an over-the-top condemnation of Google’s search quality backed by no actual metrics. Google was clearly serving hundreds of millions of searches successfully per day, or its actual users would have been abandoning it in droves. They were not. But Wadhwa’s column resonated with tech bloggers who for various reasons just felt in their gut that Google had a problem.

    Google again went to red-alert status. Within two months, it launched what was called the Panda Update, a change especially meant to go after content farms and low-quality content. The normals relaxed, assuming all was fixed. Meanwhile, search marketers watched as Google rolled out nearly 30 subsequent updates over a four-year period to get a handle on the issue.

    Google’s current search reputation challenge

    All those past crises are nothing in seriousness, compared to what Google currently faces. Now, the search engine is regularly finding its search quality questioned, often with little perspective and sometimes with flat-out inaccuracies reported as fact.

    For example, the Guardian has done a fantastic job highlighting serious issues with Google. But that same publication also declared in December that Google was promoting right-wing bias in a systematic fashion.

    That’s not true. If you care to understand in detail why it was demonstrably false, see my previous explanation at the end of this story. The reality is that Google has problems that can seem to favor extreme sites of any leaning. The Guardian writers just didn’t bother to do any easy, basic checks beyond right-wing sites.

    Also consider that issue I mentioned earlier, where Google was spotted listing a Breitbart story first among three news items for a search on “great barrier reef.” After that was tweeted, legitimate questions were raised about whether Breitbart should be a science news source. What seemed missing was any solid examination of the problem.

    Instead, Gizmodo first condemned Google for serving up Brietbart for a “climate science” search, then in a follow-up declared in a headline: “Google Says Its Job Is to Promote Climate Change Conspiracy Theories.”

    Neither of those things were true. It’s also deeply ironic. Google’s being attacked over whether or not it’s doing a good job presenting factual information in articles that themselves that have factual problems.

    A fact check on Google’s alleged failure on facts

    A search for “great barrier reef” is not a “science” nor a “climate science” search. It’s a search for a place. Those conducting it might be interested in science information. They might be interested in tourism information. They might be interested in business information about the region. They might just want a map.

    Google has no way to know the exact intent of that search. That’s why it presents a variety of results, some related to tourism, some related to climate science. Those results currently include pages from three major and generally respectable news sites — CNN, The New York Times and the Guardian — saying large parts of the Great Barrier Reef are dead, or that it’s under stress but not dead, or that it’s not actually dead at all:

    (Those conflicting headlines all come from the same research report, which indeed says that the Great Barrier Reef has serious problems. But because some publications reacted to that initial report to say that the reef was dead, the researchers and local tour operators pushed back — which caused a spate of “it’s not dead or completely dead” stories).

    When people search about things, they might also want to know related news. That’s why Google has the Top Stories box. And with this search, Google faces the same issue. People searching for “great barrier reef” aren’t necessarily wanting just science news, so Google provides a variety of current news headlines.

    On the day this all exploded, there was fresh news about the stress the Great Barrier Reef is suffering. Breitbart had a commentary on that topic. It happened to get the first spot.

    It wasn’t “pinned” to that spot permanently, as the Gizmodo article suggested. It was rotated out as the news itself started to change. Nor was that news for a “science” search, as previously explained. And no, Google didn’t say the story was there because Google’s job was to promote climate change conspiracy theories. Google said it was there as a natural consequence of showing a range of news and views — which is generally what you want from a search engine.

    If you want to go further with me examining the issues in this particular search, see some of my commentary in this Twitter moment. But the facts don’t matter, in terms of Google’s search quality reputation. The Google outrage machine is stoked.

    After so many failures, I’d say many don’t care about the facts and important questions in search, including how censorship might have unwanted blowback. They just see Google screwing up again, adding to the growing public relations issue. Fix it!

    Google DOES have problems that need fixing

    Don’t get me wrong. Google deserves plenty of criticism for some of the results that it has been showing. Even when there are reasons that provide perspective, that doesn’t excuse the need for Google itself to take corrective actions. Here are some specific things it is doing and could do better.

    Search Suggestions / Autocomplete: Google began testing a way for people to report offensive search suggestions in February and has promised to improve those suggestions overall. But nearly two months after that limited test began, the reporting tool has yet to be rolled out broadly. Meanwhile, it’s fairly easy to find suggestions that some might find objectionable:

    Those are for the political parties of the Democrats and Republicans, but trust me, you can sadly find similar things about racial groups, ethnicities and sexual orientation.

    These will continue for as along as Google offers suggestions, which are based on actual searches that real people do in volume. Over time, perhaps they’ll be reduced. But with an infinite amount of things to search for, you can’t fix it all. Nor can Bing, by the way:

    Google needs to get that reporting tool out broadly as soon as possible. It needs to consider eliminating suggestions on desktop, where they aren’t as necessary as on mobile. It needs to ramp up ways to filter out offensive suggestions. It’s a problem that’s festered for six years or more. Google needs to do more.

    Featured snippets: Google could and perhaps should eliminate featured snippets for desktop searches, where they aren’t necessary and would encourage people to assess a variety of results rather than fixating on “one true answer” that might not be true at all.


    It’s much more difficult to drop featured snippets for Google Assistant and Google Home, because when they work — and they do often work — they are a distinguishing feature that puts Google ahead of Apple’s Siri and Amazon Echo’s Alexa.

    Google hopes a new effort announced last month involving its quality raters will make objectionable and questionable content less likely to appear. But that wouldn’t stop a site like Quora, which isn’t generally objectionable, for showing up with an entirely fake answer about the person who “invented” homework:

    That person isn’t real and didn’t invent homework, but because the page looks like it’s providing an answer to the question, Google elevated it. Bing did this as well, when I first noticed this last month.

    Bing’s since changed to using an answer from its Bing Distill community, where volunteers try to answer questions:

    That’s better, but it’s not a scalable solution to the overall problem. People want one fast answer for all types of topics. The more comprehensive any search engine tries to be in doing this, the more likelihood that it will make mistakes for more obscure or infrequent questions.

    The solution overall might be that our voice assistants have to do a better job stressing that they’re making a “best guess” and perhaps encouraging us to review other answers. It might also involve us, as searchers, doing a better job understanding that there’s not always one true answer to everything and that we need to be more critical about what we receive and do further research where it might seem needed.

    Search quality: Aside from presenting one answer in a special featured snippets box, Google has had problems where the top web result can be offensive or where most of the results have issues, as was the case with searches about whether the Holocaust was real.

    Google launched an algorithm change within a week of that problem coming to light in December. It quickly changed the results for the Holocaust search in question. That change also appears to have helped with some other problematic searches, as I’ve covered earlier. Data from quality raters may help further improve things.

    Still, Google almost certainly won’t be able to eliminate all objectionable results. Inevitably, someone will stumble across something that feels grossly wrong. The question then is whether that will be seen as Google failing to do enough or that Google can’t fix everything perfectly.

    Top Stories: The problem of fake news or dubious content appearing in Google’s “Top Stories” section is largely down to Google itself. It deliberately chose to allow publications beyond vetted news sites into this area back in October 2014. That’s why those fake election results appeared there. Changing the name of the section to “Top Stories” last December didn’t change the underlying problem.

    Shifting back to only allowing vetted sites won’t solve the issue of Breitbart content showing up. Breitbart is a vetted site that was admitted into Google News. The only way to keep that content out would be to ban the site from Google News entirely. Some might agree with that; others might find there’s a strong argument that a publication that’s one of the few to get a one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump deserves to be retained as a news source.

    Search will never be perfect

    In the end, it’s good that Google is going through this search quality crisis. This new pressure is forcing it to attend to issues that can no longer be allowed to fester.

    It’s not clear, however, if Google will be able to solve its biggest issue overall: the drip-drip-drip of criticism for problems that no search engine can ever fully eliminate, given how broad search is.

    Google handles 5.5 billion searches per day. Per day. Billions of searches, with around 15 percent being entirely new, never asked before. Google tries to answer these questions by producing results from billions of pages from across the web. It’s an impossible task to get perfectly right every time.

    Pick any search, and you can come up with something that will return objectionable or questionable results. This isn’t a new issue, as some of Google’s past search quality crises demonstrate. But possibly it’s growing, either as more questionable content flows onto the web or as more people are hyperaware of checking to see if such content surfaces in search results.

    An impossible task, but one where striving for perfection remains so crucial. Dylann Roof, convicted of murdering nine people in the Charleston church shooting, is an example of how important this is.

    Roof has said he did a Google search to learn more about “black on white crime” and that the first site he came to was a white supremacist site, which in turn may have shaped his motivation to commit the murders, as this NPR story recounts. Google no longer lists that site in the first page of its results. Bing does, at the time of this writing.

    I suspect that even if Google’s top results had lacked that site, Roof might have gone on searching until he found information confirming the bias he already had. Another part of his “manifesto” espousing hatred toward blacks comes from what he called his own “real life” experience, not from Google searches.

    But still. Getting the results as right as possible matters, however impossible that might seem. Search is hard. A big challenge for search engineers in the past was dealing with overt spam trying to attain high rankings. Now they have to grapple with “post-truth” content where pages that sound factual or informative to an algorithm can be anything but.

    We should continue to hold Google and search engines to a high standard and highlight where things clearly go wrong. But we should also understand that perfection isn’t going to be possible. That with imperfect search engines, we need to employ more human critical thinking skills alongside the searches we do — and that we teach those to generations to come.

    Life itself rarely has “one true answer” to anything. Expecting Google or any search engine to give them is a mistake.

    Source : searchengineland.com

    Distant planet looks a lot like our own and might just have the right conditions to support alien organisms

    AN Earth-sized planet orbiting a dim star 39 light years away has a hazy atmosphere which could indicate the presence of a “water world” with a hot, steamy atmosphere, scientists claimed.

    It’s one of the few times astronomers have been able to detect an atmosphere surrounding a small rocky planet.

    The newly discovered planet could be a watery world similar to planet Neptune, seen here in a merge of images taken through spacecraft Voyager II’s wide-angle camera

    Until now, scientists have only been able to spot the atmospheres of giant “hot Jupiter” exoplanets which are unlikely to support life.

    But the next generation of powerful telescopes could be used to look for life outside the Solar System, and be more likely to find aliens.

    The “super-Earth” planet known as GJ 1132b was observed as it passed in front of a cool red dwarf star, blocking out some of the star’s light.

    NASA discovers new earth-like planet

    The planet Neptune is the furthest-flung 'full size' planet in the solar system

    The planet Neptune is the furthest-flung 'full size' planet in the solar system. This new planet is much smaller but is likely to have an atmosphere

    By measuring the slight drop in the star's brightness, astronomers were able to work out that the planet was 1.4 times the size of Earth.

    They also found that in one light wavelength band, the planet looked slightly bigger.

    This could be explained by an atmosphere that was opaque to some light wavelengths, but transparent to others.

    Dr John Southworth, from the University of Keele, who led the team, said: "While this is not the detection of life on another planet, it's an important step in the right direction.

    "The detection of an atmosphere around the super-Earth GJ 1132b marks the first time that an atmosphere has been detected around an Earth-like planet other than Earth itself.

    "With this research, we have taken the first tentative step into studying the atmospheres of smaller, Earth-like planets.

    "We simulated a range of possible atmospheres for this planet, finding that those rich in water and/or methane would explain the observations of GJ 1132b.

    What is new planet GJ 1132b like?

    Dr John Southworth, from the University of Keele said that the discovery marked an important step in the right direction to detect life on another planet.:

    He spotted an atmosphere around a rocky planet which is about the size of Earth.

    It's likely to have an atmosphere rich in water and or methane judging by its characteristics spotted using a super strong telescope.

    Dr Southworth said: "The planet is significantly hotter and a bit larger than Earth, so one possibility is that it is a 'water world' with an atmosphere of hot steam."

    "The planet is significantly hotter and a bit larger than Earth, so one possibility is that it is a 'water world' with an atmosphere of hot steam."

    Analysing the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres could in future yield tell-tale signs of life.

    Ozone, derived from oxygen released by plants, is one atmospheric life marker. Methane is another, although it can also be generated by volcanic activity.

    Scientists hoped the discovery of an entirely new planetary system like ours could herald alien life.

    Screenshot 2

    NASA discovers new earth-like planet

    Trappist-1 has seven Earth-like planets which are orbiting a star similar to our Sun.

    Source : thesun.co.uk

    Friday, 07 April 2017 17:29

    How to Take a Screenshot on Your Phone

    There are lots of reasons you might want to take a picture of your screen—a screenshot. Maybe you’re getting an error message that you want to send to tech-support. Maybe you want to capture something you’ve found online, like an article that mentions you. Maybe you’re writing a book about tech tips and you want to illustrate it.

    Here’s how to do it!

    •  On an iPhone, iPad, or Samsung Galaxy: Press the Home button and the Sleep button simultaneously.
    •  On other Android phones: Press the Home button and the Volume Down button simultaneously.

    In each case, you’ve created a graphics file in your Camera Roll, within your Photos app. You can send it, print it, or frame it just as you would any other photo.

    Source : yahoo.com

    WHY IT MATTERS TO YOU

    Exoplanets, such as those expected to be announced by NASA on Wednesday, may hold the key to life beyond Earth.

    If life exists beyond Earth, it likely exists on an exoplanet. These planets orbiting stars outside our solar system have fascinated astronomers for decades. The first was detected in 1988. Over 3,500 have been confirmed since then.

    Now, NASA has an update. The agency said yesterday it will host a news conference on Wednesday to discuss recent discoveries of planets beyond our solar system. The findings, to appear in the journal Nature, will be presented at 1 p.m. ET as the event kicks off live on NASA Television.

    Five scientists will participate in the conference. The media and public alike are invited to ask questions via Twitter by using the hashtag #askNASA. The agency will also hold a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) at 3 p.m. to discuss exoplanets and the new findings.

    Exoplanet discoveries have been increasing over the past year. In July, the largest ever haul of confirmed exoplanets was announced, detected the Kepler spacecraft telescope. A total of 104 planets were confirmed, four of which showed promise as potentially rocky and habitable worlds. In August, a potentially habitable planet was confirmed around our nearest star system.

    And just last week, astronomers publicly released a massive dataset of nearby stars detected by the High-Resolution Echelle Sprectrometer (HIRES) instrument. The team behind the project encouraged citizens scientists to comb through the data in search of orbiting planets.

    “[These] data likely contain even more planets that didn’t meet our statistical significant testing, but that more observing may reveal with time,” Paul Butler, staff scientist at Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, told Digital Trends at the time. “In that sense, these data will likely ‘keep on giving’ for a long time.”

    The vast majority (about 97 percent) of confirmed exoplanets are initially detected through indirect means. As in the case of last week’s release, the most common technique is radial velocity, which detects a star’s tiny movements in response to internal forces or external forces, such as the pull of an orbiting planet.

    Source : digitaltrends.com

    We’re all fascinated by space as children. It’s vast, most of it is unknown and unexplored, and it is far more interesting than the Kardashians (they’re a family of boring individuals with no real accomplishments in life that people on earth idolize and the primary reason aliens aren’t speaking with us). As we grow up, our attention shifts to tangible realities like paying bills and doing jobs (jobs that no doubt will be replaced by robots in the next decade). Funded by agencies of the largest governments of the world, 99% of the 558 humans who have visited space so far have been professionals representing science and national policy projects. Now that’s about to change.

    Late this February, Elon Musk announced plans to fly two private citizens on a loop around the moon as space tourists, reaching 400,000 miles from Earth, farther than any human has gone before. The names of these individuals are kept secret, but we know they were the ones who reached out to SpaceX to arrange the trip and ‘they are not Hollywood celebs’. The plan is to use the new Dragon 2 capsule and Falcon Heavy rocket, both of which still need lots of testing before humans can climb on board. Hence, a planned 2018 flight seems somewhat ambitious, although this is only a side project for SpaceX. The startup is planning to use this setup for unmanned deliveries to the ISS space station in 2018 and for unmanned flights to Mars starting in 2020. This made us think. What are all the options available for space tourism today?

    Space tourism actually began in 2001, though in a very restricted and elitist form. The first civilian to go to space was American businessman Dennis Tito, who paid $20 million for his flight to ISS on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, followed by six other adventurous (and rich) entrepreneurs visiting between 2002 and 2009. Russia has put a hold on tourist flights and hasn’t reinstated them yet, though to be fair, shelling out $20-40 million for a life experience can’t be called tourism yet. Let’s take a look at what space tourism experiences are available today for people who are aspiring to be space tourists.

    Zero G experience – $5,000

    Although their flight is suborbital, Zero G Corporation’s flights offer the experience of weightlessness to clients as an entry level experience. Their modified Boeing 727 flies in parabolic arcs 15 times on a trip, each time allowing 20-30 seconds of weightless state for the passengers. You don’t get to see space, but you get to feel it.

    7 Space Tourism Experiences for Aspiring Space Tourists

    At the relatively affordable price of $5,000, the 5 hour package includes orientation, flight and closing celebration at one of the four current locations: Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas or San Francisco. Zero G also charters flights for private groups and offers weightless weddings, which we think beats a Vegas drive-thru chapel.

    Flight to the edge of space – $17,000

    Seeing the curvature of the earth is said to be a life-changing experience. There are a fair number of Russian firms offering supersonic flights for civilians on a MIG-29 jet to visit the edge of space. The MIG is one of a few jets that can actually accelerate when going straight up, just like a rocket.The trip involves taking the jet on a ballistic flight path – basically becoming a human cannonball – going up to an altitude of 10-13 miles at supersonic speeds to enjoy the incredible view, executing different dogfight maneuvers, then leaving the plane with a wide grin and legs of jelly. These packages cost $17-19,000 and include accommodation for part of the trip, training, medical checkup, and of course the 50 minute flight itself.

    Balloon ride to the edge of space – $75,000

    Two companies are working to provide an easier and serene alternative to flying a supersonic jet – they have developed balloon flights to space. World View and Space Affairs are promising prospective travelers a 5-hour flight to an altitude of 18-25 miles, reaching above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Unmanned test flights have been conducted by both of these providers, and it looks like we can take a ride sometime in 2018 for a price tag of $75,000 and $118,000 respectively.

    source: theverge.com

    One of the big benefits of the balloon flight is that it doesn’t put any strain on the body and such a flight will not require any medical checkup – just your big fat wallet. Guests will have the time and calm atmosphere to appreciate the incredible views of Earth and the blackness of space. Imagine standing at the panoramic window listening to ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ by Richard Strauss just like in 2001: Space Odyssey.

    Virgin Galactic flight into space – $250,000

    Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 by several parties: Sir Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin empire, and Scaled Composites, an experimental aerospace company currently owned by Northrop Grumman. The Company initially planned their maiden space voyage for 2010, but have faced development and testing setbacks along the way, the most significant being the October 2014 crash of VSS Enterprise craft during a test flight. While there’s been some tension between Branson’s upbeat flight projections and the hurdles their team keeps facing, Virgin Galactic is pushing forward with marketing their trips without an expected launch date on their website.The plan is to take passengers up to an altitude of 9 miles using their cargo aircraft which will then release the small spaceship which will use its rocket motor to reach into space, at an ultimate altitude of about 62 miles (the so-called Kármán Line). At the apex of the flight path, passengers have a few minutes to experience weightlessness and gaze at the view. The ship will return to its original takeoff site following the journey. Space travelers are going to receive three days of training before the flight, and the whole package is priced at $250,000. It is said that more than 700 candidates have reserved seats on upcoming flights already.

    Deep into space with Space Adventures – $70 million

    Space Adventures is the agency which brokered the deals between civilian ISS visitors and the Russian space agency so far. They are offering serious stuff: you can fly to the ISS space station with a Russian Soyuz craft or a Boeing CST-100 Starliner (to be deployed in 2017) for 10 days. If you want to take it further, you can add a space walk while out there, or fly around the far side of the moon for another 6 days.This is what astronauts do, period. These missions require thorough training and safety checks, and will have to be tailored to existing flight schedules, weather conditions etc. Prices aren’t public, but travelers so far paid around $20-40 million. Estimates put current costs at about $70 million.

    Other aspiring flight providers – Varied

    We covered Blue Origin in 2015, unfortunately no news has come out regarding civilian flights since then. If you recall, Blue Origin was created and funded privately by Jeff Bezos of Amazon who probably has lots of other things going on right now. Blue Origin’s aim is to make space tourism accessible to private individuals by decreasing costs and increasing reliability. Their website info is somewhat general, without any timeline or date commitments for the availability of their “Astronaut Experience”.The journey will include a day of training, then flight in a capsule on top of a rocket booster to space, above the Kármán Line. Here, the travelers can experience weightlessness and the calm vastness of space with great views through the panoramic windows before returning to earth. Prices for the trip haven’t been revealed yet, but successful testing of the booster and cabin re-usability leave us hoping it will stay in the accessible range.

    XCOR Aerospace is another contender offering flights above the Kármán Line, and similarly to the other players, they have no concrete starting date at the moment. In 2001, XCOR started developing a rocket powered space plane similar in looks to a small private jet, the Lynx.According to current plans, the Lynx will be able to carry a pilot and a passenger, and fly several times a day to space using its reusable and non-toxic rocket engines. Test flight dates kept slipping into the future during the development, and in 2016 the Lynx project was halted in favor of engine technology development. XCOR are still marketing their space tourist flight though in a low key way, and they say more than 300 trips were sold already. Current price is $150,000.

    It’s hard to put a price tag on life-defining experiences, be it a fighter jet joyride at 12 miles above the earth or becoming the first ever tourist to take a walk in the emptiness of space. Astronauts say that the first time you see the earth from space it changes your life. Space tourism will be a thing soon, and commercial space access is a key future industry entrepreneurs are now focusing on. Let’s hope that with technologies like reusable rockets, those prices just keep coming down.

    Looking to buy shares in companies before they IPO? A company called Motif Investing lets you buy pre-IPO shares in companies that are led by JP Morgan. You can open an account with Motif with no deposit required so that you are ready to buy pre-IPO shares when they are offered.

    Source : nanalyze.com

    The late Steve Jobs was a vehicle of inspiration, motivation and passion.

    On Oct. 5, 2011, Steve Jobs lost a battle to cancer -- but he made sure his legacy lived on. The Apple founder left a huge mark on the world, and without his brains, vision and attitude, it would be a different place.

    From iconic moments like the unveiling of the first iPod to his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, Jobs has proven anything is possible. He was a firm believer in pursuing your passion, dreaming big and changing the world. To Jobs, no idea was too big.

    To recognize Jobs’ achievements and contributions to the world, we’ve collected some of his greatest quotes.

    To get inspired, check them out.

    image 1

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    image 11

    Source : entrepreneur.com

    We’re all fascinated by space as children. It’s vast, most of it is unknown and unexplored, and it is far more interesting than the Kardashians (they’re a family of boring individuals with no real accomplishments in life that people on earth idolize and the primary reason aliens aren’t speaking with us). As we grow up, our attention shifts to tangible realities like paying bills and doing jobs (jobs that no doubt will be replaced by robots in the next decade). Funded by agencies of the largest governments of the world, 99% of the 558 humans who have visited space so far have been professionals representing science and national policy projects. Now that’s about to change.

    Late this February, Elon Musk announced plans to fly two private citizens on a loop around the moon as space tourists, reaching 400,000 miles from Earth, farther than any human has gone before. The names of these individuals are kept secret, but we know they were the ones who reached out to SpaceX to arrange the trip and ‘they are not Hollywood celebs’. The plan is to use the new Dragon 2 capsule and Falcon Heavy rocket, both of which still need lots of testing before humans can climb on board. Hence, a planned 2018 flight seems somewhat ambitious, although this is only a side project for SpaceX. The startup is planning to use this setup for unmanned deliveries to the ISS space station in 2018 and for unmanned flights to Mars starting in 2020. This made us think. What are all the options available for space tourism today?

    Space tourism actually began in 2001, though in a very restricted and elitist form. The first civilian to go to space was American businessman Dennis Tito, who paid $20 million for his flight to ISS on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, followed by six other adventurous (and rich) entrepreneurs visiting between 2002 and 2009. Russia has put a hold on tourist flights and hasn’t reinstated them yet, though to be fair, shelling out $20-40 million for a life experience can’t be called tourism yet. Let’s take a look at what space tourism experiences are available today for people who are aspiring to be space tourists.

    Zero G experience – $5,000

    Although their flight is suborbital, Zero G Corporation’s flights offer the experience of weightlessness to clients as an entry level experience. Their modified Boeing 727 flies in parabolic arcs 15 times on a trip, each time allowing 20-30 seconds of weightless state for the passengers. You don’t get to see space, but you get to feel it.At the relatively affordable price of $5,000, the 5 hour package includes orientation, flight and closing celebration at one of the four current locations: Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas or San Francisco. Zero G also charters flights for private groups and offers weightless weddings, which we think beats a Vegas drive-thru chapel.

    Flight to the edge of space – $17,000

    Seeing the curvature of the earth is said to be a life-changing experience. There are a fair number of Russian firms offering supersonic flights for civilians on a MIG-29 jet to visit the edge of space. The MIG is one of a few jets that can actually accelerate when going straight up, just like a rocket.The trip involves taking the jet on a ballistic flight path – basically becoming a human cannonball – going up to an altitude of 10-13 miles at supersonic speeds to enjoy the incredible view, executing different dogfight maneuvers, then leaving the plane with a wide grin and legs of jelly. These packages cost $17-19,000 and include accommodation for part of the trip, training, medical checkup, and of course the 50 minute flight itself.

    Balloon ride to the edge of space – $75,000

    Two companies are working to provide an easier and serene alternative to flying a supersonic jet – they have developed balloon flights to space. World View and Space Affairs are promising prospective travelers a 5-hour flight to an altitude of 18-25 miles, reaching above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Unmanned test flights have been conducted by both of these providers, and it looks like we can take a ride sometime in 2018 for a price tag of $75,000 and $118,000 respectively.

    source: theverge.com

    One of the big benefits of the balloon flight is that it doesn’t put any strain on the body and such a flight will not require any medical checkup – just your big fat wallet. Guests will have the time and calm atmosphere to appreciate the incredible views of Earth and the blackness of space. Imagine standing at the panoramic window listening to ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ by Richard Strauss just like in 2001: Space Odyssey.

    Virgin Galactic flight into space – $250,000

    Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 by several parties: Sir Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin empire, and Scaled Composites, an experimental aerospace company currently owned by Northrop Grumman. The Company initially planned their maiden space voyage for 2010, but have faced development and testing setbacks along the way, the most significant being the October 2014 crash of VSS Enterprise craft during a test flight. While there’s been some tension between Branson’s upbeat flight projections and the hurdles their team keeps facing, Virgin Galactic is pushing forward with marketing their trips without an expected launch date on their website.The plan is to take passengers up to an altitude of 9 miles using their cargo aircraft which will then release the small spaceship which will use its rocket motor to reach into space, at an ultimate altitude of about 62 miles (the so-called Kármán Line). At the apex of the flight path, passengers have a few minutes to experience weightlessness and gaze at the view. The ship will return to its original takeoff site following the journey. Space travelers are going to receive three days of training before the flight, and the whole package is priced at $250,000. It is said that more than 700 candidates have reserved seats on upcoming flights already.

    Deep into space with Space Adventures – $70 million

    Space Adventures is the agency which brokered the deals between civilian ISS visitors and the Russian space agency so far. They are offering serious stuff: you can fly to the ISS space station with a Russian Soyuz craft or a Boeing CST-100 Starliner (to be deployed in 2017) for 10 days. If you want to take it further, you can add a space walk while out there, or fly around the far side of the moon for another 6 days.This is what astronauts do, period. These missions require thorough training and safety checks, and will have to be tailored to existing flight schedules, weather conditions etc. Prices aren’t public, but travelers so far paid around $20-40 million. Estimates put current costs at about $70 million.

    Other aspiring flight providers – Varied

    We covered Blue Origin in 2015, unfortunately no news has come out regarding civilian flights since then. If you recall, Blue Origin was created and funded privately by Jeff Bezos of Amazon who probably has lots of other things going on right now. Blue Origin’s aim is to make space tourism accessible to private individuals by decreasing costs and increasing reliability. Their website info is somewhat general, without any timeline or date commitments for the availability of their “Astronaut Experience”.The journey will include a day of training, then flight in a capsule on top of a rocket booster to space, above the Kármán Line. Here, the travelers can experience weightlessness and the calm vastness of space with great views through the panoramic windows before returning to earth. Prices for the trip haven’t been revealed yet, but successful testing of the booster and cabin re-usability leave us hoping it will stay in the accessible range.

    XCOR Aerospace is another contender offering flights above the Kármán Line, and similarly to the other players, they have no concrete starting date at the moment. In 2001, XCOR started developing a rocket powered space plane similar in looks to a small private jet, the Lynx.According to current plans, the Lynx will be able to carry a pilot and a passenger, and fly several times a day to space using its reusable and non-toxic rocket engines. Test flight dates kept slipping into the future during the development, and in 2016 the Lynx project was halted in favor of engine technology development. XCOR are still marketing their space tourist flight though in a low key way, and they say more than 300 trips were sold already. Current price is $150,000.

    It’s hard to put a price tag on life-defining experiences, be it a fighter jet joyride at 12 miles above the earth or becoming the first ever tourist to take a walk in the emptiness of space. Astronauts say that the first time you see the earth from space it changes your life. Space tourism will be a thing soon, and commercial space access is a key future industry entrepreneurs are now focusing on. Let’s hope that with technologies like reusable rockets, those prices just keep coming down.

    Looking to buy shares in companies before they IPO? A company called Motif Investing lets you buy pre-IPO shares in companies that are led by JP Morgan. You can open an account with Motif with no deposit required so that you are ready to buy pre-IPO shares when they are offered.

    Source : nanalyze.com

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